Virtual Workshop w/ New Minimalism

Back by popular demand! I’m so excited to partner again with my friends, New Minimalism, to host a live virtual workshop for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Join me as I partner with New Minimalism to host a live virtual workshop for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Details:

The workshop will be live on Tuesday, October 23rd @7pm PST and a replay will be instantly available for those who can’t make it live.

The content will be geared towards professional organizers, home decorators and stylists, zero-waste educators, minimalists or those aspiring to be any of the above.

Grab a glass of bubbly, get your questions ready, and come join the fun before registration closes!

CLICK HERE to grab your spot.

Image Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography

Kitchen Reno Reveal with Real Simple Magazine

It’s been so hard to keep this a secret, but the big day is finally here: Our kitchen reno is complete, and I’m sharing my top, budget-friendly kitchen makeover tips with Real Simple Magazine!

You can read the story with all of my tips right here, but I also wanted to share some extra images and product sourcing with you below:

Here is the kitchen reveal! We painted all of the cabinets bright white (Benjamin Moore Snowfall White semi gloss) and freshened them up with modern hardware from Schoolhouse. The new pendant lights are from Rejuvenation and I love how they add a darker grounding element. I found the Turkish runner on Etsy.

I love gathering inspiration on Pinterest, and this image of a similar kitchen layout gave me the idea to replace our tiny rug with a long vintage runner.

We opened the wall between the kitchen and dining room to create a cozy island with stools. We lost storage and our microwave in the process, but I think it was worth it. It’s my favorite spot to work, and the girls use it for homework, art, and snack time.

The ceramic lights are from Cedar and Moss, and the stools were ordered from The Finnish Design Shop (and were worth the long wait).

Since we lost storage in the kitchen, we updated the dining room cabinets which were composed of old, rickety drawers. We demoed the inside and added large, deep shelving. We use the storage cabinets to house oversized platters, candles, vases, napkins, gifting, and party supplies. I use these storage containers to stay organized.

I finally pulled the trigger and painted everything white. I love how fresh and bright it feels. We replaced our large, white table with this modern beauty from Houzz, and added an indoor/outdoor rug from West Elm to add texture and a bit of color.

As far as renovations go, we managed to keep ours relatively low cost and low impact. You can read my renovation survival tips right here and take a peek at the before pictures below. Here is how the kitchen looked when we bought our house five years ago:

You can see what a massive difference it made to swap out tile and paint everything white. We stayed on budget by keeping the cabinetry and removing the doors for a more modern look.

And here is the dining room before we moved in:

Again, updated lighting and furniture and a fresh coat of paint completely transformed this small, dark space.

We’re loving the transformed space. Even though our home is under 1300 square feet, it now feels open, spacious, and bright.

Special thanks to Vivian Johnson for all of the images and Kelsey Tu Interiors who consulted on the design and décor.

Ask Shira: Should I Sell or Donate?

A question that’s been coming up a lot – both in the virtual program and in my in-person work with clients –  is how to handle the items you want to let go of.  Should you sell or donate the items you no longer want?

I’ve given this topic a lot of thought, and I want to share my perspective, as well as some clarifying questions that may help you make the best decision:

Ask Shira: Should I Sell or Donate the Clothes You No Longer Want?

Your Time or Your Money?

What do you need more of in your life right now – time or money? When I was a bit younger I had all the time in the world and was eager to earn extra money – even an extra $20 felt like a major win no matter how much time it took to earn it. Now that I work full time, and have two kids and a packed schedule, time is the resource that feels more scarce, and therefore more valuable. I think I would actually pay to have more time in my day. Because of this, I seldom opt to sell my unwanted items. I can live without the extra income, so I donate, and I don’t look back or lament the sunken cost. Onwards!

Consider the Current Value

Most people dramatically overestimate the value of their belongings and are shocked to learn how little they will earn by selling them. Most consignment stores sell your clothing for a third of the original value and then give you roughly 50% of the selling price. So a sweater you paid $100 for will be sold for about $33 and you will make about $16.50 if that sweater sells. You can also opt to take the time to list and sell high ticket items only. Decide what potential dollar amount is worth your time, and only sell items that will sell for that amount or higher – i.e designer bags, high end electronics, or new items in original packaging. You can also pick and commit to a specific number – i.e “Items I can get $100 or more for I will sell – everything else will be donated.”

Consider the Selling Options

If you’re interested in selling your unwanted items, it’s important to consider your options:

Consigning Locally: You can sell brand name clothing in great condition at your local consignment store. Most stores give you 50% of the selling price which will be well below the retail price you paid. You’ll need to drop off your items, fill out a form, and then remember to check back in to see if your items have sold.

Selling in Your Community: Sites like Craigslist make it easy to list and sell bulky items like furniture or baby gear. You will need to take pictures of your items, list a detailed description and coordinate a time for the transaction to take place. You can also use these sites to list things for free. Just remember you’ll have to deal with hagglers, no-shows, and sometimes spam or scammers when you post online. Make sure it feels worth it.

Listing Online: You can also list your items online on ebay, Etsy, Letgo, or endless other e-commerce sites and apps. Remember – most people vastly underestimate how much time and energy is required to list and sell an item. You often need to research the item to find a comp, style and photograph the item, write a detailed description of the item with measurements, and post to sell. Not to mention, if your item sells, you then need to pack it up and send it off to the buyer if they aren’t local.

Third Party Sellers: If you really want to get some cash but don’t want to deal with all of the work involved, you can ship your clothing, shoes and accessories off to third party sellers who will do the work for you and take a cut of the profit. Thredup accepts trendy name brand clothing in good condition and The Real Real specializes in higher-end designer items. Both will send you bags so you can pack up and ship off your items. Note: they will often only accept a small percentage of what you send in and return the rest.

Ask Shira: Should I Sell or Donate the Clothes You No Longer Want?

What Feels Better?

When deciding whether you want to sell or donate, check in with your current priorities and pick whichever option most aligns with your values.

In the end, it’s truly a personal choice based on your desires, finances, and lifestyle. I almost always choose to donate because I believe it helps to orient me towards an abundant mentality, cultivates a generous spirit, and saves me time.

Values and priorities can shift, so no judgement here – do whatever feels best to you right now. The most important thing is to make a final decision and then take action. Decide and go!

~

PS. The response to the FALL Virtual Closet Makeover Program was amazing! The program is currently sold out and registration is closed for the season. You can get on the waitlist RIGHT HERE for the next program which will open in 2019.

Image Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography

Should You Keep or Toss Your SKINNY Clothes?

One of the most commonly asked questions I get asked when editing and organizing a closet is what to do with the clothes that don’t fit. Here’s the thing: Most women have three sizes of clothing in their closet – skinny clothes, fat clothes and the items that actually fit. I’m going to break down my thoughts on each of these three categories for you below:

One of the most commonly asked questions I get asked when editing and organizing a closet is what to do with the clothes that don't fit. Click here to learn what to do.

The Problem with “Fat Clothes”

“Fat clothes” perpetuate the idea that you may not succeed in your weight loss goals and you need these items in case you fail. Boo to that idea. Let’s focus on succeeding, shall we?

The Problem with “Skinny Clothes”

I have yet to meet a woman who actually feels excited and motivated by her “skinny clothing.” Hanging onto your “skinny clothes” generally does nothing more than help trigger negative thoughts about yourself and the idea that you should be different than you are right now.  So many women are waiting to be thin to begin living their best lives. Opening a closet stocked with clothing that doesn’t fit reinforces that destructive pattern of behavior. No thanks.

The Joy of Clothes That Fit

When you make the decision to clear out items that don’t fit from your closet and wear clothes that fit and flatter the body you have, you are making a statement – you are embracing yourself and your current body and treating it with the respect it deserves. Let’s start sending ourselves the message that we deserve to be treated with love and acceptance no matter what body size we are today. Can I get an Amen?

Do you want some support to learn how to dress for your current body and streamline and organize your closet at the same time? The Virtual Closet Makeover Program opens for registration this week. Come join our supportive community RIGHT HERE. Let’s do this.

Image: Vivian Johnson Photography 

Fall Capsule Wardrobe 2018

Fall is my absolute favorite season for fashion (bring me all the boots and cozy knits, please!). Since I’ve been trying to practice the French 5-Piece Wardrobe System, where you only add a handful of items to your wardrobe each season, I have to be very intentional with my purchasing this season.

I’ve created a Pinterest board just for gathering my inspiration and favorite items (I encourage you to make your own – you can check mine out here). This has really helped me resist the urge to impulse shop. Instead, I’ve been slowly building a wish list for each season that will elevate my current wardrobe and keep it fresh.

My top pieces to elevate my Fall Capsule Wardrobe for 2018

Here are the pieces that are on my fall wishlist:

Relaxed Blazer

I love this one but it’s pretty splurgy so I’m still on the hunt.

Trench Coat

I’ve actually never owned a trench coat, but love the idea of a really relaxed, casual version that I can throw on to elevate any outfit.

Chunky Cardigan Sweater

So simple and chic with jeans, or even over a maxi dress with booties. This one is on my wish list for sure.

Boho Blouse

I’m obsessed with the feminine 70’s vibe of this one and would love it with jeans and heels.

Structured Tote

This one by Cuyana is perfection.

What do you have your eye on for fall? Have you ever experimented with a capsule wardrobe or the French 5-piece wardrobe system?

PS. Registration opens up next week for the Closet Makeover Program. It’s going to be so much fun and I’m adding lots of bonus content to help with your personal style, confidence, and shopping. Sign up here to get on the waitlist!

Image: Vivian Johnson Photography

The Two Reasons You’re Not Organized

When I meet new clients for the first time I always start with a tour of their home. I’m looking for two things: volume of clutter and presence or lack of systems. These are the only two reasons that people struggle to stay organized and the good news is that they are both simple to remedy if you are willing to put in the work.

Problem One: Volume of Clutter

Everything you bring into your home needs to be cared for, cleaned, and organized. We have reached a tipping point where the ability to own a lot of stuff has become more suffocating than liberating. If you find it difficult to stay on top of your belongings, you probably just own more than you can manage.

The Solution:

The simplest thing you can do to solve your clutter problem is to donate half of what you own to charity. Most people get overwhelmed by this task and prefer to have a friend or a professional organizer support them through the process. I joke with my clients that 90% of our work is getting rid of stuff. The other 10% is organizing and styling once we can see clearly.

These are the only two reasons that people struggle to stay organized and the good news is that they are both simple to remedy if you are willing to put in the work. Try these simple steps now.

Problem Two: Lack of Systems

When I take a home tour I’m scanning for information and asking a lot of clarifying questions. If there are piles on surfaces or on the floor I ask what they are and why they are there.  These items either need to be put away in their “home” or they need an assigned place to live. In order to stay organized, you must have systems set up for everything you bring into your space.

The Solution:

Creating an organizational system is as easy as corralling similar things together and creating a “home” for them. An example is if you have mail, bills, and papers floating all over the house, you can gather them all up and store them together in a bin or basket. This “system” couldn’t be simpler and if you consistently put all of these items in this dedicated place, it will ensure that you can easily find your important papers within seconds.

Need some support and a clear road map to get organized this fall? Registration for the Virtual Program opens in just a few weeks. Get on the waitlist right here so you can make sure to get a spot and set yourself up for success.

Images: Vivian Johnson Photo 

When You’ve Lost Your Way

I’ve had so many clients tell me recently that they “just don’t know how they got off course” or that they feel like they’ve “somehow totally lost control of their lives.” Of course these feelings extend far beyond having a cluttered or disorganized home.

I’ve also had this feeling of being “off track” pop up more than a few times in my life. I’ve learned it can be triggered not only by significant life events – like losing my father unexpectedly – but also seemingly minor hiccups, like losing my voice for a few weeks or even just waking up and feeling like something’s out of whack.

I’ve found a few tools that have proven helpful, and of course I wanted to share them with you:

Try these helpful tools when you've lost your way or feel off track. Get Quiet

Sometimes when I’m feeling off it is because there’s so much noise in my head it’s hard to think straight. It helps to make space for myself and find pockets of quiet. I recommend a ten-minute walk to reflect or a five-minute meditation to help quiet your mind and slow down your racing brain. I particularly love the five to ten-minute meditations on the Rituals app.

Practice Acceptance

There’s nothing like resisting emotion to make negative feelings drag on even longer. My tendency is always to push against any kind of negativity that crops up, but I’ve learned that as soon as I surrender things shift, sometimes instantly. Practice paying attention to how you feel like an outside observer. Write down all of your thoughts and feelings and don’t judge them. Maybe you feel totally overwhelmed in every area of your life? Maybe you feel ashamed of the state of your home? All of it is fine. This is where you are, and it’s ok.

Connect with People Who Get You

Sometimes, when I feel like I’m so off track I can’t even remember who I am or what I care about, I connect with someone who does. A call to your mom, a session with a therapist, life coach, or teacher who knows you, or lunch with an old friend can help you feel more connected, and integrated, in your life.

Practice Doing Things You Enjoy

Whenever I’m in a rut or feel disconnected from myself, I make sure to start practicing things that I love. Take a yoga or dance class, dig into a good book, take a writing class, or meet a good friend for dinner. Sometimes you have to “fake it until you make it,” but taking these actions can help propel you forward and will certainly feel better than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.

Create a Daily Routine

I remember when I broke my foot and couldn’t workout or see clients for weeks. I felt not only frustrated, but totally disconnected from my life. What helped the most was establishing a daily routine I could practice even with my given circumstances. No matter what you’re going through, you can still schedule meals, social outings, and create space for activities you enjoy.

Start Small

Whether you want to lose weight, declutter your home, get a new job, or start a relationship, it’s always best to start with one small step at a time. When we feel overwhelmed it’s almost impossible to take action. Think of one tiny thing you can do to move towards your vision or goals. Focus only on completing that one micro-action so you can experience a little victory. Ignore the rest. Momentum will follow.

If you’re working your way through a difficult time, I hope you will try some of these techniques and let me know how it goes for you. If you have others to add to the list, please share in the comments below or DM me.

PS. The waitlist for the Virtual Closet Makeover Program is open. Get on it today so you don’t miss your chance to join us when we open up registration in September.

Images: Vivian Johnson Photo

5 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life

Do you feel overwhelmed by the constant buzzing of computer alerts and mobile phone apps calling for your attention? Digital clutter can take a toll just as much as physical clutter. Here are a few simple ways I’m trying to quiet the noise and declutter my digital life:

5 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life

Clear Your Desktop

When I open up my computer and find the home screen cluttered with photos and documents I find it difficult to stay focused. Try deleting any outdated items and then organize the remaining items into labeled files for easy access when you need them. A blank screen feels like a clean slate. Ahhhh…

Limit Open Tabs

I was shocked to notice the other day that I had ten tabs open on my computer! Stay focused and increase productivity by closing up shop so you won’t be temped to peruse social media, or other sites, when you sit down to work.

Delete Unnecessary Apps

Take ten minutes to delete any apps from your phone that you don’t use or reference. You can also try organizing the apps that you do use by type. I love to keep my home screen blank and store all of my apps on the second page so I’m less tempted to go down a social media rabbit hole.

Turn Off All Notifications

Tired of alerts on your devices distracting you throughout the day? You can easily adjust your settings to turn off all notifications so you can enjoy the sound of silence and stay focused throughout your day.

Unsubscribe

Whenever spam or junk mail lands in your inbox, take a few seconds to report or unsubscribe. I’ve committed to this practice for just a few months and I’ve seen a massive drop in unwanted emails.

Interested in trying a full blown digital detox? Read about how right here. 

Images: Vivian Johnson Photography 

Radical Generosity

I’m reading this amazing book called “More or Less” by Jeff Shinabarger. The book revolves around a question: “What would happen if we created a culture in which we gave away whatever was more than enough for us?”

I love this question so much because it invites us to focus on both abundant thinking and radical generosity. So many of us have far more than we need and yet there are other people who lack food, shelter, clothing, and basic necessities. “More or Less” offers tools and fresh ideas for how to determine how much is enough, and how you can share your excess for the betterment of your community.

Tools and fresh ideas for how to determine how much is enough, and how you can share your excess for the betterment of your community.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas from the book:

Decide How Much is Enough

How much is enough for you? Take time to reflect on your lifestyle, your priorities, and your core values. Decide purposefully what you truly want and need to keep. What is your version of “enough”? Consider paying attention to the items you use on a daily basis and especially to the things that are just taking up space and collecting dust. Could those items help another person live a better life?

Pay Attention to the Needs of Your Community

Start paying attention to the people around you. Are there people in your life or community that are in need of items you already own and seldom use? Practice giving away your excess items. Give generously and without strings attached. You might even try giving away something you really do like. It feels pretty amazing to surprise and delight others with your generosity.

Shop Your Pantry, Feed the Hungry

Do you have a clear inventory of the food stocked in your kitchen and pantry? How many weeks could you and your family last living off the food sitting in your kitchen right now? Most people are astonished to find out how much food they own once they pull everything out and take an inventory. Try “shopping” your pantry for the next few weeks before you head out to the store. Use what you own before bringing in new items. Do you have more than enough? Pull out items that you know you’ll never use and donate them to the homeless, or bring them to your local food bank or charity.

Tools and fresh ideas for how to determine how much is enough, and how you can share your excess for the betterment of your community.

Donate Your Spare Change

Gather up all of  your change from your car, your house, and your coat pockets. Count it up and donate it to an organization in great need. If you can, add up at least thirty five dollars in change, you can send it to Amnesty International. They will use your donation to help fight for basic human rights for people across the globe. Most people don’t even realize how much change they have strewn about. Choosing to make a difference in the world with it is a total win-win.

When you take the time to determine what feels like enough in every area of your life, you can initiate meaningful and impactful change by giving  your excess to others. As Shinabarger writes, “The good life is not found in luxury; rather it is found in a life that enhances the life of another human.” I’m off to clean out my closet again!

Images: Vivian Johnson Photography

Pity Party + Powerful Questions

Last week was one of those weeks where everything just felt hard. Like every single area of my life had some major challenges to iron out. I pretty much wanted to curl up in a ball. Ever feel like that? It’s easy to wallow in self pity, but I truly didn’t want to get stuck there. So, I turned to some of my most trusted coach friends and mentors for suggestions.

The commonality in all of their responses was that they asked me powerful questions. Instead of trying to talk me out of my feelings, or make assumptions about what would be best for me, they helped guide me towards my own answers.

Similarly, when I was going through life coach training, I remember being struck by how the best coaching (or self coaching) often involved nothing more than asking the right questions.

If any of you are going through it right now, and want an easy tool to help move things forward, I’m going to share my top five powerful questions to ask yourself when you feel stuck.

Try these top five powerful questions to ask yourself when you are feeling stuck.

1. Who Do You Want to Be in This Situation?

Man, I love this question. Because…choices. We have very little control over the circumstances in our lives but we always get to decide how we want to show up. This question also gets you out of victim mode and puts you right in the driver’s seat.

2. Can You Imagine Someone Else Thinking Differently About This?

This is a question that can help shift your perspective in a second. When I am feeling super dramatic about something, I like to think about how someone very calm and non-reactive (i.e my husband) would handle the exact same situation.

3. What If You Just Wanted to Be Where You Are?

Most of us are guilty of the belief that everything would be better if we were richer, thinner, more successful, etc. I love this question because it presumes that you have the option of being totally happy right where you are without anything needing to change.

4. How Do You Want to Feel About This?

Just realizing that there are many other ways to consider something, can feel like freedom. This question helps shift the focus from “this sucks” to “I have options to consider.”

5. How Might This Be Perfect for You?

OK. This one can be a provocative and challenging question, because when you are in the midst of feeling like everything is a wreck, “perfect” can feel like a pretty unrealistic leap. Try being curious. Maybe you’ll find one small answer that will help shift your perspective. Maybe the answer is that you have an opportunity to learn to be more resilient, or you can connect and empathize more with other people who are suffering. The reason I’ve included this question, is that it forces your brain to look for the silver lining in even the darkest situations.

The great news about the human brain is that it loves to seek answers to open-ended questions. Just by asking yourself new questions, you may identify new answers, new solutions, and hopefully a little relief along the way.

Image: Vivian Johnson Photography