It’s been a while since we did a little decluttering together, so I figured it’s time for a little #TossItTuesday fun! This week, I’m pulling my hoard of paint out of the closet to talk about how to store and dispose of paint… properly and safely.
If you’re like most people I know or work with, paint ends up sitting around because we A) may need it for touch-ups and future projects or B) because we don’t know how to dispose of it so we choose to ignore it. Well, today I have some simple answers for you so you’ll know exactly what to do to get that paint clutter out of your home. I promise it’s actually easier than you think.
Watch the video above to learn how to properly store paint, one of my favorite tips to neaten up your paint stash, as well as how to safely dispose of both latex & oil-based paints. I hope that you find this #TossItTuesday video to inspiring and educational. If you do, please click the ‘thumbs up’ button after watching, share it with someone who you think would also enjoy it & subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss a future video.
As I read the article it all made sense and I knew where the author, Lauren Piro, was coming from. The areas she confronted are a constant struggle for many of us so I completely understand sending up the white flag. And, to Lauren’s credit, leaving these areas disorganized is not going to prevent you from reaching your ultimate goals in life. However, as the person who comes in when these areas become overrun with clutter and cause daily frustration, I can attest to the fact that some level of organization is necessary. After all, organization is about making your life easier by living lighter and more efficiently.
All of this got me thinking… maybe we need to address some of these areas in a more simplistic way and just get real about the level of organization needed to make life easier and not add more work to the to-do list.
So, here’s what I have for those who would still like to have a little order to their chaos…
Junk Drawer – It doesn’t have to be perfect, but a junk drawer still needs to be manageable so you can find a 9volt battery when you need it. A junk drawer can easily and quickly be organized by dividing it into sections with drawer dividers and keeping similar items together (e.g. batteries, pens/pencils, office supplies, tools, etc.)
Photos – I completely agree with Lauren that many of us don’t have time to scrapbook (I know I personally don’t); however, printed photos in a box will never get looked at and they will only take up space. Don’t even bother printing them. Drop them into an online photo album that can easily be shared or printed into a beautiful book with the few clicks of a mouse. The book will take up less space, look great as a decorative accessory and be easier to flip through.
Laundry Room – While we don’t entertain in the laundry room, we do want to make it a pleasant place to be. After all, many of us don’t enjoy the task of laundry so it’s important to keep the space looking good so that we can keep ourselves motivated and so that there is enough space to work in the room. Using decorative bins for loose items is a simple way to remove the visual clutter from open shelves. Tidying up the space on a regular basis will keep the piles of clothes at bay, the dust to a minimum (in what can be a very dusty room) and keep you on top of your detergent and pre-treater levels so you always have back-up supplies.
Kids Play Area – Organizational skills can be taught at a very young age. While it is not the end of the world if My Little Pony gets put with the animal figurines, the play space will always become a disaster if the munchkins are tearing about the whole area looking for something that isn’t in its proper home. Keeping items in their home will make life easier and will teach kids the benefits of organization at a young age. Keep them involved in clean-up time so they become responsible for being able to find things. Staying on top of this type of work on a regular basis (even once a week) prevents things from getting out of control later and creating one of the most overwhelming and time consuming sorting and organizing projects you will ever encounter. (Check out my Springpad Notebook “Organize the Play Space” for tips on making over your child’s play space.)
Nail Polish – Sorting through 10 or 15 colors every time you paint your nails can be annoying to say the least. I’ve witnessed many of my friends’ and clients’ chaotic drawers/bins and the process they go through to find the color they want. Keep the colors neat and tidy by taking a Q-tip and dabbing the color on top of the lid. This way you won’t have to pull out every single nail polish to find what you want and you’ll easily be able to keep the colors in order.
Serving & Cooking Utensils – Purging is always helpful, but even after a purge you may still be rifling through things to find what you want. Using drawer dividers, split the drawer into sections to easily organize the items you use on a regular basis (if you have more than one drawer, use one for baking utensils and one for cooking utensils). Then, put the once or twice a year items in a canister that gets stored in the pantry. After all, you don’t want to be without that turkey baster come Thanksgiving.
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!
In all the neat gift recommendations over the last couple of weeks, I have yet to bring you something just for the little ones. Well, today is the day! On the eleventh day of neatness, I give you the treat for the most spirited recipients of all. Actually, it’s even a little bit of a two-fer since it’s a gift from LEGO® and a great storage solution from The Container Store.
The famous interlocking LEGO bricks have been around since 1949 and have been entertaining young, creative minds for decades—mine included. The most advanced set we had growing up in the ‘80s was LEGO® Airport, which must be why I feel qualified to scrutinize the layout of JFK terminals…but I digress.
The LEGO Group has consistently pushed the envelope of creativity by developing themed sets throughout the years, even launching several fantasy and sci-fi partnerships with Star Wars™ and the Lord of the Rings™ franchises, among several others. My absolute favorite, however, is the LEGO® Architecture theme they have on the market. They have taken the building and construction of LEGOs to an entirely new level. Now, kids can build everything from their very own Sydney Opera House™ to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater® estate. Kids can even build their very own miniature LEGO New York City, with cityscape themes of the Guggenheim Museum® , the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center® and even the United Nations Headquarters!
And for the extra special creative kid, this summer they released the brand-new, all white LEGO® Architecture Studio that ignites creativity and lets kids decide just what kind of buildings are possible. It’s an incredibly fun, challenging and always classically good time playing with LEGOs.
Now, to keep your living room floor from becoming littered with a thousand pieces of plastic imagination fuel, The Container Store has a fantastic solution ready to go! The fun LEGO® Head and LEGO® Brick storage bins are a great way to keep all those themed sets of LEGO bricks together in one place, plus they look really cool on a toy shelf!
School is back in session and soon your home will be filled with tons of your child’s beautiful artwork. Start saving special items and keeping them organized this year with Artkive! You’ll never have to feel bad about throwing away one of their precious works of art ever again. Plus, you can make calendars, books and even share the artwork with friends and family with just a couple swipes of your finger!
Check out the new Opencase wall storage system by Henrybuilt – it is gorgeous! This brings versatile, exposed storage to a whole new level. I love its warm, organic look & vast flexibility. While open storage can be difficult to keep looking neat, a system like this certainly helps make it a bit easier. How do you feel about open storage?
Playtime clean up has never been easier than with the Lay-N-Go. An activity mat with a built-in drawstring, the Lay-N-Go makes it easy for kids to spread out over a 5 foot area to play with their favorite toys. When they are done playing, all you need to do is pull the drawstring tight to close the storage sack. Once closed, the Lay-N-Go is completely sealed and won’t let any pieces slip out. Sound too good to be true? Watch it in action – here is a short video the Fazackerleys (creators of Lay-N-Go) made to show you how quick and easy playtime clean-up can be!
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.
If you like to cook, or dream of cooking more often, having an organized kitchen is imperative. By keeping your kitchen and pantry organized you will have the proper foods and tools more accessible, which will ultimately lead to a healthier diet and greater ease moving around your space while you’re slicing, dicing and sauteing.
I recently had the opportunity to work with my friend, whole living guru Sara Jane Mercer, to help her organize her pantry. Since Sara spends a large part of her day in the kitchen creating new recipes and discovering ways to help her clients eat more healthfully in an easy and simple way, having the right foods easily accessible is very important to her.
After spending some time sorting, editing and labeling, we were able to create an organizational system that allows Sara to always see what she has on hand; saving her time and money (no more buying unnecessary duplicates). To learn about the great tips and tricks I taught Sara and see the changes we made to improve her pantry, check out our quick and fun video.
Several months ago, one of my clients introduced me to the highly reputable, family run Steele Canvas Basket Company based in Chelsea, MA. Established in 1921, this family run business makes some of the toughest, most superior baskets around… and they are all made in America.
Available in various sizes and styles (carry baskets, wheeled baskets, covered baskets, even tote bags), these customizable solutions are stylish enough to use in your home and sturdy enough to use in your garage. You can even order them in a waterproof, anti-bacterial fabric that is tear-resistant and just as tough as canvas.
Some great examples of what they can be used for are: blankets, toys, stuffed animals, hampers/laundry, tools, sporting equipment, sports balls, firewood, picking fruit/vegetables, pool toys, beach toys, the list goes on and on… what will your use be?