Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Ziploc® Bags are My #1 Favorite Organizing Tool

In all my years of organizing as a 'professional' or before, there isn't any other organizing tool that I have used more than the Ziploc® bag (or any reclosable bag, I happen to like Ziploc® the best). Why do I love them so:
  • just about everyone already has them in their homes
  • they are inexpensive
  • they are easy to use
  • they are reusable
  • they are see-through
  • they come in so many sizes
  • they are flexible allowing them to fit anywear
  • they go with every aesthetic
The pic above shows a few ways I use them in my home; keep holiday decorations safe from dust, for travel, store medicine in my medicine/first aid Muji bin, and hold small things in my closet kit.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"I Can't Believe This is My Stuff!": Apartment Redesign

By simply rearranging and repurposing existing pieces, a space can be totally transformed. The pics above are a small studio I redesigned last week. The client was tired of making excuses for her friends not to come to her apartment but since she is planning on moving in less than a year, didn't want to do anything too time or cost consuming like repaint or buy all new things. I helped her edit unnecessary things while giving a few old, forgotten pieces new life. Before she had a hard time keeping the place clean and tidy but now that her things have a proper place it's "too easy".

For more pics, check out my flickr page.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Big Bad Wolf

(photo by vicente wolf)

I added a ton of new links today and one in particular I wanted to share is my former boss Vicente Wolf's blog. The famed interior designer shares what he's learned from 30 years of design experience. But Vicente is not just an interior, furniture and textile designer, he's an author, fine art photographer, collector and world traveler. Seriously, the man can take the red eye in, run 6 miles in Central Park and go to the office without skipping a beat. He's a huge inspiration...

Apartment Progress

I wanted to share with you the state of the my new place. I love the way the carpet tiles look as an area rug. I still need the wood to make the bed, a dining table, a small sofa/loveseat, and window treatments. 

I saw a vintage NYC garbage can similar to these, that would be great to use as the base of the dining table, but don't think it will work with the wire chairs I have. I love the idea so I may just sell the chairs... 

For the windows I'm thinking of the ivory wood blinds from Ikea. Not only do I think they look fantastic but they'll give me the privacy I need (there's a bldg directly behind me) but still allow me to enjoy all the natural light which is one of my favorite things about this place. I'm also considering using the silk curtains I have but since I only have two single width and one double, I'd have one on each end of the wall, with or without the double width in the middle.

I'll keep you posted as I make more process!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hello Gorgeous!

I'm loving this new ring from Swarovski and for only $60 (!) you could love it too. Order it online or pick it up at the new Crystallized Concept store in Soho NYC. Be sure to check out the "library of light" where you can select from 2,000 stones to design your own one-of-a-kind creation.

Need a New Dry Cleaner?

(click for larger image)

I tried a new dry cleaners recently but when my silk blouse (seen here) came back with more stains on it than when I brought it in I wasn't too pleased. They said they could try to clean it again but silk is really hard to clean... bla bla so I told them about my other dry cleaner who will charge be me at least $25 (they asked) but they would definitely get the stains out. For $25 they said I should just buy another one!! Seriously?!

If you're in NYC you need to know about Meurice Garment Care. Yes, they're more expensive than your regular dry cleaner but are completely worth it. I take all my nicer pieces there and they do a fantastic job. They even clean handbags.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What To Do With...

Organizing is all about storing things according to how you use them in a space. For instance, a clothes closet should have everything you need to make an outfit, including a 'closet kit'. 

Keep in a shoe or decorative box, an over the door accessories/shoe organizer, or even a handbag you don't use but want to keep. My my personal kit is comprised of a shoe horn, extra buttons (in the change purse), small sewing kit, lint rollerfabric shaverdeodorant removal sponges safety pins (in a snack size ziplock), black nail polish (not for nails though, for shoe and blackened hardware touch-ups), and fashion tape (to keep dress and top straps in place, shoe sling-backs in place, I've even taped my foot into the bed of a shoe that has stretched). 

Friday, June 19, 2009

Have You Ever...

Mixed nail polishes to make your own color? I generally wear clear polish or nothing at all on my fingernails but do like color for my toes. Now, you've all seen my wardrobe so you can imagine I prefer more nude subtle colors even for my polish. I really love Sandalwood with is a browny-peach color but they must have changed formulas because the last bottle I bought is much darker than usual. I tried Chanel's pink Ballerina which is is too light for my skin tone so I very carefully poured some of the Sandlewood into the Ballerina and I now have the perfect shade! It's hard to tell in the picture... Have you ever done that?

Favorite Things From West Elm

Hanging Garment Bag
It's hard to find canvas garment bags with a clear plastic window. I've seen garment bags with one side plastic and one side canvas but these are much nicer looking. Use these to store off-season pieces that you don't want to fold, less often worn special occasion pieces, delicate pieces with beading, sequins, to keep them from touching anything else. I only wish they came in a gown length....

I've mentioned before I love their selection of bins and boxes to be used all over the house, not just the office. I especially love their Monroe series which are on sale at the moment. I just suggested to a client stacking two of the trunks with a tray on top for use as a side table (to store things she hardly ever uses). Use the open bins on a shelf or on the floor in the coat closet or entry to hold hats, gloves and scarves; in the office to hold reference catalogs and papers; on a shelf in the clothes closet to hold undergarments, beachwear, or tights. Use the boxes on top shelves in closets to hold off-season items.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Living Better With Less... Half Empty Paint Cans

The inevitable paint cans everyone has can be seriously annoying for us apartment dwellers who don't have a garage or basement. For those lucky few that have storage in their bldg I suggest keeping your paint there. For the rest of us....

A quick and cheap trip to the local hardware store for a few empty quart cans and voila! Neat, clean, they fit almost anywhere and can be easily labeled to your liking with tape, magic marker, pictures, wrapping paper, or even painted! They would also be great in multiples to hold office and craft supplies.

Living Better with Less... Agony over Decision Making

The process of elimination is my favorite method for making design decisions. Whether picking paint colors, figuring where something should go in a space (like a home office), even when clothes shopping, I always identify and eliminate what I don't like or what doesn't work first. If i'm not sure, I leave it in the 'like' pile. Then I'm left looking at the best options which I compare to each other until I've found the best option.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where to Put the Litter Box

Since I already know the basic floor plan for my new place, I've spent the past few weeks trying to find the perfect spot for all the little things. What's been bugging me the most is where to put the litter box.

I've finally decided to keep it in the shower stall (not labeled on the floor plan, it's just behind the coat closet). I placed kraft paper under the box to keep the litter itself from getting everywhere; that stuff is so nasty when it gets wet and I was tired of cleaning it out of the drain. One good thing about it here is I see it every time I use the bathroom as it's directly opposite the toilet, so I clean it out more often than I used to. Eventually I will have a shower curtain which I'll leave open a bit for the girls to come and go.

Why Not...

On the way home today I bought these flowers. I put some in the bathroom (pictured) and near my bed. There's something luxurious about flowers in the bathroom... I also love them in an entry as a 'hi there, welcome home'.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Living Better With Less... New Products

kitchen junk drawer, not so junky anymore...

I love using things clients already have to finish a project. Not only do they appreciate the cost savings but it helps them to see and appreciate their things in a new way. I used a few left over stationary boxes for the drawers above. The client loves the little burst of color and the fact that it's done without having to buy any new 'organizing tools'.

On A Personal Note...

During times like these where everyone is making cutbacks, we tend to forget that charities and non-profits are being hit just as hard. It's important for each of us to find something to give back to, either with our time or money. It's another example of 'Living Better With Less'; cutting out what isn't contributing positively to your life so you have room for the things that do.

For me, I am still contributing to RightRides. RightRides is a non-profit organization that provides women, transpeople and gender queer individuals free, late-night rides home to ensure their safe commute to or through high-risk areas. Started in 2004 by a good friend Oraia, who was so upset by hearing of assaults on women walking home in Williamsburg and Greenpoint Bklyn, that she and co-founder Consuelo took it upon themselves to use their own car to give women a free safe ride home. Even though this organization has received numerous accolades they depend on the support of people like you and me to keep them going, people who may not afford to give a large donation, but can contribute as little as $10/month to make the difference between them not only not having to cut services but to keep servicing the community and keeping our friends, family and neighbors safe.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bathroom Organizing Tips

Follow these quick easy tips to make your bathroom super fab and functional:
  • keep everyday items in the medicine cabinet grouped by category; face wash, face lotions, tooth care...
  • take advantage of adjustable shelving.
  • use glasses/cups (or empty candle holders) to store small items neatly.
  • use acrylic risers to make extra room in your medicine cabinet.
  • if your medicine cabinet is magnetic, use magnetic containers to hold small things like pills, bobby pins, hair ties...
  • keep less often used and extra items under the sink in stackable containers, most of my clients love these since they are cheap and see-through.
  • avoid buying things in bulk that take a long time to use, they take up too much valuable space and you'll feel like you live at Costco.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Even More Favorite Things From Ikea

$3.95 for 8 what else is there to say? use as clothes hangers or just for coats.

UPDATE: the following items are no longer available:
Eina Wardrobe
I like how the sides are closed and it's on casters. this would look great in an entry hall for coats, or in a guest room that doesn't have a closet.
UDATE: to my horror this line has been discontinued :O(

this wood box comes in various sizes, is stackable, and can be put on casters. use on kitchen shelves, for magazines, toys, crafts, in clothes closet for accessories or even folded items.
UDATE: to my horror this line has been discontinued :O(

this simple wood box comes in white or black, in two sizes and can be put on casters.
UDATE: to my horror this line has been discontinued :O(

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Favorite Things in Action!

Chrome Garment Hook and Tweed Drop-Front Boxes from the Container Store, Small Blecka hooks and Trissa boxes from Ikea.

Bamboo Drawer Organizers, Single and Double Acrylic Shelves from the Container Store.

Our Shoe Boxes from the Container Store and Make-up Bin from Muji