Posts belonging to Category Organization



A SUMMER QUIZ

“Your home is your personal canvas – a place for celebrating Beauty”.

 

Here’s a little quiz I’ve put together, to re-vitalize your home decorating skills during these hot, lazy summer days.

Please note, this is intended to be fun!

Even better – your answers will not be graded.

 

Question #1:

Summer is the worst time of year to even consider an interior design project.
T or F

False. If you are thinking of re-decorating, or having a picture perfect new dining room by the holidays, NOW is the time to kick things into high gear!

Especially if your plans involve anything custom, or lining up vendors and/or contractors – you need to plan several months ahead.

Why?

Most workrooms and manufacturers have a cutoff date for the holidays. If you wait too long, your dream project simply won’t happen in time.


Question #2:

The best, and most obvious, reason to hire an interior design is because you can afford to do so. T or F

False. The best reason to hire an interior designer is when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, and short on time & ideas.

Not to mention having access to a much broader scope of resources, for whatever your heart desires.

By the way, if you love interior design and are always re-arranging things in your home, check out this link – especially if you frequently worry “Am I doing this right?


Question #3:

Working with an Interior Designer can sometimes lead to bargains. T or F

True. Some designers will pass along showroom discounts; other times, you might be lucky enough to score exactly the item you are looking for – on Sale – at an exclusive designer showroom.

(more…)

3 EASY WAYS TO WELCOME SPRING

Earlier this week, many of us observed the arrival of the Spring Equinox.

Yes, Spring is here!

And while the temperatures in my area are still hovering in the low to mid 40’s, other parts of the country have experienced a heat wave.

If that’s the case where you live, you’ve probably tossed aside your winter clothing for something lightweight and cool.

We do this routinely, the re-organizing of our closets according to the seasons.

And yet, how often do we think about our homes?

Do you celebrate the beginning of Spring, trading out wintry-themed throw pillows with something fresh and summery?

Or do you rarely give it a moment’s thought?

Aside from holiday decorations at varying times of the year, our homes don’t necessarily reflect the seasons the way our wardrobes do.

And yet, our local stores our flaunting luscious Spring colors and bursting with new ideas, many of them easy to implement.

So why not take a cue from your favorite retailer and spruce things up a bit in your home?

 

Keep Things Fresh

Our homes can always benefit from a fresh look here and there.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t need to be expensive!

If you’ve been thinking for months about a new couch, then maybe it’s time to finally go shopping.

However, there are many fun, less costly things you can do to give your home a whole new look, just in time for Spring.

You can:

  • Re-arrange the furniture
  • Paint a wall or two, in a bright cheery color
  • Add colorful throw pillows
  • Slipcover the sofa
  • Decorate with flowers

None of these suggestions is overly elaborate or difficult to pull off.

As always, you want to keep in mind your personal color preferences – as opposed to trends, springtime or not.

 

Lighten Up

As you ‘lighten up’ during these warmer months, why not literally shed some weight with a little spring cleaning?

(more…)

BOOST YOUR HOME’S ENERGY IN 2012!

No, I’m not talking about your home’s electrical output.

I’m talking about your home’s energy, in terms of the positive or negative energy contained therein.

You’ve probably heard that people emit either positive or negative energy – well your home exudes a certain energy, as well.
It may be closely related to your own mood.

In other words, if you’ve been neglecting yourself lately and are feeling tired and overwhelmed, this may have rubbed off on your surroundings. Chances are your home is feeling the same way.

Take a look around you.

Is your furniture looking a bit worn and tired? Are the walls faded and in need of a fresh coats of paint? Do the carpets need replacing?

What about clutter? Do you live in a clean, organized space full of positive energy? Or is your living environment screaming for help, mired in negative output?

Maybe your home needs to lose the ‘extra weight’.

Many of us have the inevitable spare room, where we discard un-used, and un-needed items.

What is the energy emitted from that room? Does it weigh you down or lift you up?

Which would you prefer?

(more…)

5 MORE REASONS TO THINK SMALL

I recently came across this headline while browsing through a magazine: 

‘THINK BIG’

My first thought was – “Oh no” – they’ve taken a similar message & have turned it around to say the exact opposite.

But then I read the smaller print, which said:

‘THESE STYLISH, ROOM-EXPANDING STRATEGIES WILL HAVE YOU LIVING LARGE IN SMALL SPACES’

Yes!

I didn’t need to read any further.

You see, I’ve already come up with my own reasons why ‘Thinking Small’ can help you to ‘Live Large’.

Here they are:

 

1 – Smaller homes are more affordable and require less of everything.

Less maintenance. Less expense.

Need to paint the house top to bottom, or replace the carpet?  What about replacing the windows, in lieu of more energy efficient options?

Less square footage also means lower utility bills. You will even need less furniture!

And because you will need LESS of everything, you can spend MORE on higher quality, and still come out ahead.

Meaning you won’t have to break the budget to achieve an amazing result!

 

2 – Smaller homes are ideal for Custom design.

Yes, it may cost more, but remember you will ultimately need less of everything, so why not?

This is an opportunity for you to get super organized, so use it to your advantage.

Are you looking for an efficient, minimalist kitchen? Do you need better storage options overall?

By reducing the scale of your dream kitchen, you can reduce the total costs, and instead think bigger in terms of the overall design. You can re-purpose those funds into higher end cabinetry, quality appliances, and clever storage options.

A skilled craftsman can create customized storage that perfectly fits your needs, plus the size and the layout of your home. This includes kitchen cabinetry, and anything else you can think of.

Furnishings can also be customized.

The ideal sofa will not only be perfectly scaled to the size of the room, but it will also be scaled to fit you.  For the ultimate in comfort, luxury and organization, this is the way to go.

In a smaller home, the occasional splurge becomes more affordable. When properly orchestrated, small homes can live large!

 

3 – Smaller homes let you be more Creative.

The idea here, is to look outside the box.

(more…)

IS LESS REALLY MORE?

“Less is More”  Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe

A few years ago, a friend sent me this picture.  

The house, located in downtown Toronto, Canada, was about the size of a postage stamp. It was, at the time, for sale.

This immediately captured my attention. I was intrigued, wondering what it could possibly be like to live in such a tiny space. I found the challenge of maximizing the living space in a house this size, and creating a warm and inviting interior, to be exciting!

Now, I realize that a miniature dwelling of this scale just doesn’t cut it for most of us, including myself.

If nothing else, it certainly puts things in perspective, especially if you’ve ever felt you don’t have enough room and need a bigger house.

You’re not alone.

The thing is, you can move to a larger home, but if won’t be long before you’ve once again run out of room.

Because the problem isn’t lack of room, it’s that you have too much stuff.

The bigger the house, the more things you can accumulate, and the more you accumulate, well, sooner or later there might not be room to store it all.

So the problem, or challenge, is simply to get by with less in the first place.

(more…)

HOW MUCH DOES YOUR HOME WEIGH?

I finally had a chance to get caught up with my movie viewing this past weekend, something I don’t do too often.

I happened to watch “Up In The Air”, the one with George Clooney. I particular liked the Clooney character’s motivational speeches.

I found them quite, well – motivational.

Just to refresh your memory, he first posed the question:  “How much does your Life weigh?”

He then proceeded to challenge his audience to picture every single item that takes up room in the lives, and pack it into a hypothetical suitcase.

The next step was to try and move that suitcase, which of course was so laden down with accumulated stuff that it wouldn’t even budge.

The question that popped into my mind at this point was:

“How much does your Home weigh?”

(more…)

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

A friend of mine recently suffered a severe allergic reaction and went into anaphylactic shock, requiring prompt medical attention.

Turns out she is seriously allergic to cats.

The most surprising fact was this:  she’s been living with a cat in her home for many years, despite her allergy.

In fact, her in-laws were the ones who knowingly gave her the cat.

Talk about self-sabotage. Usually it’s on a smaller scale, like going on a diet and stashing a bag of chips in the cupboard just to test your willpower.

Procrastination is another form of sabotage. In fact, just this morning I sat down at my computer with the intent of finishing this post, and became involved in something else, instead.

Has this ever happened to you?

Perhaps you’ve even sabotaged your design efforts.

If this sounds familiar, and you’ve gotten stuck, here are 6 sure-fire tips for keeping your project moving forward:

Avoid Procrastination

This is easier said, than done, I know.

It can be so easy to procrastinate, and we all do it. Yet allowing yourself to become focused on other things, instead of the project at hand, doesn’t serve you or anyone else.

When you find yourself procrastinating, stop and ask why? Is there something about the project that just isn’t sitting right with you, and you don’t know how to handle it?

Ignoring the issues doesn’t resolve a thing. If you need a second opinion, or are simply in a rut, it’s OK to ask for help.

Do not let yourself get overwhelmed.

Be Decisive

Being indecisive can bring your project to a standstill.

Once again, understanding the why behind your actions may help you  to move forward. Are you unable to focus because you are tired, or hungry? Are you afraid of making a mistake?

When faced with an important decision, pay close attention to your gut reaction.

In other words, if your answer isn’t an emphatic “Yes” (as in ‘Hell, Yes’) then accept that it’s a “no.”

Then move on.

Avoid Changing Your Mind

Changing your mind is the flip side of being indecisive.

Whereas the latter can stall your project, a change of mind can throw everyone for a loop and cause your budget to sky-rocket, just when you were trying to hold it in check.

This is probably not what you intended. It’s best to be really clear about where you’re going, before you even begin.

Get Clear

This may seem simplistic, but if you are not really clear about the scope of your project, it will likely progress in fits and starts, or be side-railed when you come up with a new idea.

To borrow another phrase, ‘You need to know where you are going before you can get there’.

This means getting rid of things, or ideas, that don’t align with your goals.

Establish a Time Line

Having a time-line will not only help to keep your project on track, it will also keep your Budget in check.

Think about it this way:  if you give yourself an unlimited amount of time to complete your project, there will be little incentive to make prompt decisions. There may also be little incentive to get clear, because – hey – you can always change your mind, if you feel like it.

That’s exactly what you DON’T want.

Even if you’re not up against a deadline, go ahead and set a completion date. Giving yourself a Goal is another way of holding yourself accountable.

Hire Outside Help

If you are really fearful of making a mistake, or just plain stuck, then by all means consider hiring outside help.

Keep in mind that a professional designer, or organizer, or anyone who is expert at their craft, will save you time, money and the headache of having to deal with everything yourself.

Plus, these experts will hold you accountable, especially when project delays start to affect the bottom line.

Bottom line:  If you are sabotaging your efforts on a regular basis, then it may be time to step back and re-assess. Your project will not move forward until you do.

HOW TO NARROW DOWN YOUR CHOICES, PART II

As I see it, the art of making decisions, as referred to in this article, is really about the Art of Removing Clutter and knowing When to Let Go.     

This week, we continue with the theme of Spring cleaning and getting clear, while wading through years of accumulated stuff.

Whether you are dealing with day to day decorating decisions, household clutter, or the mammoth task of downsizing your home, the options listed below will give you a place to start.

Narrow Down Your Choices

This is critical, especially if you are prone to Waffler tendencies. Like Aladdin, if you can narrow down your choices to just two or three, your task will be a lot easier.

While you sort through your possessions, limit yourself to just three piles, or categories:  Keep, Discard and Maybe.

Use large bins, if that will help.

Then be relentless as you work your way through the excess clutter that has overtaken your home.

When you are done, go back through the ‘Maybe’ pile and keep only what you absolutely can’t live without.

Be Realistic

How do you know what you can and can’t live without? Sometimes it can be really hard to decide.

Try asking yourself these questions: Does this item really serve a useful purpose? Does it give me pleasure? How often do I use it? Do I own more than one?

If your answer to the last question is Yes, then you need to ask yourself how many of XYZ do you really need?

Be honest with yourself!

If you are downsizing to a two-bedroom condo, with a small dining area, do you really have room for that 10 foot dining table, complete with extra leaves, that you inherited from Great Aunt Susie?

Probably not.

Give Yourself the Gift of Time

Unless you are in a hurry, why not sit back and take your time sorting through all those years of accumulated stuff?

For example, if you are making plans to move but construction has only just begun on your new residence, then time is certainly on your side.

The act of dealing with unwanted clutter can take many months to wade through, so the sooner you can start, the better.

The important thing is to start now.

The second most important thing is to not stop until you are done.

Take Advantage of Recycling and Local Charities

Many neighborhoods have regular recycling days two or three times a year. These events present the perfect opportunity to unload a lot of stuff.

Rest assured that as long as the items you are parting with are in good condition, someone else could always benefit from your donation.

Plus, it feels so rewarding when you’re done!

Another excellent resource would be charitable organizations that help families get back on their feet after dealing with personal crisis, financial or otherwise.

With charities, used furniture is always in demand, especially if it is in good condition. Check your local government listings to see what is available where you live.

Hire Outside Help

If you are really fearful of making a mistake, then by all means hire  outside help.

The professional interior designer, or professional organizer will save you time, money and the headache of having to deal with everything yourself.

Trust me, this is one of those times when the expense is absolutely worth it. You will keep your sanity, and sail through what could otherwise be a major crisis.

HOW TO NARROW DOWN YOUR CHOICES, PART 1

I’m sure you know the story of Aladdin and his famous Lamp.

All Aladdin had to do, was rub the lamp and a genie would appear to grant him three wishes.

As we all know, he was not granted an infinite number of wishes – only three.

If you stop to think about it, if you had an unlimited number of wishes it would be really hard to decide on anything.

It could even backfire, if you happened to wish for something unpleasant in a moment of anger.

With just three wishes, you will likely stop and think about the consequences, whatever they may be.

Making decisions works the same way.

Being faced with too many choices can be overwhelming.

Do you sometimes have trouble making decisions?

Perhaps it would help to narrow down the choices? Let’s take a moment to re-evaluate your situation.

Begin by choosing from one of the following categories to see which personality best fits your profile. (To make things easier I’m limiting you to just three choices).

Go ahead, which one are you?

The Empty Nester

If you are downsizing to a smaller home, you are likely dealing with a lifetime of memories.

The amount of accumulated stuff can be vast. Trying to decide which possessions to keep and which ones to get rid of can sap your energy in no time.

A similar scenario awaits you if you are dealing with the estate of a deceased family member. You are likely overcome by grief while at the same time being faced with a multitude of decisions related to the deceased’s estate.

Where do you even begin?

 

The Pack Rat

Then again, maybe you’re just a pack rat.

In your fifth decade of life you find that you are still holding on to many childhood treasures, including your English notebook from third grade and award-winning projects from grade school to college.

Clearly, your pack rat tendencies need to stop, but trying to unload years of accumulated clutter can be a challenge.

The Waffler (You Simply Can’t Decide. Period)

You want to paint your living room, but can’t decide on a color. There are just too many choices.

You need a new dining set, but can’t decide on the correct style for the breakfast nook. You’re terrified of making a mistake.

In this instance, being faced with too many choices seems to launch you into overwhelm.

Overwhelm can be paralyzing.

Whether you are dealing with household clutter, day to day decorating decisions or the mammoth task of downsizing your home, these decisions are clearly challenging.

My advice is to start small. Take it one step at a time.

Next week, I’ll offer some specific guidelines to nudge you along.

RULES TO LIVE BY

“Your home should rise up to meet you”. Peter Walsh      


I recently heard about something called the 2% Rule.

Generally speaking, this refers to a percentage of wasted time in a given day, or week, that could be re-purposed into doing those things you “just don’t have time for”.

Like re-organizing the home office you’ve been meaning to get to for months on end, or just finding some extra time for yourself to unwind, read a favorite book  or go for a walk.

In my household, my husband has a 5% Rule, which goes something like this: if you’re munching on a cookie and a piece of it falls on the floor it is still edible if picked up within 5 seconds. This may or may not work for you. Personally, I prefer to know that the floor is really clean.

Then there’s the 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto principle. This rule basically says that in any given situation only a few, or 20%, are doing 80% of the work.

In reality, there are any number of situations this can be applied to. In some circles, it is suggested that you discipline yourself to stop eating when you are 80% full.

I like to stretch this rule a bit further and apply it to interior design, and lifestyles in general. To test this out for yourself, try taking a look at your closet. Can you see that you wear only 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time?

Or try analyzing an entire day in your life. You may see that in the grand scheme of things only 20% of your achievements really matter. Better still, do you live fully in 80% of your home, or do you spend most of your time in just 20% of it? I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Which means it can really make sense to re-design your home and make it work for you 80% of the time. Maybe this is easier said than done but with the right planning I believe it’s achievable.

To help you out, I’ve listed some of my favorite suggestions for making your home really work for you:

First, it’s important that you Nurture yourself by creating warm and inviting spaces for your favorite hobbies and pastimes. As an example, let’s look at the kitchen. If cooking is your passion, you’ll want to pare down to the bare essentials and make your kitchen really work for you with proper storage, appliances and utensils.

Incorporate colors and furnishings that are soothing to the spirit.

Pay particular attention to how your home functions, and how it accommodates your lifestyle. Be like a Scientist and observe every way that it comes up short. Record your findings for future reference.

Next, Reduce Clutter. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:  crowded rooms are confining & less welcoming. By reducing clutter you can actually increase the amount of livable space in your home, which means you will use more of it.

Not sure where to start?

Consider hiring an organizational expert, or pick up a self-help book that can guide you through the process.

Choose Your Furnishings Carefully. In all areas of your home, and life , if you pare down to the basics you will likely get plenty of use out of everything.

Consider furnishings that serve more than one purpose thereby doing double-duty. For optimal organization, be sure to include plenty of extra storage, and definitely consider customized options if your budget allows.

Ultimately, it comes down to this  –  if it doesn’t honor who you are, think twice before bringing it home.

To subscribe to my eZine, and receive a FREE copy of my ebook Living Green:  12 Simple Steps for Creating an Eco-Friendly Home, please visit my website at harmonydesignsudio.com .