Monday, June 13, 2011

The best things in life are cheap and natural!

I have one of those "Euro-Style" washer/dryer combo machines and while I appreciate the efficiency of this design, I basically have accepted the fact that most of my clothes have to air dry.
Not a big issue, especially since air drying is better for prolonging the life of your clothing and I hate it when I shrink things in the dryer!
My only gripe was that for some reason, my clothes were air drying and turning out, well, kind of "crispy."  Yeah, the fabric would get stiff and crinkly - even my Pima Cotton t-shirts, which are the softest most wonderful fabric in the world!  :(
But I'm sort a weird when it comes to laundry stuff and I don't like scented detergent or fabric softeners or dryer sheets - the artificial-ness of the fragrance (even the supposed fragrance-free ones) make me sneeze!
So of course, as is the case with most of life - the best solutions are SIMPLE!  And in this case, Cheap and Natural TOO!
Two Words:  White Vinegar.
Yup.  So simple, so wonderful.  Use 1/4c of distilled white vinegar in lieu of fabric softener - it is delightful.  Even my towels can air dry and still turn out soft and fluffy, which is a total miracle!
I was just doing laundry and realized that maybe people didn't know about this so I though I'd share.  Let me know how you like it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sometimes we're the worst at following our own advice!

Confession time.  I do not always follow my own advice.

I'm good at living by my principles, but when it comes to really specific things that I've recommended to others, (and have seen work for them) for some reason I think that I don't need to do the same things or that they won't work for me.

Case in point:  People always ask me how to keep organized with all the little things, papers, invites, notices, misc. stuff with deadlines, etc. that don't really belong in a permanent file folder.  They say that it gets really difficult to remember everything that's on a deadline or even the things they want to follow up with that don't have a deadline.

My advice is simple and it works.  (The simple stuff usually works the best!)  Create or purchase a 31-Day Organizing System and use it daily.

I haven't done this for myself because I haven't felt the need since I do fine remembering deadlines and I use my calendar for reminders and most of my work stuff has permanent file folders.  But today I've been thinking, "okay, could I be even more efficient and organized if I used this system?"  Well the only way to find out is to try it and see and I'm pretty excited about that!

You can find some pre-fab solutions out there or custom make your own with basic office supplies (and a little creativity.)  Try it for one month and I think you'll be hooked.

This solution from Pottery Barn is nice.  My only concern is that you have to keep bills in envelopes or fold up papers to fit.

This version from Container Store requires that you add your own labels and folders, but it allows you to put in any size paper and functions more like a standerd "tickler" file. 
When it comes down to the best solution, it all depends on what you like and how you work.  Remember, the best solutions are the ones you'll actually use!  :)

What system will you try?  Let me know and Happy Organizing!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Looking for some extra money? Find it in your clutter!

It's true, two of the most elusive resources we seem to always be chasing after (Time and Money) are often hiding right underneath our nose - in our clutter!

They like to hide in messy desk drawers, cluttered closets, and gaps of time spent doing "misc." things.

But beware, this terrain is know to cause stress, frustration and overwhelm, which is why we are so unlikely to actually get to the bottom of things and uncover the Time and Money we already have!

Not sure where to start your hunt?  Check out your master closet.
Are there some deep dark corners that haven't been touched in months?  I'll bet you have some pieces of clothing that you haven't seen or worn in years and these are perfect for a consignment shop = extra money!

Remember to examine everything in the master suite because shoes, handbags, accessories and jewelry that you no longer love and use are all excellent options for drumming up some extra dough ... to go buy new stuff :)  Haha, just kidding!  You can only buy new stuff if you have room for it - no more overstuffed closets, OK?  Thank you.

You might want to enlist the help of a wardrobe consultant or stylist on this project if you're not sure about what to keep and what to let go of.  They can even be a resource for what outlets would be the best for you to sell your goods.

Also, they have a trained eye that can create new outfits from pieces you already own so it's like getting a new wardrobe without spending a dime ... we love saving money!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thank goodness for desk storage options!

Okay, so one of my biggest pet peeves has always been not being able to find the right storage solution for my or my clients needs.  In fact, I frequently custom make solutions because at least you know a home-made system is going to be specifically tailored to you.  This website Ultimate Office seems to have some solutions I have never seen before so I'm pretty excited about that.  By the way, I am in no way promoting them, I just stumbled upon them via Twitter and I was inspired.  I haven't used any of their products yet, but I hope to soon!
 Some people actually prefer to store papers horizontal, rather than vertical so these are perfect for that.  I love the one on the right for storing multiple types of paper and labels right near your printing station!

I am a big fan of keeping current and important project folders visible but organized, especially if you are accessing them frequently.

This would also be a great option and the beautiful thing is that if you have the space, you could leave a file drawer or cabinet shelf empty so that this system could be tucked away and out of sight if you have a home office and want to keep things looking tidy and less "office-y'  :)

Hope you are as inspired as I am and please share what your favorite storage solutions are, whether they're store bought or custom wrought by you!

 ~ Christy B.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Put those Holiday Cards to creative use!

I remember growing up, there was one wall designated for Christmas card display every year.  It never wavered, never varied.  Like most of my childhood home's decor, it was predictable and never changed!

I think on a few occasions I might have tinkered with the idea of revamping the Christmas card wall, but nothing else ever seemed quite right.  Some solutions are best left untouched, but other times things get stale and boring. 

Here are some clever and creative ways to display those Holiday cards that are anything but predictable.  Have fun and Happy Holidays to you!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A unique approach to organizing in the new year

January is National Get Organized Month according to NAPO: the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Really?  Who has time to organize in the midst of post-holiday bliss (or blues, depending on your situation.)  I understand that finally getting organized tops the charts of New Year's Resolutions every year, but then again, so do weight loss goals ... and quite frankly, how long do those last?

Now, I certainly don't mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, in fact, I consider myself an eternal optimist.  I'm also a realist (yes seriously, optimist and realist - it is possible, I'm living proof!)

I had even considered launching my Organize for IDEAS coaching program in accordance with National Get Organized Month, but luckily this whole new year's resolution thing had me think twice.  Frankly, I'm relieved and I think my program participants will be too.

I'm glad I don't have to think about heading into the new year at full throttle, wondering when I'll get a chance to relax after the holidays.  And you know exactly what I  mean - the need for a vacation after the vacation!

Thankfully my program will have a unique advantage (and it's already quite unique to begin with) by starting at a time when resolution highs have worn off and real goals set it.  I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking late February or early March ... maybe I can dub March "National Get Real Month" or "National Resolution Rehab Month."  Okay, so neither of those have a nice ring.

Now that I have all this "extra" time before my program begins, I wonder what I'll do with my January?  Oh fine, I admit it!  I too will be making my exercise goals and obsessively clearing out all the "bad" foods from my kitchen.  *sigh*  Ah well, perhaps the new year's resolution cycle is in our DNA forever.

Do New Year's Resolutions Work? -
Top Ten New Year's Resolutions -
How to Keep New Year's Resolutions - Martha Beck via

Monday, November 22, 2010

A powerful weekend

I just finished an immensely powerful weekend staffing a Torch Training Program at the Cesar Chavez School in LA.  It has nothing to do with Organizing or Design, but I felt like sharing anyway.

If you would have told me six months ago that I would be mentoring a group of troubled teens in Compton, California -- I would have given you a "yeah, right" look and laughed the ridiculousness of that notion.  I really couldn't stand kids, especially teenagers, especially from "high-risk" parts of town.  I thought they were lazy, rude, obnoxious, stupid, and just plain bad.  I was also pretty sure they had some choice thoughts of me as well.

Obviously, a lot changed in the past six months through my own personal growth and development work and so the opportunity to volunteer in this program arose.  I decided to quiet the judgemental voices in my head and just commit to it 100%.

It turned out to be one of the most difficult, painful, exhausting experiences of my life.  And yet somehow it also managed to be one of the most healing, happy, rewarding experiences of my life too.  Let's face it, sometimes it just hurts to care about something or someone so deeply that we avoid it altogether.  Yes, we avoid the pain, but we also never get the joy.

Many times this weekend, I struggled to keep my emotions together -- to keep myself from breaking down, to stay focused on being strong for these kids.  The things that they have seen, done, and had done to them are not things that anyone should ever have to experience.  And yet at only 16 or 17 years old, they have already lived a lifetime of pain and suffering.

All I wanted was for them to get the love, healing and compassion they so desperately needed and I still can't stop thinking, "did they get it?  did I do enough?  did we get through to them?  did I make a difference?"

I know in my heart that the answer is "yes."  I learned such a valuable lesson through this too -- that sometimes we avoid things in our life, in our world, because it just hurts too much to care.  But, the only way to make a difference is to open our hearts and and let the pain flow through, and trust that pain will not last forever and that joy will fill it's place.