All posts by jdecker

Living Better with Less

 

Recently I’ve embraced minimalism. Even though I live in an organized house, I was feeling overwhelmed by my stuff. Every day there would be the tidying of the stuff; fluffing couch pillows and folding throw blankets. Every week there would be the cleaning of the stuff, picking up and dusting off trinkets and side tables. And then seasonally would come the packing away of the stuff and the putting out of other stuff. Away went the daily décor, only to be replaced by spring/summer/fall/or winter décor.

 

It was exhausting to maintain and organize and I’d had enough. I wanted to live a better life, one where I wasn’t ruled by my possessions and had more free time. So I started to purge. I began at the start of the summer with a yard sale, taking everything that didn’t sell to donation. Then, I started selling household items on Facebook Marketplace (note the shell photo, who even needs this?!?). In one month alone I made a couple hundred dollars and sold a pool table that had been in my storage room in the basement since before I moved in – talk about a weight out of the house! Now I critically eye all my possessions and assess whether I really need them.

 

I look back at the things I’ve sold or passed on to someone who will benefit from them, and I don’t miss anything! Most of the items I don’t even remember that I had. That’s surprising because these things were actually displayed in my home, not boxed up and hidden away in the basement.

 

Now that I don’t have as many household items cluttering my home, I feel freer and less distracted by my possessions. I now place out only my very favorite things (which were buried among everything else) and I focus on living better by living with less.

 

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Until next time!

XOXO

Jessica

Baby to Toddler Switch

Hi guys! It’s been a while and summer is halfway over! Where does the time go? This summer I’ve camped at the lake with my sister and our little girls, thrown a second birthday party for my daughter, and held a yard sale.

Now that my daughter is two, she’s playing differently and I’ve had to reorganize her playroom to accommodate her new toys. I love to incorporate antiques for organizing and use a vintage baby crib to adorably store her stuffed animals. She likes to color so I have a child-sized table and chairs with a 3-drawer organizer for ample craft storage. When she’s created a new masterpiece, I hang it in her playroom on a piece of string with cute clips so I can easily change out her artwork.

In her room, I repurposed a dresser to act as a bookshelf, with drawers underneath to hold her purses and some puzzles. It was definitely a Pinterest-worthy DIY. I switched out a lot of her board books with longer storybooks since her attention span is increasing.

I won’t have to make any major changes to her toys for a while and it looks amazing and is so functional and organized. Her toys are right at her level and she can help put them away when she’s done playing.

Have a wonderful rest of the summer and stay cool!

 

XOXO

~Jessica

12 Days of Christmas (as told by an Organizer)

Forget the turtledoves, lords a leaping, and maids a milking…well maybe keep the leaping lords…here’s the Twelve Days of Christmas as told by an organizer. Bonus points if you sing it.

On the first day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 1 Label Maker

On the second day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 2 File Boxes

On the third day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 3 Drawer Makeup Box

On the fourth day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 4 Drawer Dividers

On the fifth day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 5 Pantry Bins

On the sixth day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 6 Cubby Storage Bins

On the seventh day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 7 Command Hooks

On the eighth day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 8 Linus Drawer Organizers

On the ninth day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 9 Magazine Holders

On the tenth day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 10 Men’s Shoe Boxes

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 11 Kids Art Storage Boxes

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my professional organizer gave to me: 12 pack Label Tape

May your holidays be merry and bright, and organized!

How to Find the Best Moving Company

Become Organized NYC | professional organizer in NYC

The average American will move more than 11 times in their life. While this may seem like a lot, I’m in my mid-30s and have personally moved 15 times already!

But how do you go about choosing the right moving company to handle your most prized possessions?

I turned to www.reviews.com and their 2017 list of The Best Moving Companies. They did the legwork and surveyed 500 people and reviewed 82 moving companies before choosing their two best.

When choosing a mover:

  • Make sure your mover is insured: to move across the country, a mover should be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA), which monitors and ensures compliance with safety requirements and regulations for long-distance movers. If a moving company isn’t licensed with the FMCSA, it shouldn’t be transporting your stuff.
  • Get a quote in person: price out at least three estimates in writing, and avoid any that are too high or too low. While you can get a quote online or over-the-phone, an in-person quote will get you the best estimate.
  • Customer service is key: ask yourself: if you can’t get an actual person to answer the phone, how responsive will the movers be to inquiries during the moving process?
  • Check online reviews: everyone’s got an opinion but if 200 people rate a moving company poorly, chances are you’re bound to have a poor experience as well.

Moving is stressful. Spend wisely on a good mover and a professional organizer who can manage your move and unpack and organize you in your new home.

While not cheap, having professionals pack, move, and unpack and organize you is priceless.  

 

There’s an App for That


In the increasingly digital world we live in there’s an app for almost anything.
According to a PewResearch Internet Project, “In 2020… There will be a widespread
belief that the World Wide Web is less important and useful than in the past and
apps are the dominant factor in people’s lives.” Chances are, the last time you
ordered takeout it wasn’t through a website but through an app like Seamless.

I am always looking for apps to make my life easier and more organized. One app I
recently discovered is the 4AnyPlace app, (www.4anyplace.com) a free download for
Apple or Android. I like this app because it lets you track items by manually adding
them, scanning a barcode, or attaching an image or PDF of the item. In this day and
age of severe weather, it’s important to have accurate information on the products
in your home for any insurance claims. If you can’t get the product information or
receipt, it’s hard to make a claim that you owned the product.

Benjamin Franklin one said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except
death and taxes.” The 4AnyPlace app can help organize both estate planning and
taxes by creating detailed asset spreadsheets. If you’re selling your home, you can
record all the warranty information for the home products and give the buyer a
detailed list of appliance information.

Don’t wait for an emergency before you inventory your home. Have your October
organizing project be to download the 4AnyPlace app and get started organizing
your homes prized possessions.

#1 Design Trend Professional Organizers Despise

Clothes on shelves

There’s a trend recently to do away with the dresser. I don’t know why it’s a trend – dressers are so useful! They hold a lot of folded clothes and have drawers you shut to keep clothing out of sight. You can even use the top of the dresser to display jewelry or hold a lamp. As useful as I think dressers are, they’re something I see less and less. Let me warn you, this will be a polarizing blog post; especially if you’re an interior designer or have already eschewed your dresser.

It started about a year ago when I unpacked and organized after a move. As the movers were unpacking the furniture I asked the homeowner, “where’s the dresser?” They gave me a strange look and pointed to a bookshelf and said, “well that’s where I keep my folded clothes”.  Since then it’s only gotten worse, with people relying on their closet to hold everything. I’ve had to use shelves in a closet to hold workout clothing and pajamas, only to have them slip and slide and topple over. Socks and underwear, while easily contained in a dresser, are relegated to bins on a shelf in the closet, eating up valuable closet space and creating a jumble of bras and panties in a bin.

Back in 2012, Apartment Therapy recommended to get rid of your dresser and “Instead, try fabric shelves that hang from the closet bar.” I believe this is a horrible idea. I cringe at the thought of socks and undies getting stuffed in a fabric shelf in the closet. How do you even know what you have when you can barely see to the back of the fabric shelf? In addition, if you’ve ever used on of these, you know that they move and bow; not to mention the amount of hanging space they take up in a closet.

Bring back the dresser (#bringbackthedresser), it’s part of a bedroom set for a reason; just like the nightstand. But my feelings on the nightstand are a story for another blog post. Thanks for reading my rant on this and if you know someone pondering whether or not to ditch their dresser, send this post to them

Make Time for Your Goals

We all have goals in our life. Whether we accomplish them depends on how we spend our time. Schedule time for your goals. If they’re important enough to be goals, they’re important enough to be in your schedule. Even working 15 minutes a day on your goal is more than 90 hours a year! That’s more than two weeks of a 40-hour workweek spent working on you and accomplishing your goals.

What do you spend 15 minutes a day doing that you can cut down or eliminate and replace that time with your goal? Is it scrolling through social media, zoning out in front of the television, or even sleeping a little longer than you intend? Using the tweaks mentioned above, you could grab a few extra minutes each day and put them towards your goal. Think about your life in a year’s time. What do you want to have accomplished? What will you be upset with yourself that you didn’t do? Those are your goals. Ask yourself “what goal can I accomplish when I set my mind to it?”

Keep a running list of your goals (both long-term and short-term) where you can frequently see them. Each year I make a New Year’s Resolution. After a few months I forget my resolution and almost never accomplish my goal because I didn’t write it down or I wrote it down and forgot where I put the paper. Goals need to be visible, out in the open. I recently joined a fitness group where we hold each other accountable and have daily goals and check-ins. By making my goals public and being held to them, I’ve lost more weight than I could ever do on my own. Tell someone about your goal, make them keep you accountable to your goal. Celebrate accomplishing goals. No goal is too small to congratulate yourself when you’ve accomplished your goal.

Have you ever gone on a crash diet to prepare for an event; like a beach vacation or a wedding…or a high-school reunion? You had a goal in mind and a deadline. Think of that word, deadline. Merriam-Webster defines the word deadline as: a line drawn around a prison beyond which prisoners were liable to be shot. Those are some pretty deadly consequences for not adhering to a deadline. Thankfully, your deadlines aren’t as ominous but they still have consequences. You may not fit into your outfit if you don’t lose weight by your event, your school paper may not be accepted if submitted past the deadline. I’m sure you get my meaning that deadlines are important.

Set each goal with a deadline and work backwards to schedule your time accordingly. No large construction project is done without a schedule because deadlines have consequences. The project manager even plans out incremental deadlines to keep track of the project’s progress. The manager knows when each part of the project will begin and end. Goals need to be met in order for the deadline to hold. When you have a deadline you’re more likely to accomplish your goal. You’ve set a date and made it more concrete than just having a goal out in the ether. Now that you have a goal and a deadline, schedule and manage your time to achieve the goal.

Take 5 with Realtor Jessie Sessions

I’m starting a new series of five questions with experts in various fields. Featured today is Jessie Sessions, a Realtor who has helped people on both the East and West coast find their dream homes. She currently resides in sunny Santa Barbara and sells beautiful houses on the ocean – one of which will be my dream house one day. Here are her five tips for moving cross-country.

Become Organized (BO): How do you move a family’s possessions, from furniture to a car, cross-country? (For example, do you hire a moving company for the furniture and a have the car shipped by rail?):
Jessie Sessions (JS): I recommend Amtrak to ship personal belongings, they charge by the pound and my two-bedroom condo was about 500 pounds! Some furniture is shippable via train as well, check with your Amtrak representative to see what you can and can’t ship. Overall, shipping via Amtrak is fairly economical but for larger, heavier items like furniture it makes sense to hire movers to pack and haul the items for you across country. For shipping cars, I highly recommend hiring an automobile-shipping carrier. It usually takes less than 1 week for long-haul trucks to move a car from coast to coast. I personally have shipped 2 vehicles through Philam Transport www.philamtransport.com/.

BO: What is the average timeframe needed to undertake a cross-country move?
JS: A cross-country move takes time. If you have the luxury of time, begin thinking about your move as far as one year in advance and research the area where you’re moving. Planning the logistics of the move will take at least six months. This includes selling or moving from your existing home and taking exploratory trips to your new destination to get acclimated with the area. When you’re unfamiliar with an area, it makes sense to rent in your new city before making the commitment to buy real estate. When you rent, you can learn about your new area and hire a local real estate professional that can familiarize you with the new market.

BO: What are the biggest mistakes people make when moving cross-country?
JS: It makes the most sense to be as familiar as possible with your new destination before making the move – moving without any pre-planning could be considered a mistake. Research the area online and make the trip, or several trips, out to the new location. You want to be comfortable with the local real estate market, the jobs there, the schools, the local economy, the climate, and more!

BO: What is your #1 tip as a realtor to ensure a smooth cross-country move?
JS: Engage in conversations with a local Realtor in your new market prior to making the move. You can ask your hometown Realtor to refer you to someone in your new area. That local Realtor can send you information on your new city before your move so that you are already informed of prices and inventory in your new market. It would be worthwhile to even meet that local Realtor on an exploratory trip to your new destination so that you have a trusted contact to help you when you are ready to buy or rent.

BO: Should people wait until their home is sold before they move across the country?
JS: Yes! Attempting to sell a property on one coast and buy a new property on another coast in a contingent-style sale is very complex. If you can, it is best to sell and close escrow on your current property and rent short-term in your new location. Not only does this reduce the complexity of your transaction but it also allows you time to really find the perfect new home in your new town.

Jessie Sessions is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Santa Barbara, California. She can be reached at 805-709-0904 or jsessions@bhhscal.com.