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? - ThatsFit.com
Top Ten New Year's Resolutions - GoalsGuy.com
How to Keep New Year's Resolutions - Martha Beck via Oprah.com

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.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What to do with all that junk?

I get a lot of questions when I'm de-cluttering with a client about what we're going to do with all the junk we're purging from the space! What exactly do you do with old batteries and electronics? And is it safe to throw away old medications?

Thankfully, Yahoo! Green has a great article to answer some of the toughest recycling and throw away questions: http://green.yahoo.com/blog/the_conscious_consumer/151/10-toughest-things-to-get-rid-of.html

So don't get swallowed up by all that stuff! Now you know what to do to get out of your junk jam :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Incredibly creative!

I just love brilliant little DIY projects so I had to share this one with you! I'd been looking for a way to neatly and creatively hold and display my business cards and I ran across this awesome idea on www.evilmadscientist.com
It's very simple instructions to follow with a template to print out and everything. I think I'm going to alter the pattern slightly and maybe use fabric instead of paper for the decorative element. I can't wait to make one asap!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dwell Color Inspiration Contest

"Modern Masculine with a Flair for the Eccentric." I think that pretty well describes this color concept project based on the muse image (menswear thumbnail in upper right corner) provided by Dwell Magazine and Glidden for their newest online contest. I had a lot of fun doing it and going outrageous with the colors.

Did you know that clients can order a personalized Color Concept board like this from me? Digital or hard copy versions can be produced to your specifications to help you understand the Color and Style concept of your next project. Its very inspirational to refer to throughout your redesign!

Friday, September 17, 2010

My guest blog post at CRAVE!

http://thecravecompany.com/blog/

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Store Display is Born - #1

Two of my favorite things are 1) making something out of nothing, and 2) fabric!

So it would stand to reason that combining both loves and making something out of nothing with fabric is a guaranteed delight for me.

Even though incredible time constraints and a non-existent budget stand in my way, I'm pulling together a sassy and sophisticated store vignette!

The Home Fabric and Rugs Store where my display will live for 6 - 8 weeks is in Torrance:

3842 Sepulveda Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90505


Honestly, I almost don't even want to tell you about this place because it's my super secret place for crazy low prices on fabric and rugs! But alas, I do want you to come check out the display when it's finished so I must divulge my sources :)

The empty space:

The mock-up plan:

Budget: $0 ($110 spent so far, LOL!)

Time: 48 hours

Items complete: Desk Chair

Watch for updated posts to check-in on the progress!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Make your own To-Go Bag

There are days when it seems like I'm living out of my car. Driving from appointment to appointment to errands to meetings to ... oh you know exactly what I mean, we all have those days!

Now, I don't mind it so much when it's all planned out 24 hours in advance and I've prepared for each and every little thing (can we say obsessive much?) The truth is that it doesn't always go down as planned and expecting the unexpected is really the only way to keep sane through it all!

That's why I love the concept (and practice) of keeping a To-Go Bag in the car. A melange of all the seemingly trivial little items that can really come in handy when on the go. Here are some ideas to consider for your own To-Go Bag:
  1. Lipstick / Lipgloss - personally, I am addicted to chapstick and MUST have this at all times
  2. Mints / Gum - for when the Starbucks-breath hasn't faded before your 9am meeting
  3. Lint Roller - I love visiting clients with pets, but dog fur covered pants doesn't always make a good impress at my next appointment!
  4. Pen / Notebook
  5. Back-up Phone Charger
  6. Quarters for Meters
  7. Small Scissors
  8. Safety Pins
  9. Band-Aids (especially if those are new shoes you're breaking in!)
  10. Perfume / Body Spray
  11. Notecards / Stamps - great when you network a lot and want to send a "Nice to meet you" note as an immediate follow-up
These are just a few ideas so play around with it and be on the look out for what items would make your busy life easier. Find a cute little tote to carry your ToGo items and be sure to tidy and restock it on a regular basis!

Here are some cute insulated bags to get you started. I have no proof of this, but I imagine an insulated bag would be better since it's sitting in the car all day and subject to varying temperatures! And be sure to let me know what your cannot-live-without ToGo items are!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What if the customer ISN'T always right?

Designers, organizers and consultants provide services, and sometimes products, to clients (or customers) based on their recommendation of what will be best for the project and customer.

The very nature of the collaboration is founded on the customer relying on the expertise and experience of the service professional.

So what about the age old adage, "the customer is always right" as it pertains to these industries? If that were true, then these professionals wouldn't exist, right? Or if they did exist it would be merely to execute orders rather than create or develop anything.

My experience has been that if you choose to work with great clients, you will most likely develop such a trusting and respectful relationship that issues will never even come up. You provide your opinion, expertise, examples from past experience, you can flat tell them they "absolutely have to do it this way" ... but ultimately, the client has the power of choice.

Ironically, that power is often the very reason the client has contacted you in the first place - because they can't make a decision. When it comes to paint colors, fabric choices, etc., people get nervous about committing to a choice and will say things like, "I don't know, you choose!"

In the beginning the "I don't know, you choose" line can be frustrating because you don't know the client well enough yet to know whether or not they will be happy with your choice. By the end however, it can be very liberating for both the professional and the client because they get relief from making tough decisions, you get creative freedom ... and ultimately everyone is satisfied in the end.

I'd like to hear from people in the service industry - specifically ones that are required to take the "trust me, I know what's best" approach with their customers. What are your secrets to making the relationship work smoothly? What do you do to ensure satisfaction? What horror stories do you have and what did you learn from them?

I think this topic is really relevant and doesn't get discussed the same way that consumer complaints and customer reviews do so I'm interested what people have to say.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who says TV rots your brain?

Lately, I've been feeling a little down and out. Yes, I'm getting over a cold and that's one thing, but this was different, an all over "blah" feeling inside and out. It didn't make sense. So far this year has been like a greatest hits album with my life and business making monumental strides. So why was I feeling so tired and like I wanted to crawl into bed and hide away from the world?

Well, I think I got the answer to get my "mojo" back, courtesy of one of my fav shows, Chuck on NBC. In case you're not familiar, the basics are that Chuck unwillingly became a super spy when a computer program called the Intersect was uploaded to his brain for safe keeping. He's just an average dude but when the moment strikes he "flashes" on information and can possess skills he normally wouldn't have. So anyway, the Intersect hasn't been working and Chuck hasn't been "flashing" and his spy days are basically over. At the climax of the episode, when Chuck and his best friend are trapped and about to be exterminated by the bad guys, they have a heart to heart and Chuck reconnects with his true feelings and his true self. He realizes that by trying so hard to be a "real spy" he lost the gift of just being Chuck. Well of course, you can imagine what happened next, Chuck did finally "flash" and he took down the bad guys and saved the day.

So I realized this morning that I've been a little too much like Chuck; shutting out areas of my life that I deemed as superfluous and trivial, and just trying so damn hard to overachieve at everything. Maybe allowing myself to engage in hobbies is NOT superfluous and taking the time to meet people and make friends is NOT trivial. Ironically, I know from experience that the best things have come to me this year when I haven't been hunting them, when I've been balanced, and when I've been overall enjoying my life rather than toiling in it.

What do you enjoy, but don't make time for? Could indulging in these activities actually impact success in other areas of your life?

March Ezine: Paint your walls - Change your mood!

To paint or not to paint? That should never be a question!

I spoke recently with a soon-to-be-mother about how to decorate when they don’t know if its a boy or a girl. I discussed many gender-neutral options for the color of the room. We finally decided on green. Or so I thought.

A few days ago we spoke again and much to my dismay she said, “We decided not to paint. We don’t want to spend too much money since we’re just renting and won’t be here more than a year.” What?!? My head nearly exploded.

Painting is actually one of the most COST EFFECTIVE ways to change the look and mood of a room. And quite frankly, a year is a long time to be living with drab walls, especially in a nursery! Okay, okay, so if it sounds like I’m taking it too personally, you’re right I am. She’s not even a client of mine! I just know first-hand that color has the potential to make the single biggest impact on your space and therefore, your mood.

Take a look below at the "before" & "after" paint of one of my first apartments - HUGE difference! The place was cheap and old and it would have continued to look that way if I hadn't painted :)
Room before paint
Room after paint

You’ve probably heard before that red is the color of passion, green is healing, and blue is calming. These are some of the commonly held beliefs derived from the study of Color Psychology. However, there are no hard and fast rules about color – that’s the beauty of it – whatever makes you happy is the right choice.

So how do you choose? There are so many darn options out there and it can be difficult to get started. One way to start is with an online program that surveys what color schemes you probably will like based on your preferences. Pittsburgh Paints has come up with this ingenious Color Sense Game that will profile your color personality through a series of multiple-choice questions.
(Click here to go to their site to play the game.)
Paint Color Sense Game

Entire libraries of books have been written on color and color psychology so I won't get into all of that. But here are some color knowledge basics I always keep in mind when examining color options:

1) Warm vs. Cool

Red, orange, and yellow are warm colors and are generally thought to create intimate, cozy spaces. Blue, green and purple are cool colors and can create a serene, spacious look.
Color Wheel

2) Complimentary vs. Analogous

Complimentary colors are of “opposite hue” on a color wheel and create dramatic and intense pairings. Blue and orange are popular complimentary hues. Combining a primary and secondary color creates tertiary colors, which are analogous colors. They are “adjacent hues” on the color wheel and when paired create a softer, mellower effect. Yellow and green are popular analogous hues.
Color Wheel 2

3) Saturation Levels

Most paint swatches will have seven variations of the same hue ranging from darkest to lightest. As a general rule, the lightest version works great on the ceiling, while the darkest version is appropriate for accents and accessories. The wall color will come from one of the versions in the middle and typically lighter is better, because the color almost always ends up looking darker once painted on the wall.
Paint Swatches

4) Brightness

Many paint decks will have two sections: Neutrals and Brights and within each sections you will find purples, pinks, blues, greens, etc. but you’ll notice that the neutral version of purple is a lot less bright than well, the “bright” version of purple :) The neutral versions of colors appear more dull - not in the boring way, but in the way of having more gray mixed into the true hue and thus producing a mellow, subdued look. Brights are bold, vivacious and attention getting. Neutrals are quieter, subtle, and less obvious. You will need to decide what feeling you want to evoke in your space.
bright purple room
dark purple room


And just for fun, you can check out more about Color Psychology and what your favorite colors say about you here:

About.Com (Psychology of color)
Color-Wheel-Pro.Com (the meanings of color)
AssociatedContent.Com (what color says about you)

If you need a little more help and inspiration, you know where to find me and I'd love to help you bring a little color into your life!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Style Network - Saturday, February 20th @ 9pm

Tune it to the Style Network's What I Hate About Me tonight at 9pm PST for another organizing segment by your truly!

Tonight's episode features basic tips on how to organize frequently misplaced items. I haven't seen it yet, but it was fun to shoot at the studio and I hope it turned out great!

What I Hate About Me Resource list for past episodes - (I worked with Barika and Genelle)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Upward Bound House Opening

After a grueling and sometimes frantic week, the designers of the Upward Bound House project pulled it all together for one fantastic opening celebration last Friday, January 29th. The rooms were stunning and the positive feedback from visitors and project supporters was so appreciated by everyone involved. The project garnered much attention and several links to articles and photos are included below. A professional photoshoot will take place next week once the electrical is hooked up and the shelter doors will open soon after. Once again, thanks to my supporters and donors - this wouldn't have been possible without you.



LA Times
Curbed LA Blog Post
Inhabitat Post
Grace Hilton Blog
EMI Blog
Shoebox Decor
Kelly LaPlante Blog
eTTa Designs Blog
Turquoise LA Blog

I know there are other blogs and articles that I must have missed so please comment with a link to those postings!

I am also continuing to accept donations via paypal because I have "adopted" my apartment for the year and will be responsible for supplying new bedding and towels for the new families that move in - 4 families total throughout the year.







Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rain be damned - the project must go on!

Even the unrelenting rain in normally sunny socal can't slow me down. I've spent the past two days splashing through an endless sea of water and doing more hydroplaning than driving! But it was all worth it because I was able to cross a big number of items off my design list for project Upward Bound. Terry at Hotel Surplus donated some key pieces I needed (dining table, bench, mirror, art and more.) Paul at Zia Priven is putting together fantastic table lamps and a pendant light. Anna's Linen's turned out to be the motherload for cool, inexpensive bedding, linens and things. I was so excited to get all the textiles home and discover that they all coordinated perfectly! You see, I committed one of the cardinal sins of shopping: blind color matching! I forgot to take my paint swatches and fabric with me. Thankfully I've always had a pretty good eye for this so everything looks like its going to work out just fine. Well, tomorrow painting and set-up begins. Only 6 more working days before opening day, which means you can still send donations to help complete the room! See previous post below for a Donation link through PayPal. Stay tuned for updates!
-Christy

Monday, January 18, 2010

Online donations for Upward Bound are now easy with PayPal!

I know how hectic things can get (I'm really feeling the craziness this month!) so I created a PayPal Donation link to make it super easy for all of those who want to donate and be done with it! Any amount will help me make my room for the Upward Bound families amazing.






Here's an example of what your money will help us buy:
$80 - 4 Dining chairs from IKEA
$30 - 1 twin "bed-in-a-bag" set from Anna's Linen's
$10 - Bath mat from IKEA
$64 - 4 bath towels for 4 families

You will also receive a donation receipt if you provide your address. Donate a little or a lot and stay posted to this site for updates, progress and pictures! And a HUGE "Thank You" to all who have already donated products and money!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Upward Bound

Okay, so colors don't look really look the same on the computer as they do in person, but these are the colors I chose for my Upward Bound room (see previous posts.) Benjamin Moore has graciously donated 5 gallons of their Natura paint for each of the 18 rooms we are designing!

Celadon Green is going in the main living space (it looks kind of yellow here) and Ocean Spray is going in the bathroom (it's a richer blue in person.)My inspiration came from the fabric donated by Duralee

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Upward Bound House "Before" & "Inspiration"

So here are some "before" pics of the modest 350 sq. ft. space I will be decorating for the Upward Bound project (see previous post for more details):
Here is one of my inspiration pics from a really cool Maui based interior design firm. I'm really digging a "Modern Tropical" vibe for this space, but maybe with a Polynesian twist.
I love this wallpaper from Madison and Grow and it matches my inspiration photo perfectly, but I'm not sure if I'll have enough helping hands to go to the extent of wallpapering!Duralee is donating 6 yds of this awesome fabric - I love it! I'm thinking of curtain panels over a bamboo roll-up shade and if I have extra, some throw pillows.
This carved leave is a great color and texture inspiration piece. I'll be looking for natural and rustic accents such as these (notice how the shape echoes the motif above!)I'd love to get this natural jute rug from West Elm, it's perfect! Anybody have a hook-up at that store?And not to mention, Benjamin Moore Paints is donating all of the paint for all of the 18 rooms, from their Natura line, how amazing is that!!! I haven't picked my color(s) yet, I'll keep ya posted.

Despite all the amazing donations thus far, I still need to buy a lot of things out of pocket: bed linens, bath towels, etc. so each and every dollar donated is so appreciated.

I'll try to set up a PayPal link soon but in the meantime you can send products to or make the check or gift card out to:
Christy Biberich
818 S. Grand Ave. #205
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Monday, January 11, 2010

Upward Bound House - In need of donations!

I have some amazing news to share with you!

Myself and 17 other Los Angeles based designers are all putting in our time and effort to decorate our own room for a new shelter project called Upward Bound House in Culver City.

Each designer essentially adopts an apartment for a year that will help with temporary housing for 4 families (that’s a total of 72 families in 2010!)
The shelter will be opening its doors Feb 1st, and our deadline is Jan. 29th, so we are working around the clock to get the rooms designed in time for the new families.

We need to furnish each of the rooms that include chairs, tables, storage units, dresser, side tables, rugs etc. We are also in need of new bathroom and bedding accessories.
Each designer has to come up with their own donations (we do not have a decorating budget) so I am asking you to please help us with a small donation from $20-$50 or whatever you can offer is appreciated.

All donations are tax deductible, so please provide me with your address and I can mail out a receipt for each donation.
Cash, checks and gift cards to stores like Ross, Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshall’s, Target, Home Goods etc. would be perfect stores that we can purchase from.

Or if you have any NEW products that you no longer need I would be happy to take those as well.
I will need everything from towels to towel racks, bedding sets and sheets, plastic kitchen ware, bathroom wall mirror, waste baskets etc, etc. We’ve already had generous product donations from Zia Lighting, Empiric Furniture, Duralee Fabrics and several others, but many items will have to be purchased out of pocket so we need your help.

We can also use painting and handyman help if anyone in the area is available starting Jan. 18th (please, please, pretty please!) I can wield a paint roller and power drill with the best of them, but extra hands are sooooo appreciated :)

You can send products to or make the check or gift card out to:
Christy Biberich
818 S. Grand Ave. #205
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Thank you for taking the time to read my note and I hope that with the support from our friends, family and colleagues we can create a beautiful space for these families!.

Best,
Christy

**And please forward this email to anyone who might want to contribute.**

Here is some recent press from California Home + Design Magazine:
http://www.chdmag.com/article/a-room-of-one-own

Information about Upward Bound House:
http://upwardboundhouse.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=23

Upward Bound House is a community-based, social service agency headquartered in Santa Monica California. We are a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1991 to help mitigate the affordable housing crisis on the Westside of Los Angeles County and specifically, its impact on two vulnerable populations: homeless families with minor children and very low-income seniors.

Upward Bound House fulfills its mission through Family Place, its transitional housing facility for homeless families, and Senior Villa, its affordable housing facility for the very low-income elderly, both located in Santa Monica. In 2009, we will be opening Family Shelter, an emergency shelter for families with children located in Culver City.
Connecting our Santa Monica facilities and our surrounding community is our innovative S. Mark Taper Foundation Intergenerational Center, a place where the three generations housed at Upward Bound can interact and receive services that will allow each resident to lead an enriched, empowered and independent life.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A New Year, A Fresh Start

A New Year, A Fresh Start
Top 5 Ways to Start 2010 Out Right!

Everybody loves a new beginning, a clean slate, a better vision and hope for a brighter future. To start you off on the right foot, here are the top 5 things you can do to make the most of your space and make the most of your life!

1. Take 15 - Devote just 15 minutes a day to a task that you have been avoiding and you'll be surprised by just how much you can achieve in short, consistent bursts of focused work. For example, take 15 minutes to clean out one dresser drawer per day. The only catch is that you must be consistent - everyday!
2. Go Paperless - I'll admit I was late to join this bandwagon since I tend to drag my feet in fully embracing technological advances. Get over it. Go paperless with your bills and bank statements and get ready to enjoy the relief of less paper clutter!
3. Get Help - Honestly, if you're having a hard time justifying the expense of hiring help, think about the expense of NOT hiring help. Stress, frustration, wasted time and energy are a big price to pay for trying to be SuperMom, or SuperEntrepreneur. Free yourself up to do the things that really make you shine!
4. Live for Now - This means do NOT hold onto "maybe this will fit someday" or "this might be good for something somewhere" or "I might get around to that somewhere along the line." Holding onto these things actually immobilizes you from moving forward. Let the old go to make room for the new (a new life, not more stuff of course!)
5. Just a Minute - You've heard it before, "if it takes less than one minute, do it now," but how many times have you actually followed that advice? The problem is that our minds tend to warp time when it comes to doing things we don't want to do and then we convince ourselves there's just not enough time. The thorn in my side is dirty dishes - there never seems to be an end in sight and I try to think up all sorts of reasons why I don't have time to wash them. However, it only takes about 15 seconds to wash a plate, fork and glass instead of leave them sitting in the sink. That's only 1/4 of a minute! It's pretty hard to argue with the mathematical proof that just a minute now will save you hours later.

Last year's advice still rings true today

Think Less, Do More
A common problem many of us encounter at some point or another (or everyday in my case) is that our life gets overrun by our own thoughts. Pesky little buggers, constantly dancing around up there in your noggin. And especially at the onset of a New Year they tend to multiply and chant things like, "work more, work harder, be better, get it together, figure it out, achieve, improve, think, think think ..."

Well enough is enough. Silence the "think" and get out of "tank" already! No good ever came of a thought. It's true. The good comes out of the action upon that thought. No good ever came of good intentions, unless those intentions were acted upon.

We may have the best of intentions when we craft our New Year's resolutions, and it may be born from a place of sincerity and desire to do good, to be better, to achieve, to improve ourselves and thus the people and world around us. This year, however, I am challenging myself to only resolve to actual actions.

May you have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Yes, I am recycling from my old blog! Wanna fight about it?

Lights. Camera. Action. Action I Say!
Oh my goodness, so I finally got to work on my new video series and let me tell you what ...
It is a heck of a lot harder than it looks!

I mean, its not like I haven't been in front of a camera before and I certainly talk to clients everyday about organizing so why should this be any different? Well, for starters its all about ME, my face, my company, my ideas ... and quite frankly, that's terrifying!

I've always wanted to bring my organizing ideas to the mainstream because there are three things I believe I am meant to do in this life:
1) Entertain 2) Inspire 3) Create.
Reminding myself of those things helped push my inner perfectionist aside and say, "Okay, sometimes good enough is good enough. Let's just get this done."

So now I'm in the editing room (which is comprised of just my iMac ;-) laughing my butt off watching 30 minutes of my awkwardness that will hopefully, miraculously turn into 5 minutes of informative video.

But seriously, this was a great experience and I can't wait to shoot the next episode. And here is what I learned - that I already knew, but just needed to be reminded.

A GOOD IDEA, ACTED UPON, is infinitely better than a GREAT IDEA, KEPT IN THE DARK. - Few people know it, but this is the basis for my organizational turning point.

I blissfully existed in my "creative clutter" for years thinking it was okay because I was artistic or because I was a busy social butterfly. I just knew (or thought I knew) that messy, scatterbrained people were more fun, less tied down, and being a true Sagittarius I wanted to fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants with zero responsibility or care.

Over time, I began to see something I had never noticed before. I began to notice that the people who were the most creative, the most talented and had the best ideas had just that - creativity, talent, ideas ... but nothing else ... they had never done anything with it. They had nothing to show for all their brilliance and internally they were frustrated, dissatisfied and angry that 'lesser' people were accomplishing more than them.

When I noticed the pattern, I began to see it everywhere, including in myself and I knew that that was not the road I wanted to take - I knew that wasn't the real me and that I had so much more to give. Having that change of heart opened doors I never would have considered before and led to discoveries that have brought me closer to my purpose to Entertain, Inspire, and Create. The difference is that now I'm actually doing it instead of just thinking it.

TAKE ACTION TODAY, NOW! Stop waiting for everything to be perfect. Stop thinking you don't have the tools/resources to do what you want to do. And most of all, stop hiding behind your disorganization and clutter! What are you afraid of if you let go? Maybe you're afraid that you'll actually have to do something - and that's scary, I know. But I did it and you can to. It may not be perfect, but its something ... and that's everything.

An oldie but goodie from my previous blogging attempts

Live. Love. Let Go.
I was thrilled to set-up my first blog today. Finally, I would be able to share the wonderful things I've learned about everything having to do with organizing! What would I write about first, how could I entertain and inspire others?

I drew a blank. Nothing. Nada.

Then it hit me, you can't help others before you help yourself. And myself, and my place, needed some help. You see, I, like so many others, share a living space, in this case with my boyfriend. For you it might be a roommate, spouse or sibling. One thing remains the same - sharing sucks.

How are we supposed to create the serene living space of our dreams with you-know-who's dirty socks littering every hallway? Or how about a stinky old can of tuna mysteriously beneath the sofa (this actually happened with a former roommate of mine)! Junk mail, dishes, laundry and miscellaneous thingamabobs pile up and let's face it - you can't do it all, nor should you have to.

So, in examining my own current state of dissatisfaction with my living space, I did the most logical thing I could think of ... ate chocolate and silently stewed. Then I did the next most logical thing ... went back to basics and followed my own advice that I give every day to my organizing clients.

START WHERE IT NEEDS IT MOST
For me, the biggest source of my frustration was the living room - that's where I like to be able to relax, play with the dogs and curl up with a cup of tea and magazine. When you start in an area that is most important to you or is causing the majority of your anxiety, the pay off is greater and the results make a more dramatic difference, helping you feel better immediately. So, START WHERE IT NEEDS IT MOST.

FOCUS ONLY ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
This is tough, but crucial. Usually, in shared living situations, we are most aggravated by the other person's habits and clutter, not out own. The problem with this is that as much as we'd like to try, we can't control that person and we're only hurting ourselves by being angry, stewing in that anger and yet never getting any relief. For me, I chose to distinctly differentiate between what was mine, what was his, and anything that was "shared" I could either claim responsibility for or relinquish control and leave it up to him (I usually choose control:-). I got two large plastic bins and went through the room bit by bit. Anything that didn't belong in the space went in one bin or the other, period. Your bin - your stuff - your responsibility, but it doesn't get to lay around where it doesn't belong. Thus, choosing and taking responsibility for what you control and then only FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL.

DECIDE AND ACT
Now, everything in the bins that didn't belong in the living room either makes its way back into the area of the home where it is either useful or dearly cherished ... otherwise it goes to recycling, trash, or donation (use 3 new bins to make this easier). After it is sorted/decided, then DO IT, act now! Take out the trash, put donations in the car. DECIDE AND ACT on those decisions immediately.

Okay, so how do you get someone else to do these things as well? Honestly, if its a roommate, you may not have a lot of options, but you can work with them to at least agree what stays in their space and what lives in the common areas. When they step out of line, grab your bin and pick-up, then leave it to them to decide what to do with those items within the confines of their own personal space. If its a significant other, then you're going to have to work something out eventually. Try to get them to agree to go through their bin at the same time, or at least have them agree to a specific time when they will do it and hold them accountable - this also works well with kids and young adults.

PERSISTENCE, NOT PERFECTION
Accept the fact that nobody is perfect and that when living in mixed company, compromises may have to be made. Persistence, rather, is the path to serenity in these situations. Commit yourself to at least 15 minutes of clutter control maintenance everyday. Remember to 1) start where it matters most, 2) focus only on what you can control, 3) make a decision, and act immediately, 4) aim for persistence, not perfection. Do this everyday, whether it needs it or not! If you can convince your living partner to commit to the same, then you're set. Your PERSISTENT efforts will yield a PEACEFUL space, but never a PERFECT one. And honestly, would I really trade my boyfriend in for a perfectly arranged closet, magazine ready living room and divinely organized kitchen that would make MONK jealous?

Maybe I shouldn't answer that. :-)