Mar 4, 2013

Do you blame your children’s toys for creating clutter in your home? Well, then this is a great solution for you. Spark Box Toys has come up with a brilliant way to keep only age appropriate toys around. Keep the toys for 4+ weeks, send them back and receive a new set. See what I mean? Brilliant! It’s also a great gift idea!

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Feb 27, 2013

Create and decorate a workspace you love and it will inspire you to stay organized. Here are some great tips from Brit+Co.

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Feb 13, 2013

This book is right up my alley. I just drooled a little. 

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Jan 17, 2013

Wishing You a Simpler New Year.

Last year, I did something terrifying but absolutely liberating– I sold not just the house I had lived in for over a decade but nearly everything in it. Furniture, clothes, things I had worked hard for.

Beth Comstock, the CMO of GE, asked herself the question Did I own my stuff or did it own me?  and when she came up with the answer decided to make major changes to her personal life and work. I love what she has to say. 

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Jan 8, 2013


Material World, photographed by Peter Menzel.

This beautifully photographed book takes a closer look at population, environment, social justice, and consumption around the world. It asks the question can all six+ billion of us have all the things we want? What do you think?

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Dec 13, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Stores are packed with gift buyers and there is about to be an influx of new stuff in many of our homes thanks the generosity of friends and family. Most people don’t need another candle or sweater, so this year why don’t you consider giving a clutter-free experience?

And now for my 2012 clutter free gift giving suggestions…

  • Cooking classes can be quite pricy but they are just so much fun. Most people won’t splurge on this kind of class for themselves, so why not buy it for them? 
  • Consider a series of yoga classes, a woodworking workshop or a dance class. 
  • If a cooking class is not in your budget, a DIY Cheese Making Kit from Williams-Somoma might do the trick.
  • Or if it’s more their speed, consider a Beer Brewing Kit.
  • A gift certificate from, a service that delivers food from tons of local restaurants, is a great option for that special someone in your life who doesn’t like to cook.
  • How about the gift of healthy snacks? Naturebox monthly memberships deliver hand-picked snacks to your door along with recipes and ideas for healthy eats. I recently sent a subscription to my mother-in-law and she is loving the delicious snacks. 
  • Of course chocolates, homemade baked goods, etc. are always an option
  • If you want to take things to the next level, adopt an olive tree in their name with Nudo, and they get the olive oil from it for a year!
  • Movie, concert, sporting event or theater tickets are all great options. Give them a certificate or plan a night out together. 
  • You can rarely go wrong with an iTunes gift card, they can be used to buy movies, apps, books, and music!
  • Or you can give the gift of a museum membership. 
Miscellaneous awesomeness
  • Got any friends who love crafting? Consider a subscription to Brit&Co's Brit’s Kits, the kits include materials, easy-to-follow instructions, and surprise goodies every month.
  • Ok, so this one will probably contribute to the stuff in their home but Etsy is awesome! And a gift certificate, which you can easily order on their website will give them a chance to pick out something they love from a custom cutting board to a one of a kind scarf. 
  • Make a donation to their favorite charity. 
  • Treat your friend or family member to something they wouldn’t buy for themselves, like a manicure, a massage, or a day at the spa. Send a gift certificate from a local favorite. 
  • Support local businesses and buy a service off of Zaarly, a local online marketplace (currently available in NYC and SF but more cities are coming soon). They offer many exciting things from (shameless self-promotion) organizing services and career planning sessions to photoshop 101 classes and walking tours.  

Happy Holidays!

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Nov 21, 2012

Kitchen stores like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table are great. I could spend all day inspecting each gadget and spatula on every shelf. Yes, they have a wide variety of excellent products. But they can also be an organizer’s nightmare. People wander into these stores, get overly excited and find all this stuff that they just need to have. I’ve seen it happen. They buy a myriad of utensils, pastry dishes, etc. with the intention of making a perfect Béarnaise sauce or croissants.  

First, most people don’t end up making these dishes. And, many recipes don’t require fancy tools. After a point, more tools does not translate into better food. On the contrary, the finest chefs in the world agree that a good knife is probably a cook’s most important tool. So, the cherry-pitters and egg-slicers spend most of their time collecting dust and creating unnecessary clutter. In preparation for Thanksgiving, as you dig through your utensil drawer looking for your meat thermometer, take a few minutes and consider discarding a couple tools you have never and will never use. 

If you are just starting to build your collection of kitchen gear and want some tips on what to buy for your first “adult” kitchen, check out this helpful list of essential tools and equipment.  Please resist the temptation to buy what you won’t use.  Do your friends and family a favor and fill their Christmas stockings with things they really need or can eat!

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Nov 16, 2012

Thanksgiving is next week! This has prompted me to think about about an elusive thing for some - the perfectly packed long weekend bag. It’s been a few years now, that many airlines charge an arm and a leg for checked luggage. Anyone who has flown during this time has experienced the result: carry-on space is at a premium. There are few better ways to identify yourself as a problem flyer than to try to bring too much on the plane and be turned back by a flight attendant, or worse, be unable to fit your overstuffed roll-aboard in the overhead compartment wheels first. Don’t be this person! With carry-on luggage comes responsibility.

So, let’s start by taking a moment to focus on travel toiletries. Your travel toiletries should always be packed and ready to go at a moments notice. Upon returning from a trip, refill containers and replace missing items immediately. Most of us who travel occasionally or frequently are familiar with the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. Please remember that you cannot carry containers larger than 3oz even if they are not full. Leave the rolled-up toothpaste tubes at home if you want to keep them.

**Hotel toiletries can be helpful when traveling, so take them when you can. Still, now is a good time to part with some of those items if you’ve compiled a large collection. In New York, many temporary Sandy shelters would welcome the donation. So would permanent shelters around the country. 

Regarding clothing, try not to pack too much. Bringing less will make the decision easier when choosing what to wear while you are away for the weekend. Make the hard outfit-creating decisions now to leave more time to focus on what you’re travelling for when you’re there. And, if you absolutely have to, you can always buy something when you get there. Unless you’re really going off the grid, chances are that you’ll be able to find what you need without much trouble.

Keep the items you do bring with you organized with cubes, containers, or bags. I use these mesh garment bags from Muji, they keep your clothes in order and make it easy to see all your packed items. Pack your shoes against the side of your suitcase or put them in bags of their own so they don’t get your clothing dirty. Pack a cloth or plastic bag for dirty clothing so it doesn't mingle with your clean(er) garb.

My carry-on bag of choice is the Patagonia MLC® Bag.

Taking time in advance to pack in an organized way and make sure you have only what you need will ensure a good travel and vacation experience, no matter where you go or who it’s with.

Safe travels!

Tags organization packing travel vacation carry-on bag Thanksgiving reblog

Oct 19, 2012

Earlier this week I saw a great talk at the 92Y Tribeca featuring photographer Todd Selby and four amazing San Francisco chefs and entrepreneurs. I know what you are thinking… what does this have to do with organizing? 

Well, Caitlin Freeman was on the panel with her husband, James, owner of Blue Bottle Coffee. She is a  badass pastry chef and perfectionist, as can be seen in her beautiful (and assumingly delicious) Mondrian  inspired cake above. She described what it felt like to have Todd photograph her home. She proudly described how she keeps everything neatly organized (unlike many of Selby’s other quirky subjects). She said her husband describes her as having “bulimia of the home”. She runs a tight ship. She likes clean countertops and hates trinkets. When it comes to personal belongings, she and I must be soul sisters :)

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