Simple Styling Tips

Whenever possible, I like to merge form + function in order to create both organized and stylish spaces. Here are three easy styling tips I use on almost every project:

One: Use concealed storage to avoid over-stimulating the eye. Example: I love tucking away hair brushes, clips and ponytail holders in this adorable canvas bin by Petit Pehr.

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Two: Use uniform containers. Find a container (bin, box or basket) that you like and use the same style and color in a row for a clean, streamlined look. Likewise, I always use uniform hangers when organizing a closet, uniform cups, plates and bowls in a kitchen and matching food storage containers in a pantry.

Three: Elevate everyday essentials. Everyone needs household essentials like diaper caddies and laundry bins. Why not pick the prettiest ones to furnish your home with? I love using these canvas bins as a portable diaper stations stocked with wipes, diapers and diaper cream and these oversized bins make adorable laundry bins or dress-up bins for a kid’s room. Also, loving these stylish high chairs with splash mats from Gathre.

It doesn’t take much to step up your interior style – Try experimenting with concealed storage options, uniform containers and elevating your everyday essentials. Struggling with how to create a stylish, functional home now that kids are in the picture? Click here to check out my easy online guide Clutter-Free with Kids!

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Work Happier

It’s been home office makeover week here at Shira Gill Home! If you currently dread sitting down at your cluttered desk, treat yourself to an office refresh with this simple process I use with my clients:

*Clear all clutter from your desk surface and drawers.

*Immediately, shred or recycle outdated papers and dispose of any trash.

*Sort the remaining items into broad categories: office supplies, reference materials, current projects, etc.

*Store all office supplies together  in a desk drawer or basket, file paperwork in a file cabinet or file box, and keep current projects and to-dos visible and easily accessible in a wall-mounted pocket or stacked neatly in a basket or tray.

*Once your desk is clutter-free and organized, you can accessorize your space with a few pretty objects – nice lighting, fresh flowers, and framed photos help your workspace feel both personal and inviting.

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Letting Go of Clutter When it Feels Hard

If you truly want less clutter in your home, but feel overwhelmed or resistant to parting with your stuff, you may simply be focusing on the wrong questions as you assess each item. 

Unhelpful Questions:

Could this be useful one day?

Did someone give this to me?

Did I pay a lot of money for this item?

These questions are rooted in guilt, obligation and fear, and will provide you with the justification to keep just about anything!

Helpful Questions:

Does this item support my current values and priorities?

Does this item fit in with the vision I have for my ideal home?

Does this item feel important and meaningful to me?

Could this item be useful/helpful for another person?

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These questions will help keep you focused on creating a space that supports your current goals and lifestyle. They are rooted in abundant thinking – i.e “If I end up needing an eyeglass repair kit, I can easily buy or borrow one.” The goal, of course, is not to be careless, or get rid of everything, but, rather, to remain focused on keeping things that are truly meaningful and functional for you in the present.

Bonus tips for making it feel extra good to get rid of your clutter:

  • I recommend clearing clutter from your home in manageable chunks – one small space at a time.  Even if you limit yourself to cleaning out only the junk drawer, completing a job you start bring tremendous satisfaction.
  • Connect with a local non-profit or charity that can benefit from your donations can also prove helpful and motivate you to let go of more while helping your community. A win-win. 
  • Create a vision board of your ideal space. When you get stuck in the editing process, use the board as a reminder of what you are trying to create.  If you keep keep the destination close, the journey of decluttering will feel shorter and less fraught with anxiety.

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How to Be More Productive

Do you ever feel like you’re being swallowed up by your never ending to-do list and don’t know where to start? Try this simple system to help stay on track:

  • Write down your list of action items for the day. (I like to do this the night before).
  • Circle the three most important tasks of the day.
  • Rank the remaining items in order of priority.
  • Tackle your three most important task first thing in the morning and check them off the list. This will feel great!
  • Do your best to tackle the remaining tasks in order of priority, one task at a time.
  • At the end of the day, set aside time to evaluate the items that still remain. Are there any you can let go of completely? Any you can delegate? Any you can consolidate with similar tasks for another day?
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I’ve been utilizing this system both personally and professionally, and I love the feeling of satisfaction that comes with accomplishing my primary goals early in the day. I’m also experimenting with letting go of my perfectionistic tendencies and embracing the concept of “good enough” when it comes to my lower priority tasks.  How do you conquer an overwhelming list of to-dos? Please share in the comments below!

photo credit: sf girl by bay

Glassware Intervention

It’s time to get honest about mugs and glassware. Do you have dozens more than you could ever use? Are you holding onto mismatched mugs from college and chipped glasses? You are not alone! I am consistently blown away by the volume of glassware cluttering up my clients’ kitchens.

Here’s what I suggest: Find a mug you really like. Buy 10 of them. Find a drinking glass you like. Buy 10 of them. Same plan for red and white wine glasses. If you are worried about breakage, buy a few extra of each style to store. When we throw parties, we either use disposable cups or these virtually unbreakable tumblers.

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I love the clean, streamlined look of uniform mugs and glassware, especially if you have open cabinets like we do. So, what are you waiting for?  Ditch the duds and invest in fewer, better glassware and mugs. Your cabinets will thank you!

photo credit: vivian johnson photography

Romper Roundup

I’ve never been much of a dress girl but I love the simplicity and versatility of a one-piece uniform. Enter….the romper! Such a perfect investment for a capsule wardrobe.

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Rompers are perfect for warm summer days, and can easily be dressed up for events or evenings out. I prefer mine with a floppy hat and some high heel clogs. What are your simple summer staples?

Toy Storage 101

I do my best to keep our home streamlined and minimal but between birthdays, holidays etc. there is a steady flow of stuff entering our home. Here’s how we handle toy storage and organization in our home:

Invest in Timeless Items: Magna tiles, wooden blocks, Legos, board games and art supplies provide hours of creative play and never go out of style.

Limit Visible Quantity : Keep no more than 5 broad categories out at a time – i.e Legos, baby dolls, building blocks, play kitchen and cars and trucks. By limiting how many things are out at one time, your kids won’t get overstimulated or overwhelmed. Store toys that they might grow into in labeled bins in a closet, basement, garage or other storage area so you can rotate out occasionally to keep things fresh.

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Store Active Toys in Clear Zones:  It’s best to set up toys in clear zones like a kindergarten classroom so it’s intuitive to find things and clean-up is a breeze. Food should be stored in or next to the play kitchen, all art supplies can be stored together in a crate or on an art cart, all baby dolls and accessories are stored in a large rolling bin, you get the picture.

Create a Place for Treasures: Provide a “special bin” for each child. Kids love having their own treasures and a special bin or treasure box provides them a space to call their own. I also love it because it keeps the random bits and bobs out of site – ie. plastic party favors, tooth fairy notes, a rubber band collection, etc.

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Set up a Donation Tote: Another little trick I use is hanging a tote in my closet and doing regular sweeps of the house that take no more than five minutes. I toss things in the bag like clothing my kids have outgrown and toys that are seldom touched. When the tote is full, I drop off the goods at a local charity. I also help the girls do a big edit before birthdays and holidays. I remind that that if they want new things we need to create some space and also teach them that we have the opportunity to contribute to kids that are less fortunate. They have become used to throwing toys, books, clothing and games in a bag and taking it to charity, although it definitely helps that they know new things are coming their way!

Focus on Experiences:  I do my best to teach our kids to focus their energy on relationships and experiences rather than material things. Try taking your kids out for weekly dates or adventures – we love going out for ice cream, tasting things at farmer’s markets, mini golf, day trips to the beach and picnics with friends. Toys will come in and out of favor but experiences leave much more lasting impressions. Recently I asked my seven year old what her favorite birthday present was from her party in April and she couldn’t remember a single gift she received. She did, however, recall all of the guests who came, the games they played, the water balloon fight they had and the ice cream sandwiches we served for dessert!

How do you handle toy storage and organization in your home? Please share in the comments below!

photo credit: vivian johnson photography

Form vs. Function

When setting up and organizing a home I always do my best to merge both form and function. There are some times, however, when it becomes necessary to pick. Example: Our office printer is huge, unattractive and takes up a third of our desk. Since we rarely need to print anything I decided to stow it in a large storage box in our linen closet. I will admit that every few months when I need to haul it out and set it up it is inconvenient, but in this case I happily opt for form (a pretty, clear desk) over function (easy printing).

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My husband thinks hauling the printer out is ridiculous and if it was his desk he would certainly opt for functionality. The point is there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you are stuck, I would suggest weighing the pros and cons of form vs. function and arriving at a decision that you can stand behind.

Happy Organizing!

photo credit: vivian johnson

Spring Pick: Leather Mats by Gathre

I stumbled upon these lovely leather mats from Gathre today and was instantly smitten with the dreamy colors (mint, blush and and multi-use functionality . The wipeable (and waterproof) leather mats come in all different sizes from micro to maxi and can be used for anything from a diaper mat to a picnic or beach blanket.

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I’ve got my eye on the large blush maxi just in time for summer picnics at the park and beach outings. Also thinking the mint mini would be a perfect baby shower gift since it can perform multiple roles as a tummy time mat, a changing pad, highchair mat or even a placemat. Stylish, functional, compact, and wipes clean in a jiffy – A mama’s dream come true!

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Morning Routine Inspiration

I recently wrote about my evening routine and how important it is to plan for the following day. Even with all the planning ahead of time, our girls are still young and leave for school quite early, so our mornings often feel rushed and frantic. The key difference is that when we get organized at night our kids are already sleeping and there are minimal distractions. In the morning, I need to stay focused on getting my little ones dressed, fed, packed up and out the door, which leaves little time for my own self care.

My aspirational morning routine is quite different from my actual morning routine so I am sharing it with the hope that I can get a little closer to my ideal routine this year.

My aspirational morning routine:

I wake up and drink a huge glass of lemon water.

I stretch or do at least 15 minutes of yoga.

I shower and get dressed for my day.

I eat a fresh, homemade breakfast.

I write down my daily goals and action plan.

I pack up my bag full of healthy snacks and go!

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I’m hoping that by waking up a bit earlier and being more mindful of how I spend my time I can incorporate some of these activities into my current morning routine. For more morning routine inspiration, check out this video and this website.

What about you? How do you juggle busy mornings and create space to start your day off right? Please share!

image credit: sarah sherman samuals