Elegant Mayhem | A haven for lifestyle and home inspiration.
Elegant Mayhem blog, Lee Prince, Leland Prince, home lifestyle inspiration
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Ok, I’m back from the trenches of the project I outlined here on Tues — and not only are the results great, but the process was actually kind of fun (I can feel my teenagers cringing already but there you have it – I write for YOU, not them!). If you are in charge of your kitchen and have trouble keeping it all together, the tips I got from Blisshaus founder Wiebke Liu might really help. They made huge difference to me in just one afternoon! Here’s what I learned and what worked:

 

1.) Blisshaus recommends using your “dishwasher as your anchor” and storing everything nearby for ease. It totally makes sense, but as Wiebke aptly points out in this article from Mother magazine, most of us set up our kitchen the day we moved in and were swallowed up by boxes and just trying to unpack. After reading about her strategy, I realized that the silverware was clear across the room and other items were in key real estate zones they didn’t deserve it (sorry snacks, you need to move on). With a few adjustments, I now have all dishes/glasses/etc. within arm’s reach of the dishwasher. DONE.

2) Store plates and bowls in under-counter cabinets. I’ll admit, I didn’t think this was allowed. Sounded crazy but hey, why not? Afterall, my post-surgery arms don’t need any more awkward reaching than necessary… It’s SO much easier now versus reaching up and diagonally where they were pre-Blisshaus. Highly recommend!

3) Lay water bottles and travel mugs flat. Again, another heretical idea that has legs. Much simpler now to see whether the darn thing has a top or not, and no more wobbling/falling down bottles. I did the same thing for our tea cupboard too — also makes it much easier to see what you’ve got.

4. Last but not least, put as much as you can into glass canisters. This was the part I wanted to get to because the aesthetic of it is so much better than staring at a kaleidoscope of labels & plastic every time you open the cabinet!  A quick trip to The Container Store gave me almost exactly what I needed (a second run sealed the deal) and then it was time to de-box and de-jar. I didn’t do everything but most of the stuff lended itself well to this new arrangement. It’s SO much easier now to see how much you have of something & when you’re running low….(Note: my friend Carol rightly pointed out that Ikea has great canisters too)

Cupboard #2

I should mention here that my label situation is not yet done. The lady at the Container Store was shockingly excited about my project and VERY enthusiastic about my trying their chalkboard labels. I demurred knowing that I needed more time & would have to deal with it later…..so that’s a followup. What do you use??

 

If you decide to tweak your kitchen to the Blisshaus style outlined here, you might find yourself at a loss as to where everything actually IS!  I threw some stickies on the drawers that moved so our family can re-adjust (sorry Ted, I know you’re traveling but I feel quite certain you’ll catch up with these changes fast!).

Speaking of my husband Ted, there were some interesting items that emerged during my kitchen cleanse and begged to be donated or thrown away. Plastic banana holder for long bike rides, anyone?  Seriously??? I mean who invents these things?! (and who BUYS them?:)

From the absurd to the sublime, I leave you with my utensil holder that was purged of bright plastic spoons in favor of more monochromatic and sustainable tools. AND of course the ever-present little crab tile painted by friend Soraya, an artist and activist.  Just as Blisshaus predicted, I feel a calm and happiness here now…

I don’t know whether to thank or curse my friend Sam who I ran into Saturday PM with some friends. We got to chatting about this blog and I innocently asked what topics I should cover in future posts…based on interest in the closet makeovers I did last month, Sam suggested a post on pantry makeovers. Great idea! I very much need to tackle that project in my house, so why not??

Well, now I’m in it. I spent some time googling for inspiration last PM & hit the mother lode, discovering entrepreneur Wiebke Liu’s amazing company Blisshaus via Gwyneth Paltrow’s site Goop.

Blisshaus has a deceptively simple message:  find ways to make it easy to replace plastic in your kitchen whenever possible.

Photo of Wiebke Liu courtesy of San Francisco Chroniclea

Moving away from plastic has obvious benefits for health and also the environment, I get it — but how do you do this practically? Plastic is everywhere! My food containers, measuring cups, even my colanders, funnel…

My sister-in-law Jackie could handle this kind of shift (she’s probably already 90% there!). But how could I, Lee Prince, Queen of Whole Foods Prepared Foods Counter & general kitchen spaz actually do this?? Once I dug a little deeper, I found the ever-earnest Wiebke (pronounced Veeb-ka, she hails from Germany)’s cheerful video tutorials showing me the way…..

Why in fact, she suggests that I take a tote bag to Whole Foods (or wherever I shop), give the person behind the counter my Blisshaus glass container with its weight written on it and have them scoop in the prepared food for me (the server will deduct the weight of the glass from your contents).

In one step, I’m eliminating plastic on my food and the need for that very plastic to be recycled.

In addition, she encourages me to use the bulk bins at the store. I’ve always found those bins….um, sketchy? I thought they were designed exclusively for the hemp-wearing, vegan-shoe crowd.

But with the cute Blisshaus market bags, apparently I can fill them up as needed and again, eliminate the need for 10+ plastic bags (or boxes) I gather every time I go to the grocery. MAYBE something I’d try….

Secondly, she and her glossy makeovers on the site convince me I need to rearrange my kitchen & pantry for greater ease and flow. I need to de-box and de-can wherever possible and line up these simple jars with adorable labels….(I feel my week slipping away but hey, it might be a good endeavor??)

Testimonials on her site suggest that once I am done with this whole project, a calm and happiness will take over the space and quite possibly my family. OK – Where do I sign up??!

Before

After

I’ll be the guinea pig here & get the Market Kit and see if this really can work & report back to you all.  If you are still toying with the idea, check out this ingenious idea to take back your Junk Drawer

I’ll admit, I’m 99% motivated by the aesthetics vs. health/planet, but I feel that virtue should not be denied from me. THIS IS A LOT OF WORK & I’m looking for big satisfaction in the end!!  I’m such a sucker for home makeover projects.

Do you think this is completely crazy or worth it?  I’m curious if my West Coast friends think this is more normal than my East Coast friends….chime in!

 

You can order the DIY starter kits on Blisshaus.com and Goop.com — or use your own glass containers and tote bags.

More info about Blisshaus is on Goop here.

 

(Photos and videos courtesy of Goop, Blisshaus and Houzz.)

I don’t know about your area, but in Washington DC we did not have much of a Spring to speak of – was either freezing cold or boiling hot (will be 94 degrees today!!). So without further ado, strangely, it’s time to get ready for Summer… Add to that the crazy political storm we seem to be in now (still??) & it’s no wonder we’re all fantasizing about zoning out at the pool!

 

There are so many beautiful, well-made yet affordable pieces out there this season. Here’s what’s on my list…..What’s on yours? If you have great sources & pieces to recommend, let me know so we can all enjoy.

 

Cheers to a happy, healthy season for all!

 

———-

 

I have never tried off the shoulder but I’m giving it a go this summer, starting with top below from Cuyana. I think it will either look great OR like a small child wrapping herself in a  towel; stay tuned for the update…

Also from Cuyana, beautiful weekender bag, great quality & detailing (monograms only $10) at good price point. Comes in various colors and alternate styles.

I’m still obsessed with M. Gemi and can’t believe their attention to detail and fine materials. These would look great with everything from white linen pants to a little black dress….also oggling their flats – lots of great items on their website.

I’m determined to make this the year I give up habit of wearing my reading glasses under my sunglasses – a truly horrible look that thoroughly embarasses my teenage girls (…maybe THAT’s why I haven’t motivated to fix the situation!).  Below are some sun readers from Eyebobs (thanks Mary Kate for the tip way back when!). There are lots more on Amazon as well….

And while on Amazon, you might as well treat yourself to a beach read! I just ordered this book which I learned about via Kate Betts’ post — it’s a breezy memoir written by a woman who realized in her late 50s that she wanted something different than her day to day life in LA. I’m very excited to dig into this (spoiler alert: she buys a chateau in France).

Simple basics – always necessary. I’ve become quite picky about my T-shirts and love anything well made with Modal cotton. I have several of Garnet Hill’s below & they’re amazing!!  I’m also going to try Cuyana’s this season…

I find Reiss (a Kate Middleton favorite brand of course) always has great tailored but updated pieces. I just got this top below in Dusty Pink, also comes in Black — you can dress it up or down depending on the occasion. It has a nice drape & is super comfortable.

Last but not least, I am always the one on summer evenings stealing my husband’s sweater – or usually fleece, which you know is a great look:(   SO this year I resolve to have some summer-weight sweaters — starting with one below from The White Company (UK based but opening soon in US). I found great pieces at their store in London and have used their online shop for years; the quality of items is consistently good, you just have to make sure about your size (in this case, the sweater is just one size) and the shipping/return policy. A couple times I’ve had to call to negotiate a pre-paid return.

Counting down until Memorial Day!!

This past weekend was an incredibly fun one with an engagement party for my adorable cousin at my house, including an amazing group of 20-somethings (more on this later!). But in preparation of the big event, with my aunt, uncle & dad staying at my house and looking to wrap their engagement presents, the innocent question came up:  “Do you have any wrapping paper?”  Why yes, I thought so — afterall, I LOVE wrapping presents and finding new ways to put a package together. But in point of fact, my wrapping supplies were picked clean post-Christmas and I hadn’t replenished any supplies. Arghhh…

 

I come from a long line of people who enjoy a well-wrapped gift. My mom learned from her grandmother and had very high standards. Actually, my mom was often known to put as much money & time into the wrapping paper as the gift itself! She marbelized paper herself, added blooms from her garden tied to the package with raffia, or when we were little, added chocolates or peppermints as a “present topper.” My intentions are good but my schedule or lack of planning or WHATEVER makes it so that I’m often scrambling to get a present wrapped when I should in fact already be at the party. The only thing that saves me is having a neat, well-stocked line up of wrapping supplies to lure me in and get it done quick!

 

It seems that while most people focus on the food pantry, I’m much more interested in my art supply closet. Oh well, to each his own, right? So if you’re a fellow wrapping fiend who’s time-challenged, you might like to see some of the beauties I found to stock up again.

 

 

If you’re really going to wrap a present, why not do it with some panache? I’m obsessed with John Derian and his wrapping papers do not disappoint. There are quite a few others on his website, so if you’re not a New Yorker you can still get his items easily.

This Italian script paper would look handsome with just a simple red grosgrain bow, wouldn’t it??

I love this cool purpley watercolor wrapping paper from Paper Source too….

I was raised to believe that gift bags were a very second-rate option but I’ve long since discarded that point of view! Who wouldn’t like to get one of these cute bags?? I’m in.

If you’re giving several presents or want a more basic option, you can’t beat these bags from Amazon. I’m ordering up a bunch just to have on hand.  Filled with a punchy-colored paper, they will look great:

If you want to add a little personal touch to a simple package, you can order custom stickers — I’m going to do this from Moo.com, which I’ve used in the past for business cards and collateral. They have a whole bunch of templates so you can say something more personal like “Cheers! The Smiths”; the photo below doesn’t quite show that but if you look on their site you’ll see what I mean…

Lastly, I’ve always been partial to my Fiskar’s scissors but the scissors below from Bellocchio, one of my absolute favorite stores in San Francisco, are pretty tempting….

Bellocchio has wonderful selection of ribbons that you can order online too.

 

I could go on and on, but I’ve gotta get ordering now!  If you have any great sources or inspiration for wrapping presents, I’m all ears.

Let’s face it – we are ALL doing too much. I mean it – too many of us are chasing the dream of Pinterest-perfect homes (guilty as charged here), insanely accomplished offspring, healthy gourmet meals (now that one, I cannot be accused of!), stunning social media presences for our businesses & causes, & on…and on.  One of the reasons I created this blog was to share tips & hacks that can help us live more fully — part of that, from my vantage point, is finding short-cuts & ways to affordably outsource the stuff we “have” to do so we have more time & energy for the things that are really meaningful to us.

 

Here’s my list of top 10 tools — which ones did I miss?? Leave a comment if you can & I’ll make sure to spread word about it in upcoming posts.

1. Wyzant – thank you to my friend Margaret for this one!  Wyzant is an online national network of tutors — just put in your zipcode & your child’s needs & you’ll see a list of qualified tutors across range of subjects. My youngest daughter has made liberal use of this for variety of subjects, whether prepping for AP tests or just regular coursework. And you put your credit card in so all rates/payments are securely paid online, no hassle. A lifesaver, even on short notice!

2. Care.com — another workhorse in the outsourcing department, Care.com was of course started by a woman, CEO/founder Sheila Marcelo. I’ve used it a lot over the years to find babysitters, occasional extra household help, and even for others in my extended family when we needed an extra pair of hands if there was a crisis and I couldn’t be there in person. There’s a month-to-month subscription to get access to their listings, so if you just need help on a one-time basis you pay for 1 month’s access (which has consistently given me extensive quality applicants). Thanks, Sara, for turning me onto this when I first went back to work!

 

3. Dogvacay.com — you’re starting to see a pattern here I bet…? Yup, an online network of pet sitters. They came to my rescue when we got a puppy 2 years ago and I had to go to my older daughter’s lacrosse overnight trip (oddly not trusting my husband to feed the little guy and let him out every 2 hours for a full weekend – hmmmm….).  Lots of options at all different price points.

4.  TaskRabbit.com – this is literally your jack of all trades in the outsourcing department. I’ve had good luck with their service for finding local movers, guys to set up IKEA furniture (which took them like 15 minutes where it would have taken me all day!), & a handyman. I feel like the quality is a little bit more uneven on this network though so just do a little online homework, look at their reviews & make sure they seem up to the job.

5.  Thumbtack.com — same idea as TaskRabbit.com but I add them to your consideration because they seem to have slightly different geographic profile, so depending where you live and what you’re looking for, you might want this option. I used them to find a long distance mover from DC to New Hampshire (who were incredible!), a party photographer, and my daughter used them to find a makeup artist.  Similar caveat – just check reviews first.

 

6. Freecycle.org — this one is golden when it works. People post stuff they want to give away and then interested respondants write you back to say if/when they can come by to take it off your hands – for free. This was hugely helpful when my husband & I decided to get rid of the seriously old and immensely heavy pool table in our basement that came with the house when we bought it (making room for a ping pong table of course:). We would have paid $$ to have it taken out by another service, but a nice church group wanted it for their community area & brought out a whole crew to move it. Win, win for both of us!

7. Waze.com — please tell me you know about this one. If not, I have no idea how you get anywhere in a busy metropolitan area!? Or maybe you’re lucky enough to live somewhere without any traffic?? Ok, we can’t be friends – I’m too jealous. Well, if you ever visit me in Washington DC, get this (free) app and you’ll slice your commute time in half on a good day.

 

8. Instacart.com or Peapod.com — I positively hate going to the grocery store. Do you?? If so, these are a couple of gems to use for online ordering from Whole Foods and Giant, delivered at variety of convenient times (at least in my area). There’s a very small surcharge per order but it saves so much time and I guess gas money too. Both of them have ability to save your previous orders so ordering gets easier each time you do it.

9.  Upwork.com –  Do you have hobby, a side hustle, or something you want to showcase online? I recommend this site to anyone who wants to find a digital/design guru for their pet project — it’s how I found the incredibly talented Christiane who helps me with this very blog! Stay tuned — several of my friends & fellow blog readers are cooking up stuff with Upwork.com right now and I look forward to spreading the word about their amazing businesses after they launch.

10. The “Calm” app — if none of the above gives you the break and easier load you want, then hit the Apple Apps store and dowload this on your phone. Beautiful imagery and guided meditations just might be just what you need!

 

Note to self: do less. Live more. Workin’ on it….

While magazines might have us believe that everyone is going to be gathered round a multi-generational table with lemonade & sunshine this Sunday,

many of us are not going to be physically with our mom on Mother’s Day. Maybe she lives far away, or perhaps like mine, she’s no longer living. What’s the best way to deal??

 

The first Mother’s Day after my mom died felt like one endless Hallmark holiday-tear jerker….what were once charming & poignant TV commercials about the mother-daughter bond suddenly felt like a conspiracy to play with my emotions!

Many of my friends have had the same experience. But with a little effort, you can not only make it through the day but perhaps even come to embrace it. Here are 5 ways to rethink the Big Day:

 

1.  Celebrate your mom in a new way & create some novel traditions.  My mom loved church, social gatherings & pretty much any kind of sweets.

So going to church on Mother’s Day (which we don’t do regularly) & treating ourselves to donuts with the rest of the parish afterwards is a nice way for me to find that connection. Maybe your mom was (or is) an amazing athlete & you want to do a 5k in her honor….or maybe she loved museums?? Whatever it is, take the day to do something she would have loved doing, even if just for an hour — I guarantee it will be worth it.

 

2.  Talk about your mom all day long!  If you are lucky enough to have siblings, a dad, or others in the family who can join in with you, so much the better.

Sometimes when there’s a tense family dynamic, we try to just keep it to ourselves. Who wants to be Debbie Downer (although shout out to my classmate, Dartmouth ’88 Rachel Dratch, who created the character – you rock:) & bring up old memories??

But Mother’s Day is a day to give ourselves permission to talk about her as much as we want — funny stories, inside jokes, embarrassing & touching moments we might not bring up otherwise.

So go ahead & let loose!!

 

 

3. Don’t just sit there….make something. Here I’m taking a page out of my kids’ book – they really relished the chance to get crafty with some Mother’s Day stuff — not for me as THEIR mom but in honor their grandmother, which was fine with me! Haley, my youngest, has my mom’s old baking supplies & loves making treats the same way they did together.

Avery is very artistic & my mom always encouraged that when she was little, so she made several collages, some with words, some with images.

It doesn’t matter WHAT you make – it could be anything from a sand castle, to a charm bracelet, to a playlist! — it just matters that you give yourself the time to do it. 

 

4. Get closer to a friend who’s missing her mom (or dad). One of my best friends lost her dad the week before Father’s Day – I mean, really, how is that timing fair?!

Just acknowledging the fact and letting your friend know you’re thinking of them on this suddenly annoying Hallmark holiday might make them feel a little less isolated (or at least that’s how I felt when people connected with me). It’s terrible that anyone has to go through this, but it does strengthen the bond when you go through something together….

If you are willing to open the door a bit, your friendships can grow to a whole new level.

 

 

5.  If you have kids of your own, enjoy them fully on Mother’s Day — and if you have a friend who doesn’t have kids, think about including her too. We all have different kinds of maternal relationships – that older friend from work who always looks out for you….the younger mom at the bus stop who you seems to hang on your every word of parenting advice?! Mother’s Day is a chance to honor all the people who help with YOUR kids in ways big and small — and those unique relationships where YOU get to the kid again, as I do with in a way with my moms’ sisters for instance. Enjoy it all — and don’t let the static TV image of “Mother’s Day” tell you how to spend it!  It’s your day.

I will have to hold myself back from “talking” too much in this post because I want you to have a chance to let the amazingly calm and assured style of Loi Thai & his shop Tone on Tone (Bethesda MD) just wash over you as it did for me upon a recent visit…

Loi & his partner Thomas Troeschel are the real deal when it comes to stylish living, as they renovate their own houses (in Maine and Washington DC), entertain friends & family & dogs beautifully, run an exquisite shop with an international network of clients, a massively popular blog & Instagram feed…and yet seem to truly take their time to appreciate nature, history, art & good design. To me, this is the recipe for a life well lived!!

I loved talking to Loi in his store as he’s so curious about everything, a great conversationalist & clearly a master at his craft. Here are a few of my favorites from his current inventory:

Loi is not only an expert at stocking truly perfect Gustavian antiques but also has an amazing eye for arrangement. Here are a few images of his own (former) house – I gather they just moved & are onto a new project! – as well as some shots of work he has done in clients’ houses…

Last but definitely not least are a couple images of his beloved myrtle topiaries which are EVERYWHERE in his shop and his houses, and a lovely still life of some seed pods – it IS a photo I took, but doesn’t it look just like a painting??  In Loi Thai’s world it seems life really does imitate art.

Have you ever met someone whose style feels so natural & effortless but totally put together at the same time? 

 

That was my experience in meeting designer & retail entrepreneur Ann Mashburn last week at her DC (Georgetown) store, where she feted one of my favorite authors, Julia Reed (her recent cookbook/entertaining book, “Julia Reed’s South” is terrific). And now I’m completely obsessed with Ann’s flair & feel like everyone should know about it!

Left to right:  Ann Mashburn, me, Julia Reed.

I have read Julia’s articles & books for years, but Ann’s sartorial style and her shop were completely new to me.

(photo courtesy of La Dolce Vita)

(photo courtesy of Atlanta Magazine)

As she said in an interview with Milieu magazine last March, “In our stores we like things that are very simple, but one hit of specialness goes a long way.”  This means classic tailored shirts with a little flounce or ruffle…shift dresses in stand-out colors that are just a touch off of the usual palette….beautiful linings that you wouldn’t expect at such an accessible price point.

Ann designs many pieces under her own name & those were the pieces I gravitated to most, but she also carries other great lines such as Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Carven & even Aurelie Bidermann jewelry which I adore!

She & her husband Sid Mashburn have deep roots in retail/style (with stints everywhere from J. Crew to Lands End to Conde Nast) and now have shops in Atlanta (where they live), Houston, DC, Dallas & Los Angeles. AND their website – www.AnnMashburn.com — is excellent, so if you’re not in one of those cities, you can shop from home.

Ann is everything I admire — smart, strategic (she has a very clear point of view in her collection), down to earth (she has 5 daughters — as a mom of 2 girls, I know that comes with the territory:), friendly, and super stylish in an original & authentic kind of way.

I came home with my arms full of Julia’s books, some great dressy pieces for Spring/Summer, fun beaded necklaces & Diptyque “Baies” room spray which I can never resist.

Thank you to my friend Lindsay for taking me! Lindsay’s style is exactly the way I described Ann’s — she has that very easy, polished look that is never contrived but always “presentable” as my mother would say. AND Lindsay’s house is the same way – fresh, classic, warm & inviting.  Perhaps a post on that later….:)

If anyone does not believe there’s an element of divinity in design, I dare them to check out Chango & Co.’s work!  Thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled upon the amazingly beautiful and transformative designs of Chango & Co., led by Susana Simonpietri.  What I LOVE about her approach is that she is able to make magic happen seemingly without altering a beam or ballast anywhere — just adding paint, great furniture, lighting and rugs. Is it really that simple??  She makes it look effortless and yet thoroughly inspired.

Front hall transformation of a beautiful house in Litchfield CT…

Old shoe forms as sculpture? Brilliant! (& inexpensive:)

From the same house, the choice of smoky blue paint and modern men’s club-style furniture create a completely different vibe….

In the family room area, I love how she took advantage of the nook with the rustic shelf above the bar….it looks like the recessed area was designed around those pieces instead of the other way around!

They do exterior transformations too?? I mean, really. STOP. Too much design talent & beauty to handle this early in the morning!

Chango & Co.’s portfolio is DEEP, with multiple projects in city and country locations. I’m in love with this Westport CT house that they designed too…

The Danish modern chairs almost look like deer horns or an organic sculpture form and blend in surprisingly seamlessly to the natural country house feeling…

I’d happily do paperwork at this built in desk!

Hanging the artwork a little bit askew gives it added energy – I would have never thought to do that but I’ve gotta find a place in my house to try it now!

Lastly, the very humble entrance to Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco, taken by my faithful husband Ted who knows how obsessed I am with what they do. He gets to go there & meet with Pinterest execs regularly for work, bringing me back stickers and pens with their logo on it as if I’m a 20-year old groupie instead of being more than 2x that age!:) Perhaps I’ll find a way to tag along as his bag carrier on the next trip….? If it were not for Pinterest, I would never have found the beautiful uplifting designs of Susana Simonpietri, so thank you Pinterest for ALL the continuous inspiration. And thank you, Susana, for making the world a more beautiful place – it is such important work, now more than ever!

This is the blog post my husband has been dreading. It’s the one that puts a spotlight on a certain person’s hoarding of travel size toiletries from his frequent business travel…and a compulsion to use every CVS coupon available to mankind. For this, folks, was my linen/medicine closet last week….

In my haste to dismantle the “old” closet, I took everything out very quickly without taking a full proper “Before” shot — so you’ll have to picture the closet above jammed in with all the stuff below….and sadly much more out of frame!

As a devotee of Real Simple and a card-carrying rewards member of The Container Store, I was just as guilty of over-buying baskets and organizers as my husband was of CVS items.  I attempted to corral the several thousand bottles of hair products & cough medicine & sports bandages into good-looking bins and vessels of all kinds: wicker, wire, French-fabric lined baskets, you name it.  I thought if it “looked” organized & pretty, it would work….

BUT the problem was a) there was just too much stuff! & b) the baskets became an impediment themselves, as you had to root around in each to find whatever you needed…

 

Of course I couldn’t “see” this myself — it was my 18-year old daughter Avery who came to the rescue & suggested we just line up the products & reach into the closet to grab them as needed. Lose the baskets??!!  My huge collection of outstanding boxes & bins??!!  It sounded like organizing heresy, but guess what – she was 100% right & it totally works.

Thankfully Avery is a mini-me in the labeling department & got busy sorting them all according by category….

And oh yeah, I had the closet wallpapered in this great Brunschwig paper. It was a bit pricey so I only did the back wall (took 1 roll) and had the sides of the closet painted fresh white.

The sheet-folding below may not be Martha Stewart-level but I don’t care — they’re clean & ready to go!

I must say the big candy jars below repurposed for travel toiletries is a brilliant move to stop a hoarder in his tracks:)  When the jar is full, it gives my favorite traveler a pretty obvious sign we don’t need any more…

The whole process took only a couple hours for sorting + a couple hours for painting/papering. But it’s already paying dividends in family harmony — finding a thermometer when you need it? for the first time in years, that’s a YES.  Hair styling emergency (my girls, not me)?? This closet has you covered with its own Hair Gel Department.  Allergy season? Why in fact, we have a lifetime supply of saline & anti-histamines — come right in.

 

This little closet may not be as super-styled as the ones on Pinterest, but I guarantee you this one WORKS. Try it & let me know what you think! I’d be happy to post your results on the blog if you’re game.  Email me at Lee@LeePrince.com

 

And thank you, Avery, for the inspiration & effort!