Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Big Payoff

I spent a rare weekend in NYC and used the time to tackle the closets in my apartment. They had been bothering me all summer but I never wanted to spend an evening going through them. Yesterday I made the time so I was able to put away my summer clothes in exchange for my fall ones. I also looked through old notebooks and electronics among other items that just needed to go.

Finding an old cell phone though really paid off. Today I went to my local Verizon store to donate it and got a $10 gift card that I put toward my wireless bill. It was a great and welcome surprise. So if you have old cell phones hanging around your home taking up valuable space, stop by Verizon and put some money in your pocket.

2012. Rosemary Flannery. All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 10, 2012

Floor Plan

I had a small window to get this craft room into shape last week. It was a blast opening up this creative space for J and her daughters. We are 90% done with just a few items to add to the back door to gain more space as well as to add some color to the walls. It was important to have items accessible for the girls, so I put items at their level and in most cases in clear containers. Next step, hanging the girls' dress-up costumes on the wall for inspiration.

The girls' bedroom is still a work-in-progress but I'm teaching them how to care for their toys and books and return them to their designated homes. Their mom is keeping them honest by having them clear up before going to bed which is a good method for even adults to practice. It took me most of the day to clear out the various bins, shelves and under bed containers. More to come on this project. These are the before photos.

 2012. All Rights Reserved. Rosemary Flannery

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Urge to Purge

If there is one word to sum up my summer so far, it's PURGE. Since June due to a relationship gone wrong and an overall feeling of having too much, I have been going through all my stuff at the beach house and my apartment. Getting rid of people and things that no longer enhance my life can be tough but in the end it makes me feel so much better. I now have a line of things that need to go out of the house to the local thrift shop and to a friend who is furnishing a weekend place.

Funnily enough as I have been going through this clear-out, some of my friends have confessed that they too are trying to rid themselves of excess items. Dan attempted to conquer his basement and remove boxes that have been sitting there for a number of years unopened. A cut foot derailed that task but I hope he will get back to it soon. You don't have to go it alone Dan, I can help you on Skype! Another friend lost his job unexpectedly so he has been examining his family expenses and slashing costs to save a substantial amount. He feels much more grounded.

In the midst of all my purging, I have actually come across items that I may not have been crazy about beforehand but with a coat of spray paint, they have a new life. i also removed a larger towel stand from my bathroom and replaced it with something smaller, put it at an angle and this small room isn't so stuffy any more. I had the good luck of finding a set of Marimekko bedding in my fav thrift shop, St Jude's in Highlands. The entire set was $7.50 - quite a steal!

My apartment which I tend to neglect in the decorating department also go a spruce up. After a Spring trip to LA, I was really inspired by the airiness of most homes and wanted to capture as close to that feeling as I could.  I got tired of the leopard and black furniture.  A friend gave me brightly patterned drapes that were left in her new apartment. She hated them , I loved them. They are adding a splash of color as a replacement for my closet sliding doors. After years of ignoring, I finally mastered the art of putting on a duvet cover. Helpful hint: use binder clips to keep the corners in place. With neutral bedding and another set of hand-me-down curtains for my windows, I feel like I am living in a new studio.  I am even contemplating spray painting my media stand and slip-covering my bed frame. Walking into these spaces, I leave the stresses of life at the door and have two havens of tranquility.

What are you doing to lose some of the things in your life that are dragging you down? I'd love to hear your comments. If you can't do it alone, consider working with a personal organizer to help you P-U-R-G-E!

 2012. All Rights Reserved. Rosemary Flannery

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eleven years ago today, I had a life-changing experience... for me the closest thing to becoming a parent -- I became a homeowner. On July 31, 2001 I bought a beach bungalow in my hometown of Highlands, NJ.  This was a huge step for me as I like my freedom and dislike being tied down to a person or place. After a tumultuous period leading up to the closing, I kept wondering why I was spending my 'life savings', on something that would curtail my freedom, but with the help of family and friends, I was able to get the house in shape as a rental. I needed to acclimate myself to the idea of a mortgage payment so renting seemed like a good way to get my feet wet. After a few years of renting, I knew I needed an escape from full-time city life, so I managed to take the house back for myself as a weekend retreat. 

The place was a disgusting mess when I bought it and with me not liking to get my hands dirty, were not a good fit. I always thought of myself as Ava Gabor on Green Acres swanning about in elegant outfits and marabou mules. That changed quickly although I never got my mules ( I still want them, pink size 6, please) but I have acquired quite a collection of flip flops. I still read Vogue, but I also read Country Living. I've gotten my hands dirty often now that I am channeling my 'inner Martha,' as my friend, Tom likes to call it, as I garden. I find it so satisfying when my flowers bloom and sad when hard work is ruined by Mother Nature as I experienced after Hurricane Irene last year. One thing that hasn't changed though, is I still don't cook. Never liked it, never will, so my oven is  pristine. While my place is a "hobbit house," compared to my friends', I still manage to have some spatial breathing room and even have a few empty drawers that I keep empty on purpose, just because I CAN.

Practically everything in the house is a hand-me-down, flea market find or a purchase from my travels. Everything was hand-picked by me. It's a bright, airy house that has an open door policy, especially in the summer. I'm used to people popping in all the time or calling in the morning and announcing they are 'coming down.' I love the fun and spontaneity that I experience constantly. But there are times when I can just shut the world out and hunker down with some books and magazines and talk to no one. It's a great balance that I cherish. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stake Your Claim

 Another great observation by Unclutterer - see link below. A client of mine sent me the NY Times article referenced and we both commented on the refrigerator clutter correlating to one's mental state. The other thing that struck me is the amount of items kids have. So many of my clients consult me to help them deal with their kids' growing list of possessions that take over the entire house. I have a few thoughts on addressing this concern. Teach your children at a young age that every item has a home and that is where a toy, clothing, etc. goes after use. If you missed that boat and have older children, at least teach them to be considerate of their home and possessions that you, the parent, worked hard to attain. They need to get in the habit of putting their stuff in their own room or a designated "home" while developing respect for their family and their possessions.

If you are having issues tackling clutter, consider the services of a personal organizer to help you reclaim your space.

2012 Rosemary Flannery. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Doctor Is In!

So often people I meet tell me they need help organizing yet they are afraid to take the step fearing that an organizer will be mean or judging once they reveal their space. This was the case of one of my recent clients.  The experience of guest blogger, Dr. David Milkes should allay your fears. If you're floundering in a cluttered environment, consider working with a personal organizer. If you have recently organized an area in your home or office, why not share your tips with us and post on the blog.

I had wanted to clean up my office for a long time, but I just could not get motivated to do it by myself.  I met Rosemary when she came over to our house to help my wife with a project.  I had never heard of an organizer before, but when I saw how well she worked and how quickly she was able to organize an area, I realized she was the person to help me "unclutter" my office.

I was dreading the clean-up project of my office to the point that I could not sleep the night before.  I had diplomas to hang, boxes to empty, papers to sort out, book shelves to arrange, and equipment to store.  But soon my worrying turned into focusing on the job, and Rosemary and I got straight to work.  First we laid out and mapped the arrangement for all the diplomas.  Then we hung up all the diplomas and pictures. 

 Then we got everything off the floor.  That is a rule I learned -- "get everything off the floor."  Then, we started tackling one task after another, and before I knew it, after about 4 1/2 hours, everything was done!  My office looked fabulous and completely neat.  I could not believe it.  Where had the time gone?

Once my office is organized, I can keep it that way.  Three weeks after the project, I am happy to report that all remains neat and clean.  I am grateful to Rosemary for her energy, efficiency, and motivating force behind getting my office in order.

David Milkes, M.D.

2012. All Rights Reserved. Rosemary Flannery

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Clients often ask me when I start an organizing project : 'What kind of containers do I need?' My normal response is 'none at the moment.'

I like to clear the areas out first because chances are new space will be created eliminating the need for containers. However, if you feel you must have something to give your items a home, I suggest you check out this link for some unusual and colorful ideas. Happy Organizing!

2012 Rosemary Flannery. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Go West Young Woman's Stuff

Over the last few months, I worked with two friends to organize and preserve the legacy of our late friend, designer Abbijane. It was certainly bittersweet project. Two weeks ago I had the honor of seeing her items off to LA where they will be arriving at their new home today. Looking forward to Abbi's designs being used as teaching tools at FIDM and hopefully a future exhibit.

2012 Rosemary Flannery. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

How Kind of You!

Lately two of my loyal clients and good friends have mentioned me in their recent blog posts. I thought I would share them with you. As you can see I don't spend all my time organizing! A big thanks to TW Barritt and Jennifer Perillo for their kind words.

Why not make yourself a smooth cocktail and tasty snack to enjoy while reading!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Novel Idea

While all of you are hunkering down in between football and Downton Abbey viewings today, you may want to revisit your bookcase. Maybe you have a lot of books you've read, but really aren't that special to you any more. What to do with these unnecessary tomes can be a moral dilemma since no one just wants to put them out with the trash.

Thanks to a chance meeting at Whole Foods in Union Square, I have found a solution, at least for New Yorkers:

Started by a group of volunteers, has kiosks at two Whole Foods outlets and at Brooklyn's Invisible Dog Arts Center, where anyone can drop off books to be distributed monthly at subway stops.

Their mission statement: We want to encourage and promote reading to all age groups and provide free and easy access of reading to do so.

At the same time, we wish to discourage throwing out vast quantities of unwanted books that never get recycled properly. We hope that our program will facilitate in the sharing of these unwanted items that no one in the city has room to keep and provide not only a cost-free but also an environmentally friendly reading option.

As someone who comes from a family of librarians and educators as well as a firm believer in upcycling, I applaud this group's efforts and hope this grassroots movement gains momentum and spreads to other geographical areas.

Check out their site:

2012 Rosemary Flannery All Rights Reserved