Henry & Higby

How to Organize Toys at Home

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Outside of buying new furniture to house all of your child’s play things - toys, dolls, costumes, blocks, etc. - there are a few less expensive ways to keep chaos at bay. We have used these ideas with our clients and even in our own homes so hopefully they work for you too. 

Under-bed: Under bed storage boxes are an easy way to get toys and items out of sight while still being easy to access when your kids are playing on their own. We use them to store dress up clothes and costumes or even boardgames and other large flat items that are hard to fit in other areas of the home. 

Baskets: Sometimes the best storage option for larger, bulky toys is a large basket or milk crate. This not only makes cleaning up easier but it encourages your child to pick up after themselves. We typically use this type of storage for larger items like wooden building blocks, stuffed animals or sporting goods. 

Plastic Boxes: If you have toys with lots of small pieces like Legos, puzzles or board games, we recommend using clear plastic boxes with lids. They come in a variety of sizes, are typically pretty inexpensive and are see-through which means that your kids can see what is being housed inside. We also recommend using them with labels so that everyone can get involved with clean up. Word to the wise - only stack these boxes two or three high since it will be hard to access the bottom bin if you go much higher especially for little kids. 

Drawers: To make use of vertical space, use clear stackable drawers for craft supplies, games and even books. Drawers make all of the items accessible no matter how high you stack them and clear plastic ensure that you can see the contents. We like both of these options - one and two - depending on what types of items you need to store. 

How do you like to organize your toys at home? 

 

Creating a To-Go Bag for Kids

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Kids can be unpredictable so it is up to parents and caregivers to try to prepare for the unknown everyday. For these unexpected moments, we recommend creating and carrying a to-go bag. This bag typically includes a few essential items that will help you deal with whatever comes your way. Below are some of the items we like to pack in our to-go bags. 

  • Mini First-Aid Kit including Band-aids, Antibiotic ointments, etc.
  • Sunscreen wipes
  • Wipes - we love Babyganics
  • Small reusable water bottles like klean kanteen
  • Snack packs
  • Copy of an Emergency Contact Sheet (Check here for more information on what to include on this sheet.)
  • A favorite small toy to distract them like our lego pack
  • A change of clothes depending on age of your child 

As for the to-go bag itself, we love Baggu zipper pouches but have also repurposed giveaway bags from make-up counters in a pinch (thanks, Clinique!). 

What would you add to your to-go bag? 

Tips for Getting Organized

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Yesterday was one of those days where nothing went quite right. We all need a little help sometimes - right?  So, in anticipation of the "not quite right" days that are bound to be ahead, we have a few seemingly random ways you can get more organized now. 

Reap Your Rewards: Stay on top of your rewards cards game with your phone. We love Apple Wallet because it is already on our phones but also because it stores our loyalty cards, reward cards and even boarding passes, tickets and debit/credit cards making it easy to use on the go. Other good phone options include FiveStars and Key Ring. However, if you are old school and like using the actual cards, try putting all of your cards on a separate key ring. That way you don’t have to dig through your bag or wallet for missing cards because they are all in one place. 

Zip it Up: Plastic storage bags are one of our favorite secret weapons. We use the small bags to hold everything from craft supplies and batteries to nails and screws in our tool box. Bagging like items together makes it easier to pull out the right item when you need it and it keeps things neat. You can also use the larger plastic storage bags for seasonal decor or entertaining supplies. Try putting away sets of disposable cutlery, straws and napkins in larger labeled zip bags to pull out when you are entertaining or heading out for a picnic. We create these sets using leftover supplies from parties so we are always ready to spruce up a table or head out for a fun meal outside. 

Gather Paperwork: Binders aren’t just for kids. We use them at home to store paperwork related to school and family, warranties and appliance manuals (old and new) or even printed online recipes. If you are anything like us, you also like to work from a printed copy so you can write notes on it. 

Create a Home Base: Make space in a central closet, pantry or laundry room to create a home base for all of your household items such as lightbulbs, batteries, tool kits, etc. By keeping these items together, you can keep track of your stock (and therefore know when you need to replenish it). An added bonus is that your family will know where to go when they need something.

What tricks do you have for staying organized?

How to Make Moving Easier on Your Children

Organization, MovingAnnie & MichelleComment
 
Henry & Higby_Services_Moving_and_Unpacking_IMG_7784.JPG
 

Moving is stressful. Between finding a new place, organizing and packing your belongings and coordinating all of the logistics, there are lots of details to figure out. And, although the process is stressful for you, it is also pretty stressful for your kids. 

Having assisted multiple families with moves, both professionally and personally, we have a few tricks for making the transition easier for little ones.  Hopefully these tips will prove to be helpful during your move too. 

  • All the Essentials: Create an open first box just for your children which includes all of the essential items to set them up for a successful first night. For instance, this could include their bath time towels, a sheet set, night lights, pajamas and any favorite blankets and/or bedtime stuffed animals. 
  • The Devils in the Details: Don't forget to make arrangements for your children the day of the move whether making sure that they are getting picked up after-school or planning an activity so that they aren't in your way while you get the house set up. 
  • Bag o' Tricks: If you need to have your kids at home during the move, try to make the day a little more fun by packing an "on the go" bag with some favorite toys as well as some new surprises to keep them occupied. 
  • Photo Finish: If your children are upset about the move and the packing process (which is totally understandable), take photos of the contents of each box before you tape it up and then show them the photos. This can help calm their nerves and buy you a little time before you have to unpack all of their boxes. 
  • Light up the Night: Make the first night a little easier by placing extra night-lights throughout the house and in the bathrooms so they can find their way around the new place with ease.  

How did you make the move easier for your children? 

If you are looking for additional advice on how to make moving less stressful, please check out our other posts on moving - here and here

 

Tips for Organizing Your Fridge

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The start of a new year often brings resolutions to stress less, work out more and to eat healthier foods. However, even if you aren’t engaging in a major life overhaul, it is definitely a good time to clean out your fridge and dispose of all evidence of holiday excess. We just undertook this endeavor ourselves and have a few tips for you to make organizing it and maintaining it a little easier. 

  • After cleaning out your fridge and washing out the bins and shelves, consider lining your produce drawers with reusable cloth liners and your refrigerator shelves with clear plastic wrap to make future cleanings easy. The cloth liners can be tossed into the washing machine between uses and the plastic wrap can ripped up and replaced once something has spilled.
  • Gather all like products together - such as produce, spreads or snacks - and put them in clear bins or baskets with labels. This makes finding and retrieving the items easier for you and the family as they can easily be pulled in and out. We even use a variation of the clear bin for the produce we use most often so that we can easily grab the tray and have everything we need in one place. 
  • If space is at a premium or you don’t love everything in bins, try a Lazy Susan to maximize shelf space and keep everything within reach. 
  • For smaller fridges, check out these magnets that will keep your metal capped bottles on the ceiling of the fridge freeing up space below for more food items.
  • Clearing out expired food would be easy if you could easily read the date. Our trick for staying on top of it at home is to write the date on the product in Sharpie so that it is easily seen. We also do this with items that have a shorter shelf life once opened such as chicken broth, tomato paste, etc.
  • Avoid spoiled dairy and meat products by storing them on the lower shelves of the fridge where it is coolest, not the door where temperatures can vary through daily use. Also, consider putting all raw meat products in a clear bin so that any drips are contained and don’t contaminate the whole shelf.     

How do you organize your refrigerator?

Organizing Your Paperwork

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Henry & Higby_Paper Management
 

If your house is anything like ours, there is always a pile of paperwork to be handled and sometimes you just don’t want to deal with it. Between catalogs, magazines, junk mail, bills, work and school papers, it can seem endless. However, there are some things you can do to get ahead of it. Read on to help stem the tide and get a handle on the paper piles. 

Create a Command Center: The first step to handling paperwork is creating a command center to house all of the paper and mail that comes into the home. This is a good place to set up files for each member of the family so that you can separate their important documents. 

Keep it Moving: Part of taming paperwork is keeping it moving. This means that once you open it that you help move it along by taking action. Pay the bill, sign the paper or get the right person involved if need be. For instance, you may get an inquiry from an insurance company that requires action by your doctor and, if that is the case, get your doctor involved at that moment so that it no longer sits on your to-do list. 

Set Aside Time: Paperwork needs to handled on a weekly, if not daily, basis but that can seem hard when hectic schedules and last minute activities get in the way. One way to help make handling paperwork a priority and seem a bit more manageable is to set aside time on your calendar each week to do it. Even just thirty minutes a week should help tame the piles. 

Stop the Flow: Get a grip on the amount of paperwork that comes into your home by removing yourself from direct mailing lists (DMAchoice.com), from credit and insurance solicitations (OptOutPrescreen.com) and from even bills themselves by signing up to go paperless. And, in the meantime, you can also literally make the call to the magazines that come into your home unsolicited to have yourself removed from their mailing list. At the same time, you should also ask that they don’t sell your name to other companies. 

How do you control paperwork at home?

Organizing Your Life with Kids

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Life can be overwhelming enough with kids and partners and work and pets and friends and...all requiring time and attention. However, there are some things you can do now to get organized for life with kids that will help make your days a little easier. 

First Aid Kit: Create your own personalized first aid/allergy kit with a latched plastic box (like this or this) and put it somewhere central so it can be used should there be a situation. Be sure to add in a few character bandages (they make you feel better faster, right?) and any other products that your family needs and uses regularly including allergy medications, etc. Here is a resource for how to make your own kit and what to include. At the same time, think about creating a portable version in a small pouch for you or other supervising adults to bring when hanging with the kids outside of the home. 

Contact Sheet: An emergency contact sheet is very important not only for the sitter and any visiting family but also for your own peace of mind. Make a list of all important emergency contacts including the following: doctors, parents, key friends/family that could help in a jam, etc. Once this is created, make copies for friends and family and post one in a central part of the home - likely the kitchen - so that it is readily available in the event of an emergency. 

To-Go Bag: Make getting out of the house with kids easier by having a to-go bag with all of their favorite toys and essentials ready to go near the door. The bag can store their water bottles and favorite outdoor toys for time at the park but it can also serve as a place for them to put those toys and items when inside so that they don’t get lost. Also consider including an on-the-go first aid kit and a copy of the emergency contact sheet mentioned above. 

Kids in the Kitchen: Set aside an easily reached section of the kitchen for your kids lunch boxes, water bottles and treat containers so that they can learn how to put them back themselves. Giving them access to these items will help teach them a little independence and give you a bit of a break. 

Labels: Help stem the tide of missing items from clothing to cups to shoes with personalized labels. Look for washable ones like these or these to make sure that they aren't destroyed in the laundry or dishwasher.

What do you do to make life easier with children?

How to Organize Your Bathroom

Organization, Home StylingAnnie & MichelleComment
 
Henry & Higby_How to Organize Your Bathroom
 

One of the best ways to start the day is with an organized bathroom. And, the good news is that by following just a few key tips, you can capture the beauty and serenity of spa at home and have all of your supplies at your finger tips. 

Mixing Form & Function: Beautify your shelves and counters by unboxing some of your daily supplies like Q-tips and cotton balls and placing them in pretty clear containers. You can use canisters from a bathroom set or you can even use Ball jars or inexpensive vases. They are pretty, functional and easy to clean when the time comes - just pop them in the dishwasher. 

Sources: One | Two | Three

Finding New Purpose: Maximizing storage space in your bathroom is just like maximizing storage space in any other room of your home so it is okay to steal some tricks from the kitchen. Lazy Susans make corners more accessible no matter where you use them and plastic pantry bins are good for gathering like items - nail polish, sunscreen, travel toiletries - in cabinets all over the home. 

Sources: One | Two | Three

Putting it on Display: If you like to keep extra towels and items out of the closet, use pretty baskets or catchall containers that are nice to look at when out on display. 

Sources: One | Two | Three

Making Up your Make-up: Finally treat your make-up with a little respect by using a make-up organizer. That doesn’t mean that you have to place it on the counter for all to see (placing it in a cabinet is okay) but you will definitely find your morning routine is much easier when you can see all your products at once. 

Sources: One | Two | Three

Shopping Your Closet: Gather your extra toiletries and store like items together in clear bins under the sink or in your linen closet. Clear bins make it easy to shop your house before heading out to the pharmacy to pick up any items you may need. 

Sources: One | Two | Three

What are your favorite bathroom storage solutions? 

Creating a Welcoming Entry Way

Home Styling, OrganizationAnnie & MichelleComment

A warm and welcoming entry way is as important as a firm handshake. It ensures a good first impression which is why we are excited to help a client find ways to make her entry welcoming and functional because form without function is just a waste of time and space. 

For this project, we need some smart solutions since the front door opens into a hallway that connects the living and sleeping areas of the home. With limited space, practicality is the name of the game so we are looking for items that don’t take up too much room and still provide some storage for the family. 

Our initial thoughts include a bench for next to the door, a boot tray for storing shoes under the bench and some catchall baskets for seasonal and dog-related accessories.

What are you favorite ways to create a welcoming entryway? 

Kitchen Organizing Tips

OrganizationAnnie & MichelleComment

Our kitchen day dreams are filled with visions of see-through refrigerators filled with beautiful produce (We’re looking at you, Yolanda Hadid!) and huge, bright pantries. However, the realities of New York living (think small apartments and cramped kitchens) dash many of those dreams and frankly a see-through fridge really isn’t practical. I mean I don’t think we want half-eaten pizza and last week’s Chinese takeout boxes on display for all to see - right?

Even if smaller space living is your reality, don’t despair! There are many ways to make the most of it and below are some of our favorite product picks for a beautifully organized kitchen regardless of size. 

Lazy Susan: Make the most of every nook and cranny of your kitchen by using a Lazy Susan. They can be placed in hard to reach corner cabinets or on deep shelves to make items more accessible. 

Sources: One | Two | Three

Shelf Liners: Make cleaning inside cabinets easy with plastic shelf liners like this one. Liners are particularly helpful in food storage areas in case of spills or drips.

Shelf Pullouts: Accessibility is an important part of organization. Add roll-out cabinet organizers to your lower cabinets so that you can easily reach items without straining your back and to maximize the space.

Source: One | Two | Three

Small Appliances: If space is really at a premium, try purchasing reduced size appliances to save room in your cabinets and/or on counters. The products function the same but the bowls are typically smaller - 3.5 quarts versus 5 quarts. 

Clear Storage Bins: Not everything needs a bin but they are helpful for keeping smaller “like” items together in your cabinets and drawers.  Use them in drawers to organize your kitchen tools and cutlery and in cabinets and pantries to make organizing food stuffs easier. 

Source: One | Two | Three

Canisters: One way to make your space look cleaner and more organized is by using the same style organizing containers. If you are looking for new options, we are big fans of using clear canisters for cooking and baking supplies like flour, sugar and mixes. Not only do they look nice but clear containers show you when you need to restock. 

Source: OneTwo | Three

Step Stools: Make good use of your upper cabinets and even the space between the cabinets and the ceiling with labeled storage bins. This will keep supplies out of sight but not out of mind. And, keep a step stool in the kitchen to making accessing those high up spaces a little easier. Folding step stools are good for saving space but we also love a rolling option as it is much easier to move around and it can stand in for an extra seat in a pinch. 

Source: One | Two | Three

Labels: The level to which you use labels to organize in your home is a personal decision but we do recommend them as an organizing tool. Clearly labels are great for containers holding specific items whether it is food or supplies but labels can also be helpful for creating designated areas in your home. For example, create sections in your pantry for breakfast foods, snacks or drinks. By sticking to categories on your labels, it is more likely that your family can and will help out and maintain it.

What are your favorite ways to keep your kitchen organized?

Fireplace Fixings

Home StylingAnnie & MichelleComment

We have always loved a fire in the fireplace and the smell of burning logs. To us, it is a signal of the seasonal shift from fall to winter and absolutely one of our favorite times of year as nothing is cozier than snuggling near a fire to read with a cup of tea. 

Second only to our love of fireplaces is the process of selecting fireplace accessories which we have had the pleasure of doing recently for a client. Andirons, screens and baskets, oh my!

Screens: One | Two | Three | Four || Andirons: One | Two | Three | Four || Tools: One | Two | Three | Four  Firewood Baskets: One | Two | Three | Four  ||  Accessories: One | Two | Three | Four

What are your favorite fireside activities? 

Making Your Space Your Own

Home StylingAnnie & MichelleComment

Whether you own or rent your home, it is important to make the space feel like your own and there is no better way to do that than with some color and collectables. Here are a few nesting ideas for you to follow this fall to warm up and personalize your space. 

Adding Flair:  Even as a renter, you can add special touches to make your home feel like your own. If painting isn’t an option or is too much work, try removable wallpaper to warm up your space and make it more personal. It is pretty easy to apply and is easy to remove which makes it good for renters and owners alike. And, if you have children, adhesive wall decals are a fun way to temporarily personalize the space (Check herehere and here for some options). 

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Popping Colors: New throw pillows are one of the easiest ways to refresh your space. If selecting colors is tricky for you, try playing off backdrop colors. For example, if your windows overlook trees, try to pull some greens and browns into the space. Or consider taking risks and play around with bright and bold prints and patterns that may be a bit outside of your comfort zone.

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Framing it: Make the mementos from your life even more important by framing them. While framing can be expensive, it doesn't have to be that way. You can do it yourself with frames from stores like Ikea or even craft stores. 

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Making a Gallery: Put up a gallery wall or art display shelves to share your trinkets and treasures. It will warm up the space and give you a chance to relive the happy memories associated with the items every time you see them. Click here for tips on how to hang a gallery wall yourself at home.

Channeling the Spa: A few luxurious items can bring a spa-like feeling to any bathroom - new or old. A rich, thick bathmat, new monogrammed towels, some rich bath oils and a scented candle will add a touch of class to the room and make you forget - at least for a little while - about the old tiles. If you are looking for a less expensive refresh, consider buying a new shower curtain. It is an  easy and affordable way to spruce up your space while still having a big impact. 

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Finding your Scent: Add scented candles to make your home feel cozier and more intimate. Added bonus...who doesn’t look better in candlelight! A few of our favorites are below but remember that the type of scent you pick is a highly personal matter so take some time to check out lots of scents before making your final decision. 

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Making the Old New: New isn’t always better. Look for vintage pieces (maybe even from friends or family) to add character and a little sentimentality to your home. To make the pieces your own, add a fresh coat of paint or new fun fabrics that brighten them up and reflect a little more of your personality. 

Switching it Seasonally: Embrace the seasonal shifts and add some flair to your home that relates to each season. Rich colored pillows or throws (think jewel tones) for the fall, plaids around the holidays or pastels in the springtime. 

What are your favorite ways to personalize your space? 

Maximizing Storage in Small Spaces

Organization, Home StylingAnnie & MichelleComment

Substantial storage and outdoor spaces are luxuries not often afforded to those living in New York but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful and livable space. Having lived in New York for over 20 years collectively, we know how to make the most of small spaces and have a few tips to share with you about making it work.

Creating Space: If you are living in a truly small apartment, create visual space by getting items off of the floor. From night stands to lamps and even bikes and scouters, mounting furniture and fixtures to walls will help create more actual floor space and make the space feel lighter. 

Doing Double Duty: The name of the game here is making your furniture work for you. Maximize storage by making each significant piece do double duty. This means that the stool in the corner should double as storage for your craft supplies or that the top of your ottoman coffee table should flip up to store offseason clothing.

One | Two | Three

Shelves on Shelves: When it doubt, put it on a shelf. A shelf can stand in for a night stand next to a bed or a display shelf for art in a living room or really anything. Put one above doors to your apartment for extra storage (we store extra paper products above ours) or consider mounting them closer to the ceiling all the way around the room for longer term storage. This will help maximize your living space and keep off seasonal items out of the way. 

One | Two | Three

What are your favorite small space storage tips?

Wedding Shower Plans

Event StylingAnnie & MichelleComment

We are in the very beginning stages of planning a wedding shower for two grooms that we absolutely adore and wanted to share our initial party planning thoughts. You could say that we are putting the cart before the horse, as we haven’t talked to the grooms about it yet (!), but we got a little excited and couldn’t help ourselves. 

Who knows where we will end up after we dig into planning with the grooms but below are a few of the items that we are considering right now. 

 
 Pottery Barn Harrison Party Bucket

Pottery Barn Harrison Party Bucket

 
 
 BHLDN Toile de Jute Table Runner

BHLDN Toile de Jute Table Runner

 
 
 'Deluxe Classic' Paper Napkins

'Deluxe Classic' Paper Napkins

 
 
 Rose Gold Love Balloon

Rose Gold Love Balloon

 
 
 Kraft Nautical Flag Banner (to display photos of the happy couple)

Kraft Nautical Flag Banner (to display photos of the happy couple)

 
 
 Personalized Photo Backdrop

Personalized Photo Backdrop

 
 
 Confetti Balloon Kit

Confetti Balloon Kit

 

What are some of your favorite wedding shower decor ideas?

Prepping Your New Home for Moving Day

MovingAnnie & MichelleComment
Henry & Higby_Getting Organized.JPG

One of our clients is moving into their new apartment this week and we all know that moving makes for stressful times. However, even after all of your bags are packed, there are a few things you should consider doing in your new home before the big move. Check out this list of items that may not be at the top of the list but should be! 

Pantry Prep: Clean your cabinets and pantry space and consider lining the shelves - particularly in pantry areas - to make cleaning up messes easy. You can use either paper or plastic liners - we like non-adhesive liners such as Plast-O-Mat Ribbed Shelf Liner and Con-Tact Premier Non-adhesive Shelf Liner.

Deep Cleaning: Consider doing a deep clean in your new home before the move. Unadorned and unfurnished rooms are a luxury that you only get once so take advantage of it either by cleaning yourself or hiring professionals. Additionally, this deep clean process should include any of the household appliances that aren’t being replaced.

  • Dishwasher: Here (via ApartmentTherapy) is information on how to deep clean your dishwasher.
  • Washer & Dryer: Click here (via ApartmentTherapy) for tips on how to maintain both machines.
  • Oven: Follow these directions (via ApartmentTherapy) to clean your oven without harsh chemicals.

Clearing the Air: Literally clear the air in your new home by getting the ducts cleaned and changing out all of the filters in the house including the vent filter above the stove and the air filters in the heating/air conditioning. It is even worth it to check out the dryer vent to ensure it isn’t clogged. Lastly, if you have fireplaces, get the chimney cleaned so you are free and clear to enjoy fires in the upcoming fall/winter season. 

Privacy Please: By no means do you need to buy curtains for every room of your home before you move but it is important to remember that you may want some privacy for your first night in your new home. To that end, it is a good idea to source window treatments for some key rooms - even a tension rod and some fabric will do - to help guarantee that you can function in your home and get a good nights sleep without the feeling of being on display. 

Keep it Handy: Set up an appointment a week or so after move-in with a local handyman (consider finding someone via Thumbtack or TaskRabbit if they operate in your local area) to hang pictures, shelves or make small repairs. This will help inspire you to unpack a little faster and will ensure that small tasks that pop up get taken care of sooner rather than later. 

Do you have any other tips to share regarding prepping your home for move-in day? 

Tips to De-stress Your Moving Day

MovingAnnie & MichelleComment

Moving is one of the stressful times in our lives. It is actually right up there on the stressor list with losing a job and even a loved one. But there are things that we can do to make the process easier. Mitigate the stress by taking your moving preparations seriously and considering the tips below to help prepare for the big day. 

Purging & Packing: Start the purging and packing process at least a few weeks before the big day so you avoid a last minute rush. Don’t avoid the purging part of the process as there is no need to bring everything to your new home -- try to be thoughtful about what items you do and don’t need so that you are only bringing the essentials. When it comes to packing, create an inventory of all items being moved and pack those items in carefully labeled boxes. Labeling is key to an organized move as you will want the kitchen boxes placed in the kitchen and living room boxes in the living room with minimal effort on your part. 

Moving Day Box: To save time and patience, pack a box with items that will help with last minute move-related issues. Ideally this box should include: a hammer, screwdrivers, scissors, box cutters, tape, duct tape, dust cloths, basic cleaning products (for touch ups), paper towels, glue, sticky notes and pens, snacks and trash bags. Having these items readily available will make the day go a little smoother and hopefully faster — with less trips to a local store for supplies. 

Just the Essentials: You will likely not be able to unpack everything the first day so pack your overnight essentials in one box so that everyone has what they need for a comfortable evening. The kit contents should include: sheets, towels, cups and plates and essential overnight toiletries including soap and shampoo. Basically anything to make the nighttime and morning rituals as normal as possible.

Setting up Service: It may seem obvious but setting up your services - gas, electric, phone, TV and internet - before you move will make the transition easier. If live close-by, try to set them up the day or two before the move for a seamless transition. Otherwise, see if they can come the day of the move so that you can wired from day one. 

Animals and Children First: Make childcare and pet care arrangements ahead of time so that you can focus on the move in day. Nobody needs little ones or our favorite furry friends getting underfoot in the chaos of moving day. 

Have a Spare: Outside of replacing all of the locks, invest in extra spare keys now so that you have plenty to share with family and any friends who live nearby the day you move in. You will likely be out of sorts being in a new space so it is best to have extras should one set be misplaced for a bit - there is nothing worse than being locked out on your first day!

Ensuring Your Insured: Make sure that your home insurance covers your move days both out of your old place and into the new. This will give you a little extra peace of mind as you go through the process. 

Who Knows: Informing friends and family with a cute “We Moved” card is only one part of the change of address process. Prior to the move, be sure to inform the following of your new address: post office, credit card companies, banks, doctors, schools and subscription services for magazines or newspapers.

Focus on Furniture: Take time before you move into your new home to think about where your furniture is going to be placed. The movers will likely only have time to place it once so really think about how you want to room set up so that they place it right the first (and perhaps only!) time. There are plenty of websites that can help with this such as RoomStyler.com or PlanYourRoom.com.

Making Kid's Cards for Valentine's Day

Annie & MichelleComment

The pressure is on this month for moms who need to come up with a cute Valentine’s Day card for their kid’s classroom buddies. You could always buy pre-made cards but why not make some with your little one.  Four of our favorites from across the internet are linked below. 

We typically try to get a head start since signing the cards can take while...

Happy crafting!

Tell us about some of your favorite Valentine moments from school. 

Winter in the City (with Kids)

Annie & MichelleComment

By Michelle Hale 

Are you dreading the short cold days of winter and the inevitable countdown to turning the TV on so you can experience a moment of silence...whoever said that winter in the city with kids was fun? Trying to figure out how to entertain your kids in this weather? Not sure how much time your gift bottle of wine for the downstairs neighbor will buy you on the dance party or indoor soccer front? We hear ya and in terms of the downstairs neighbor's empathy - they already drank the wine. Here are our favorite activities that involve the whole family and will get you all out of the house for some fun. 

Ice Skating: Growing up we used to pray for single-digit temperatures so the big pond in our neighborhood would freeze over. At that point, one of the brave dads would walk out to the middle of the frozen ice. If he did not fall in, we were game to skate. We would learn by pushing buckets or milk crates across the ice and were so proud when eventually we were able to stand on our own. Although there are a few more rules to the road now with helmets and all, I see the same thrill now in my son's face as he gets out on the ice to skate. There are several rinks in New York City that are equipped with rentals. Our favorites are the rink at The Standard Hotel and The Rink at Brookfield Place. The Standard Hotel rink provides an intimate setting fitted out with heat lamps and blankets for parents (and a warm libation!) to watch in comfort. They offer lessons and have adorable penguins in place of the old milk crates. The Rink at Brookfield Place is a bit larger and they too have push dolphins for your smaller ones to get around the rink. Brookfield Place also has a wonderful food hall which would satisfy everyone's culinary desires post skating. 

Star Wars: If you are one of the few people that have not already seen the recent movie or want to, then just skip ahead to our next suggestion. Sweet whispers of Star Wars consumes most school hallways these days. The Force is back. If you are hesitant to have your younger ones see the film (Who doesn't love the judging looks from non-parents for bringing a 7 year old to a PG-13 rated movie!), try the costume exhibit at the Discovery Time Square. It does not get more up close and personal than standing next to Chewbacca. This one will not be hard to talk Dads into either. 

Museums: One of the reasons we choose to live in NYC is because access to world class museums is just a walk around the corner. The New-York Historical Society has something for everyone. It always amazes me how the exhibits' appeal crosses over generations. Currently the Holiday Express and Superheros in Gotham exhibits excite all voting parties. And, seeing the real Batmobile pretty much took the cake this winter break. 

Music: Nothing brings a smile to a child's face like the sound of music and the Young People's Concerts through the New York Philharmonic will not disappoint. The concerts are set up to appeal to everyone and include audience participation as well as manageable performance lengths. An added bonus - the children get to test out the instruments used in the performances that day. There are many different instruments to keep lines short and moving. 

Theater: The New Victory Theater is a gem. A performing arts theater devoted to childcare and their families. They have a way of creating magic and keeping you on the edge of your seat. This indoor activity is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. We cannot wait to see the production of The Velveteen Rabbit later this month. 

So that is my list but what is yours? Do you have any other favorite kid-friendly places to visit in NYC? 

A Gifting Guide for Valentine's Day

Annie & MichelleComment

Valentine's Day is coming up and neither Michelle or I are big fans of celebrating Valentine’s Day by going out on the town. Frankly, if we want to go out to a fancy restaurant, we would much prefer to go when they aren’t forcing you into a prix fix menu. These days instead of a dinner out with our husbands, we much prefer cooking at home or amping up a takeout dinner to make it feel more special (more to come on that front soon!). However, that doesn’t mean that a gift wouldn’t be apropos should someone (hint, hint) feel like purchasing a little something. 

A few of baubles, trinkets and treasures that have our eye are below. 

 To store goodies, a Clare V. flat clutch -- monogrammed, of course! 

To store goodies, a Clare V. flat clutch -- monogrammed, of course! 

 For beauty sleep...a set of silk pillowcases. (Source:  Manito )

For beauty sleep...a set of silk pillowcases. (Source: Manito)

 To cuddle with...a Ralph Lauren cabled cashmere throw.

To cuddle with...a Ralph Lauren cabled cashmere throw.

 To keep it fresh...a monthly floral delivery subscription. 

To keep it fresh...a monthly floral delivery subscription. 

 For a splurge...a gold Elizabeth Locke bracelet. 

For a splurge...a gold Elizabeth Locke bracelet. 

What wouldn't you mind receiving this year? 

 

Before & After: NYC Kitchen Pantry

Organization, Space DesignAnnie & MichelleComment

By Annie Draddy and Michelle Hale 

We just finished up a kitchen pantry organizing project. First thoughts......you have a pantry in NYC? We cannot wait to see it! The space was fantastic and really just needed shifting and resorting so items can be accessible. When organizing kitchens, we feel it easiest to group products by types. This particular client likes to bake a lot with children so we centralized all of the ingredients on lower shelves. 

BEFORE:

IN PROGRESS:

AFTER: 

BAKING SECTION:

When working with deep shelves, we like to utilize clear container bins and vertical storage. It is easier to see items displayed. By putting the baking ingredients on a low shelf with bins, it is easier for kids to reach in to pull items out and maintain the organization long after we leave.