Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Then there are the times when you have to pull your home together in a hurry, you know, because company is coming. Like for Thanksgiving or something. 

Normally here’s what you do: shove all the stuff out on all the counters and all the piles in all the places into one or two concealed locations (a drawer, a closet). You tell yourself you’ll come back to it after your guests depart.

Then here’s what happens: you never go through the stuff again.

With that in mind, I present unto you 3 tips for when you find yourself in such a scenario. It should be noted that these are not standard LS operating procedure. They are, rather, aimed at injecting some LS into your method of madness. 

Company coming over in a day or even a couple of hours? All hope isn't lost! Tips for how to pull your house together FAST.

1. Deal with it

Anytime you clear surfaces in grand, sweeping moves and then cram the piles in places like drawers, cupboards, or bags, you run the risk of creating mini-disasters that are hugely difficult to decode after the fact. When there’s no rhyme or reason to a collection of stuff, there’s no roadmap for you to return to.

As much as possible, deal with things on the spot.

If it’s a stack of papers on the kitchen counter, do a fast sort (it’s possible, promise!), separating the papers into piles such as:

- Toss

- Bills

- File

- To do


Post-it notes are hugely helpful; write the category heading on your post-it, slap it on the corresponding papers, and then stack the categories horizontally and vertically, then horizontally (you know how it goes).

Doing so makes a world of difference in your being able to retrace your steps once your visitors have departed.

It should also be noted that if you actually call upon yourself to do a fast sorting method such as the one outlined above, you’ll be in for an additional 7-10 minutes, max. 

2. All hands on deck

If the areas in need of straightening up are shared spaces (likely) then the stuff laying around it is bound to belong to more than just one person in the household.

Make it known that all troop members are expected to gather in the living at, let’s say, at 08whatever, in order to pick up their respective belongings. Direct each one of them to deal with it (see 1) as well. 

Divvy out other tasks to them while you’re at it. 

3. You have options 

When preparing your house for guests, it’s good to be conscious of things like surface clutter and so on. People walking in will notice that straight off.

It’s important, as well, to consider the other things they’ll undoubtedly notice within moments of entering your abode. Pertinent suggestions here might include: smells, sounds, temperature.

Of course you’d like to shine on all fronts, but there are times when it’s equally worthwhile to buy some fresh flowers, light a candle, and turn on the tunes as it is to clear what might appear to your guests to be innocuous clutter.

The point here being: consider whether it’s really worth shoving all those papers away in a drawer and leaving yourself with that mayhem to (not) deal with later on, or whether you might compensate for the issue with some hot jams and crumb-free carpets.


That’s it from me this week, homies. Wishing fellow-Americans a happy Thanksgiving and the rest of you a happy life.  

Image credit: Chanel via Trendencias


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Favorite product list from a professional organizer!

1. Rosy Rings Home Fragrance Spray in Honey Tobacco

This fragrance spray has actually been one of my absolute favorites since April, when I bought it for myself as a birthday present. Only it finally ran out and so, slightly devastated as I am, I finally thought to include it here.

I’m not sure I had ever smelled any candle or spray “x and tobacco” scented before. Following first whiff, I happily unearthed a latent obsession.

I took to spraying this liberally in the air right before bed, and while it doesn’t have the greatest latest power, it nonetheless provided a nightly waft of intoxicating goodness.

The scent is a little bit sweet, a little bit smoky, much like the combination of honey and tobacco might be.

So the good news is that I think I’ll stick to describing Live Simply and leave the world of fragrances be, and the other good news is that you can smell it for yourself if you fancy. Fancy.

2. Can Dispenser

The easiest way to feel as if you’re the possessor of an ultra high tech grocery store.

I bought a bundle of these for my client’s pantry this past month. They were the perfect proportions for her shelves, and while I hadn’t used them before, the attitude is generally: let’s try it out and if it absolutely sucks it goes back. (Smiles all around.)

This dispenser pops together in around three seconds, it has an 8-can capacity, and, thanks to the power of gravity, it rolls canned goods forward to the front of the line. Sort of like how Evian bottles scoot forward in the convenience store chilled sections, only even more effective.

3. Huggable ultra slim finger clips

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve mentioned these before, so please forgive the potential repetition. These clips are the partners in crime to my beloved velvet slim hangers. They slide onto the hanger bar, instantly transforming that hanger into one capable of accommodating skirts, or other any garments you might want to clip up rather than drape over.

My only cautionary word would be that the clips always work best with their corresponding hangers, meaning if you bought the Container Store’s hangers you should buy the Container Store clips, the Amazon hangers; the Amazon clips, and so on.

4. Travalo Pink Refillable Spray Mini Perfume Bottle

A genius little contraption.

I’ve had a perfume atomizer for a couple of years now, and while it’s decent (I think it leaks? But I can’t be sure? But I don’t think I sprayed that much?), it doesn’t wow me.

For my trip this week (I’m on vacation, have I mentioned?) I upgraded to this version by Travalo, which seems like, better in every way.

a.     It has a little window in the side so that you can actually see the liquid level.

b.     It comes with a protective carrying case, or else I held onto the original packaging which seems deceivingly like a case.

c.     It comes in lots of colors, which basically doesn’t matter at all, but you know, options!

d.     The biggest factor: it has a little thingy in the bottom where you can insert the nozzle of your perfume bottle and just spray directly up into it—no fragrance sacrificed during transfer. With my old atomizer the best I could do was point the perfume bottle in the general direction of the tube and hope for the best. Big upgrade. Big.

5. Cameron Library Cubby Bookcase 

This bookcase went into the newly-established playroom at one of my client’s and let me tell you: it looked just as fantastic in real life, all loaded up with books, as it did in catalogue-form.

Solid, barely verging on stately by way of those library-style placards, it’s a great option for holding children’s books.

Plus, the cubbies have a bit of a lip, which aren’t at all as prescriptive as cubbies that have more of a substantial front-side, but still give you that slight edge over having books end up all over the floor (pun intended bet your bottom).

6. Goo Gone Pen

Enter this one into my ongoing saga with goo gone and plastic scrapers and whatever.

I almost wrote an entire Small Things post about this pen, but then I talked myself off the keyboard like, “Annie, it’s a pen.”

This is the format in which goo gone should ideally come. Because really, no one ever wants a river of that stuff flooding forth from a bottle. You just want a little bit right on the spot where you want it. And if you carry it in your bag on the daily, you don’t want to worry about it leaking.

Suffice it to say: latest work-bag essential. Just bought my second.

7. Linus Organizer Binz, Divided (size medium)

My love for Linus continues.

I’ve talked loads before about the Linus deep drawer bins and the Linus pantry bins, and here’s the latest installment: these compartmentalized bins. Being of this product family, they’ll work in any place. While marketed as being pantry organizers (and they would be naturals at holding sugar packets and so on, I agree) I play by my own rules, and so used them in my client’s gift wrap closet to hold gift tags. They worked marvelously, and, let me not forget to mention, are fully stackable.



Monday, November 24, 2014

Is this the cliche blogger move right now? Signs point to definitely, yes.

Ah, well: screw it.

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.

It’s coming on Thanksgiving for us Americans, and I can’t think of a group of people more deserving of my thanks than you.

You, reading while you nurse your son in Sweden, and you, too, as you go about your day in Israel, and all of you reading while you sit with a cup of coffee in your cramped (but lovely, I’m sure) New York apartments, and you in India and Australia and everywhere else.

I am so thankful to each and every one of you for being a part of this Live Simply.

So much has changed for me personally since I wrote my first post, but this blog has been a constant–a constant outpouring of my own brand of love and help. And I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to do that, for being receptive at all the right moments, for looking past my devout love of the word shit (I’ve been cutting back I swear! I mean, haven’t I?), for not seeming to bat one keystroke at my habit of making up words whenever the right one doesn’t feel like it’s out there already for me to use. 

I’m thankful for every ridiculously sweet and thoughtful email I get from you– the ones telling me about your own stories and how I, by virtue of this blog, have contributed to it. 

I am especially thankful for all your comments, tweets, email forwards, and more, because your help in spreading my message is integral and I don’t take any single one of those efforts to share it for granted.

I could not mean this more: thank you for understanding. You people get my humor and you acknowledge my sincerity, and you then you thank me for the words!

This blog is so much a part of me that I would probably be writing daily as I do even if nobody was reading. That you are, (so many of you!) (and from all over the world!) makes it so much more indescribably sweeter.