Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time for Autumn Clothes!



  1. Remove all items from closet. Vacuum shelves and flooring.
  2. Sort items in closet into 4 piles: Keep in this closet, Repairs (mark on calendar to do so within a week), Discard (broken,damaged beyond repair, Giveaway (friends or charity).
    Re-examine the Keep pile:
    How long have I had it?
    Does it still function?
    Is it a duplicate of something I already own?
    When was the last time it was used/worn?
  3. Move more items to Giveaway pile
  4. Keep pile: group like items together. Make sure the piles belong in the closet they came from. Move piles as necessary to other closets.
  5. Make an inventory of what you have: measure how many linear feet of clothing you have, how many pairs of shoes, umbrellas, wrapping paper, etc. Write down measurements and quantities.
  6. Measure closet space and see if your existing layout is adequate for what you intend to store in it. Put items into bins and baskets, hang on hangers, etc. and make sure to vacuum and dust shelves at least twice a month.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dishwasher Energy Diet

In order to be "green" you might be curious to know if washing dishes by hand or in the dishwasher is better. Here are the helpful hints:

  • Dishwashers made before 1994 use 12 or more gallons of water, those after 1994 use between 7-10 gallons.
  • Wash only full loads.
  • do not use the temperature boost setting: heating water is about 80% of the energy used
  • fill the soap dispenser about 2/3 full for best performance
  • air dry the dishes, or use the "no-heat" dry setting
  • don't rinse the dishes before loading, just scrape them
  • use shortest possible cycle
  • keep filter clear of food particles

A study conducted in Germany reports an average of 27 gallons of water to wash a 12 piece place setting by hand. The automatic dishwasher using the same number of equally dirty dishes used only 4 gallons. Looks like the automatic dishwasher wins!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Easy Summer Decorating Tips

This month, try to:

Relax and read a decorating book or magazine outdoors. It's summertime after all.

Clean your fans so you don't blow dirt around your home. Remove screens from portable fans and wipe with a damp cloth. Just wipe down the ceiling fans.

Update window coverings: go sheer and simple, not heavy or fussy.

Change lampshades to ivory or white silk or linen. Colored shades distort or block the light.

Take up area rugs and let wood floors breathe. Just for the summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Easy Organizing Step by Step

Organizing an entire house is too much to think about at one time. One a piece of paper, map out the activities and "stuff" you need for those activities. Spend a day getting all the "stuff" in the right room. Forget about what it looks like for now. Choose the function of the room first before concerning yourself about it looking nice.

After you have everything in its general location, take an inventory. See what you have multiples of, what is broken beyond repair, and what you still need storage containers for. I'll guide you through the rest of the system next week.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

About photographs

Snapshots of vacation, graduations, or fine art prints probably play an important part in your home decor. But not all photos are "art" and each category needs to be treated in its own way.

Fine art photographs, in black and white or color, should be treated like other pieces of hanging art. Photos usually lend a casual feeling to the room so I use them in less formal areas of the house. In groupings it's best to keep black and white photos separate from color unless the images are linked in theme. Framing and matting should be simple and complement the room's decor.

Black and white formal or professional photo portraits can be gathered into a family gallery. Mounted in large white mats and simple black frames, a collection of photos becomes a dramatic focal point in a family room, hallway, or study.

Smaller casual snapshots I treat like accessories. I group them in similar or matching frames and arrange on shelves or tabletops (if you can't see the back of the frame.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Organization 1-2-3

If you have no time to do serious organizing, this is a quick strategy to tidy up at least 1 room. I personally use 4 plastic storage totes and 2 cardboard boxes (ususally courtesy of Amazon).

2. Label containers:

Cardboard box 1: Throw away/recycling (out it goes today)
Cardboard box 2: Give away (fill with items for charity, put in car trunk immediately)
Plastic bin 1: stow away (stuff you can't think about and don't want to deal with right now, put in basement or garage. Plan a date on your calendar to revisit this bin. If you haven't done so by the end of the summer, throw items away, donate, or recycle)
Plastic bin 2: put away (stuff that ended up in the wrong room, put in correct place at end of this task)
Plastic bin 3: store away (seasonal or infrequently used stuff, put bin in basement or garage)
Plastic bin 4: sell (ebay, consignment, garage sale, must sell by end of the season or you never will)

Finish one room completely; it might take 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on how cluttered your room is.

Do NOT let boxes sit in the room. You deserve a clean and tidy spot after all your work!

Good luck,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bathroom Organization

Next to the kitchen, the bathroom gets more regular use than any other room in the house. There is a lot of potential for disorganization and clutter. Because it's usually a small room, it's easier to declutter and organize than other rooms.

1. Start with the medicine cabinet. Flush away all expired prescription medications and any over the counter medicines more than 2 years old.
2. Organize your products by category into plastic (easy to wash) or wicker (attractive if out on display) bins:
  • makeup
  • hair care
  • bathing supplies
  • nail care
  • dental care
  • skin care
  • first aid
  • meds-cold, tummy, allergy

3. Keep all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, and paper towels under the sink. Take just a few seconds to wipe down the sink and mirror before you leave for the day.

4. Remove all "reading material" from the bathroom. That's just plain old gross.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

Rearranging your furniture can be one of the best ways to redecorate and give your room a fresh new look without spending a cent! Take everything out of the room, add the largest pieces back in (sofa along the longest wall), flank sofa with two chairs, place the tables so everyone seated has a spot for a drink. Hang the artwork in a new spot if necessary.

Refresh with light colored slipcovers for the spring/summer season.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday Tips

So many people I meet are drowning in paper! Here are a few tips to tame the paper tiger:

1. We've all heard to only touch a paper once. So really do it. If it's information you can easily access elsewhere (on line for example) ditch the paper and just bookmark the page and add it to your favorites.

2. Recycle any catalogs immediately upon bringing in the mail. All companies have websites and if you really need to order something, do it paperlessly.

3. Reduce your "to do" list by taking action on items immediately. Procrastination leads to inaction!

Have a great day,

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creative Uncluttering for Cash

If you are an avid reader, books are found all through the home. However, you might not really NEED all of them...if you reference things often, create a special section on your bookshelves for the reference books and group them according to category.

If you need cash more than keeping the books for reference, you can sell them. is a great place to sell your old books. You can also check out

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring is here: does your home look like it?

We welcomed spring last Saturday and I still see remnants of last season's outdoor decorations all around town. Are you guilty of not cleaning up and putting away wintertime decor in your home as well?

  • Time to lighten up the interior scape. Put away the woolen blankets and bring out the cotton ones. Cashmere throws are great for all times of the year, but lighter colors seem more appropriate for spring and summer.
  • Wash any slipcovers to freshen them for the upcoming season.
  • Use your vacuum! Vacuum the window coverings at least monthly and while you're at it, vacuum the window too. Less dust accumulation means less washing later on.
  • Keep your home smelling fresh by using only natural cleaning products. You can clean your entire home with baking soda and vinegar. Use up all nasty chemicals and replace cleaning systems with cheaper and healthier alternatives.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clearing the Clutter

What kinds of clutter are you tolerating in your home? Stand in your most cluttered area for five minutes. Don't do anything, just absorb its energy. Now stand for five minutes in your least cluttered area. If your whole house is cluttered, stand outside for 5 minutes. See how you feel now. When I do this exercise with my clients, the resposes are usually along the lines of : "I felt like I was choking in the cluttered room, hopeless and lost. Outside I could breathe and feel the clarity."

Take a few mintues to see what kinds of clutter you are tolerating:
  • no garbage can in the laundry room for the lint
  • junk mail
  • piles of twisted cords and you don't know what they're for
  • running out of AA batteries
  • running out of essential kitchen supplies like milk
  • socks that don't match and have no hope of finding a mate
  • too many plastic bags
  • bits and pieces to "something"
  • items to give away but you haven't
  • missing scissors, tape, staplers
  • clothes that don't fit or don't flatter you
  • wobbly chairs and tables
  • too many clothes hangers (ususally tangled)
  • junk drawers
  • expired coupons
  • outdated, expired cosmetics
  • stacks of magazines or papers you'll never find time to read

Tolerating clutter takes up a lot of time and energy, but resolving it can be a quick process. Just choose five items from your personal list and vow to resolve them by Friday. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Twofer Tuesdays

Twofer Tuesday: two organizational tips today on one of my favorite subjects, laundry!

Tip 1: Give each member of your family a mesh lingerie bag (available at Target, etc.) in which to put their dirty socks. This way no socks get lost and you have all the pairs available to fold. Another bonus: no socks stuck inside other pieces of clothing!

Tip 2: Schedule your laundry time in your dayplanner just like an appointment. When you drop off an item to the dry cleaners, they tell you a specific date your item is ready. Treat YOUR laundry the same way. Would you go to a dry cleaner that would clean your clothes when they got around to it or had a slow day? Twice a week is usually sufficient to handle laundry for a family of four.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Safety First Friday

Be sure to store an extra key in a safe but accessible place. Under the doormat or over the door is not a safe place: choose the garage, a rock in the garden, or a specially designed "key hider" sculpture for the garden. You can also give a key to a trusted neighbor who is often home...nothing worse than locking yourself out of your home.

Enjoy the weekend,

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday's Thrifty Tips

Everyone is looking to save money in today's economy. Here's a few tips on how to redecorate you home using your own stuff!

1. Take a good look at your artwork. Is it hanging in a great location? You might think about shifting pictures around to keep the room fresh.

2. Hang artwork over a piece of furniture to anchor it. About 3-6 inches above a table top and 8 inches above a sofa or chair looks best.

3. Most people hang their artwork too low--if yours is scooting near the ceiling, hang about 6 inches lower than it currently hangs. You'll be amazed at the difference!