Archive | March, 2010

Is it Just Clutter?

31 Mar

 This is in response to the many, many e-mails I have received from readers who I’ve encouraged to jump-start their Spring cleaning.  THANK YOU so much for writing in and letting me know, how it’s going.  Many of you stated that you are doing good and have dumped a lot of “stuff”.  Going from room to room, but taking your time!  While a few of you wanted me to accept your excuses on why now was not  just the right time!  After a little persuasion, I’m glad the cleaning was a GO! 🙂

 I am so glad to hear, that I’ve gotten you all so motivated!   You’ll be glad to know, I had donated four boxes of clothing to Good Will and still going through my closet, I am now doing shoes!  Yep! SHOES! 😉

I also wanted to share with you an e-mail from Susan from Wichita, Kansas (name has been changed)  in which she wrote me to tell me that she didn’t know where to start.   Susan had indicated that she had so much stuff in her home, she was so frustrated! You see, we have e-mailed each other for the last two weeks back and forth, until she finally sent me a few photo attachments.

To my surprise in reviewing the photos, her home was not considered cluttered or just having things around, or even having things for years that accumulated.  Susan is what is known as a hoarder.  The Internet is such a wonderful tool (what would we do without it?)  for I read up a little about hoarding before I’d continued communicating with Susan.  I’d explained to her that the status of her home is based on a common psychological disorder; where a person has a personal attachment to everything around them and when departing with the items, it’s more emotional than to the average person.

Hoarders can’t seem to throw anything out (anything) and considers it a personal attack, if someone other than themselves decides to clean/dismantle their things without their permission.  To you and I, it may be very simple to throw out a Post It® with some writing into the garbage, however to Susan…. her state of thinking is to save it for whatever purpose that seems warranted and it does n’t have to make sense to anyone, but her!

I’d reassured her that there is definitely help available, however she cannot tackle cleaning her home without having a support group around her.  According to what I read, the support group should consist of family members, friends, a psychiatrist and a professional organizer which understands/has dealt with hoarding disorders.   I also commended Susan for realizing that she has a problem, my post definitely compelled her to finally to do something about it, for she says she has had this problem since she was a young woman.  

Just now (Wednesday), Susan had written back and it so happens that there is a task force for hoarding disorders in Wichita, KS (Sedgwick County) and she has contacted them for help.  In my response, I wished her the best and asked her if she would mind, if I shared with you (my readers) how to recognize the difference from mere clutter and a mental disorder of a hoarder; it’s more than just cleaning up.  She agreed!

So, I’d remembered A&E had a series on hoarding and to be honest, I saw it once and was not that much interested in continuing to watch the program.    However, since communicating with Susan, this evening I did search for and reviewed some of the episodes on youtube.com.   I have attached an A&E  trailer to give you an idea of a hoarding disorder; maybe this information can help someone you know too! 

You know, I was a little concerned on whether anyone was reading my blogs and guess what…… people are!!!!   Lesson learned, it does not take much to help someone, not much at all!   🙂 

Be well – Letia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq18Ae3ke-Q

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What Do You Do? Make Pillows!

27 Mar

Pillows!!!!

Gone are the little leeways, where you knew when you spent a little too much money, you often thought you could probably catch up in the next few paychecks or use that credit card to buy and pay later. With our economy in such an uproar, family households have found themselves rethinking how they are spending money and creative ways to possibly make extra money.

Dorianne, my god sister (our Moms, friends for over 44 years!) was faced with these same decisions and had to really think fast!  Her income was slashed, she had to move, her son was graduating from highschool and important college decisions were on the table.  “What can I do?” “What am I good at?” Well she figured out, she was always good at sewing and thought of what  items people would actually buy? “Pillows? That’s it, I will make decorative pillows! “

Her goal was to make extra money, quickly Dorianne had started her own business!  She had an idea, brainstorming session, budget analysis (bit of money), thought of her skills, sorted out her supplier (fabric stores), site  location(home) and transport (her car)!

Well her idea worked, the pillows are absolutely beautiful (see photos)!  Dorianne can hardly keep up with her orders and is always running out of supplies (which is such a good thing).  Yes, pillows!  Her son, will be starting college this fall and her mind has been put at ease, knowing that while she is looking for a better job;  her business is definitely helping!

Pillows are a key item for decorating, it was actually a great choice; if I might add.  Pillows add that touch; they can be found in all different shapes, sizes and designs.   Some have tassels, buttons, piping, beads, sequins, even descriptive sayings!  You name it, a pillow can have it!  We often don’t look at the detail, but a pillow’s construction is amazing! 

For some of you, you may be saying it’s really not that serious!  It’s just a known item, that is often needed on a couch, bed or the floor!    However, get this!  It is always, always asked for, suggested and questioned, why aren’t there any? Pillows give that added touch!

There are people who are truly serious about their pillows.  It would n’t be me, if I didn’t put some history information in my post.  For you Jeopardy fans, pretend I’m Alex Trebek talking, here are some pillow trivia questions:

OK, you said EXPENSIVE for $100.  What is the most expensive pillow on the market?  It’s the Eider Down pillow – for it’s softness and filling.  They can go for $7,000 or more! (I know, that’s some pillow!)   

INTERNATIONAL for $200.  What is the most sort out pillow internationally?  It’s the Plumeland Pillow, it’s sold in Europe for about 69.99 EUROS.   

Ok are you bored?  Last trivia question!  MOST POPULAR for $500!  What is the most sold out decorative pillow to date?  Ready? It’s the Dora the Explorer Cuddle Pillow! 😉 

You see pillows are important stuff! 😀  Before going,  I would like to give some encouragement to others based on Dorianne’s story, for her’s alone is not the only one!  If you are a person, who has been told that your cakes are simply “scruplicious” and you begin selling them, you’ll have a business; right out of your kitchen.  If you know how to play the guitar or piano and decide to give lessons, you’ll have a business; right out of your home.   Perhaps, you work the night shift and have decided during the day to fix computers, you’ll have a business!   Family can help, kids would love to help, whatever you’re good at can generate some extra income.   Or you may know someone, who you could give some ideas to.  Ask!  So, what do you do or what are you good at?  Any idea can turn into a plan!   You know my saying, how will you know, if you don’t try! 

I hope this information was helpful.  If you’re interested in seeing more of Dorianne’s pillows,  you can e-mail her at  dori2enterprises@yahoo.com.   Until the next time!

Be well – Letia

Design Home Shows

21 Mar

This weekend was simply beautiful!  Went to NYC, the temperature was in the 70’s and people walking around were just happy! Why? We finally got a break, no SNOW!  I attended Architectural Digest’s Home Design and Dining By Design shows!  I’ve attended Architectural Digest’s Home Show for the past 4 years and each year it gets bigger and better!   It’s held near the end of  March for 3 days at Piers 92 & 94 (near 55th street on the West Side Highway).

There’s no way that I could show you everything, there were so many designers, decorators and vendors, PACKED!  Sssshhh, but I did sneak and take a few pictures of the different dining themes displayed.  Spring is here and summer is on the way, take a look below (click View All images), perhaps you can get some great ideas!  I had a lot of fun!! 🙂

Be well – Letia

You Can Get With This or You Can Get With That!

13 Mar
Dust Lady

It's Time!

Spring time is approaching!  How do we know? Because we have to turn our clocks ahead and lose an hour of sleep!  So it’s time! We can either think about getting organized OR we can’t just ignore the stuff around us! 

You can get with this or you can get with that!  If you want to get with this, LET’S GET ORGANIZED.  If not!  Well think it over and come back later… if you have changed your mind! 

Now the stuff around you, of course it has meaning.  It would n’t be in your home, if it didn’t.    Remember when you first saw it, you decided that you had to have it and it would have a specific place in your home?  

Well, after that!  Something else had a special meaning, then after that… here’s some more stuff.  Before you knew it, you have a lot stuff, with a WHOLE lot of dog gone meanings!

We just figured out your personal style and before you even begin thinking about changing a room or your wardrobe, before you go out and buy anything new, we need to start thinking about getting organized and start putting things in their rightful place.  Anything else, you are either are going to trash it or give it!  This is going to be your goal.   This is your commitment before you start!  Agreed?  Good!

The following tasks outlined should be performed room by room.  Please do not attempt to have that great idea, that one weekend you are going to do the whole entire house! De-cluttering,  organizing  is and will be very overwhelming.  You should take your time, looking at your things carefully, which is much easier done room by room.   

There will some indecisiveness where you and even your family want to keep things.  Believe me, there are going to be some disagreements on the items you choose to part with.  To them it’s very special, however to you, it’s simply JUNK or vice-a-versa!  If you keep this in mind and offer some compromising techniques,  this organization process should go rather well!  For children, every toy is special, so it may be rough at times for them as well.

Select the first room you are going to organize.  The room should be broken up into 4 work areas and you are going to begin looking at your things and placing them in either area:

  1. Keep  –  You are going to keep and have a special place or store.
  2. Donate – You are going to donate to the charity of your choice.
  3. Not Sure – You are on the fence whether to keep or trash.
  4. Trash –  Definitely do not need, dump quickly.

Once you have defined all you piles, periodically take the TRASH items outside, so you don’t go back and pull items to keep.   The KEEP items should be placed, however if you are doing other rooms, use some storage bins (WalMart® and Target®); until you are ready to either place or store. 

For the DONATE items, call your charity organization of your choice,  to find out if they have a pickup service or drop-off locations.  And Oh! Don’t forget, for tax purposes, ask for documentation especially if you are donating an item of high value.

The NOT SURE items, are items where there may be a difference in opinion on the value of the item.  Not in dollars or cents, but sentimental value.   It should be discussed – if you are gong to keep the item, where is it going to be placed?  If not kept, the item could be donated or ultimately placed in the trash pile.  Each room should be done in this fashion; until the entire house is completed.

I practice de-cluttering every 3 months or so.  My two worse areas,  1st  is the kitchen drawer, it has everything “under the sun” and I usually have to decide why did I keep this, I never could remember.  This drawer has nothing but change (last time I had a total of $10.05 according to Coin-matic), buttons, gum never opened, pens which have no ink, Post It® papers, coupons, tape, batteries, paper clips, those McDonald ketchup packs and false eyelash boxes (don’t ask)!  

 2nd, is my closet.  I did the labeling, the color coordination, lavender satchels and even the clear see thru boxes.   It gets messier every time I am trying to get ready for a party, looking for a particular shoe that I have in mind and especially when I have to change an outfit, due to the weather forecast was absolutely wrong!  And the winter and summer reorganization, drives me crazy! 

So, I am  also going to GET WITH THIS and de-clutter my closet!  While you are getting it together, I’ll be doing the same.  It’s time for me to donate some items, because if I have not worn it in 2 – 3 yrs, it should be donated.   It will make things easier and I’ll feel good about doing it.

I am listing some organizing sites for great storage buys; for your KEEP items that you have in mind!   First check out the Sale and Clearance sections, to see if you can find some useful items for your home: www.containerstore.com, www.target.com, www.rubbermaid.com and www.spacesavers.com.

Before Closet

Before Look

After Look

So let’s get started!  Let me know did you keep a lot or donate much?   Write a comment or e-mail at lee@lmlifestyleanddesign.com.  Any questions, I will be happy to answer!

Spring is coming!!!  Good Luck!

Be well  – Letia  : )

Finding Your Personal Style!

2 Mar

Right now in your wardrobe there’s colors and textures that you really love!  

If you are a gal, there are probably also those shoes, that simply makes you happy (especially the ones, which you’ve gotten on sale!). 

 For guys, it could be that special tie, a suit or that pair of jeans, which are hot!  Your wardrobe shows your personality, believe or not –  it can be transcending into your space.   

Interior decorators and designers will often ask you, “What is your style?”   More often than not, the client usually replies with that look of puzzlement, not really sure.   This  four word question is used as a guideline for decorators to begin assisting  their client to get a creative idea how to change the current space.  

 So, I’m going to make the answer to this question easy for you!   I have listed a few questions to ask yourself; whether you acquire a decorator or not,  your style is something that you should know.  You will be so surprised, by taking about 20 minutes, you will be able to learn what your personal style is!  So let’s get a pen, note paper, something refreshing to drink and ask yourself the following: 

  1. Describe your favorite outfit and your accessories, write down 4 descriptions (e.g. preppy, sexy, bright, funky, etc).
  2. Describe an activity you just love, write down 4 descriptions it gives you (e.g. peaceful,  electric, dark, etc.). 
  3. What movie, that you  just love, indicates a favorite style (e.g. 1940’s, 1980’s), write down 4 descriptions that best describes it (romantic, classy, loud).
  4. Now take all the descriptions you’ve written and look in some magazines to see if you notice any chairs, towels, furniture that match those adjectives.  Place a Post It™ on  the pictures you like.  Or the next time you go out, if not too busy, see if you can make your way to a store to also see.


Now check all of your information and look again at the pictures you’ve collected; let’s see if your current space reflects what you’ve discovered?  If what is now in your space doesn’t match, you’re personal style may be missing.  Don’t worry! 

You can change your space to show what you truly, truly like, with adding colors, textures and paint.   If it matches, then you have already identified your personal style and  if you prefer;  you can add or remove  an item or two, to get that WOW effect!!!  Or you might even have discovered that you may want to do some changes in your wardrobe too (bringing it up to date).   A personal style can change, because we change. 

This 20 minute quiz is nothing new, Thomasville®, did an ad campaign a few years back, using particular items in a wardrobe to advertise, detailing how it is reflected in furniture!  I particularly loved the ads (see one below).  You will be surprised on how many fashion styles influence furniture pieces and our home accessories (and vice-a-versus),  some may be obvious, but in some instances they are not even noticed. 


Personal Style

The Luminé Chest™

Designer Julie Chaiken with Benjamin Moore Paint

 

What’s my personal style? My favorite movie of all time is Funny Face!!!   I luv, luv, luv, Audrey Hepburn!   I am traditional (1950’s), classy/spicy with splashes of  color (red, yellow, teal blue) with clean lines (gray, black, white), also with flair (silk, damask), but stylish (mahogany wood)!  

I hope this information was helpful.  If you took the quiz, let me know what you’ve discovered, were  you surprised?  Did you discover a new color, that stands out?  How about the fabrics, are they also in your furniture?  Do you want a makeover to change your wardrobe completely first, then do your favorite room?   

Leave a comment below or send me a note at  lee@lmlifestyleanddesign.com.   I would love to hear from you!  Whatever you’ve discovered, when asked, you’ll now know your personal style!   

This is the first step, especially if you have thought about it for some time, to change your space!   For those who need help, in making your personal style be defined in your space.  In upcoming blogs, I will give you more steps. 

Remember it’s YOUR space; in which it is supposed to make you happy!  Your style is your style, no matter what others may think!  : ) 

Be well – Letia

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