Dull Décor to Dining Room Delight!

Is your décor boring and dull?  Does your home appear cluttered because of too many collections?  Are you frustrated because you can’t achieve a cohesive look with a room full of mismatched furniture and artwork?  My latest project incorporates a diverse collection of furniture, artwork and accessories.  We brought this room to life by painting the walls a vivid color, editing the clutter to showcase prized possessions and switching furniture from one room to another.

I do not have “before” pictures of this project, because the painters’ had everything in the middle of the room and under tarps when I arrived.  The client chose this color before I started the project (it used to be off-white). 

This dining room hadn’t been used in years – it was a storage room for craft supplies, photos, picture frames, paperwork and miscellaneous clutter.  The vivid wall color (semi-gloss and flat paint stripes) may be too bold for your taste, but a deep color adds a lot of pizzazz to a small room.

 Myth – Light colored walls make a room appear larger. 

 Fact – Deep colors make the walls and corners recede.

We started by sorting the clutter and donated several boxes of “stuff” and tossed the “junk.”  We created project zones in the basement for the remaining items.  

We moved the client’s buffet to another room to make room for this inherited piece.

We borrowed the embroidered pillows from the great room for the King’s Chairs.  Salmon colored blinds were replaced with new curtain rods, valance and beaded panels (on sale at JCPenney).  

Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of glam! 

We shopped around the house for artwork and accessories to bring it all together.  The gold candles play off the gold in the artwork and the crystal pops against the dramatic wall color.  

The client only inherited two dark wood chairs, so we placed them at opposite ends of the table and moved the King’s chairs to the corners.  A lace tablecloth disguises the blonde wood dining table.

Your furniture doesn’t have to match – mix it up for more interest or camouflage incompatible stains. 

This china cabinet is another piece of inherited furniture.  We displayed antique glassware (which was hiding in a kitchen cabinet) and borrowed ‘treasures’ from other rooms. 

You don’t have to spend a fortune to update the lighting – the new chandelier replaced a dated brass fixture (Menards – $129.00). 

If you can’t afford to replace the lighting, you can update the finish with a can of spray paint.

Sometimes the little details bring it all together.  This carved wood corner shelf compliments the carved wood shelf across the room.

  In summary: 

• Sort through your clutter and donate items you no longer use or value;

• Re-locate furniture, artwork and accessories to different rooms;

• Group collections together;

• Edit your artwork and accessories to avoid a cluttered look;

• Avoid keeping items you no longer love – even if you still feel the sticker shock.

Above all, keep it simple.  Your home should be your haven, give it some breathing room.

For additional ideas, visit me on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/SassySpaces

or visit my website at www.SassySpacesInc.com

Sometimes the little details bring it all together.  This carved wood corner shelf compliments the carved wood shelf across the room.

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Turn Your Cluttered Closet into a Sassy Space

Re-purpose your Closets

Were you inspired to clear out your closets and give them a serious makeover after reading my June 15, 2010 blog?  If so, you discovered additional square footage.  Stop there; don’t fill them up just yet!  Those new-found spaces could save you money and solve a variety of storage solutions throughout your home.

Re-purpose your closets instead of purchasing additional storage units and overcrowding your living spaces. To buy yourself some additional space, assess everything in your closets and store only items that you need instant access to. In addition to purging and editing unused items, consider alternate storage areas:
• Store your off-season clothing and shoes in the attic or basement in clearly labeled plastic bins or in a garment closet.   
• Store a variety of items in under-bed plastic storage devices (Install bed risers if your bed is too low).
• Under-bed drawers aren’t just for kids’ rooms – they are great for clothing, shoes, scarves, ties, etc.

Now that you’ve cleared some space, maximize the remaining square footage with these inexpensive ideas:
• With the installation of a few shelves and baskets, part of your great room closet can house DVD and CD collections, games, toys, blankets, etc.
• If your kitchen is short on cabinets, create a pantry by installing shelves in a nearby closet.
• Pantries in older homes typically have too much height between the shelves.  Remove the shelves and install a few additional shelves, reducing the wasted space between them. Paint the walls and shelves for a cohesive look. Baskets and boxes keep loose items organized (jello, pasta bags, etc.). Store cereal boxes on their side so they fit on the smaller shelves. Lazy Susan’s are great for keeping spices and small bottles organized.
• A closet in your guest bedroom can be home to a mini-library or filing cabinets.
• Need a home office or craft room, but don’t have any spare rooms?  Clear out one of your closets and install a laminate countertop on top of one or two filing cabinets.  Install additional shelving for supplies and keep items in order with clear shoeboxes or bins. Your office or craft room disappears when the doors are closed.
• Take advantage of every square inch in your closets with hooks, bins and hat boxes.
• Keep your linen closet in order – insert sheet sets in the pillowcases and store soap and grooming supplies in clear shoe boxes. Place labels on the shelves so everyone knows where to put things.

In summary, stop treating your closets like a dumping ground. If you need creative ideas, we can help. For more information, visit our website at www.SassySpacesInc.com or send me an e-mail at SassySpacesInc@sbcglobal.net.

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Closet Organizing 101

If you’ve never done a serious purge in your closet, you are missing out on how GREAT you will feel once you clear it out.  If your closet is busting at the seams and your treadmill is nothing but additional clothing storage, it’s time for a makeover.  Think of all the fun you’ll have finding things you forgot you had and wouldn’t wear again – even if your best friend double dog dared you!  You’ll be amazed how much time you’ll save choosing an outfit in the morning once the purge is complete. 

Most of my clients hold onto items they’ve only worn once or twice because they still feel the burn of the price tag.  Don’t cry over spilled milk – someone else will treasure it or use it as a Halloween costume.  If you still can’t part with it, place it in a box, date the box and review it again in 6 months.  If you haven’t missed it, donate it or take it to a consignment shop. 

Follow these guidelines to keep your closets free of unwanted and outdated items:

• Keep a “donation” bag in your closet at all times.  When the bag is full, place it in your car and drop it off at your favorite charity next time you pass it.  Remember to start a new bag. 

• Apply the “give one, get one” rule for clothing and accessories.  When you purchase a new item, put an old one in the donation bag.

• As you delegate off-season clothing to storage, honestly assess every item.  If it no longer fits, or you haven’t worn it in a year or two, it’s time to part with it. 

• Sort your clothing by kind and color – this will not only make you realize how many similar items you have, it makes your outfit selections easier. 

Your closet design may need to be updated also.  One rod and one shelf just doesn’t cut it.  If you can’t afford the variety of closet systems on the market, here are a few inexpensive solutions:

• Plastic bins keep loose items in order;

• A double Hang Closet Rod instantly doubles your hanging space;

• A second shelf doubles your storage space;

• Shelf Dividers keep items from toppling over on the shelves; 

• A Hanging Shoe Bag or an over-the-door shoe rack keeps shoes organized and off the floor;

• Clear shoe boxes are great for special occasion shoes and accessories;

• Canvas Shelf Organizers are great for sweaters, T-shirts and purses; 

• Install hooks on the walls for belts, scarves and miscellaneous items.

Don’t stop there.  Paint your closet a bold and fun color.  If you have a walk-in closet with a single bulb fixture, install a glitzy fixture – make it fun!  Keep this in mind for kid’s closets as well.  If it’s fun and everything has a home, they might actually keep it neat.

Still overwhelmed?  We can help take you from mess to success.  For more information, visit our website at www.SassySpacesInc.com.

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Planning a Re-Design Project

I’m an avid gardener, and approach Interior Re-Design like I do with planning a garden.  You need to get rid of the weeds and give each plant enough room to grow and shine on it’s own.

Before you plan a re-design project, write down all the functions the room needs to serve.  For many people, a Great Room needs to accommodate a play area for the kids, comfortable seating for TV viewing, coffee and end tables for snacks and beverages, storage areas for DVD’s CD’s and sometimes a home office and/or a guest bedroom.  That’s a lot of functions for one room! 

If you don’t designate an area for each task, you’ll spend countless hours tidying up the room.  The most beautiful décor will not shine through mounds of clutter.  Your solution may lie in unused or underutilized areas of your home.  If you clean out an overstuffed closet in the front hallway, it could provide storage for your DVD’s or toys instead of purchasing a storage unit. 

If you still need a storage unit, think of future growth before purchasing one.  A constantly expanding DVD collection will spill over onto the floor if you buy something inadequate for your needs.  Consider some of these multi-functional storage devices: 

● Ottomans provide additional seating and hidden storage in just about any room – the foot of the bed, a children’s room or home office.  Most have lids for concealed storage and come in a variety of colors and materials.

● Shelving doesn’t have to be boring, mix and match colors, depths and heights to add more interest.  A few baskets keep loose items in order on open shelving.  If you prefer a cleaner look, choose a unit with doors to conceal all your “stuff”. 

● Re-purpose an armoire for your home office or paperwork central. 

● Choose a coffee table with drawers or baskets to keep clutter under cover.

● Decorative boxes on the coffee table keep remote controls and miscellaneous items in order.

Next, honestly assess the items in your home.  If you do not love something, if it is broken, or no longer serves a purpose, it may be time to re-purpose the item or let it go.  On the other hand, if a cherished item is lying in a closet because it needs to be repaired, bring it out, dust it off and display it in your home.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day!

If a room or house full of sentimental items in boxes is an issue for you, consider these options:  1) Take pictures of the items and display the photo, leaving room for your absolute favorites; 2) If you have too much “stuff” and it all clashes with each other, consider seasonal decorating.  A well-designed home is clutter free, and the items complement each other in a pleasing palette.  Is your home a sanctuary or something you want to run away from?

For more information about Sassy Spaces, visit our website at www.SassySpacesInc.com.

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Getting a Grip on Mail and Paper Clutter

Most of my clients struggle with incoming mail. They drop it on the first available surface – dining room table, coffee table, counter, laundry basket, etc. Consequently, they lose bills and pay late fees and finance changes. Follow these tips to keep it all together.

Things you will need:
• Recycle Bag
• Reading Box
• Decorative Mail Box
• Bill Binder
• File Folders
• A plastic bin for each child

Organize Your Mail
• When you bring the mail in, immediately toss the junk mail in a Recycle Bag. 
• Edit magazines, catalogs and newsletters and place the ‘keepers’ in a Reading Box.  This not only prevents stacks, but it helps you set a size limit for this type of clutter. When the box is full – time to purge. 
• Place the remaining mail in a Decorative Mail Box. Whether you use a cardboard box or purchase a decorative box, ALWAYS place mail in this box. 
• Open the mail once a week and follow these guidelines:

Bill Binder
Purchase a 3-ring binder and 3-ring binder pockets (package of 5). The first pocket is for bills due on the 1st, the second is for bills due on the 15th.  Place everything you need to pay bills in the remaining pockets – stamps, envelopes, address labels, etc., Keep the Bill Binder in the Decorative Mail Box.   

File Folders
Place non-bill related items in the following folders. You may need to add a file or two for your specific needs.  Store these folders in your Decorative Mail Box or create a separate “home” for them.
• To Do – Highlight the deadline date and write down detailed notes of every action you take. Review this folder at least once a week. 
• Filing – Before delegating items to this folder, recycle the envelopes and ads and unfold and staple documents.  File at least once a month.
• Medical – for ongoing medical issues.  Once you match the bill with the Explanation of Benefits, place these in your Filing folder.
• Receipts (by year) – This folder keeps these pesky clutter creators in one place and makes it easy to find a receipt if you need to return something.  At the end of the year, archive, shred or burn the contents.  Business owners, you need to keep receipts for 7 years – archive this file. 
• A file for each child – When this file is full, place the items in that child’s plastic bin.  At the end of the school year, sort through it with your child to find the gems and make a scrapbook for that year. Toss the rest.  This is a great project for those rainy days.

Paying your Bills
• Once the bills are paid, place them in your Receipts folder.
• Signing up for on-line banking and auto withdrawals will save you a lot of time. You can always dispute a charge with your credit card company in case you don’t catch a bill with an error on it.
• If budgeting is a concern, change the due date of your credit card so it is not due the same time as your mortgage.

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Creating Time to Get Organized

You’ve heard it before – go ahead, roll your eyes – being organized really does save you time and money.  You need to get organized if you:

●    spend a lot of time looking for things – frantically tearing through stacks of paper, mounds of toys, or overstuffed closets;

●    frequently buy duplicates of things you already have;

●    constantly purchase storage devices for items you no longer need or forgot you even had.

The first and easiest step towards getting organized is to establish a “donate” or “consignment bag”. 

It should have a permanent home in your laundry room or a hallway closet.  Place these items in it:

●    Clothing that you or your kids have outgrown or no longer wear;

●    Toys and games that your kids no longer play with;

●    Accessories, artwork and knick knacks that you no longer like.

When the bag is full, put it in your trunk and drop it off at your favorite charity or consignment shop next time you pass it.  A disciplined commitment to this will save you from overstuffed closets and piles of “I gotta go through that, someday”.

If you have a lot of clutter, you will need several bags or boxes.  Schedule one hour per room or have a purge fest on your day off.  Instead of dreading this task, think of ways to make it fun – play your favorite music, summon a friend for help or treat yourself to your favorite meal or movie at the end of the day.

If you just can’t find the time to edit your clutter, start by writing down your daily, weekly and monthly routines.  Place a star next to items where you can become more efficient.  Temporarily say “NO” to a few meetings, events and invitations.  Here are a few time and money saving ideas: 

●    Avoid procrastination.  Doing anything last minute is a time waster.  Keep a To Do list to stay on top of action items. 

●    Map out your errands so you can save time driving. 

●    Save multiple trips to the grocery store by planning your meals for the week. 

●    Instead of cooking the same meal repeatedly, cook vats of foods that easily reheat and store them in meal-sized containers in the freezer.  Invite a friend to a cookoff once a month and learn each other’s recipes.  Make it fun!   

●    Get a headset for your phone to free your hands for a variety of tasks while catching up on phone calls (without cricking your neck.)

●    When you bring the mail in, toss the junk mail into a recycling bag immediately; store the rest in a decorative box (not on a stack).  Open the mail once a week. 

●    Create a box, binder or file folder for each aspect of your life.   For example: Church, Professional or Personal organizations, Work, etc.  Immediately place literature that you NEED to reference in this system instead of on a stack.

Still overwhelmed?  Enlist the help of a professional organizer.  Visit my website at SassySpacesInc.com for more info.

Next week – dealing with mail and paper clutter.

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Dining Room Table Catch-all

This client was growing out of her home office, aka her dining room table. This is all too common for small business owners who do not have a spare room for a home office. In addition to losing a space for family dinners, she was losing bills in the clutter and paying them late. She used inappropriately sized boxes for filing and spent countless hours trying to find something in a filing system that was “hopeless” as she put it.

Solution:  We placed a $50.00 resale shop filing cabinet in the closet of her guest bedroom. The lock on the cabinet still worked so she had total privacy when guests visited. The outdated color of the filing cabinet and the nicks and dents don’t matter, because it’s tucked away in a closet. 

We helped her set up a filing system in the bottom three drawers with plenty of room for future growth. The top drawer houses her laptop and a basket for incoming mail and action items that can easily be transported to the dining room table and back. There is still plenty of room for guest clothes, sheets and towels in the closet.  Her dining room is now serving its intended purpose.

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