ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF NEATNESS…
Well, here we are. The 12th Day of Neatness and it’s from one of my most favorite companies around. I’ve been a huge fan of Bluelounge for a long time and am always excited to see what new neat product they’ve put to market. The Sanctuary 4 caught my eye and it easily checks off several boxes on my neat-products-must-have list. Check this puppy out.
The Sanctuary 4 is a home docking station capable of charging several combinations of some of your most used electronic devices all in one go. The dock packs a 4-amp power punch to bring renewed life to 2 iPads, 1 iPad and 2 iPhones or 4 iPhones all at once while simply looking fabulous.
My favorite part: cord clutter is no where to be found! And let me tell you, nothing gets my eyes twitching quite as much as when I see a nest of tangled cords. Whether they’re in your office, your kitchen, your bedroom or your living room – messy cord chaos is usually among the first things I abolish when I start a home organization project. Cord clutter is my archenemy number one and I routinely lean on the folks at Bluelounge for their unbelievably smart, clean and thoughtful approach to eliminating messy cord catastrophes.
The Sanctuary 4 can do just that for your home all with a brilliant, compact and simple docking station that looks as good as it performs. I truly can’t think of a better, more appropriate way to end the 12 Days of Neatness than by encouraging everyone to bid adieu to their own tangled messes and give a quick power punch to those tech devices we love and adore so much.
I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed these 12 Days of Neatness and had as much fun reading them as I have had writing them. I look forward to a bright and exciting 2014 with all new, innovative and, of course, *neat* products and wonderful gift ideas to share with you along the way!
Until then, Happy Holidays and Merry Neatness!
Photo courtesy of Disney-ABC
Several weeks ago I received a call that actually made me jump out of my seat – an opportunity to be a part of Katie Couric’s daytime talk show! When the discussions began, I had no idea that I was going to have the honor to work with Katie herself and makeover her very own home office. Needless to say, as more details came in about the project I got more and more excited. The planning for the project was fast and the turnaround time for the installation and the shoot were even faster yet. Six hours to do a total declutter makeover?! That’s unheard of! However, by combining my team with hers it was a task we were all ready to roll up our sleeves and take on.
The entire project was an incredible experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Katie’s team truly helped to make the experience a memorable one. I am not only grateful for having had this opportunity, but I am deeply indebted to Katie and everyone who was involved.
It has been 20 days since we began this journey and today I am super excited for America to finally see the product of many hours of hard work. I hope that everyone finds our tips to be easy and helpful. Since not everything could make it into the show, below are some additional thoughts and tips that I thought I’d share from the transformation. Enjoy!
- Wires – Messy cords are probably the number one kind of visual clutter that stirs up my anxiety like none other. I see it and feel almost instantly compelled to unplug everything and start fresh with wrapping and bundling. Cords and wires are a notorious culprit of visual clutter for many people and are actually a very easy thing to neaten up. With Katie’s cords, all it took were some zip ties (also known as cable ties), a couple 3M Command Cord Clips, a BlueLounge Cable Box (one of my favorite items, which I wrote about back in 2010) and a little patience. In about 20 minutes we had all the wires rerouted, wrapped up and looking neat.
- Multi-functional furniture – As I mentioned during the makeover segment, multi-functional furniture should almost always be considered for a room. Finding the right 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 piece of furniture that matches your taste in design can feel like you’ve struck gold. Pieces like the Safavieh ottomans we found on Overstock.com are great for adding additional storage, an extra seat or a place to put your feet up. Using two smaller ottomans like we did also allows for more flexibility within the room. If you have children and want to open up the floor for play time or are entertaining a lot of mingling guests, these are easy to move out of the way to create a bit more space.
- Mailboxes – If you are like most of us in America, then you will agree that mail is a huge source of clutter in our homes and offices. Personally, I have made it my mission to remove myself from as many mailing lists as I can by making phone calls to the various credit card and catalog companies and using services like catalogchoice.org. While that process does take time, there are more immediate methods to help manage mail such as the sorting system we created for Katie using the Kvarnvik linen boxes from Ikea to help her separate her personal mail from her work mail. This quick, macro-level sorting allows her to manage her mail more efficiently and avoid feeling too overwhelmed by having it as one large bundle.
- Frames – A large part of Katie’s home office makeover was her photo collection. There were framed photos on the wall and on the shelves, as well as several unframed photos in various drawers and piles around the room. Katie was definitely on the right path with her photo gallery wall by using uniform frames to create a visual story; however, it was upstaged by too many differently framed photos on the dresser in front of it and the two large lamps. Photo gallery walls are tricky because too many frames on a wall and in one place will start feeling cluttered and can make it harder to enjoy the special memories each picture holds. In Katie’s case, our solution was to simply move the photo gallery wall from the space above the dresser where it was harder to see to a space above the sofa where it became more of a focal point in the room. The wall above the sofa provides more breathing room for the photos and are now the first thing her eyes see as she walks in. We kept continuity throughout the visual story by using frames that had a similar color tone, like she had initially done, however we used frames with a darker wood to create a softer contrast with the red wall. By mixing the espresso multi-mat frames from Pottery Barn with some non-matted espresso toned frames from Hobby Lobby we were able to add some variation while maintaining a unified look.
- Desktop – One of the initial things I noticed when walking into Katie’s office was the size of her desk. The antique desk is beautiful, but it is very small and had a limited amount of work-space due to the papers, notes, random items and more photos that were covering the surface. Since we didn’t want to replace the desk, I wanted to open up the surface space and allow her to view her photos and other special items at the same time. To do this, we had a piece of quarter inch glass cut to fit the top of her desk exactly. Then, since I also wanted to lighten up the space and bring some texture and dimension to the desktop, we cut a piece of linen to place between the desk and the glass. We cleared off the top of the desk, laid the down the linen, neatly placed our special photos and notes on top of the linen and gently set the glass on top. This simple update opened up the desk’s work surface, updated the look of the desk, lightened up the area, and was completed for less than $150. Katie loved it!
- A Little Pop – There is something about a little pop of color or special design detail that can sometimes bring a smile to a person’s face. It’s a treat that brightens the day and in some cases, even helps to incentivize organization. If fighting clutter is not something that comes naturally for you, try adding some flair and style to the area to keep it neat and tidy. You’ll visually appreciate the styled space more and have more of that incentive to keep it put together. We used this technique in Katie’s desk drawers by lining them with a fun, bold-printed wrapping paper which we found at Paper Source. Once we cut and laid the paper in the drawer, we then outfitted them with clear drawer dividers that we found at the Container Store. We chose clear dividers so that the bold colors from the paper could shine through. Now, not only are Katie’s supplies organized, the extra pop of color helps to make it worthwhile to stay organized.
When living in a small space, it is important to make every inch count; even those couple inches behind the sofa, bed or media console that are often taken up by cords sticking out of the electrical outlets in the wall. While many of us still try to make use of this space by shoving the furniture as close as possible and bending the power cords, there is a safer and more practical way to get your furniture closer to the wall.
Hug-A-Plug, the 90-degree angle outlet extension, allows you to plug your cords in parallel to the wall so you can safely place your furniture or appliances a couple inches closer. You can even create more connections in each outlet due to Hug-A-Plug’s stackable design.
This tiny, made in the USA problem solver is guaranteed to answer years of frustration for all!
Whether you are on your way to work, or hitting the gym, it is without a doubt that you will grab your headphones and shake them out in hopes that they are not tangled. Even if you are an organized and careful person like myself ;-), chances are you will ultimately still have to deal with the issue of entanglement.
The solution: Zipbuds, the tangle resistant headphones. These light and flexible headphones will save you time and a lot of frustration by staying neatly zipped up to prevent tangling when not in use. Designed to fit snuggly in your ears, Zipbuds provide great sound while making sure you continue look good as you strut (or, maybe dance) around listening to Brit’s latest track.
After a near paralyzing experience last week when my coffee spilled onto my laptop, I couldn’t be happier to discover the DrinKlip. Designed by Kim Hyun-been, a designer at LG Electronics, this amazing little invention not only gives you a place to set your beverage on a cramped work surface, but it also serves as a safety precaution by preventing beverages from toppling over and creating messy spills (which could damage your computer or at the very least ruin some important papers).
While the DrinKlip is not yet widely available, you can order it in the United States through some online retailers that can be located through a simple Google Shopping search.
It’s one of those small annoyances in life. You disconnect your laptop to bring it with you and when you return the power cord is no longer there. It has very quietly slipped away… possibly down the side of your desk, or, worse yet, down that little hole at the back of your desk that now requires you to crawl on the floor and fish the cord back up through the hole so that you can plug your laptop back into its power source. For years I did everything from placing a heavy object on top of the cord once it was removed from my computer, to using two nails or tacks to create a bracket to hold the cord in its place.
Today, I am thankful that I no longer have to worry about this minuscule, non-life threatening issue thanks in part to the CableDrop. Created by the Bluelounge, the CableDrop solves the issue of losing your cords and cables to the pull of gravity. The CableDrop will safely keep your cord or cable where you want it, but will allow you to easily remove the cord in the event that you need to take it with you. As with many of their products, the Bluelounge has created the CableDrop in colors that will blend in with its surroundings, or stand out in a bright and fun way – I love that!
The CableDrop is great for all types of cords and cables from Ethernet and laptop power cords to phone chargers and mp3 auxiliary cords in your car.
As a child, I loved collecting business cards. There were so many neat colors and designs, and it was fun picking them up everywhere I went. Even though I had no purpose for the cards, being that I was seven years old, I took the time to organize them in a scrapbook to keep them orderly and neat.
Funny enough, today I loathe business cards for the mere reason of clutter. While I still love a well-designed card and the purpose the cards serve, I want nothing more than to get the info into my contacts and the card off my desk ASAP.
Recently, I was introduced to the CamCard – an app that will help me accomplish my goal of quickly eliminating business card clutter. All I need to do is photograph the business card with my iPhone (the app is also available for other smartphones) and it scans the information directly into my contacts. It allows me to verify if the info is all correct, make any necessary edits and even saves a picture of the card for future reference. Also, I love being able to scan the card almost immediately after receiving it so that I don’t get back logged on entering people’s info into my contacts.
The CamCard app will not only help you eliminate clutter, but it will also save you time when initially entering people’s contact info and when looking for it in the future.
CamCard (Business Card Reader)
When it comes to offices, I want nothing more than to hide every single cable coming out of a wall or a computer. I can’t be happier with the advancements that have been made in recent years with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology, as the closer we move to a wireless society the more easily I can breathe. 🙂
While I wait for the wires to disappear completely I have found joy in the CableBox created by the folks over at Bluelounge. The CableBox keeps your unruly cables, surge protectors and power strips out of view and safely tucked away in a fire-retardant plastic box. You can either store it under your desk, or keep the cleanly designed box of joy out in the open. No unplugging is required for installation so you can clean-up those cables in less than five minutes.