The Best Advice I Ever Got

Are you waiting to feel inspired? To feel ready? To have clarity? Let me share the best advice I ever got:

Just start.

Prolonged wavering and ambivalence leads to decision fatigue, stress, and exhaustion. As my mentor, Brooke Castillo, always says, “free yourself from “maybe” and give yourself the gift of a clear yes or a no.”

Here’s an anecdote from my life which clearly illustrates this point. When I was in my twenties, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue pursuing theater or not. I spent endless hours, weeks, and months obsessing over what to do with my career and trying to gain clarity. In the meantime, I was waiting tables, not pursuing much of anything, and felt anxious and drained. I called my mom for advice about my career path and she said simply, “Just do something. It doesn’t matter what. Just pick something and do it.”

I was so sick of feeling mentally drained that I took her advice immediately. I opened the classifieds, saw an ad for a theater that needed an intern, and called them. Two days later I met with the artistic director. A day after that I started working for the theater five nights a week. A few months later I was cast in a main stage production with the company. And then another. And another one after that. I worked with that theater professionally for over a year. I made good friends who I still keep in touch with today. Making one tiny decision to call changed everything.

Organized, stylish office

What have you been waiting to take action on?

Want to get organized but short on free time? Set a timer for 15-minutes and organize one drawer. Have you been debating about what color to paint your bedroom for years? Pick a color and start painting. Want to do something creative but not sure what you should do? Pick a class and register. Want to work out more but not sure what to do? Put on some sneakers and walk for thirty minutes.

So, here’s my best advice for you if you’re feeling stuck: Stop thinking, make a decision, and do something. I promise, taking even the smallest of actions will make you feel better.

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Kid Closet Organization, Simplified

I’ve been asked a lot recently how to organize kids’ closets, and I wanted to share my approach and outline what’s been working for our family. Hope these tips will help you whip those overflowing dressers and closets into shape!

Edit Your Heart Out!

My theory is: Less clothing, less stress. As someone who does not enjoy doing laundry, I have streamlined my girls’ clothing down to the essentials that they truly love and wear.  They seem to do just fine with roughly 10 tops and ten bottoms if we do laundry once a week. They also each have two jackets and two pairs of school shoes and a party shoe. Creating a capsule wardrobe for your kids of mix and match items makes life so much easier. It’s also good to remember that it’s ok to politely decline other people’s well intentioned bags of hand-me-downs if you don’t actually need them. Once you accept them they are yours to clean, organize and manage. Just say no! (thank you).

organized kids closet with rose gold hangers

Organize By Type

My girls share a six drawer dresser which I have organized in the simplest way possible: The top drawer has tops and casual dresses. The middle has skirts, shorts and leggings. The bottom drawer has socks, underwear, pjs and swimsuits. Their party dresses and seasonal items are hung up in the closet. Since I have yet to meet a child who hangs things nicely on hangers, I always prefer storing daily use clothing in dressers, which enables them to get dressed easily and put away laundry themselves. If you like you can label each drawer with what should go in it or add a photo for young kids. Their clothes may not be perfectly folded, but they will be organized and easily accessible which is a big win in my book.

organized kids shirt drawer

Activity Totes

Most kids are involved in some sort of extracurricular activities that require clothing and gear. I like setting up a tote bag for each activity and hanging them in the closet or by the door for easy access. We have a swim bag stocked with sunscreen, goggles, suits and swim toys, as well as a soccer tote and a ballet bag. Out totes live on hooks in the closet and make it easy to grab and go before each activity. Bonus points if you remember to restock them after each use.

Set up a Donation Basket

You can maintain a streamlined wardrobe for your kids by setting up a simple bin, basket or bag in their closet for donations. As soon as my girls outgrow something I toss it into our donation bin. When the bin is full I donate to my local charity. Toss, donate, repeat.

organized kids closet with rose gold hangers

Set Up a Grow Into Bin

If you have great clothes in larger sizes set up a labeled bin and store it in your child’s closet. These bins often live in garages or basements and don’t get used in time. Limit the quantity you store (I have one bin per child) and make sure to check the bin before you go shopping for new clothes.

If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, try taking it one category at a time and get your kids involved in the process. Put all of their tops in a pile and have them choose their favorite 10. If you break editing and organizing into bite-sized steps, you will be done before you know it!

photo credit: vivian johnson photography for shira gill home

Minimalism: 5 Benefits of Owning Less

This country is not geared towards minimalism.  There are messages everywhere telling us that in order to feel happy, fulfilled, and successful we need to buy more stuff. But, I have actually seen the exact opposite to be true: The less stuff I have the more abundant my life feels in every way. Here are a few examples:

Community

When new clients contact me, a common lament is that they rarely entertain because their cluttered home causes them stress, or even shame. Having a clutter-free house makes it easy to fill your home with friends and family, and entertain with ease.

cheese presentation on butcher block

Freedom

Because our home is so streamlined and minimal, we are able to quickly and easily pack for trips and rent out our house on vacation rental sites. Travel is one of my greatest values.  I love that we can take our girls to see the world and even make money renting out our home while we are on vacation.

Creativity

Less stuff requires greater creativity. I love watching my girls create forts out of couch pillows and craft incredible art projects out of nothing more than tape, scissors and a cardboard box. I also enjoy the creative challenge of maximizing my wardrobe by trying different combinations, layers, and accessories.

Time

Think about how much time you spend looking for misplaced items, tidying up messes, and trying to get organized. When you declutter your house it is easy to find what you need and you will reclaim both time and energy to spend on things you care about.

clutter-free minimalist bedroom

Financial Freedom

Have you ever bought the same-ish thing multiple times because you didn’t realize you already owned something similar?  People who live a minimal lifestyle shop less and are much more intentional about what they buy.

There is a common misconception that minimalism equates to depravation and scarcity. In fact, living with all of the things you love, but nothing more, can lead to incredible abundance, creativity, and freedom.

~

Need a little support kickstarting your clutter-free life? Get in touch by emailing me at inquiries@shiragill.com. I would love to help!

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The Edit: Simple, Stylish Storage Solutions

Lovely Friends, there is no good reason to fill your living spaces with plastic bins or storage solutions that don’t reflect your taste or style. Woven baskets are a much more stylish alternative to the plastic bins and poorly made storage cubbies I see cluttering up most living rooms and family rooms. Whether you need to store laundry, toys, blankets or even firewood, try up-leveling your storage with some beautiful (and practical) open baskets. See below for some inspiration and resources so you can give your home a quick and easy storage makeover.

clutter free kids room

Inspiration: Designer, Amber Interiors uses this charming basket duo to store musical instruments and plush toys. Photography by Tessa Neustadt.  Get the look for your home {here} and {here}

firewood in stylish basket

Inspiration: Woven basket by The Citizenry used to store firewood. Styling + photography by The Veda House. Get the look for your own home {here}

toys in storage baskets

Inspiration: A collection of baskets are used to store everything from toy trains, blocks, clothing and blankets. Styling by Shira Gill Home + photography by Vivian Johnson Photo. Get the look {here} or {here} or {here}

Do you have a favorite item or product that elevates your home storage? Please share in the comments below!

Style Inspiration: The Capsule Wardrobe

If your closet is packed with clothes but you feel like you have nothing to wear, a capsule wardrobe might be just what the doctor ordered. While it seems paradoxical, a leaner closet can actually make you feel like you have more options. A capsule wardrobe forces you to thoughtfully define your personal style, invest in timeless, well-made pieces, and fill your closet only with things that fit and flatter your current body.

Living with a streamlined closet has enabled me to spend less time and money shopping and encouraged me to make more conscious choices about what pieces I invest in. I’ve had to get creative mixing and matching pieces in a new way. If you are considering a closet edit and want a little inspiration and support, let me introduce you to a few of my favorite minimalist fashion bloggers. When it comes to living with less in-style these ladies get top marks.

Style Bee

Founder Lee Vosburgh provides you with style inspiration aplenty (10 outfits out of 10 pieces!) as well as super helpful workbooks and exercises. My favorites are Write Your Style Story, Recognize Your Shopping Triggers, and Define Your Color Palette. Click here for more from Style Bee. I’m hooked!

Capsule Wardrobe Closet

Unfancy

Caroline Rector founded her minimalist fashion blog Unfancy in an attempt to curb her shopping habit and redefine her personal style. She shares simple outfit ideas and closet curating tips, and focuses on style over trends. I love her emphasis on ethical fashion and her capsule planner for those just starting out on a leaner closet mission.

Capsule Wardrobe Collection

Into-Mind

Anushka Rees was one of the original minimalist fashion bloggers and recently launched her first book, The Curated Closet. She is all about helping you define your personal style and sharing tips to curate your own closet. Check out her 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp here and other great stye resources here.

The Curated Closet Book

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How to Declutter Your Kitchen Counters

Kitchen surfaces commonly become a dumping ground for mail, papers, and random household items. If you are eager to declutter your kitchen counters, follow the steps below to ensure you will banish the dreaded piles once and for all!

Clutter-free kitchen

Leave Out Only Daily Use Appliances

Take stock of which appliances you require on a regular basis and relocate the rest to a cabinet, pantry shelf, or storage area. Do you make coffee every day or start your morning with a smoothie? If so, then it makes sense to leave out the blender and coffee maker, but most likely the bulky Kitchen Aid or Slow Cooker can find a home in a new place.

Use Clutter as Information

Clutter offers us valuable information. Most often, clutter builds up when items don’t have an assigned home. If you find bills and mail all over your kitchen counters, create a new “home” for them by setting up a tray, basket or wall mounted pocket to contain these papers until you can give them your attention. If you find homework and artwork from school drifting into the kitchen, use the same principle and set up a simple homework or art bin. Take action! Gather up the clutter from your kitchen counters and find or create homes elsewhere for all of the things that are commonly dumped.

Put Things Away, Right Away

Clutter builds up when things don’t get dealt with in the moment. It’s so easy to come home from a busy day and dump everything on the counters, but it truly only takes a few minutes to hang up your bag, and put keys, mail and papers in their “homes.” Once you get into the habit of putting things away in the moment, it will start feel natural and easy to maintain.

Do you have a simple strategy for banishing kitchen clutter? Please share in the comments below!

photo credit: styling by shira gill home/ design by owner / artchitecture by medium plenty

Why You Should Make Your Bed

I know you are probably tired and rushed in the morning. I know that making the bed doesn’t seem very important. But here are five solid reasons why you should consider taking the time to complete this small task:

Making the Bed Sets the Tone for Your Day

Taking a few minutes to tidy your bedding and pillows will make you feel like you have already accomplished something before you have even left your home. “Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget,” says Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit.

Making the Bed Teaches Your Children a Good Habit

Practicing the daily habit of making the bed will role model good behavior to your little ones. Observing this small action will teach your kids to treat their things with respect and take care of their personal spaces.

Making the Bed is a Form of Self Care

When I come home from a long day, there is nothing better than collapsing into a beautifully made bed with a good book or magazine.  Think of making the bed as a gift you can give yourself.

Organized Bedroom with Marlo Bed from Room and BoardMaking the Bed Lowers Your Stress

A tidy, uncluttered space can be very calming. Think about how good it feels to check into a nice hotel. Why not create a relaxing sanctuary in your own home? You get to decide how your space looks and feels – make it feel as lovely and restorative as possible!

Making the Bed Can Make A Messy Room Look Instantly Tidy

In most bedrooms the bed takes up the single largest percentage of space. So, just by pulling your covers up and fluffing a few pillows, your room will look instantly more pulled together and polished.

You deserve it! Why not put in a little added effort each morning and see if making the bed leads to better habits, greater productivity, and an increased feeling of well-being at the end of your day?

photo credit // styling by shira gill home

 

Fewer, Better: Handbags

I have been working on ton of closet and style makeover projects and have had handbags on the brain. This everyday item can elevate and define one’s style and should not be neglected when updating a wardrobe. I work with so many professional women who have beautiful clothing, but outdated, poorly made handbags. No good! When investing in this staple item, I always suggest buying a classic black tote and also a brown/tan or neutral handbag. This way you can splurge on beautifully made handbags that are versatile enough for both work and play.

Black Cuyana handbag with camel statuettes

 

Current favorites include this oversized carryall tote in black and this small carryall tote in sable, both by Cuyana. I use the oversized tote everyday for work and love that it is chic, yet large enough to hold my computer and gym clothing. The smaller one is perfect for date night, dinner with friends or running errands in the neighborhood.

Are you overdue for a bag update? Try donating or consigning your old stash and investing in a few high quality handbags that will help you feel stylish, polished and ready to take the world by storm.

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Nightstand Styling

Is your nightstand covered in stacks of books, mail, and bills? Or perhaps it is littered with old snacks and kid toys? This little surface deserves a makeover! It is commonly said that making the bed sets the tone for the day. I would like to add that a streamlined, stylish nightstand invites you to rest and relax after a long day. I have a rule that mine only contains items that are pretty and make me happy. Could your nightstand use a little love and attention? Follow these simple tips for a quick and painless makeover.

Brass rimmed glass nightstand

One. Clear your nightstand completely and wipe down for a fresh start.

Two. Relocate any unnecessary or misplaced items, and stock your nightstand drawer with only the essentials: Reading glasses, current books or magazines, lip balm, hand cream, or anything else you like regular access to before sleep.

Three. Select a few pretty objects to style the surface of your nightstand. I find that intentionally styled surfaces discourage the dreaded clutter piles from forming. Favorites styling objects include: Fresh flowers or a potted plant, scented candles, pretty rocks or sculptural objects, a ceramic dish for jewelry, and framed photos. Remember less is more!

Happy styling. Your nightstand will thank you.

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Splurge: Elevate Your Everyday

As part of my mission to buy fewer, better things for myself and my home, I’ve been thinking about what’s truly worth splurging on. I’ve decided that it makes the most sense to splurge on the items that I see and use daily, even if these items are simply utilitarian. A few of my favorite products to elevate your everyday:

a styled bedroom, Shira Gill reaching over stove, necklaces on hooks

Garbage Cans

I am partial to these but also enjoy this one. My husband thinks it is pure madness to splurge on a garbage can, but I say if a garbage can makes you happy, splurge on, my friend!

Towels

What’s with all the mismatched, starchy towels from the 80’s? Towels that are past their prime appear in almost every home I have ever organized. Treat yourself to some fluffy, matching towels. Your deserve it.

Sheets

I only recommend owning two sets of sheets per bed so why not invest in lovely high quality linens that feel great? I am currently coveting the washed linen and vintage cotton beauties from Matteo Bedding.

Dishware

We eat three meals a day and come into contact with our plates, bowls and glassware more than almost any other household object. Find a style you love and buy 8-10 of each item. A few years ago, I invested in a set of beautiful plates and bowls from Heath Ceramics and actually feel like my food tastes better on them!

What items do you love to splurge on to elevate your everyday? Please share in the comments below!

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