Get You House Guest Ready In Under 10 Minutes

One of the best parts about getting older is that the “drop by” is rarely done. I can’t remember the last time I drove near a friends house and thought, “oh, I’ll just knock on their door and see if they’re home”. Although in writing this, I realize that it most likely has more to do with cell phones rather than age. But I do think that age is still a factor as I’m sure, women especially know that the thought of someone just showing up on your own doorstep unannounced fills you with such dread that you would never do that to someone. So let’s all take a moment to be grateful for both wisdom with age and technology.

However…there IS often good reason for the “I’ll be there in 10 minutes” text resulting in a semi drop by visit. So this may be the down side to cell phones, we may have lost the no notice visit, but where visits used to be more planned, now the idea that you’re already out and about so you might as well stop on your way home visit exists. The good part about that is that it usually gives you at least 10 minutes to pull yourself and/or your house together really quickly. The bad news is that 10 minutes is very little time.

Keep in mid that sometimes, these visits are from your loved ones. Your near and dear, they’re seen it all, there is no need to tidy for them type people. Those are not the people who you are going to sprint for. Not because you don’t love them, but because really, they don’t care. You would in turn, not care if they did not tidy up for you, so no worries. Maybe brush your teeth if you know they’ll be near your face otherwise, meh. What I’m talking about is the stuff you do when your colleague is coming by with some papers to sign, or your kids new friends mom is dropping by with a favorite toy that was left in their car. Perhaps your in laws are in the area and want to say hi. In my case, it’s usually a client who is coming to the studio to shop for jewelry, so some level of decorum is expected.

I’ll start with the 10 minute deadline, and then move onto a few things to add on if you have extra minutes or if they’re late or something. Ideally you have a home where most of the things on this list are always done, but we have all have those days when they are not. If you have one things that has to be done, be thankful that you instead have a spare moment to brush your hair or change out of your jammies and into a pair of jeans. Or put put on a bra or something. Hmmm, I might do a post on that too. Until then, let’s get you ready for that semi drop by!

How To Get You House Guest Ready in 10 Minutes

1. Close doors of any room you just can’t even deal with.
Bed not made? Shut the door; Laundry room a disaster? Shut the door; Kids room a nightmare; shut the door. Basically you want to have as few rooms as possible visible to your guest that you have to tidy up.

2. Get all the trash out of the room/rooms.
It’s amazing how much garbage can accumulate in living spaces. Grab a garbage bag and toss in the newspapers, empty la croix cans (my husband leaves them everywhere), junk mail, tissues (my dogs love to carry them around and leave them on all over the place) and any big dust/leaf/whatevers off the floor. Basically you want to do this at a quick jog. Empty the waste baskets in the rooms guests will be into the bag and stick it in the garage/outside the back door/just get it out of the house. While you’re at it, if your kitchen garbage smells, that should go too.

3. Shove all clutter in a bag, basket or box and put it behind a closed door.
I’m serious. You will need to deal with what’s in the basket later, just grab everything that shouldn’t be there and remove it as fast as you can. Random socks, toys, books, blankets, whatever looks sloppy needs to be out of there. Make sure all dirty dishes are hidden too. You’re still jogging through all of this.

4. Grab a sponge or towel and wipe down any sticky/dirty surface in the rooms the guest will be.
Think kitchen counters, bathroom sink, etc. You’re not trying to really clean anything, just avoiding grossing out your company.

5. Light a scented candle or spray room spray, especially if you have pets.

6. In the final seconds, run around the room and fluff couch pillows, straighten furniture, tuck in chairs, straighten anything askew.
This is basically the equivalent of making sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth and your pants are zippered. (Maybe do that too)

Your house is now presentable for last minute company, yay!

If you have a few extra minutes:

1. Vacuum.
This is not the type of vacuuming where you’re moving furniture and getting under things, but rather a quick pick up of dog hair or dust bunnies.

2. Dust.
If you have rooms with a great deal of natural sunlight, the dust can look a bit more obvious on table tops that have not seen a duster for a bit. Grab a microfiber cloth or a feather duster and go to town as fast as you can.

3. Clean the bathroom.
No one has ever walked into a freshly cleaned bathroom and wished it was dirty.

4. Make the bed.
If you can see the bed from the where you’ll be with your guests or want to give your guest a house tour, pulling up a blanket and fluffing the pillows can make a world of difference.

5. Clean the pet hair off of seating areas.
A quick vacuum, roller or blanket spreading can make a difference (I always forget to do this and feeling incredibly guilty when guests sit on the dog hair covered couch).

6. Wipe down mirrors.
If you have mirrors in living areas, a quick wiping down of them will make the light sparkle better and everything look cleaner.

Whew, you did it! Pat yourself on the back and go offer your guests some coffee!

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Planner People

With many things in life, there are two types of people. In this case I’m talking about planner people vs non planner people. In what I’m about to write about, you can even break it down further to paper planner people vs digital planner people. I am a paper planner person, I am also, as of a few years ago, a printable paper planner person. This means that I felt that there was no planner out there that had the exact components I wanted in a planner, so I now print bits and pieces from a few different designs and make my own awesome planner.

If you meet a fellow paper planner person, you quickly become aware of your shared loved. You begin talking obsessively about the big names in planner land, and Erin Condrens name is tossed around like she’s your best friend. You compare likes, dislikes, what the current designs for this year look like, how you use yours and what planners you’ve used in the past. I eve have friends who are super planner people and they collect all varieties of planners, cases, inserts from all different designers and are active in both facebook groups as well as IRL meet-ups with other super planner people.

As much as I love planners, I am pretty utilitarian about it. I don’t carry one around with me, I don’t really care what it looks like, I’m annoyed where there are added frills like quote and inspirational images. I want a super functional system that aids my productivity. Because of these preferences, I tried really hard to go digital, as it just makes sense. I bought all different types of software and apps that each gave me hope and promise that I finally had found the digital system that worked, but I always ended up back on paper. Part of it was that duplication and deletion issues were causing too much frustration with synching between my phone and computer. Part of it was that I could never see a quick and broad enough view on my phone. And then another part of it is that I like to take pen to paper and I find that list making is a big part of how I use a planner and it was too much text for digital. In general, I really prefer writing anyway, its quicker for me, and I remember things better when I write them down. The only issue I was having was finding a planner that had all of the things that I like, but not having the things that I don’t like. Which is of course why I ended up being so into the printables. I found Scattered Squirrel a few years ago and for two main reasons, fell in love. One, is that there are so many different styles and options that I can cobble my dream planner together exactly how I envision it. Two, that I can try something new and print out a few weeks of pages (which is only a couple of sheets of paper) and if it doesn’t work for me, I can print something else out swap it out in the binder without having to switch planners, transfer content or waste paper. So good.

I will however be the first to admit that this is a bad idea for those who are not hyper organized. I imagine you would be overwhelmed with the options. Remembering to print out ahead of each month or whenever, could be overwhelming and figuring out the order to print the pages can get tricky. I love it though and find that it works really with the GTD system. That is another awesomely obsessive topic…who else swears by David Allen and GTD?? I tend to fall off course with it from time to time, but I still find that even when I am not my most productive and focused, just the basic knowledge of the system means that I get everything done that has to be done. The brain dump concept is one of the best things to happen to my mental state and something we should all do to clear the mental clutter often. If you are unfamiliar, the idea is to spend a little time, ideally once or twice a day or when feeling overwhelmed and just start writing/typing everything out that’s on your mind. I think it’s mean to be done in list form but I have started to write a few pages free form in the morning before I start my day to just get all the chatter out, then I brain dump a list of to-do’s. During the day, I am more of a random, jot down when I think of it person so I typically do one brain dump a day, but at night I sometimes will use my phone when I’m lying in bed to type up a brain dump and send it to myself. This is really helpful if you are the type of person to lay awake at night over-thinking. The brain dump concept is brilliant in that it really allows you to “let go” of all the stuff you are focusing on that is unnecessary. For example, that I need to buy a lightbulb for over the kitchen sink, order the new book for book club and lower the feet on the dryer are things that are bouncing around in my head right now as I have not written them down. As soon as I note them on paper, these things quiet and I can focus on say, the ideas I have to write here. The most important thing to remember with this though is that you have to make sure you do gather up and create action with all of these brain dumps, not just stuff them in a drawer and forget about them. Which is why of course we GTD people are also planner people.

The only downside of my current planner usage is that I like a large planner and I like to keep it in a 3 ring binder. This almost always lays flat and open, on my desk. I do not take it with me ever. This meant that keeping track of meetings and appointments when I made them out of the house was getting tricky. I dislike ical enough that I was not using it so I was taking photos of a couple of months of my planner and trying to reference them when I was making an appointment but that sounds useless even when I am writing it. It was obviously not something that worked. When I started doing the tv project, I needed some way to have at least meetings and events entered in my phone that I could see a month at a time without clicking on the day for details. I eventual discovered the app Fantastical as it has a feature that I especially enjoy. When you rotate your phone horizontally, the calendar turns into a block view, similar to what a printed calendar looks like, and gives a quick and effective overview. So now I just have to make sure I have things entered in both the paper version and the phone. It’s not a perfect system, but it works.

Sooooo, are you a planner person? If you’re a paper planner person, what system do you use? The beauty of this world is that there is something for everyone, share your system in the comments!

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5 Rules To Organize Anything

5 Rules To Organize Anything

Organizing is never something that I do, it just happens. If I look at a shelf and a pile of items to go on it, there is no thought process that really goes on, I just put the items on the shelf and there they are, all organized. I however think that this happens as I have conditioned my brain over the years to see a pile, break it down in my head of how to process it and then place it accordingly. The basis of the conditioning is to live by these 5 rules which can be applied to an area of your life: your home, your desk, your car…you name it.

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1. Only buy and keep things that are useful or beautiful.

I learned something interesting after my apartment flooded one year and I lost cards, letters, old journals, pads with a few pages of paper left, fabric scraps etc. It felt amazing to not have to store it all and made me never want to deal with any of it again. 3 great reasons to NOT hold on to things. They are purely sentimental (but nothing you ever want to look at again like cards, childhood mementos); could maybe serve a purpose one day (scraps of paper, fabric) or because it was expensive (old electronics, clothes).

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2. Everything in your life has to have a place.

Every single time you bring something new in or get rid of something in a space, take a moment to reorganize and make new homes for everything. The secret to staying organized is to stay on top of it! There should be homes for everything. This means your keys, the milk in the fridge, your toothbrush and on and on. My bathroom was low on storage, so the first thing I did was to buy something to give my stuff a home. Make sure when shopping for storage that do a little planning ahead and include room to grow. I could only fit something small in here without it looking weird, so I reorganized what I needed to actually be kept in the bathroom and moved some things out to a cupboard in the bedroom. Remember that where things live is a constant evolution, I’m always movig things around and rearringing.

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3. When you’re finished with something, put it back in it’s place immediately.

Do not leave the flour on the counter because you may bake again tomorrow or the colored pencils all over the living room table in case you want to color again later. However note that if you find yourself leaving the same things in the same places that are not where they belong, then you need to assign them a new home closer to where you keep leaving them. In my pantry, I keep a big basket for dirty dishtowels. This is due to once upon a time, the towels never making it to the laundry room, but sitting in a pile on the floor. Now the dirty towels have a home and no more pile on the floor! Also note that if it’s an ongoing project, temporary places need to be established for everything involved (like stick all those colored pencils in a pretty cup).

5 Rules To Organize Anything

4. When organizing and storing items, use similar storage containers for ease of stacking and to reduce the visual clutter.

Once you get your matching containers, do not just fill those big bins and baskets with a chaotic jumble of items. Within each storage container should be a system and finding what you need within your storage systems should be instantaneous. All of our photos are kept in decorative, same size boxes in a big closet where we store seasonal decorations, winter coats and scarves (which are in the bins under the coats) that we use mostly when we travel north. The photos are organized chronologically in the boxes, the clothes by item and activity level (snowboarding, NH winter worthy, mild winter) and holiday decor in bins by by holiday and what they are (christmas lights in one box, halloween outdoors in one, halloween costumes, and on and on). I never have to look for more than a few seconds for something in this closet because of this.

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5. Group like items together for both storage and everyday items.

Above I explained how similar items are great to store things, but what about for everyday? A great example is my closet. Sure there are the obvious such as jeans or socks or blouses grouped together, but some areas there are so many of something, like my dresses, that it needed to go deeper. So I started thinking about how I get dressed. I am usually getting dressed for either a. something low key, like errands; b. day time more dressy activities like meeting and lunches; c. dinner or cocktail parties; or d. more formal night time events. Keeping these in mind, I grouped dressed by these categories and within the categories I arranged them by sleeve length (strapless all the way to long sleeves). This makes it so when I am getting ready for a meeting, I am looking at only a chunk of clothes right for that time of day and activity, if it’s chilly, I look more to the right and if it’s super hot, to the left. I do the same with shoes, toiletries (hair products, lotions, face products), food (oils, vinegars, teas, spices, herbs), dishes (china, everyday), studio supplies (findings, gems, glass), and all sorts of other things. The more you break down a selection of items, the easier it is to find things. Add chronological, color or alphabetical orders to the mix and it can get amazing!

 

I hope this list inspired you to flex your organizational muscles, happy organizing!

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Top 5 Favorite Things Right Now

Shoe boxes in action in the studi
Shoe boxes in action in the studio

I enjoyed my Top 5 Favorite Things so much a few weeks ago, that I have decided to do it again. That’s the beauty of having your own blog after all, you share whatever you want.

1. Jelly hair elastics. I have been using these for a few years and feel that it is my duty as a person with fine long hair who is athletic to bring these up. These things do. not. move. You can jump up and down, run for miles, punch and kick shit and get soaked with sweat and your ponytail will be right where you left it. They are not the easiest to remove as you can’t just pull it off your ponytail, and instead have to unwind it, but no big deal. I bought mine at the grocery store, but Amazon has them too. (Scunci No-slip Grip Evolution Jelly Ponytailers)

2. Crime shows. I have yet to meet one that I did’t love. I actually screamed in excitement yesterday when I saw that there was a new season of NCIS on Netflix. I have watched probably most of the shows out there, but am always looking for suggestions for new ones. I have a few days coming up where I will have to lay low on the couch and take it easy so I’m currently trying to prep myself with good tv…well, you know what I mean.

3. Jicama Tortillas. My gal pal Cyndie brought these to book club to go with her epic cuban pork and holy moly, they’re amazing! They don’t crack/rip/break as you’d think they would, are crisp, delicious (I have a crazy crush on jicama) and really good for you compared to a real tortilla. I’m not sure if other states have them but we have them at HEB here in Texas in the produce section and I HIGHLY recommend you try them.

4. The Container Store shoe boxes. I bought 2 cases for my studio when we moved and I’m ready to order a few more cases. They are great for organizing, well made and cheaper than most boxes this size. I heart them.

5. Magic Erasure. I have been using these for years and years and every single time I use one, I agree that it’s magic. Every house should have one on hand so you can experience it’s magic powers.

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June 2016

Photo Jul 14, 11 05 19 AM

Yesterday I was organizing the piles on my desk since moving in last week and almost fell over when I realized it was already July 13th. Then I looked at my last blog post and I was even more shocked that June seemed to have not existed at all, woah. As I’m sure you assumed, the busier real life is, the less on is on the internet. June was for sure one of those times. It’s all pretty much a blur but there was a week in NY with my family, finding and closing on a house and a week of really intense packing. I may have missed the boat on holiday pitching throughout all of this, but I was at least trying to keep up with the prep for that as well.

The first few days of July were filled with the closing and 3 days of intense DIY moving with a uhaul van. The first day we almost killed Gretchen by moving in the triple digit Texas heat and I logged 35k steps each day doing van runs mostly by myself as Adam had to work (bad timing with a move immediately after vacation btw, try and avoid that!), on the 4th day, the movers came for the big furniture and we joined our stuff over in the new house. This entire week was filled with unpacking and shopping. I’d unpack from 9 – 4 and then take a break to go get food and shop for things I realized I needed in the unpacking. You know the kind of stuff: baskets, bulbs, hanging things, storage pieces and on and on. For about a week there was lot’s of shopping for furniture, scouting for future furniture, and buying all of the organizing and gardening things. I realized last week that I went to Home Goods every single day for 8 days. There were 3 in rotation, and it was intense. Target was also in heavy rotation and I visited Nadeau, Pottery Barn, Pier 1, Z Gallery and Restoration Hardware at least 2 times each. There were a few days where we were going to any store we could think of with big stuffed chairs and sitting in every single one. I also realized that we at this point had all of the storage furniture we needed and I was feeling over shopped and becoming incapable of making any more decisions with the decor.

Do you get that feeling when you move? You have a vision of where certain things are going and what you want the vibe to be and then you start to wonder what the hell you’re doing? Yeah, that’s where I am now. I’m a big believer in living in a space before really decorating though, so I think I just reached the point where I was making decisions I wasn’t ready to make without living in the space first. So for the past 4 days, I have enjoyed the feeling of having all the boxes unpacked, the closets, cupboards and shelves sort of organized (these will evolve over time too) and I’ve gone back to work in the studio. Every time our voices echo from having nothing on the walls, I cringe slightly, but am still not ready to pull the trigger on where to hang all the art. We have a great deal of art at this point. I have given away/sold most of my own paintings but I still have a decent amount of them, I have a collection of photographs I adore, we have art by friends and family, inherited pieces that we have a few of and more coming in the late summer and of course, the collection of large photographs that Adam and I have bought as our Christmas gifts each year we’ve been married. The third is pretty large and at the framers right now. In the back of my mind, I’m waiting on gettting that back to make any other decisions as it’s 42.5″ x 42.5″ and will command a big wall. At the same time, I’m pretty content with waiting a bit more anyway.

After the art there are a few details like curtains in the bedrooms, the decision on where and if area rugs should come in and a few pieces of big furniture we need to order. Any input on where you have bought really big and comfy chairs would be appreciated btw. I need a large piece of furniture for the bedroom and both of us think it’s the perfect place to put a reading oasis for me that I can retreat to when Adam is watching movies and I want a quiet and comfy place to go. We love the grande chair/chair and half with an ottoman idea and are considering all the options out there right now. House plants, accent furniture and furniture for the third guest room are on the list as well. But for now I’m just enjoying being back in the studio with the dogs.

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The Monica Closet

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The Monica Closet in all its large and ugly glory

I am naturally a really organized person. This just means that my brain puts things in logical order. However, in order to actually be organized, I have to stay on top of it. I remind Adam constantly that the secret to being organized to always be reorganizing. If you go shopping, you have to move things around to make room for the new so everything has a place. If you notice that you are using a different counter in the kitchen then your tools are near, you need to re-organzie. As you can imagine, I am constantly moving things around. Except for this one place. I call it my Monica’s Closet as a reference to Friends, when the very neurotic Monica was found out for having a secret closet that was insanely messy, disorganized and out of control. She explained that everything in her life has a place and a system…and well, in the closet are all the things that do not fit any of these systems. Like a junk drawer on steroids. So yeah, I relate and accidentally created my own version.

It started out innocently enough. We moved in and there was this cupboard looming at me from the laundry room off the kitchen. At first I was really excited as I have a lot of dishes, gadgets, etc and was grateful for the extra space. Then I opened it. It’s made from cheap materials and not well. The shelves are huge and really far back. They’re so large that I could curl up on each one and comfortably nap. It makes it so you cannot really get to the things in the back and as it’s so dark in there, you see back there. As I unpacked, I started stashing things in there that I didn’t need at the moment and wanted to deal with later. Like drawer organizers and bar wear and huge vases. I’ll admit that if I owned this house, I would have removed the thing asap and put in shallow, white, floor to ceiling cupboards with adjustable shelves and doors. As I don’t, I’ve just kind of ignored that I hated it and over the few years we have been here, I just started throwing things back there and up on the higher shelves when I didn’t know what else to do with them. The middle shelves were not as bad as I keep the laundry and cleaning supplies in the front of one and baggies, tinfoil and the like in the front of another. Behind those was who knows what though.

Over the last few months, with all the the confusion of “are we moving, are we not?” I lost my organizing mojo and let a few other spaces go that were a bit more out in the open. Yesterday, I got on a tear and after vacuuming the couches, started tackling the shelves in the living one by one. It felt so good that at 7pm I looked at the clock and knew I had to decide to work out or keep going. I was really feeling motivated to tackle the Monica Closet, so I figured as this has not happened in three years, that I needed to take advantage of the feeling. So I jumped in. It actually didn’t take that long, I’m pretty quick with a clean out. I moved across the country still pretty recently and three times within Austin since then, so at this point there is little that I don’t want to keep, but I found much more to donate than I thought I would! I boxed up a bunch of stuff that I did want to keep but don’t have room for at the moment for the garage (things like my beloved fridge magnets, martini glasses, mini silver vases) and stored them out there. I threw out a few empty cleaning supplies and light bulb boxes and assessed what was left. I then sorted, contained and put back in everything I wanted to keep in there, putting the items I use the most up front and keeping them low so I could reach the back. Things like candle sticks went on the very top and in boxes so I can slide them out easily. Its really all about grouping like items and containing them so they don’t move around. And then, just like that, my Monica Closet was no more.

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A case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder…it’s ugly but it’s so much better.

Let me tell you , this was an AMAZING feeling. I felt more accomplished with this feat than anything I’ve done in awhile. I keep opening the door and peeking in. Its lovely.

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DIY Planner Perfection

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I cannot help myself, there are multiple calendars in there.
We all know I have an obsession with calendars, but for the most part my addiction to planners has been pretty minimal. Mostly because I just gave up on finding what I wanted, and I’d settle dfor what is available. Really I think this is the entire reason for being so into calendars…but maybe not. They may end up being two separate and intense loves. Last week I was chatting with Renee about the quest for the perfect planner and how I gave up. Renee on the other hand has been diligently searching and searching for years, and refuses to give up…I’m in awe of her perseverance. It made me have a burst of renewed desire to find perfection in planner form and I took to google. I came close with the planners by Emily Ley, but when I discovered that they sold out months in advance, I was over it. Then I started looking at printable pages on Etsy. Which led me back to google, which finally brought me to Scattered Squirrel. I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time this week downloading and printing pages. Testing them out for a day or two, seeing if they worked for me or not. I stapled different pages back to back to see what order I liked everything in…I may have wasted a bit of paper. But then I began to get really excited. You see I don’t need an agenda style planner…mapping out times is not really what I’m looking for. Its more of the goal tracking/list making that I need to do. But I want to do so on daily/monthly and weekly levels and this just does seem impossible in a preprinted version. Most likely as it will get very large.

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Two of the pages for days of the week.
As the week has progressed, I have been kept up at night about how I will keep all of this assembled. To test it out, I just stuck it all in a white ½” 3 ring binder. I use them all over the place in the studio, so I had one on hand. I however felt that I needed something bigger…and maybe with a bit more flair! I thought of having it bound, but decided against it as I think the best plan is to remove the daily pages at the end of each month, keeping only the week/month goals in there. This way, the size stays smaller, I can look back and see progress and if I don’t want to track a day (say a day off), I’m not wasting paper. I have also already eliminated pages that I had at first thought I’d use, but after a few days realized I would not. So I imagine that as time goes on, I will be removing or even adding things (there are so many different options to choose from!!!). But for now I am really excited about what I put together. But wait…it get’s better.

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It’s very hard to photograph a glitter binder, so this photo is the product shot.
I ran into OfficeDepot to grab some ink earlier today and stopped in my tracks because: GLITTER!! Right on an end cap was a sparkly gold glitter 1″ 3 ring binder, with mint interior!! I gasped so loud, a sales associate heard me and chuckled. It’s perfect. (note: I only like glitter that does not shed and this is all contained in plastic, so it is safe glitter). I now have the perfect planner (until someone makes one that like more). Yay.

 

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Clean vs Organized

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I’m sure there are people out there who have both a neurotically clean house and meticulously organized one. I must not know those people. I’ll admit I am insanely organized, but through no real effort. It comes to me as naturally as breathing. I admittedly spend a decent amount of time doing tasks to promote order to the stuff in my life, but they are tasks I enjoy doing. I believe in a place for everything and everything in it’s place and in order to live that way, you need to be constantly rearranging and staying on top of things. Even laundry is not so bad and I stay incredibly on top if it, but mainly to keep it from becoming visible or clutter. I also change the sheets and clean the kitchen neurotically as there is something about where I sleep and eat that makes me need extremely clean spaces. I do not however like to do cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting or cleaning the bathrooms at all. For years I had a cleaning lady who would come in twice a week and do all of these dreaded tasks, but as I work at home full time now, it was stressing me out when I needed to work and either had to leave, or have someone was here cleaning for hours.  Truthfully I felt guilty and would end up spending the time cleaning with her and that was just weird. So now I am left to tackle it all, and I just avoid the things I don’t like to do. The result is that embarrassingly enough, it sometimes means that weeks go by without vacuuming. Or mopping…oh wait, weeks? Yeah, I’ve never mopped in this house. How is it that a person who freaks out if the curtains are not hanging correctly or keys are not in the “key spot” can not care if the floor is dirty? The sad part is that when I finally get grossed out and get out the sponges and sprays, that I get it all done in a little over an hour. An hour! That’s all it takes to manically clean the house, I spend more time each day on facebook! Unfortunately this confession will do little to change my habits, but at least I feel a bit lighter having told you, it was cathartic. Just promise to give me an hours notice before you come over so I can pretend that none of this is true.

 

 

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Taking your closet to the next level

Apparel tags

Being a wearer of dresses and skirts, I find that keeping track of the dry cleaning/laundry cycle is a bit of a dilemma. Especially as I work from home and therefore will often wear a dress for only a two hour period and then back on the hanger it goes. This is due to my having a bunch of skirts that are my “studio skirts” that I wear with plain white t’s when in the studio as when I make rings, the wire has been known to attack my arms and clothes as it flies around in the wrapping process. Anyway, I have a system with the skirts that whatever I have worn gets moved all the way to the left and back to the right when clean but the dresses are more organized (by color and level of formality) so I don’t have a useful system in place, only a pretty one. Being the neurotic organized person that I am, I have had “create a method to track what dresses have worn” on my to do list for a few years. I have thought of using a few methods such as the turning the hanger around trick. But I know that would drive me crazy as I have an all matching hangers, equally spaced apart situation and could not handle a backwards hanger. Well that and does it really work with shaped wood hangers? I also though of attaching colored yarn to the hanger but that would also only indicate it was worn once and the thought of multiple colors made my eyes twitch for the same reason the turned hanger concept did.

Apparel tags

A few weeks ago I was over at Knock Knock, picking up a new grocery list pad (if you are a list maker, this company will be your new BFF. I found them waaaay back when they were a baby company in the early 2000’s and instantly was smitten, they have remained awesome as they have grown and I own ALOT of their stuff) and I could’t believe but they had my solution. Apparel tags made to loop on the hanger with places to note things such as when it was last worn, if it needs to be washed and other important fyi’s. Lets also not overlook a key factor here, that they are designed beautifully. I almost fell over they were so perfect. I’ll admit that I have yet to implement my new system though as part of me is struggling with everything not being laundered first so everything starts from the same base. Btw, it’s very difficult dealing with needs like this, as I feel crazy even thinking them but I know I’m not alone in thinking these thoughts so thats helpful. I also know that I’m overdue for a good clean out of what I haven’t worn this year, and have been waiting for temps to drop from the 90’s first. So you know, it might not happen for another month, but then…oh then, my world will be a happier place!

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Organizing the paper trail from an online shop

Binder clips
Binder clips are oddly addictive to collect

This is a pretty specific topic, but I am often asked how I keep track of orders from all of the places I sell online, so I figured it was worth a post. Really, this method can be used to sort any type of office papers so it might actually be helpful to many of you. Let me start by explaining what I’m talking about that needs organizing. The business model that Manic Trout is focused on is online sales and wholesale orders. I believe strongly in multiple revenue streams, so I sell on more than just my own website online. I sell on a variety of “anyone can sell here shops” such as Etsy, curated shops that I had to apply to sell on and I have drop shipping accounts with online stores that buyers have reached out to me from.  All of these stores either send me an email when an item is sold or I login once a day to download the orders that have come in that day. Most of these places in addition to having their own specific packing lists have certain ways that are particular to how and with what materials they are shipped. In addition to all of these shops, I also received most of my wholesale orders in email form, from either stores who I deal with directly, or through my showrooms and reps. This ends up being a great deal of chaos if not handled properly and as my policy is to ship within 3-5 days, I need to keep up to 5 days of orders from different stores managed so I know what I have already made and in stock in the jewelry closet, and what still has to made for these orders.

inventory lists
The lists next to my desk of inventory

The other paper that I find key to have easily accessible is a list of what I have sell in each of the dropship accounts. I like to be able to see at a glance these lists for multiple reasons: if I am discontinuing something at the end of a season, I need to make sure everyone knows this, to make sure I always have these pieces in stock and ready to go and to make sure that they all have pieces from the most recent of my new collections. For sites that I am managing the inventory myself on a site like Etsy or Chictoipa, I use a spreadsheet on the computer to keep track of listings as there are over 500 at any time.

hooks
I tend to  always choose the wire hooks, but use both the white and clear

Over the years, I have tried multiple ways to handle all of this paper, and after I rearranged my studio a few weeks ago, have actually gone back to a modified system that I first used in about 2005. I am a visual person (obviously) and need to see everything in front of me or I tend to forget about it. When I only have copies of the dropship stock on my computer, I can never remember what is on it. If I stack up all of the orders in a big pile, it does not motivate me to get it all out the door immediately. So I find that I need to be able to have a lot of paper hanging on the walls. The damage free hooks that have the pull tab double sided sticky foam mount have made it so I can have hooks all over the place in the studio without doing harm to the walls, perfect for both moving things around and putting up tons of them guilt free. The little ones hold up to 2lbs and binder clips are the perfect way to hold the paper and hang on the hooks at the same time.

orders organized
The wall of orders

Next to my desk, I have two racks of hooks hanging where I keep both the drop ship account inventories and a list of the percentage that all revenues takes from sales and the billing/payment schedules and methods. I was surprised at how often I have used that list, its really helpful to have it right there. On the big wall behind the jewelry making area and next to the shipping area, I have three rows of hooks. This wall is for orders. I hang them right to left, most recent order on the right, with a separate hook for orders from each outlet per day, but all of the orders from the same store, i.e. all manictrout.com orders for the day are in one binder clip. When orders come in and before I put them on the wall, I take the inventory from the closet if in stock and update the binder where I keep track of that inventory and put it all in the shipping area. I then write down all of the “need to make” items on a pad that I keep in the main jewelry making area so I know what has to be made for each date of orders to ship. The binder clips are great as they are easy to move around on the hooks, as sometimes the orders that I already have made inventory for will ship the day they come in and this way everything still can move around stay in chronological order easily.

So thats how I attempt to keep my sanity managing all of these accounts. It’s what works for me…I hope it was either enlightening or inspiring for you!

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