Three Easy Hacks to Keep Your Car Organized

I have a friend who has been requesting a post on car organization. I just bumped into her and she reminded me that it was way overdue. So, Sarah, this one’s for you!

Cars tend to be a magnet for clutter, especially when kids are involved. Our family of four has decided to only own one car, and between my decluttering missions, family road trips, and weekend plans, it gets a lot of action! Here are the three simple hacks I use to keep our car organized and clutter-free:

Stash Your Trash

Most cars are littered with wrappers and trash simply because there is no designated place to dispose of it. Enter the leakproof hanging car trash bag. This simple solution has been a real game changer for us. Our family takes a lot of road trips and our kids used to toss trash, tissues, etc. on the floor. No more! Now they each have their own trash bag conveniently located right in front of them so they can easily dispose of their own trash and our car can stay clean and clutter-free. Some of these bags also have storage for tissues, water bottles and other common supplies. Brilliant!

Keep your car clean and organized with these simple ideas from Shira Gill Home.

Bins Are Your Friend

What to do with items like motor oil, paper towels, emergency kits, first aid kits and all the other provisions that float around most cars?  I like using a crate or bin to corral all of these items in my trunk so they stay contained and leave plenty of room for groceries, gym bags, work supplies, and suitcases when we travel. I also have had great success placing a small bin between my daughter’s car seats to contain books, games, toys and snacks when we take road trips.

The Everything Out Rule

This is the most important one, so listen up! Even if I’m tired, even if I’m toting a purse, a work bag, a water bottle, and a trunk full of groceries, I take everything out of the car when I get home. I also make sure my kids do the same, even though it requires regular reminding. They are responsible for taking anything they brought into the car out of the car. It’s just that simple. This rule has a compound effect – the little effort it takes to remove things each day, ensures that your car will never be overflowing with random misplaced items.

How do you keep your car clean and clutter-free? Please share your tips and ideas in the comments below!

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Fewer, Better Favorites

Happy Spring! This is my favorite season and I always feel especially inspired this time of year. I’m still experimenting with a very streamlined wardrobe and doing my best to shop less, but splurge on a few high quality items that I truly love. Here are a few fun things I’ve been eyeing this season.

Fewer Better

(1) So feminine and lovely, no? // (2)  A chic leather bag in a lovely neutral color for spring. // (3)  For fresh, dewy skin // (4)   Because who doesn’t like a little metallic star? // (5)  So cozy and a perfect layer for spring. // (6) – Dreamy and feminine!

I’m embracing the concept of the French Five Piece Wardrobe System where you invest in five non-basic pieces each season to elevate your wardrobe and keep it fresh and fun. So far, I bought myself this Cuyana bag and sweater for my birthday and am taking it slow with the other pieces.

I do love that by being very intentional with my purchasing, I can invest in higher quality items and really feel good about my spending. No more impulse buying for me this year!

What about you? What do you have your eye on for spring? What would elevate or enhance the wardrobe you already own?

 

How I Prep For a Busy Day

So, I’m a person who really likes being busy, but recently my days have been so packed that important things have gotten lost in the shuffle. And I’m a professional organizer! So, I’ve been trying out a few strategies and wanted to share them with you so you can make sure to set yourself up for success when your schedule feels overwhelming:

Prioritize First

I don’t know about you, but when I get super busy I start feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. The first thing I do is write down everything that’s in my brain. This can include appointments, phone calls, school forms, errands, blog ideas, etc. I get everything on paper so I can see what I’m dealing with. Then I look at the list and note anything that can be postponed, eliminated, or delegated. I take the remaining items and list them in order of priority. Just doing this already makes me feel more clear headed and in control of my day.

Don't let a busy day get the best of you! Learn how to organizer your day-to-day with tips from Shira Gill Home.

Design Your Day

I use Google calendar to manage all of my appointments and meetings and I always include the address and phone number in the appointment for easy reference. Once I have the framework of my day in, I look where I can add in other things like exercise, grocery shopping, and errands. I write everything I plan to do on a white index card (I learned this from my Dad!) and I toss the index card in my purse for easy reference throughout the day.

Pack and Prep

When my husband is out of town or I anticipate an unusually packed day, I do my best to prep and pack as much as possible the night before. This includes packing up lunches and backpacks for my girls, selecting and laying out clothes for the morning, and even setting up a simple breakfast and laying out cups, bowls and spoons. Every second counts! I’ve recently also started packing up energy bars, nuts and dried fruit so I can have healthy snacks available throughout the day. I also make sure to fill up my favorite water bottle so it’s ready for me to grab and go when I head out the door. These small efforts go a long way in keeping me sane when things get hectic.

How do you prepare for a busy day? Please share your ideas in the comments below!

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New! Spring Cleanse Mini Retreat

The Closet Makeover Workshop sold out in record time, but not to fear! I am thrilled to be partnering with The Mobile Mat to bring you a brand new offering for spring. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to treat yourself or a loved one, this one day mini retreat is designed to renew your body and mind, and simplify your life.

Shira Gill is partnering with The Mobile Mat to offer some home organization help at their Spring Cleanse Mini Retreat. The Details:

Date: Sunday, April 30th  2017 9:30am – 2:00pm

Location: Berkeley, CA

Investment: $149 includes 90-minute morning yoga refresh with The Mobile Mat, catered lunch provided by Whole Foods Market and refreshments, organizing presentation and Q + A with Shira Gill Home, and gift giveaway sponsored by Todos Organics.

**This event will be booked on a first come basis and is limited to 20 participants. Email: themobilemat@gmail.com for more details and to reserve your spot.

Can’t wait!

New Series: Ask An Organizer

I’m so excited to introduce you to my new series: Ask an Organizer! You’ll send in your burning home organizing questions and I’ve assembled an amazing team of experts who will provide answers, tips, and resources just for you. The first questions were submitted via Instagram. Keep an eye out for yours on an upcoming post!

You can meet the experts below, but first, let’s dive in to the first question:

Q. What do you do with the clothes you take off at night that aren’t dirty? I don’t like to put them in the closet, with the clean clothes, so they usually just end up on the floor.

 

Practically Perfect joins Shira Gill's Ask an Organizer series.

Practically Perfect: Try selecting a few beautiful hooks, like these, that are intended for exactly this purpose. We each have a few extra hooks hanging in our own closets, and we love to install them for our clients. It’s quick and easy to drape clothing on them, and it’s far less committal than re-hanging the clothing on hangers. If you have the space, placing a valet in your closet, bathroom, or bedroom is another great way to store those in-between clothes.  Functional and stylish… practical and perfect!

 

 

Jen Robins of Life in Jeneral answers questions about home organization.

 

Life in Jeneral: We do a couple of things depending on the closet’s space: We either add hooks somewhere (doing our best to keep them somewhat hidden) so those items can be easily hung up, or we designate a small hanging space (not near the other clothing) for the purpose of hanging those transitional clothes. Works like a charm!

 

 

Cathleen Simmons of Assembly LA answers questions about home style and organization.

Assembly LA: Great question! How about looking into adding a small hanging area behind a door or in a corner by your closet? You can build your own with pipe and flange from The Home Depot so it’s the perfect size. Unfortunately, to keep clothes off the floor, there is no escaping hanging them! Clothes get lost if they are tossed into something like a basket or drawer.

 

 

 

Simply Spaced answers questions about home organization on Shira Gill Home.

Simply Spaced: This question just came up with a client. Allocate a few command hooks (or nicer ones if you want) inside your closet so you can easily (and quickly) hang in-between clothes up and away and off the floor. It needs to be just as easy to hang them up as it is to drop them on the floor, so make the hooks accessible and high but tucked out of sight. Designating a small tucked away basket can serve the same function if you have more floor space than wall space. I have a small cloth-lined basket that tucks under my bed for this very purpose. It’s also a great trick for PJ’s which often fall into this category.

 

Love these ideas! If you have a burning question or organizing dilemma for the team, you can email it to inquiries@shiragill.com, subject: Ask an Organizer for a future feature.

Meet the Experts

Assembly LA  is a home and office organizing company based in Los Angeles that helps you simplify your life so you can focus on the fun stuff.

Practically Perfect is a Los Angeles based company devoted to constructing creative and functional organizing solutions that simplify daily activities, maximize space and exemplify practicality.

Simply Spaced is an organizing service and lifestyle company focused on transforming cluttered minds and spaces.

Life in Jeneral is based in Los Angeles and specializes in developing sustainable organizational methods uniquely tailored to each client’s needs.

Interview with My Minimalist Brother

A funny thing happened. I realized recently that while I strive to embrace minimalist principles, and experiment with capsule wardrobes, my brother, Max, is a real life all in minimalist. Everything he owns can fit in a single backpack. He wears a basic uniform every day. He travels often. He doesn’t let stuff distract him. I wanted to know more and he agreed to be interviewed. Here we go!

SG: Tell me everything you currently own.

Minimalist Max: Lots of black: a dozen or so black t-shirts (Uniqlo), one pair of black jeans (Levis), one pair of black shoes (New Balance), one pair of black boots (Red Wings), a black beanie (some fancy French brand I can’t remember), one pair of black sunglasses (Illesteva), one jacket (Vintage), one black hair tie which essentially functions as a wallet for cash and cards, a backpack (Topo Designs), an iphone, a Mac Book, and a few paper notebooks from Japan.

SG: Wow. So, what happens when you need to exercise or go somewhere fancy? What would you wear?

Minimalist Max: Truth be told, I avoid the formality of both those instances like the plague. Exercise comes in the form of frequent exploring and occasional hiking both of which i’m happy to do in “the uniform.” Fancy restaurants are a much more common occurrence for me, but I can almost always get by with all black fit for that as well. Despite how casual it feels for me at this point, it’s still importantly devoid of branding, distracting (or tacky) design, clean, and always has a vague air of seriousness that gets me by without a jacket and tie. Worst case scenario is that I’ll cobble something dressy together from a friend, but those situations are so wildly infrequent for me it hasn’t seemed like a necessity to own that sort of outfit yet.

SG: Is there any downside to wearing the same thing every day or do you love having a daily uniform?

Minimalist Max: It feels almost monastic to wake up each morning and have a uniform of sorts. There’s no thinking or decision making because what I’ll be wearing is already established. It works when I’m in the kitchen, it works if I have to take a meeting, it works when i’m going out; and it’s so comfortable for me at this point that it’s also what I want to lounge around in at home. No sweatpants, never sweatpants. The only downside that comes to mind is that on a weekly basis I’m mistaken for an employee of literally any given establishment due to my all black uniform.

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SG: Do you ever get bored or crave more variety? If so, what do you do?

Minimalist Max: I really only look for a couple of accessorizing black pieces every now and again. There are a couple of designers, Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto, whose whole collection are focused on simple, clean, monochromatic pieces that feel very timeless and wearable. They’re fairly expensive and I usually contemplate them for a while and end up investing in one special item every two years or so. I’m also keenly aware these items hold a high secondary market resale value so even if I were to change my mind I could easily sell them and get my investment back, sometimes even more.

SG: When you do splurge, what do you splurge or invest in?

Minimalist Max: Almost all of my money goes to food. My life revolves around making food and eating food and spending time with the culinary community at large. I probably eat out 5 days a week, both high-end and low-end, and not just dinners. Travel is the only other constant in my life, but travel is also entirely predicated around eating. Just the other weekend I met some friends in PDX where we squeezed fourteen meals into 3 days–those valuable “pre-dinners” and “first-dinners” and “second lunches.” Also, very high-end whiskey, wine, and beer. I’m obsessive and nerdy about booze and have definitely been using some discretionary funds to purchase pre-prohibition rye whiskey, esoteric white burgundies, and decades old lambic to make meals even more special and memorable.

SG: You used to have a lot of clothes and shoes. What prompted the transition to such a minimal lifestyle? How has living with less changed your life?

Minimalist Max: A few years ago I started traveling all over the world all the time and never wanted to be encumbered by a suitcase or a even a backpacking pack. My goal was to streamline what was in my possession down to what could be carried in one backpack, but without feeling like i was giving up anything I truly needed. It turns out, when I really started assessing what was a necessity a lot of things could be cut. Almost everything could be cut, truthfully. Living with less has made living on the road thoughtless, effortless, and completely flexible. When I do occasionally put down roots here and there for 6 months or a year I get to start fresh every time and continuing cataloguing what does and doesn’t work for when I inevitably have my own proper home in the future.

~

After talking with Max, I felt so inspired to lighten up that I edited my closet again with fresh eyes. I love the idea of a daily uniform and can’t wait to explore it more! What about you? Have you experimented with living with less?

Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

Question: Is your spending aligned with your values? I’m asking this because I recently realized that my finances and current spending patterns did not reflect my deepest values at all – unless my deepest values are eating sushi and pretty woven baskets! The reality of my spending came as a quite a shock, especially since I think of myself as a pretty self-aware and intentional person, so I decided to create a plan to be more intentional with my finances. See below for my tips on how to create a values-based spending plan.

Clarify Your Core Values

A value is defined as a strongly held belief about what is valuable and important. Take some time to reflect on what you deeply care about. Jot down any words that resonate with you (i.e community, philanthropy, creativity) and then narrow it down to your top 3-5 values. If you’re stuck, here is a great list to refer to for inspiration.

Reality Check

Now that you have defined your core values, ask yourself if you are honoring those values with your spending. If not, look carefully at where you are spending your money. Most of us fritter away a good percentage of money on things like lattes, snacks, and impulsive shopping. When I looked at my spending I was shocked to realize how much I spent on dining out and how little I devoted to things I deeply care about like creative workshops and travel. So, look at your values list and examine your budget thoughtfully. Where do you want to invest more of your money? What areas can you scale back on?

Spend your money with intention -- on things that matter the most to you!

Get Intentional About Your Spending

Make a realistic budget which includes your monthly fixed expenses – i.e rent or mortgage, utilities and groceries.  Mint is an excellent free resource for helping you account for everything if you need help. Subtract your fixed expenses from your monthly income and you’ll have a realistic sense of what is left to play with. This money should go towards your current core values, priorities and goals. Goals could include paying off debt, buying a new car, traveling more or philanthropic giving. Whatever it is, put it in your budget and spend with intention!

 Keep Yourself Accountable

You know how when people want to get more intentional about their eating they start a food journal? Why not start a spending journal? Writing down every time you spend money will make you much more conscious about your financial habits and will help you honor your values-based budget goals. If you have a big goal like a trip around the world or a new home, try setting aside a fixed amount each month in a separate account so you can be proactive about making your most important goals a reality.

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How to Shop Like A Professional Organizer

Hello, friends! I recently spent an inspiring week at Alt Summit in Palm Springs with an amazing group of professional home organizers. We talked about everything under the sun, and of course, all things organizing. One of the things many of us had noticed was that most of our clients had purchased organizing supplies and home decor that just didn’t work out. Has this ever happened to you? If you want to shop like a professional organizer, and ensure you’ll avoid this common pitfall, follow the steps below:

Edit First

Before purchasing anything, make sure you have done a thoughtful edit of your space. Once you eliminate clutter you will have less to store and you may even find the perfect bin or basket when you review your belongings. I can’t tell you how many times a client has hired me to purchase storage solutions and by the time we are done editing and organizing we find that they already have everything they need!

Make a list

I have a rule that I can’t enter the Container Store without a list. Here’s why: All of those bins and baskets and organizers are so shiny and exciting! They beckon to us “buy me!” and it’s far too easy to get carried away. Instead, once you have edited, assess your space to see exactly what you actually need, then make a concrete list to shop from and stick to the list. A typical shopping list for a kitchen will look like this: x12 glass jars for food storage, x2 utensil drawer dividers, x1 spice organizer and labels, dish soap dispenser.

Shop like a professional organizer with these helpful tips from Shira Gill Home. Measure

This is crucial. It’s a real pain to trek out to the store, shop, and return home only to realize that your drawers are only 2″ deep and your 3″ tall drawer organizer won’t fit. Save yourself the hassle and measure shelf and drawer width, depth, and height so you can ensure that the products you buy will fit just right.

These simple steps truly don’t take much time or energy, and will spare you from having a house packed with storage solutions you don’t need and can’t use.

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New! Closet Makeover Workshop

Back by popular demand, it’s the Closet Makeover Workshop! This one will be focused on helping you clarify and refresh your personal style as well as declutter and organize your closet like a pro.

Sign up for a closet makeover workshop with Shira Gill and learn how to organize your closet and create a personal style.

You’ll Learn:

*  Industry tips and resources for decluttering, organizing, and styling your closet.

* How to create a personal style statement that reflects your personality and suits your lifestyle.

* How to take the stress out of shopping and buy fewer, better pieces.

* The organizing products I use in every closet makeover and where to buy them.

*Answers to all your burning questions on wardrobe styling, capsule wardrobes, and closet organization.

The Details:

Date: Sunday, March 19th 2017 10am-12pm

Investment: $125 includes two-hour workshop, printed workbook, organizing labels, and refreshments.

**This event will be booked on a first come basis and is limited to only 10 participants. Email inquiries@shiragill.com to reserve your spot.

Can’t wait!

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5 Simple Styling Tips to Uplevel Your Living Spaces

I am so excited to introduce you to my dear friend, and self-taught design talent, Carly Waters, founder of Carly Waters Style. Carly and I share a love of clean, streamlined spaces and I am always gushing over her latest design projects and spot on styling details. Design can be intimidating, but I believe that simple touches like a bowl of lemons or a bunch of fresh flowers can totally transform a space. With that in mind, I asked Carly to share some of her best quick tips for making things pretty. Take it away, Carly!

Tip #1- Don’t underestimate the power of greenery. As someone who prides myself on not being wasteful, one of my favorite styling tricks is using {free} branches & greenery from my own backyard. I love a good peony as much as the next person, but you know what I love even more– living, free plants around my house.

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Tip #2- Books are key. Despite having no time to read any of these said-books, they do wonders for styling open shelves and table tops. Use them upright, stacked or leaning against a wall.  My number one styling tip with books is to ditch the book jackets.

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Tip #3-Take everyday objects and make them pieces of art.  We all need hats and sunglasses, so why not use those objects to style a foyer? Any eyesores? Toss them.

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Tip #4- Photo ledges are your friend. They are the perfect place to style all your miscellaneous art that works best as a collection.

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Tip #5- Elevate your everyday items & use them to style your counter tops. We all need mouthwash but who wants to stair at a Crest bottle? Not me. Instead, use pretty glass bottles for every day essentials like mouthwash, or invest in high quality products that are display-worthy.

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Thanks, so much for sharing, Carly! I’m off to hang a photo ledge and snip some green sprigs from my backyard! Make sure to follow Carly on Instagram to check out her latest projects and design tips.

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