Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

I love this photograph. I literally looked at it for ages when I found it; wanting to see what was in each cubby, and wondering how I could replicate it in my own home. My sister would hate it, she is far more minimal than I am. I don’t know where she even puts all of her “stuff”. She thinks my house is cute, but cluttered. I prefer to think of it as eclectic.

As much as I try, I need to have most of my belongings out for me to see, which can lead to a constant organizing of the chaos that could happen. Not a hoarder by any means, I have just become more visual as time marches on, and I have learned what works for me. I can tell you everything that I have, where it came from and why it is so special. So can my sister, but her things are put away, neatly, and her home has a serene feeling that mine will never have. Well, maybe for a day or two, when I will try really hard, but then I will miss what I have and re-organize it all again. The cupboards will be empty, but the shelves filled (I know I have that backwards).

My point is, that we all have different styles and needs, so fighting against  your instinct, is a fruitless exercise. No-one should feel uncomfortable in their own home. For me, I will constantly attempt to straighten what I have, but I will always end up with a different version of the same thing, and my sister’s home will remain beautifully serene (squirreling away her things into secret, hidden compartments, magically re-appearing when necessary).

Both different, but both loving our homes. What’s your style?

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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Sometimes, we are reluctant to give up the much-loved items that we covet. We become disorganized collectors of things that we simply must have (and keep). But, for many of us, excess can be just another reason to decorate!
Keep what you have, but be creative.  Often, interesting (and decorative) solutions can be found for the same price as a hum-drum piece of rubbish. Don’t hide things away in boxes or cupboards. If you love it, show it… 


Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/ Thanks to: Pottery Barn, Urban Outfitters and CSN stores for the photographs.                 

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Hoarding has become the ugly sister of clutter;  an in-your-face television representation of lives that have tipped the scales of common sense. We are shown piles upon piles of paper and belongings, showcased in homes that haven’t been cleaned in decades, a public process that sometimes seems more humiliating than helpful.

Are we really that extreme? No, but many of us are busy and overwhelmed with our “stuff”.

According to the IRS,  “You must keep your records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code”…..

So, with that helpful sentence, here are some easy ways to try and control it (clutter, not the IRS) without losing your mind, or your mail.

  • If you want to keep receipts, papers and household bills forever, put them in plastic storage boxes, label them and put them in an attic, cellar or neatly stacked in a closet or laundry room. If they will be visible, buy neat, black containers to minimize their visibility. Don’t let them take over your “living” space.
  • Spend a day recycling. Check your town for guidelines on what you can recycle. Ask about recycling paint and oil cans, computer equipment, cell phones, anything that can’t go in the regular garbage. Load up your car and dedicate a nice, sunny day to getting rid of it all.
  • Don’t keep things you don’t need (or want).
  • Throw away broken and damaged items if you haven’t repaired them in over 6 months. 
  • Have a system for the mail that works for your lifestyle. Promise yourself you will take care of the mail every day.  
  • Give away ugly and/or useless things that annoy you on a daily basis. Someone else may appreciate them.
  • Keep things that are important to you (but not necessarily want displayed) in a keepsake box or vintage suitcase, somewhere safe, dry and together.
  • Get rid of clothes that you no longer wear, or don’t fit. There are so many organizations that will take them, re-use them and sort them for you. At the very least you could put them in bags and drop them in one of those clothing bins.
  • Don’t buy more storage bins to control what you have – it will just grow and evolve into something uncontrollable. Challenge yourself to use what you already have.
  • Consider decoupaging your old newspapers onto the wall.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/  With thanks to Ligne Roset and Pottery Barn for the photographs.

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Where do you put your clothes? When I lived in England, many of us had wardrobes instead of closets. Tall, free-standing, ominous-looking structures, that threatened to fall on us when we were asleep; their height seemed disproportionate to their width, leaning slightly towards the middle of the room. Now that I am older, I love these gigantic pieces of history, their Narnia-like depth filled with old fur coats and boxes of secrets.
Here, where I live now, I have a small closet. A built in cupboard that is tiny; barely two feet wide, it does the job, but in a far less romantic way. I also have a chest of drawers for all things that lay flat. I found it at a flea market years ago, and I like that it is has an old label on the back from a furniture shop decades ago.
If I was in a really large house, I think I would love gigantic closets with lots and lots of shelves. A shoe and boot rack to keep things standing up, and small boxes with fancy labels that told me what was inside. Large, decadent coat hooks for scarves and necklaces and padded, black hangers for fancy dresses. A drawer for jeans, and one for cardigans – lots of each, folded perfectly, (magically) always in the right size………..

I think, that where we store our clothes is a personal thing, but maybe we should talk about it now and again.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/ With thanks to the Sex and the City movie for the closet image.

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I have papers pinned to a corner of my office wall. It started off in an organized way, but has slowly grown into a happy mix of  things that I just like to look at. My first thought was that I wanted a vision board, but that made me feel too controlled by what “should” be there. Then, I thought of a design inspiration board – again, too restricting. So, I started a “possibilities” board.  The word, to me, conjures up ideas of infinite dreams and thoughts. No limitations. 

Everyone should have a space to display wonderful, papery things. Don’t stop to analyze their significance; choose anything that you like and encourage the randomness of it all. Here are a few of the things that I have posted.

– A funny childrens book by John Lithgow called  “I am a Manatee” .

– Old picture, torn from a magazine, of men diving into a swimming pool, the Eiffel Tower casually iconic in the background.

– Email from a dear friend telling me how much I had brightened her day.

– Newspaper article about Roger Ebert; discussing his illness and how he tries to live each day with dignity and as much joy as he can.

– Photograph of the delightfully crooked Serendipity Cottage (the Inn that was featured in Nights in Rodanthe) as it begins to collapse into the sea. Just looking at it’s fragile beauty transports me to a fairytale state of mind.

– A handwritten note from my favorite designer in the entire world,  Alexandra Stoddard.

– A nighttime photograph of an old house in a field. A scene from the movie “Casablanca” is projected onto the side of it (now, that is a date I want to go on).

– A swatch of the most perfect mustard yellow that I have ever seen.


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I am, admittedly, a technological dinosaur. I don’t like    things that beep, flash on and off, have a lot of wires or machines that come with a booklet and an instructional CD. I get by on the bare minimum. I am in the category of people who would rather write long-hand than use a computer. 

Having said that, I have noticed, lately, that most households struggle with the  amount of electronic equipment that they have. Many have multiple computers and televisions; this seems to have just added to the clutter, instead of minimizing it. Mountains of paper sit alongside the computer, and a tangle of wires often creates an ugly image hanging below wall-mounted televisions.

I know these things are here to stay, but maybe we can decrease their impact on our lives? I have never studied Feng Shui but I firmly believe in homes needing positive energy. This is often brought about by  placement, plants, light and striving for a clutter free environment.

Thinking about all of this prompted me to list several quick, easy ideas for controlling technological clutter.

– Organize the wires under your computer or television. Fold them into loops as short as they can go, secure with a twistie tie or rubber band. Maybe they can be taped to the back of your desk or file cabinet?

– Attach wires, neatly, to the wall with telephone cable wire nail-in clips. (These are less than a dollar at the hardware store).

– After they are attached to the wall, either paint them to match the wall color or hide them behind a piece of art.

– Buy black  if possible, it is less obvious than silver or beige.

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