Home for the Holidays on Nov 2 at Kingwood Library

Leslie Sarmiento, Owner of Interiors by Decorating Den and Ellen Delap, Certified Professional Organizer and Owner of Professional-Organizer.com, are hosting a workshop on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Homewood Suites at 23320 Highway 59 North in Kingwood, Texas.

The topic for the workshop is “Home for the Holidays – Decorating and Organizing Your Home During the Holiday Season” and there is no cost to attend. The only thing the ladies ask of attendees is they bring canned goods for a food drive benefiting the Society of St. Stephens.

The Society of St. Stephens is a 501c3 community outreach agency serving people living in the Humble, New Caney and Splendora school district boundaries. They are 100% volunteer and have no paid employees. Weekly, they provide more than 400 individuals with food and clothing, and provide financial assistance (like utility and medication assistance), for about 20 families each week.

The Society hosts three special projects each year, including a “Back-to-School” drive, a Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner, and a Christmas Family Dinner and Gifts event targeting more than 400 families with children ranging in age from 1 to 17 years of age.

Leslie and Ellen knew this time of year is when the Society gets hit hardest and wanted to provide some help with their food bank. Both felt this was one way to give back and help those in the community, while sharing some great “show and tell” tips for decorating and organizing during the holidays.

If you would like to donate or would like more information on the Society of St. Stephens, call 281-358-7722 or visit their location at 1799 Woodland Hills Drive, Kingwood, Texas 77339.

For more information about the Food Drive and Workshop, contact Ellen at edelap@professional-organizer.com or 281-360-3928.

Oversizing and Rightsizing

In a world where we are always “super sizing” our life,  I like to reflect about our stuff.  What is “enough”  in our world of consumption, media saturation, and bigger is better.  Here is a story to add awareness about upsizing and over buying.

A friend recently renovated her kitchen. She moved the old (meaning 4 years old) refrigerator to her office, which is a renovated 1950’s bungalow.  Once at the location, the refrigerator would not fit through the door!  In order to take it in, the doors were removed.  The refrigerator is very out of proportion with the rest of the kitchen.  What does this say about our homes now and then?

My friend said,  “The very moment they were taking off the hinges to the refrigerator door, I thought this is bigger than what the family used here 50 years ago and now I have two refrigerators at my house and a freezer. What’s wrong with this picture?”

 As we think through our choices in homes and lifestyle, are we aware that we have added “more” to everything in our lives? This not only includes appliances! Homes on the average are double the size now as in the 1950’s.  During the last 30 years, the self-storage industry has been the fastest growing sector of the U.S. commercial real estate industry, based upon the number of new companies, new facilities and amount of total square footage added.  Our stuff is outgrowing our oversized homes too.

This year I have chosen to purchase only items when needed, not when wanted.  It is really not hard, but I must be mindful of the choice.  I avoid places that make for easy over consumption or items that are not necessities.  I can already see the difference in my budget. 

So with this cautionary tale, start an awareness of less is more.  Begin your uncluttered journey in saying no to more stuff.   A client recently told me, “I used to think that having more stuff made me a better person.”  Your stuff is not who you are, it really is just stuff.   How will you know when is “enough” for you?

Want more information about our oversized homes?   Read The Ever Expanding Dream House    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5525283

Organizing your jewelry


You want to wear that adorable outfit, but you can’t find the bling that matches it!   Being organized means you can put your hands on those sparkly gems at a moment’s notice.  With jewelry you really will wear it more if you can see it, touch it, and have it easy to access.   In order to do that, you need to know your own organizing style and accessible options. 

First go through and brutally assess what are you going to keep.  What about costume vs. authentic jewels?   Keep what you are going to really use and donate the rest to a charity you are passionate about.  You will be making a difference and feel great about where the donation goes.

Ready to decide on where your jewelry belongs? Here are some options. 

First create a spot where your “every day” jewelry goes.  This is for your wedding bands, your watch, and any other items you were every single day.  This clear acrylic box fits on your counter for safe keeping.

Now decide if you would like a flat drawer spot where you finish getting ready or a spot in amongst your clothes for the jewelry.   You want to be able to see jewelry to decide what to wear.  Both of these options make for very visual and very accessible jewelry. 

In addition, you can hang necklaces and bracelets on clear pushpins on the wall next to your vanity or on the wall of your closet. 

Accessorizing makes us feel totally together! Create an orderly space for your jewelry so you can be your very best!

A Spa Treatment for your bathroom

Sometimes it is the little things that matter most! Getting your bathroom and vanity area organized can make a difference in getting out the door on time in the morning and starting the day with a bright outlook! Pamper yourself with these tips for organizing makeup and jewelry.

So Many Samples and Products
We all have products we have purchased that are expensive but we decided not to use. Make a decision – toss, “gift” to a friend, or use the product. If you are still not able to decide due to the expense of the product, date the back of the box, and vow to decide in 6 months. As you are reviewing your products, check the expiration dates. If they have not been opened, the products are still fresh. Remember, cosmetics have a shelf life due to bacterial growth.   Samples and gift sizes can get out of hand! Keep one container in a guest bath for pampering your guests. Give extra products and samples to college students or teenagers you know. Store the remainder in plastic containers, labeled with the type of product, shampoo, conditioner, lotion or whatever. Also consider giving sample sizes to a women’s shelter or church mission trip.

Divide and Conquer
Think of the cosmetics displays and counters in the department store. Categorize the different products by their use. Keep products together for your face, your eyes, your lips, and more. Use the back of your vanity space to store the extra products, using baskets or plastic bins for each of the different types of products. For additional vertical space, retail stores have a shelf addition that will double your space under your counters.

Access for Every Day
For everyday use, keep just one of each product handy for you to use. Keep them in a container that can be lifted easily from below inside your vanity or in the top center drawer for easy access. Purchase containers that keep each group of products together, with an area for mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow, another area for moisturizer, blush, and face powder, and another area for lip liner and lipstick.


Create a “Home” for Your Jewels
Keep a small tray in the kitchen and on your bathroom vanity to be the “home” for your jewelry when you take off your watch, rings, and bracelets. This way you always know where to find these valuables! I always take my jewelry off as I reach home so as not to damage these doing chores and laundry. Diamonds are hard, but can still chip when hitting the center of the washing machine!

 Queens Jewels or Not
Review your jewelry – are there broken pieces that need repair? Have you lost a stone? Is there a family heirloom that might be refashioned and worn? Keep these out for repair. Also, is it time to part with some of the costume jewelry that is outdated? Donations to worthy causes and mission trips are a wonderful way to share your blessings.

It’s all About Access
With your remaining jewels, decide what is everyday jewelry and dress up! Separate these for access and storage. For dress up, store valuables in a locked cabinet if possible. Keep all of it together so you know where it all is, otherwise you can lose individual pieces if stored around your home in various spots. Purchase a small safe or locked file cabinet for a great storage space. Do not store jewelry in your master bedroom – this is the typical spot to check in a robbery. Depending on the quantity of dress up jewels you have, store in boxes from the jewelry store with a label on the outside, or purchase individual leather trays from Hold Everything or clear containers from the Container Store.

For everyday jewelry, store your items as if they were in a jewelry store. There are two ways to do this – store all the rings, bracelets, necklaces separately by category. Or store the items that make a “set” together – a matching ring, bracelet, earrings and necklace in one area. Inexpensive jewelry boxes are available at retail stores and The Container Store to view your jewelry for easy access. Choose what you love, either countertop or inside a drawer, to keep you organized!

5 Organizing Projects You Can Complete in 5 Minutes

Don’t have hours to get organized? Here are 5 things you can do for 5 minutes to get your home in order.

1.  Recycle junk mail.  Stand over your recycle bin or a paper sack and toss old newspapers, extra catalogs or clippings you no longer need.

2.  Sort through a kitchen drawer. Set a timer for 5 minutes, grab a shopping bag, open the drawer, pick through anything no longer needed and donate it. 

3. Make a clothing donation bag. Go through your clothes closet and choose 5 articles of clothing you never wear. Put them in a donation bag to be given to your favorite charity.  Stop at Goodwill on the way to get these out the door. 

4. Five minute toy pick up.  Enlist your kids to help.  Put on energizing music and have a pick up party.

5. Delete email.  Take 5 minutes to delete email from your sent box, especially if it is older than a month.

Feel accomplished?  Organizing is not about finding the perfect time or creating the perfect system.  It is about the baby steps to create a level of order in your world that works!  Share with me your 5 minute organizing project!