Friday, March 30, 2012

Organization Inspiration

Remember this post about using organization as artwork?  One of the concepts stuck with me: picture rails serving as shoe racks.  Here are some similar images:

I like the idea of treating your shoes like artwork.  Putting your belongings out in the open reminds you what you have; things won't get lost in the back of a closet if they're on display instead.

Tell me, Appleshiners, would you use picture rails to hang your shoes?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Maybe you'll get some errands done.

If you're going to a dinner party, here are great ways to carry your food with you.

This before/after of a home office will inspire you to do a little pick-up around your home!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Business Card Organizers

Last month was a busy blur of introductions, handshakes and business card swapping.  I've amassed a pile of cards, stuffed in a ziploc bag inside my desk drawer.  A couple times a week, I make a point to process the contact info to my computer.  Then I got to thinking, what about business card organizers?

If you're a visual person (like me), then you might appreciate keeping all your contacts at hand, flipping through them one by one or scrolling down page by page of attractively imaged cards.  Here are a few flashy organizers that keep your contacts in one place:

I like the idea of a mini-binder; sleek, slender and you can tuck it away on the bookshelf.  Yet those rolodex options are might fine-looking for a desktop.  Or maybe you're not a paper person and you'd prefer to keep your contacts online.  If so, then check out this cool app that enters info for you with a snap of your camera phone.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you organize your business cards?

PS- Look at this nifty card stand to put on your desk.

These creative card ideas are really out there. 

And when it comes to handing out your own business cards, my friend, Michael, says, 'a card is like a kiss'.  What??

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Appleshine: Boys Playroom

Yesterday, I organized a boy's playroom.  There wasn't much purging needed as there was re-organizing the toys, games and books.  

He's reading more chapter books now so I kept only his favorite storybooks on one shelf, making room for another matching bin to hold small action figures.

It'd been awhile since things were moved around.  He was a little older (and taller) now but the 'big-kid' toys were still out of his reach.  I moved all the board games low to the ground where he could read the labels and pull them out himself.  The higher shelves were for arts/crafts, science kits, beads and other toys that required adult supervision.

The clear plastic shelves were disorganized and without system.  I resorted all their contents and switched some things around, making sure all the smaller items were contained while some bigger items were moved out to his toy bin.  In the end, it wasn't a major transformation but it was enough tweaking to give him easy access to his favorite toys.  And what kid wouldn't be happy with that?

Tell me, Appleshiners, what tricks do you have for keeping some toys accessible (and others out of reach) for young ones?

Also, check out this girl's playroom and another's bedroom for more kid-inspired organizing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shoe Hangers Without Shoes

When organizing, I always talk about grouping 'like with like'.  Using bins, baskets, drawers or other receptacles are a great way to contain your materials but sometime it helps to be a bit more creative.

Here are a few ways to use shoe hangers for organizing things other than, well, shoes:

(Heather Weston)

And look at this great idea to use a shoe hanger as a planter.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how would you use a shoe hanger for something else?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Appleshine: Moving to DC

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope your weekend was fabulous and full of springtime activities.  I had a great couple of days with friends, food, run club, a birthday party, a movie (can you guess which one??) and a season premiere party.  I guess that's what happens when the weather warms up- my weekend fills up, too!

However, before the fun began, I helped a client pack up his apartment and prepare for a move to Washington, DC.  Needless to say, he had a ton of things to take care of.  While he was out running errands, I helped sort, organize and pack his belongings.  All that remained were pieces too large for me to handle on my own so I left them for the movers.

When my client got the call from DC, he had literally just moved into a new apartment.  By the time he moved out on Sunday, he had lived there for 23 days.  There wasn't much need for him to unpack; yet he hadn't found a sense of organization in his new space either.

To start the packing process, I gathered all like items together and kept them in a logical location (clothes in the bedroom, electronics by the desk, towels in the bathroom, etc).

Then I assessed the need for boxes- what size and how many?  Wardrobe boxes are great (at least 2 per full closet), always use small boxes for heavy items (like books), grab a few large ones to pack odd-shaped items and count on medium size boxes to contain most everything else. 

Resist the urge to throw things into a box and be done with it.  Packing a mess is much easier than unpacking a mess.  Take the time to label boxes with room + contents and wrap padding around delicate items.  You don't have to fold every shirt as it goes in the box, just make sure all the shirts are in the same box.  When you get to your new home, you'll find it much less stressful to deal with well packed boxes.

Tell me, Appleshiners, do you have any packing tips?

PS- Here's a look at the kitchen I unpacked.  Even though I hadn't packed the boxes, they were well organized and made it easy to put everything in it's place, like this!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Read a Good Book Lately?

Sometimes we need to know when to say 'when'.  Deciding what items to move away from and when to do so can be daunting; so much so that we tend to push it towards the bottom of our to do lists. In Gail Blanke's book, Throw Out Fifty Things, she encourages you to push yourself through the psychological barriers that cause you to create clutter in the first place.  "If you want to grow, you gotta let go," is Blanke's mantra; that means eliminating the clutter (physical and emotional) that holds you back. 

I absolutely support this approach to letting go of items once they've served their value.  When we obtain an object, whether it was purchased, gifted or willed, we should accept it with the understanding that it will serve a purpose.  And when that purpose is served, it's time to move it out of our lives.  

Many people find it hard to let go of an item for one of these reasons: financial, emotional or practical.  Because we paid $$ for it, it was given to us by someone special or it could be useful in the future is NOT a good reason to keep any item past its expiration date.  I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to these rules- they're surely are (and good ones!) Although, generally speaking, one should assess the purpose value of an item and determine if that purpose is still valid.  

Discarding a material item won't remove your memory attached to it.  Even though that couch was your first big purchase in your first apartment (ahem, 3 apartments ago), it's simply taking up space in your new home.  And sure, those jeans might come back in style and you could possibly fit into them but, in the meantime, they're taking up space in your closet.  Maybe you're not ready to get rid of 50 things but try starting with 5...or 10...or 20.  Just start somewhere (I promise, that'll be the hardest part).

Maybe this book will help motivate you to move a few things out.  And these are good reads, too.  Or maybe they'll just get you thinking about it.  Either way, clearing out a little clutter makes ways for big things to happen- they might just need some extra room.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what have you moved out of your life lately?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Appleshine: Girl's Bedroom

Well, ain't that the truth.  Everytime I've helped a client Appleshine their space, there has been a discovery of some long lost item, something they'd given up for dead.  When I organized this girl's bedroom, it wasn't just about finding lost things; we did lots of clearing out, throwing away and rearranging furniture.  

As many young children do, she had kept every trinket and treasure that had been given to her.  Most children don't know (or are waiting for permission) to move things out of their space once they're done using them.  Kids, if you let them, are great with purging because they're so eager to grow up and let go of 'baby-ish' things.

After we sorted and moved out plenty of items, I rearranged the furniture.  The main goal was to gather things from off the floor and give them a home.  The drawers and baskets weren't being used; once we designated homes for all her toys, books and trinkets, it was really easy to keep the floor clean.  As it turned out, she didn't choose to keep over half the items that had been lying around.  Good job!

Tell me, Appleshiners, was your room messy or clean while growing up?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Organization Inspiration

Being from the South, I have a deep rooted love of glass jars.  My grandma used to can veggies and preserves from her garden and I remember the endless shelves of Mason jars in her basement.  Nowadays, in an effort to repurpose old materials, glass jars can reinvent themselves into useful ways to stay organized.  Take a look:

A salad in a jar! Pour in the dressing and easy.  You can use the jars for other kinds of snacks, too.  It's great for a picnic or packing a lunch.

Create more storage space by clearing off your counter top.  Mount a magnetic strip underneath your cabinets to hold smaller, matching jars for your spices.

Glass jars shouldn't be limited to just your spices (or canned preserves).  This Appleshine client used glass jars for all her pantry staples.

Oooh, look-y here, crafters!  Keep your yarn bottled up and manageable by poking a hole in the tops of the jars.  This could work for wrapping ribbons, twine or other spools of materials.

Use chalkboard labels to keep your desk, playroom or kitchen closet organized and all the items in their place.

Haha!  These photo frames made me smile.  You could also stand the jar upright and fill it with olive oil to give your picture a sepia effect like this.

Oh, so many ways for glass jars to help organize your lifestyle.  And if those weren't enough, check out these other fun ideas, too.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you repurpose old jars for new organization?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grab a Towel

Making messes is a part of life.  So grab a towel, wipe it up and keep on moving.

My friend, Landis, has accomplished the ginormous task of living this past year entirely without paper towels.  She used a variety of dish towels to wipe up her small messes; this and this were her favorite and most effective towels.  Check out her great tips on how she made it work.

I, on the other hand, while not completely banishing Bounty from my life, have made an effort to cut back on the paper products.  I don't have a washer/dryer in my small, pre-war apartment so keeping up with the wash is a little difficult.  Instead, I limit my paper towel use to cleaning dirt or sticky messes and use the washable towels for spills that can easily be wiped up.

I'm not sure I could quit 'cold turkey' for a whole year but I'll admit- no more paper towels would, in turn, eliminate some paper waste.  And I'm all about cutting down on waste.

Tell me, Appleshiners, could you make it a whole year without paper towels?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Scarf Storage

Hi friends!  How was your weekend?  I had such a lovely time enjoying our first warm-weathered weekend of the season.  I had dinner with an out-of-town bestie on Friday night, spent St. Patty's Day at the beer garden and enjoyed a museum, a movie and some shopping on Sunday.  Hel-lo springtime!

I even brought out my summertime scarves (well, I did end up wearing my brother's new scarf for most of Saturday).  I usually keep all my scarves in a bin on my closet shelf but I was thinking- maybe it's time for  a new scarf solution.  So I found a few options to consider:

I have these Ikea racks in my kitchen but using them for accessories is a cute idea.

If I had the right wall space, I could use a few tension rods to create some scarf art.

Oooh, I like this!  With a little string and a few clothespins, I could display all my scarves.  I'd probably do an ombre colored theme.  Or maybe I have enough for a rainbow.

I'm not positive that wall art is the way to go, though.  Keeping my scarves inside my closet might be best and this hanger gives a better visual than the bins I'm using now.

Tell me, Appleshiners, which style storage do you prefer?

PS- If you're having a little scarf-love right now, too, check out this blog dedicated entirely to scarves!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wet Shoes on Rainy Days

Well, isn't this just a great idea?!  Instead of laying out extra doormats or newspapers (they just get soggy), you can set a boot tray by your door.  Set your wet or muddy shoes on the rocks and let them drip dry.  Then give the rocks a soapy rinse every now and again when you wipe down the inside of the tray.  I really like this nifty tip and here are some others to choose from:

A wall-mounted shoe rack, like this one, keeps your bulky boots up and outta the way.

This rug is easy to roll out when you need it and roll up when you don't.  And you can toss it in the wash when it gets too dirty.

An inverted pegboard is a simply, functional design for holding soggy Wellies.

I'm hoping my weekend will stay (mostly) dry...especially cause I tossed out my rainboots in my last closet raid and have yet to get a new pair!  Or maybe I'll use that as an excuse to go shopping.  Either way, I plan on enjoying my weekend (and the start of March Madness!) and I hope you are, too.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you store your wet shoes?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Good Finds

Oh, the weather in NYC is just gorgeous!!  I've been soaking up some springtime sun this week with a few afternoon walks.  Yesterday, I wandered into Gracious Home, a New-Yorker's staple for home furnishings.  I did some snooping for good Appleshine recommendations and here are a few products I really liked:

A folding colander from Joseph Joseph.  It deconstructs to lie flat while stored in a cabinet.  The entire line features ergonomic designs; helpful space savers for apartment living.  I like this cutting board and salad bowl (with serving utensils build into the bowl!)

I was just wishing for these!  Shelf dividers are great for adding more structure to cabinet shelves, especially when you're renting and can't make permanent changes.  You can find them here since they aren't listed on the website.

Why don't you toss your old stand-up towel holder and use this one instead?  Hanging your towels from underneath your cabinet saves counter space.

It was a fun little outing...warm weather, sunshine and organizing.  If only I could find a way to do all that at the beach, it'd be my nirvana ;)  

Tell me, Appleshiners, what good finds have you seen lately?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Appleshine: Unpacking a Kitchen (Part 2)

In yesterday's post, I started unpacking my client's kitchen.  She'd just moved from her small apartment to a more spacious loft and had no idea how to layout her kitchen.  

I unpacked all her boxes, displaying her belongings on the floor so I could see all that I had to work with.  Taking into consideration the design of the kitchen, I approached the storage with a logical and realistic sense of efficiency.  Take a look at the before/after pictures:

While it was tempting to put food in the cabinet closest to the fridge, I appreciated the simplicity of being able to unload the dishwasher and put the dishware directly in the cabinets above.  If the plates had been over the sink instead (note the Before photo), it would've required reaching around an open cabinet door in order to put a clean dish away.  Eliminating extra steps like that keep a kitchen running efficiently.

Many of her appliances and gadgets were a bright cherry red.  Instead of hiding them in cabinets, I chose the most suitable ones to display on her countertop.  When placing such items, keep the paper towels close to the sink (preferably on the right side as most are right-handed), the cooking utensils by the stove and larger electrical items accessible to an outlet.

These are 4 of her...wait for it...8 drawers!!  I know that may not seem so impressive to anyone outside of NYC but most of us deal with only one kitchen drawer.  (I wish I were exaggerating but I swear I'm not!)  I'd already filled her 4 stacked drawers with utensils, gadgets, tupperware and linens (respectively).  And since these were on the extended side of her prep area, I used them for extra smaller items, keeping like with like.

While it would've been more logical to keep pots and pans in the inner cabinet, closer to the stove, the design didn't lend itself to that idea.  The inner cabinet had a deep pocket, causing the top shelf to cut back.  So I kept more of her prep items (strainers, mixing bowls, measuring cups) there instead.  Notice that when storing the pots and pans, I kept the lids on top.  Sometimes it helps save space if you turn the lids upside down, creating a smooth surface to stack other items on.  However, unless you have a lid rack in your kitchen, it always saves time having the matching lid at hand rather than searching through loose ones.

It was a long day but in the end, I had a LOT of fun unpacking this kitchen. Starting from scratch with any organization project is a great time to implement good systems that work with the design of the space as well as the functioning needs.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what tips do you have on determining a layout for your kitchen supplies?

PS- Here are some great kitchen organizing tips from real cooks- twitter style.
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