There’s no such thing as a stupid question.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question.
Confession time: I cannot remember the last time I changed our air conditioning filters at home. I am certain my gutters need cleaning. And if hard pressed I might be able to remember where the fire extinguisher is but I have NO idea how old it might be. Do fire extinguishers expire? Don’t answer that.
I have a lot of strengths, from making up recipes to mastering any craft challenge that comes my way, but home maintenance is one of my biggest failings as an adult. Enter BrightNest.
When I happened upon BrightNest, it was as if a chorus of responsible angels started singing. What is BrightNest? It’s a lovely little website that aids you in keeping up with every home maintenance task from changing the batteries in your smoke detector to cleaning your refrigerator coils. They have loads of clever tips (check out this adorable homemade cleaning products infographic), helpful reminders, and you can even create a to-do list for a partner or roommate. My husband just loves that.
My favorite part of the BrightNest site is the Homefolio, which allows you to create a customized owner’s manual for your home. You can enter in paint colors, appliance manuals, warranty information, and professional contacts, all in one place. For someone plagued by a junk drawer overflowing with paint chips and food processor pamphlets, this is pretty amazing.
It’s totally free to sign up for a BrightNest account, and I think you’ll find it to be a handy little corner of the Internet.
So where do you fall on the household responsibility spectrum? A disorganized mess (like me), or do you have a photographic memory for home details? Can you come clean out my junk drawer?
Today we celebrate our nation’s independence (I hope everyone has a relaxing, fun-filled day planned).
To keep with the day’s patriotic theme, I highlight Bungalow’s stylish collapsible white and blue storage bins. Yes, the “red” may be missing, but still — they have that “4th” feel to them.
A lot of these types of bins are on the market, but Bungalow promises theirs are different in that they are “sturdy enough to last.”
I like that tag line. It’s the same sentiment I have for our country. Happy 4th of July, everyone.
OMG, the *books*. Piles of nonfiction, stacks of mysteries and romances, dusty autobiographies and Norton Anthologies (Norton Anthologies? really?!)…. I’ve carried books with me since I was in college — in the last century.
But as I found out during my home office reorg, in my gypsy lifestyle, books were important. The people behind them, the writers and the characters, were extended family. The Nortons represented happy college days in the library. Even though I didn’t have a house, they were my physical roots.
During my first coaching with Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck, I marked the books as being the things to which I had the highest emotional attachment. In this organizing process, you first get rid of the things that are 100% obsolete, to which you have no attachment, building momentum to the obsolete items you’re most attached to. (As a quick reminder: SHED = Separate the Treasures, Heave the Trash, Embrace Your Identity and Drive Yourself Forward.)
Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck is helping me organize my embarrassingly disorganized home office.
SHED is Julie’s process for helping people through transitions, so they can tame the chaos and make their unique contribution.
The four steps are: Separate the Treasures, Heave, Embrace Your Identity From Within and Drive Yourself Forward. In my first coaching, we focused on Separating the Treasures and Heaving.
Julie and I looked at my photos of the room. Um…super-embarrassing. I mean, look at this place!
Last December, I was interviewing organizing experts for an upcoming article. One of them was Julie Morgenstern. You’ve probably seen her here on HGTV.com, or other places like Redbook or Good Morning America.
“Why do people have so much clutter?” I asked.
“Going through stuff requires time and decision-making,” Julie said. Most people don’t have a clear head or a clear schedule, and they hang onto clutter because they need abundance. Or it gives them a feeling of fullness, of having enough.
Some people feel comfortable when their home is 60% full; some people feel better at 20%. There’s not a universally perfect amount of stuff — the key is, if you feel like you’re suffocating, you have too much.
That hit hard, because I was suffocating in stuff. I’d recently gone through a divorce and had one of those shameful rooms. You know the one: boxes leaning in precarious floor-to-ceiling stacks; bags of unsorted bills; piles of old clothes; cat brushes, jars of seashells, even 20-year-old floppy disks….
I asked Julie if I could use her book, SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck, as a template for a reorganizing process, and tackle that room. She said she’d do me one better: she’d coach me through it.
Yeah, I jumped on it.
Starting next Friday, I hope you’ll go with me on the journey as — in 3 coachings — Julie helps me purge that room by targeting why I let that much clutter pile up in the first place.
Until then, here’s a clue: You clear out the obsolete so you can make room to move forward. When I say it’s fueling and energizing…well…you’ll see.
Organization is my middle name (well, that and Elizabeth), so I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to share our latest video – a closet makeover! Ken’s been hard at work building a custom closet solution that we designed for our master suite, and you guys? It turned out beautifully. Take a look…
What do you think, friends? It’s a vast improvement, that’s for sure. And if you’re inspired to try the look in your own home, feel free to ask any specific construction questions in the comment section; I’ll be popping in to answer any and all!
Laundry room makeovers might not seem like a high priority for most homeowners, but for me? Huge. I am completely, madly and deeply obsessed with doing laundry. It’s by far my favorite chore (although I’m pretty partial to loading/unloading dishwashers, too), and living with a half-finished, semi-cluttered laundry room has definitely put a damper in the joy I usually glean from this chore.
And with the momentum we gained from last week’s DIY vanity project (do you love it as much as I do?!), Ken and I decided it was time we bit the bullet and finished the last remaining items on our laundry to do list. Might I add that this means our renovation checklist for the laundry room is 100% complete? What a feeling!
In case you don’t remember what the space looked like in the very beginning, let me remind you photographically (you’ll want to wash your hands after seeing this image; trust me!):
Scary, right? Of course, wood-paneling the walls made a huge difference, and just a few short months ago, the space looked like this:
January is National Get Organized Month, so…yeah, I got nothin’. My clothes are all over the floor, I have mail piling up — even my dog’s toys are strewn about everywhere. (He’s really bad at picking up after himself.) But I just saw these lovely glass wall pocket organizers with zinc tags, and I thought maybe they could help me change my cluttered ways.
Flowers, jelly beans, pencils…is there nothing these little pockets can’t hold? If you want to get organization extra credit, you could label the contents of each pocket with chalk on the zinc tags! Pair that with a nailhead trim bulletin board, and you’d have the prettiest, most-polished desk ever. It looks like they may be sold out right now, but I did happen to find some listings for these on eBay. And if anyone sells giant versions of these that could fit clothing and/or dog toys, please let me know in the comments here.
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