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A Laundry Room with a Sense of Humor

· Makeovers · , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

London’s Laundromat – 24 Hours, Not Quite Self Service

When a busy mom of four hired me to organize her townhouse, the laundry room was one of her top priorities. Although it wasn’t the sexiest room in the house, it was a space used multiple times a day.

The laundry room was small but well designed with a sense of humor. A counter ran the length of one wall with IKEA shelves above and the washer and dryer below the counter. The opposite wall boasted a sink and linen closet tucked behind the door. A clothesline that retracted into the wall was used to hang hand washed clothing. The sign painted on the wall read, “London’s Laundromat, 24 Hours, Self-Service.

When I arrived, the counter was completely covered with clothing. Boxes of cleaning supplies and random items such as swim goggles and game pieces littered the space as well. The linen closet was stuffed with sheets, towels, backpacks, and tote bags.

I started by tackling the linen closet because I correctly assumed there would be lots of easy to purge items. For example, crib sheets were comingled with other sheets even though the youngest child hadn’t slept in a crib in at least two years. New sheets had been purchased for all of the beds, yet the old sheets still remained. These were all eliminated as well as those that were mismatched, torn, or stained. Tip: when you buy something new remember to eliminate what you bought it to replace. In order to increase the linear feet of space in the linen closet, I added two extra shelves. Moving forward, bed linens would be stored in the bedroom in which they were used. The linen closet would only accommodate guest sheets, towels, and extra laundry supplies.

Clearing off the counter was simple. Laundry was folded and put away in each child’s bedroom. A cumbersome drying rack was discarded. Random items were put where they belonged or discarded. Glass anchor canisters were used to decant laundry detergent and fabric softener.

Since the cabinets which were from IKEA, I used 10 IKEA white curved bins which perfectly fit the space. Like items were grouped together such as sewing supplies, glass cleaners, floor cleaners, sunblock and insect repellent, batteries, and rags. These were labeled using the @Ptouchessentials label maker.  The top shelves which were largely inaccessible were used to store overstock and items rarely used.

Once the space was purged, the counters cleared, and items were sorted, contained, and labeled, the space was so appealing that this client said she almost didn’t mind doing laundry. Almost.

 

A Space of Her Own

· Makeovers · , , , , , , , , ,

On a sticky Manhattan summer day, I arrived at Wendy Reimer’s home to organize the overcrowded bedroom of her three young girls. The oldest, a pre-teen, was desperate for her own space, and Wendy hoped I could carve out a niche for her in the large bedroom the girls shared.

As a professional, I rarely feel overwhelmed by a room. Yet, here, I had met my match. Three beds lined the perimeter of the room, and there was almost no clear path to walk. Stuffed animals covered every surface, and toys, games, and books were strewn about the room. Drawers were so stuffed with clothing that many could barely be opened. In an adjacent playroom, clutter filled every visible space with an outdoor playhouse taking center stage.

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Kitchen Makeover for Single Dad

· Kitchen / Nutrition / Wellness, Makeovers · , , , , , , , , , ,

In between his full time job, volunteering in the community, and taking care of his two young sons, Mike McCleod, Jr. had little time for himself or for organizing his small, but cozy home. As a result, the kitchen, where the family spent the most time, was overrun with food, appliances, and the debris of daily living. His kitchen table was literally on its last leg and in such poor condition that it could no longer be used for meals. When Mike reached out to my friends at Hooplaha, @onlygood.tv for help, I was happy to spearhead his kitchen makeover.

Before pictures of the McCleod kitchen.

When I first met the McCleod trio, they were excited about the project on hand. Kiing and Hova, Mike’s sons, greeted me at the door, and as they showed me around the apartment, I could see that the kitchen was not functioning at all; instead it was weighed down with clutter. Yet, I was also pleasantly surprised to see several areas where overflow from the kitchen could be stored.

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Size Does Matter: Finding Space in a Tiny Kitchen

· Kitchen / Nutrition / Wellness, Makeovers, Uncategorized · , , , , , , , , ,

After Adam Keller’s flash mob proposal to Jared Marinelli at Joy Ride Studio (viewed by 14 million people), life changed dramatically for these fitness instructors. In addition to cohosting an online series called “Joy Story” for Hooplaha – Only Good News, they moved to a new home, and basked in an outpouring of affection from the LGBT community. When our mutual friends from Hooplaha told me “the boys” where struggling with a small kitchen, I was happy to pay them a visit in New Jersey to help them manage the space.

While their new home had an extensive yard for them to walk their dogs, the kitchen was a fraction of the size of the one they had left behind. Since this space was limited, they were using the counters to compensate for the lack of a pantry, and the kitchen was overrun by clutter. When organizing the space, I followed my typical approach:

  1. Take everything out of the cabinets
  2. Group like items together
  3. Separate duplicates and purge
  4. Put everything back in an organized fashion

As I cleared everything out of the cabinets, I could see that inside and under the cabinets were not being used properly. To maximize space, I outfitted drawers with inserts to organize utensils, flatware, and utility items (tools and batteries). Items on high shelves were placed in bins, so that they would be accessible, and the surfaces were cleared. Accents in orange were placed throughout, resulting in a charming, cozy kitchen Jared and Adam can enjoy. See a video of the makeover here.

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

· Family, Makeovers · , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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College Move In Tips (Where Did the Time Go?)

· School / College · , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eighteen and a half years ago, we became an instant family when my twins wore born. Now, the reverse is inevitable as the empty nest looms ahead. In August, my twins will start college. We’ll fly as a family of four to St. Louis where we’ll move my daughter into her dorm at Washington University. Then, three of us will fly to Atlanta to move my son into his room at Emory University. Five days later, only two of us will return home. While this time is bittersweet for us, it’s also a time where strategic planning and preparation can remove some of the stress, and help us enjoy a special milestone. Although I’m a first timer, here are some tips that I’ve gathered from friends and family that have made this journey before me.

1. Book flights and hotels for move in and family weekends when you’re notified of the dates. The closer the hotel is to campus, the sooner it gets sold out.

2. Ship as much to campus as possible, but if there’s a big box store (Walmart, Kmart, Target) nearby, know that you can buy storage containers, rugs, and larger items when you determine what’s needed.
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Elizabeth Sutton’s Long Island Art Studio

All That Glitters – Organizing an Artist’s Studio

· 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

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Queen for a Day for the “Queen of Clean”

· Makeovers · , , , , ,

This month I was profiled in an article in AARP magazine entitled, “Declutter Your Life – Now! Meet the Queen of Clean”.  While just being chosen for the profile was exciting enough, what went on behind the scenes was truly a thrill for me!  Here’s the article, and here’s what it was really like to be the “Queen of Clean”.

First, I got to work with Jancee Dunn.  For those of you who don’t know her, Jancee has written for every major magazine, covering dozens of celebrities (Bono, Madonna, Brad Pitt, Cyndi Lauper).  The idea that she would be writing an article about me after she had just finished working on a project with Cyndi was just unfathomable.  And, Jancee was so easy to work with and such a lovely person, I enjoyed every minute of my time with her.

One day, Jancee accompanied me to a client’s apartment.  While at first it felt a little strange to be observed, Jancee was just a “fly on the wall”, and I quickly forgot she was there.  Then, she wanted to see my house, so we met there one morning. We chatted as I opened closets and drawers showing her my organizing techniques.  Everything was neat as a pin until I opened my husband’s closet and a yellow promotional bag was sitting on the floor.  To quote Jancee quoting me in the article, I said, “What the hell is this?”  I just love that she included that!

I next heard from AARP when they wanted to schedule a photo shoot with me.  I imagined they would send a photographer and snap a few pictures, but that wasn’t what they had in mind at all!  In early June, I received a “call sheet” listing me as the “talent” and then proceeded to list a dozen other people such as the photographer, prop stylist, wardrobe stylist, and set designer.  I couldn’t get over being called “the talent”.  I briefly wondered if a mistake had been made.  It became more real though as I had calls with the wardrobe consultant about my size and style and the prop master about how I would style a living room.

Then, it was the day of the shoot. I arrived at a sleek, airy downtown loft at 9:00 in the morning ready for my big day.  The photographer and his assistants were setting up their equipment.  Living room furniture had been rented and set up in one part of the loft, and the prop stylists were creating a messy “before” living room (later, I would transform it to the “after”).  Another part of the loft was set up with racks of clothes, rows and rows of shoes, a table filled with jewelry, and a whole table filled with crowns and scepters (for the Queen look).  A make up artist was setting up her brushes near the wardrobe section while I looked around still not quite believing that I was “the talent”.  To steady my nerves, I helped myself to a yummy breakfast which was set up in a back area.

 

After I had eaten, I had my hair and make-up done by Lauren.  As a person that rarely wears make up, it was fascinating to see how much time she spent making me look my best.   Whenever I thought there couldn’t possibly be any more makeup to put on my face, Lauren added something, smoothed something, and added something more.  Then she worked on making my hair just the right amount of curly for another hour!  I was starting to really enjoy being the talent.

Next it was time to try on clothes.  Jessica, the wardrobe stylist had prepared several looks for me.  The first was a long gold dress with a fur stole.  I loved it, but when the photographer took some test shots in front of the “before” living room, the color didn’t provide enough contrast.  Instead, I wore a long red satin skirt with a tailored white shirt complete with a crown and scepter for most of the shoot.  When the clothing didn’t fit perfectly, they pinned and clipped the side not on camera until it did.

Now, we were ready to start the shoot.  Chris, the incredibly talented photographer, taught me how to smile on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 is no smile, 7 is a big smile) and everything in between.  I posed leaning back, moving my shoulder down an inch, my arm up an inch, turning the scepter up and back and turning my head this way and that.  During all of this, Lauren and Jessica would periodically stop to arrange my clothes, fix my hair, and dab my makeup.  The photographers and the technician would crowd around big screens scrutinizing the photo angles and the colors.  Who knew being a model was so complicated?

After a few hours of posing, we stopped for lunch and an outfit change.  My next ensemble was much more like what I would wear on a regular day: jeans, kitten heels, and a blazer.  Chris took pictures of me in front of the set, and then the real fun began.  While Chris directed, a time lapse video a time lapse video of me organizing the set was taken.  I worked with the prop stylists from top to bottom and left to right.  We arranged the books in color and size order, we alternated between horizontal and vertical displays, used props of every type, and even put pictures on the mantle.  It took us about 30 minutes in real time, but the video speeds it up to a minute!

As it approached the late afternoon, we needed to hurry a bit, so we didn’t lose the light.  I had one more outfit change (jeans and blouse), and posed with different organizing tools like the Brother P Touch label maker, bins, and folders.  By this time, I was an old pro, and could smile and position myself easily into whatever poses Chris thought would work. There were a lot of laughs at the end as we wrapped the shoot.  Admittedly, I was a little sore the next day (from using “modeling” muscles never used before), but what an experience to be queen for a day, the Queen of Clean!