Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Organization Wednesday: Office Progress


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

Oh man, I have been meaning to share the last bit of progress in my office for awhile, but little things kept stopping me, like wanting to style the space to perfection, hating that very nineties green wall color, or waiting to choose wallpaper. If I wait for that those things (even though I’ve improved my organizational skills) I’d have to wait until about 2015. So here’s a bit of progress, ugly exposed cords (major pet peeve) and printers and all – it’s reality.

SHELVES & DRAWERS: This formerly dead space now offers all sorts of storage and space to be organized. Now my picky aesthetic preferences dictated that the shelf brackets go where the outmost studs were, but I’m noticing that they are starting to bow a bit, so I may have to suck it up and add some extras.

The real gift these shelves have given me is proximity. Everything I need is within arm’s reach, and having the shelves and file drawers next to my desk allows me to keep my desktop clean! Hallelujah!

One other thing I learned is that as you tackle your piles, you’ll learn what kinds of things need their own drawers. I had kept my design catalogs in baskets for so long that I’d never thought to designate a drawer for them. However, as I cleaned things out, I realized they’d be a lot handier and more organized in a drawer adjacent to my desk.

LABELS: From the workshop I took over at Simplify 101, I learned that labeling is a big key to organizing. Now I not only have a place for everything and everything in its place, I actually know where those places are! You can go bananas with how you label things – I happened to have a pack of these tags and a roll of black raffia on hand, so I made do. Not the cutesy-est, but it works for me. Another thing to remember is that when something’s placement is NOT working for you, to move stuff around and figure it out.

CONTAINERS: Because I have a lot of drafting and art supplies, I’ve been experimenting with what works since grad school. I will never get tired of metal paint buckets for keeping things organized. They go with all kinds of decor, they have handy dandy handles, they hide a multitude of sins and most importantly, they are dirt cheap and readily available at any hardware store in a variety of sizes. Check around your own house for containers that might come in handy. Maybe it’s a closet organizer you aren’t really using in the closet (my printer sits under my desk on a former shoe rack shelf, and there’s room for reams of paper and toner underneath). I used some Liberty of London gift boxes from Target to corral all of my cosmetics and medicine, I found the wire shelves in my attic (leftover from grad school), etc.

All systems are go! Oh, if you want to help me out of my wallpaper decision paralysis, check out what I’ve narrowed it down to below the break and please give me your two cents.

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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Organization Wednesday: Travel Plans


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

Rewind to a week ago. It’s a million degrees in Atlanta, it’s about 8:30 p.m., I was starting to pack for my trip to get the heck out of here and cool off in Maine, and the power goes out. The house heated up faster than an MD-88 with the shades up on the Hartsfeld tarmac, and my closet was pitch black. I already suck at packing, and this made it pretty much impossible, especially since I like to edit like crazy and pack light.

I hate packing and traveling. The only thing I really envy about rich people is that whole flying private thing. Airports are such a pain in the arse, and as for packing, inevitably I forget something crucial, like prescription medication or my glasses. I realized I needed to turn to some experts for efficient packing advice. Since half of my friends work for an airline or travel for business on a regular basis, I’ve started to collect their best tips to share with you. At first I thought it would just be a post about packing, but they’ve been sharing all kinds of advice about navigating the not-so-friendly-skies, I’m going to start back at the very beginning – when you decide to go on the trip. This week, scheduling tips, next week, packing tips.

Never schedule yourself for the last flight to your destination of the day. If something goes wrong, you’re stuck for the night. The earlier you go, the less chance of a backup there is – it’s a lot like the doctor’s office in that regard.

Schedule a MINIMUM of 45 minutes for a layover, longer for big airports like Atlanta and JFK. Better yet, avoid JFK whenever possible – that place is a truly disgusting hellhole. It’s dirty, gross, claustrophobic and it stinks. But I digress. Most airports are nicer than JFK, and now they have spas, shops, and even mini-office suites; you’ll find something to fill your time. Sit and have a meal, since you won’t be getting much food on the plane.

Try to get a seat a close to the front as possible. This is harder than it should be lately. This is because you have no status. If you can’t book anything besides the middle seat of the back row online, try and call the airline. As their passengers with status get upgraded closer and closer to take off time, the good seats they had in coach will open up, so it never hurts to check for some coveted exit row availability once you get to the airport. Sometimes you can even buy an upgrade for a relatively nominal fee that can make the difference between making that connection or getting stuck exiting behind 35 rows of jerks who carry way too much crap onto the plane and take way too long to get it out of the overhead bins they have hogged.

Get Status. It’s not as hard as you think. Join frequent flier programs and try to fly one airline as much as possible. Get their credit card and charge everything possible on it, know an MQM from a bonus mile, join dining miles and partner sites, sign up for email alerts, become obsessed with earning miles any way that you can. Convince your loved ones to go with you to far-off destinations on your favorite airline. You must be shameless and always keep your eyes on the prize. Eventually you will gain some status that will give you upgrades, access to faster security lines, free checked bags and a choice of better seats. I don’t travel that often, but ever since I focused all of my extra energy on getting miles, traveling has become a whole lot more pleasant.

Print your boarding pass out online. In fact, some airlines now have an option where you can just flash your boarding pass on your phone screen. If you aren’t checking a bag, you can breeze right up to security – no lines, no security.

If you are checking a bag, check it curbside and duke the baggage guy a few bucks a bag. Smaller airports tend to have one person manning the kiosk, larger airports often have long lines. The guy at the curb is your best bet.

Find the magic security line. When you get to security, a quick scan will tell you which line has the most experienced business travelers – they’ve got laptop bags, they are alone, they’ll have a small rollaboard or overnight bag, they’re wearing a suit or khakis and a button down, and they’ve probably already got their belts and shoes off. There are no children or people wearing complicated lace-up boots in sight. Get in that line.

Alright, those are just a few tips for organizing the often confusing airport logistics. Next week we’ll tackle what’s in the bag. In the meantime, please forward me any of your airport survival tips in the comments section!


Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Organization Wednesday: Make Your Closet a Home Boutique


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

Hi Everyone! I am on vacation from organizing this week, so luckily, closet designer to the stars, Lisa Adams of LA Closet Boutique, is here to share some closet inspiration. Personally, I have a bit of an obsession with celebrity closets and I am always clipping images of them from magazines and posting them to my Tumblr blog, so I am so excited to welcome Lisa to Hatch!  Take it away Lisa…

In the last few years, well designed, luxurious closets have become status symbols.  Flip through the pages of home décor or entertainment magazines, and you can easily find features on plush, tricked-out celebrity closets.  If a custom closet is beyond your means, there are some easy and low cost ways of adding the same chic and luxurious touches to your closet. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • ACCENTS: Pick a few plush looking accents from a bargain store or even the flea market or Salvation Army. From pillows and rugs to paintings and lamps, your eye will be drawn to that unique, maybe even antique piece.
  • PAINT: Add a bright color to one wall of your closet to add spunk and high energy, or use cool shades like grays, blues and purples to promote relaxation.
  • HANDLES & KNOBS: Find interesting handles and knobs to bring a touch of style and luxury to your closet.  There are fabulous leather and stainless steel options. Yard sales, flea markets, and even hardware stores can be treasure troves!
  • MIRROR: Add a full-length mirror to the dead space.  It’ll make the room feel bigger and be functional.
  • SEATING: If you have the room, add a sitting area.  The seat could be used for lounging or for putting on your shoes.  A sitting area makes the closet a true living space.
  • LIGHTING: Lighting is very important when choosing your outfit and getting dressed.  Pay attention to the lighting to make sure it is natural and not overpowering. Also, use natural lighting whenever possible, such as windows and skylights. It flatters more and saves on cost.
  • DRAWER LINERS: Lining your drawers either with cedar, lavender or even pretty paper is a beautiful, cheap and a great motivator for keeping things neat and orderly.
  • HANGERS: Don’t skimp on the hangers.  Make them uniform for each type of clothing.  It’s a good investment in the long run because your clothes retain their shape, and don’t snag or become ruined.
  • BOOT TREES:  Invest in boot trees or boot shapers for maintaining their shape and to prevent cracking and creasing.  Your boots can then be displayed like a shoe store, and will have a longer lifespan.
  • STACKABLE SHOE RACKS: Get your shoes off of the floor and organize them with chrome stackable racks.  With a simple expandable two-tiered design, you can store more shoes in a limited space.
  • SLIDING SHELF DIVIDERS: Bookends for your closet, these sliding shelf dividers come in various heights and depths and are perfect to keep rows of sweaters stacked like in a boutique.
  • DOUBLE HANGING RODS: Without having to overhaul your tight closet, these double rods add function to wasted space by providing two layers of hanging space at once.

If this list is too long for you, simply hire Lisa, or visit and scoop everything up in the one place!


Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Organization Tuesday: Dream Workspaces


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

As I trudge through trying to create the workspace that will inspire me to actually spend time in my office working, I have been amassing images of workspaces that I admire. Here are a few I covet:

Sharon Portnoy Design

Loadingdock5 Architecture

Ish and Chi


Turquoise L.A.

emma’s design blog

not sure of original source. PLEASE COMMENT if you know so I can add it.

Aalto’s office via Apartment Therapy

first five photos from The rest were in my tumblr stream.


Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Organizing Seminar Giveaway!


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

When it comes to blogging, I’m not too big on giveaways, unless it’s something I really believe in and would want to win myself. This is one of those times. The folks over at Simplify 101 were so pleased to see their e-course mentioned this week, that they are offering FREE enrollment in a week long e-seminar to two lucky Hatch readers! Because it starts in a week, the deadline for entering will be at noon on Wednesday, May 19. Just leave us a comment telling us you need help getting organized and you’d like to participate and we’ll pick new names at random on Wednesday. If you want to give any of the details about your mess, PLEASE SHARE! I’d love to hear it, because it makes me feel better about my own organizational stumbling blocks. You’ll need to have some time cleared each day to dedicate to getting organized. Here are some details and links:

Whether the state of clutter in your home has you overwhelmed to the point of not knowing where to start, or you’re ready to turbo-charge your organizing efforts—the simplify 101 “Help! I Don’t Know Where to Begin!” workshop, beginning Thursday, May 20, 2010, is for you! This workshop is designed to give new users a taste of simplify 101’s online workshops. Best yet, this workshop includes a coupon code good for $5 off your next workshop purchase! There’s a whole new way to get organized!

I cannot tell you how much I’ve accomplished since starting another Simplify 101 workshop;  it’s been very motivating. It literally makes you feel lighter and more free. If you are ready to start getting organized but don’t know where to start, leave a comment before noon (that’s east coast time) on Wednesday May 19. We’ll contact the winners that afternoon.

  • image by Bosworth Hodemaker, via Houzz