The Suitcase Challenge

I recently packed for a road trip to Los Angeles with the family. Our car has limited space once the four of us are packed in so I had to be selective. I packed carefully, choosing my favorite simple separates, a few shoe options, a mama bag and a hot mama bag, a few accessories and called it a day. Everything I packed fit into one small duffle bag, and I spent the whole trip feeling like I had all I needed. Not only that it was such a breeze getting ready each day because I only had a few options and everything went together!

It got me thinking, “what if I lived like this all the time?” When you have less stuff you also have less laundry, less time obsessing over what to wear, and less to store and organize. I encourage you to give this philosophy a try: Just for a week try living on the essentials that would fit in one suitcase. Live simply with less stuff and see how it feels.

Dining Room Storage

Recently, many of my clients have come to me with an identical problem: Dining room table clutter overload!
Many families sheepishly admitted to pushing the clutter to one side of the table every day to create space to eat during meals.Since the dining room table is the central gathering space in the home it ends up being a catch-all for office work, homework and miscellaneous to-dos.

I wanted to devise a way of providing an easy storage spot without creating an eyesore. Enter: The dining room console! They come in every imaginable shape, style and size and can be used to display pretty vases of flowers, serving platters, wine racks or framed photos. The bonus is that the concealed storage shelves are a perfect home to tuck away laptop computers, paperwork, and current projects.

 

Car Kit

Car clutter makes me crazy.

The family and I just got back from a road trip and the whole way I kept muttering to myself about wanting a trash can for the car while my husband rolled his eyes.

I can’t stand driving around in a car filled with water bottles, trash, diapers and take out containers. Bleh.

Secondly, I am a minimalist to the extreme which means I never seem to have anything useful when I am out with kids.

So, now that we are back I am on “Mission Car Kit”!

First, I took a quick inventory of the items I thought would be most useful to us in the car: Some sort of trash receptacle, diapers, baby wipes, tissues, kid snacks and a few board books and toys for the little ones. I decided to throw in some sunscreen and a mini first aid kit just to feel like Super Mom.

Next, I needed to find the appropriate vessel.

Here are a few options I liked:

Container Store Open Canvas Bins: Great for storing everything under the sun and can fit on the floor of any car.

Container Store Rugby Stripe Bins: Ditto and I like the stripes and rope handles!

In the end I opted for a simple bin from Target that felt like the right size. I filled it up with our supplies and stashed it on the floor behind the passenger seat. I also made sure to throw some tissues and baby wipes in my glove compartment for easy access. The final step was conquering the trash issue. Even though I adore this Car Litter Bag by Mod Mobile, I ended up with a tiny pail which fit perfectly in our front console. Perfect for wrappers and tissues.

Check out the finished product below!

Land of Nod Round Up

Land of Nod has been a longtime favorite for kid storage, furniture and accessories, but their current designs are so fresh and modern I think they are a total win for adult spaces as well.

I am wild about the poufs and lamps for living rooms, offices or bedrooms. I am also loving the wire storage collection and baskets for organizing papers, mail and magazines.

Here is a round up of my current faves:

Pouf!

Gold Vintage Clip Lamp

District 2-Door Storage Bench

3-Tier Flea Market Bin

Wire Storage Collection

Snake Charmer Storage

Eco Giving

Many people (including myself) want to clear clutter from their homes but get stuck when it comes to how to donate items or dispose of waste. I have discovered a few incredible organizations which provide resources so you can donate responsibly.

The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse:  The Depot is an ecological treasure trove of art & craft materials, educational supplies, vintage furniture, home décor, paper goods, fabric, and much more. Founded in 1979 by two Oakland public school teachers, the Depot promotes solid waste diversion and resource conservation through the Depot store and environmental education programs.
Generally they take everything from fabric and buttons to paper, art and office supplies, books and DVDs. Check out their current list of drop-off donations HERE.

SCRAP: Same idea but located in SF, SCRAP breathes new life into old objects and reduces waste by diverting over 200 tons of materials heading to landfill every year. Donations of quality re-usable materials such as textiles, buttons, paper, craft and office supplies, plastics, and wood are collected from businesses, institutions, and individuals then sorted and made available to teachers, parents, artists, and organizations. Current list of acceptable donations can be found HERE.

STOPWASTE. ORG:  California State Law prohibits disposal of Universal Waste into landfills (such as batteries, electronics, fluorescent lights and items containing mercury).  Stopwaste.org  will let you search by item and location (Bay Area Only) so you can recycle items and dispose of hazardous waste properly. If you are outside the Bay Area you can just look up your local recycling and hazardous waste facility. To save time, I suggest keeping a labeled bag in a safe place (away from a child’s reach) so you can collect old batteries, light bulbs etc. and make only a few trips a year.

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Happy donating!

Party Ready

Today I stumbled upon a delightful line of party supplies by Paper Eskimo. My daughter’s first birthday is around the corner and I am having visions of ice cream socials complete with paper cups and wooden spoons and rainbow sprinkles. The whimsical line of party goods also offers adorable cups, plates, straws, napkins and decor in pretty pastels. Sometimes, it’s the little details that take a party from good to great and I can’t wait to get my paws on some mint chip ice cream in an adorable striped cup. Pass the wooden spoons, please.

 

 

Light Fixtures

I have been on the prowl to identify some little things that make a big impact on the home and lighting is at the top of my list. Replacing the light fixtures in your home or rental can make a massive impact on a relatively small budget. I have been inspired by magazines and boutique hotels and have located a few styles that really pack a punch. Out with the brass and glass! In with modern drum shades and chic chandeliers. I promise your home will thank you.

West Elm Short Drum Pendant $149

West Elm Capiz Pendant Light $129

Drink Dispensers

I have already confessed to having an unhealthy obsession with mason jars and now Pottery Barn has totally won me over with their Mason Jar Drink Dispenser!

I am already fantasizing about filling this puppy up with fresh strawberry  lemonade and watermelon agua frescas. Double yum.

Hope you are celebrating this 4th of July in style. Cheers!

 

 

Hello Shiso Clips

Adorable, handmade, and the only clips that do not slip out of my girl’s hair. Hello Shiso clips and accessories are made locally (In Berkeley) by Mimi Tsang. Mimi also runs a fabulous BLOG with creative ideas and inspiration. I am loving her and her delightful products right up. Check it!

Toilet Training Seat

I never thought I would actually be thinking about potty seats, let alone blogging about them but here goes!

Our three year old, Chloe, was potty trained about six months ago and our small bathroom has become cluttered with portable pottys, training seats and stools. Having to share a bathroom with my whole family is a nightmare as it is but with the addition of all of this toilet equipment I was starting to lose it. Enter: Next Step Built In Potty Seat! This genius creation can be installed in about five minutes and will change your life if you have young ones sharing a toilet with you! Chloe loves it and flips the seat up and down easily. I am thrilled to be able to donate all of our other gear and have this simple space saving device instead.

 

How do you save space in your bathroom? Talk to me!

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