Friday, December 13, 2013

Give the Gift of Organization

The clock is ticking with only two weekends left before Christmas. I say, forget the stores. If you’re struggling to find the perfect holiday gift for someone on your list, then look no further.

Give the gift of peace of mind with an Urban Simplicity gift certificate.

Photo Courtesy of At the Picket Fence

A gift certificate is the perfect option for the loved one in your life. Think of a session with a professional organizer as a spa day in your own home. Clients finish the session feeling lighter, more centered, and most of all relaxed and in control of their life.

Gift certificates are available in any amount, but consider a four-hour organizing session as a good starting place.

Mention this blog post and receive 20 percent off a gift certificate for a four-hour organizing session.
Price: Regularly $500, Now $400

To purchase or learn more, simply call 646-942-8676 or email kkb@UrbanSimplicityNYC.com. We’ll get you taken care of and on your way to enjoying the holidays.


And just in case a gift certificate might not seem like the perfect solution, consider these other clutter-free holiday gifts.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks to Five Organizational Tools

Well, hello, Thanksgiving! The time for gratitude and shopping (not) is here. I hope you have lots of fun, food, and time with friends and family in the coming days.

This week, I’m giving thanks to five organizational tools that I couldn’t live without.

1. Command Hooks – There isn’t a home that can’t use a Command Hook. They come In various sizes and are an amazing solution if drilling and potentially damaging surfaces makes you nervous. My favorite use – put one under your bathroom vanity to hang your hairdryer.  

Photo courtesy of The Container Store 

2. IKEA’s Big Blue Bag – How many pounds of donations have I lugged to Goodwill in these awesome blue bags? A gazillion. If only I had the patience to master the proper folding techniques. Oh, and they cost 59 cents! 

Photo courtesy of IKEA 

3. Canvas Bins – So simple, so lightweight, and so easily label-able. These bins are my go to for closet storage.

Photo courtesy of The Container Store 

4. IKEA Expedit – Have I gone on and on about the Expedit? Maybe. But I can’t stop, won’t stop. If you need storage on a budget in almost any room in your home, the Expedit is a go to solution.



5. Fridge Binz – Maybe the most versatile bin out there. Don’t be fooled by the name. It’s not just for your fridge. Oh, and the “z” on “Binz” just makes me love it more.

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Organizing Obsession: A Dreamy Vanity

It’s no secret that New York City apartments are seriously limited on space. So this week any New Yorkers reading along should suspend reality.

To display beauty products in an organized way, my dream is a vanity in a dressing area. There is nothing more luxurious than an organized vanity as your go to beauty area. 

Vanities tend to have limited drawer space, so use drawers for bulkier, less attractive items like hair styling products. 

Then you can use the counter space to display and organize beauty necessities like makeup and perfume in an attractive way. Arrange lipsticks on a pretty dish, and store make-up brushes in a small vase. Add stylish trays and your makeup will look like a work of art. Plus you’ll always be able to see what you have. 

Just remember there is a fine balance between a functionally organized and cluttered. The secret to keeping it neat is to give everything a home so that it only takes a second to put away. 

Check out these dreamy vanities. 








Thursday, November 7, 2013

Organizing Tips Featured on Daily Glow

Organizing all those beauty products and gadgets takes a creative approach. I mean, how are you supposed to fit all 50 shades of finger nail polish in one drawer?! 

That's why I was so excited to contribute expert organizing tips to Daily Glow, a top website providing a fresh perspective on healthy beauty. 

Check out my tips and the full story, 7 Creative Ways to Store Your Beauty Products

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ten Tips to Survive The Container Store

As you might imagine, The Container Store is my happy place. Sometimes when I’m having a rough day, I go there to cheer myself up and relax. 

But sadly most of my clients don’t feel the same way. For them, The Container Store is overwhelming, scary, and the site of much money spent on the wrong things. I can understand their stress.

Today, I’m sharing ten secrets to make shopping at The Container Store a spa-like experience. Okay, that might be stretching it a bit, but read on...

Clearly not an NYC store.

1. Do your research. Before heading to The Container Store, hit their website to get a sense of the products they carry. Their website is user friendly and most of the product reviews are spot on.

2. Make a list. Even if empty containers and handy gadgets scare you, I guarantee you’ll end up walking out with more than you need if you don’t bring a list. Be very specific and only shop for what you need, lest you get sucked down the rabbit hole of fancy gift wrap.

3. Measure before you go. Many a mistake is made when you fail to measure in your home before you go to buy products. Whether you are finding products for a closet or even a single shelf, draw it out on paper with a clear diagram and measurements. You'll be sure to buy the right containers.

4. Make friends. The Container Store employees are the friendliest and most helpful around. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve racked my brain for the perfect bin for a client only to ask an employee and have my problem solved. They know the products and are not shy about recommending the best solutions.

Who knows what's going on here,
but they are having fun, right?

5. Bring a tape measure. While The Container Store product tags generally list a product’s dimensions, I find it much quicker to whip out my small tape measure to double check the size than trying to read the fine print.

6. Understand the store layout. If you’re not hitting The Container Store multiple times a week like I am this can be tough, but trust me it’s worth your time. Before grabbing a cart, take a quick walk around the store. You’ll notice areas are well organized (shocker) by type from kitchen to office to closet. Find the area you need and avoid wandering around like a lost puppy.

Office supply heaven.

7. GoShop is your best friend. GoShop is best used when you are placing a large order. Check in at the kiosk and a smiling employee gives you a handheld device that’s similar to what you would use for an in store wedding registry. You then walk through the store and scan all the items you want. When you are done, you can choose to have the items delivered or you can pick it up on another day. Amazing.

8. Avoid weekends. The stores can generally be a mad house on the weekends, at least in Manhattan. If at all possible, try to arrive on a weekday when the store opens or in the late morning. That’s when you can avoid the rush. Oh, and those weekends when college kids are moving into dorms – avoid at all costs!

9. Watch for sales. The regular sales cycles at The Container Store are downright fantastic. The best by far tend to be the fall and spring sales when the elfa closet systems are discounted 25 percent. It’s worth waiting and watching for that if you are looking to redesign your closet.

Hello, elfa closet.

10. Take a deep breath and enjoy the music. Remember, take a deep breath. You are shopping not heading into a war zone. And I realize not everyone out there loves Taylor Swift, but it’s always on the mix, and that just makes me smile. 

Happy shopping!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Organizing Obsession: Document Bags

I'm on the move. From client to consultation to meeting to gym to events. I'm on the go.

All along the way, I'm carrying paperwork. And do you want to know what spells unprofessional and disorganized (aka, not Professional Organizer)? Messy papers.

The secret to avoid messy paper syndrome and keep your papers organized is a document bag.

First, two important points to keeping a document bag organized: 

1) Review items inside it once a day.
2) Only use it to store and carry items you need on the go. Nothing else. 

It sounds simple because it is.

While you're out there running from meeting to meeting, best to look like a boss. No more basic manila or elementary school pocket folders. You gotta own it.


From MochiThings

From The Container Store

Campo Marzio from Kate's Paperie


From Need Supply Co.

And that is all.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cord Wrangling Basics

Cord control isn’t as scary as it sounds. Even the most technically challenged can handle it with the right tools.

And let me tell you, it's a little home improvement that goes a long way to making your space more sane.

This week I’m sharing the best cord wrangling tools for any situation. 

In Your Bag
Start simply and contain your cords on the go. 


  • GRID-IT! – Control your cords while traveling. 


By Your Bed
This is the most common area for cord chaos. There is nothing soothing about going to bed and waking up to a jumble of cords. My favorite solution usually involves a combination of these products. 

  • CableBox – I recommend the box that includes a power strip. 






  • Cable Ties – You can also find the basic clear ones at your local hardware store.  


Behind the TV
Once you’ve mastered your bedside and your bag, move on to the area behind your television. Definitely a bit tougher, but here is my step-by-step guide to tackle it.  

  • Cable Zipper – Best for the large cables behind your television. This photo looks a bit scary, but I promise it's easy. 




The Cord Control Combo Kit can be found at Home Depot. All other products are available at The Container Store. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Organizing Don’ts Featured on GalTime.com

Nobody wants to be a fashion don’t. And guess what, you don’t want to be an organizing don’t either.

To avoid the sad fate of an organizing don't, check out the article I contributed to GalTime.com with five organizing don’ts you don’t wanna do.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Just Shred It

To shred or not to shred, that is the question. As a Golden Rule, shred anything that includes your –
  • Social Security Number
  • Account Information
  • Signature
  • Personal Identifying Information
And always shred –
  • Credit Card Offers
  • Financial Documents (monthly bills, taxes, and credit card statements)
  • Medical Information
  • Legal Information

While you’re at it, consider the many ways to shred. Whether you’re a shred-a-poolza kind of person or shred just a bit, I’ve got you covered. These are not your average shredders. No big black boxes here.

You can cut it by hand with these scissors from Restoration Hardware.


Or shred it in style with this option from Poketo. Shredding never looked so good.


This skinny mini can shred. For real.


Sleek. So hot. This portable guy from Japanese designer group, Yuen’to fits over your trashcan and then can stylishly stored on a shelf.


When you have high volume, you need to know when to call in the professionals. Drop your papers at FedEx / Kinko's, Staples, or OfficeMax near you. On average at these vendors, it costs about 79 cents to shred about ream of paper. 

Happy shredding, friends! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Organizing Obsession: Creating Efficiency with elfa


The Container Store’s elfa system is a closet and home solutions miracle worker. It’s incredibly versatile, completely customizable, and has a modern streamlined look. What’s not to obsess over?

I’ve designed elfa solutions for clients in almost every area of the home and even offices. To name a few projects, I’ve had elfa installed as an –

  • Entryway closet, as an in and out point for a busy family
  • Shoe display and storage for serious shoe lover
  • Baking closet (What a NYC luxury!)
  • Ingredient and pantry for a personal chef
  • Wall to wall shelving storage in a small office space
  • Personal valet and drop area in a large coat closet

Why do I love it? Well… I think that’s best answered through a little elfa eye candy.







Oh, and last but not least, now through mid-October, it’s on sale (including the installation) – 25 percent off! So if you’ve been dreaming about that perfect closet, then your time has come. 

Photos courtesy of The Container Store

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Organizing Obsession: Martha Stewart's Pocket Files

Martha has done it again. No, she hasn't committed any white collar crimes that I'm aware of, but she has created another quality product line with her home office organizing supplies from Staples. I've mentioned my obsession with the vertical file folders. This time it's the pocket files I'm obsessing over. 

Photo courtesy of Staples

I recently used one in a client's kitchen to organize menus and other contact information on the back of her cabinet doors. In doing so, I freed up extra drawer space. Score!


These pockets are so sleek and only look expensive. I'd expect no less from Martha. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Five [More] Ways to Organize Your Shoes

I'm back this week with five more ways to organize your shoes. Last week, I blogged about the first five options, just in case you missed it.  

Insider tip: In most small closets, like those common in New York City, combining some of these options is going to be your best bet. For example, organize your office shoes on shelves and organize sandals using a back of the door shoe organizer. 

Option 6:  Shoe Trees
People either love them or hate them. This is seriously where preference makes a difference. The Container Store sells a highly rated one

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

Option 7:  Under the Bed
This can be a great option for out of season storage. It’s not the best option for your everyday shoes. There is also a version on wheels from Organize.com that could be good for slippers as well. 

Photo courtesy of The Container Store 

Option 8:  Shoe Cabinets
Again, quality here makes a difference, but I’ve had clients that are happy with the IKEA version of the shoe cabinet. This is a great option in a mudroom or entryway for families with small children. Grab your shoes and you’re out the door.

Photo courtesy of IKEA

Finally, two options with shoes as d├ęcor:

Option 9:  Crown Molding
Now we’re getting creative. Imagine your gorgeous heels dangling from crown molding along the walls of your walk in closet. Yeah, I’m drooling.

Photo via Pinterest

Option 10:  On a Ladder
Shoes as art. Still drooling here.

Photo courtesy of Design Sponge

Whew! Talk about options. 

Please, tell me, what other way could you possibly organize your shoes? 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Five Ways to Organize Your Shoes

Shoes, shoes, shoes – one of my favorite things to organize! I’ve blogged about how to purge and donate them, but this week I’m sharing my thoughts on how to organize them.

Some might say it’s simple, but trust me it can be tricky. Shoe organization is all about first figuring out your preferences and assessing your space. To do so, ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Do you need to see all your shoes?
  • Would having shoes organized in boxes work?
  • How many pairs do you have?
  • What types of shoes do you have? Break them into categories.
  • Which pairs do you wear most frequently?
  • How much storage space do you have? Walls, shelves, space under hanging clothes, back of door – consider it all.

Now that you understand your space and basic preferences, consider these five varied options you might have to organize them.

First insider tip, with shoe storage I’ve found that you get what you pay for. So if shoes are important to you, be prepared to spend money on higher quality organizing products.

Option 1:  Open Shelves
This is my first recommendation for clients that need to see their shoes. If you are planning to be in your home for the long term, a carpenter can easily build what you need. In most high-end walk-in closets, this is what you'll see. If you are in a rental, I recommend this shelving option from The Container Store.

Photo courtesy of LA Closet Design

Option 2:  Shoe Boxes 
This is the way to go if you want a uniform look that keeps shoes neat and dust free. Plus boxes are stackable! You get bonus points if you attach a photo of the shoes to the box. 

Photo courtesy of Catalogs.com

Option 3:  Cubbies
My other favorite recommendation for shoe storage is cubbies. Cubbies keep shoes organized, tucked away, but still easy to find. Beware the quality of cubbies that aren’t custom made. Freedom Rail has a sturdy option. 

Photo courtesy of The Coveted

Option 4:  Over the Door Organizers
For a more temporary storage option, consider using a back of the door shoe organizer. Again, the quality can be an issue. Real Simple makes a great one that allows you to see the shoes.

Photo courtesy of Crate and Barrel

Option 5:  Closet Hang Organizers
Similar to over the door, this can work in some spaces, like a rental, or for seasonal shoes. However, valuable hanging space is hard to spare. Go with a solid option like the Milano line from The Container Store.


Photo Courtesy of The Container Store

The fun doesn't stop here! Next week, I'll continue this list with five more ways to organize your shoe.