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Saturday, December 29, 2007

My only new year's resolution

To curtail multitasking, actually get something done and enjoy doing it.

Those who study these things are coming out in droves to say that we are getting less productive by constantly trying to do 3 things at once. Certainly we have all found that talking on the phone while doing just about everything else is distracting and sometimes down right dangerous. Besides that, I am finding that nothing I used to do for the sake of it is fun anymore when I add on 2 other things. Like cooking for example, I love to cook, but now with a knife in one hand and the phone in the other and an email to read, I've just lost the joy of cooking.

I certainly see this in the way the service industry has disintegrated - do you ever really feel anyone is paying attention to you anymore? Yes, a dozen sales associates whiz by you all yelling hello from across the room, but is anyone actually serving you? And can you count on anyone to really follow through with anything that needs further attention?

Anyway, I wish you all the very best for the coming new year - good health, success, prosperity and much joy - all at the same time!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Storing holiday decorations

Using these sectioned clear plastic holiday decoration containers means no more broken ornaments or tangled lights. Look for clear hard plastic containers that are stackable. Keep wreaths in boxes or zippered bags so they don't get crushed in storage. I get mine from Target, and The Container Store.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Moving in

Our latest project took us to Tiburon where we had the task of blending two households together. This busy couple didn't have to miss a day of work while we unpacked and organized the new house.

The ATH team did a bang up job of putting together the family room and arranging the built in display/bookcase. I did the furniture arrangements.

I unpacked the kitchen and sorted through the "his and hers" sets of everything to come up with one functional space. The new kitchen provided me with some real opportunities for flexing my organizing muscles - and I'll share those with you in a later post.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our world of mixed messages

These days I think watching the evening news is one of the most dangerous things I do all day. For an hour and half I am bombarded with a constant stream of mixed messages. I wonder if this is just an American thing or is the whole world like this?

As a professional organizer I am called in to peoples homes to help them make sense of the over abundance of "stuff" they have accumulated and I am constantly urging restraint on shopping. But the minute people stop shopping the media (and our government) drag out the dreaded "R" word - RECESSION - and we are suppose to head out the door to go buy more and bolster the economy. But just yesterday they were saying that we don't SAVE enough and that our credit card DEBT is through the roof, BUT retailers are whining and the second that happens the SALE signs go up and out the door we are suppose to go and come home with MORE STUFF.

Meanwhile the ice caps are melting, the planet is overheating and somehow we've got to find a way off this hamster wheel...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bathrooms - private and public spaces

Usually we think of our bathrooms as our own private space. However, if you live in a one bathroom home, as I do, it is also a public space. Therefore, keeping a clean, presentable and functional bathroom is a must. Here's my short list of dos:

- Have clean hand towels for guests. I use paper napkins I keep in a holder labeled "Guest Towels" from Bed Bath and Beyond.
- Have clean soap available. I use liquid soap dispensers from Williams-Sonoma.
- Have plenty of toilet paper where guests can find it. I use a basket from Pottery Barn.
- Have a bathroom spray available (not to be confused with your expensive perfume). I get mine at The Gardener.
- Keep the bathroom clean at all times, all towels neatly folded and all personal items in drawers or cabinets.
- During entertaining season a few fresh flowers in the bath are a wonderful addition.

If your guest bath is also your children's bathroom, have the kids put all their personal items in plastic buckets and keep them inside the shower or bathtub with the curtain drawn.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2007 Best Project Award

At the end of each year we like to look back at all our jobs and chose one as our "award winner". This year we just had to give it to this loft kitchen. Our clients love to cook and have lots of pots, pans, appliances and kitchen gadgets. They just didn't know how to fit them all into the minimal style of a loft.

While these pictures show the "outsides" you'll have to trust us, the "insides" are the best part - everything now has a home, is accessible, containerized and ready for action.

In addition to reorganizing the cabinets and drawers, we noticed that if the dining table was turned around, they'd have a lot more room. Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The donation box

I always set up a "donation" box in my client's homes. Generally located in the garage, it allows everyone in the family to place items in which they no longer use. When the box is full, it gets taken to their favorite charity.

My families with children love this and we have even put a donation box in the children's room to get them in the habit of sending off toys they no longer play with. Be sure and take the kids with you when you drop off the donation box so they can experience the process and see where their toys are going.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Is it real or is it?

For those who like to put up trees during the holidays, it may be time to look into purchasing an artificial tree. The great news is that artificial trees have come a long way in quality and type. Trees even come with the lights already strung. There are dozens of websites and catalogs to check out to find the tree you like best. The one pictured is from Frontgate.

The major benefit to an artificial tree is being able to use it year after year, so investing in a good quality zippered tree cover will help keep your tree protected during the time it's in storage.
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