Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kitchen Organizing Tips


I spent the day organizing a client's kitchen and thought I'd share a few things:
  • donate, recycle, sell or toss anything you don't love or use
  • group like things together; all serving pieces, prep and cooking items, and food; soups, pastas, grains, etc
  • use the adjustable shelving to make things easier to reach, like putting shorter pieces on lower shelves and taller things above
  • keep things you don't use often on upper shelves leaving lower shelves for most used items
  • use an entire shelf (or drawer) for coffee and/or tea along with mugs, sugar and related items
  • use lazy susans for spices and cooking oils
  • use odd glasses or bowls in new ways; we used a small bowl to hold sponges by the sink and another to hold soap in the bathroom
  • install drawers in lower cabinets; one client called them life-changing

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Living Better With Less... Junk Mail

I always laugh when I see articles and blog posts about dealing with your mail; buying special mail sorters, have a recycling bin near the door... bla bla bla... The real solution as with most things in life is to simplify. The less mail you have, the less time you have to spend dealing with it.

Collect your junk mail for about a week to see where your mail is coming from so you can stop it for good:
  • Stop pre-approved credit card offers at BUT this doesn't stop offers from banks you have accounts with, you need to call them directly
  • For unwanted catalogs, all the info you need is usually on the back page; customer service phone number, account number (if you have one) and/or source code. After calling, you can also go to to further stop them
  • Switch to paperless billing for all your accounts; credit cards, banks, electric, gas, phone...
  • Stop most other junk mail at

The Big Switch

Spring is approaching NYC so of course I'm thinking about switching out my closet!

  • clean anything that needs it, don't forget about coats, hats, scarves
  • fix and/or polish winter shoes and boots
  • toss, donate or sell anything you're ready to let go of, keep anything you are unsure of

  • clean your closet from top to bottom to keep clothes moths (and other pests) away
  • keep in any transitional pieces you're still wearing, they can go away later
  • iron or steam spring/summer items all at once now, but don't bother doing items being stored
  • lay clothes flat when putting in boxes, folding as little as possible to keep from getting so wrinkled
  • take clothes out of the dry cleaner's plastic, they need to air out the chemicals used. put the plastic in handbags and/or shoes to keep their shape

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Light Idea

I thought everyone had their own version of 'evening lighting'...
Using low lighting as opposed to overhead lighting at the end of the day mimicking the natural light helps your body transition into sleep time. I use overheads during the day and then use a bed sconce and table lamp in the evening. 

Do you use 'evening lights' in your home? And if not, do you have trouble falling asleep?

One of My Favorite Organizing Tools...

The Container Store's Shoe Box. Clear plastic and stackable these can be used for so much more than than shoes; under the bathroom sink to hold toiletries, under kitchen sink to hold cleaning supplies and household item, for crafts, kid's toys... It doesn't have to be the exact one from the container store necessarily, but I do like the CS's quality.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One of My Favorite Organizing Tools...

The Makeup Boxes from Muji. White translucent plastic, they come in a number of sizes, are stackable(!), and have a limitless number of uses. Use them all over; in the bathroom to sort products like in the above picture (with each bin properly labeled), the kitchen cabinet to hold medicine, in drawers to sort jewelry and office supplies... Sold at Muji stores and the MoMA Store.

Remember, these are only tools; a devise used to carry out a particular function. They don't make you any more organized than a hammer builds you a house. It's the planning and consideration of a particular use for these tools that will help get you organized.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting Ready To Move!

(First day in present apartment)

I'm very happy to say I'll be moving at the end of the month AND my birthday is in three weeks so I am doubly excited. The year in this apartment was a bit rough so I have a real desire to clear out as much as possible to help me start the new year fresh, focused and healthy.

I'm moving myself (with the help of my friend Rob) and don't want to carry any more than I have to. But even if I hired someone, why would I pay to move stuff I don't love and use? Since I don't have much to begin with, people have asked what I could possibly be going through:
  • Clothes: I haven't done a major edit of my wardrobe for a few years now (since I am very conscious of what I buy) so it's time. I'm selling a number of things on ebay, other things like sweaters and t-shirts have been downgraded to pajamas, the rest are being donated.
  • Socks, bras, underwear: I normally buy some new sets to replace anything that needs it for my birthday. What better gift for yourself?
  • Books: The ones I'm ready to admit I'll never finish reading are going to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in soho.
  • Paperwork: I cleared out last month when I prepared my taxes.
  • Change: Seriously! I have a few bottles full that I have counted up and deposited in the bank. It has to be done sometime and I'd rather only carry it out once.
  • And the rest of the things I haven't used for the year I lived here and will admittedly never will.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Living Better With Less... Negative Thoughts

(image courtesy of carlos e gomez flickr page)

Before becoming a professional organizer, I had a job I didn't exactly love. One nice thing was the walk to the office which unfortunately turned into a moaning session about anything I happened to be upset about at the time (like having a job I didn't love), until one day I told myself to shut up and name 10 things I was grateful for. It was not something I had ever really done and it starting out a bit superficial, like "I'm grateful it's not raining", but soon became my morning ritual, and now is used whenever I find myself needing a little perspective.

The norm seems to be to focus on what we don't have, but we need to take the time to be grateful for what we do have. What are you grateful for today?