Thursday, January 22, 2009

Target finds

Today I had to do a Target run, which turned into more of a crawl because I had some extra free time. It looks like spring has sprung there with some of their new decor items. The things in the pictures below would look great to spruce up a room with some spring color. I especially love the tray and the storage boxes (great for organizing). I don't have much pink in my house since I am outnumbered four to one (one of the males being my cat), but if I did, I'd love to use some of these items.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shelf life of beauty products

How many of us have bathroom cabinets overflowing with medicines and beauty products we rarely use or that we are just hanging onto for that one day "just in case?" This is an area of the house that can easily become cluttered very quickly. The medicines are a no brainer. Make this a twenty or thirty minute clutter buster task: go through your medicine cabinet and throw out any expired medicines. While you're at it, take an inventory of your beauty products and get rid of anything old or that you seldom use. I found a list in Real Simple magazine of the average shelf life of common beauty products. Here it is:

Anti-aging and acne treatments: Three months to a year. Antioxidants are easily oxidized, so be on the lookout for any changes in color.
Body lotion: Two to three years, particularly if it’s in a pump container.
Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel: About three years.
Bath oil: One year.
Sunscreen: Check the package for an expiration date.
Mascara and liquid eyeliner: Three to four months. Make sure you’re diligent about replacing these items to prevent contamination and infections.
Eye and lip pencils: Three to five years. Sharpen them before each use as a way to preserve them and keep them clean.
Lipstick and lip gloss: Two to three years.
Foundation: About two years. Most bottles are designed to last that long. And if you don’t use it, chances are you didn’t love it to begin with.
Perfume: About two years. To get more mileage out of a perfume, resist the temptation to display a pretty bottle on your vanity. Instead, stash it away in a cool, dark place.
Nail polish: One year.
Hairstyling products: Three to five years. Most are alcohol-based, which helps preserve the formula.
Bar soap: Up to three years.
Shaving cream: About two years.
Deodorant: Up to two years.

Pictured below is a bathroom cabinet that I worked on in a client's home. This was a bathroom not frequented often where beauty supplies and cosmetics had really started to pile up. I got rid of most of the stuff and used a couple of things around the client's house to organize what we kept.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Using kids' art as art

In this day and time, who has the money to buy original art for thousands of dollars? OK, some people do--but for those of us who don't, you might find some "original" pieces lying around your house. Recently I was over at a friend's and was looking up at a massive canvas in her family room. I said, "Who did this?" (thinking that it was a well-known modern artist). She told me that her son at done it when he was 18-months-old. Wow! I thought she had probably spent a fortune on it. She gave him free rein of the canvas and let him run his matchbox cars through paint and then onto the canvas. The result is quite spectacular. I also found some pictures of kids' art used as the main art on the wall of a home on the Apartment Therapy website. The second two pictures are from a family's Paris apartment. I think the artwork is absolutlely fantastic and gives the house such character and personality.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shared bedrooms

Lately I've been contemplating my boys, soon to be five and soon to be three, sharing a room. My two-year-old is turning three and probably needs to get out of the crib sooner than later. Both of spare bedrooms in my house are fairly small, so I don't know if it's even worth making one of them a playroom. I've heard different opinions about bunk beds, so I'm not sure if I want to go this route. Unfortunately neither room is big enough to put twins in side by side. So, no decisions made but tossing a lot of ideas around. Meanwhile I have gotten inspired by several shared bedrooms I've seen in magazines. In this month's Domino Mark Ruffalo's house is one of the features. He has a son and daughter who share a bedroom and I think they did a great job making it appropriate for both a girl and a boy. I love the fact that everything is not matchy matchy. As far as organizing ideas, I love the easily accessible bins on the shelves and the large play rug in the room. Putting a basket and trunk at the foot of the beds is a great idea. The third image is from, nothing looks like straight out of a catalogue. There is so much personality in the room. I love the vintage look in all of these pictures. I still have time to contemplate my almost three-year-old little boy's room and will enjoy any ideas and inspiration.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Using trays for organizing

Trays are great to use for organizing groups of things that go together. It is sort of like framing a picture--put everything on a a tray that was at one time spread about and it creates an instant sense of unity. The tray in the picture above has been used for several functions around my house but always seemed too small for mail, magazines, etc. I finally had the thought of putting it in my bathroom to corral a few items and also just for decor on the counter top. You can use trays all around the house--in entryways to gather keys or mail, on a side table to make an instant bar, on a coffee table for magazines--the possibilities are endless. One of my favorite design blogs is It is written by Anna Spiro, an Australian designer. She creates absolutely beautiful tablescapes with trays. Check out her website for inspiration. The first two pictures below are from her website; the last one of the bar tray is from Domino magazine.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Antiques Gallery, Mt. Pleasant

I love to browse through antique stores for fun. Yesterday I stopped by the Antiques Gallery in the Moultrie Shopping Center in Mt. Pleasant for a quick look. I was surprised and pleased to find quite a few treasures. Of course I didn't buy anything--not this time anyway. My goal was to find a few plates for a wall collage, but I didn't find exactly what I was looking for on this trip. Just getting ideas for myself and clients is tons of fun. This kind of store is also a great place to find containers for organizing--trays, plates, cups, vintage tins are great examples. I am in love with the vintage floral painting above--it was less than $150, and the tole trays. The two needlepoint florals below would look fantastic in a little girl's shabby chic bedroom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A new year

I have not blogged since right before Thanksgiving. The holidays came and things got so busy. If you're like me, it's nice to be settled back into a routine. I also feel that January is sort of a time to "spring clean"--even though we're a few months out on that season. Bringing home all of the Christmas loot was a bit overwhelming for me. We spent Christmas at my in-laws' and thus had to cart all of the gifts back. Luckily we have a minivan--I was embarrassed by how much seemed to be in the back of that thing. I had done a purge before the holidays, but upon bringing all of the stuff home, I found that another purge was necessary.

Reading a post on a blog site that I love ( inspired me to go hard core. Some things I had questioned whether or not to get rid of, I threw in bags with no thought. I mean, really, how many toys does a kid need? I am pretty happy with the results of my purging and also think my kids can now concentrate on playing with the new toys that they really like. They got a few pirate ships and accessories from Playmobil and Imaginext (great toys by the way). A good rule of thumb is "out with the old, in with the new." I've worked with people in my organizing business who want to keep all the old toys and books as hand-me-downs for younger siblings or to give to someone who might need it. The truth is the younger siblings will receive plenty of toys as gifts when it is their time to do so. Maybe keep one or two favorite things, but don't hoard. You will be overwhelmed in the end.

This year strive to have only things in your home that you LOVE--this means your closet, your cabinets, your toy boxes, your attic, etc. Free yourself from clutter--it's a constant battle but gives you such a great feeling when you can do it.