One day, as I sat in my living room answering emails, I realized that I couldn’t stand my rug. Over the course of that afternoon, I became obsessed with replacing it. Immediately. So, I raced to the D&D building in NYC, selected three potential rugs, and brought samples home to review in the space. While none of them seemed right, and all of them cost more than I wanted to spend, I’m a sucker for crossing things off my list. So I called my dear friend, Allison Peyton, for help making the decision. Allison, who has phenomenal taste and is trained as a designer, has strong opinions that she finds difficult not to express. In other words, the exact reason we’re such close friends. When I texted photos of the rugs I was considering, she let me know she “hated all of them,” and I would need to clear my calendar in 3 weeks to spend the day with her.
On the appointed day, I took an early train to meet Allison in Connecticut. Our first stop was the Elizabeth Eakin sample sale in Norwalk. When the doors opened, we burst inside, and 45 minutes later I had purchased two rugs that cost a fraction of what I was going to pay for just one rug a few weeks earlier. Feeling excited about my new purchases and the money I had saved, I asked if she thought I needed anything else.
Allison didn’t mince words. Apparently, my end tables “were so horrible she couldn’t speak” and a custom wall unit I had designed in 2002 was “a complete embarrassment, dated, and should be used as firewood.” She also thought the furniture could use a little rearranging.
As I considered her comments objectively, I conceded that the end tables and wall unit were dated. The issue was that, although dated, the wall unit had tremendous storage capacity. Its many shelves and cabinets were packed with photo albums, sentimental items, board games, books, and even a few hundred CD’s in drawers built to their specific size. Allison was unfazed. “You’re an organizer, you’ll pare down and find other places for those things,” she told me as we approached Parc Monceau, a cozy furniture/home goods store.
At Parc Monceau, we ordered upholstered stools and a drink table. New pillows were selected from Gracious Home in New York City, and a burled wood console with ample storage was purchased to take the place of the wall unit. I was ecstatic, but Allison wasn’t finished. She thought my existing chairs looked “a bit tired” and suggested I reupholster them in leather, remove the skirt, and add nail heads to better complement the new living room.
Three weeks later, a handyman disassembled the wall unit (with its pared down contents), and the rugs and new furniture were delivered. Existing furniture was rearranged including the newly reupholstered chairs that were relocated to create a new seating area. The console was placed on the wall previously occupied by the wall unit. New pillows were arranged on the couch and chairs.
As I surveyed the room, I saw that what was once traditional and dark had been transformed to a space that was chic and light. With the addition of some pillows, a rug, and some well-placed accessories, I had achieved a stylish new look without spending a fortune. And, after much cajoling, Allison agreed to join my team at Life Organized.
Our featured client this month is Samantha, the mother of three young children and the matriarch of a large extended family. This hostess extraordinaire often cooks for 30 family members and friends to celebrate Shabbat each weekend. In addition, Samantha maintains toys for every possible age group to ensure that even the youngest guest has appropriate entertainment. Over time, though, her home has become the self declared “weigh station” for toys, clothing, books, cookware, and furniture for relatives and friends with younger children, ones who have yet to have children, and even those who are not yet married.
Like many women who hire us, Samantha’s organizational skills are the envy of her friends (“why do you need an organizer,” is a popular refrain she hears). Yet, Samantha felt that she needed expert advise in how to streamline her life to entertain and function at a higher level. She knew it was time to take back her home – it could no longer be a proverbial ‘candy store’ for children and adults alike – and she needed our help.
Like most of my projects, this one started with a phone call. There was a townhouse and two dads, two kids, two dogs, and way too much stuff. Could we help? Of course.
At the first appointment, we met Bill and Alvarro, two busy dads at their home in Brooklyn Heights which was beautifully decorated yet warm and child friendly. From the basement to the office on the top floor, we could see the evidence of a well lived life. Gifts, souvenirs from travel, photos, school projects, and books could be found in boxes and piles throughout the house. Bill and Alvarro craved better organization so that they could live with less clutter and less stress. After a walk through of the house, we made a plan: we would meet once a week, and tackle one room at a time, starting in the kitchen.
I am fortunate to have a mother turning 80 this year who is beautiful, smart, and active in her community. When we decided she should have a party to celebrate this milestone birthday, our first decision was where it should be. Our second was what kind of invitation we would send.
My mother, remarkably, had never received an evite. It seems that many in her generation still order paper invitations, addressing them by hand, and adhering stamps to each envelope before dropping them in the mail. When I explained the concept of an evite to her, she was incredulous. To her, the concept was almost magical.
It’s that time of year again; the holiday season is rapidly approaching along with a seemingly endless list of things to do, presents to buy, and parties to plan. If you entertain friends and family in your home, you want it to look its absolute best. I recently sat down with Paintzen, an online service that makes painting your home simple, to discuss how you can prepare your home for the holidays. You don’t need to go overboard. Instead, focus on the four key areas that will be most visible to guests: the entryway, bathroom, kitchen, and living room.
Resourceful Consultants clients can use code “RC100” to get up to $100 off of their first paint project with Paintzen! Here’s to a Happy 2019 from Paintzen and Resourceful Consultants.
We all know holiday prep has a way of spiraling into full on hysteria. From gift shopping and RSVPs, to party attendance and clean-up, managing your holiday schedule is a full time job. This season, approach “the most wonderful time of the year” with a clear, organized plan of attack. Keep calm and party on!
Buy gifts you love in bulk and give them to as many people on your list as possible. Gift cards are your best bet.
Have hostess gifts on hand and keep it simple. It’s okay to bring a bottle of wine or to buy a dessert instead of cooking or baking.
Take inventory of your holiday decorations before and after the holiday. Before the holiday, you can assess whether you need to buy anything new. At the end of the holiday, you can get rid of anything broken or soiled.
Keep a spreadsheet of all of the holiday tips you give. You may not remember how much you tipped your mail carrier last year, but he or she will.
If you have a social commitment that you’re dreading, be targeted about how you spend your time when you get there. Arrive early and spend a few minutes one on one with the host. Put in your face time, do the necessary networking, and be on your way.
Don’t feel obligated to save your friends’ holiday cards with their children’s pictures. Since you probably don’t have your own children’s photos perfectly organized; why would you add pictures of other children to the mix?
Every year, clients ask me how to avoid last minute chaos when they host a holiday. Here is a comprehensive list of to-dos for Thanksgiving STARTING NOW:
3 Weeks Before Thanksgiving
• Deep clean your house and purge excess clutter.
• Polish silver.
• Invite your guests. Consider using Paperless Post if you’re having a large group.
• Give specific assignments to guests who ask what they can bring.
• Prepare a dinner menu including wine, liquor, and soda.
• Prepare a grocery list based on the dinner menu.
• Think about table décor (e.g., flower arrangement(s), votives, small bud vases).
• Order the turkey.
• If you don’t have proper roasting tools (pan, rack, thermometer, basting tools, carving knife), buy them now.
• Order any favorite dessert items from your bakery (non-refrigerated items are best).
• Take an inventory of your serving pieces, dishes, silverware and glasses. If additional items are needed, purchase them now or contact a rental company to reserve. Don’t forget to include rental tables, chairs or linens, if needed. Continue reading “Thanksgiving Countdown” »
When my twins were born 17 years ago, we received not one, but two decorative, monogrammed seesaws…from one store. It’s difficult to imagine that the store wouldn’t have told the second person ordering this “gift” with the same names and delivery address to select something else, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say that I was stuck with two seesaws that were, in my practical mind, a waste of space and a silly gift. So, I did what any self-respecting professional organizer would do and put them both out on the curb the next morning.
Although this can be difficult for some people, never feel compelled to keep a gift you don’t like. It will end up taking up space in your home and your psyche for what is often literally years. To avoid this, consider these tips
Recently, after a great day boating with friends, we decided to meet at my house for drinks before having dinner at a nearby restaurant. Some of our guests were on the boat with my husband and I, and others would drive to our house. They would arrive before I did, so there would be no time for a last minute clean up. Since I’m a professional organizer, that didn’t pose a problem for me. My house is almost always company ready. However, if you’re not like me, what can you do if you get a call that friends “are in the neighborhood” and will be there in 20 minutes? Tilly Rose, founder of TenancyCleaning, a cleaning service in London, offers these tips for de-cluttering your home when it needs to done quickly.
Every year, I host the holiday meal after Yom Kippur (called “Break Fast,” when you literally break the fast from sundown the previous day). This is the only holiday I enjoy hosting for several reasons. First, the traditional meal is bagels and appetizing which I order already on platters. Second, it’s buffet style, so no serving is required. Third, while some of my guests may wait until sundown to eat, others eat as soon as they arrive. This means I don’t need to have seating for each guest. Finally, I use paper plates and plastic utensils, making clean up a breeze!
The only thing I actually cook is my “famous” baked cinnamon French toast. I say it’s famous because I refer to it in my book, Secrets of an Organized Mom, and it’s amazing the number of people around the country who have emailed me asking for the recipe. I prepare it the night before and heat it up as my guests arrive. My house smells delicious and people think I slaved all day in the kitchen. Here’s my recipe, so you can try it yourself:
Recipe: Baked Cinnamon French Toast
Ingredients: 6 eggs 2 1/2 cups of milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (can use more) 1 baguette 1 stick butter 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped nuts 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Method: Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in bowl. Slice baguette into thin slices and layer in a 9 x 9 pan. Pour mixture over bread and refrigerate (overnight if possible). Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and nuts. After bread has soaked in liquid, spread over top of bread. Cook on 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until puffed and golden.