Donation + Return Baskets

The way I live there is a tremendous amount of stuff coming in and out of my house.

I like to shop but I am a minimalist so I am always selling, donating, returning and exchanging stuff. Whew!

I wanted a simple system to keep it all straight and decided to use these stylish and functional bins from The Container Store.

I’m loving the lightweight design and the rope handles.  I snatched up two and plan to use clear luggage tags to label one”Returns” and the other “Donations.” The Return basket will include items that need to go back to friends or family as well as store returns. Donations will include clothing and household items that I want to give to charity or my daughter’s pre-school. The genius thing is that they can store a ton of stuff and when they are full I can just throw them in my trunk and take care of business.

Problem solved!

Handbag Storage

Recently, my good friend, Sierra, asked me to do a post on handbag storage.

Bag storage is challenging because women love to switch bags and rotate the contents, and also need a good place to store the one in use. They usually end up in a huge pile in the closet or draped over random door knobs. This simply will not do!

My first idea was to make the switching itself easier. I spotted these lovely pouches from Baggu and thought one of them would fit all the necessities: mobile phone, make-up, keys and wallet. Now it would be easy to switch from bag to bag since the daily essentials are contained in a single pouch!

Now, how to store the bags?  If you have lots of space in your entry way Pottery Barn carries a great selection of storage furniture. I was drawn to the big drawers in this unit which would make concealed handbag storage a breeze.

If you need a solution for smaller spaces I like this hanging holder from Amazon.com:

You can also use a closet shelf to display the bags neatly with these wire shelf dividers.

I also found these acrylic ones to be functional and a bit sleeker:

If you are truly short on storage space (like me!) I am convinced that hooks are the way to go. One durable over-the-door hook will do the trick for the bag of the moment and wall-mounted hooks will take care of storing the rest.

The Container Store has a big assortment but I am loving the fancy pants hooks from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

Also loving this modern option from Blu Dot for hanging and displaying multiple bags.

Finally, I am considering this super durable over the door stroller hook for my big, heavy mama bag. I bought a beautiful storage bench thinking I would toss it in, but it’s just not proving to be practical. I am in and out so many times a day I need my bag to be easy to grab and store.

Have ideas on bag storage? Please share!

Felt Organizer

Loving this Kikkerland felt organizer!

I discovered it at a friend’s house last week and gasped with delight when I thought of the possibilities.

No more lost keys! No more hunting for your mobile phone! So smart. So simple.

My husband is loving the gray one I got for his closet door – He empties his pockets into it at night and can now easily find his phone, keys and cash any time.

Perfect for a stocking stuffer or unusual hostess gift, no?

Holiday Gift Organization

Can you already feel the craziness in the air? I’m trying to keep it simple this year. Way simple.

In an attempt to tackle holiday gift giving in the most efficient way possible I am dividing my gift buying into three categories:

{One}

Closest Family + Friends: I will take one day to go shopping for personal, meaningful gifts for the closest few in my circle.

{Two}

Friends + Colleagues: This year I am buying one simple gift for everyone else. I am thinking a glass votive holder and some home-made candies or sweets tied with a pretty ribbon. I will set aside one day to fetch the candles and another for baking and packaging with my two-year old. Done and done!

{Three}

Hostess Gifts: I always find myself racing around at the last-minute to grab a bottle of wine to bring to dinner. This year, I am going to make a list of all of our holiday events and buy my hostess gifts in bulk. I will purchase a variety of simple gifts that we can bring: Nice wine, hand soap, olive oils, etc. I plan to put them in a large basket by our front coat closet so we can literally grab + go!

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How will you simplify your gift giving this season?

Photo by Hedy Macferran

Toy Storage Round-Up

Many of my clients have small children and ask for my recommendations for storing kid toys. I always advise them to first assess what their kids really love and play with often. Kids get overwhelmed by having too much clutter just as adults do, and it is up to you to curb the shopping and help them edit! Once you have decided what can go, I suggest donating the rest to your favorite charity or shelter.

Now that you have picked the faves it is time to organize and store them. Luggage tags are great for labeling the contents or you can use laminated labels or even print pictures. Combine like items to keep it simple. For example, everything with wheels can be labeled “Things That Go” and placed together in one bin. I love storing our bins on this simple Pottery Barn bookshelf so my daughter can pull out her toys and clean up by herself.

There are so many bins on the market now ranging in price and style.

Here is a round-up of my current faves:

Pottery Barn Canvas Bins


Serena + Lily Stowaway Bins

Restoration Hardware Printed Canvas Bins

Also loving this industrial basket for larger items or plush toys.

Happy Storing!

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Bunting Love!

You may think buntings flags are just for baby showers, but I say, “no, no, Foolish Friend, they are for so much more!”

Scouring Etsy, I have found so many beautiful handmade buntings and I cannot get enough.

Can. Not. Get. Enough.

I want one for the nursery, one for over the fireplace, one to put across the front door…stop me before it gets out of control!!

See below for a few of my faves:

Fabric Banners by Knotted Nest

Garland of Felt Fanfare by Benzie

Bunting Stationary By Rainy Day Colors

Easy Cooking

With time at an all time minimum I have been on the prowl for quick delicious ways to feed myself and my family. My brother is an incredibly talented chef and has taught me that everything tastes better if you add butter, shallots and fresh herbs. He also taught me this easy formula for yummy salads: Always add a cheese, a fruit and a nut! He makes a mean blueberry salad with candied pecans and goat cheese. Also loving almonds, cherries and Parmesan.

My new go-to easy dish is fresh pasta with olive oil, garlic and lots of black pepper, Parmesan, and parsley. It literally takes ten minutes to make and my whole family loves it. You can also toss in prosciutto or fresh veggies for variation.

I also have become obsessed with Gabi Moskowitz’s food & lifestyle blog which offers simple tasty recipes on a shoestring budget.

I have been whipping up her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with my two-year old and we cannot get enough of them.

Bon Appetit!

Photo by Hedy Macferran

Acme Party Box Company

I was in Palo Alto visiting a girlfriend and had time to make a quick visit to the Acme Party Box Company.

Their concept is simple: Instead of wasting money on disposable party decor every time you have a bash, invest in their reuseable items made with sustainable materials.

This genius boutique offers gifts, party favors and creative decor ideas for kid and adult parties: Think chic, eco-friendly and charming. (You can also order online).

I snatched up a table runner, a set of little cloth napkins and two hand-hammered votives. They are ideal for a casual supper with friends or a simple soiree.

I had to hold myself back when I saw the collection of glass drinking jars and paper party straws. Equally adorable are the seagrass tumblers and carafe set, perfect for a lemonade stand.

Now I just need an excuse to have a party!

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A Little Added Effort

I admit it. I can be lazy about things that could make a big difference.

I’ve been thinking about how little things like making the bed can make a huge difference in your day, your attitude and your general happiness.

I’ve noticed that when I squeeze fresh lemon into my water it makes me happy.

Going for a brisk walk always lifts my spirits and only takes 15 minutes.

Cooking myself lunch is always satisfying and more healthy than grabbing food to go.

Investing in a nice ice cube tray instead of using the old plastic ones that we found when we moved in.

All of these things are so easy but I almost never put in the extra effort to make them happen.

No more!

What can you put effort into that will lift your spirits?

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Photo by Hedy Macferran

Breakfast Schedule!

Sooooo, I was at a client’s house, helping her organize her kitchen, and I noticed a breakfast schedule posted to her refrigerator.

It looked a little something like this:

Monday: Eggs, potatoes and sausage

Tuesday: Cereal, yogurt and fruit

Wednesday: Breakfast burrito

Thursday: Waffles and berries

Friday: Fruit smoothie

Just that very morning I had been juggling my active toddler and newborn baby, wondering what on earth to make for breakfast amidst the am chaos. I thought how much easier it would be with a simple guide like this. Inspired, I created my own breakfast schedule including our family faves and now my husband and I take turns throwing together whatever is posted for the day. I also brainstormed a list of creative options for when we run out of something or want to mix it up a bit.

What do you do to stay organized each morning?

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