In San Francisco, our garages need to work hard. They may hold a collection of bikes, tools, toys, art supples and even a car! Too often, however, the garage is the ultimate dumping zone. Wouldn't it be nice to walk in your garage and love it? Imagine a place where it's easy to get around and find what you need. Is garage zen too much to ask for? I don't think so. It just takes some time and work.
PLAN. Block off a section of time to start your project. I recommend 3-5 hours. Make this a time with no interruptions. No kids, phones or pets. You may not be finished at the end of this time, but you will have a good start. Keep at it and stay focused.
SORT. Pick an area (such as the workbench) or a category (such as sports gear) and start asking yourself questions about the items you find. Is this item being used by you or someone else in the family? Is it needed? Does it work? Has it seen better days? Assess EVERY item you come across.
DONATE. If the item is not needed or wanted, can it be donated? Not sure? Check out my list of local SF donation organizations. Place smaller items in grocery bags and put everything near the door. It's helpful to label the bag with the organization's name. If it's not something you can donate, recycle or responsibly dispose of it. Is it toxic? Call Recology to do a pickup at (415) 330-1405.
ORGANIZE. If the item stays, find the right home for it, remembering to place it with like items. Not sure where it goes? Would bins, hooks or shelves be helpful? Put these items on a list and keep going. Stay focused on the task at hand.
STORE. Once you have purged the area, additional storage is often needed. Should you hang the bikes? More shelving? You could go with a simple shelving unit from a home supply store, mounted shelving such as Elfa Utility, or an entire garage system such as Monkey Bars. Whichever way you go, purging and organizing must come first. For additional garage organizing ideas check out my garage Pinterest board.
As always, feel free to book a session if you would like some help in creating your own garage zen!
The above images are used courtesy of Chairish.com.
Chairs, tables, lamps, rugs, artwork. Our homes are full of objects. Sometimes these things come together in beautiful harmony. At other times, they need a little tune up. Does the living room flow? Is the bedroom feeling tired? Never got around to hanging art on the walls? Maybe it's time to reinvent your space.
It's best to start off by clearing out unneeded stuff. If your room is covered in clutter, no one will see how beautiful it is. Do a first pass and clear out the obvious stuff. Then, using the following steps, transform your home into the showstopper you always knew it could be. Pick a room and go for it!
CLEAR THE SLATE. Remove everything from the room that you can. Furniture, art, everything. Yes, the other rooms in your house will suffer a bit with all the extra stuff, but it's temporary!
SHOP AT HOME. Take a look around the house, don't forget the basement, attic and storage units. Bring in furniture and accessories that work together, flow and complement one another. Think about the need for concealed storage and media equipment. Do you have adequate furniture and storage? If you need to buy or sell items, consider using Chairish.com - see more about Chairish in the below!
START A CONVERSATION. Aim to create conversation areas with the furniture. Is there a focal point in the architecture, view or fireplace? Arrange furniture accordingly to take advantage of this feature.
PLAY WITH ART. It can be fun to bring all the art laying around the house and basement into the room and just play with placement. If you don't have one large dramatic piece for a focal point, group artwork to make a gallery wall instead.
LESS IS MORE. Bring back only the essentials, not the clutter. Instead, gather together collections you love based on color or material. Don't forget to vary the height of objects around the room to create visual interest. Placing things on stacked books can be great way of doing this.
COLOR SPLASH. Add fun pops of color with artwork, pillows, a throw or curtains. Keep the colors in a consistent palette.
LAYERED LIGHTING. Don't forget to layer your lighting. It's good to have overhead, task and ambient lighting. Now, sit back and enjoy your beautiful new space!
As always, feel free to book a session if you would like some help reinventing your space.
I recently discovered Chairish.com and I'm in love! Chairish is an online marketplace where design lovers buy and sell vintage and pre-owned furniture, decor, and accessories to one another.
Their shop features curated items for sale from individuals, vintage shops and interior designers. Buyers can make an offer on items, and Chairish manages delivery. You can even just shop local items!
If you are in need of design inspiration when rethinking your space, look no further than Houzz. With literally millions of home design photos, and the ability to search by room or style, you are bound to find something that sparks you. Check out the Houzz App as well!
Back to school often involves new books, new clothes, new shoes, a new schedule and sometimes a even new school! With all this change, it can also feel busy and overwhelming. A little organization can go a long way towards making the transition easier. Below are a few ideas for getting your home in shape for fall. For more inspiration check out my back to school Pinterest board.
Purge Kids Clothes. Take a look through your kids dresser and closet. Are there any clothes that have seen better days or they have outgrown? Anything they have a ridiculous number of? Box them up for a younger sibling or toss them in a bag for Goodwill. While your at it, make a list of the basics that need replacing.
Create a Drop Zone. Is there a pile near your front door of shoes, coats, backpacks and school projects? Maybe it's time for a "drop zone". If you're tight on space, this can be as simple as hook for a backpack, a tray for shoes and a dedicated spot for all incoming papers. If you have a bit more room, you may want to create something more elaborate like these mudrooms featured on Comfy Dwelling.
Homework Haven. Kids need a dedicated place to do homework that is quiet, free from distractions and has all the tools they need at hand. It does't take much to create this area. Start with a desk, a comfortable chair, a desk lamp and a few mason jars for writing utensils and scissors. You may want to add in a space for paper and books and a charging station. Add in a few personal touches like some of their artwork and it's ready to go!
As always, feel free to book a session if you would like some help making any of these back to school ideas a reality.
There's a connection between making space in your home and making space in your life. Why not also make space in your head?
Headspace is a lovely little app that makes meditation a friendly and accessible experience. Get yourself some Headspace!
After months of thinking about it, I finally hung a gallery wall in my living room. When it comes to my house, I usually do things in a burst of inspiration and this was no different.
Late one night I took nearly every piece of artwork off of every wall in the house and brought it into the living room. The next morning, I played around with all the artwork and eventually came up with this configuration of graphic red and yellow tones.
There are many ways to hang a gallery wall, but I like the method described in the blog StuffStephDoes.
Measure & Make Your Template. First, you measure out the wall area you want to cover. Using those measurements and some brown packing paper, create a large template on the floor.
Design & Outline. Place your artwork configuration on the paper and outline each piece of artwork. Mark the spot for the nail by finding the center of the top edge of the frame and measuring down to the spot where the nail would be.
Nail & Hang. Tape the paper template to the wall and make sure it's level. Put a nail in each spot you designated. Tear down the template, hang your art and enjoy the results!
Kids are prolific artists! The painting, the gluing, the drawing! It's wonderful to see our child engrossed in making art, but perhaps it's not so wonderful to see the dining room table covered with glitter glue.
There is a solution. Whether it's a table in the corner of the kitchen or a whole room, let them have a space to unleash their creativity.
Gather & Purge. The first step is to gather all the art supplies in one place and purge, purge, purge! Keep what they need and take the rest to SCRAP.
Get the Essentials. You don't need much to create an art area. I suggest a table, a few chairs, pen/pencil holders, and a place to hold supplies like paper, coloring books and stickers. Get some inspiration from my Kid Art Areas Pinterest board.
Create a Gallery. Kids love to see their work displayed! The fridge is fine, but two of my favorite ways of displaying art is on a clothesline and in hinged frames. Have fun making art together!
So many of my clients have beautiful jewelry they would love to wear, but don't because it's in a tangled mess. If this sounds like you, here are some steps you can take to remedy the situation.
1) Purge. Take everything out and assess. Ten pairs of hoop earrings? Broken necklaces? Clear out everything you don't love and donate or sell it.
2) Store. Next, look at my Pinterest board about Jewelry Organizing to give you some ideas about storing your favorites. Could you use drawer inserts, or a tree stand? Pick one or two and go for it. Maybe now that all the excess is gone, the storage you have works perfectly!
3) Organize. This is the fun part! Organize all of your favorites into your new system. Remember to maintain the system by putting things back after you wear them. Be prepared to feel fabulous!
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a