beautiful hampers you can live with


Hampers are the worst. Most people, especially those with limited space, keep them in their bedroom and there’s seriously nothing less sexy than an open bin of dirty clothes.  If it must be out, I suggest a beautiful lidded version, one that is seamless with your decor.The senegalese storage baskets from Serena & Lily are fantastic and come in a few different color options (not shown). The Seagrass Hamper from BrookFarm General Store is subtle and lovely.The large woven sedona hamper from Crate and Barrel is a long time favorite. And last but not least, this small zipped soft box (which I have) from Muji. Small enough to fit practically anywhere, I have it hidden under my desk.

And don’t limit these to just laundry. They’re great for storing linens, towels, or even children’s toys….

how to choose the right apartment

Moving is hard enough, so don’t give yourself problems off the bat. Before you start looking, think about what it is you’re looking for.FIRST: what’s most important for the apartment; size, location, rent, natural lighting, finishes, outdoor space…
SECOND: what’s most important for your lifestyle; area for proper home office, room to entertain, room for a queen size bed…

Living within your means financially is often talked about, but what about living within the physical means of your space? If you have hundreds of books, dozens of shoes, or records, think about where you would store/display them when looking at a space. If you have a lot of stuff, don’t get a tiny apartment that you’d have to pack to the rims to hold everything.THINK ABOUT
– If you have especially large furniture, how will it fit in the new space? Will it limit how you can set up the space?
– If your television is important, don’t pick a layout where the sofa can’t be directly across from it.
– If you’re bad with space planning don’t pick something with a weird layout.
– If you have trouble visualizing, take someone with you who is.
– If you have a limited budget and lots of stuff, make sure the space has proper storage so you don’t have to buy all new storage furniture.

For example in my own search, rent and location were the most important things. After that when I saw this apartment I knew the clean open layout would help to keep the small space feeling larger than it is, it had great natural light and the view of the trees in the backyard were the final selling point. And this is a small building (5 apts) not run by a management company, I have greater leeway to make the changes/installs I want. 

5 things to do everyday

if it takes you more than 2 minutes (per bed), consider simpler bedding. i have a fitted sheet and comforter, takes me 15 seconds.

even if for a few minutes to give your space a breath of fresh air.

even if you do it before you go to sleep, it’s so nice waking up to a new day with a clean, empty sink. I personally wash them before heading out for the day so it’s not waiting for me when i get back…

for most people there’s no reason to store garbage + recycling. it stinks, take it out!!

seriously, who likes looking into the toilet?




the laundress: laundry camp

laundress1 laundress2
(may 2007 domino magazine)

Love the advice above from The Laundress. I’ve mentioned them before, their products and message are great. Not only that ‘dry clean only’ doesn’t mean you can’t hand wash it, but the overall idea of taking care of your things.
I remember as a kid my father teaching me how to polish my shoes, telling me it’s important to take care of my things. Such a simple lesson that I never forgot and a lesson that I try to pass on to anyone who will listen! Do you have any hand washing tips you want to share?

q + a: what papers to keep

Angie asks: “My biggest problem is paper! Articles, notebooks from university years, bank paperwork, deposit slips, statements, old magazines… Sitting yesterday reading the stuff and thinking ‘I may need this’, realizing that I am not decluttering anything. I tried to detach myself from all this paper, it’s stuff after all. Your advice is very much appreciated, thank you Laura!”
Think if there’s anything you’re ok to get rid of right away. Since you have a hard time letting go, start with the least emotional decision; bank paperwork, deposit slips etc. (see below). The feeling of having to get rid of things sometimes make people hold on more, so tell yourself it’s ok to keep some things.
Create labels using post-it notes, index cards or even painters tape on the floor or along a wall for categories you know you have: recycle, shred, tax papers, legal documents, college, memorabilia, article to read, etc, Grab a pile and start sorting things into their respective categories. The idea is to get papers sorted quickly and get the papers you know you’re not keeping out of the way. This is not the time to read and think; just sort into manageable piles.
If you have a room or area in your home where you can leave everything half-sorted end of the day that would be great (most people cannot get this done in one sitting). If not, use labeled shopping bags, folders or boxes to keep piles together until you’re ready to get back to it.
Once the papers are sorted, do a more thorough edit one category at a time, starting with the smallest pile and/or the easiest to go thru. Deep reading at this point will get nothing done. Skim the page to see if the article, notebook, etc has any relevance at this point in your life:
There’s an infinite amount of information out there. Chances are the articles you’ve been saving for years are outdated or maybe the reason you haven’t read them is that you actually don’t need to. Magazines run the basic same articles over and over again so chances are there’s nothing amazing you’ve been keeping that hasn’t been or will be repeated again.
Statements/Bills/Tax Papers
If you write it off on your taxes, keep them. Ask your CPA (or who over does your taxes) for a list of what you need to keep. See above image for more details. If you’re not writing them off, there’s really no reason to keep them.
If you need them, the question is have you done your taxes? If you don’t actually need them to file, sort them by year. Don’t bother sorting them any further since odds are you’ll probably not have to reference them again.
Keep insurance policies, legal documents (as mentioned above). As far as your notebooks from college, be realistic. How long has it been since you’ve graduated and have you ever looked back at them? For some professions, it’s fine to keep some things from college, but certainly not all.
DISCLAIMER: I am a residential organizer, not commercial, the following info is for individuals only, also I am not a qualified financial advisor, attorney or CPA. If you have any further questions about what you should keep consult your qualified financial advisor, attorney and/or CPA.

make moving easier step 1: define vision for new space

Moving can be stressful (if you let it) and a lot of readers have asked how it can made easier. With a couple tweaks to my process, here’s how:
Step #1: Define The Vision + Functions For New Space
you need: pad and a pencil
Ask yourself the following:
  • How do you want to feel in your new space?
  • How do you want to function in the new space?
Example feelings: I want a fun, inspiring space, that is colorful and bright. Or rather a zen, minimal, ‘hotel feel’…
Example functions: I want to start a book club that can meet in my apt, have overnight guests, start exercising at home, cook more, have dinner parties for 6…
This step gives you a logical, reason-based framework for deciding whether to keep or get rid of something, rather than just going by the arbitrary “if you haven’t used it in X amount of time, get rid of it”.


make moving easier step 2: create floor plan


(floor plan option 1)

(floor plan option 2)
Step #2: Create Loose Floor Plan
you need: graph paper, pencil, measuring tape
Measure the new space and with graph paper, draw the space to scale.
If you’re moving with your existing furniture, measure your pieces and start playing with placement thinking in terms of function. Figure on a few options, it doesn’t have to be ONE master plan. The point is to see which if any pieces may not work so you can donate, sell, or give them away as not to lug them to the new space, or how/where you would store them in the new space. For those smaller pieces you are unsure of, bring them and figure it out after you move in.
If you’re not moving with existing furniture, this step is important to get you thinking of how to set up your new space. This is how most interior designers start the process of figuring out what’s needed, and (very important) what size pieces, so you’re not buying random furniture hoping it will work.
This is to get you started thinking about how you’ll use your new space, it’s not about making 100% of your decisions. Once you’re in your new space, you can see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll also then see where your holes are and what else you may need.

make moving easier step 3: edit + sort

Step #3: Edit + Sort

Now that you have a idea of how you want to live and an idea of the new space itself, it’s time to go through your things. This is so you get reacquainted with what you have, edit out (donate, sell, give away, recycle, and/or trash) what’s not adding to your life, and get things sorted so you can move onto the next step, mapping out the new space! Plus the less you have, the less you have to move.
EDITING: I believe our things are tools to help us live the lives we want to live. Ask yourself “does keeping this inhibit or enable me to live the life I want to live?”. Don’t get rid of something just for the sake of it, or because you haven’t used it in X amount of time. Keep things you’ll actually use (even if only once a year) and are worth the ‘cost’ of keeping; we pay by square foot here in NYC, so we literally pay to store things in our apts.
SORTING: Group like things together; all kitchen stuff, office supplies, clothes, tools, batteries, vases, etc. A key concept to being organized, this also helps you edit. Example: seeing a vase on it’s own, it’s hard to know whether to keep it, but seeing all your 15 vases together you can see maybe it’s time to let go of a few. Use shopping bags or designate surfaces for each category and use labels to keep things straight (believe me, it helps!).

make moving easier step 4: mapping the new space


Step #4: Mapping

Imagine how easy it would be to unpack if you already know where the majority of your things will go? Like the floor plan, this isn’t about having everything 100% set in stone. It’s to give you a realistic view of what you have (seeing it in print is a big eye-opener), and gives you an idea of how much, if any, additional storage you may need.
MAPPING: Marrying step 1 + 2, give all your things a home within the home keeping in mind how you want to function in your new space. Use a copy of your proposed floor plan to draw it out (use pencil).

make moving easier step 5: tie up loose ends


Step #5: Tie Up Loose Ends

In an ideal world, the previous steps would be completed before you move. This step is for after you move.
Use your mapping to get things in place. Start in the kitchen so you can eat with your plates and dishes to feel at home even if your place doesn’t look like home just yet. And it gets a lot of boxes out of the way! Leave anything you’re unsure of for the end to see what room is left in each cabinet, closet. Don’t be surprised if you edit out more while unpacking.
Following your floor plan, set up the furniture to see if it looks as good in person as it did on paper. Play around with placement, even if it’s just moving something a few inches. Look to place the pieces you’re unsure of; try things you wouldn’t naturally, like a dresser in a kitchen/dining area, a bookcase in a bathroom or even a closet…
Using painters tape, tape out where things will go to see and feel how your floor plan works and what size pieces are best. Live in the space for a while to see what if any changes may enhance the way you live there before buying. If you’re still at a loss, most furniture stores have in-house designers that can help you at no charge. Bring your floor plan with measurements, as well as your function list.
– Focus on unpacking boxes whose contents you know have to place to go.
– Keep the things that don’t have a place yet and out of the way, including furniture.
– Take the garbage and recycling out on a daily basis, it makes SUCH a difference. List your used (clean) packing supplies for free on craigslist for reuse.
– Don’t make the mistake of not trying something in fear it may not work. Who cares? If you don’t like it, move it and try something else.
– Hang art once all the furniture is in place.
(I’ve been waiting to do this final post until I had the ‘after’ shots of the place shown in the previous steps. Sadly, sometimes my client’s finish on their own and I never get to see the ‘final’ set-up and I failed to take progress shots. If I do go back, I’ll be sure to show you…)