Month: April 2011

Getting organized

I’d heard about the “nesting” syndrome from friends who preceded me in the whole pregnancy/motherhood thing, but I was not quite prepared to find myself similarly afflicted … especially so early or so forcibly afflicted. I’ve never been much of a Monica-from-Friends style cleaning freak, so I figured that I’d skip the whole scrubbing-every-spare-inch-of-my-house phase that others had experienced – not that my house couldn’t do with some of that kind of elbow grease, but I digress. I guess nesting takes various forms, though, because I’ve been tidying and organizing up a storm around the house. Nothing like it for letting off some stress and anxiety as I head into the final stretch (a.k.a. the third trimester).
The first step was a thorough purge – everything from clothes, to knickknacks, to furniture that was pure overflow – gone or awaiting eviction. It’s funny how, even in a non-hoarding household, stuff somehow just … accumulates. It’s magic – like the reverse of what happens to the candy and chips in our pantry, which seem to disappear at an inexplicable and somewhat alarming rate, especially at night. Hmm … maybe the “racoons” who have figured out a straight path to our pantry (according to my husband) are the same ones who squirrel away random stuff all over our house. Damn racoons!
There are lots of easy and worthwhile ways to get rid of excess stuff – from selling on Kijiji or at garage sales, to consignment, and of course, donation. Many organizations will even pick up donated items from your house – no fuss, no muss for you. I recently discovered that Edmonton has its own Freecycle group – a network that allows people to donate/get free items and keep them out of landfills – which offers another great environmentally-friendly way to de-clutter your house. 
Once the excess stuff was dealt with, it was time to organize everything else. I am always looking for new and creative ways to efficiently use space in my house. Although we live in a comfortable 1,600 square feet home, space always seems to be at a premium when it comes to storage. We have no intention of letting our stuff dictate our lifestyle (no McMansions for us, thanks very much!), so we jump on any cool space-saving ideas that come our way. It’s one of the reasons I love walking around the IKEA store – a bad proposition in some respects (it’s “impulse-buy central” over there), but a great place for getting inspiration when it comes to making the most of small places. More on that later.
One of the spaces where my organizational skills are tested to the max is my closet. Even though I have the entire master closet at my disposal, I always seem to run out of room and end up with everything in a big, inefficient jumble. Especially when it comes to accessories. Even after a serious purge, I still have a fairly substantial number of them – and the challenge of organizing them in a simple, non-cluttered but easily accessible way. [Out of sight, out of mind.] I’ve written about some of my previous organizational efforts (here and here), but I’ve been working on tweaking them lately. 
Take my wire-frame earring tree. It’s perfect for fishhook-type earrings (and, in a pinch, bracelets, watches and hair clips), but not so useful for pin-type ones. Until recently, those were hiding in a random box, often forgotten.

Not anymore. I realized that my cork-backed necklace and pendant display board would work just as well for my earrings too. And voila – one box eliminated from my countertop, and its contents now more accessible than ever.

I also re-purposed an old earring stand (which was too small to hold my entire collection) as a bracelet display.

Next up, brooches. While they can look all cute and sparkly just scattered randomly around, it’s not the most efficient way to store them, especially when I get around to dusting the surfaces they’re sitting on. Enter this pretty, flower-shaped glass bowl from IKEA’s bathroom department:

For the low price of $7/each, I grabbed two and used the other to store necklaces that are too heavy to be hung on the cork-board. The symmetry-loving nut inside me was pleased with the visual effect. 

While I was hunting at IKEA for containers to store my accessories, I also came across a handy-dandy bathroom drawer organizer. This plastic, multi-compartment storage wonder ($20) was a god-send for my cosmetics and various toiletries – no assembly required!

I especially like the flap-like section in the front, which is perfect for easy access to make-up brushes, lipsticks and other tubular objects.
For my bathroom countertop, I love these glass jars for storing Q-tips and cotton pads. A Dollar Store vase completes the set, and is perfect for keeping my make-up brushes and mascaras organized and accessible. No more clutter in the morning!

My last (for now) IKEA find was the “Skubb” line of storage boxes and organizers. This one is awesome for the underwear drawer:
Its larger cousin (sold in a set of 3) will come in handy for keeping our family room kid-friendly while clutter-free. Now you see it:

Now you don’t:
Got a neat storage idea? Drop it in the comments!

Ooh la la

It’s not often these days that I get the chance to feel truly glamorous. With comfort at a premium, considerations other than ‘sheer fabulousness’ take priority in my daily closet deliberations. So when an opportunity comes my way to get glammed up, I run with it.
Enter my new Elie Tahari tunic dress. I’ve always been a fan of wild Pucci-esque prints, and this dress has the same aesthetic in spades. It’s loud, it’s bold, it’s fabulous. It was also only $39, about $10 more than the maternity leggings it’s going to “glam up” for the next little while. When it came time to accessorize, perhaps the giddy print went to my head a little, but I decided to go all out, with bright creamsicle-orange shades and a fierce bag to top everything off.

Dress, Elie Tahari ($39); leggings, Motherhood Maternity ($29);
flats, Taryn Rose ($36); bag, Louis Vuitton. 
 Sunglasses, Miu Miu (free/swap); bracelets, Nordstrom Rack ($12)

Your turn: what’s your go-to item when you need a little “glam” pick-me-up?

The social calendar: Suit Yourself – 3rd Annual Afternoon Tea

If you’re looking for an event that combines style and great community work, Sunday, June 5, 2011 is your chance to check out the 3rd Annual Afternoon Tea fundraising event organized by Suit Yourself, an Edmonton-based charitable organization which collects and distributes quality clothing and accessories, free of charge, to low-income women who are seeking employment or making a transition to the workforce.

This year, you can support the wonderful work of Suit Yourself by attending and enjoying the Afternoon Tea, which includes a Silent Auction Shopping Extravaganza and the first Fashion Challenge Competition. Tickets are $45. You can also organize a team to compete in the Fashion Challenge Competition, or donate items for the Silent Auction in support. For more information, check out