Holiday Roundup

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I hope you and your families had a very Happy Thanksgiving! Since the holidays are still rolling, today’s post is a roundup of seasonal tidbits to keep you in the holiday spirit ‘til 2014.

In case you missed it, SHMorganizing was featured in MyScoop Birmingham: 10 Steps On How To Get Organized For The Holidays. Check out the article to keep calm and enjoy the holidays!


Organization is obviously a passion of mine, but playlists and stocking stuffers bring out my happy dance as well. So, in honor of this busy time of year, I’ve created a playlist of seasonal tunes to keep your spirits bright and a collection of stocking stuffer ideas to assist with your shopping.

I absolutely love music – all kinds of music! I can’t hold a tune or play an instrument, but you’ve never seen someone hit her Shazam app faster when a great song comes on the radio, plays in an elevator, is heard in a film score, etc. I surround my family with music and have a playlist for almost any occasion.

Below are some of my favorite Christmas songs - about an hour and a half of music. Each song compliments the next, so just hit play and go about your gift-wrapping, partying, holiday baking, or fireside relaxing.

SHMorganizing’s Holiday Playlist
  1. “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” – Dean Martin
  2. “Cool Yule” – Louis Armstrong & The Commanders
  3. “Carol of the Bells (Instrumental)” – David Foster
  4. “Baileys Nutcracker (Britell Remix)” – Nicholas Britell [I love this remix of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker by Baileys – hear it in their new, and very cool, holiday commercial here]
  5. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings (with Sarah McLachlan)” – Barenaked Ladies
  6. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey
  7. “What Christmas Means to Me” – Stevie Wonder
  8. “Merry Christmas Baby” – Bruce Springsteen
  9. “A Christmas to Remember” – Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers [who doesn’t love a Dolly & Kenny duet?!]
  10. “Sleigh Ride” – Ella Fitzgerald
  11. “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” – Frank Sinatra
  12. “O Tannenbaum” – Vince Guaraldi Trio from A Charlie Brown Christmas
  13. “Winter Wonderland” – Kenny G
  14. “Blue Christmas” – Harry Connick, Jr.
  15. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan
  16. “Little Drummer Boy (featuring guitarist Andy McKee)” – Josh Groban
  17. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Michael Buble'
  18. “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  19. “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” – Nat King Cole
  20. “Home Alone (Somewhere In My Memory)” – John Williams
  21. “Joy to the World” – any version or artist [my husband & I have a December anniversary and we exited the church to this song…goosebumps every time I hear it!]
  22. “Stille Nacht (Silent Night)” – Mannheim Steamroller
  23. “Auld Lang Syne” – Mairi Campbell & Dave Francis
SHMorganizing’s Stocking Stuffers

I’ve only been buying stocking stuffers for a few years, but it has become something I look forward to each holiday. To me, stocking stuffers should be a mix of fun and practical. Bring on the kitchen gadgets, but enough already with the pocket cocktail books! It’s not a big stretch to see why I don’t like such clutter culprits…

So, to minimize clutter and maximize joy, here are a few options to consider (click on images to enlarge):

FOR HER
FOR HIM
FOR HER OR FOR HIM
  • tech gloves for touch-screens, for her or for him
  • wine in these holiday bottle holders [great host/hostess gift as well]
  • Table Topics
  • personalized photo calendar
  • personalized e-cookbook
  • Eye-Fi Mobi+Wi-Fi memory card [instantly transfer photos or videos from your digital camera to your smartphone or tablet - no wireless network required!]
  • charitable donation in the recipient’s name
  • “homerun” gift certificates – e.g. iTunes gift card for yours truly [gift certificates have gotten a bad rap for being impersonal, but they’re a fantastic option as long as you keep the recipient’s best interests in mind]
  • hand-written letter [some of my most prized possessions are notes given to me by my husband, father, and grandfather]
  • The unexpected! Occasionally step away from practical and go full-on fun with some sparkly jewelry for her or great seats to his favorite concert or game.
Happy Holidays and don’t forget: if you need any help taking down and storing decorations after Christmas, please contact SHMorganizing at (205) 623-9166 or info@SHMorganizing.com.

'Til next time,
Stacey

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are mine alone. I have not been compensated in any way to review or promote these products.

Birmingham-based professional organizer, Stacey McElrath, helps clients throughout Alabama and the southeast clear clutter and establish customized systems to maintain order in their homes or offices. Contact SHMorganizing today for more information: info@SHMorganizing.com.

Client Project: Master Closet

Friday, October 18, 2013


Who doesn’t love BEFORE and AFTER pictures?! Whether it’s a redecorated dining room, a weight loss, or a reorganized closet, we just can’t get enough of these amazing transformations! At the end of each project, I get to share these pictures with my clients and their reactions typically include laughter, relief, and joy (cue my happy dance!).

If our TV isn’t set to Blue’s Clues for our 20-month old son, then it’s set to HGTV…I’m addicted. But even in my great love for that channel, I know it doesn’t take 30 minutes minus commercials to transform a 1980’s kitchen into a modern-day cooking kingdom strewn with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and under-mount sinks. Transformations take time. I’m quick to remind my clients that purging spaces and putting them back together is a simple idea, but not a quick fix - you need to be ready.

I recently worked with a wonderful family to reorganize their master closet. With busy schedules and three children, they were r-e-a-d-y to have a functioning closet. Finding clothes to wear each day had become a chore, so our goal was to regain those precious minutes each morning. I knew this was going to be a great partnership when I heard my client say: “I want a place where I can lay out my clothes the night before!”

This closet had great bones - beautiful shelving and lots of storage - but the space was not being maximized and the flow needed some improvement. My client’s priorities included a good purge, matching hangers (music to my ears!), clearly defined his & hers areas, functional storage for their belts and her scarves, and shelf and drawer dividers. So we got to work!

After we purged through all of the items, the bulk of my time was spent reconfiguring the layout. I worked with the original closet manufacturer to order new shelves, additional rods, and customized dividers. My toolbox saw a lot of action, but thankfully I had some help when two of the kiddos would sneak upstairs to ask about each of my tools...welcomed & sweet distractions!

THANK YOU to the M. family for your kindness, collaboration, and the opportunity to make a difference in your daily lives - I had so much fun working with you!

Click on images to enlarge:

BEFORE and AFTER - big picture
BEFORE and AFTER - added acrylic shelf dividers
AFTER - his and her shoes
I'm a huge fan of valet rods, so I was thrilled when this family asked me to install one next to their belt rod
BEFORE and AFTER - blazers and suits (organized by type then color)
BEFORE and AFTER - his pants, polos, and button-down shirts (organized by type then color)
BEFORE and AFTER - folded t-shirts horizontally and added wooden drawer dividers
'Til next time,
Stacey

Birmingham-based professional organizer, Stacey McElrath, helps clients throughout Alabama and the southeast clear clutter and establish customized systems to maintain order in their homes or offices. Contact SHMorganizing today for more information: info@SHMorganizing.com.

Hangers!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wooden, non-slip, plastic…so many choices, so little time. But have no fear because today's post will help you make the best choice when selecting these closet essentials: hangers!

Source
When it comes to organization and organizing supplies, I'm a big believer in function + fashion. First, it has to work well - but it also has to look nice. When things look nice & cohesive, you are more likely to keep them in order.

I have minimal requirements when I work with clients because we design systems around their lifestyle & habits, not mine. However, hangers are an exception to this rule: I insist on matching hangers. Hangers set the stage for closet maintenance, and if they’re uncoordinated then they deter & distract from organization.

Source
What a peaceful space!
All you see are clothes - not a stressful mess of hangers to sift through.
All garments are not created equal and they require varying storage needs. In other words, one-size hanger ≠ fit all. Using the right hangers for your clothes will extend the life of your wardrobe…and the investment you made in that wardrobe!

For most items in your closet, I’m a huge fan of these space-saving non-slip hangers!

Source
They’re perfect for men’s shirts, ladies shirts, dresses, lightweight jackets, etc. – plus these clips can be added to accommodate skirts or pants. These ingenious little triangles keep your clothes locked in place AND look fantastic in any color…function + fashion!

And speaking of pants…clipping them to the non-slip hangers or draping them over the non-slip hangers are both great options. But if you want to take things a step further, I recommend these rubber trouser hangers.

Source
They hold your pants several inches higher than the non-slip hangers (space-saver) and your pants can be retrieved without removing the hanger from the rod (time-saver). To that, I say: it’s the little things!

But what about suits and winter coats?! This is where wooden hangers do their best work. Support and form are paramount for storing these garments, and the quality & color options for wooden hangers are endless. But as long as your choice includes broader arms with a curved profile, then you’re good to go! And you can always add these Garment Grips to prevent slipping.

Source
Wooden hangers are more cumbersome and more expensive than their competition, so I encourage clients to reserve them for their heavier garments in order to free up rod space in their closet and dollars in their pocket.

All of these hanger options are available in several brands, at different price points, and in multiple stores – so consider your budget and favorite retailer, and let the hanger intervention begin!

Don't forget to donate any unused hangers and be sure to recycle any wire hangers. Most dry cleaners will recycle wire hangers, and some will even hang your garments on your own hangers after they’ve been laundered (no more transferring clothes when you get home!).

‘Til next time,
Stacey

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are mine alone. I have not been compensated in any way to review or promote these products.

Birmingham-based professional organizer, Stacey McElrath, helps clients throughout Alabama and the southeast clear clutter and establish customized systems to maintain order in their homes or offices. Contact SHMorganizing today for more information: info@SHMorganizing.com.

Low Cost, High Impact

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

You'll probably hear me say “low cost, high impact” (LCHI) a lot in this blog. Discovering something is LCHI is one of the many highlights of my job. Who doesn’t love an item that is worth a lot more than the money you spent to purchase the item?!

My latest LCHI obsession is a non-slip drawer liner. You can find such liners, in various sizes, at your local dollar store. I view drawer liners as functional, rather than fashionable. In other words, if your shelves are stain-free, solid (not ventilated), and hold non-fragile objects (like everyday cups or plates), then there’s really no need to spend hours cutting liners to perfectly fit these areas.

However, non-slip liners are essential in utensil drawers, [organized] junk drawers, and other areas where stability is needed. Hearing your kitchen supplies rattle around each time you open a drawer is simply unnecessary.

For those of you who are already liner lovers, you may have experienced a common frustration with this product: the liner holds the drawer contents in place, but what holds the liner in place each time the drawer is opened or closed? Case in point:


I’ve found the most common remedy that is recommended for this scenario is spray adhesive. But as you can imagine, that leaves a big sticky mess behind in your drawers or on your shelves. So, I recommend carpet tape. Not only does this product hold the corners of your rugs in place, but it also doubles as a very reliable liner-locker!

Carpet tape keeps your shelf liners in place and can be removed with a little effort without damaging your cabinetry. So for just a few dollars, you too can enjoy this LCHI benefit!

Supplies


Voila! And you can't even see the tape!
Using multiple drawer organizers will also help slow-the-roll of your utensils.

Finally, on a personal note, thank you for the outpouring of well wishes since I launched SHMorganizing. I am having so much fun, and I couldn’t do this without your support and encouragement. I am forever grateful!

‘Til next time,
Stacey

Birmingham-based professional organizer, Stacey McElrath, helps clients throughout Alabama and the southeast clear clutter and establish customized systems to maintain order in their homes or offices. Contact SHMorganizing today for more information: info@SHMorganizing.com.

Organizing-shmorganizing!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's in a name? My initials!

This is the first blog post for my professional organizing business, SHMorganizing. I created this company and blog to help others. My goal is to produce useful information and quality work that decreases the chaos and clutter in your life, home, or office.

Please take a tour of my blog and click on the social media icons to follow me around the internet. You can learn more about my journey under the "About" tab and I welcome comments, emails, and questions - so be in touch!

I'd like to send a big THANK YOU to my dear friend and blog designer, Carolyn at Carolyn V. Design. She is yet another example of the goodness that comes from doing what you love and using your gifts. Thank you for sharing your talents with me!

'Til next time,
Stacey

Birmingham-based professional organizer, Stacey McElrath, helps clients throughout Alabama and the southeast clear clutter and establish customized systems to maintain order in their homes or offices. Contact SHMorganizing today for more information: info@SHMorganizing.com.