Tuesday 23 March 2010

Decisions, Decisions... & Re-Organising

Before I launch into my 'Situation aaahhhhh', I wanna show you these lovely pics of perfect display-all with telephones. I 'borrowed' a vintage marble one from the mother-in-law and I need a perfect home for it. I pulled these images ages ago and have not labelled them properly (slap on the wrist) so not sure who to credit... oops

Spring has sprung and having recently immersed myself in a whole new load of inspirational sources, I can't help but feel like my home isn't quite what it should be. It's so important to live somewhere for a while before going on a mad spending spree on finishing touches for your home or even major statement pieces, I say this purely because i'm lacking in some key pieces of furniture and also because i've changed my mind about how one room should look like about a billion times!

Also a big thing that stumped the interior styling is how we're not supposed to put wall paper up or paint the walls or anything for a matter of fact, to top it off it's been written into our contract when we moved in. So we've got a really ugly looking fireplace and different coloured wooden panelling in the open plan living, different wood for the kitchen units & different coloured wooden front door. It's a freaking nightmare that all these 3 are essentially in one space. At least the wood panelling around the edge of the doors match the fireplace - just wish i could paint the yucky coloured bricks.

The state of my home is currently far from being a stylish abode, but having moved from one continent to another with no key pieces of furniture I got to start with a fresh palette and make the most with what we've got. Lucky me!

Admittedly it was difficult to source things in the style of what I was looking for, Greece has like two styles, really flash and super traditional, (and Chintz in Kolonaki is pricey) crikey! Plus you would have seen some of the previous posts on Beds, Sofas etc...so you know what I mean. I'm still looking for some unique pieces to add a personal touch and also I would love to be able to afford some classic design pieces of furniture too (s
ay a few Platner Armchairs). Have you seen what Kelly Wearstler did with The Avalon Hotel? Yummy, High octane Hollywood glamour.

The Lobby Avalon Hotel, US

Back to reality: Thanks to Ikea, most of the basic pieces are well and truly sorted. I know everyone has blogged about the LACK bookcase/bookshelf - I've got the EXPEDIT one, but not the full size one. It's cheap and looks good!

via Ikea

So anyhow, I'm in full on organising mode now, this obsession started after reading up on what Tiffany & Carlee had to say on the fabulous '
Deliciously Organized' blog. Amongst other blogs who actually have a D.I.Y to-do list & follow through include the lovely couple over at Young House Love and super organised, project supergirl, Brooklyn Limestone. Thanks to them I feel like I need to get the house ship shape before Easter.

Why am I in such a state of organising? This latest rant is because we simply don't have enough room to hang stuff - mainly clothes, almost all my lovely jewellery is hidden in a drawer somewhere, we have lots of shoes, my stationary plus personal filing is in serious disarray, I even forget what I own half the time and some fab stuff that just never gets to see daylight. Ugh!

To get things kickin' off i've started making a to do list for each room, but for now ill leave you with a brilliant article from Oprah by Andrew Mellen on getting organised! I'm officially guilty of a lot of things written here.

The Ground Rules
1. Everything you own should have value, either because it's functional or beautiful or you just love it.
Remember the question of what you'd grab if your house were on fire; that's your baseline for determining an object's worth.

2. Every item needs a place where it "lives." Setting things down on the coffee table or kitchen counter creates piles and confusion. My clients mock me when I say, "Where do your keys live? They live in a bowl or on a hook by the front door"—but you never lose anything when you put it where it lives.

3. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is supposed to help you get more things done quickly, but when you try to do 19 things at once, everything ends up incomplete. You're trying to simplify your life, so simplify your approach to getting organized. Now let's get started.

The Crammed Kitchen Your kitchen is a food preparation area, not a storage space. The idea here is to weed out what you're not using, then put similar items together and in the best places.
Appliances: Machines that are broken or aren't used are just taking up space. If your Crock-Pot has a missing lid that you say you're going to replace someday, or you're keeping the bread maker just because it was a gift, get rid of it.
Food containers:
All your plastic storage items should have corresponding lids. If you don't have one or the other, it's a recycling item.
Pots and pans:
If there isn't a lot of space in your kitchen, use a pot rack. If you have the space, hang them along the wall for fast access.
If you're short on counter space, consider the type of knife block that fits in a drawer.
Plastic bags: Everybody has a plastic bag full of other plastic bags. Use the ones you have for trash can liners, or take them back to the supermarket for recycling. Keep canvas shopping totes in the car so you don't accumulate more plastic bags. Mesh shopping bags roll up small enough to be kept in your handbag for unexpected trips to the market.
Unless you're a collector or you have a lot of room, edit them. How often do you use the cookbook? If you've had it for years but it's never gotten a single stain or burn from use, donate it.

The Pile of Mail

If you can't finish the mail, don't start the mail.
You can't slice chicken for dinner and sort your bills at the same time, so when you come in the front door with a stack of mail, put it in the basket, box, or whatever container you have handy for this purpose. You don't have such a container? No wonder there are so many piles of mail around your house. When you're ready, take your mail basket to wherever you deal with paperwork. First, pull out the circulars and flyers and set them aside; you'll either clip the coupons or put them in the recycling bin—later. Also set aside the catalogs. If you're shopping for something specific, save them. (Caveat: no multiples. The new catalog replaces the old one, which gets recycled.) If you're getting catalogs you never wanted in the first place, pull off the pages with the mailing label and put them aside; that's an action item for later. Then separate the rest: bills, personal correspondence, time-sensitive invitations, requests for charitable donations, membership renewals, new credit card offers, and so forth. Open the bills first because they represent a relationship that must be honored; if you want the services, you have to pay. All the stuffing that says "You've been selected to receive these free gifts" goes into the recycling bin. All you want is the bill and the return envelope. Put any invitations aside; later on, you'll transfer those into your calendar and send your response. If there's room in your home office, have small bins in which to stack bills, invitations, and the correspondence you're keeping. When you're done sorting, then you can read your magazines. Or get those back pages you ripped out, call the companies that sent them, and tell them what you don't want—their catalogs.

The Overstuffed Closet
My clients have a lot of "someday" best.
Someday I'm going to fit into these again. Someday this trend might return. Someday I'm going to wear this. The problem is, "someday" doesn't exist; there's only today. Here's what to do with what's being worn only by your hangers.
Clothes that don't fit:
If you've gained weight, keep the smaller-sized clothes that you'll get the most use from and work on fitting into them again. If you've already lost weight, don't keep a whole closetful of big clothes as though one day you're going to suddenly be struck fat; donate them.
Trend items:
If you're waiting for something to come back in style, don't. Even if it does return, it will look dated—and so will you.
Special occasion outfits:
The rule that says "If you haven't worn it in a year, donate it" is a fine guide for when to say goodbye.
Sentimental pieces: You say, "I really loved this jacket." I know you did. But if you haven't worn it in ages and it doesn't work with your other clothes, it's time for it to go away. If you're saving your wedding dress, be honest—do you have the space to store it? Do you have a daughter you're saving it for, and is it a timeless classic she won't roll her eyes at? If the answers are yes, keep it. If you're short on storage space, you have only sons, or your dress has puffy sleeves, lace, and buttons up the arms because you did a kind of Linda Ronstadt circa 1974 thing, give it to a thrift store. Now that you have a closetful of clothes that you actually wear, organize them—all the short-sleeved shirts together, all the jeans together, etc. Do the same with your shoes. If you have the space, they can be kept on shelves so you can see them immediately. If not, try stacking shelves or hanging shoe racks.

The Drawer Full of Photos

If you don't have time to put your photos in an album or scrapbook, it's okay to stop pretending you're going to do it.
Get clear shoe boxes to store them in instead. Then get a kitchen timer. Why? Because sorting through photos leads to reminiscing, and suddenly it's three hours later. But you're not looking at photos now—you're organizing them so that looking at them later will be more fun. Decide how long you have and set the timer. Group the photos by subject—the family reunion, your trip to Istanbul. While you're grouping, you're also sorting: Is it a clear picture? Do you even know who those people are? Throw away any that don't measure up, and any in which you can't stand the sight of yourself. When you're done, label the boxes accordingly: "Family Reunion, February 2008."

The New Things That Haven't Been Used

Do you buy things because they're on sale? If you didn't need them, they weren't a bargain.
Here are the three questions to ask before you buy anything:
1. Where would this live?
A very practical consideration, especially if you're trying to declutter.
2. What am I going to do with it?
If it has a purpose or fills a need, fine. If you already have four of them, not fine.
3. What is it replacing?
When something is broken or you don't like the old version as much as the new one, then by all means, charge away. But be prepared to get rid of the old item when you get home.

The Inherited Items and Mementos
Your home is not a museum.
Many people subscribe to the unwritten rule that you're obligated to keep your great-aunt's dishes, even if you don't like them, just because she used them. But maybe your great-aunt never liked them either and also felt too guilty to let them go. Things don't have to become yours simply because they belonged to a relative. You're not living her life, and you're not a bad person for giving inherited items away. If the acquired stuff is worth money, you may feel bound to it financially: "It's real silver—I can't give it away." Yes, you can. Donate it, document what it's worth, and take it off your taxes. Or give it to another family member who would really like it. Or sell it on eBay. And if you like something enough to keep it, consider it a replacement, not an addition—keep Grandma's reading lamp, but donate the one you already have. Mementos from your own life are harder to part with because when you see them, you relive the story: To you, it's the cashmere V-neck you wore on your first date with the man who would become your husband; to anyone else, it's just an old sweater full of holes. The key to parting with items suspended in time is not to replay that story. Leave the room, come back in, and see what you're really holding on to—a sweater that's seen better days. Rule of thumb: If it serves no purpose, let it go.

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