Exciting news! I’ve partnered with Springpad to create a free digital Holiday Party Planner. I’ve included some tips and checklists to get you started, and there’s plenty of room for you to save ideas and create your plan for gifts, gatherings, and whatever else is on your plate this season. It’s easy, intuitive and (dare I say?) fun to use. The best part is, you can conveniently access it from your computer, tablet, or phone. Learn more here and get the notebook here.
Thanksgiving is only nine days away. Let’s just repeat that for effect: Thanksgiving is only nine days away. And if you’re like any other living, breathing, working, person out there, there is still so much to do to make sure you are ready for the big day. Never fear! Breathe, relax, get those shoulders down from your ears, because I’ve outlined 3 simple to-do’s to make sure your kitchen is ready for one incredible feast!
Plan + Confirm – Take a moment to review your menu (or put it together if you haven’t yet). Make sure you have enough food for the number of guests expected and don’t forget to take into consideration any food allergies your guests may have. Be sure you are working with recipes that allow for some advanced preparation. The last thing you want is to spend the holiday festivities stuck in the kitchen, or stressed out about not having enough time to get everything done. While offering great food is of the utmost importance, you want to be sure that you get to enjoy time with your guests and share in the fun. And, if you don’t know your way around the kitchen very well, keep it simple. It will make the entire process much less stressful, and I promise your guests will be just as delighted with what you serve.
Take inventory + Stock Up – Once you’ve confirmed your menu and determined all your needed ingredients, take inventory of your pantry to make sure you don’t run out of any staples. Make a trip to the supermarket to stock up on all these non-perishable essentials ahead of time to avoid elbowing your way through the crazy crowds next week.
Tools – Don’t forget to check your cooking tools and serving essentials – this is an often overlooked area when prepping for the holiday. Do you need a new meat thermometer? Maybe a turkey baster or twine. Does your carving knife need to be sharpened? Take a moment to make sure everything is in working order and that you have everything you need for Turkey Time. The last thing you want is to go cook your Turkey and discover your roasting pan is missing in action.
Taking a little time to plan in advance will help you feel in control of your party, rather than at the mercy of gravy boats and green bean casserole. Above all, remember that the whole purpose of the day is to come together with family and friends to enjoy a beautiful meal. Stress does not get a seat at the table!
Yes, the holiday season is here, and with this wonderful time of year comes mailboxes filled with junk catalogues and mailers – almost every day until January. At first, it’s kind of thrilling to see your mailbox overflowing with shiny catalogs from every shop you ever ducked into to make an impulse buy. However, that feeling quickly diminishes when your pile of present pushers starts to take over your home. It’s almost impossible to stay on top of all these mailers—even for an organizational fanatic. And even worse, including all the horrible things it means for the environment, it inevitably leads to loads of CLUTTER. Mail is one of the major clutter culprits for many people, and having loads of catalogs and other unwanted junk mail come into your home so relentlessly only creates more anxiety. It becomes another chore to deal with. Here’s how I’ve been able to manage the holiday onslaught from the USPS: CatalogChoice.org. It’s an easy to use website that allows you to unsubscribe yourself from a company’s mailings. They take care of all the dirty work. All you need to do is type in the company name and the information they request. CatalogChoice will take care of the rest and even confirm once the request is complete!
Below you can see the stats of how CatalogChoice has been helping the environment. It even shows what my contribution is – so far I’ve saved 2 trees and 228 pounds of solid waste! As a bonus benefit, I love that my info isn’t floating around on nearly so many pieces of mail, creating an opportunity for identity theft.
Even in the shoebox apartment capital of the world, New York, you can find hidden space opportunities. In this particular case, the client had a great storage closet. However, it wasn’t tricked out to properly handle their storage needs.
With some assistance from my handy dandy friend elfa, some clear storage boxes, and some hooks, I was able to create a storage solution that opened that space right up. The elfa system allowed me to customize the storage palette based on my client’s needs, the clear bins allowed me to group like items together for easier identification and access, and the hooks allowed me to get items like the lacrosse sticks off the floor. As for the filing drawers… we found another solution for their filing, and relocated it to a smaller cabinet. Take a look at my supply list in my Springpad notebook below.
My favorite part of this transformation, is the elfa door unit that we used on the wall to hold gifting supplies and other misc items. It even conveniently stores the umbrellas! Creating my own solutions with the versatile elfa pieces is one of the reasons I keep going back to these ingenious products.
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.
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!
Struggling to arrive at your destination on time? Then you need to BOUNCE! Designed to make sure that you leave at the correct time, Bounce is an app that allocates time for traffic, as well as a buffer for other distractions or possible delays along the way so that you can always arrive on time. Originally launched for Android phones, Bounce is currently raising funding for the release of its iPhone app later this year. While I haven’t yet tested the legitimacy and the science of the app, I can already think of several people who this app is perfect for! Do you know anyone who needs to Bounce?
Orla Reynolds, a recent graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology, has designed this invaluable solution for those of us who live in small spaces. The ‘As if from nowhere’ bookcase functions as any typical bookcase, but it also ingeniously stores four chairs and a table allowing you to easily transform your space to host a small dinner party, or create a functional work area. I personally love the pop of color that this original design has.
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!