Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year


I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and holiday break. Here's to health, happiness, and peace through the coming year. 

Cheers! 

Check out Urban Simplicity's card from Paperless Post.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Minute Clutter-free Holiday Gifts


It’s crunch time, people! With just five days until Christmas, it’s now or never to finish up that holiday shopping.

Even though I’d love an organizing gadget or two in my stocking, I’m all about giving clutter-free gifts. One thing is for sure; these gifts won’t end up in the re-gift pile.

Photo courtesy of Southern Living

Beauty and Relaxation
What girl would turn up her nose at a spa gift card? But no worries about expensive spa prices if you’re on a budget. Use Yelp to find a local manicure and pedicure spot near your favorite girl. My other beauty favorite is a gift certificate for a blow out from Dry Bar.

Entertainment
Tickets of any kind are a brilliant gift for the guy or gal on your list. Think Broadway, concerts, sporting events, or even plain old movie tickets!

Classes
Giving someone an experience is sure to create a special memory. Some of my favorites in New York City: cake decorating classes from Sugar Flower Bake Shop, photography lessons from JP Teaches Photo, dance lessons from Simone Assboeck, and flower arranging from Sarah Tallman Design. There are lessons on almost anything and everything out there, so get to Googling.

Donations
Giving back to others, especially this year after the hurricane in New York and the tragic school shooting in Connecticut is sometimes the perfect gift for the person who has everything. Consider making a donation in their name to worthy organizations helping folks through these tough times.

Time
The best gifts don’t have to be extravagant. The gift of your time is incredibly meaningful, because everyone knows just how valuable it is. Offer to babysit for your nieces and nephews. Or cook dinner for your best friend.  

Organization
Why not give a loved one the gift of more time and less stress? A gift certificate for organizing services is the perfect option. To purchase or learn more, simply call 646-942-8676 or email kkb@UrbanSimplicityNYC.com. We’ll get you taken care of right away.

Happy holidays! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Organizer’s Wish List


The holidays are here which means it’s time for a little wishful thinking. This year I’ve been oh so nice and not so naughty, so I'm thinking Santa will definitely deliver big.

This week I'm sharing the organizing goodies on my wish list this year. With these under the tree, 2013 will be the most organized and productive year ever.

Pehr Canvass Basket

Love these stylish bins from See Jane Work, one of my favorite online shops for organizing supplies. They're the perfect solution to store dry cleaning and laundry in my closet. 

Acrylic Clipboard

You might have heard about my love for clipboards. This sleek acrylic clipboard with gold toned hardware from Russell + Hazel is so chic. Yes, a clipboard can be chic.

Baggu Zipper Bag

I just can't get enough of Baggu zippered bags. I use them in every bag, and they are great for organizing a suitcase. I'll just go ahead and put this on my wish list every year.

Button Box

I have a dirty little secret. My buttons and sewing supplies are totally disorganized. A button box from See Jane Work is just what I need.

Handy Manual Shredder

First, I love Poketo so check it out. Second, I NEED this. Turquoise, please! 

Carnaby Nesting Trays

Jonathan Adler anything in my stocking would make me a happy girl, but these nesting trays are on the top of my list. They're perfect for organizing and displaying pretty jewelry or holding loose change and keys in an entryway. 

Real Simple Slimline Hangers

Another confession... My hangers don't match. Gasp! 2013 is the year I get a closet full of Real Simple Slimline Hangers from Bed Bath & Beyond. 

I'd love to hear from you! What's on your holiday wish list? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Holiday Efficiency


One of the things I love most about New York City is that you can get anything – and I mean anything – delivered. It’s not that we’re a lazy bunch. It’s that we’re all about efficiency.


When I heard about Tyler’s Trees, a Christmas tree delivery and set-up service bringing “everything but the presents,” I was conflicted. Isn’t this taking our love of doorstep service a tad too far? Shouldn’t families be picking out and decorating the perfect tree together?

But in reality… What if you live in a sixth floor walk-up? What if you work crazy hours? Or what if your spouse travels for work? I bet wrangling a Christmas tree and stroller down the city streets is enough to zap the holiday spirit right out of you. 

In the holiday season, when our To Do lists are a mile long, it's all about prioritization and relying on help when you can. Ask a neighborhood teen or family friend to wrap gifts, and delegate tasks around the house to all members of the family.

So I say, all New Yorkers should have Christmas trees (at least the ones that want one)! Cheers to Tyler’s Trees for being the ultimate in urban simplicity.

Check out their website for details and pricing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Blog Post: Five Ways to Organize Information in the Cloud


I'm down in the islands this week, hopefully not thinking about clouds of any kind. So while I'm sunning, my favorite computer chic, Caroline Green, CEO of IvanExpert, a Mac support company in New York City, is bringing you tips to organize your information in the Cloud.


Five Ways to Organize Information in the Cloud
By Caroline Green

The Cloud is a great way to store information, because it means you can have access to your data from anywhere. So you can work from home, or from the back of a taxi, or while traveling. And you can get to your data from multiple devices, including a computer, Android phone, iPhone, or tablet.

Here are the top five ways you can stay organized and be more productive using the Cloud.

1. Keep your calendars and contacts in sync with Google.
Use Gmail or Google Apps to keep your calendars and contacts in sync across Windows and Mac computers, as well as iPhones, iPads, and Android phones. Enter an appointment on your iPhone, and see it automatically show up on your computer. Change a friend’s phone number on your computer, and it automatically gets changed on your Android phone.
Gmail is free; Google Apps is $50/email account/year.

2. Save and file documents with Dropbox.
Store your paperwork, including bills, Word documents, and spreadsheets, in the Cloud using Dropbox. Access your files from multiple computers as well as your smartphone (on apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android).
Free for up to 2 GB of data.

3. Organize digital information with Evernote.
No more Post-its and scraps of paper scattered around your desk or your notebook. Use Evernote to store and track bits of information, including web pages, photos, PDFs, and documents, and store your data by topic and keyword. You can see all your info from any computer or mobile device (on apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android).
Free.

4. Keep to-dos in one place with Remember the Milk.
Use Remember the Milk to store your to-do list and access it from your Mac, PC, or smartphone. It can even send you email or text message reminders, based on your due dates.
Free.

5. Keep your passwords handy with Passpack.
Passpack is an online system for managing the hundreds of passwords we all need for logging in to websites. Because the passwords are stored in the cloud, you can get to them from any web browser. Just make sure to remember your two master passwords.
Free for up to 100 passwords; for more passwords prices start at $1.50/month.

These five services, all for free or low cost, are just the beginning of how you can use the Cloud to stay organized and have your important information at your fingertips.

Caroline Green is the co-owner and CEO of IvanExpert, providing Mac IT support to small businesses and homes in New York City. They have recently launched IvanExpert Mac Wellness, which automatically monitors your Mac’s health for potential hard drive failures, confirms backups are running regularly, and identifies performance problems.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks to Five Organizational Tools

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is looking forward to a couple days off to spend with family and friends, enjoying turkey, and all that good stuff.

This week, I’m giving thanks to five simple organizational tools that make life easier. And for that I’m grateful.

1. Lazy Susan – Every home has some odd corner space in a kitchen or bathroom. A lazy susan usually saves the day. They are even great in supply or craft areas and offices. The options are endless.

Photo courtesy of Real Simple

2. Tape Gun – When I’m packing a client and overseeing a move, my tape gun is always at my side. I can tape up a box faster than anyone you’ve ever seen.

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

3. Desktop File Boxes – Everyone has files they need at hand during the workday. To keep them organized, I’m a huge fan of desktop file boxes to hang files instead of having files stacked or scattered all over your desk. Plus here are so many designs to choose from.

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

4. To Do List / Notebook – I can’t live without my lists. My notebook of choice is from MiquelRius. They are the perfect size, have perforated pages, and sturdy enough to travel with me all over NYC to see clients.

Photo courtesy of MiquelRuis

5. Poly File Folders – I slide my documents and files inside poly file jackets when taking them to client appointments or meetings to keep my papers protected. Plus they’re labeled and color-coded (for example, red for client files) so I can quickly grab what I need.

Photo courtesy of Office Depot

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Take time to relax, eat well, and enjoy it.

And don’t miss last year’s post with five more organizational tools I’m thankful for.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Store It Where You Use It


Store it where you use it. It’s one of my favorite simple tips that generally leads to a client smacking their forehead and exclaiming, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Getting into this habit whenever possible makes it so much easier to maintain a clutter-free space.

This week, I have to share this brilliant reading chair I came across on Daily Candy. It definitely gives new meaning to my favorite organizing concept…

Photo courtesy of .nobody&co.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Donate Coats for Hurricane Sandy Relief


The annual New York Cares coat drive is more critical than ever due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. This year, they set a goal to collect a record 200,000 coats, and they need 50,000 coats immediately to distribute to New Yorkers in Staten Island, the Rockaways, and other hard-hit areas.

Photo courtesy of New York Cares
Now is the time to help! Go through your closet and consider what you truly need. Donate the rest, now through December 31, to this worthy cause.

You can drop off coats at the New York Cares Warehouse, New York City Police Precincts, New York City Public Libraries, and Citi Pond at Bryant Park.

Go the extra mile and sign up to host a coat drive in your office, apartment building lobby, church, or school. New York Cares will provide you with all the materials you need to publicize the drive. All you have to do is arrange to deliver the coats to their warehouse in midtown Manhattan.

You’re not only clearing some clutter this holiday season, you’ll be doing something good for so many. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

What's in your wallet?


Recently I was serving on a jury. Jury duty is a whole lot of hurry up and wait, so needless to say I had some time on my hands. I must have organized my wallet once a day. 

At a time when so many in the New York region are dealing with the loss of basic things like electricity to more devastating situations like losing entire homes or even loved ones, it can be tough to focus on big picture organization. Sometimes it’s best to start with the little things.

This week I’m sharing seven tips to organize your wallet.

1. Make a mess. If it’s been a while since you’ve organized your wallet, it’s going to get bad before it gets better. Remove everything. With a wallet you don’t need much space to spread out, which makes it the perfect task to tackle while waiting for a meeting.

2. Store strategically. If you keep receipts for business expenses or reimbursements, consider an alternative place to store them like a small zippered pouch to keep your wallet from getting cluttered. Use a similar solution for things like coupons and gift cards.

Love these from Baggu

3. Group items together. The easiest way to keep track of what you keep in your wallet is to store similar items together. If you have multiple bank accounts, keep those credit and debit cards together. Group identification cards, healthcare cards, and keep all reward cards together. You get the drill.

4. Carry only necessities. Toss what you don’t need. Expired credit cards, old or irrelevant receipts, business cards you’ll never contact, or any of that other random stuff you never use has got to go.

5. Find the right fit. Like a good pair of shoes or your favorite purse, there’s a right wallet for everyone. If you continue to find yourself struggling, do some research and give it time. I found my perfect wallet about four years ago. When Hobo stops making this one, I’ll be lost.   

Euro Slide from Hobo 

6. Copy the contents. The thought of loosing my wallet makes my stomach hurt. But the thought of loosing my wallet without recalling the contents is enough to send me over the edge. To avoid complete and utter chaos, copy the contents once a year. You can thank me later.

7. Find a routine. The best way to maintain an organized wallet is to put things back in the same place every time. It's that simple. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Storage on Wheels


What’s more terrifying than monsters under the bed? Clutter!

With a bit of organization and thoughtful research, the space under your bed can go from frightening to fabulous in no time.

When searching for underbed storage, select a bin on wheels whenever possible. It makes accessing items so much easier.

If the bins can be seen under the bed, consider something that works with your decor like these options from Pottery Barn and Organize.com

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn

Photo courtesy of Organize.com

If you're feeling a little handy, use an old dresser drawer. You can put it on casters that you can find at any home goods or hardware store.

Photo courtesy of
Better Homes and Gardens

If your bed is close to your clothing closet, under the bed can be a great place to store shoes. This underbed sliding shoe rack from Organize.com is a sleek option. You can quickly see what you have and slide it back under the bed to save floor space.

Photo courtesy of Organize.com

Finally, if you're looking for a more utilitarian option, consider this plastic bin on wheels from The Container Store.

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

What do you store under your bed?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Giving Back After Hurricane Sandy


And New Jersey, too!

After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, we’re all looking for ways to give back. My husband and I have been so lucky as the Upper West Side where we live was basically unscathed. We didn’t lose power or experience any major damage. So many others weren’t so lucky, and my heart goes out to them.

We’ve heard Mayor Bloomberg say that monetary donations are most needed now. I encourage you to give to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. They ensure your donation goes to a reputable organization supporting relief efforts in New York City.

As an organizer, it’s my duty to encourage you to donate things you don’t use or love to help those in need. During an emergency like this, organizations are usually looking for sizable bulk donations; however, small groups are doing their part. ClosetDash Shop, a local swap shop, is collecting warm clothes, blankets, non-perishable food, flashlights, and batteries for donation. You can drop them off at 30 East 20th Street, Suite 402 on Friday or Saturday 11-7pm, or Sunday 11-2pm. Any additional details can be found here

Do some research in your neighborhood. It’s likely a local religious group or community center has an effort underway that you can support.

In addition, these larger charities in the New York region are accepting donations:
  • The annual New York Cares Coat Drive has begun. More New Yorkers are in need this year, so clean out your coat closet today.  
  • The Salvation Army has dozens of mobile feeding units and shelters along the East Coast that are working to serve thousands in the most heavily hit areas. Plus they are still one of the most reliable ways to donate used goods in the New York City. 
  • Second Chance Toys is now taking clean, plastic toys in advance of the holiday season.  

If you know of an organization that can make a bulk donation of items, visit Aidmatrix Network, a website sponsored through the New York City Office of Emergency Management. 

Finally, we're all busy, but if you can donate your time and talents, I encourage you to visit NYC Service to sign up to volunteer in the coming weeks.

If you know of an organization that's accepting donations or need support in other ways, please share it with us here. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Chalkboard Labels


It goes without saying that I’m obsessed with labels. From the basics like P-Touch and Avery to more inspired labels like chalkboard.

These two options, one with a wood border and one without, are perfect labels for bins and baskets that you want to display in any living or workspace. 

Photo courtesy of Save on Crafts

Photo courtesy of Save on Crafts

If you are looking for something a bit more sleek, but with the same atheistic, go for chalkboard tape. I recently used these labels on magazine files to identify a client's cooking magazines.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Peanuts in Purses


Peanuts in a purse?! I know it sounds crazy, but trust your favorite organizer on this one...

While organizing a client with an extensive collection of purses, I was struggling for a solution that would 1) prevent the purses from losing their shape when empty and 2) keep the purses lined up neatly on her shelves.

When it hit me!

I stuffed large Ziploc bags with packing peanuts from Staples and put them inside the purses. When my client has to switch purses, all she has to do is quickly remove the peanuts from the purses and she’s on her way.

The only supplies you need

The peanuts go inside the Ziploc

Before: Sad, slouchy purse

After: Happy, organized purse

Such a simple and inexpensive solution! And the stuffed purses retain their shape, which gives them a longer shelf life (pun intended!) and eliminates cluttered purses from taking over your closet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Before and After: Desk Space in a Busy Bakery


One of my favorite organizing projects is a cluttered desk space. And let me tell you, working on a desk surrounded by the sweet smells of delicious cakes was a dream come true.

In this busy New York City bakery, the head chef shares a desk with her assistant, and it just wasn’t working. Communication was breaking down.

The first step was to “clear the decks” to make some sense of the paper flow in and out of the office. As a second step, we found a home for those papers, based on priority, and identified solutions to get them organized. Finally, we created customized systems to help track active projects (i.e. cakes) and potential leads.

Check out the before photos…




And now the after…



All in all, a much more efficient space!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Stacked Pans


In almost every kitchen I organize, I notice a common theme... pans run amok. They clutter drawers and cabinets and are impossible to access.

Welcome to my current obsession, stacked pans.

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart

Photo courtesy of Real Simple.
Snag this product at Lowe's.

Of course, there are many ways to store pots and pans.

Hanging on on hooks or a traditional hanging rack

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn

Hanging from a peg board

Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy


Supported by tensions rods between shelves (Great for lids, too!)

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart

But when all else fails, why not stack ‘em!