Friday, April 13 2018
Do you remember the movie "Mommy Dearest"! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUkE9qaVgmo. It was such a frightening scene when Joan Crawford was screaming "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!". I will never forget it!
These days, in a much calmer tone, I gently explain to my clients why I am not a fan of wire hangers. And this is why:
Wire hangers can cause damage to your clothing when clothes are left on them after returning from the dry cleaners or simply used to store clothing. They can affect the shape of the shoulders and can actually create rust. (I had a client once who used wire hangers and had a cream colored suit that she had kept on the wire hanger from the dry cleaner. When we were reviewing her wardrobe to organize her closet, we discovered, unfortunately, that the wire hanger on her suit had rusted, leaving a permanent stain. The beautiful suit was ruined.)
Also, when it comes to dry cleaning your clothes, be sure to remove the plastic bag they are returned in. There are chemicals used when the dry cleaning process is used. If you keep the bag on the clothes when they arrive home, these harmful chemicals stay trapped in the clothing.
I highly recommend that "no more wire hangers" are kept on your clothing in your closet. Switch them to plastic or velvet slim hangers instead. The next time you head to your dry cleaner, take all of your unused wire hangers with you. Most dry cleaners recycle hangers and actually appreciate you returning them because it saves them money. You get rid of clutter in your closet and help keep landfills free of hangers.
Also, unless you have a need for the plastic bags they wrap around your clothing, you can ask for the dry cleaner to keep the bags off of your clothes. It keeps you from having to toss the bag when you get home, and again saves the dry cleaner money. Also, men’s dress shirts can be folded instead of put on a hanger so that you don’t have to take a hanger home with you at all!
When you go to pick up your clothes at the dry cleaners, take your plastic hangers or thin velvet hangers and garment bags with you. It's just like taking reusable shopping bags with you when you go grocery shopping. That way you don’t even need to take their wire hangers and their plastic bags home at all.
Now you will no longer have wire hangers and with these tips, you will have an organized, clean and safe wardrobe in your clothes closet to enjoy.
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting your wardrobe decluttered and organized, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, l am here to help.
Monday, November 13 2017
Many times we are ready to gather the items in our home that we no longer need or want but are unsure as to where we can donate them. Some items can be more challenging than others. A local donation site might not take what you have to offer.
When you are ready to donate and don't know where, here are a list of suggestions to help you out.
Medical Equipment - Many times when I am working with a client who had an elderly relative living with them or is cleaning out that elderly person's home, we come across medical equipment that is no longer needed. https://www.med-eq.org/Donate/ . Med-Eq matches donors with charities that need what the donors are offering. You fill out a simple form online and the staff at Med-Eq will choose a recipient. The receiving party covers any costs such as mailing expenses for smaller items or arrangements are made for pick-up right from your home.
Wigs - There is a wig exchange program which provides free wigs to women experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy. The EBeauty Community can be found at https://www.ebeauty.com/donate-a-wig/.
Musical Instruments - Instruments in the Cloud is a non-profit organization that allows donors to connect with local teachers who are looking for instruments. http://www.instrumentsinthecloud.org/donations/new. For more information, go to http://www.instrumentsinthecloud.org/pages/faqs.
Homemade Blankets - For those who quilt, knit or crochet and wind up with more quilts or blankets than can ever be used, I recommend Project Linus. https://www.projectlinus.org/donations/. Materials that can be used to make blankets can also be donated, if you want to reduce your stash. (These must come from a smoke-free environment for allergy reasons.)
Lastly, in honor of Veterans Day this month, Operation Gratitude sends care packages to deployed troops, and all those care packages, including Beanie Babies or other small plush toys, as well as gently used ones, are accepted. https://opgrat.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/beanie-babies-for-the-troops/. There are other ways to donate as well, so take some time to review their site.
So, the next time you are in the midst of decluttering and stuck on how to donate certain items, refer back to this list.
As always, I am here to help you create A Better Space.
Monday, April 13 2015
It's time to think outside of the box! There are so many items that can be re-purposed in a new way. Now, I am not suggesting that you hold on to everything you own for this reason. That would be hoarding!
However, below I have created a short list of seven items you can use in a new and different way. Let's be creative!
1. Coffee Filter - The original use is to keep coffee grounds out of your coffee cup. A new use is to put a filter at the bottom of a flower pot to prevent soil from draining out of the pot.
2. Paper Shredder - The original use is to protect against identity theft by shredding confidential documentation before disposing of it. A new use is to create decorative tissue paper filler in a gift box or gift bag without having to purchase bags of already shredded filler at the store.
3. Tissue Box - The original use is to hold tissues for running noses and watery eyes. A new use is to store plastic grocery bags under the kitchen sink or bathroom vanity to save space.
4. Toothbrush Holder - The original use is obvious - to store the household's various toothbrushes in an upright position and separate them from each other. The new use is to hold individual flowers. Fill the holder with water, cut the stems so they are only a few inches above the top of the holder and slide one flower into each slot. This is idea for a small arrangement of flowers.
5. Dried Spaghetti - The original use is a staple in most households to accompany the meatballs. The new use is to light multiple candles when extra-long matches are not available.
6. Ice Cube Tray - The original use is to make ice cubes. The new use is to organize earrings. Use the separate compartments to sort out pairs of earrings for easy storage and retrieval. (And they stack nicely in a drawer.)
7. Dental Floss - The original use is to clean in between your teeth for good dental health. The new use is to unstick photographs that are stuck to an album page by working the floss in between the two surfaces without damaging the picture.
Now that I have provided you with some ideas, do you have any of your own? If so, please comment below and share with others. Let's all be more green this Spring!
If you are overwhelmed with the contents in your home and need help deciding what to keep, toss or donate, don't hesitate to give me a call at A Better Space. I am an expert in interior redesign and can help you utilize items already in your home in a new way.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, May 06 2014
Have you taken a look around lately? All of us have things scattered around the house that can be re-purposed. There is something in almost every room of the home, in fact.
Today, I want to share with you 10 ideas for items you already have in your home that you can "re-purpose on purpose":
1. A CD tower in the bathroom can be used to hold toilet paper, toiletries or small towels. You can even turn it on its side with the openings upright and hang it on the wall for additional storage.
2. A tennis ball canister or Pringles canister that has been cut on the bottom can be used to hold paper baking liners for cupcakes and muffins or to hold paper cups. Hang it on the wall to save space. It can be used for so many other things too!
3. A hard glass case is useful to store your ear buds or other small items in your luggage or handbag.
4. A muffin pan is a great way to store small items in your drawer in the bathroom or bedroom such as children's hair clips or jewelry.
5. An upright magazine holder can be used for gift bag storage or sheets of wrapping paper.
6. A long towel holder with knobs can be mounted on the back of a door or on a wall to organize your jewelry.
7. Use a business card case to transport your favorite sweetener packets.
8. Re-use a tissue box to store plastic grocery bags.
9. A small shower caddy can be hung on a doorknob in your laundry room to hold detergent, dryer sheets, clothes pins, etc.
10. Use an acrylic napkin holder to organize your bills to be paid, putting them in chronological order to avoid late payment.
Which of these items will you repurpose? What other ideas do you have for re-purposing your items? Take a look around and get creative!
If you are simply overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me at A Better Space. I will be more than happy to help. Let's "re-purpose on purpose" together!
Thursday, September 05 2013
As the Summer ends and Fall begin, this is a time of transition and renewal. It's also time to evaluate where we are in our lives and what we have.
We can all agree that having multiples of certain items in your home (for example, toilet paper) or in your office (pens) are helpful and make sense to have. Since we use these items often, we need to be sure that we can store them in a way that makes it easy to access them.
However, sometimes, multiple items can accumulate and begin to take up valuable space. We want to be sure not to let those items cause us "double vision". They should not get out of control.
Here are five items that you probably have duplicates of:
1. Paper shopping bags. How many have you accumulated from the grocery store? Although they can be useful for various purposes, if you find that they are accumulating, consider donating them to charities that could benefit from them. Some charities bag up meals, clothes, supplies or purchases and are always looking for bag donations. Check with your local charity to see if they are in need of this item.
2. Hotel toiletries. I have talked about this in a previous blog, but I think it is worth repeating. If you are a frequent traveler, chances are you have come home with travel-size toiletry bottles and packets. If you find that you are just collecting them and not using them, you can offer them to overnight guests in a basket in the bathroom, use shower caps as food container covers or donate them to a local shelter. You can even leave them at the hotel and not bring them home at all. Let others make use of them instead.
3. Pens, pencils and markers. I don't know about you but the pens, pencils and sometimes markers seem to multiply in my house. How often do you come home with a pen that you borrowed and forgot to return? I must admit it happens to me from time to time. When my son was in public school, he "acquired" lots of pens and pencils throughout the school term. Don't ask! If you end up with an abundance of pens, pencils or markers, consider donating them instead of holding onto them. It's impossible to use all of them! Donate them to your local school or community center or the Pencil Project.
4. Bedding. When was the last time you went through your linen closet and eliminated the older sets of sheets or blankets that you no longer use? We tend to hold onto more sets than we need. If you change your sheets once a week, you don't need more than two, maybe three sets per bed. The third set might be a set of flannel sheets. Are they stained, torn, or don't fit the beds you currently own? Consider donating them to a local charity if they are in good shape or a local animal shelter. They are always in dire need of bedding.
5. Mugs. Do you bring home mugs from places that you've traveled or received them as a promotional item at an event? They can accumulate in your kitchen cabinet over time. We tend to have our favorites and don't tend to reach for the others. If you find that you have too many, consider donating them to a local charity in your area or to that college student living in a dorm or apartment.
So, are you seeing double in your home? Take a look around and start putting things together that you can donate. You will gain more space for your important items and help others in the process.
If you need assistance in downsizing your possession, feel free to contact me at A Better Space. I am here to help.
Until next time, HAPPY ORGANIZING!
Sunday, July 07 2013
We are currently in the midst of the Summer season which prompts a lot of people to take vacations. Vacations can come in many forms but one thing tends to be true. When you travel, you stay at a hotel.
Those travel-size shampoos, lotions and soaps found in many hotel rooms can easily accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your home when you return home.
I am not saying that you should not take them with you when you go home but over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important items should be occupying.
So, in order to avoid this conundrum, I recommend that you repurpose them.
Here are six suggestions:
1. Keep them in your purse or handbag. Whether you walk, bike, drive or take public transportation, you tend to have a bag with you. This is a perfect solution for storing your mini-sized toiletries and having them easily accessible.
2. Keep them in your desk at work. For easy access while on the job, keep a stash in your drawer of your desk and simply grab what you need when heading to the rest room to freshen up.
3. Keep them in your car. Do you spend a lot of time traveling in your car? Put some lotions, mouthwash or even a sewing kit in your car's glove compartment.
4. Use them at the gym. If you regularly shower at the gym after a workout, travel-size toiletries can be very useful and don't take up a lot of room in your gym bag.
5. Use them on your next trip. Are you staying at a vacation spot that does not involve a hotel? Keep a bag in your suitcase or backpack for camping with the other items you use most. Use a few of those shower caps to pack your shoes next time to keep them away from your clean clothes.
6. Donate them. If you find that you do not have a need for the amount you have collected, donate them to a shelter. Clean The World accepts unopened or unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally. The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars.
Of course, you can avoid having to make a decision about what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay. However, just in case you need to know what to do with all of those hotel toiletries, I hope this helps.
Thursday, April 18 2013
Finally, Spring has arrived and with it Spring Fever. It's a time for fresh starts. For me, I am moving up. I am taking my office space from the basement which has no natural light and moving upstairs to a spare bedroom. This room has soft neutral tones on the walls and a big window that provides a nice view and, best of all, that natural light I desire.
I ordered new furniture that will provide me with more room in which to work. It is expected to arrive in about four or five weeks. In the meantime, I have contacted my handyman who is going to install a new ceiling fan/light fixture and I am in the midst of arranging the room so it is condusive to my productivity.
One of my passions is books and I love to surround myself with them. They make me feel warm and cozy. I love to hold a book in my hands and feel the paper's texture and get lost in the pages. I am not a fan of Kindle for this reason - just a personal choice.
When I was doing space planning for my new office space, I decided to incorporate two bookcases in the room just for my leisure reading. I love to see my collection of novels yet to be read - it is quite extensive.
However, I am aware, as you should be, that there is such a thing as book clutter. Piles of books laying around on a coffee table in your living room, on an end table in your bedroom, on your desk in your home office or anywhere on the floor is clutter.
The author of the blog Epic Write summed up the complex relationship she has with books in her post "Show Me Your Book Clutter":
"The problem is I have so many books I want to read. Or, that I need to read...Aside from my cluttered side table, I have digital and paper clutter where I have recorded books I want to read. From my "wants" list on Goodreads.com to titles scribbed on scraps of paper, I am overwhelmed with the amount of books I will get to someday. even with feeling almost buried by it all, I have no desire to change. I love books. I want to see books everywhere."
For me, I do not want to feel buried by my books. Although I have a lot of books, I do not have clutter. My books are lined up neatly in my bookcases with hardbacks in the back and paperbacks in the front, in alphabetical order by author. I can put my hand on any book I want within moments. If my books do not fit within these boundaries, I weed them out, which I recently did.
I want my new office to feel spaceous and calm because I know that it will provide me with the space I need in my head to be productive.
If you have a large collection of books, take the time to organize them in a way in which you can enjoy seeing them. Not on the floor in a pile, but rather, on a shelf or bookcase that can accommodate them. Do not hold onto books that you have already read (especially fiction). There are way too many books out there to still be read.
If you find that you have too many, donate them to a local library or pass them onto a friend who will enjoy them. Books are meant to be shared with others.
Clearly people love books and everything about them. But, it is possible to keep a reasonable number so that they don't contribute to clutter in your living spaces.
Honor your books by being selective about the ones you purchase and by keeping your collection in order.
If you are overwhelmed with your book clutter or any other clutter in your home, contact me. I am happy to help.
In the meantime, get outside and read a book!
Sunday, February 24 2013
Last week I addressed the issue of spousal clutter. I explained the reasons why your spouse, partner or roomate might be causing clutter.
This week I would like to provide you with some routines you and your family can begin to implement to bust through that clutter.
- When you finish reading a magazine or newspaper, process the information and recycle the rest. Did you find a great recipe in your favorite magazine, an article your spouse might enjoy or a coupon for your local store? Pull them out from the magazine or newspaper and immediately recycle the rest. Stacks of magazines or newspapers cause clutter.
- Leave enough room in your coat closet for coats, jackets, boots and accessories. If your coat closet is too full, it's difficult to put things away and retrieve them easily. Clear out the items that do not belong in the closet. Create sufficient room for hangers, the floor and top shelf so that these items don't end up scatttered throughout your home.
- Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bureaus and tables are all culprits for clutter. Having a home for paperwork is the key to success. Create a system that works and you will avoid flat surface clutter.
- Wash dishes right away. Do not put dishes in the sink after using them. Immediately handwash them and put them in a drain board or load them into the dishwasher. It will take less time than you think to do this. Otherwise, you end up creating a "project" and we just don't have the time for that! Take the time to do this as you go and you will avoid sink clutter.
- Take five and grab ten. It will only take you about five minutes to grab ten articles of clothing from your bedroom closet or drawers that you no longer want or wear and put them in a box for donation or in the trash if they are no longer useable. This will free up space for the clothes you do want to keep. This will avoid clothing clutter.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know which tips you plan to implement. If you need assistance in setting up some systems in your home to make these areas clutter free, let me know. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, August 27 2012
This time of year many people are eliminating their clutter and getting organized for the new Fall and Winter seasons.
On many occasions, while working with my clients, I get asked how to recycle an item. Today, I thought I would take some time to help you find out how to recycle some of your own items.
Here are some ideas you might not have thought of:
Backpacks - The American Birding Association accepts donated backpacks, which its scientists use while tracking neotropical birds (www.americanbirding.org).
Batteries - Recycling batteries keeps hazardous metals out of landfills. Many stores such as RadioShack and Office Depot accept reuseable ones. Car batteries contain lead and can't go into landfills because the toixic metals can leach into groundwater. Almost any retailer seling them will also collect and recyle them. Hazardous waste events will take them as well.
Carpeting - The Carpet America Recovery Effot (www.carpetrecovery.org) will help you find a carpet reclamation facility near you when you ask "What can I do with my old carpet?". Some carpet manufacturers, like Milliken (www.millikencarpet.com Shaw (www.shawfloors.com) and Flor (www.flor.com) have recycling programs.
Crayons - Send them to the National Crayon Recycle Program (www.crazycrayons.com) which melts them down and reforms them into new ones. Be sure to leave the wrappers on them so they are more easily identified by color.
Wire Hangers - Some dry cleaners and laundromats will reuse them. Check with your local dry cleaner. My dry cleaner happily accepts them as it helps them reduce costs. If not, recycle them with other household metals but be sure to remove any attached paper or cardboard first and recycle that separately.
Hearing Aids - The Starkey Hearing Foundation (www.sotheworldmayhear.org) recycles used hearing aids, any make or model, no matter how old. The Lions Club also accepts hearing aids (and eye glasses)
If you are not sure how to recycle items in your home, visit www.earth911.org to find out where and if those items can be recycled.
Do you have any other recycling tips for unusual items? Please share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of August and your Labor Day weekend.