One of my very favorite client organization projects is creating a home Command Center. Every home has multiple catch-all spots for every day items like mail, office supplies, magazines, instruction manuals, gift cards and coupons. I want to help you consolidate everything into one central location, so I am sharing my best how-to tips.
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Where did November go? Thanksgiving has passed and we’re plowing full-force into the December holiday season. Orange and brown hues have disappeared from the shelves at my local stores and been replaced with an explosion of red’s and green’s. I love it!
Today’s post is a review of the super busy month of November. This month has really shown the diversity of the projects that my team at Kuzak’s Closet are tackling; great closet and garage organization projects, a full house relocation and un-pack, estate inventory, several estate sales and liquidations, DIY events, a book release and so much more!!
December is looking pretty packed but I am taking some time to visit family, which will be fantastic and I am looking forward to a break. We managed to squeeze two estate sales into December so be on the lookout for those updates and I am bringing back the Holiday Decor Week from last year that was so much fun. I love to see everyone’s different decorations and hear about the holiday traditions of my family and friends. (more…)
About a year and a half ago I was asked to be a guest contributor for the book The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style: Secrets to Shopping Cheap and Looking Chic by Lilliana Vazquez – and, the book was just released last week! Lilliana has been featured on The TODAY Show, Access Hollywood and The Rachel Ray Show and the book, inspired by her website Cheap Chica’s is a collection of her personal style tips, organization ideas and shopping finds for every budget.
The book is broken into segments: helping you find your personal style (there is a quiz!), how to stay organized, shopping for styles that flatter your body-type and wallet, and where to find the best deals. She even knows the best days to shop for the biggest discounts. I really enjoyed the book because her tips are honest, realistic and I want to highly recommend it. So treat yourself to a copy and give it as a gift to your girlfriends! You can order a copy of the book here.
I was asked to take part in the chapter “Making Cents of Your Closet” and below is a small excerpt from my submission. Enjoy!
I am teaming up for another fun party at West Elm with my friend and fellow blogger Monica at Living in Vogue this week, “Dressing Up the Holidays”. Not only will we be showing off our DIY table style projects from the West Elm 1 Year Anniversary party two weeks ago, we will be presenting tips about keeping your hosting schedule organized, setting up a bar, styling your party wardrobe and will be serving sample cocktail and appetizer recipes that are sure to wow your guests and give you time to mingle. Local baker SusieCakes is supplying some delicious desserts for your tasting pleasure, Ibiss boutique is loaning some amazing wardrobe pieces, Apis Floral will be on hand to talk about floral arrangements and The Card Lady will be showing some amazing sample menu’s and invitations. We hope you can join us as we kick off the holiday season at West Elm!
Moving is a great opportunity to clear the clutter and enjoy a fresh start. When a client hires Kuzak’s Closet to help manage their move and organize their new home we take care of all of the details – from the space planning to the unpacking.
We’ve been working on several relocations lately and today I wanted to share my favorite tips and some pictures to inspire you to embrace the opportunity to start fresh.
Tip#1: Sort and purge before you move! So many people pack up all of their possessions and take them to their new home without sorting and purging. Why bring unwanted clutter into your new home? Take the time to eliminate all of the items you no longer use or need. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to unpack!
I develop a sorting and purging schedule with my clients prior to their move. We typically schedule 4-5 sessions to work on each space in the home. This helps me understand their storage preferences and gives me an idea of how often things are used which is a great help when it comes to setting up systems in their new home. This is a picture of a toy pile that I sorted through the day before one of my clients moved…
Does your home feel trashed after summer break? Many of my clients have been calling me in for organizing sessions to help get their kid friendly spaces back on track, so today I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite organizing tips for kids!
The above photo shows a before and after of a small art space that one of my client’s has off her kitchen. The summer wreaked havoc on the space (it is also the entry to the crawl space for the air conditioner) so we needed to get it back on track. While I was sorting all of the items I put them into piles so I could take them back to their original “homes” throughout the house. Children are like squirrels, they are always gathering things into their zones that don’t belong!
Once all of the items returned home I could reorganize the art supplies and set up a work space for my client’s daughter to get creative. The little space is under the stairs and it curves around to the left so I set up a little “fort” in the corner for her to play. I gave her a few bins for her games and miscellaneous art supplies. The table top has glue, washable paint, markers, and colored pencils. Her daughter will love it!
I have a green bag that I bring with me to every organizing job. If you ever read The Babysitters Club books it is like the bag they brought to all of their babysitting gigs. Full of the essentials to a successful session. It is filled with my favorite tools and I can’t imagine going to work without it. My organizing assistants know that they can find just about anything inside of it, it is like the endless bag of tricks. It started out much smaller but over the years it has grown and I keep adding to it, someday it is going to be an entire set of luggage I’m sure. If I had a dollar for every time I asked for something in the “green bag” I would be rich!
Inside of the bag are Ziploc bags filled with items divided by categories, i.e. labeling, office supplies, storage, and client homework. I was cleaning it out this week and I thought it would interesting to share what is inside. Here is a peak…
I hope this post gives you an insight into my organizing sessions. There are a few items that I didn’t share but I need to keep my bag of tricks somewhat of a mystery!
I’m so glad I decided to write a post each week called Fab Friday. It forces me to slow down for a bit and reflect on the little moments in my week that made me smile.
This week there were SO many fun events. For example, this picture from last week’s Estate Sale cracks me up. The sale was a complete madhouse and a crazy success, we sold $9,000 in two days out of a mobile home park-AMAZING! The streets were lined with cars and trucks loaded with goodies, fabulous! The guy on the truck closest to the camera is named Gary, he is an estate regular and he makes me smile.
Another estate shopper that makes me smile is named Miguel. He is knows the way to my heart (and a good price) is food. He brought the entire estate crew steak tacos on Saturday, fabulous!
After the sale was over we celebrated with a little college football and a lot of pizza. I have been sticking with my diet for the most part but pizza always makes me cave. This pizza is from Skip’s in Los Altos, it’s so good! (more…)
Since last week’s post there have been many fabulous things going on in my life. I am so thankful for my friend Lori who calls to check in with me a few times a week and even manages to get me out of the house for social events once in a while. She called me last Friday afternoon to ask me if I wanted to participate in a fun run that night.
It was a 5k and I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I ran that far. I couldn’t keep up with Lori and her daughter Hayley but I’m proud to report that I was able to run more than half of the race. Lori met me at the finish line which was a nice surprise, gotta love fabulous friends!
Hot or Not?! made a surprise comeback on the blog this week. I love that series, so many fabulous ideas and comments from all of you! I shared my new flannel sheets as one of the HOT items, they are fabulous! Look for the Threshold label at Target! (more…)
Do you ever look at the before pictures here on Kuzak’s Closet and think, “really, how could someone live in that space?” I am sharing a project that I tackled last week that had me wondering just that!
The project I am sharing today is actually the bedroom of one of my assistant’s, Jennalynn. I know, shocking that someone who works for an organizing company would have a room in shambles! She’s been telling me about her cluttered bedroom for a few weeks but I didn’t know it would be this wild.
I typically ask my clients a series of questions before we start an organizing session, what’s working, what isn’t, etc.. For this project it was clear to me that nothing was working and we had to start from scratch. The space was suffering from the lethal clutter combination of “too much stuff, no designated homes.”
Jennalynn is starting college in a few weeks so I wanted to give her an organized system and a fresh start to work with. Typically I start a corner of the room and work my way around clockwise or counter-clockwise but since I couldn’t find a corner I started in the middle and worked my way around. All of the clothing that she wanted to keep we put in bins and moved them out into another room as they filled up to create room to work. We bagged up garbage and goodwill as we went and at the end of the sorting process we were able to see the floor and talk about rearranging the furniture to maximize the space.
The secret to remembering to accessorize is having your jewelry visible and organized so you can find what you are looking for before you run out the door. Because I struggle with accessorizing myself I decided to turn one of the shelves in my closet into a jewelry nook using some of my favorite organizing products. I don’t have a lot of jewelry but what I do have I really love and wear.
During my professional organizing sessions I always suggest to my clients to repurpose items that they already have. One of my favorite kitchen items that can be repurposed quite nicely in a jewelry nook or on a vanity is a deviled egg dish. All of the little compartments are perfect to store earrings and rings.
I also love that deviled egg dishes help you limit how many items you have, most of them have between 12 and 24 compartments which helps you prioritize the items you really love.
When I won the Command Organizing contest they sent me a goody box full of new products. One the the things was a 3M Command Jewelry Organizer and I just love it. I hung it on the back wall with my necklaces making it easy for me to find. If you don’t have room for a little shelf like this you could also try using simple command hooks like I did in this Jewelry project.
I added a pop of color by lining the shelf with green and white shelf liner. I wanted to line the walls too but the liner wouldn’t stick. I think I am going to try wall paper next…
One place I like to keep it simple is with my containers, I love the clear acrylic trays from the Container Store. My jewelry is so colorful, I wouldn’t want to confuse my eye when choosing something to wear with a colorful container or something with a wild pattern. Using clear containers also allows me to see everything at once.
I hope this post gives you some inspiration to organize your jewelry. Summer is still sizzling so don’t forget to put on your favorite jewels before you leave the house!
A few weekends ago I started working with a hard working couple and busy parents of the cutest little boy. During our consultation they gave me a tour of their home as we discussed what they were struggling with along with their goals, timeline, and budget. The room they struggled with the most was the kitchen, it butts up to the living room (which also serves as a play room and home office) and had become a dumping ground for many things that just didn’t belong. Because of my client’s hectic work schedules and their responsibilities as parents to a young son the could never find the time to really gut out all of the cabinets, reorganize and re-purpose items, and get back on track.
Kuzak’s Closet has been working on several home organization projects involving clients relocating from one home to another lately. I love helping clients strategize, space plan, and set up their new homes in an organized way. It’s such an opportunity for them to have a fresh start and a new perspective on the items they love and how they store them.
Whether it’s holding an Estate Sale or listing items on Craigslist and eBay, I am always selling something online for my clients. The back of my truck is always full of treasures that I bring home from my organizing sessions and I love that it puts money back in my client’s pockets.Putting these posts together is fun for me because it helps me create a history and timeline of what has been sold (I have spreadsheets but blogging is much more fun!) Below are a few of the items I have sold over the last few weeks. I never know what type of items I will be selling and how much they will sell for, the online market changes all of the time. Keep up with Kuzak’s Closet by liking us on Facebook!
Vintage suitcases, $28 a piece at an estate sale…
I’ve been able to jam a lot of fabulous stuff into this week! It all started with a great PR and marketing meeting with my team. We hashed out ideas for 2014 over some Chinese takeout and red wine.
Next year I really need to expand. I have a full calendar with great clients and great projects booked through February which means I need to figure out how to find room for all of the new business that comes in daily. It’s a good problem to have but growing can be difficult. It really keeps me up at night.
My husband and I took the wallpaper down in our kitchen in early October. In it’s place we painted the walls with a light shade of turquoise, doesn’t it look fabulous! I wanted to wait until I found a new table and some accessories to share before and afters but with my schedule I don’t think shopping is in my future. I’ll keep you posted on the progress, hopefully I can find something before Christmas. (more…)
Paperwork doesn’t have to be a struggle! My motto is less is more. I treat my paperwork like I treat my diet and exercise regimen, I work on it little by little each week, nothing too extreme.
Because I spend a little time maintaining my paperwork each week I have total control and I can find what I need at a moments notice. Gotta love that! I store all of my paperwork in one watertight bin that is easy move to the kitchen table when I am preparing our taxes and filing, and in case of an emergency (earthquake, fire, worlds colliding, etc..), I could grab it and go.
I bought colorful pink and green file folders so that filing wouldn’t be such a drag. I created labels for categories that are specific to our household needs. They include each individual tax year, auto insurance, renters insurance, our car, medical, certifications for Chris and myself, Harper our pooch, key documents, misc., our Chicago Condo, bank information, investments, my business Kuzak’s Closet, and business receipts.
You might be wondering how I am able to keep all of our paperwork in one single tub. Honestly, it is not impossible. Here are the guidelines I follow to stay organized:
- I control the paper coming into our house from the banks and our investment accounts by requesting electronic statements. This cuts down on a ton of weekly, monthly, and yearly paperwork. I log into my online accounts to make sure all of the charges and activity are legit every week.
- I spend 5 to 10 minutes each week maintaining my file box by filing the new mail and getting rid of the outdated materials.
I follow these guidelines regarding how long I need to keep my paperwork:
- Tax Paperwork: Keep your tax files for 7 years, if you would like to keep your tax summary or any check stubs written to the government past this point do so. This rule applies to end of year mortgage statements, medical receipts, child care receipts, and anything related to a home business or second home. Because I am self employed I need to keep my financial documents (business receipts, year end bank statements, tax paperwork) forever to prove my income
- Insurance Documents: Only keep insurance policy information and documentation for current policies
- Loan Information: Once a loan is paid off you only need to keep the confirmation that you are paid in full.
- Warranties and Manuals: Only keep warranty documents that are current and for products you still own.
- Utility bills: Unless you have a home office and need these for tax purposes, you can get rid of these bills are the end of each month. If you feel comfortable receiving them electronically do so, this saves you filing time and paper overload.
- Investment Account and Bank Statements: If your statements come in the mail and want to reconcile your accounts, keep the updated copy until the new copy arrives.
- Adoption Paperwork, Marriage License, Divorce Documents: Keep these forever.
- Car Titles: Keep these forever
- Home Improvement Information: Forever
Keep your original social security card, passport, and birth certificate, along with a copy of your marriage, divorce, adoption, and financial and credit card account information in a fireproof box in your home or a safety deposit box at the bank.
It is also a good idea to have a home inventory list documenting your furniture, artwork, jewelry, etc.. Include photos of each room and keep this list in a fireproof box or safety deposit box. Click here for an easy computer program that will help you.
Remember, these are general guidelines. Every case is different and if you have specific paperwork questions please send me an email, I would love to answer it. If you like my tub and file system and would like one for yourself, I sell them to my clients and I would be happy to deliver one to you if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I hope this post will help you get your paperwork in order soon! Happy Organizing!
Over the weekend I installed 2 new shoe organizers in my closet. I hate the process of putting things together, especially when our dog Harper decides to chew a few of the parts and eat the directions! These organizers are really easy to put together but for some reason my screw driver kept stripping the screws so I really had to use my muscles! In the end they turned out great and I was able to achieve my goal of maximizing the space on my closet floor and display my handbags so I will be encouraged to use them.
I shared the inside of my closet…Kuzak’s Closet, ha ha, a few months ago. Many of you seemed to really enjoy the post so I thought you might like to see the updated look. Before, all of my shoes neatly lined the floor of the closet and my handbags were in bins and on the shelves. After the simple shoe organizer installation, it looks like a little boutique which will encourage me to accessorize with new items instead of my go-to favorites.
Normally I use shoe cubbies with my clients but in this case I thought a simple shoe shelf from The Container Store (they sell similar products at WalMart and Target) would allow me enough space to display my handbags on the top shelf without bumping into the clothing. I love seeing all my shoes at a glance, it’s like seeing all of my friends! FYI, if you like these shelves and have more room for storage they are stackable.