living better with less… organizing products

People tend to overcomplicate getting organized. They think that the more organizing products they have the better the results. I think these ‘magic’ products are just more stuff, and more stuff is not something most people need.

In many instances, I advise my clients to live with the changes we make for a while to see if adding something will really make a difference. For example, I generally install pull-out drawers for the lower cabinets in kitchens. For may people (especially those who own and/or cook a lot), it’s a no brainer. But for those of us who rent and aren’t sure how long we’re staying, it’s not always necessary. I’ve always had this attitude of only buying what’s truly needed to make an improvement but I have to say with the current economic climate, people are much more receptive to it.
For the above client who doesn’t have that much now that we’ve edited, and who’s not a huge cook, I didn’t think the drawer was an absolute necessity. Would it be nice to have, sure, but necessary to spend the $$ for it? We’ll see. She’s going to live with this for a week or so and let me know… 

living better with less… dirt

(come in go away mat, buy here)

It doesn’t matter whether or not you wear shoes in the house, they’re still coming in along with all the lovely things that have been picked up from the street. And you don’t want that in your home and/or closet… Your choice; spend $3 at your local hardware store, $100 for a custom one, or any amount in between. It’s a no brainer, seriously – if you don’t have one, get one now!!


living better with less… trying to remember



A fun side effect of being neat and organized is being called a neat freak and obsessive compulsive. It used to annoy me (just a little) but the truth is I just prefer having my things work for me, not the other way around. 

Take my skin care regimen. Products work best when used on a regular basis. I wash my face everyday with a gentle cleanser, use a scrub every three days, and a glycolic wash also every three days but not on the same days I use the scrub. After weeks of trying unsuccessfully to remember when to use something, I ended up either over or underusing one or the other. Simple solution; label the bottles so I don’t have to remember.

living better with less… new clothes

I did this last year but thought I’d share this money saver with you now…

I was sick of my spring/summer wardrobe and eager to go out and buy all new things. Lacking the funds to do so, I went through everything piece by piece, trying on what I hadn’t been wearing. It seemed the problem wasn’t that I didn’t like my clothes it’s that I didn’t like the way many things fit. To the tailor I went. Much cheaper, quicker, and less stressful than going out and buying all new things.


living better with less… junk mail


I always laugh when I see articles and blog posts about dealing with your mail; buying special mail sorters, have a recycling bin near the door… bla bla bla…The real solution as with most things in life is to simplify. The less mail you have, the less time you have to spend dealing with it.

Collect your junk mail for about a week to see where your mail is coming from so you can stop it for good:

  • Stop pre-approved credit card offers at BUT this doesn’t stop offers from banks you have accounts with, you need to call them directly
  • For unwanted catalogs, all the info you need is usually on the back page; customer service phone number, account number (if you have one) and/or source code. After calling, you can also go to to further stop them
  • Switch to paperless billing for all your accounts; credit cards, banks, electric, gas, phone…
  • Stop most other junk mail at

living better with less… negative thoughts


Before becoming a professional organizer, I had a job I didn’t exactly love. One nice thing was the walk to the office which unfortunately turned into a moaning session about anything I happened to be upset about at the time (like having a job I didn’t love), until one day I told myself to shut up and name 10 things I was grateful for. It was not something I had ever really done and it starting out a bit superficial, like “I’m grateful it’s not raining”, but soon became my morning ritual, and now is used whenever I find myself needing a little perspective. 

The norm seems to be to focus on what we don’t have, but we need to take the time to be grateful for what we do have. What are you grateful for today?

living better with less… cleaning supplies


My lease is up soon and although I like my apartment, I don’t like the building so I’m looking for a new place. Before leaving I figured I’d show you a few details of the space you may not have seen already. The first is the cabinet under my kitchen sink where I keep all my cleaning supplies including my vacuum and trash. (click on bolded text for links). 

My cleaning supplies include a general purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, carpet spot cleaner, baking soda, Goo Gone and BonAmi. I like gentle non-toxic cleaners and believe a little elbow grease goes along way. I also use re-usable microfiber dusting cloths which means I don’t need dusting sprays.I invested in a Miele vacuum after being disappointed by small electric broom/dust buster type units. I purposely got a canister as opposed to an upright since they are easier to use and store. You can find them at Gracious Home andBed Bath & Beyond. I purchased mine at a local appliance shop.I take my trash out often and I don’t like large stand alone garbage cans. Not wanting to spend money on any kind of fancy bag holder, I simply used two adhesive hooks (that I already had) to hold a grocery bag. As for recycling, I prefer things not hanging around so I rinse what was used that day and take it out the next time I leave the apartment. Specialty recycling (batteries, cds, small electronics, toner cartridges) go into a small paper bag under the sink until it fills then I take it to a local place that accepts it.

living better with less… laundry


The truth is, most of your clothes don’t need to be washed that often. Gym clothes sure, but something you wore for a couple of hours sitting at work, or running around town in really just needs to be aired out.

When you come home at the end of the day, try simply hanging your clothes either back on its hanger or on a hook outside of the closet overnight. Do this instead of putting them on a chair, a table or (yikes!) the floor. This not only keeps your place from getting messy but keeps your clothes from getting wrinkled. And I’ve noticed that when people have clothes lying around, when they eventually pick it up they automatically think it’s dirty and it goes right into the over flowing laundry bin…