Elegant Home Staging on a Budget


To pursue a fusion of home design and organization consultation is a big dream of mine. Recently I was asked to come in and consult on a home stage for Yen Design Inc. They recently remodeled a home belonging to one of the owners and were preparing to sell. They let me know their hopes and limitations – simplified below.


1- Not to spend money on renting. Renting can be expensive and there is no gain after the month term – just loss of cash.

2 – To be able to use any new furniture in their company store front – they wanted some modern, simple furniture that represented the architectural side of their business.

3 – Spend as little as possible to attract and appeal to a wide range of buyers – the special target however were families, either first time home buyers or new families.


I created a plan, we adjusted and they designed some custom furniture to fit the space and we were set. 2 weeks later we were setting up the house and putting in final touches.


Here are some tips I use when designing a home / staging.




Have at least 2 feet walking space around the furniture, like coffee tables, for ease of travel. It also gives the impression that the room was large enough to fit walking area comfortably.


Try to leave room behind and around furniture, like space behind a couch. Putting furniture on the walls can make a room seem smaller and cramped. There are exceptions to every rule, but leaving a perimeter open for people to walk makes the space feels larger.


Add pillows to the furniture and throw blankets to jazz it up. Keep patterns to a minimum and add pops of color with an accent pillow or two like a floral for spring or a pillow with wording.


Use an area rug. I cannot begin to express how big of an impact an area rug has on a space. It anchors furniture, adds color, adds a sense of completion, elevates the sophistication of a room and gathers people to the comfort of inclusiveness it provides.



An empty table is just begging to be loved. Don’t over crowd with a ton of items. I say a family of 5. A tray, a tall vase and a short object (vase or candle). A couple books, a small plant or an eye-catcher piece like this carved elephant from Cost Plus. Keep it light, not too many colors and it really takes the look to the next level.


Go shopping in your home, Ikea and Home Goods always have great finds too!




If it is too big, don’t use it. Leave it empty because a big table is too choking in a space and can really turn a buyer off. It says there is barely enough room instead of conceivably more. If your room COMFORTABLY sits 8-10 people, seat 6 tops. Leave ample room around the table.


In this situation we could have done a 6 seating table but it would have cluttered the view through the living room to the kitchen. So I placed the extra chairs on a lonely wall to leave inspiration for larger gatherings but to give lots of visual space under and around the dining area to the kitchen.



An empty dining table may be common in an everyday home but in a staged home you are inviting people over, they are guests and that table represents holidays or family gatherings. Set the table so they can feel welcome and excited about bringing other people over.


Dishes can be bought pretty much anywhere for a great price. Go with simple modern and clean lines and you will always elevate the space.


A centerpiece is a great anchor and always a must. Usually I would go tall on a centerpiece to add height to the space but since there was a chandelier hovering above, this vase with simple hydrangeas was magic.




Counter clutter is a BIG NO. So many people try to leave their appliances out and this is a mistake. It takes away visual counter space, it looks dirty (even if you scrub there is something in the way of seeing a streamlined surface). Having other things on the counters like spice racks, jars of flour and sugar, etc. Those things say, ” I don’t have cupboard room for these things so they have to sit out.”


RULE OF THUMB. One appliance max – make it a coffee maker or a blender. People want to imagine their everyday joy like fresh brewed coffee or using a luxurious mixer to bake for guests. No one wants crumbs and burnt toasters.


Or be creative and leave wine glasses and a bottle. Maybe a cheese cutting set and marble top. A bowl of lemons is SO impressive when placed correctly.




These are always over looked but still hold power with people. Home buyers want to know if the house comes with a washer and dryer and they want to see them!


Usually these puppies are tucked away but I still say, place a couple of hand towels and a candle or bar of soap or something visually interesting like this plant on top. It draws the eye and says this is simple, clean and the kind of space you want to wash your clothes in.


Linen Closets are also frequently missed. A couple of towels, fluffed, neatly folded, tied with a ribbon and a bar of soap on top make the closet look and smell fresh. Do it!




Bathrooms are meant to be clean. So I love using fresh whites. White always says clean and crisp and it is always classy. I also like a fresh white shower curtain in any bathroom. It also helps to brighten up the space by bouncing light around the room.


Clean rolled hand towels by the sink and a soap dispenser add some interest but keep it simple.


I love plants, can you tell. It is so important to add plants in any space you are selling. Plants mean life, green is fresh, natural, and invokes happiness and a general sense of well being. When entering your home, you want people to feel like this is a healthy environment. Plants do that.


I used plastic plants because they look just real enough but never die. If there is anything worse than not having any green it is having dead plants.


NOTE : Dead plants are a HUGE turnoff and invoke a lot of negative feelings consciously and subconsciously. Most importantly people can read dead plants as – if you don’t take care of plants for a short time in the most important time of home ownership (the selling), what else did you not take care of??





I love a comfy and inviting bed. Make it fluffy, soft and textured. White is always a safe bet. It screams hotel and elegance. Lots of pillows, especially if you are missing a headboard, adding luxury to a space. Keep the patterns to a minimum. Usually I advise 4 rows. Euro pillows (2 for queen and 3 for king), 2 standard, 2 standard and throw pillows. Add a little edge to the throw pillows like beading or stitch work.

Throw blankets. Textures and layers can crowd a bed so keep it to one, and don’t add another pattern if there is already one present. Keep it solid and fluffy.


End tables anchor the bed and add interest. They also say you have enough room.



I also added a bench because the room was deep enough and it is always nice to have a chic item that adds another welcoming factor. Dress them up with accessories and done!





That’s pretty much it. I say less is more, if you aren’t confident in the pieces you are bringing in, don’t bring them. Buyers are entering a home prepared to imagine themselves living in it. The furniture and accessories you bring in are meant to assist and elevate their expectations but if you don’t have the right pieces it can hurt the buyer’s impression.


Keep it bright, light, simple and elegant.











Organized Baby Closet



If you are like me then you had a BIG baby shower with lots of generous ladies. Now you have a ton of baby clothes waiting to find a home. Time to make that happen.


Overall I love this baby closet. There were no studs in the wall so we essentially built a ladder system on either side and have shelves on the steps in between. This is great because as he grows we can take of the shelf in the middle for more hanging space for clothes. I don’t have a dresser for him yet, we do plan on investing in one after he is too big for his changing table. I would really suggest skipping the changing table and going for a dresser with a pad on top and build supports around the pad that you can remove over time.




We use the top of the closet for storage, all of his newborn clothes were placed up there and when we box up enough clothes we will put them into storage for the next baby, only keeping the items that still look great or are gender neutral.

I also kept diapers from the baby shower on the top shelf when it wasn’t being used for this purpose now so I have an extra box up there for my friends who are pregnant (I will give it as a gift too).



The next shelf is my favorite, we purchased baby hangers from amazon. Forewarning here – the loops on the hangers are actually smaller than the adult standard so I cut down a thick dowel I had next to my saw and we will use it till he gets big boy hangers.



I custom sized the shelves for the bins I already had in another part of the house that weren’t being utilized to the best of their function. They are all from target and made of the same material. The shorter bins have 4 square separators which is great for tiny baby clothes. These make folding and stacking much simpler. The larger bins are great for things like blankets and towels.


I also purchased some Martha Stewart Metal Bookplate labels from Staples. THESE ARE THE BEST LABELS. They have adhesive backs and look sexy on just about any storage bin. Yes. Sexy – because I find organizing supplies attractive. These labels were discontinued and I teared up, but as I surfed a blog months later someone mentioned they were back (clearly a BIG deal) and I booked it to staples to snatch up 3 packages. I check frequently for more at various staples but they are usually sold out all the time. But don’t buy them anywhere else unless they are priced at 3 qty for 3.99. People resale them for crazy prices.

web-designTo design the labels I measured the stock paper that come with the plates and created a square the same size in my design program. I then downloaded a favorite font from Dafont.com called Tall & Slim Font.



This bin is used for socks (folded in half or in thirds and vertically stacked), bibs (folded down to squares then in half), and hats/caps. We used mittens for a time but they’re pretty much a waste because babies are IN LOVE with their hands and they fall off. I HIGHLY recommend skipping mittens and going straight for onesies with mittens. They’re long sleeve but are so fantastic.


I love bandana bibs.




These are onesies mostly but can also include the random t-shirt or tank top.
I love being able to easily find the outfit of the day and grab it without having to dig around and mess with all the other folded items. They stand on their own easily and make it a simple process when putting away more onesies.


Pants on the left, shorts on the right. I love the shorts 🙂 the are still practically as long as pants hehe.



He doesn’t have too many coats, so we put those in with his sleepers. The long johns with feet are SO CUTE and please to save your sanity try to get as few with buttons and as many with zippers as possible. I cannot tell you how much of a pain it is to button up a squirmy hungry baby. It’s like trying to pin down an angry rabbit.


Blankets and swaddles

Bath Towels, Wraps and hand towels.


On the bottom (floor) I keep boxes of diapers (clearly need to order one but we are transitioning to a level up soon). I also have a big bin with his unused hangers. I bought the bin for baby pictures and missed the holiday so now I can’t part with it and found a fun use.



These four – square shelves from IKEA are phenomenal. I mean they’re not the pretties but the function is great and you don’t have to get the bins only from them. Just so long as you find 13×13 bins or boxes you are great. (TARGET)

I have the clothes he has outgrown (labeled : TOO LITTLE) or is waiting to use (labeled : TOO BIG). Below that I have extra things for baby I have yet to use, like the angel pad for his crib (he sleeps in a pack-n-play next to us for now), a car organizer (I use his baby bag but when he is 2 or 3 I will put a book, toys and snacks if need be for trips) and some other random loose ends. Beside that is the bedding.



Lastly – the wall next to the closet is completely blank and it’s been driving me mad so I decided to hang my favorite shirts for him up there. Just as temporary decoration until I rearrange and install some photo ledges for kids books.


That’s it for now, I would love to hear what you have done in your baby room! Comment and let me know or include a link!


Enjoy 🙂





Diaper Caddy Essentials!


I am a big advocate of keeping like items in the same space and having only one space designated for those items. I don’t like having my cleaning supplies all over – pens and scissors in different rooms (i.e. junk drawer dwellers). I love having items in one place so I always know where to go (this is a big deal for staying organized – the less locations you have for one item the more likely it will always find it’s proper home) HOWEVER constantly going back and forth up and down the stairs with a baby all day just to change him is crazy pants. So an all time mommy favorite was called upon.

The Diaper Caddy.


For all you new mom’s here is a breakdown of the necessities that go in my diaper caddy. What’s great about this is you can take it with you down stairs (or up, your preference 😉 ), the car, the boat (if you have a boat we need to be friends), the baby closet, even your changing dresser if you need something to hoard your items into one spot for easy access.



A Carrier

I admit it, I’m shallow, I didn’t want a plastic bin for cleaning supplies I want cute. This can be a basket, a    bin, a bag, a box you name it – whatever suits your stylish mommy needs,

Check out these awesome finds at world market). Wire Galvanized Gift Basket, Storage Bin or this Clear Caddy from Amazon!


Diaper Essentials

Shocking! But seriously – there are so many different opinions and preferences on these guys. I use Pampers Swaddlers.

Diaper Wipes
THIS IS A THING. You say you won’t be picky and then you take a whiff of your baby butt and it smells like bizarre chemically treated poop. Then you realize your wipes stink, literally. I like Pampers wipes – the other ones just rub wipe me the wrong way. (I’m alone with a baby A LOT – excuse my terrible jokes. There is no cure)

I am not a terrible mom but I am a new one. Don’t feel bad if sometimes you don’t notice when you put your baby down for a nap and s/he poops as you take a nap. You come back and Hello Diaper rash. Desitin isn’t really a necessity but it’s nice in case of emergency.

Changing Pad Liners
I’m lazy. I don’t wanna wash covers all the time so I line them with things that I can swap out easily. There are SO many items you can use – disposable diapers, receiving blankets/swaddles, paper towels, kitchen towels (just remember which ones are for the kitchen) or changing pad liners. My favorite choices are linked in the item names.

Diaper Trash Bags
I use dog poop bags for these. They’re cheaper than the diaper bags they sell on-line for the same purpose just trying to reel in the new moms who don’t know how cheap they can get where to save money…YET!


Hand Sanitizer
If I need to explain this you have not been pee’d / pooped on enough. YOUR TIME WILL COME!



Blankets and Burp Cloths
I use disposable diapers for different purposes. For instance, burping. They are super absorbent and easy to bleach if it comes to that (It does). I also use them for under the tush when changing in strange places. Swaddles serve the same purpose or if he needs an extra blanket in the car seat, or a cover.

Change of Baby Clothes
Since the weather is heating up, this consists of a onesie and a baby bib. In the winter I will throw in socks and pants.

Please skip this section if you are a magical mom with super powers who just looks at their baby and the baby falls asleep. For the rest of us – I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Brown’s pacifiers. The nipples on the binkies are like the nipples on their bottles so it is a great transition when you are bottle feeding and use pacifiers.

Don’t ask me how to ween them off of pacifiers – we haven’t gotten to that stage yet 😉

Now obviously this is mostly just a day to day – sometimes I slip in the snot sucker  (THANK GOD FOR THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THESE) or some powder but those things can easily be taken out, added or I can just run upstairs if need be 😉

That’s the gist of it! Leave me a comment and let me know what you have in your diaper caddy!



Small Bathroom Storage – Under the Sink

I haven’t posted in a while because I have been working with a lot of new clients on getting their spaces together! It has been fun but also takes a lot of time! I love it 🙂 Here is a short fun blog post about getting those small under sink storage areas in order – this is great for apartment living and small bathrooms, especially if you share a space with someone else!




A friend recently asked about storage solutions under the sink, and let me tell you it’s never easy. You can see how successful my first attempt was.




Man, well that is embarrassing! Essentially everything had it’s own bin and I didn’t have a lot to declutter but I hated the roll out rack that I had and the baskets but didn’t feel like purchasing new ones until I had an idea that worked for the space. You can tell by how things are splayed out that I really didn’t like the space. When you have a storage solution you like and love all the items you own you take better care of them and have them put back into the same place every time. So let’s get to the juicy stuff.


First I took my before photo – motivation to never have that again!!


So when I started this process I went through everything I had, I must have had 5 times this much bathroom stuff and it was a whole bunch of soaps, lotions, relaxation goods, shampoos, body washes, etc. NONE of which I used or was immediately inclined to using. Sure I used some of it a couple of times or had moved on to another product after only using half a bottle but I figured they still had some uses in them. A lot of people think like this, “I use it sometimes.” or “I spent a lot of money on this but I never use it.” or “I am going to start using this.” By the end of it you have a 10 product morning and night routine and tons of shower products, leftover and half used makeup with random hair supplies that you barely see.



“I use it sometimes” there is a reason why it is not apart of your everyday routine. Whether it be your ritual already has too many steps, or you have something that serves a similar purpose, or you only use it on special occasions. The ugly truth is, you would use it everyday if you loved it and needed it. REALLY start using it everyday or say goodbye because it is not important enough to you if you don’t use it everyday. Don’t keep clutter you might use.

“I spent a lot of money on this.” Everything in your home is yours. That money is gone. And when you start this process towards the kind of lifestyle you had you have to let go of the monetary value and think of the PERSONAL VALUE.

“I am going to start using this.” Then use it. I say if you can’t use it for 21 days in a row, consistently and without annoyance at the extra time, get rid of it. A beauty routine should be simple and easy. Not everyone can spend hours getting ready, most of my clients need something simple and efficient even though they have a ton of products. The marketing world wants you to think you NEED all of their products. But you don’t! A simple routine can be a great energizer for your day.

“I will use this when this item runs out.” I get it, toothpaste, that’s make sense. But body lotion, body wash, shampoos, luxury items etc. All of those things people hoard like mad. It’s one of the most common clutter habits I run into and almost EVERYONE does it. You bought the item, and then after a while saw another type that you were excited to use. The old one is put away in the cabinet, half used, probably even has some tacky drips coming off the cap. *shivers*. The love you had for that item is gone, I know it seems wasteful but consider this a one time thing that you are doing and it won’t happen again. Get rid of the items you have hidden away for “maybe someday” because chances are when you are done with the one in the shower, you will get another one of that item or you will want something new and fresh for the season. I encourage getting rid of half used items that are waiting to be used later because the excitement you had for that item has faded and it is CURRENTLY not serving a purpose and just taking up space. To truly declutter and not return to clutter again, you need to get rid of the items you are not using or have no current taste for so that you can have an everyday focus only on items you have now that serve a purpose for you now.


A lot of times people will have old lotions or shampoos, body wash etc. Just toss it, do you really want to put yellowed lotion on your skin <insert Red Dragon joke> nope.


One word. BACTERIA. *heebie jeebies*

While you have been using that brand new voluminous mascara there is an old friend hanging out in the makeup bin waiting for that emergency day you may need it just waiting to touch those luscious lashes again. Sure it’s been six months but you might need it just in case. Do you lend mascara to friends? No, why? Because you don’t want to spread whatever creepy microscopic wigglies are floating around in their eyeballs on to yours and possibly get infected.

So while you have not been using your old mascara, the same thing is happening in that tiny tube. Germs farm. I do not have mysophobia I just don’t like eye infections. Same thing with other makeup. It has old bacteria, germs and skin cells in it. Makeup has an unspoken shelf life. Check out some tips here.



For some unknown reason – possibly me being lazy my husband never putting them away, I always lose my nail clippers and therefore bought them frequently. Here is what I was looking at for my nail items.


FIVE NAIL CLIPPERS. Who the heck needs 5 nail clippers? I ONLY HAVE TWO HANDS. And one is busy clipping the other. There is NO reason. So I kept one pair of nail clippers and one of the Toe clippers, because my toe nails have a whole routine just for those indestructible nails. Donated the rest.

I also needed to go through my nail polish again, I kept some colors I liked even though they are not very opaque so I have to paint A LOT of layers when I use them. The drying time drives me crazy and as I decluttered these puppies I thought, “Enough is enough. If they don’t make me happy I will avoid using them or buy something else so I might as well say goodbye.”



Much Better.


I also bought three of these stackable containers for my wedges and my cotton balls.
They are behind the nail box in the cupboard.


It is also really important to keep your products organized in their containers, small containers can help!
For instance, I found this lipstick organizer at DAISO and it houses all of my nail colors and accessories beautiful
with room to spare lining the container.


I said goodbye to the beauty routines I never use, like the extra deep cleaning products.
I love the acne soap I use it does wonders with the scrub brush and let’s be honest here, beauty products aren’t regulated.
Seriously, they don’t have to tell you what is in the product nor be honest about it, I don’t like that. I am satisfied with one thing that works.


The rest of the items were pretty big but I still wanted to contain my extra glass cleaner…napkin so it didn’t unravel in the bin.


THANK YOU STAPLES. This business card holder is perfect and now I have one in my purse too. Love it.


It doesn’t take much to keep these items in order, the glasses and contacts have their own bin and the rest of
my skin products are neatly tucked away.


Hair Products are a real struggle for people, they love their many sprays, waxes, foamies and smoothers…. I’m not one to talk when I say that most products have crazy bad things in them and for me the less I put in my hair the healthier it will be. Usually my day is just a dab of heat protectant for blow drying and a spritz of spray or I let it dry naturally. Once every two weeks I strip my hair of the chemicals in the shower and shampoo twice a week. I’m one of those rare people that listens to their hairstylists when they say don’t use shampoo in your hair EVERYDAY. Try every 3, your hair will love you for it.


hair containers-1

Clips and things can be stored in baggies for easy grabbing and they don’t go all over the bin. Like the dreaded bobbie pins! Ladies, you know what I’m talking about here.


I was trying to come up with a solution for my hair dryer, straightener and curler. I don’t like them laid down or randomly placed, hanging on the door with those wire things didn’t work. I was at a loss, I needed something tall enough to hold it’s own against my hefty hair dryer and deep enough to carry all 3. And then it hit me, a magazine box. No, really I mean it hit me. As I filled my cart with the other bins this box ACTUALLY fell on me attached to what I was pulling off the shelf. It hit me and it came home with me.


For those who wonder why I don’t store toilet paper in a wire or plastic etc, toilet paper holder to save room under the cabinet: I used to. I did and all I could think about when I saw it sitting out was dust and skin collector. No mas! Under the sink it went out of sight from visitors and most importantly nice and clean for use.

Well, that’s all she wrote folks. A couple essential under cabinet items, like ladies products and toilet paper and we were solid.

Until next time, enjoy your clean ;).






Decluttered & Tidy Pantry


You know it, I know it, the pantry is not on the top priority list. But it should be! We use this area almost, if not every, day and it houses one of the three essential human needs (shelter, water and ) FOOD! The home for our food should be shown a lot of respect and care. When we keep it tidy items are easier to find, grab and run back to the pan with. Our kids (husbands) can find their Fruit by the Foot snacks faster and we are not over stocking items we already have.


Here are some quick and easy tips for getting the pantry back into shape.




ALL OF IT. It’s a serious shocker when you see all those cans and boxes spread out in your kitchen. You will find things you never knew you had, wonder how the toys ended up in there, find empty boxes, the works. It’s OK it happens to all of us, it’s called life.




I am a supporter of saving boxes but most of these will be squished, ripped, dented or stinky. Toss it. Invest in bins that you can wash. I bought the plastic bins at DAISO and used some Dollar store plastic bins as well. It doesn’t take much more than 15.00 to make a pantry functional. Invest in nicer materials later (or now if you have the cash!!)



There is no excuse. I know some people say that they write expiration dates far before items ACTUALLY expire…but no dollar amount is worth the risk of your health. Dump it and spend a couple bucks on a new can of soup or box of macaroni.




Boxes take up a ton of room especially when they are half empty. You will have a new way to store them that is functional and will allow for other items to cozy in and take up valuable pantry real estate. Short of ziploc bags or napkins they really don’t need packaging and can look pretty in a jar or can be cleverly hidden in a bin organized with like items.



And I mean like items of purpose, not of material. If you put all of your cans together you could be putting your fruit with soup instead of with baking and when you grab the materials to make a pineapple upside down cake you don’t realize that you had a can of pineapple already! A lot of items we buy we purchase with intention. For dinner, lunch or dessert. Put those items together.




I cannot stress enough how important it is not to stack items on top of each other. Humans are simple, we like things to be easily accessible and uncomplicated. Our brains are wired to find the easiest and most efficient route, so when you stack boxes you are less likely to open, pull out or put back the bottom box. Have everything at one level and add a wire rack if you need to use more vertical space. When placing items into bins, stack them vertically and do not pile them on top of each other because I promise 9 out of 10 times you will not dig in to see what is under there.

If you like storing cans outside of bins get a can shelf that has steps so you can see the cans in the back and easily grab them. When all the cans are one behind the other on the same level you will be less likely to see the items in the back at a glance when putting your shopping list together.


I like to make it fun like put “lunches” or “dinners” and “snacks” so that when someone looks in for ideas they can browse the box, and I will know when I am cooking and need a rice-a-roni box. I also have labels for “baking” (cake goods and cup cakes, pumpkin pies, etc.), “cooking” (cans for meals and Peruvian dishes I love, bouillon cubes, etc.) “aprons”, “food storage” (all the extra ziplocs and plastic wrap etc. I only have ONE of each extra and they are stacked vertically to take less space in a bin)



That’s all she wrote folks. You can be super creative and find what works for you, modify it to fit your pantry
but this is really a great solution for getting things in order quickly and having a functional finish ;).





Packing a Diaper Bag

Diaper bags. For some reason this was so intimidating for me coming in as a new mom. The fact that I needed to make a bag for just in case scenarios…when I had no idea what those scenarios could be freaked me out. I thought …diapers. wipes..blankets and bottles right?

Nope. Maybe for miracle babies but let’s be honest poop happens and we need to be prepared when the shit hits the fan(excuse my french I needed the pun). You know what I mean if you’ve seen an overfed baby come home after an hour and give you THAT smile.

Anyway, here’s the rundown.


All of these items can be purchased on Amazon.com. This is my go to and if you sign up for Prime, shipping is free for two day and you can get great deals if you sign up for their baby registry and subscriptions. I love Amazon and they don’t pay me to brag!

You can always throw extra things in there, I like to take formula for longer trips. Bottles, etc. Also, diaper bags usually come with a changing pad, so I bring that with it constantly. Extra things you may want? Nail clippers, band aids, a pacifier holder, a pacifier clip …aspirin. Hehe.

Let me know what you carry in your diaper bag! Do you have a favorite brand?



Weekend Room Declutter Part 2 – A Tidy Space



Ms. B was left in a state of limbo after last weekend’s declutter session. Normally when I work through a space and tidy after I do not like to purchase organizing supplies, a lot of the time people have what they need to organize their space. However, in Ms. B’s case she wanted a new dresser and shoe cabinet for her closet. She needed to freshen the space and get rid of the two smaller organizational pieces in her room that were old and not serving the purpose for which they were intended.

First, we started with finalizing the closet. We built these drawers from Ikea, I believe they are meant for office spaces but I wanted to use them for her shoes less worn and they are great for different shoe sizes (sandals are quite a bit thinner than heels).


comparrisonIn typical Ikea Fashion: building these takes two people with coffee or one person with a long movie and wine… leave the bottle.

If you haven’t experienced Ikea furniture drama watch this video: youtube Ryan Reynolds building a crib. Enough said ;).

Here are the drawers in the closet and how we used them.

craft-binThe left drawers are for art supplies, notebooks and paper for printing on the bottom.

shoe-closetThe shoes finally have a respectable home where they don’t clutter the closet visually,
but are easily accessed and off the floor.



Her extra purses are on the right in a basket, folded into neat squares for the fabric bags and kept straight for the harder nicer pieces.

Even though the cabinets go past the opening of the door the space is still accessible and the drawers open all the way so Ms. B will be able to get to their contents. on top are boots and taller shoes, one’s that she especially loves to see and wear. While the shelf under her favorite hanging items has her record player and keepsake box.


We hung a hamper on the door so that she can keep clothes off the floor and the door still closes nicely into the closet. She can easily grab the hamper off the hook and throw it into the laundry. Love it. Her purse sits on a beautiful owl hook by the closet and everyday when she enters her room she can hang it up instead of tossing it wherever it lands and searching for it later. The purse has an official home!


Ms. B loves her records collection and needed a special place not hidden for them. I suggested using a picture ledge to fan out and display her favorite records that were visually appealing and the favorites she chose to keep but were less than artistic were still on the ledge behind the rest. Here is what we ended up with!

Hello, Adele. Hello.

Fanning out the lovelies.


I have an obsession with this floating leafy…diamond, geometric…gold thing.
I want need it. At least two. In EVERY room.


Next we needed a place for her jewelry. She had an old jewelry organizer/frame she was OK with but didn’t love and all the necklaces were too many for the 5 or 6 hooks it had. You had to grab a hand full of necklaces just to find one!

I noticed she had some Ikea towel rods lying around and always fancied the idea of hanging necklaces and things on them. I had seen it a while ago and thought this was the perfect opportunity. The rods add class but keep her hipster style with her lovely necklaces and headbands as art on the wall.


Of course I made her do the dirty work after I leveled them out.

I mean look at that precision!

We hung the jewelry and a new painting on the wall. And Voila! Beautiful.

The last of her jewelry needed a home, basically the earrings, studs and a watch that didn’t quite fit on the bar visually.

Enter Nikki shopping mode. I LOVE re-purposing and shopping people’s homes for items to use in other spaces. I saw this stack of mason jar measuring cups (world market) and asked her if she used them as decorative measuring cups rarely are. I find most people like to use their plain metal or plastic measuring cups instead of the decorative for functionality and ease of cleaning.


So cute, I love having a space on dressers that is decorative. Click to find out how to make this AWESOME TILE TRAY.


Plants in a room are very refreshing and literally add life to your space. If you can keep them alive then they are great decor, but once they start to wilt or die throw them out immediately because having dying plants in your space is subconsciously depressing and very negative. That’s why I love succulents they live so well in any environment and can survive long bouts of dehydration. It’s not on purpose, life happens and I kill plants.

Lastly, Candles. Oh man. Love candles. Especially with cute little labels that say, “Hi Nikki. I am expensive and you can’t afford me.”
Just a little jealous. 🙂





My favorite piece for last!

She had a dresser before… Everything was just kind of in there and didn’t have a home. Also, it was older so she couldn’t put her clothes in the drawers as they would start to smell…like old dresser. It was a beautiful teal color, vintage style and tall and skinny.
The drawers were a little awkward in size. In the end, she gladly parted with her old dresser trading for this fabulous IKEA beauty which felt a little more chic feminine per her inspiration.


Goodbye old makeup / hair drawer



Her makeup fit great in to this plastic container that had a lid we removed for easy access to work as a drawer divider.

We have lotions and skin products on the left, powders and brushes on top. Nails, lips and mini hair pieces in the dividers below. Out side the box are her fancy-pants perfumes and special jewelry she likes to keep tucked away.


Her hair supplies are in this drawer as well as her makeup go-bag.


We folded her clothes nice and neat into some inexpensive fabric containers from Ikea.

These are great for keeping together folded items like socks, underwear and bras. Everything should be folded and placed vertically for easy access. When you have fold items stacked horizontally the can get disheveled or ignored when you grab from the middle or are unwilling to dig to the bottom of a stack. Items are easily forgotten when stuffed under other clothes. The way KonMari folds can be found by clicking this link. The way she folds keeps them from flopping over in your drawer and keeps them from becoming wrinkled as well. ANYTHING CAN BE FOLDED!

Here are the final shots of her space. It is functional, fun, and brings her joy.





She loves every item in her room and can now easily find anything she needs and has less stress
when working or getting ready to head out. I think my job here is done 🙂 On to the next Miscellaneous category in her home!

Mischief managed.

Weekend Room Declutter



This last weekend was a BIG weekend for Ms. B. She’s making some great changes in her life and needed a fresh space to help motivate. So she came to me – fresh space worker. She told me that she felt like she was surrounded by a ton of stuff and felt very unorganized. She lives in an apartment-condo type space with two room mates in a beautiful spot located near Seattle. Unfortunately, roommate living leads to whole-life-in-room situations and that can get cluttered and messy FAST! Bring in the Nikki with her love of organizing and THIS BOOK!


This is The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up my favorite tidying book. I took Ms. B’s situation as a perfect opportunity to implement some KonMari style declutter and organization tips. I cannot get enough of this method and how well it works with my clients and friends who have tried using Marie Kondo’s techniques in their lives. If you have not read the book PLEASE read it before trying to use it especially if you do not have assistance from someone who has experience and understanding of this method. The reason I say this is: this style is pretty complicated for some people to grasp at first, it seems simple but it is actually very hard for people to determine the meaning of “spark joy” so it’s nice to have help from a friend to talk you through it at first and work your way through the madness together!

Here are the basics.


Even before I knew of Marie Kondo and her gift for tidying, I always asked people before starting, “What do you imagine your life to be like, what is the perfect situation?” Some people say they want it to feel like they have nothing, the bare minimum. Others say chic, like a Tiffany’s store. Some people describe a friend who’s style is fabulous and how they hope to be more like them.


I asked Ms. B to go on pinterest and find a few photos of what she wanted her end result to look like. Also, to think on how that would affect her happiness. When the process of decluttering gets stressful and overwhelming I bring up the inspiration and it definitely helps keep the ball rolling. Here are some pics we looked at.





I cannot tell you how important it is to declutter first. If all I did was help people with storage solutions I would be a Professional Clutter Organizer and I do NOT want that on my business card. Nuh-uh. And you don’t want that in your house. Organized messes just lead to messes again. You have to get down to what YOU can manage to live with and have a specific place for every item so that when you need to put things away or locate them again they have a specific home. That’s the secret.


Here is what we started with, it actually wasn’t even messy necessarily. The problem with not tidying (declutter and organizing) is you have so much you never remember what you have or where the things you do remember are. We like to find that shirt right away and if it takes longer than a glance we think, “Oh man, it’s so messy.”


Ouch. This is the shock moment. EVERY TIME I go through this process, and get every single article of clothing, bags and shoes in one spot, people stare for a minute and say, “Wow, I have A LOT of clothes.” Every time. And a lot of times they can start to pick out even before we begin, the items that they don’t love anymore. (The Before photos are great motivators half-way through when people feel overwhelmed, show them their progress!)


While we still have a really strong attachment to clothes we have the easiest time going through them and knowing what we can say goodbye to. Some items are harder than others but this is definitely the easiest category to dive into. It’s also nice because sometimes you can throw on the item and really get a feel for how it makes you …well …feel. You can then use these “spark joy” moments as examples of how an item should feel when keeping it later. For instance that half used notebook does not “spark joy” like that little black dress.


Hello, shoes. (Don’t mind my foot).

There is no specific number of items you should be left with. Some people have 40 articles of clothing including underwear and essentials, others have over 100 or 200! Some people have 3 pairs of shoes by the end and others have 38 pairs. It doesn’t matter what you start with or end with, different strokes and here is why…



Does the item you are holding in your hands truly “spark joy”? We all have subconscious reactions to our environment, memories or feelings attached to items. The things that we truly love and cherish will make us feel good when we hold them. Keep in mind things that used to make you happy are different from the items which make you happy now. When you have the confidence to know yourself and discern what you choose to keep based on what truly makes you happy, that is life changing. The principle applies to all aspects of our lives, not just what we own.


I will never judge what a client chooses to keep or not. Some people have kept items that make me tilt my head in interest but those things REALLY make people happy and those should most definitely stay!


These are the piles as clothing was underway. Left is the “Maybe” pile, Middle two piles are “Keep” and Right is “Donate“.

I encourage starting a “Maybe” pile at first. However, it will be revisited several times through out the tidy process and by the end there is no maybe pile left. You have to make a decision on these items and if you are still unsure at the end, keep it with confidence and move on. I don’t like the 3 month in a bag rule and get rid of it later. Keeping a bag on that space on the floor or the “backwards hanger rule” takes up wanted space and will either cause you to forget or never to actually address it. Get the process done. In the future if you finally decide you have fallen out of love with an item and you can donate it with confidence. Usually at the end most of the maybe pile is put to donate but sometimes and item clings to it’s owner and they happily place it in the Keep pile.

Here is what we ended with for keep


Shirts in the bottom bin, Sweaters in the middle, folded scarves and additional shirts on the top right and some skirts on the left.

We also had a stack of pants we didn’t have a bin for but it was about 12 pairs of pants and shorts.

And this is what we donated!


Just think! These are the clothes she had in her closet that no longer made her happy. They were choking up the space in her closet that could be used for items that she loved and made it hard for her to locate her favorites more easily.


Now she finds her clothes are more accessible and has told me that she loves the feeling of looking in her closet and choosing from all of these items that “spark joy”.

We also addressed the rest of the categories in her room, we have a ways to go in the rest of the house with miscellaneous category and eventually we will also address the items that are sentimental (these are last because by then you will have honed your spark joy meter and be able to face these things with confidence).

Here are the before and afters of her papers and miscellaneous art supplies.


Ms. B went through her books, journals, art journals and sketches, her papers like bills, hospital info, warranties, manuals and old artwork, etc. We finished with the following:

* Plastic case with important documents, a plastic sleeve with her lifetime documents and current bills to be addressed immediately

* A folder with current design work

* A Magazine bin holding sketchbooks and some lesson books for piano

* Reference books she uses for design

* Two bibles and a couple of design and prayer journals

Besides paper on her desk

* Space for her printer and laptop on the right, she designs all the time and needs those easily accessible and ready.

* The desk lamp base holds art pens decoratively in a mason jar and a smaller jar from the dollar store with her gold binder clips.

* A couple of slate coasters and this desk is ready for action!!

Under the desk are extra art frames and art books in a fabric bin and to the right of the desk tucked neat are her portfolio cases where she can add more art as she creates it at her desk.



GOODBYE PLASTIC HANGERS (When this process happens with me I WILL BUY you new hangers just to donate the plastic. The big thing in closet design for me is matching wood hangers they are pleasing to the eye. Plastic gives a sense of wobbliness and cheapness to the closet that your clothes don’t deserve! Look at that beautiful new closet with pride in all of it’s non plastic hanger glory!)


We donated a trunk full of things that no longer sparked joy including 3 containers of clothes, a bag of shoes, several old purses and other random items that she no longer used. We had a large paper bag of shred and two paper bags of recycle besides. We also had two bags of trash, wrappers, containers for items she chose to keep that no longer needed their case, extra boxes, broken items, etc. It was a good day!!


We still have to get to organizing and designing the space, I never leave a job unfinished but the process of going through her room took about 10 hours including a couple of breaks for snacks and sanity. So this is a two part order for her room. Stay tuned for the final show of how the space is transformed!!

A few questions I am asked during this process —

THE BIGGEST THING I GET : “What if I need it later?”

Here’s the thing about keeping stuff “just in case”. Think of it like scotch tape at Christmas, you never know where that tape went you only use it once a year, 5 years later you have a TON of half used tape dispensers. The reason this happens is because these items are not consistently serving a purpose, they don’t spark joy and they are never put in a designated area where you can always come back to use them. These things are tiny bucks for expensive real estate that should be used for things you love instead.



People like to keep things that a family member or friend passed on that they don’t really like, especially heirlooms. OR items that they used ALL the time but no longer have the need for and again the “What if I need this later?”

Negative emotions in your home are a big no-no. If your friend or family member gave you a gift, they gave it to you with the intention of making you happy, not guilty. They want you to be happy, it’s OK to say I don’t want this item anymore and donate or even give it back if you think they would want it. And the “What if I need it later?” This is a fear based sentiment. Something that you are afraid of parting with for fear of the future is the reason we are doing this. This process helps people come to realize you don’t need the negative attachments in your life, surrounding yourself with items that spark joy INSPIRES you to seek out happiness in all aspects of your life and to let go of the fear of the unknown and just make things happen. Thank the items that served a purpose once for doing their job and donate them guilt and fear free because the worst thing that could happen is you hop over to the dollar store and get another box of crayons.



I hear a lot of : “I don’t love my toilet brush and I would love to get rid of my vacuum because it doesn’t spark joy” there is a special clause for these items. They serve a purpose, some everyday, some once a week, but without them there are tasks in your life that couldn’t be fulfilled. They help you get the job done, and in that way it’s good to appreciate their purpose. They bring joy by making your life a little easier. “Thank you, toilet brush for making my toilet clean and guests not afraid to use it.”


Tidy Master Closet


When we think tidy we think sprucing the place up a bit, fluff a pillow here, wipe a counter there. But not Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant from Japan who has revolutionized the process of declutter and organizing for obsessive neat freaks everyone. I started my affair journey with the Konmari Method last year. I have organized and cleaned mine and other’s spaces over and over and still found that they cluttered up again. This Method is supposed to be the be all and end all of tidying. And so far, for me, this is true!

One of the first things I did last year was a complete declutter of all of my clothing items. Not my husband’s just mine. (Konmari states you need to address your personal things first. When we want to clean other people’s items it is because we have not taken care of our own – everything has a deeper meaning here, we need to take care of ourselves before we take care of others). Here is the before and after of how my clothing day went!


I said goodbye to a lot of clothes! Not because I needed to get rid of them but because I sincerely did not love well over half my wardrobe. When we wear our items they should “spark joy” we should feel amazing and be able to wear these items with pride knowing we look good. The items that make us feel less than spectacular can be appreciated for what they were, thanked and donated. The glorious part of the Konmari method, is it doesn’t matter how much you have it matters how much you love it, if it sparks joy keep it and if not say goodbye. Some people may end up with 40 pairs of shoes and some with 4. The point is they are happy with what they have in the end.

Naturally, I wanted these items to look good in all of their “spark joy glory”. 🙂 So I redesigned the master closet using furniture we already had and paint on hand. I HATE wire shelves. ALL of our clothes are folded and put into the dresser except those that spark the most joy and deserve to be shown off. You can fold everything according to Konmari. It is possible, I’ve done it. 🙂



So happy.

I took it further by putting up an Ikea floating shelf for my fancy shoes, I love looking at heels displayed beautifully. I may not use them all the time but they certainly spark joy every time I see them and touch them.



Below that shelf I hang my favorite necklaces on the wall by the door. As I leave after getting dressed I am reminded to put on a pretty accessory for the day.

jewelrylady corner

A spritz of perfume is always nice on the way out, and the bottle looks so fancy on this DIY marble tray (tutorial here) The vases my mom gave me from Pottery Barn house spare change and cotton balls…cotton balls… I don’t know why. Moving on.


The drawers of the cabinet have random accessory contents and extra candles for mooood lighting. In the bathroom. I recently took baths before giving birth and those candles made it such a spa day.

The Jewelry is separated by small boxes that make me happy, of course a spot of Tiffany blue and a Kate Spade bag. The big necklace on top was almost donated, it was from my wedding and I don’t use it. The declutter lady in me said get rid of it but the “spark joy” me said keep it, I love it and every time I see it I think of my wedding and how beautiful and loved I felt.


Mr. Man’s space. I love it.


Randomly over the shelf against the wall I have my favorite fuzzy Calvin Klein blanket which DOES NOT like to stay folded so I placed this cast iron tea pot on top. It reminds me to be at peace and enjoy the experience of getting ready in the morning.


Lastly a mirror on the right wall and a hamper behind the door complete the space. Simple, functional. Love it.

An Organized Car

title page


Getting your car together is seriously the last thing on your to-do list. But on average (and this is just a google here so don’t quote me) the average person drives 12,000 miles per year which is just over 32 mi. per day. ON THE FREEWAY that is 32 minutes, and we know the commute doesn’t just include 60 mi/hr roads. I don’t need to tell you how long a 16 mile commute can be during rush hour.


That is some serious time to be spending in a messy and dirty car.


It can really depress you being surrounded by trash and not knowing where a napkin is when you need one. Not to mention some random necessities for emergencies. Think about it: if someone wipes their nose before giving you back your debit card you’ll want some sanitizer STAT. *shivers* Moving on.


So here is a quick post about how to get it quick and organized with some DAISO $1.50 deals.


Ladies and Gentleman, say hello to Daiso. This is the Japanese Dollar store. If you don’t have one in your area, no worries, a lot of this stuff can be found at a dollar store.

I bought these marvelous zippered envelopes and labeled them for all my car necessities. The neoprene envelope is for my car papers – I already had a case but vanity got the better of me and this one is purty.




List of items I keep in my car:

1 – Microfiber: cloth (for dust, dirt, stains, liquids, etc.) and that little microfiber finger …floof. I’m calling it a floof. That thing is AWESOME for vents.

2 – Nack-ums: AKA napkins named by 3 year-old me. Because spills happen. Tissues went in here too.

3 – Work: Name badges, hair ties (for when I make the mistake of trying to wear my hair down), head band, bobby pins…toiletries 🙂

4 – Notes and Emergency $: This house some note cards, a pen and cash. $10 for gas or let’s be honest, emergency coffee.

5 – ArmorAll: I’m still not sure if it actually works to keep your car cleaner longer but it makes it look shiny after cleaning. Good for me.


And here is how things work in my car.


Envelopes in action in the glove compartment. I love having these neatly labeled and handy. *sighs*


There is my dying garage door opener. And yes, that is a scented tree tucked in next to the driver side cubby. (Side of the middle dash) It has a man-ly scent, as in: just walked past the husband freshly shaven scent.  Anyway, I will never hang scented trees.


This is the middle console. I found these boxes at target in the dollar spot and they fit perfectly. I love that I can grab a couple cleaning things. The S hook hangs bags so they don’t spill all over the passenger side (see below) and stores wires so they aren’t sprawled all over the gear shift when I’m not using them.


Confession: I put my makeup on in the parking lot before walking into work. It’s glorious. However, not so much when my brushes spill all over the passenger floor as I pull in. The S Hook keeps my bag firmly attached to the side of the passenger well and hooks neatly in the cup holder without compromising space for early morning coffees liquid gold.


Lastly, the trunk. Umbrellas in Seattle…hahahaha. Moving on. A flashlight because I needed one recently, and the bins are for groceries to keep them for smashing my eggs or in case of a leak I can just wipe up the plastic and not carpet. The extra woven bins just provide more stability for smaller items.


Still on my must have list?

  • A SAFETY WINDOW HAMMER – I would adhere it to the roof of the middle console.
  • A GO BAG with glass water bottles (plastic eventually deteriorates/contaminates) and my life straws, can opener, blanket, change of clothes and shoes for everyone, batteries for the flashlight and I’m sure a few more essentials.


That’s pretty much it. I know as a mom I should have snacks and wipes and diapers, etc. But as a tidy lady I just can’t. Many of the items in there already went through serious necessity debate. In the end, you should take everything you bring into your car out. I have a diaper bag that has all his baby things and that goes with him. I don’t leave trash in my car anymore, I clean up stains and wipe frequently. And every time I get in the car I can relax because it is no longer on my tidy list and I can just drive.


Please comment, send pics and share your car tidying/organization techniques!

Enjoy. 🙂