Bathroom Bins

I am sick of our bathroom toiletries  piling up into chaos. No more!

So, I put to use a collection of my favorite open canvas bins from the container store.

I simply labeled them, “Guy Stuff”, “Girl Stuff”, and “Medicine + Supplies”.

They live on the top shelf of our linen closet and any dummy can tell where things go now.

Problem solved.

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Style Guide

My family is trying to keep our spending to a minimum and so we have to get creative with our approach to decorating.

Here are a few things that have been helping:

1. Get inspired. I am inspired by the new home itself, but I am also inspired by my neighborhood boutiques, decor magazines, friend’s homes, etc. I have started a pinterest page to capture the styles I love and when I get lost I simply pull up these beautiful images! It makes it easier to part with the duds we have been holding onto and shoot a little higher.

2. Remind myself that less is more. My brilliant + stylish friend, Naomi, recently gave this advice: “Keep the bedroom minimal. All you need is a beautiful rug, a unique light fixture, and a few pretty details like ethnic baskets or antique mirror and you are all set!”

3. We are selling things on Craigslist and then keeping an envelope with the cash to buy a few new things, either on Craigslist or at the Alameda Antique Fair next month. This ensures we will keep spending to a minimum and find truly unique items.

4. I just scored a beautiful antique light at my favorite local boutique just by asking the owner if I could buy it from her! You never know where you will find a great item for your home and it never hurts to ask.

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Please share your tips for decorating on a budget!

A Fresh Start in A New Home

My family is preparing for a move next month and my stuff is seriously stressing me out.

I thought I was a minimalist but can see I have some real work ahead to own that title.
The amount of time I am dedicating every day to sorting, selling, donating, cleaning and organizing has further convinced me that living with less is the way to go.
I keep imagining all the stuff I could be doing if I wasn’t dealing in some way or another with my belongings…
Relaxing with my family, reading, getting a pedicure, taking a hike, cooking a meal. This thought inspires me to take this as an opportunity to re-evaluate my things and start fresh with my new home.  Just as I do with my clients, I am taking it one space at a time, and I am starting to feel some relief. Little projects are so satisfying to accomplish and the more I do the more fired up I am to streamline even more.
With just one hour a day of focused work, you can change the way you live. How will you simplify your life and your space this Spring?

Clutter Myths

I agree with all of these myths about clutter from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project Blog.

Check it!

1. “I need to get organized.” No! Don’t get organized is your first step.

2. “I need to be hyper-organized.” I fully appreciate the pleasure of having a place for everything, and perhaps counter-intuitively, I believe it’s easier to put things away in an exact place, rather than a general place (“the third shelf of the coat closet,” not “a closet.”) However, this impulse can become destructive. If you spend a lot of time alphabetizing your spices or creating eighty categories for your home files, consider whether you need to be quite so precisely organized. I find this particularly true with toys – I’ve spent hours sorting pretend food, Polly Pockets pieces, and tea sets, only to find everything a jumble the next day.

3. “I need some more inventive storage containers.” See #1. If you get rid of everything you don’t need, you may not need any fancy containers.

4. “I need to find the perfect recipient for everything I’m getting rid of.” It’s easier to get rid of things when you’re giving them to someone who can use them, but don’t let this kind intention become a source of clutter, itself. I have a friend who has multiple piles all over her house, each lovingly destined for a particular recipient. This is generous and thoughtful, but it contributes mightily to clutter. Try to find one or two good recipients (including a place like Goodwill), or if you really want to move your ex-stuff in multiple directions, create some kind of rigid system for moving it along.

5. “I can’t get rid of anything that I might possibly use one day.” How terrible would it be if you needed a shoe box and didn’t have one? Do you need a giant backlog of ketchup packets? How many mugs does one family use?

6. “I might get that gizmo fixed.” Face it. If you’ve had something for more than six months, and it’s still not repaired, it’s clutter.

7. “I might learn how to use that gizmo.” Again, face it. If you’ve had a gizmo on the shelf for a year, and you’ve never used it to make gelato or label a sugar jar, it’s clutter.

8. “I might lose a ton of weight and then I’d fit into these clothes again.” If you lose a bunch of weight, you’ll want to wear a new pair of jeans, not a pair you bought seven years ago.

9. “I need to keep this as a memento of a happy time.” I’m a huge believer in mementos; remembering happy times gives a big happiness boost in the present. But ask:  do I need all these t-shirts to remind me of college, or just a few? Do I need to keep a desk to remind me of my grandfather, or can I use a photograph? Do I need fifty finger-painted pictures by my toddler, or is one enough to capture this time of life? Mementos work best when they’re carefully chosen – and when they don’t take up much room!

10. “I need to keep this, because the person who gave it to me might visit my house and be hurt when it’s not on display.” Is that person really likely to visit? Is that person really likely to remember the gift? Will the person really be upset by the lack of viewing of the gift?

11. “If I have any available space, I should fill it up with something.” No! One of mySecrets of Adulthood is:  Somewhere, keep an empty shelf. I know where my empty shelf is, and I treasure it. This creates a bit of an issue with my husband, who likes to plunk something down on an empty shelf; he also likes to start using the new toothpaste before every bit of toothpaste has been squeezed from the old tube. He has his flaws.

12. “I might need this.” If you haven’t needed it so far, maybe you won’t need it in the future. And you can probably get it, if you do need it. A friend with acquisitive tendencies told me, “I remind myself that I can store things at the store. Those things will be at the store when and if I need them. I don’t need to keep that stuff in my house.”

Girl On A Budget

A financial expert, I am not, but I wanted to share a money tip for the month that has been working for our family:

PAY IN CASH.

That’s right. No credit cards.

We use this system for our weekly groceries and meals out because, well, things were getting out of control.

Simply stated, when you pay in cash it forces you to be more conscious about your spending.

All you have to do is figure out your target maximum and withdraw that amount in cash from the bank every week on the same day.

Every Sunday, I get our cash, monitor it throughout the week and it has been working like a charm!

When there is extra money at the end of the week we treat ourselves to ice cream or even a nice date night.

It is so satisfying to reclaim control over your finances!

Happy Saving ~

A Clean Work Surface

I find it impossible to work in a cluttered environment and try to keep my desk as clean and clear as possible – Especially since it’s in my living room!

Here are a few tips for creating a great work space:

1. Store all supplies in drawers or concealed storage, not on your desk surface.

2. Have something that inspires you visible – A photo, fresh flowers, a favorite book.

3. Create a simple system  to avoid paper clutter. I use a vintage wire basket to store mail, bills and upcoming projects.

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Photo Credit: Hedy Macferran

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