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!
So you bought a fancy looking pair of sunglasses. Whether you shelled a pretty penny at a designer store or bargained down to an actual penny at a street fair, you may have ended up with an equally fancy carrying case that’s more bulky than its worth. Nowadays, sunglasses are bigger and more audacious than in decades past, so naturally their cases have been designed to match. I can probably guarantee you that if the sunglasses case is hard covered, it probably takes up more than its fair share of real estate in your bag or briefcase.
Fortunately, I’ve got a fun solution to take back your tote and free up some space while still keeping those gorgeous sun-shielders protected. Meet the Flipcase™, an incredibly simple, smart design from Alison Wong at Integral Design based in San Francisco, California. The Flipcase™ goes from sturdy protective case to flattened space saver in seconds. It slides smoothly back in your bag or even in your back pocket. Manufactured using the same quality materials that protect your tablets and other digital devices, this little space-saver is beyond reliable. Flipcase™ is designed to fit 99% of sunglasses on the market, and the microfiber interior makes sure the lenses stay scratch free. It’s simple, fashionable and brilliant…and the kind of stocking stuffer that will barely take up any space!
If the man in your life has a habit of emptying his pockets all over your house – THIS is the gift for him. Mark & Graham come to the Neat List with their offering—not just a catchall, but a personalized swanky leather catchall. These laser-engraved, monogrammed home bases come in three different sizes, depending on what will ultimately find a home there. Leather walls on all sides ensure valuables stay protected and in the same spot.
DISCLAIMER: While this useful entryway or bedroom dresser ornament can be a good home for pocket necessities, it does come with two simple rules of play in order to make sure it doesn’t become a clutter magnet itself. Rule #1: If he wouldn’t carry it in his suit or pants pockets, it shouldn’t live in the catchall. Rule #2: If you decide to buy it, make sure you check in on it periodically to remove items that may have found their way there that don’t belong. (See Rule #1)
This past February I had the special honor of being enlisted by the Katie Show to help the host herself face the clutter demons plaguing her home office. The project was a quick fire challenge—allowing only 7 hours to complete a full transformation-, but this is the kind of challenge I happily accept. It was a super tight turnaround, but with a lot of preparation and a fabulous, hardworking team I was able to pull it off and completely de-clutter Katie’s home office. A lot of great solutions came out of our work together, many of which can be seen on the Katie Show website, as well as some additional tips that I posted here.
The entire experience with Katie and her team was absolutely wonderful, so there was not a doubt in my mind when the show called me in August to ask if I wanted to help with another segment. The focus this time? Katie’s master bathroom. While I knew it was going to be another tight turn around, I was relieved to know that we were focusing on a smaller room. However, as you can see from the show, the size of that small room had no bearing on what was packed in there. We pulled out bag after bag of products, samples and bathroom accoutrement, spent a lot of time sorting, editing and figuring out how to make it all work for her again, only this time, better!
It has been nearly two months since we started on the journey to de-clutter Katie’s master bathroom, and today I am super excited for everyone to see the newly neatened space. I hope that America loves these tips as much as they did last time and can even put some of them into immediate action in their own homes. Since not everything could make it into the show, below are some additional tips and ideas that I thought I’d share from the transformation. Also, be sure to check out my Springpad notebook to see all of the items we used in her master bathroom as well as in her home office!
Pull-out drawers – Low-level, deep cabinets can often result in wasted money as you forget what was purchased, and either never use the item or go out and buy it again. Stop losing money and things to the depths of your under-sink cabinets and maximize the space by adding a pull-out drawer so everything stays visible and easily accessible.
Vertical Space – This is not just a tip for the bedroom or office, don’t overlook the vertical space in your shower. With products such as the Command™ Shower Caddy you can add more storage space while freeing up some square footage in the corners, shelves or seat of your shower. The entire line of Command bath products has water-resistant adhesive strips that are super strong, and damage-free. Unlike suction cups, these products hold strongly and remove cleanly so you can reposition them at any time.
Back of cabinet doors – This is an often overlooked but PRIME area of real estate in many rooms, and the bathroom is certainly no exception. Using the back of cabinet doors is a great way to store some of your most highly used items while opening up some square footage in cabinets and on shelves. We used this trick several times in Katie’s bathroom by using StickOnPods® on the medicine cabinet doors for her makeup, as well as Command clear caddies on the vanity cabinet doors for hair brushes, makeup remover, etc.. This is also a great place for storing your hair dryer or curling iron by using a Command hook
Adding a POC – As I mentioned last time, 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 is a special touch that I love to incorporate when I can, which is why I lined the back of katie’s medicine cabinet with a decorative paper. I wanted to give her a bit of subtle flair that would help her want to keep the space neat and tidy. Since regular paper can be hard to work with in the bathroom, I suggest using wallpaper, or some other type of coated paper that will hold up well to the humidity and dampness. Chicshelfpaper.com is a great place to find lots options with various finishes to withstand the bathroom environment.
Below, in one of my Springpad notebooks, are a bunch of the other items that we used for Katie’s Bathroom. Follow the link below to Springpad to click on any item to find out more info or to purchase!
If you’re constantly losing your keys and wallet in your house, or forgetting them on your way out the door, the Butler Home Organizer may be the solution for you. Designed by Curtis Micklish, this stylish wall organizer keeps all your daily use items in one place so they are always at the ready. Launched as a Kickstarter campaign, Curtis surpassed his initial funding goal by more than $10,000 at the end of September! (Congrats Curtis!) With the overwhelming response, these items are sure to sell out quickly, but you can pre-order yours here.
Are you frequently losing your keys, or looking to lighten the load in your pocket or purse? If you answered yes, then Lockitron may be perfect for you. The new, keyless entry system that fits over your current deadbolt lock, Lockitron allows you to lock or unlock your door without a key and from anywhere in the world. Lockitron is compatible with every phone on the market so whether you have a Windows phone, an iPhone, an Android, or no smartphone at all, Lockitron will work for you. With over 14,000 Lockitrons currently pre-ordered, this simple, new way to enter your home is expected to hit the market in the Fall of this year.
I have to say the thought of coming home with my arms full of groceries, mail, dry cleaning and being able to open the door without a key would be an incredible convenience and luxury!
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you have to feel like you are living in a dorm room, even if you really are. Stop resting things on the floor next to your bed and check out the Urban Shelf – a versatile go anywhere bed side table. It’s the perfect spot for your phone, remote control, book, drink, jewelry, bedside accoutrement or even a picture of your long distance love. The best part is it folds up when you don’t need it, and among other things it can even function as an iPad stand!
If you’re an active, outdoor person, here is a great way to keep your key safe and out of the way while you are biking, rollerblading or running. Made of silicone rubber, gokey safely holds your key and allows you to wear it on your wrist as a bracelet while you are working out. Available in three different sizes, gokey is comfortable to wear and gives you an extra piece of mind so you don’t have to worry about loosing your key during your morning jog.
No matter how hard I try to prevent scuffs from appearing on my walls, they always seem to pop up… maybe it was the dog, maybe it was my partner, maybe the chair hit the wall when I put on my shoes, or maybe it was the grotesque stain left behind after my cat like reflexes helped me finally catch that house fly. Whatever the reason may be, scuffs, marks and dings are not welcome on the walls or in my home!
Although I keep a small container of paint semi-handy, I always wish there was an easier and quicker way to touch up spots on my colored walls, and handle the areas that my trusty friend Mr. Clean just can’t seem to help with. Well, my wish was granted recently when I stumbled upon the Slobproof paint pen! This problem solving product took an item many women commonly use and gave it an ingenious new use – very simply, it is paint in a lip gloss pen. Ladies, just like with your lipgloss, the paint chamber stays airtight ensuring that the paint won’t dry out and that the pen will be ready to use for years to come. Store it in your toolbox, your office, or in your (organized) junk drawer. Touch ups have never been easier.
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.