Category Archives: Organization

Bookshelf_rainbow

Thank you so much for all of the kind words about the picture frames in the living room.  You guys really are the best!  Today, I wanted to share another small decorating project.

While my husband was marking off the living room wall with masking tape and the laser level, I had to do something to keep myself occupied.  I finally took the plunge and removed all of the dust jackets on our books and started grouping them by color.  (You can see what our bookshelves looked like before here.)  I know that this idea is nothing new, and I worried for a minute that maybe the trend had passed and was no longer cool.  Then I thought “who am I trying to impress?!  Does it really matter as long as we both like it?”

So, I gave it a whirl.  Many of our college books are paperback, and while I’ve thinned the collection and donated a bunch, there are still some we just haven’t parted with yet.  I was worried that the color arrangement might be a bit Rainbow Brite for our tastes, but I think it ended up being more subtle than I thought.  We have lots of black, white, and grey books that tone things down.

Bookshelf_rainbow2

I spent about an hour grouping and arranging everything by color and still need to make another pass to get it all right.  However, I am liking it so far.  I will show another picture once it’s all done.  Have you tried this or is it too matchy-matchy for you?  Do you also worry about the secret decorating police who will come and judge your room?

January Housekeeping

Home Made Simple has a few more articles of mine up — and these are all about making those January feel-good-clean-up-the-house changes.

HMS_4up

Hop on over to read my take on:

  1. How to fold towels. (I ended up doing this in my linen closet and it made SUCH a difference.  The linen closet has a long way to go but refolding everything took about 30 minutes and gave me hope!)
  2. Cleaning pillows.  (Since I am the princess-and-the-pea, none of my pillows last long enough to get all that dirty — but it really made me stop to think!)
  3. Re-using foil. (Now you’re just curious, right? I am not going to lie. My family made fun of me when I asked them to help me brainstorm ideas. I do use #2 all the time.)
  4. Creating unique family wall art. (Tip #4 is how we created our own gallery wall here.)

What are you doing around the house this month to give yourself a clean slate?

Filed under House & Home, In the Kitchen, Organization. Tagged with , , , , , .

Being Happy At Home (The Year Ahead)

forest_frontyard2

When I left off last week, I was talking about reviewing 2012′s high points and starting to think about my goals for 2013. (I like to take this slow, remember?)

This year I gave myself a few weeks to think it over, and I decided to go at this process in a different way. So even if you’ve already written down some resolutions (or totally sworn off ever writing them), I think you may find this helpful.

Goal Setting: The Old Way

In the past, maybe you did it like me. I sat down pen-in-hand and wrote all of my career + business goals first. They were ambitious. I believe in writing down your aspirations as a way of helping to make them come true. So I piled on as many dreams as I could fit on the page — prioritized and scheduled and (mostly) sanity-checked. But I included some stretch goals, too.

forest_frontyard

After that, I proceeded to set goals for the rest of my life. Goals for decorating, getting organized, spending time with my husband + family, getting in shape, etc. Unfortunately, my career goals were so ambitious that by the time I was ready to tackle my home, my spiritual life, myself, or my relationships — there was not very much time or energy left.

Hmmm. Well, I didn’t want to cross those things off the list.  That would be like saying they didn’t matter, right? So I just left them there — even though the list had grown totally unrealistic and impossible.  Next to the personal stuff, I wrote the words “bonus points” or worse yet “weekends.”

And How Did That Work Out?

Now, that I’ve looked back over my year, I can see that I got most of those business goals accomplished.  I even got some of the personal ones checked off the list, too.  But I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a lot of conflict (both internal + sometimes external) in the process.  If I am being honest, there were times I even felt burned out this year.  I’ve been going on some crazy personal journeys that required other people’s time, support, and commitment, too.  When not unchecked, this can be a recipe for guilt and worry.

The good news is that burn out helped me confront some unhealthy habits and forced me to learn some new skills — skills I hope to share with you.

Happyathomequote-01

Goal Setting: My New Approach

So, this year, I am doing things differently: I am writing down those life goals first.

These are the things that I want for myself, for my family, for my home. They are not designed to be impressive or to look good on paper. They are just the things that at the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, give me that heart-full-of-happiness feeling.  These are the things that fuel my creativity + keep me going. Yes, I am still setting career goals for 2013. There are exciting places I want to take Ever Kelly, but now I see those ambitions as supporting my ultimate aim — to be happy at home.

deck

A Few of My “Be Happy at Home” Goals for 2013

  • Work on organization + beauty in my home! Create a peaceful, happy place to be with my husband.
  • Entertain occasionally. Welcome other people in.
  • Cultivate new friendships here in Seattle.
  • Continue to take one day of rest each week as a personal and spiritual discipline.  (I plan to talk more about this soon. This one is a life changer!)
  • Great self-care + regular exercise.
  • Experience significance. Work on things that matter.
  • Celebrate the launch of my book with a special event + party. Decorate. Have fun.
  • Take a vacation. Just the 2 of us.

Looking over this list, I can see that these are all things that I plan to do anyway. However, I frequently put them last on my list and sometimes even feel like I have to apologize for them. (Does this happen to you too?) So this year, I am going to be working on embracing these practices not as “bonus point” or “weekend” activities — but as the foundation for everything else in my life.

I am also using this list as a way to evaluate new opportunities as they come up rather than trying to cram everything in whether it fits or not. Already, I feel much calmer + more excited about the things that I am working on.

What about you? Any big mental shifts you’d like to make this year? Do you think being “happy at home” matters — and if so, what does that mean to you?

 

Filed under Inspiration, Organization. Tagged with , , , , .

Organizing Tips: Tackling the Basement

Basement_tips

Before we move at the end of this month, I am doing some serious re-organizing and purging around here! Our move up here from Los Angeles was so hectic that we ended up carting a lot of stuff that we really did not need — and now with all of the boxes and Ever Kelly inventory, it is time for a clean out.

When the folks at Homemade Simple asked me for some Basement Organization Tips, it was the perfect time to document my process. While these tips are geared for basement storage, they could definitely apply to other spots in your home. (The attic? The hallway closet? That room at the end of the hall where you “stash and dash?”)

First we are going to prepare a plan.  [Read on: basement organization tips]

Filed under House & Home, Organization. Tagged with , , , , .

A Good Start (the Golden Hour Rule)

Strawberries

This morning, the view from my kitchen table was so pretty that I ran to grab the camera.  (And yes, there really was some oatmeal underneath that mountain of strawberries!)  For the past few weeks, I’ve been on a roll, and I think a lot of this has to do with changing my morning habits.  I thought I would share here since I know others of you are also trying to figure out how to get more done each day!

I have always been someone who is very high output, but consistency is not something that comes naturally to me. However, when you’re working for yourself, being consistent is sort of, well, everything.  So I have been shaking things up over here and reading books for more tips and just generally trying to get better one day at a time.

I recently read Never Check E-mail in the Morning by Julie Morgenstern, and while the book is mostly geared towards people working in corporate America, there are still a lot of helpful ideas even for those of us working from home.  For the past month, I’ve been using her “Golden Hour” Rule and it’s pretty amazing:

For the first hour of the day, I stay away from e-mail (and all of it’s associated distractions, twitter, internet, etc.) and do that one thing that would make me feel so awesome to have crossed it off of my list.  I plan it the night before, and in the morning after my quiet time and exercise, I go to my desk, cup of coffee in hand, no distractions, and I do it.  That’s it!

However, now it’s my most powerful hour of the day.  (I try to exercise every other day, so on the non-exercise days, I go for broke and have 2 golden hours!)

In that hour I have written a chapter of a novel, finished some daunting illustrations, taken care of paperwork/organization that I was dreading, planned photo shoots, and re-drafted fussy patterns.  It’s not always the hardest thing of the day, but it’s always something that’s important.  By finishing and getting it out of the way, everything else flows better.  And yes, all of those e-mails and messages still get read and returned, but now they are reigned in on my schedule.

Do some of you do this too? At first, it can sound a little daunting — especially if you are someone who gets a lot of messages  But what’s your one thing you really want to get done?!

(Disclaimer: Once again, I must say that I do not have kids.  I’m pretty sure that if you are also in charge of little ones, getting them dressed and making breakfast, etc. this gets trickier!)

Filed under Organization. Tagged with , , , .

Rainbow Bookshelves (Work in Progress)

Bookshelf_rainbow

Thank you so much for all of the kind words about the picture frames in the living room.  You guys really are the best!  Today, I wanted to share another small decorating project.

While my husband was marking off the living room wall with masking tape and the laser level, I had to do something to keep myself occupied.  I finally took the plunge and removed all of the dust jackets on our books and started grouping them by color.  (You can see what our bookshelves looked like before here.)  I know that this idea is nothing new, and I worried for a minute that maybe the trend had passed and was no longer cool.  Then I thought “who am I trying to impress?!  Does it really matter as long as we both like it?”

So, I gave it a whirl.  Many of our college books are paperback, and while I’ve thinned the collection and donated a bunch, there are still some we just haven’t parted with yet.  I was worried that the color arrangement might be a bit Rainbow Brite for our tastes, but I think it ended up being more subtle than I thought.  We have lots of black, white, and grey books that tone things down.

Bookshelf_rainbow2

I spent about an hour grouping and arranging everything by color and still need to make another pass to get it all right.  However, I am liking it so far.  I will show another picture once it’s all done.  Have you tried this or is it too matchy-matchy for you?  Do you also worry about the secret decorating police who will come and judge your room?

Filed under House & Home, Organization. Tagged with , , , , .