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Archive for Organizing

Beauty Sleep

Are you getting enough rest? Is sleep a priority in your life? Do you consider sufficient sleep to be a primary beauty ingredient?

Ahh sleep … or asleep? –  many of us do not get the required seven to eight hours of recommended shut-eye per night. We may try to get to bed at a decent time during the week, but often blow the schedule by staying up late on weekends and sleeping in. Our bodies require the same amount of sleep per day, so catching up or being sleep-deprived should be avoided.

We all know we look our best when we are well rested. Our skin is plumper, rosier and softer. Our HGH (human growth hormones) have been doing their repair jobs while we slept. If you have slept well there is little need for elaborate makeup in the morning. Certainly the euphemistic term for having had some work done is “she looks well rested!”. If you’ve been burning the midnight oil, everything seems to suffer. Your hair is limp or unruly, wrinkles or lines more prounced, skin dull. (That’s when dry shampoo, tinted moistuizers and cream blush come in handy!). Continuous sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, memory problems, inattention, accidents, impaired judgement and more.

How do we ensure a good night’s sleep?

1. Have a bed time – even as an adult. Figure out when you need to get up. Go back eight hours. Bedtime!

2. Have a bedtime routine – face, teeth, jammies, book, sex

3. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and intimacy – ditch the clutter, dirty laundry and flatscreen

4. Make sure it smells nice – candles, incense, flowers

5. Regulate the temperature and light – cool & dark is preferrable with  layered bedding

6. Invest in good sheets – high thread count cotton or bamboo

7. Your refuge from the world – leave others, work and our worries at the door

8. Exercise during the day – save the sleeping pills for rare occasions

9. Have a good bed – get the bed mattress, foundation and frame you can afford

10. Keep a pen & paper beside the bed – jot down any last minute worries that pop up so you can let them go safely

11. Close your eyes – you can’t force sleep, but you can try to attract it

12. Zzzzz

 

 

 

 

 

Why hire a Wardrobe Consultant?

Yes, indeed! Why should you hire me or one or my colleagues? I can think of a few good reasons:

  • A Wardrobe Consultant will gently steer you to items, colours and styles that suit you.
  • She or he has no particular interest in selling you clothing – just in making you look your best.
  • Personal Shoppers/Overly Attentive Salespersons will be rewarded financially for your purchases one way or another.
  • Your mom, sister or best friend already loves you and may think you look fine no matter what you wear.
  • Your boss told you to get some wardrobe help. (Yes, this happens. A male client of mine was told that his resume and interviewing skills were great – his clothes – NOT SO MUCH!)
  • The money you spend on a stylist is far less than the money you will waste on clothing you don’t wear because it doesn’t suit you.
  • You have no idea what styles or colours look good on you.
  • You have a Special Event you have to look just right for.
  • You have too many clothes and too much difficulty getting dressed.
  • You may find clothing or accessories hiding in your closet that have resale value.
  •  You are smart enough to know that your lack of fashion knowledge is holding you back personally or professionally.

A Wardrobe Consultant will  not tell you to throw out all your clothes. (Sorry Stacy & Clinton!). A Wardrobe Consultant is a knowledgeable professional whose unbiased opinion you can trust. They will help you work with existing pieces that are right for you and suggest purchases to fill gaps in your wardrobe. A Wardrobe Consultant will scout stores for pieces for you and notify you of sales.

If your clothes aren’t saying what you want them to say about you consider hiring a Wardrobe Consultant.

A three hour session with me is $149, tax included.

If you’re just unsure about an item or an outfit, text me or email me your photo and I’ll respond with an honest opinion. Send an email to ac.elytslaernull@ofni.

 

You won’t have to throw out
all your clothes and we’ll leave you like this!

 

Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline – Book Review

 

This book will change the way
you think about clothes!

I was looking for Alexa Chung’s new book, It. The public library didn’t have it. The next best bet was Indigo. They had It, but as I thumbed through the book I quickly realized I would not be buying it.  Browsing the stalls in the fashion section one book title did jump out at me – OVERDRESSED the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion. I picked it up and a quick flip-through revealed not a picture in sight. A fashion book with no pictures? Hhhmm, this must be something more serious. The front cover boasts a quote by Katha Pollitt “OVERDRESSED does for T-shirts and leggings what FAST FOOD NATIONS did for burgers and fries.”  That’s quite a statement! Intrigued, I dropped a few hints and received the book as a Christmas gift.

When I finally sat down with it, I devoured the book! It was fascinating reading right from the first page, and were it not for a night’s sleep, I would have finished it in one sitting. Elizabeth Cline has done her research and knows her facts. From shamelessly opening her own closet to visiting clothing factories in China, she brings into question our values as a nation with her insights into our shopping habits.  Today’s society has been brought up to clothing shop for entertainment, purchase clothes they don’t need or wear and to amass wardrobes with hundreds if not thousands of pieces. Cline discusses the  impact that today’s disposable clothing has on the environment, how it virtually eliminated the garment industry in North America and how it is affecting the global economy.

Normally a book about economics would not interest me but I found this book easy to read and accurate in the conclusion it draws. Clothing (unlike some consumable items) has gone down drastically in price over the last hundred years. So has its perceived value. Consumers are now accustomed to buying clothes at the grocery store (thanks Joe Mimran) and seeing stores change their entire line-up of clothing every 4-6 weeks (thanks Gap). Clothing is manufactured cheaply in countries such as China, India and Bangladesh. Consumers refuse to pay higher prices for items of higher quality, content instead to purchase shoddily made clothing of inferior fibres that languish in closets unworn. Interestingly, with the ready availability of cheaply priced clothing, the price of hand made/couture/designer  or non mass-produced clothing has gone up. This has also driven up the price of vintage clothing.

People today have 3 – 10 times as many clothes as their grandparents did (just look in the closets of an 80 year old home). I find it hard to believe that my grandparents both hung their clothing on one one rail in one tiny closet. (That was before the days of California Closets!)

I am so glad that I read this book. It has made me realize that I should no longer settle for cheap clothing. Clothing is something that should be loved, worn and valued. When our wardrobes consist of cheap polyester items from H & M or Forever 21, we are not making wise and mindful choices. Armed with Ms. Cline’s knowledge I am more determined than ever to have fewer pieces of higher quality clothing. For more information buy or read the book or check out the website at www.overdressedthebook.com.

 

 

Secretly wondering if you should be on “Hoarders” ?

Hoarding shows on television have  become quite popular and have helped raise public awareness of Organizing as a profession. These programs show the worst case scenario of what can happen when you lose control of your possessions. Sadly, in real life, many people who have a problem with hoarding have experienced a trauma or life-changing event. Perhaps being organized wasn’t second nature to them, but they managed to get along in life okay. After a trauma or life-changing event this becomes much harder and/or impossible. When children are involved it becomes even more serious.

Please get professional help if you find yourself in this situation.

If you think you might be a hoarder there are quizzes you can try and a clutter scale to help you recognize where you are. Once a room or item can no longer be used for its intended purpose you know you’re getting into trouble. For example, you can no longer find a place to sit in the living room, so you sit on your bed. Or, the dining room table is piled so high with papers you eat standing over the sink. Or, you have duplicated your possessions because you can not find the originals.

 

Digging out (in some cases literally) from clutter can take hours, weeks and sometimes months before the desired outcome is reached. Besides, it didn’t get that way overnight. Burnout is high, decision making can be emotional and progress slow. If you have someone helping you it will be much easier and quicker. There are multiple health risks when one lives in a hoarding situation, safety being  just one of them.  Hire a Professional Organizer who has had experience with hoarding.  Don’t worry, they have seen this before and that is why they are in business.

Please don’t get discouraged.

It is darkest before the dawn, and coldest too. If you and your Organizer are working well together, you are going to get results and you will feel better. You’ll find things you forgot you had, often money and gift cards! Your sleep will be more refreshing, you will have more time in the day and performance will increase at work when you are organized and clutter free at home.

Progress not Perfection

No, you are never going to be as organized as your Professional Organizer. And he or she know that! What you are both striving  for is improvement and progress in the right direction – not perfection. Your Organizer will do what is right for you in your situation. Every individual is unique and solutions are custom.

Happy Organizing!

 

 

 

 

Getting organized for the holidays

Holiday season is just beginning, but the sooner you start, the easier it will be! I’m a firm believer in breaking big tasks down into smaller pieces. You can use these 12 strategies at Christmas to make it a little easier for yourself.

  1. Mark all family member’s social events on your paper or electronic calendar.
  2. Make note of the events you that require you to bring food. Plan your grocery shopping and baking in advance.
  3. Plan your wardrobe choices around your social events and try on outfits in advance.
  4. Make a list of all the people you need to shop for. As you get ideas, fill in the list. Then you will never be at the mall wondering what to get. Its much easier when you know what you’re after.
  5. Buy Christmas stamps now at the post office before they run out.
  6. If you didn’t get them on sale last year, try to purchase Christmas cards, wrapping paper and napkins on sale. You can always tuck them away for next  year.
  7. Schedule beauty and hair appointments if you didn’t already do so in September!
  8. Keep your regular schedule of gym and exercise. Its a great stress reliever.
  9. Volunteer, donate or help others – that’s what this season is about!
  10. Delegate – ask family members to help with decorating, card writing, cookie baking and enjoy some time together.
  11. Indulge in moderation – you deserve to enjoy yourself too.
  12. Revel in imperfection – sometimes the burnt turkey, mismatched slippers and forgotten presents are the best part!

Its early, but let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas!

 

 

Mirror Mirror!

Everyone remembers those famous lines from Brothers Grimm’s Snow White “Mirror, Mirror on the wall – Who’s the fairest one of all?” Snow White’s stepmother, The Queen liked looking at herself in the mirror (mainly for confirmation – I think she was insecure!). Narcissus was another character from Greek mythology who liked his own reflection so much that he wasted away. Decorators love them! They capture light, visually expand spaces and reflect beauty. A huge, heavy framed mirror leaning against the wall is a classic and beautiful way to enhance your home’s surroundings. Ah – the mirror – who can resist them?

Courtesy of mirrorlot.com

Who can avoid them? Many of you, it seems! I consider myself fortunate that people trust me to come into their homes. I see their possessions, lives and values all around me. For that reason, most of what I see is confidential. But a common thread among the homes I’ve been in no matter what degree of organizing they need – is a lack of mirrors. I discussed this with a client and she said very insightfully, that people living without a full length mirror are not living in their bodies. It follows that an organized home (i.e. organic) should contain several mirrors at varying heights. Feng shui consultants can advise you on mirror placement in home or business for best results.

Organized closet dressing room with mirror.
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

 

MIRROR LOCATIONS 

1. Front hall – near the door – to check your hair, teeth and makeup. Smile as you go!

2. Bathroom – this room is usually small. A mirror can make it feel bigger and brighter. Mirror as much as you dare. A lit mirror with magnifier is a nice additional touch for facial closeups and shaving.

3. Bedroom or dressing room – two at least! A mirror to check your top half (accessories and hair) and VERY IMPORTANT – a full length mirror. 

4. Front hall (again!) – a full length mirror.

5. Other exit doors/additional bathrooms – a mirror please.

6. Garden – some people enjoy the addition of a mirror to a garden or patio area.

7. Anywhere – a starburst or sunburst mirror is always classic.

8. Over the mantle – antique or vintage – bevelled is nice.

9. In your purse – for a salad check after lunch.

10. Your car, locker, desk or workspace – another good place to stash a small mirror for checkups.

Why two full length mirrors? The first is so you can check your outfit as you get dressed. Its much easier to see if your top goes with your bottom if you can see the whole picture. The second one in the hall where you leave is so you can check your coat and footwear with your outfit.

Personally, I have a very hard time leaving the house if I can’t check my full reflection. I need to know there’s  no toilet paper, that my slip isn’t showing and that those pants don’t make my butt look big!

Please take care hanging your mirrors. Make sure you anchor them to the wall and use strong enough nails and wire. Enjoy the reflection!

 

Lifetime Warranties

Price Pfister Kitchen Faucet

I googled Lifetime Warranties as I began this blog.  There are a number of companies who provide lifetime warranties for their products, some of the more famous being Tupperware and Tilley. As it turns out, lifetime generally means the lifetime of the product, not the human being’s lifetime who bought the product. Shucks! I’m not sure how long a bathroom tap is supposed to live, or a bath tub tap & shower assembly or a kitchen spray faucet but clearly 7 and 14 years old is not too long! Here’s my story …

My recent  move has left me challenged for hot water in both kitchen and bathroom. Three visits from various plumbers and heating technicians have produced hot water to the sources – but the taps and shower head were failing to deliver it properly. Result: scalding or freezing in the shower, and low flow of cold water only in the kitchen.

Frustrated and not wanting to spend more money on the problem –  I turned to the huge folder I keep of product information and warranties. I found the warranties & parts lists for the taps and shower assembly and the manufacturer’s customer service phone number easily. Or you can take a picture of your fixture with your cell phone and match it to ones online. Google Images also has countless photos of practically everything and I found my bathroom taps and their name easily. (My son showed me these things – cool!)

A couple of quick toll free calls to the Price Pfister Customer Service representatives have resulted in shipments of brand new replacement parts for 3 various taps in the house. The parts that were sent are of higher quality than the original parts and consequently I now have plenty of hot water in the kitchen and a sprayer that is free from mineral deposits. Yay! The bathroom shower assembly is also producing plenty of nice, hot water (but NOT scalding).

Last  night UPS delivered (for free) the last pieces I need to fix a leaking bathroom faucet. We’ve even managed to replace these parts ourselves, without the need for a plumber. Pfice Pfister, I’m impressed! Thank you for standing by your Lifetime Warranty. In an age when so many things are disposable, thank you for allowing me to repair my fixtures, rather than replace them.

Everything is working as good as new! I’ve now moved on to the dishwasher although after fourteen years of service to a family of four I’m not expecting too much! And the stove is a Viking original from Eaton’s … Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Celebrities, spring cleaning and the area under the sink

Katie Couric – Hoarder? Courtesy People Magazine March 4, 2013

 

Believe it or not, organizers don’t have some crazy organizing gene that makes and keeps us organized. We struggle to keep our possessions in check just like you do and celebrities are no different! The March 4 issue of People magazine featured a half page article and photos on talk show/celebrity Katie Couric. Katie recently devoted an episode of her show to decluttering her library which had become a dumping ground for many items. She found it hard to let go of many things because she is sentimental, especially condolence cards.

Although some may question my overall excessive tidyness ( i.e., is she OCD or anal-retentive? Chris Farias, you know who you are!), there are plenty of areas where I find myself challenged. My particular nemesis has been the area under the kitchen sink! It is an assorted catchall for garbage, recycling,  shoe polish, cleaning products, liquor, empties, plastic bags, leather cleaner, rubber gloves, and so on … Having been reminded by a family member several times that “there are people we could hire who could organize this kind of stuff”,  I finally tackled it.

After purchasing some clear shoe boxes at The Home Depot for $1 a piece, I discovered that one of those perfectly fit all the shoe laces, polish and rags. I got a stand up caddy that holds cleaning bottles and a dispenser on the cupboard door for plastic bags. I no longer shudder when I see the area under the sink. Family photos and old negatives – brace yourselves! And desk, watch out, you’re next!

So, if like Katie, you are sentimental and have boxes of cards to sort through -  keep the special ones, the hand written ones, the milestone birthdays, etc. but let most go. If you’ve been hanging on to wardrobes in many different sizes (fat clothes and skinny clothes), keep what fits now. If your weight changes, you’ll want clothes more reflective of the new you. And if you’re like me – they may be neatly stored, but recognize that you can’t keep every cool fashion magazine article you rip out …

Since Spring is no longer around the corner, and has officially arrived, could there be a better time to go through your worst area and see what the best outcome will be? Send me your thoughts! And your photos!

 

 

 

Stuff and the 80/20 rule

home is where you keep your stuff

Strange isn’t it, that humans spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half of our lives disseminating the same items! We are born with nothing and we take nothing with us when we leave this world … but we seem collect a lot of stuff in between!

This spring I plan to be moving to a different home and although I’ll have more room in my new place,  I’m spending time while I’m packing now to purge un-needed items. The last thing I want to do is clutter up my new space with stuff I don’t need … and I’m beginning to see a pattern.

Early in my career in the business world I learned about the 80/20 rule or the Pareto Principle. We learned that 80% of our sales came from 20% of our customers. Twenty percent of our products accounted for 80% of our sales, and so on. This seems to hold true in my wardrobe – I wear 20% of my clothes 80% of the time. And with my belongings, I use the same few items over and over while the rest sits untouched…  I’ve packed up many of my possessions, and the household seems to be functioning quite well. Better in fact!

Less stuff = less decisions = less stress.

Decide before you buy or get something new if you can afford to keep it. In addition to initial outlay of money, there are hidden costs you may not think about when you acquire an item. Don’ t forget there is also upkeep & maintenance, depreciation and storage of the item. Maybe it would be better to borrow or rent it. I’ve decided to stop buying books, DVD’s and CD’s. I just don’t want to carry them around with me anymore.  And I generally follow the “one out – one in” practice when buying new clothing. I just have one question -

Does anyone need a crockpot?

 

Sheets! by Ann Morrison Tufts

Coventry Toile by Decor Mfg. Co, Toronto.

As a former Chambermaid (in my teens) I know a thing or two about sheets. Back when I was snapping sheets in Banff, we usually changed the sheets every night, like most hotels did. It always seemed to be a big waste of money, not to mention a lot of work to do daily, in hotels all around the world. Thank goodness that has changed!

January is the time of year when most ”White Sales” are held. After Christmas many people are busy re-feathering their nests, re-arranging their home interiors, staying warm and supposedly buying sheets! After you’ve rid your linen closet of any pilled, mismatched, ripped or stained sheets you may decide a new set is just what you need. A few things to consider:

1. Buy cotton! I prefer 100% cotton, the higher thread count the better. Cotton mixed with polyester does give additional durability/wash-ability, but I like the feel of cotton next to my face. Look for Egyptian cottons with the highest thread count you can find, linen/cotton blends, cotton flannel, or even 100% silk if you don’t mind a bit of sliding around!. Other good words to look for on the package are combed cotton or sateen. I currently have a set of gold Egyptian 800 count sheets. They are so plush and heavy, I can hardly lift them when they are wet! They ensure a cosy night’s sleep.

2. Beware micro fibre sheets! That is just another way of saying they are made from 100% polyester. They won’t breathe, get static electricity and wash poorly. Take a pass.

3. Change  ‘em! No, its not your imagination – you do have a better sleep on clean sheets. Some of the scents used in laundry detergents, especially anything with lavender help promote sleep. Be your own chambermaid and change sheets weekly. Hang to dry outside if you can, for even more freshness. Iron if you dare!

We spend approximately 1/3 of our lives in bed – get some great sheets!

~Ann