With fall weather arriving any day now and all that entails from new routines and seasonal clothing swaps (let’s hear it for sweater weather!), we couldn’t be more pleased to announce our partnership as a preferred vendor with Garde Robe. They provide a modern solution to the age-old issue of having lots of clothes and not enough storage.
As organizers, our clients often ask us if our homes are perfectly organized. Overall, our homes are pretty organized but perfection is definitely in the eye of the beholder and, as we all need to remember, being organized is not a destination but more of an ongoing journey.
All of that said, I knew that my own kitchen was in need of a little attention and that perhaps it was time to turn the tables and ask myself the hard questions that I always ask my clients – if you aren’t using it why are you keeping it?
The reasons vary but and three of the most common – at least that we run into - sound something like this…
“It was a gift from a friend/family member [insert someone important here] and I don’t want to hurt their feelings by getting rid of it or not having it around when they come to visit.”
“I bought it, never used it and now feel doubly bad about wasting money on it.”
“I might need it some day for X – even though I haven’t used it in five years.”
My own kitchen editing session took longer than I thought it would initially. Although the contents were organized, I seemed to have accumulated quite a few trinkets and tools over the years. I am fortunate that my kitchen storage is pretty ample but I needed to heed my own advice - even if you have a lot of space, you do not have to fill it!
There were several items that fell into the bucket of “I bought this and thought it was a good idea at the time but have never used it” and “I might need it some day…”
Upon reflection, it may seem that I have a weakness for the cooking tools section at Williams Sonoma. Everything looks so pretty and shiny and absolutely critically to my success in the kitchen while I’m in the store. But, when I get it home, I find these pretty, shiny, critical tools sitting there in my drawer unused and unappreciated and often passed up in favor of my old standbys. It is now time to move along the egg tongs and the avocado shaped scraper.
After tackling tools, I turned to my baking section which had grown unwieldly over the years. My reason for the excess is that baking is a hobby my son and I enjoy together. We have experimented with almost every baking category. We went through a mold phase, a rainbow cake phase (which required multiple individual cake pans), a cupcake phase with fun toppers to boot and the classic (never to be revisited) elaborate fondant phase. However, no matter what fun trendy baking phase we try though, we always end up making our favorites – cookies, breads and basic cakes. So, the question is…why am I still holding onto all the other baking accessories? Perhaps it is holding onto them for sentimental reasons or perhaps it is that I haven’t taken the time to actually do something about them but, regardless now is the time to move all of it along to someone else that can use them rather than have them collect dust in my upper cabinets.
With my drawers and cabinets cleared of the items I no longer use I feel the freedom that comes with clearing clutter. Clearing the physical space frees up mental space. This is our mantra during edit sessions and it definitely rang true during my own tune-up.
You may or may not know that we offer gift cards for people who like to give the gift of organizing for holidays and special occasions. We have been gifted to a number of people over the years from broker gifts for the sale of a new apartment to wedding and housewarming gifts. So read on for some feedback from those happy recipients and maybe even find some inspiration for the next time you find yourself shopping for a gift.
"Our broker gave us a gift card for our closing and it made all the difference. My husband and I have crazy work schedules so it was a relief to have Michelle and Annie come in and handle all of the move logistics for us. From decluttering before the move to coordinating with the movers through the pack and moving days and unpacking us in our new home, they handled the whole process. And, I can't tell you what a joy it was to walk into a fully set up home instead of wading through boxes for what would likely have been weeks on end."
"We received so many presents for our wedding (some even off the registry!) and had no idea how to fit them all in our apartment given the seemingly limited storage options. Henry & Higby found space we did not even know existed! They worked wonders in our small space and made everything so accessible that we don't have an excuse not to use them."
"My husband gave me a Henry & Higby gift card for my birthday. My home office had become a dumping ground and I was overwhelmed with the thought of trying to tackle all of the clutter that had accumulated over the years. It was not a total disaster but it was definitely not my favorite spot in my home. When Michelle and Annie showed up, I quickly became relaxed as they talked me through the steps to getting my space cleaned out and usable again. As an added bonus, they even helped me accessorize the room a bit to help my turn my office chaos into a calming sanctuary."
"A good friend gave us a Henry & Higby gift card when we moved to the burbs because she knew that we were struggling a bit. Coming from the city, we thought that we had it figured out but with all of the space that our house had we got a little overwhelmed and everything seemed to end up in our basement -- a pile of unmade decisions. Once Annie and Michelle came in, we came up with a space plan for the closets and rooms that really made sense and got all of our remaining boxes unpacked and in place . We owe them so much for their quick and smart suggestions -- and now we have an empty basement!"
If you want to give the gift of organizing, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you know an organizer, you know someone who loves a label. And, who can blame them - labels are key to maintaining an organized space because it makes putting things away that much easier when you - and everyone else in the house - knows where to put it.
The number and placement of labels you use is completely up to you and your personal preference. Some people only label containers and others like to labels shelves too - whatever works best.
There are lots of different kinds of labels but a few of our favorites are linked below.
We love this label maker because it is so portable for days when we have jobs all over the city.
These bin clips can be used all over the home and on almost any basket or bin that you could use to help keep your home and spaces organized.
Repurpose gift tags as labels for bins and baskets throughout the house.
This tape is quick and easy to use for labels and is reusable if you use a chalkboard pen.
If you want a neater chalkboard look, these removable labels are a great option and offer plenty of room to play around with different fonts and sizes.
Sometimes you need a smaller label and this option from OXO is great because it comes in a few different sizes for those smaller containers.
What are your favorite labels?
We are often asked as organizers how we keep our work and home lives organized. Do we have any tips or tricks to share? Of course, we have some tips and tricks on how you can try to stay on top of it all. But, unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to figuring out how to best stay organized. It takes time and some trial and error to find what works best for you and your family.
I personally love to write things down and I have a notebook that I take with me everyday so that I can make sure to capture thoughts and to-dos throughout the day. In fact, I used to almost always use a paper planner too but that changed as my needs changed when I switched careers and started my own business.
Moving from the corporate world to an "anything but a desk" job as a professional organizer made it harder for me to use and maintain a paper planner. I didn’t love having to bring along one more thing in my bag and my ever-changing schedule made it hard to keep up to date. That was when I stopped using my paper planner in lieu of a calendar on my phone. It made updating my calendar easier - much less erasing! - and it allowed me to share appointments and information easily with my business partner and friends, thereby keeping all of us more organized.
My online calendar is now my lifeline for work and life but there are still times when I need to write things out. And, in those instances, I turn to a Muji calendar notebook without dates so that I don’t waste an entire planner for the few weeks that I need to see things mapped out in front of me.
I still use my trusty notebook for work and life to-dos as I find it therapeutic to write - and even type - things out. My partner will attest that in my most overwhelmed moments I need to take a step back and being writing things out so that I can clarify my thoughts and figure out how to best move forward. I find it easy to make sense of chaos when it is written down in front of me and I can lay it out in a logical way.
And that all makes sense given that research discussed in this New York Times article has shown that writing things down helps you remember them. I have definitely found that to be the case and something that I tell my clients when they are having issues trying to keep track of all that life is throwing at them.
Tips for Staying Organized
Making a To-do List: Keep a list of to-dos so you can stay on top of everything that you have to do that day, week or even month. Depending on how you work best (again, trial and error), this list could be a running list of items that need to be accomplished regardless of timing or you can create one for the day or week ahead so that you can stay on track. There is almost nothing more satisfying that crossing items off a list.
Writing Daily Notes: Write down reminders and notes as they come to you throughout the day in a notebook or on your phone. This way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting them and you can stay more focused on the task at hand.
Setting Appointments: Whether you choose to use a paper planner or an online calendar, it is important to track all of your upcoming appointments. Online calendars are great because you can add easily add friends and family to the invite with a simple click of the button which has saved me a lot of time and grief. I also like to set up reminders about a week before my friends and family members birthdays so I can make sure I get my card in the mail in time for the big day.
Planning Ahead: Mornings can be overwhelming particularly if you are getting the family out the door, so take some time each night to list out your to-dos for the next day and review your schedule. I often find that when I am feeling overwhelmed that taking some time to go over everything that needs to be done - and writing it down - helps me rest more easily and maybe even get some sleep.
As organizers, we help people maximize their spaces to make them more functional. Most of the time the solutions are relatively simple but every once in a while we need to get a little creative to find a way to really maximize a small or odd shaped space. Sometimes this means finding that one unique organizing product that is a perfect fit and other times it is finding a favorite product from one area of the home and repurposing it for another. Below are some of our favorite recent storage hacks that repurpose products all across the home. Happy Organizing!
Need to store wrapping paper so that won't take up valuable floor space? Try using this plastic bag dispenser from Ikea to hold wrapping paper rolls in a closet. Just affix it to the wall and you are ready to start wrapping.
Consider using this divided Lazy Susan intended for the kitchen in any room of the house such as the bathroom, craft room or even the basement. This workhorse piece can easily store - and make accessible - anything from toiletries and hair products to paints and markers.
Repurpose these larger adhesive organizing bins for the kitchen in your bathroom or other small space to keep counters clear and space maximized.
Beautify your laundry room by removing laundry pods or even laundry powder from the packaging and putting it in one of these glass jars instead. Or if you are a user of liquid detergent and so inclined, you could even consider decanting the liquid into a glass drink dispenser.
No place to store your tin foil and plastic wraps? Use this over-the-cabinet grocery bag holder to fit three of your wraps instead and save drawer space for other items.
What storage hacks have you used around the home?
For more storage hacks, check out our beauty storage hack store here.
Living in New York City often means that you have to get creative with your storage and space. This week we were organizing a bathroom that had shallow built-in shelves -- less than three inches wide -- and we needed to find a storage solution for beauty products. Our client didn't have a huge collection but she had enough that we had to put a little thought into it.
After much deliberation and a trip through the Container Store, we were able to create a beauty storage hack that we loved so much we wanted to share it with you. This idea or something like it can easily be recreated for other small spaces in almost any room so read on if you are in need of a small space storage fix.
We love using these narrow storage bricks. They are the perfect solution for small, narrow spaces since they are under three inches wide.
These pods are perfect for when you need to eke out extra storage in a cabinet as they can adhere to almost any smooth surface without damage.
Using these two products, we able to create a self-contained make-up storage solution that fits in even the narrowest of spaces. To recreate it yourself, use the Like-It bricks as the foundation and stick the StickOnPods to the bricks for extra storage.
How do you store your beauty products with limited space?
As organizers in New York City, we are used to the small and sometimes oddly shaped spaces that New Yorkers call home (ourselves included!). From irregular sized cabinets to no cabinets, we have seen and organized it all but part of our success is due to the items we use that help maximize the space. While this may not be one of our more traditional organizing posts, this is a shout out to a few of the products that make our job a little easier.
We love using these stackable bins in tight spaces like on top of a bathroom medicine cabinet. They can store and hide an array of toiletry items and, since they are only 2 and 5/8 inches wide, they can fit almost anywhere.
Recently, we have come across shallow desk drawers that don't accommodate standard organizing trays. Initially it was a little frustrating but then we found these relatively inexpensive drawer organizers that clock in at only 1 and 3/4 inches so now tidying almost any drawer is a breeze.
These removable broom grippers are a lifesaver in small spaces that don't have a household closet. We use them in hidden corners and along side refrigerators to make storing brooms, mops and/or Swiffers easier and, in the long run, damage-free since there is no drilling required.
What products do you use to make living in small spaces easier?