Home Improvement / Decor

Organizing Closets for Winter

· Home Improvement / Decor

1) How can I store sweaters on hangers without stretching them out or damaging delicate knits? I suggest using the children’s sized nonslip velvet hangers in the same color as the full sized hangers being used in the rest of your closet. This will ensure visual symmetry and the shoulders won’t get stretched. Of course, truly delicate sweaters shouldn’t be hung, they should be folded.

2) What is an easy, visually appealing way to store scarves? Use skirt hangers and organize by color. Or, install a towel bar (or two or three), and hang scarves over the bar by color.

3) How can I keep my (and the kids) gloves from losing their pair? What is a clever way to store them in a closet? I store gloves in the pockets of the coats. It becomes rote for you and your children to always put the gloves in the pocket when taking them off. You’ll save space (no need to allocate closet space to gloves) and time (no need to search for “matching gloves”).

4) How can I best store bulky winter boots in a closet space? Limit the number of bulky winter boots to one or two pairs per family member. Often, clients will store these on the floor of the closet, but another alternative is to put them on a high shelf. Boots are light and easy to grab when they’re stored on a high shelf, and they’re also typically not worn often (unless you live in a place where it snows often).

5) Is there a way to save hanging space with bulky winter coats? If you have a number of short coats, the best space saver is having double hanging (two hanging rods). You literally double your hanging space.

6) How can I store throw blankets in a closet without creating a blanket avalanche every time I try to remove one? If you have multiple throw blankets in a closet, consider how many you really need. If you have no more than 4, they shouldn’t topple. Throw blankets are meant to be thrown over the side of a couch, chair, or bed. Blankets that are stored should be folded to the same width with the fold to the outside and stacked by color.

Living Room Versatile

Versatile Furniture from ClosetMaid Goes from Dorm to First Apartment

· College, Family, Home Improvement / Decor, Moving

For her junior year at Washington University, my daughter, Rebecca, moved into an off-campus apartment. Lucky for her, ClosetMaid had provided furniture for her dorm room the previous year that could be repurposed and paired with some new pieces to create a mature and modern space.

When we arrived in St. Louis, the living room in the new apartment was filled with boxes. Some were filled with items that had been ordered or shipped from home. Others were packed by the school when the pandemic shut down colleges the previous spring. Armed with box cutters, the first four hours in the new apartment were spent emptying boxes and moving them out of the apartment.

The apartment filled with boxes.

Once the boxes were emptied, and the items were sorted by category, the fun began. We used two X-frame bookshelves (previously split between Rebecca’s dorm bedroom and the dorm shared living space) to flank the media stand, creating a wall unit with these versatile pieces. These shelves provide ample room for Rebecca’s books as well as candles, photos, and artwork. The drawers of the media stand store cords, chargers, and notebooks while the shelves hold fun books and games.

ClosetMaid bookshelves flank the media stand.

A new couch by Best Choice Products was selected for its clean and modern look as well as its ability to convert to a bed. The coffee table with shelves, taken from Rebecca’s dorm room provides useful storage. A tray corrals the remote control for the television, and games for small gatherings with friends are stored on the handy shelves.

Couch with ClosetMaid coffee table and art work by Romi Tannenbaum

The end table with a shelf, placed in between two faux leather accent chairs and styled with dried flowers, a candle, and a game, provides more decorative storage.

Artwork by Romi Tannenbaum (Romi Jill Art) completes the apartment with sophisticated splashes of bold color.

Picture by Romi Jill Art

For more organization and lifestyle tips, visit blog.closetmaid.com.

Living Room Facelift

· Entertaining, Home Improvement / Decor, Makeovers, Uncategorized · , , , , , ,

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.

The living room BEFORE the facelift.

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. 

The living room AFTER the facelift.

Organizing a (Very Small) Laundry Room

· Home Improvement / Decor, Makeovers, Uncategorized · , , ,

Any home improvement project entails compromise, and the recent renovation of my kitchen and dining room was no exception. In order to enlarge the dining area in the limited confines of my New York City townhouse, I took my formally spacious laundry room and made it half of its former size. Fortunately, I knew how to maximize storage capacity and organize this smaller space to meet my needs.  Here are the steps I took:

  1. Purge After careful consideration, I decided to eliminate anything that wasn’t necessary for cleaning clothing, floors, or surfaces. This meant that I moved light bulbs, dog grooming supplies, tools, and other home maintenance items to other areas of my home. 
  • Design With small spaces, it’s important to think vertically. I started by replacing my washing machine and dryer with stackable models. I then designed high shelves around the perimeter of the room, installed a rod for hanging hand wash (a towel rack repurposed and hung from the underside of a shelf), and created space for a vacuum cleaner, and laundry baskets. A pocket door saved additional space.
  • Organize I used white Nordic Storage Baskets from The Container Store to store cleaning products, laundry products, microfiber cloths, sponges, floor cleaners. Frequently used products such as laundry pods, fabric softener, and microfiber cloths were decanted in clear acrylic canisters. A horizontal desk organizer was used to hold pens, notepads, a folding board, and a scissor. 

Watch Barbara on Only Good TV as she helps freshen up and gain more space in our laundry rooms with helpful organization tips and small decor changes that make things neat and efficient.

Organized Pantry

Two Dads, Two Kids, Two Dogs,Too Much Stuff

· Children / Teens, Entertaining, Family, Home Improvement / Decor, Kitchen / Nutrition, Lifestyle, Makeovers, Purging, Spring Cleaning

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.

Continue reading “Two Dads, Two Kids, Two Dogs, and Too Much Stuff – The Kitchen” »

Three's a Crowd: A Single Mom, Her Triplets, and a One Bedroom Apartment

Three’s a Crowd: A Single Mom, Her Triplets, and a One Bedroom Apartment

· Children / Teens, Family, Home Improvement / Decor, Makeovers, Paper Organizing, Purging, Spring Cleaning · , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About a year ago, a friend asked if I would consider doing a project pro bono; Lisa Meshulam, a single mother of triplets, desperately needed help with organization of her one bedroom apartment. I was intrigued.

When I saw the apartment, it was piled floor to ceiling with storage boxes on wire racks. Cube furniture was filled with bins, books, and papers. Children’s drawings and photos were taped to the walls, and the kitchen counters overflowed with food that didn’t fit in the pantry. Lisa slept in a bed in the corner of the living room, sacrificing her privacy so the boys could share the single bedroom. While the boys’ room was cleverly outfitted with two bunk beds, it was overrun with clutter. Clothing spilled out of empty cubes and onto the floor.

I immediately agreed to help and started by enlisting ClosetMaid as a sponsor. Then, I assembled my team of organizers, and began operation organize.

Continue reading “Three’s a Crowd: A Single Mom, Her Triplets, and a One Bedroom Apartment” »

Holiday Room - Painting Tips

Four Rooms to Prep for Holiday Guests – With Paintzen

· Entertaining, Holiday, Home Improvement / Decor · , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Continue reading “Four Rooms to Prep for Holiday Guests – With Paintzen” »

Elizabeth Sutton’s Long Island Art Studio

All That Glitters – Organizing an Artist’s Studio

· Home Improvement / Decor, Makeovers · , , , , , , , , , ,

I first reached out to Elizabeth Sutton in December after seeing her posts on social media. Recently divorced with 2 young children, Elizabeth had experienced a tragic loss: while displaying her works at Art Basel, two of her employees, also dear friends, were in a devastating car accident. One did not survive, and the other was seriously injured. In dealing with the aftermath of the accident, all of her artwork in Miami was haphazardly packed and shipped to her studio in Long Island City. In the process, many paintings were damaged, and she herself felt emotionally damaged.

When Elizabeth and I spoke, she talked about a feeling of chaos, both in her personal life and in her studio. And, she knew that the chaos would increase the following month when she would be closing a pop up store in Soho and sending all of the art and supplies there to the Long Island City studio.

Elizabeth also expressed how her art studio, once a place of great inspiration, was now filled with sad memories and completely disorganized. That’s when Resourceful Consultants got involved. Our goal was not only to organize Elizabeth’s Long Island City studio, but also to create a hip, fun vibe that would match the mood of the vibrant pop art that is Elizabeth’s signature style.

Elizabeth and I met in her studio the following month. We talked about the organizational challenges she was facing, and how Resourceful Consultants could help. Elizabeth demonstrated how labor intensive each of her paintings was by crafting a single butterfly, gorgeous and glittered, while we watched. We met her team in order to understand how they worked together and separately, so that we could determine how best to organize the physical space in the studio.

1Glitter

Continue reading “All That Glitters – Organizing an Artist’s Studio” »

Essential Oils and Organization

· Home Improvement / Decor · , , ,

Essential Oils & OrganizationOver the past few years, I have become interested in wellness, particularly as it applies to organization. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to Julie Peacock who integrates essential oils into her practice of yoga, nutrition, and wellness. According to Julie, essential oils protect against seasonal and environmental threats. They are nontoxic and don’t pollute your home, water supply or the environment. They are also multi-purpose and inexpensive.

Here are 6 essential oils Julie identified that can be used to clean and refresh your home:

Continue reading “Essential Oils and Organization” »

The Power of Paint, by Guest Blogger Paul Denikin

· Home Improvement / Decor · , , ,

I recently became acquainted with Paul Denikin. While Paul was always interested in home improvement, he became an expert when his daughter, Maggie, was born with special needs. At that time, Paul realized  he needed to modify his home so that it would be safe and functional for Maggie.  He started his website, dadknowsdiy.com, to share what he’s learned with the rest of us.   Here, he talks about how painting your home can improve its value and its appearance.

DIY home improvements are one of the most common ways home sellers will try to increase the value of their home. While some DIY projects can be complex or expensive such as redoing your bathroom, other projects are far less complicated. It may seem difficult to up the value of your home, but in reality, a few simple improvements can dramatically change how your house is viewed by potential buyers. The best way to make an impact without breaking the bank? Paint.

Continue reading “The Power of Paint, by Guest Blogger Paul Denikin” »