Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Appleshine: Tribeca Office

My client swore up and down that her office looked like "a dumping ground".  I assured her that everyone thinks their mess is the worst.  Yet to be honest, there wasn't much counter space to be seen.

We still managed to Appleshine our way our from under the paper clutter.  Here are the before/after pictures:

The overall aesthetic of her office became brighter and offered a little more breathing room once the project was complete.

Sorting and grouping the items helped streamline the bookcase.  

Well, her desk WAS a bit of a dumping ground.  So we careful went through all the papers, filing, shredded and moving them to their new homes, until it became a clear, uncluttered space.

I'm a big fan of clearing all countertops.  Paper creep just clutters a room and clouds the mind.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you keep your office organized?

PS- Come back tomorrow and see what I did with all her paper files.  Whew!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gotta Run Some Errands!

I feel so accomplished and productive when I check things off my list.  Planning errands is like a mental obstacle course, trying to align the geographical components into my limited timeframe. A challenge that I readily accept.

But...I realize that most others don't share my enthusiasm.  So to you, I dedicate this post.  Here are tips to Appleshine your way to a blue ribbon spree:

1) Jot down your errands as they come to you.  Keep a list on your phone or have post-it notes handy to scribble and stick.

2) If you know you'll be in a location that's close to another errand, allow for extra time to get it done.  Like dropping off your laundry by your doctor's appointment or picking up the photo framing that's close to your kids' school.

3) It's best to allocate a chunk of time to knocking out most of your errands.  Plan accordingly.  Arrange your order so that things are close and manageable.

4) Take into consideration what you'll be picking up and dropping off.  If you don't have a car (ahem, New Yorkers), try to arrange your schedule so you won't have an oversized handful to lug around.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what are your tips for getting errands done?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mail Organizers

The battle against paper clutter is an ongoing fight.  Do your part by clearing up the 'mail zone'.  

Maintain your mail center close to the front door, limiting the battle grounds.  If you can, keep a small garbage basket or paper shredder handy to toss out the junk.  And I highly recommend an organizer, preferably one hanging on the wall, to sort and store mail as soon as it comes in.

Here are a few suggestions:

It's basic, it's black and it's functional; therefore, fitting into any decor.

If you're up for a DIY project, grab an oversized flap of burlap and an old bulletin board.  If not, you can get one just like it from Etsy.  It acts as both separate shelves and a note board.

Or this chalkboard version is great for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Small and compact, you can write notes to yourself to stay on track.

I like this modern take on a wall organizer.  The metal shelf comes with magnets to post bills or notices.  

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you sort your mail?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mud Rooms

It's a spot for all your outside stuff to reside while you're inside your home. Most are divided by family member, including room for shoes, bags, coats and other small items.  Cubbies and baskets are typical but some are simply a bench and coat rack.  I've found a few images of mud room concepts that I like:

This is one of the first mud room's that I Appleshined.  I kept it simple to go with their natural decor.  They'd already picked out these large wicker baskets to hold all the kids' shoes underneath.

This is a similar concept to the one above.  Here they use pegboards as the backsplash, which offers a little color and flexibility when hanging different items.

I love how a simple closet can multi-task from clothes storage to a desk to even a mud room.  Again, using baskets to store smaller items keeps the look clean.  And placing the shoes on shelving keeps them from clumping on the floor.

Centsational Girl did a great job with her entry way.  She used a basic storage bench and a few hooks; it serves it's purpose while still maintaining an artistic aesthetic.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how did you arrange your mud room?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Collecting your Cords

Keeping track of your cords can be challenging; covering them up can be messy.  So we tend to shove them behind or underneath furniture, hoping we'll never have to actually deal with them.

Instead of giving in to the blackhole of cords, here are a few ways to keep them organized, accessible and even attractive:

These colorful little cord clips can stick to your desktop or workspace and prevent your cords from sliding down when you unplug your device.

This larger recharge station works well by your front door, serving as a catchall for your devices, mail and keys.

A see-through pouch neatly holds all your cords.  Keep it in your junk drawer to minimize clutter.

I really like this concept of offering a shelf for your phone while it charges.

Ah, the mother of all charging stations almost eliminates the cord problem completely.  Plug the skateboard-like induction tray into an outlet.  Then leave your devices on top to charge.  Easy!

Tell me, Appleshiners, how to you keep your cords under control?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

'C. Wonder' Wonders

Last week, I had lunch with my fabulously creative friend, Abby.  (Check out her light-infused photography blog.) She was intown for NYC Fashion Week and had done some window shopping.   I'm embarrassed to say that she knew more about the city retail scene than I did.  In fact, she introduced me to my new favorite store...

C. Wonder.  It's a bright, preppy lifestyle store in Soho.  Their style rides the enviable line of color clusters without being cluttered.  Prices are reasonable and the products are functional and trendy.  Here are a few of my favorites:

This tray reminds me of 'A Little Princess'; it's subtly exotic and the soft pink is sweet compliment to most interiors.  Set it by your front door to hold your keys and other pocket items.

A more sophisticated (and shinier) version of the old, plastic piggy bank to hold all your loose change.

Having stationary on-hand is a must.  (Remember this post about keeping it organized?)  And I like the simple title on these cards: 'It's Been Too Long'.  Hasn't it, though?

Oh, my goodness!  What a gorgeous bike!  I love the C. Wonder green and the throwback style, suitable for a guy or gal.  Using a bike to get errands done can be an effective way to Appleshine your To Do List.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what's your favorite pick from C. Wonder?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Appleshine: Girl's Playroom

When Appleshining my client's playroom, there really wasn't much to sort out.  Since they had just moved back into their remodeled East Hampton home, they had already purged their old toys and books.  What remained was loosely gathered, the smaller items without containers and the books and crafts haphazardly placed.

I made suggestions to contain, conceal and create proper space for everything in the room:

Gather the books to one shelf and use that as a marker- when it gets too full, it's time to sort out the old ones.

Large baskets can be used for play clothes and musical instruments.

Putting small baskets on the higher shelves allows you to keep little toys and crafts contained and out of unsupervised-reach from the little ones.  You can even label the contents of each basket with these chalkboard tags.

Arrange toys so they have their own play section and leave the center of the room clear for playspace.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what helps you keep a playroom in order?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cozy Duds

Are you still enjoying your three-day weekend?  I certainly am.  A cozy cabin in snow-filled Vermont is a lovely way to spend a winter weekend with friends.  Whether I'm cuddling, reading or baking (everybody has a sweet tooth on vacation), I wear my favorite loungewear to keep me comfy cozy:

Snuggly thermal and sweater from J. Crew.  I love the bright orange and navy combo and the layers keep me extra warm.
These pants are so soft and flowing and more importantly, have a stretchy waistband ;)

My parents got me these for Christmas.  The shearling lining keeps my toes happy.

No cozy outfit is complete without a great blanket.  The aqua chevron pattern is classic and the blanket travels well.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what keeps you cozy and warm?

PS- While the guys were out taking late runs on the slopes, we made a batch of Caramel Witch Brownies.  So good!  I've been obsessed since I had one from Chelsea Market last week.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Quick and Easy Packing

I'm off to a ski weekend in Vermont which means...I have to pack.  And I hate packing.  I always procrastinate and then do everything I can to distract myself once I've started.  I know, I'm awful!

In an attempt to stay focused and keep timing to a minimum, I'm giving myself a few packing guidelines:

1) Think about how long you'll be gone and what type of activities you'll be doing.

2) Then prepare your outfit for the bigger events (like skiing, fancy dinner, beach, etc.)

3) Pick out two bottoms- one to wear while traveling- and add tops and layers from there.  These great composites from Miss Renaissance show how to incorporate layers for warmer, cooler, dressier or more casual outfits.

4) Keep all your travel toiletries together in a quart-sized ziploc.  Store it inside your suitcase and when you get ready to pack, you'll only need to add your makeup and hairbrush.

5) Remember- if you forgot to pack it, you can buy it when you get there.  This really keeps me in check when I'm worried if I packed enough or brought the right things.  Chances are, if you really do need something you didn't bring, you could find a place to buy it wherever you're vacationing.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you pack for a trip?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rainy Day Closet Raid

Well, ain't it a dreary day.  When the weather keeps you inside, why not plan a productive activity to keep you busy?

I sorted through my closet today, plucking out old pieces that I no longer wear.  In the end, it makes me feel like I have a whole new wardrobe.  I enjoy wearing everything left behind knowing it looks good on me and it's either the current trend or a classic piece.

If you're up for appleshining your wardrobe, here are some rules to follow:

1) Pull out anything that you did not wear this season, including items you tried on but didn't wear or anything you wore and felt not-so-great in.

2) Organize your remaining clothes by sleeve length, color and function.  When you go to grab a long sleeve spring sweater, all your options will be grouped together making it easier (and faster) to choose.

3) Bag up your old clothes for donation and remove them from your home asap.  Don't let them sit around and create more clutter. 

4) I realized I hadn't been wearing these because they needed to be hemmed.  Gather your clothes for the tailor and make an appointment this week.  When they're ready for pick up, it'll be like going shopping :)

5) If you're struggling with keeping or tossing an item, use this guide (from Mimi and Meg) for that extra nudge towards the donation pile.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what are your tips for appleshining a closet?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Read a Good Book Lately?

I like to say that "when it comes to organizing, you either have the gene or you don't."  Either way, it might help to brush up on new (and old) tips to keep your lifestyle in order.  Here are a few good books on organization:

This series has always been a reliable way to learn more about any topic, decluttering included.  It goes through why we have tendencies to hang on to certain items, whether it's emotional, financial or fear.  And it gives great rules on how to handle moving them out.

Oprah's organizing guru, Peter Walsh, has no-fuss attitude when it comes to clearing out clutter.  I appreciate that he 'tells you how it is'...sometimes, you just need to hear it.

I love, LOVE Apartment Therapy.  And Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan gave us even more to love with this best-of collection of making the most of a small space.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what other organizing books do you find helpful?
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