You gave me what?!

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With families wanting to share time together genuinely connecting rather than simply opening presents, Professional Service Gifts are all the rage these days. Professional Service Gifts offer the receiver more free time to focus on what really matters to them, whatever that may be. As a Professional Service provider myself, my work specifically supports the connections my clients desire to have with their families and I am passionate about creating more time for them to do just. I am thrilled when people purchase time with me for their loved one.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will love your friend and I can help her with her space, but purchasing a gift like this for someone else requires a bit more soul searching for the giver. Broken down to its core, what you are essentially purchasing for another person is the experience of inviting a stranger into their home to delve into a personal aspect of their life. This definitely isn’t for everyone. No one likes their vulnerabilities highlighted. (I know that I don’t!)

If you are considering purchasing a gift of consulting with me for your family member, colleague or friend simply be mindful of who you purchase a gift like this for and play the exchange out in your head beforehand.

YOUR INTENTION: “I love my friend. She is always saying how she wants to be more organized and wants to refresh her living room. This gift will support her, get her started and ultimately give her less anxiety about her space and fill her life with joy.” [All true, I might add.]

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YOUR FRIEND’S POTENTIAL RESPONSE: “Thanks so much…um….yeah, this is really thoughtful. I see why you got me this because I have talked about it. So, they will be coming to my house??” [anxiety, vulnerability,nerves ensue]

See what happened there? Your intention was awesome, but it kind of backfired because your friend wasn’t really ready to delve into this yet. People’s homes are very personal to them and inviting someone in to help them with design and organization can be tough.

Do not misunderstand, purchasing a gift for consulting with a Home Stylist, like me or a Wardrobe Consultant, Makeup Artist or even a Cleaning Service are incredibly thoughtful, generous gifts. You are amazing to even consider something so creative. However, just make sure they are open to this before you spend a considerable amount of money on something that they may not use.

I hope these thoughts help support you in your gift giving this year and if my business is on your list I look forward to hearing from you.

More holiday decorating tips, tricks, and DIY projects to share throughout the month. Stay Close!

Basic Holiday Wreath Tutorial

You’ll soon come to learn that I am kind of a wreath fanatic. I am not exactly sure when this happened, but I love them. This tutorial provides you detailed instructions for how to make your very own holiday wreath. Embellish as you see fit for your own home.

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Ribbon

Select whatever you like. I prefer wire edged because it’s bendy and will stay put.

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Fastener

Floral wire is the legit way to do this, but I didn’t have any and I am impatient so I used twist ties I had in the kitchen.

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Wreath

This one happens to be real, but it doesn’t have to be.

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Step 1

Darn, I forgot to tell you that you need scissors…go grab a pair - I will wait. Now, cut a piece of ribbon a few inches long. Bend it in half and secure a twist tie tightly around it once or twice.

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Step 2

Select a location that you like on the wreath and secure the remaining end of the twist tie around the branch. Try to place it far enough in that you do not see the fastener.

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Step 3

Pouf out {very technical terminology} the ribbon with your fingers. {Repeat steps 1-3 for as many pieces as you would like on your wreath}

Step 4

Bottom of Bow: Cut a piece of ribbon twice as long as you would like the tails of the bow to be. Example: For 3 “ tails cut the ribbon at 6”. {Truth, I did not do this, I just cut a longer piece} Next, fold the ribbon end to end with the open end facing up.

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Step 5

Create Cute Edge: Fold the ribbon in half long ways

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Step 6

Cut from an inch or two down the folded edge on a diagonal up to the corner of the open edges

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Step 7

Open it up…voila! Nicely done.

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Step 8

Secure tails of bow the same way you did with everything else you have attached previously

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Step 9

Make hills and valleys with your ribbon making sure to hold onto the bottom of each valley as you create how you want your bow to look. I decided I just wanted a simple, traditional bow. Since you have already secured the bottom of the bow to the wreath you do not need to allow any extra ribbon to hang down. Simply cut at the bottom of the last valley and secure with twist tie. {you may need a larger one for this because it gets thick. Also, be sure to twist it tightly}

Step 10

Fasten the top of the ribbon a little bit over the tails so that it looks like one piece.

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Step 11

Admire your work. Great job. Go hang it up! If there is not already a loop in the back for hanging you can use an over door hook specifically designed for holding wreaths or add a small piece of ribbon or rope around the top.

Four Table Tips for the Thanksgiving Hostess

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SET YOUR TABLE BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE

If you are hosting a number of guests it may take longer than you think. Allow yourself enough time so that you are not rushing this at the end. A well planned table is a happy table!  Don’t worry if everything doesn’t match. No one cares. Everyone is just happy that you are hosting and not them! [If you’ve never set a table before just follow the simple template included]

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BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT SEATING ARRANGEMENTS

Taking a few extra minutes to plan out where people will sit at your table is an appropriate and helpful detail for family and friends who may not interact very often throughout the year.

As the hostess, you will be able to place people strategically and create a balanced flow for the meal.

Considerations for seating arrangements include.

  • Optimal conversation

  • Seating guests apart who do not jive well together.

  • Placing your fabulous left handed guests where they won’t bump others [me!]

  • Being aware of accommodations for (wheelchairs, high chairs, hearing aids)

Centerpiece

Do not pressure yourself to create an elaborate tablescape. If you are new to the table setting game, low and simple is way better in the long run. After all, the meal is about the food and the conversation.

If you have kids, it is also fun to get them involved in the meal without having them actually have their little hands in the food. Not only will this occupy them for a few minutes, but they can talk about their creation at dinner and will feel great knowing they contributed to making the meal so special. Win-Win!

 
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DIY Simple Centerpiece for your Kids

  • Empty glass vase

  • Snag some leaves, branches, twigs from outside

  • Fill up the glass vase with the outdoor elements

  • Place in center or in a line down the center of your table

  • When done, open door and empty the vase back outside

    Voila!

Clean Up

People do not always agree with me on this one, but my feeling is to not rush to clean up. Enjoy yourself and relax. You have been cooking all day.  If your guests start taking items to the kitchen you can absolutely stay seated and simply say “Thank you!”

Even with specific instructions regarding washing your china, etc….it is also completely acceptable to allow your guests to manage the entire cleanup. “Too many cooks in the kitchen” only applies to the cooking. With cleanup many hands [that are not yours] make light work!

It is also admissible to inform your children ahead of time that they are responsible for clearing the table after the meal which allows guests to remain seated.  Then when a guest does rise to clear you simply say “Oh I insist you sit, Sue -  Rue and Julie are in charge of clearing.” [my mother was a big fan of this one for years!]

If you follow these four simple Table Tips for your Thanksgiving table, I guarantee that your guests will be appreciative of your thoughtfulness.

“gobble gobble”

Happy Everything

Limited Time? Limited Space? Limited desire to acknowledge every darn holiday on the calendar, but have children who won’t let you off the hook? BAM! Slap an attachment on this plate and your are festive!!!

Happy Everything, the name of the company started by artist and CEO, Laura Johnson (shout out to female entrepreneurs) seems to be thriving. From what I witnessed on my trip to North Carolina last week, you’d think this is the #1 home decor item in all the land! Everywhere I went they were selling these products.

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How it Works

It comes in the form of a ceramic base (they call it) and you switch out adding various Velcro attachments that will project the feeling of fun & festivity in your home. What’s not to love?

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My girlfriend, who incidentally now lives in the midst of the “Happy Everything Mecca” in NC, has had one for years. I would see it hanging on the wall of her home and think “That’s cute” - but I didn’t realize it was a “thing.” Boy was I clueless! Then it hit me how this one simple item could be a game changer for busy moms!!!

Think about it…you’ve probably been receiving a Pandora charm, for that bracelet you never wear, on every occasion since your partner discovered how easy it was to knock out a gift for you from “the kids. ” :) Now you can have some variety!!!

This totally cute, family friendly, home decor gift is going to be the new savior when it comes to “What to get mom?! (ooh and on that note, they definitely have religious attachments too!)

You’re Welcome!

30 Minutes or Less " Seasonal Wardrobe Closet Transition"

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You know how the airlines tell us that in the event of an emergency be sure to “secure our own mask before helping others?” This is because we are of no use to others if we don’t first prioritize ourselves. (I may be totally wrong, but the rationale works well as an illustration here so let’s go with it.)

By the same principle this is exactly why you transition your own closet first. “Help yourself and then help your kids !”

Today’s DIY: Closet Wardrobe Transition in 30 minutes or less!

PREPARE MATERIALS

  • Large Empty Storage Box

  • Paper bag for ”one the spot” donations

  • Hamper for items to wash prior to storing

  • Hydration (wine, cocktails, beer all qualify)

  • Occupy the kids (If they are home)  

  • Set timer for 30 minutes

  • Start timer (key component!)

Disclaimer: Rationale not to be applied in all parent/child circumstances! You know this, right?


ONE CLOTHES CLOSET PEOPLE

I Cull Clothes

Note: Since we are doing this entire process in 30 mins, the time is not to be used for “judging your wardrobe” or yourself for “not wearing that dress all summer”. If you know immediately that you want to discard something, great toss it in the bag, but our goal is solely to transition for winter in 30 minutes. An entire closet/wardrobe make-over is not happening right now.

  • Push all items in your closet to one side and then quickly go through each item and remove it if it is not staying through the winter.

  • Simply drop them in the empty bin. Do not fold or worry about neatness at this point

  • Dirty Clothes should be washed before storing which is why the hamper is nearby

  • Leave empty hangers on the rod all to one side


II Organize Remaining Items

OPTIONS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR HANGING CLOTHES

  • Color - If you are someone who has a lot of color variety and chooses outfits based on mood for the day, this might be great for you.

  • Type- If you are someone who likes to have all of one type of wardrobe item together, this might be great for you.

  • Combo- First by type and then by color within the groupings.

 

III Install Winter Items

Now that everything you have deemed worthy to remain is organized and hanging, start to add the winter items. Use the empty hangers you have to one side of the rod and you can easily grab and hang.

This is a personal preference. Regardless of how you choose to organize your closet wardrobe, just make sure you know your system! My closet looks different in summer than winter due to the amount of long summer dresses in relationship to where they can hang without hitting my shoes on the floor. (It’s a delicate balance in my teeny tiny closet)

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IV Fold Items For Storing

  • Folding It doesn’t have to be perfect, but do be kind to your clothes.  If you did not have any summer items to wash, then you can put the lid on the bin and be done! If you do then wash those items on laundry day, fold them for the bin and pack it away.


TWO CLOTHES CLOSET PEOPLE

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What a treat to have a second closet to store your off season clothing! I still recommend having an empty bin or the back of a chair nearby so you can lay your summer clothes as you remove them from your closet. (since you do not need to remove the hanger)

THREE EASY ADJUSTMENTS FOR YOUR PROCESS 

I CULL

First cull through your stored winter clothes closet then carry everything into the main closet room (leaving on hangers)

II INSTALL Closet #1

Since your winter wardrobe is already on hangers you automatically cut down on time. Great!

III INSTALL Closet #2

Carry all summer items to closet #2 and reinstall with the same organized system you have in closet #1. (This will make it much easier when we transition again in the spring)


That’s it! If you’ve remained focused, 30 minutes should be more than enough time to transition your closet for the winter and get you out of your summer digs! Has your timer gone off yet?

I’d love to know how this works for you. Let me know in the comments

The Four Seasons

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NOTE: Please press play on the music link below the photo and then commence reading. I promise it makes the topic way more fun and sophisticated.

Question: How does one make the discussion of Seasonal Organizing in your home both entertaining and appealing?

Answer: Title the post “The Four Seasons” which will immediately transport the reader to what I imagine to be, one of me most luxurious hotel experience on the planet. Then accompany the post with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons [specifically selecting “AUTUMN” ] in order to subtly, yet firmly, reinforce your message.

Now that you’re relaxed, let’s discuss….your closets. I know, school just started in September. I understand you may still be in transition mode from little ones being in new schools, big ones being away at college, but my friend - it is time to take care of your house.  

This Fall I began offering a brand new extension of my business which I am calling Seasonal Services. The idea grew from a series of conversations with clients and busy moms who openly shared with me how little time they have to spend on projects for their home. Projects that, when completed, make them feel joyful, peaceful, and happy to relax on the couch. Yet, in the midst of everything else, simply fall off the to do list or become "undone frustrations.

This is exactly why you need me on your PWT! {If confused, read previous post here}

Life moves quickly, especially September- December, so we need to start planning.  Peruse the Seasonal Services and if there is something you need that you do not see on the list, just let me know. I’d love to hear in the comments below regarding your home decor issues in the Fall.

Professional Organizing Refreshed - Hiring Your PWT.

At certain times in life everyone needs a little help. Not that we want to give up entirely or relinquish all responsibility, but after being available to others all day, we simply crave the companionship of someone 100% dedicated to our needs - to our successes - to our goals. I know I do! In the midst of writing this post even, I had to call my business coach to vent about how much trouble I was having with writing this darn post!

Thankfully, life provides us amazing resources to help lighten the load.  We can hire therapists and trainers and life/business coaches whose job it is to meet us where we are, listen to us vent, create an action plan for accountability and then walk with us through the mud.

This is the point where I tell you, quite confidently, that adding a Professional Organizer to your “Personalized Wellness Team” [can we make PWT a thing?] is an excellent investment in your overall well being. Yes- for real- allow me to elaborate.

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Through my personal experiences, as well as working with clients, I have learned that professional accountability is key. Hiring an expert in an area where you may not personally shine not only helps you to accomplish way more in way less time, but also develops your skill-set and supports you in reaching your goals. By definition, a coach is someone who “instructs or trains” and along with the addendum of encourage, this is exactly what I do when I work with my clients.

Hiring a Professional Organizer is not about being “unable to do the job on your own” (most of you can place items in your pantry in a reasonably logical way, I am sure). Instead, it is far more about being self aware enough to know what you do well and where you want to focus your limited time/energy.  

To hire a Professional Organizer is to say - “ I choose not to be in charge of this” - “I choose to be present without needing to figure out the plan of action” - “I choose to hire help simply because it makes it easier and more fun”

Professional Organizing may potentially blow your mind with new ways to fold your clothes or store your keepsakes...but probably not. You can find all of the tips and tricks of the trade online. For me it’s about personal connection. The one-on-one, creative, individualized problem solving that works specifically for your family. This is what makes a Professional Organizer a great addition to your PWT!

Home Obsessions: Vacuum Lines

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Does anyone else out there find tremendous satisfaction and calm in seeing the lines of the vacuum? For me this has been a lifelong obsession. Prior to my sophomore year of college, I vividly remember telling my dad

"The carpet for my dorm has to be thick enough to make vacuum marks!"

Mind you, this was well before the "designer dorm' industry teenagers have today. Simply having a "pseudo-lux carpet" made me feel incredibly posh. In my mind I was the envy of Constitution Hall. In reality no one cared a lick and my new roommate, Abeer, was a little concerned I might be nuts.

Almost a status symbol, I am absolutely not alone in my excitement for vacuum lines. A simply google search results in several photos and blogs with entries much greater in depth than mine. 

Years ago, I'm told my Aunt Dot used to actually rake her carpet and not let anyone walk on it. Is this going a bit too far? Perhaps, but my brain also entirely gets it.

If you would like to travel down the rabbit hole on this topic I have added some links below. I also created a Pinterest board with photos if you'd rather just gaze at the ordered loveliness.

Continuing Education

Perfect Vacuum Lines Video

DIY Tutorial dedicated to fancy lines

No Straight Lines