Handbag Heaven

As you know, we barely experience the change of seasons in Charleston. Starting in January, it goes from brisk to pleasant to warm to hot to hotter to insanely hot back to pleasant and then brisk. But some how we … Continue reading

Laundry Overload

Laundry is the one constant (non-living, of course) in my life that , if ignored, will create the greatest ripple effect.  As a result of ignoring the laundry, the kids will not have clean underwear, I won’t have any workout clothes … Continue reading

Confessions of a Binder Hoarder

The other day I started thinking about all of the binders I am hoarding!!!!  I decided that I am a binder hoarder/organizer!  Let me just show you a few pictures from around the house……. As a Professional Organizer, I can … Continue reading

Here come the houseguests!

School ends in less than a month (hold on while I cry and break out into hives at the thought of being henpecked for 83 days by my beautiful, sweet and loving children). So that means families everywhere will be on the move.  For my foursome that usually means an annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and one looong (hives are appearing again) car ride to the Florida Keys to visit family.  And somewhere in between all of that driving (and hives) and beach time we receive a handful of visitors here in our home town of Charleston.  It is the wonderful price you pay to live in this beautiful city.  Family, friends and one-offs alike call you up for a visit during the summer months so they can take advantage of our pristine beaches and award-winning restaurants.  Who can blame them?

Having said that, you had better be ready at the drop of hat for that phone call announcing a visit in, oh, 36 hours!!! I try to keep my house quasi-ready for those impromptu visitors.  If you follow these 10 simple steps it makes their stay at your home much more pleasant and reduces the amount of panic that comes over one who is unprepared!

Houseguests-Blog Post

1) CLEAN SET OF SPARE SHEETS– I always have a set of sheets ready to throw on our guest bed and a set available for a blow up mattress (especially when kiddos are in tow).  Since these sheets can sit stagnant for some time, place a dryer sheet in with them when being put away. Or  have a sachet next to them in the drawer or shelf.

2) EXTRA PILLOWS & BLANKETS-Especially for those cold AC nights in mid-July.  Nothing worse than freezing through the night while grasping at paper thin covers.  I’m cold just thinking about it. And plenty of pillows for propping up to read in bed.

3) FRESH FLOWERS– This does 2 things: 1. Let’s your guests know you went the extra mile and 2. Masks any pet odors that you may be harboring in your home.  You know the ones that you pet owners don’t know exist, but us visitors can smell a mile away? Subtle yet effective.

4) TOILETRY BASKET– We all know what a pain it is to fly with a collection of 4 oz. bottles of shampoo so be kind to your guests and have a mini CVS available in their bathroom.  It is so nice to freshen up upon arrival so please have on hand a selection of toiletry basics. If nothing else, a toothbrush! That is one thing they cannot borrow.

5) HOUSEHOLD CHEAT SHEET– This list contains the wi-fi password, gate codes, do’s and don’ts of the house and other nuances they’ll need to know about. It is additionally nice to put some magazines, maps and a list of a few recommended restaurants on their bedside table.

6) AMBIANCE CHECK– Make sure the lightbulbs in their room are working and that a nightlight for the bathroom is available (unless you want them wandering into your room at night).  And if you live in close quarters it might be good to have a sound machine available for them or else you might find yourself whispering to your spouse for 3 days.

7) EMPTY DRAWER AND CLOSET SPACE– It would be just plain rude if your guests had to work out their suitcase during their visit so please offer at least one drawer and a small amount of closet space including hangers

8) DECORATE SPARINGLY– This provides them comfort without clutter.  That was a nice way of saying that you should clear your crap out of the guest room.

9) MIRROR- A full length mirror and a make-up mirror (illuminated if you are feeling generous) are a very nice courtesy. Your guests will feel so much better if they are fully dressed when leaving their room to go out for dinner. Otherwise, they will be asking to use your bedroom mirror during their 32-outfit change and that is just a little too intimate and embarrassing.  Well, unless your guest is an old sorority sister and then it would be nostalgic.  But only then.

10) STOCK THE FRIDGE– I always try to ask my guests if there are any must haves (or have nots) that would make their stay more comfortable. Do they drink regular or decaf coffee? Do they have any allergies? Are they gluten-free like so many people are these days?

Well, you better get to it because, believe it or not, Memorial Day is in 2 weekends and we all know what that means…the first houseguests of the season!!!

Yard Sales: Tips to a Great Sale

I doubt anyone has noticed that I haven’t written in two weeks.  It has been a busy few weeks…working almost every day of the week, scheduling babysitters, driving kids to different activities, and several soccer games…oh, and we had a yard sale last weekend and I also turned the dreaded 3-5!  Right now I finally have time to write because I told my parents all I wanted for my birthday was two days to myself alone in my house.  Is that terrible?  Man, it is amazing how much you can get done without two little kids running around your house!  Of course, all I do is call my mom every few hours and ask what they have been doing.  So, today I am enjoying some peace and quiet at home getting all of the things done that I said I would do in past posts once the kids started school.  I have been working for about 6 hours today and got all of my cards and letters semi-organized (cards and letters post).  I also scanned in all of our family vital records to my computer and put them on Evernote (see vital records post).  I feel very good about my computer organization right now…I am such a nerd.

So, since we had a yard sale last weekend, I thought I would share a few yard sale organizational tips.

1. ADVERTISE: Luckily I don’t really have to do that since I live in a community where they hold island-wide yard sales twice a year.  I always participate because I am constantly trying to get rid of things that cause clutter in our house.

2.  Start at least a week in advance (I recommend at least 3 weeks preparation).  Go through all of your closets, kid toys, whatever, and start tagging.  If you are like me, I find things throughout the year and put them in a tub in my attic and keep them there until the yard sale rolls around again.  When it is yard sale time, I am usually ready to go with a lot of items.

3.  This is something I just figured out.  I had 3 larger items to sell at this past yard sale…a chest/changing table, a rocker/glider, and our kitchen table and chairs.  About 10:00 a.m. the morning of the yard sale, these items had not sold, and I was dying to get rid of them (plus that was how I was going to make some big money at the yard sale).  So, I quickly ran inside and posted the items to Craig’s List and said to come by TODAY the items were in the front of the house at my yard sale.  People started calling, and I had everything sold by noon.  Grand total for the yard sale…$800….so between my Charleston Repeats sale profits and yard sale profits, friends should see a new look at the Davis household soon 🙂  Redecorating money!

4.  Ask a few friends to sell their stuff at your yard sale as well.  The more “stuff” that is out there, the more that people will stop by.

One other thing….I actually cooked last week and made the best soup ever!  I shredded 2 rotisserie chickens instead of using turkey.  Even my 2 year old was slurping this soup down!

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

What Can A Professional Organizer Do For You?

Some of you may wonder what kind of services a professional organizer can offer.  Well, some organizers may offer specific services such as only organizing in the business setting, or only organizing kitchens.  I just wanted to let you know that I can do anything from helping you out with your move to hosting a yard sale for you!  I have been super busy this past month working with a client on helping her pack up her house for a move, then unpack after the move, as well as organize her entire brand new house!  Now we are back to working at the old house and helping pack up and donate items they no longer want so they can stage the house and put it on the market.    Some things that you may not realize an organizer can help with is stocking/restocking your new home, current home, or even vacation home.  Before these clients moved into their new home, I worked with the designer and client to pick out towels, trash cans and soap holders for all of the restrooms, and almost anything you can think of to start a new home.  I even stocked all 8 bathrooms with soap, shampoo, t.p, deodorant, Advil, toothpaste, and everything you can think of that you may need in a new home.  I even had a list of items that you may need in a new home and purchased all of the items for her….from pots and pans, to bottled water, and of course some good old Tide detergent!  We went through a master list of items that you may need to stock a new home, and we decided what she had and what needed to be purchased.  I purchased everything for them, and organized it all in the house.  Oh, did I mention that this former librarian also got to unpack and organize all of the bookshelves for the LIBRARY!  Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed to be posted, but just imagine some photos similar to these…and I am not kidding!  It has been and still is such a fun job and great clients!!!

Minus the upstairs 🙂

So, if you have a vacation home or know of anyone who needs help stocking and organizing their current home or vacation home, a professional organizer could be the person to call.  🙂

Don’t forget, most professional organizers (including myself), love to work with this kind of stuff too!!!! 🙂

Organizing and Productivity: Books that Help

First of all, Happy belated Mother’s Day to all of my momma friends!  Here is my mom holding my daughter Annie in Hendersonville, NC.  I call my mom at least once a day, and she is truly my best friend!  Love you mom – don’t know what I would do without ya!

One of the books that I am reading right now is called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.  Anyone who is overwhelmed or feels they don’t have enough time to get all of the things done in one day (who doesn’t feel that way) should read this book.  I’m not finished yet, but I am loving this book so far, so I thought I would pass along some quotes from the book that I have really enjoyed.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

“There is no reason ever to have the same thought twice, unless you like having that thought.”

David Allen says: “The big difference between what I do and what others do is that I capture and organize 100 percent of my “stuff” in and with objective tools at hand, not in my mind.  And that applies to everything–little or big, personal or professional, urgent or not.  Everything.”

Another book that I have been enjoying is Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.  I will be sharing some of her tips, but here are a few statistics she provided that I think are pretty crazy!

The Wall Street Journal reported that the average U.S. executive wastes six weeks per year searching for missing information in messy desks and files (that translates to just one hour per day!)

Cleaning professionals say that getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in an average home (National Soap and Detergent Association)

Realtors regard “first impression” improvements such as decluttering closets to be one of the smartest ways to speed the sale of a home and fetch a better price, according to the New York State Association of Realtors.

Tough Times and Fun Times

So, I am usually going to write about organizing on this blog, but sometimes I will put in a few tidbits about my life.  Last week was a very tough week…we had to put our almost 9-year-old golden retriever down 😦  Here is a picture of our sweet golden, Gauge.  He was our baby before the kiddos came along, and still our baby after they came around, but not quite as much 🙂   He was always so so sweet to the kids.  We will miss him tremendously…losing a pet is truly like losing a member of the family.

So, how do I cope with sadness and stress….many ways, but last week I decided to do some retail therapy.  I have had my eye on a new Mac, so I finally made the splurge.  I have always been a PC user, but I finally decided to make THE SWITCH.  I have been so pleased!  I have so much to learn, but I cannot tell you enough great things about Apple (I know…I am the last one to figure this out)!  I bought this one to one plan, where I go in the store and they teach me whatever I want to know about my Mac on a one on one basis.  It is the best thing ever!  I can also sign up for group projects, where I go in and sit for up to two hours and they help me with whatever I want!   So, my new computer has been a much-needed way to keep my mind sidetracked, and it makes me so happy!  If anyone is looking for me in the next few weeks, just walk into the Apple store on King Street!

On a much lighter note, this week (May 4th to be exact) Reid and I celebrate our 10 year anniversary!  Big milestone…can’t believe it has been that long..so long that I don’t even have any digital pictures from our wedding…I had to take a pic of a photo we have with my iPhone!  As my sister says, I was a “child bride” when we got married….I was 24….yes, I was a child!!!!  So, we are headed to Islamorada, FL for a 3 day getaway.  Then, somehow my husband gets to stay for another full on week to go fishing with his buddies…now, how does that happen?  Happy anniversary Reid!

Ducks in a Row Organizing: First Blog Post

Well, I am finally getting my own “ducks in a row,” and I am going to attempt to start blogging about organizing and maybe include a few tidbits on family.  I have had a busy few months since I started up … Continue reading