Friday, April 27, 2012

Does Technology + Office = Productivity?

(Stuart Isett via The New York Times)

An office is a place for work.  Work is defined as an activity of mental/physical effort to produce a result.  Let's assume that our office is place of productivity. While the evolution of technology has greatly influenced the workplace, is it fair to assume that it's also increased our productivity there?  Or are we overrun with technological advances that leave us catching up to where we'd like to be?

I believe that a clear mind and a clear space are equally as beneficial to an organized lifestyle.  And technology, while proving to be organizationally effective and efficient in many ways, can also create mental clutter.  Sometimes, it's best to turn off the machine and go back to a slower pace in the workspace, if only for a few minutes.

David Allen wrote an interesting article in the NY Times about technology overwhelming an office. He mentions common complaints such as too many emails, meetings or new responsibilities brought on by technological progress to get any 'real' work done.  He challenges us is to find out "how to participate productively in this new and turbulent world and not be paralyzed by it."

Allen outlines 5 steps to enable yourself to be "present and able to trust your inner wisdom", ie- ways to slow down, define what's important and maximize your time and, therefore, productivity.  Those 5 steps are: Capture, Clarify, Organize, Review and Deploy your Attention Appropriately.  And he encourages doing all of this by grabbing a pen and paper and simply making a list.

I agree with the need to assess one's productivity and entertain the idea of looking beyond a computer screen.  In fact, I often use post-its to scribble down notes or ideas.  I guess it's my 'offline' way of evaluating my work, both what I've accomplished and what I've left to do.

So tell me, Appleshiners, does office technology ever slow down your productivity?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Organize Sports Balls

(via Spacehoppas Sports Facility)

Yesterday, I helped a client tackle her sports closet (pun intended).  It was packed full of equipment but as we sorted through, we realized that most of the space was consumed by sports balls.  Lots of basketballs, a few soccer balls and a handful of baseballs and tennis balls, totaling close to 50 altogether.  In one closet!

There has got to be a better solution for storing athletic balls indoors rather than shoving them in a closet.  Of course, my first direction was to pare down the number of balls, moving out any old, childish or deflated ones.  And when we were looking at a much more reasonable number, I suggested a few different options:

This chute is vertical and holds up to 4 basketballs.  You can mount it on the wall OR directly to the basketball post, keeping them on hand for a pickup game.

This holder is individual and comes in different sizes for a football, soccer ball or basketball.  Then you can pick the one(s) you need and have a bit more flexibility with where to place it.

Chances are that basketballs aren't your only problem with sports equipment clutter.  This rack can hold  lots more than just sports balls.  And notice the great detail on the netted bag- it has a top AND side opening so you can grab a ball from the bottom without digging too deep!

In the end, I think we're gonna go with the chute, since the closet has built-in shelving to use for other sporting goods.  And she'd like for her front hall closet to hold more than just athletic gear.  Even if you don't have a closet, you could adapt your mudroom to house some sports equipment, too.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you organize all your basketballs and such?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Organization Inspiration

Hi friends!  I can't believe it's already Wednesday; this week has been so busy.  I was shopping for a client in West Elm yesterday and got excited about this wall display.  What a great way to add more storage on a wall, especially in a small space.  It's fancier than floating shelves and better than a build-in.  A few simple right angles turned a plain wall into a bookshelf.  And that's a good tip: one of the best ways to gain more storage space is to go vertical. (Remember this post about hanging scarves on a wall?)

Tell me, Appleshiners, how have you made the most of your wall space?

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Right Umbrella Stand for You

 Oh, April showers, I do hope you bring beautiful May flowers.  That'll make these rainy days worth it.  

What are you doing with all these soggy days- a closet clean out, perhaps?  Or might you like to take a stroll in the rain?  *Make sure to gather your galoshes in your mud room to keep from tracking sloppy steps around your home.  Either way, better keep your umbrella close at hand.  And when you're back home from running errands (or just running in the rain), here are a few stands to keep the drippy mess at bay:

What a sleek design!  It's so open and minimal, you'd barely notice it.  A great stand for a small space.

Um....did I mention how much I love owls?!  This would be my pick, for nothing other than it's whimsical hootie-ness.

This one has a linear spin to it.  It'd fit nicely behind an open door or in a closet, keeping the mess out of sight.

I'll admit that right now, I leave my umbrella in the hallway outside my apartment, letting it dry off.  I can't wait until I have a home with a foyer to place my cute owl umbrella stand.  Ah, day dreams...

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you store your drippy umbrellas?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Save Money with your Lettuce

Oh, my goodness, it's going to be beautiful outside today!  Makes me wanna grab a book and blanket and spend the afternoon in the park.  Maybe I will...but before then, I've gotta pack a quick lunch.  Lemme check my fridge: some fruit, a yogurt, a bottle of water and a light salad should do the trick.  (Ooo, how 'bout a salad in a mason jar?)

Here's a little storage tip for you: when you grab a bunch of greens from the grocery, bring them home, wash 'em up and place them in this nifty contraption:

The plastic bowl is specially designed with ridges along the bottom to let the water drip down, allowing the lettuce to stay crisper longer.  And like other storage containers, it'll help save your time and money.

Living an organized lifestyle is about clearing out clutter in ALL areas of your life.  Learning how to create a healthy lifestyle affects what goes in your body as well as what surrounds it.  I like how this bowl saves money by keeping my lettuce fresher longer.  And it makes lunch easier, healthier and faster to prepare.  Appleshine success!

I'm off to enjoy the day.  Have a lovely afternoon and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, too!

Tell me, Appleshiners, what other kitchen tools help you live a more organized lifestyle?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to Sort Through Business Cards

I kinda feel like my desk looks like this...times 50.  I've got lots of business cards to get through and follow-up on.  So I took my own advice:  take 10 minutes each day to tackle a task.

I separated them into 3 categories: record contact info, email a follow-up or email a referral.  The contact info was quick and easy to enter.  Then the follow-ups weren't too bad.  Each was a simple message of "nice to meet you, let's get together soon".  After I knocked out those piles, I moved on to referrals.  They took a little more time because it was usually an e-introduction or needed more info.  But over the week, with an average of 10 minutes each day, I got it all done.

Piles of paper clutter can be very daunting.  Yet if you break it down into 10-minute tasks, it'll be much more manageable.  And once you score down your cluster of business cards, try collecting the keepers in one of these cute card organizers.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what's cluttering your desk today?

PS- Look at this before/after of a Tribeca office or this before/after of a home office.  They were lot's of work but had great results!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When to Toss Out Expired Medicine

Yesterday, I was re-stocking my vitamin supply and sorting my medicine cabinet when I noticed- oops!  Some of my medicine had expired.  Time to toss it out.  

Here's the deal: the expiration date is a mandatory indicator of how long the medicine or supplement is guaranteed to be effective.  Taking it after the expiration date may not be harmful (I'll 'fess up- sometimes I've pushed it by a month or so) but it may not be helpful either.  

Bottom line is: time's up.  Expired items cause clutter and inefficiency.  So toss out the old and bring in the new; you'll feel all around better for it.

Tell me, Appleshiners, do you have lots of expired items in your medicine cabinet?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Organization Inspiration

Hi friends!  Did you have a good weekend?  I hope so.  I had a busy, busy schedule- most of it was prepping for my half-marathon on Sunday morning.  And now that's done, whew!  My legs are little sore but I'm quite pleased with it all.  After some rest (and a very cold ice bath), I wrapped up the weekend with a lovely concert and dinner with friends.  Remember my talented friend, Emily?  Her yummy dinner party inspired this post on organization and etiquette.

So when looking for inspiration for today's post, I went back through images of Appleshined bookshelves; they make this organizer a happy girl.

Holy moly, after working with my client, they organized this bookshelf all on their own!  I love the color-grouping with the books.  And the wall shelves are from CB2.

Remember this bookshelf from the Art Studio?  It houses all her instructional/copy books.  And I love the creative accents on top.

This dollhouse-shaped bookshelf was so cute in the girls' playroom.  And the wicker baskets made it more functional.

This is one of my favorite, whimsical shelving sets.  Staging the little things in your apartment or office with personal accents gives a more meaning to your space.

Again, I used wicker baskets to maximize the shelving space for more than just books in this playroom.  It's a great way to house smaller toys and clunky objects.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what's your favorite inspiration for an organized bookshelf?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Recently, I visited the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, not just to look around but also to support my very talented friend, Dwayne, and his gorgeous interior design firm, RDYC.  He was selected by DIFFA for their Dining by Design exhibit- congrats!

It was fun afternoon (especially since it was particularly cold and rainy outside) and I wandered about, finding plenty of organization inspiration and snapping a few photos along the way.

Of course California Closets had an enviable closet display.  I really like the natural, wooden shelving with glass shelving and cabinets- it's so light and airy.  I could totally see myself getting ready in that closet.

I like these little stools.  The soft colors are so pretty and they could double for an end table or extra seating.  Multi-tasking furniture is key for small space organization.

How gorgeous is this shelving unit?!  My taste usually doesn't go towards earthy elements but the simple beauty of this piece is stunning.  And the height allows for more shelves = more organizing solutions.

Shadow box shelving units are all over the place but I've never seen them assembled like this before!  They made the most of a corner space, taking storage vertical and maximizing wall space.

Remember my post on using a frame to hold sunglasses?  This company has a streamlined version of that concept.  Board by Design makes an iWear Rack so compact and attractive, you could place it right by your front door and never forget your sunglasses again.

I had a lot of fun with this little weekend activity.  

Tell me, Appleshiners, what are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Time to Rise and Shine

Holy moly, I'm just gonna put this out there- I've been getting up suuuper early for the past two weeks and it's starting to catch up with me.  I usually consider myself a morning person, provided I get a full night's sleep.  Yet, somehow, I talk myself into staying up too late every night.  It's like I just can't get enough of my already very long day.

But, alas, I need my sleep.  When it comes time to rise and shine, I get a little help from my alarm clock.  And not just any 'ole alarm clock.  But a really amazing, sunrise alarm clock that gradually increases it's 'natural' light, nudging me awake.  It's pretty fantastic and second only to the actual sun (because I haven't figured out how to set it to 6:15am on the dot).


Funny looking thing, isn't it?  Yet such a happy way to wake up in the morning.  And starting your day off right is a good beginning for a productive day.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what gets you going in the morning?

PS- Here are some helpful tips to getting things done when there aren't enough hours in the day.  Or maybe it's one of those days that you'd rather relax instead.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Picking the Right Storage Bench

One of my favorite tips for keeping a small space organized is finding a piece that can multi-task.  Using a storage bench for your entry way, mud room, bedroom or any other room is like adding an extra closet to the space.  And we all know how precious closet space is.

This classic, wooden bench has built-in cabinets.  Place it in your dining room, as it's perfect for hiding servingware and extra place settings.

The tailored look of this nailhead upholstered bench is a gorgeous choice for a sophisticated bedroom.  It can serves as a linen closet, housing your extra blankets and second set of sheets.
(West Elm)

I like this subtle color this fabric can add to a room.  And the deep chest can store all your board games, perfect for family night fun.
(via Home Decorators Collection)

Talk about multi-tasking: this bench has both cubbies underneath AND shallow storage on top.  You can even pick out your own baskets or bins to add color and streamline the organized look.
(Real Simple via Bed, Bath and Beyond)

 A storage bench that acts as a true seating area.  The grander scale of this furniture would make a lovely statement in your foyer and use the underneath bins for shoes, outerwear accessories and the kids bags.
(via Brookstone)

Tell me, Appleshiners, how would you use a storage bench?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Organize Video Games

I got a call from a client yesterday who was fed up with the disorganization of her sons' video games.  She couldn't seem to keep them under control (the games, not her sons).  And she wanted a more complete system than just tossing all the games in a bin or lining them up on a shelf.  So I did a little research and came up with a few gaming organization options:

Here's a full-blown, mega entertainment center for the mother of all game rooms.  I love it!  (And I don't even play video games.)

Or if you'd prefer something a little more compact, this stand is great for small space living:

This cart would be great for a closet; it's on wheels so you could move it in/out whenever it's needed and keep it hidden away when the games are off.

This post on collecting your cords is helpful for other tech gadgets but this cable buddy is great for controllers and their long cords.

And I love the idea of tossing out (rather, recycling) the cases and slimming down to a binder.  You could even use your handy label maker to make sure you're not missing any of those tiny cartridges.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you organize your video games?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Organization and Etiquette

Happy Monday Friends!  I hope you had a lovely weekend, full of family, friends and happy memories.  I certainly had a busy one.  I had dinner with a grade school friend on Friday, joined my brother for a Ghost Tour of Greenwich Village on Saturday and had Easter brunch with friends on Sunday.  Such a wonderful time with wonderful people.

My dear friend was so gracious to host us as it was her first big dinner party since she married her sweetheart.  And with it came a few lessons in hostess etiquette.  She joked about proper place settings and which serving utensils should she use for the lasagna rather than salad but really, modern day etiquette is not as apparent in the ways it used to be.

Emily Post's "Etiquette" is the quintessential book for any hostess-to-be looking to learn the ropes.  With organization comes invitations to let others into your organized lifestyle.  When you have an organized space, you'll want to share it with others.  Even if this guide may be a tad traditional for your taste, there are still beneficial hosting perks to pair with your clean and organized space.  Inviting others into your living space, whether it be at home or the office, tells them that you're not only proud of who you are and what you do but how you get around to doing it.  And an organizing lifestyle makes that nothing but easier to do.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you feel about hosting in your organized space?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cool Furniture for Small Spaces

Look at me, hanging out on that cool couch....that turns into a bed!  It's my dream come true: the ultimate space saver that's both practical and trendy.  

In the past, this type of bed was a dark and dowdy contraption (with a name that rhymed with 'urphy').  Nowadays, Resource Furniture has transformed the hideaway bed into a modern living room layout.  And they didn't stop there; they have console tables that stretch to seat 14 people, bunk beds that double as an office and coffee tables that triple as a desk for one or formal seating for 10.  

I was so excited to go to their event this week and take a grand tour of the showroom.  My most favorite piece was their beautiful sofa which happened to turn into a bed.  Fantastic!

First, you have to remove the many throw pillows (their fabric selection is gorgeous and plentiful).  And note the ample storage space underneath the couch.  Very cool.

Then simply pull the shelf down to open up the bed.  It acts as the support for the frame and the best part is, nothing on the shelf gets disturbed.  Even those glass vases remain untouched when the bed is fully functional.

And there you have it!  One, two, three steps from a cushy sofa to a snuggly sleeping arrangement.  It's a Queen size bed, too, and I swear that mattress is more comfy than the one at my apartment.  (Or maybe I was just giddy from the demonstration.) 

Regardless, it's a great way to save space in a small apartment, guest room or vacation home.  And it's sleek, efficient and easy on the eyes. I had such a lovely time at their event and can't wait to see what design they'll come up with next.

Tell me, Appleshiners, where would you use a bed like this?

PS- I hope everyone has a happy holiday!  If you're planning on joining family and friends for a yummy dinner, use these great carriers to get your food there unharmed and in style.

If you're hosting a get together, here are a few ideas for extra seating in a small space.

If your list of things to do is overwhelming, take a few deep breaths and follow these tips on how to make the most of your time.

And, most of all, I hope you have as much carefree fun as she does here.  Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Appleshine: Coat Closet

Hi friends!  This week, I Appleshined a coat closet.  My client was already halfway there with good intentions (note the matching hangers, wicker baskets and large bins) but needed a little direction in order to complete the look.

The main goal was to get everything off the floor, except for shoes.  And I even limited those to 'utility shoes' like sneakers, rain boots, snow boots, etc.  Anything else (ie- nicer) went into their bedroom closets.  Luckily, the green bins were a perfect size for the job and the bendable material allowed for a little give with the odd shoe sticking out.

The baskets on the top shelved housed outerwear accessories like gloves, scarves, hats and umbrellas.  I arranged the jackets by seasonal weight, the lighter, warmer-weather jackets in the front and the heavy, winter coats in the back.  The kids coats were moved into their own sections in the family mud room.

Like I said, all the key tools were there but needed that organizational finesse to make it functional.  Sometimes, it just takes a little extra time to think through the flow of the space to create a truly organized system.

Tell me, Appleshiners, what tricks do you have for organizing your coat closet?

PS- Check back tomorrow for a very cool post on some very cool, space saving furniture!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Organization Inspiration

Springtime brings beautiful flowers that just demand to be gathered in bouquets and displayed in vases.  But what do you do when the vases are empty?

Here are a few inspirational ideas for storing, displaying and organizing your flower-less vases:

(Antonis Achileos via Real Simple)

You could paint them all different shades of the same color.

Or only paint half of each vase in cool, complimentary shades.

(Lisa Hubbard via Martha Stewart)

Maybe use elements of nature to create a unifying effect with mismatched vases.

Tell me, Appleshiners, how do you organize your vases?

PS- look at a few ways to stay organized using your old Mason jars!
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