Making a home safe for children.

Young children just learning to crawl create a new challenge for parents.  Parents don’t want to restrict or limit their child’s ability to explore their world, so the question on how to create a safe environment comes up. A parent’s concern to keep the home safe for their little ones can be daunting. Luckily, there are some easy safeguards like safety door handles, safety locks and socket caps.

 

One of our clients, however, experienced an additional challenge.  Our client who owns and plays an upright bass, keeps it in their home. He found it necessary to secure the large and potentially dangerous instrument from his baby.

Our organizing & design studio team found a solution to keep this part of their home safe. Our first thought was to purchase one of those guitar braces, but we couldn’t find one large enough to keep the soft case and bass together. We ended up designing one and installing it in their home ourselves.  Our welder put it together and installed it easily in the part of the home where children won’t play.  Now, their lil’ one is free to roam without the threat of hurting himself.  Mom and dad can feel assured that they did their best to secure their house and make it a learning environment instead of a obstacle course.

  

They’re making an impact. A kid’s project in Northern California

I just got this great message from a librarian in Northern California saying that her students have been working on a project and came across our links and resources page. They found it useful and said they will be sharing it with their community. Here’s what they wrote:

“I just wanted to take the time to send you a quick thank you note on behalf of my library class and myself for providing the resources on your page (http://mop-ds.com/Organizing-links-and-resources.php). They just put together an environmental outreach project for the community, and found your page to be such a great reference – so from all of us, thank you for your help :)

 

I have always wanted this resource to be helpful to people. I am so grateful as well that they are able to use it as it is intended. Here’s my reply to Ms. Potter and her students.

“There are so many ways to start organizing. Clearing out clutter is the first step. Learning how to Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse is a great skill to have. I find that most people just don’t know what to do with their unwanted “stuff”, so they let it build up to the point it becomes a problem. I am happy that your students are working on this. They will have an advantage by knowing what to do when they are ready to donate or recycle. Thank you for your efforts as well.”

These students will make an impact on their community by teaching others while also saving our environment by protecting it. What more I can say to them? but say “Good Going”.

We launched the Mercury Design Studio Gallery today

I love art so much and from time to time will come across an artist’s vision with whom I make a connection. Their work will move me in some way that turns me to a loyal promoter. I decided that I can’t sit still without letting others know about them.

This season Mercury Design Studio is featuring Atlanta Photographer Jerry Maschinot. His work is currently showing at the Ravenswood Art Walk in the Northcenter area. in Chicago. In the Ravenswood corridor at 4001 N. Ravenswood 3rd floor. Maschinot’s current work is from his Auto Series, 11 medium and large-scale prints of car ornaments, truck doors, and detailed auto parts. Each print is highly textural and highlights the rust, blue, green and gray patinas of a weathered junkyard.

“River of Rust”

Maschinot’s early work was as a ceramicist, working with Raku vessels and forms. His Auto Series prints make use of his ceramicist’s eye for three dimensions, and for variations in subtle colors.

He is based in Cave Springs, GA (near Atlanta) and has shown his work in Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas City, Birmingham, Cincinnati and other cities across the U.S.

 

We met somebody fabulous today! updated…

Finding a favorite consigner is like finding your favorite electrician, handyman or something like it. A consignment shop you like can be like finding a new best friend. What a better way to make room for new things in your life then to get rid of old clothes. Some people confess to us that they just don’t know what to do with these unwanted items. They know they have good quality clothes but they may just be tired of them. Giving away responsibly is really their only challenge.

A consignment shop like “The Haute Spot” in Chicago is a great resource to put these clothes in a consignment arrangement.  In addition, if they don’t sell,  The Haute Spot will donate them for you and give you the tax sheet for your records. How cool is that? We find this service to be very helpful to our clients. As an organizer who wants to save our clients time and money, we are happy when they can earn some cash back in the process. Cha-Ching! Did you just get cash back for your next trip to the mall?

The Haute Spot has been nominated this month in the Time Out Chicago magazine. Check them out and vote for your favorite consignment shop.

UPDATE: Reviewing the Oct. 25th, 2012  issue of Time Out Chicago and discovered that our favorite Consignment Shoppe was selected in the Best of Chicago’s Consignment category. Congratulations Haute Spot!

Dinner is served!

I spoke at Dream Dinners on Damen In Chicago last week along with a friend who helps people organize and balance their financial life. The theme was creating a balanced budget. Some of the key points we discussed were the following: create a plan, avoid unnecessary spending, get organized, clear clutter, clear distractions, focus on your goal. Our tips and helpful perspective were hopefully beneficial to our guests. I think they left with some great ideas to take home to implement into their lives. When I was asked to be a guest speaker last week, how could I refuse? You put two of my favorite things together; food and organizing, and you have a happy person in me.

Dream Dinners

The real star of the evening, however, was Dream Dinners on Damen. They have a wonderful menu and offer and a whole new concept that helps an individual or family save time and money. Their concept is to provide you with an environment where you can prepare all fresh and healthy ingredients for a fabulous meal to take home. It’s as simple as that. You take home as many meals as you can handle. Once you get hungry and ready to eat, all you do is cook the tasty meal you prepared. You skip the shopping, the storing, the prepping and go directly to cook and eat. I really enjoyed this experience and having an option like this is so helpful in our crazy, busy lives. Did I mention how delicious our meal was? Dream Dinners is nationwide check out their website and see for yourself.

Today is Earth Day!

Its Earth day! This time year we dedicate a conscious effort to help the planet. We are borrowing this earth from the next generation and we should leave it better than we found it. Consider your carbon foot print not just in the larger scale but in the simple things we do at home.

Here are the top 10 things you can do.

  1. Save energy at home. Choose energy-saving appliances if they’re available. Look for Energy Star!
  2. Buy locally, or grow your own! Reduce air pollution caused by food and goods transport.
  3. Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely. (Are there paint cans sitting around?)
  4. Reduce. Cut back on the amount of ‘stuff’ that could later end up as waste.
  5. Reuse. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transform it into something of greater use and value.
  6. Recycle metals, plastics and paper.
  7. E-cycle. Recycle and/or properly dispose of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets.
  8. Don’t litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste.
  9. When purchasing goods, opt for sustainable, recycled or reused resources. Choose items in less packaging.
  10. Pass on gas! Take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.

Where can you go to shop local? Try a garage sale, Second hand stores, Estate sales, Antique shops, Community Resale Events, Shop at Etsy.

Don’t think that our efforts won’t go unnoticed. Its important to know that every little bit helps.The more planning in your home or office you take to process through your paperwork and “stuff” you own, you’ll discover that you’ll have less to sort through on a daily basis. Why not dedicate Earth day to an effort that benefits you and your family. This will save you time and money as well. We can’t just think that it is a corporation’s obligation to find a solution for a better environment, we can take it seriously and do what we can as well.

How do we let go?

When it comes to organizing and creating a system making room for our new goals is imperative. It sometimes requires clearing out our clutter first, especially when our spaces are overwhelmed with “stuff”.

I recently spoke with Eve Brownstone, a therapist, who gave us her perspective on how our attachments can be overcome.

“The Importance of Letting Go”
By Eve Brownstone, MA, LCPC

“It’s springtime. Time for spring-cleaning. Easier said than done. Our stuff may be important to us. A mug might represent a special time in our lives (college days) and/or piece of clothing may represent a particular relationship- grandma’s housedress.

When someone we love passes, my grandmother for example, it makes it harder to let go. I tell myself that I am keeping my grandmother in my heart. I don’t need to wear her moomoo. Not sure if that is a word.

Last year My mom passed from ALS. It was tough going through mom’s things. My sisters and I shared a lot of tears. I realize that mom is not her things. She was a loving person and a bright spirit. However having her necklace to hold and wear makes me feel closer to her and remember her. Spring-cleaning doesn’t mean you have to let go of everything.

We brought a lot of mom’s clothes to resale and thrift stores. We wanted people to enjoy her colorful wardrobe. Mom had a lot of scarves. Something I did that I am proud of I gave some of mom’s best scarves to her scrabble buddies. After retiring mom would spend much of her summer by the pool swimming with her grand kids and playing scrabble. Even when mom was very sick she would go down and play in her wheelchair. These scrabble buddies were medicine for mom. I am grateful to them.

I find when I let go of things there is a sense of new possibilities, new doors to open. I am not shutting doors on my loved ones, but opening new doors for myself. I wish you well in your spring-cleaning and the process of letting go. Trust the process.”

Eve is in private practice in Chicago.
Eve Brownstone can be reached at 773-859-1276 or brownstonetherapeutics@gmail.com

An interview with an Elfa Specialist

I met Sheryl Mooney several years ago at a networking event and whenever I see her we always end up chatting about organizing. I’m thinking she has my dream job working for a great company helping people get organized. So I asked her to tell me more. I recently interviewed her and asked her about her role at the container store. This is what she said,

“I’ve been working for the Container Store for five years, my official role is in Visual Sales which means I work to keep the store looking its best for our customers, although we all are called upon to work in several capacities from register to order processing to product demonstrations,I’m also trained as an Elfa Designer.”

Q. Is this your busiest season at the store?

A. “With the warm weather, it’s time for spring cleaning and starting March 26, the Container Store will be holding its annual Spring Organization Sale. Every Saturday and Sunday we have demonstrations where we’ll talk about “Storing Your Winter Woolies” at 2PM and “Clear Kitchen Clutter” at 4PM, our demonstrations offer all kinds of great organization tips.”

Q. Sheryl, knowing all of the products you have at the store which are you finding to be most useful for spring cleaning?

A. “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Elfa, our best-selling modular shelving and drawer system -it was one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” in 2010. From the closet to the garage, everything can be organized with Elfa, and it can be customized to suit your unique storage needs. The Container Store offers free design services and we also hold Elfa Introduction Tours every Saturday and Sunday at 1PM and 3PM. ”

Q. I really like to stop in the store to find new organizing solutions for my clients? but what if I don’t know what I need?

A. “As I mentioned earlier, I am an Elfa designer and would love to work with you to design the closet of your dreams. My hours vary so you can call the store to schedule an appointment or just leave a message and I’ll call you back. You can reach me at the store at (312) 654-8450″.
sheryl@sherylmooney.com

Our interview ends and I’m still thinking that she may have my dream job to work with a great company helping people get organized, but realized that working with Mercury Organizing Professionals is just as fabulous. Helping people find a system and maintain organization in their homes or offices is our passion.

Thank you to Sheryl Mooney who provides a great service to us organizers. It’s always great to meet other organizers and chat about new organizing solutions, but especially with a knowledge of a certain product such as Elfa Shelving. I’m hoping to let everyone know about good sales and offers as they come up. Here’s one that can help make spring cleaning a little bit easier.

“I Don’t Know How She Does It” – A Movie Review

The latest movie with Sarah Jessica Parker Called ”I Don’t Know How She Does It”  had mixed reviews but on the whole I thought it was funny and charming. I like this movie because even though it may have depicted the extremes, in many ways it was true to life. It’s about a busy mom who is working on life balance. She is creating priorities in her daily life for herself and her family.

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Life happens! and it is how you handle all those hiccups, without too much turmoil that  proves you can live with less stress and can have some fun along the way. In some cases its not about bad things happening, but about opportunities that you are presented with. How will you choose?  How do you manage to do everything you want?

So how does she do it?  From an organizer’s point of view, it really comes down to having one’s priorities in order, and making the kind of choices daily that takes you closer to your goals; for yourself and your family.

She does it by being organized, having a support system, asking for help when she needs it, and going for good enough.

BEFORE & AFTER Family Spaces

Before Family RoomBefore Family RoomAfter Living room ShelvesAfter -LivingAfter-Room to PlayAfter - Shelves
After -Family Room

BEFORE & AFTER Family Spaces, a set on Flickr.

Here are some Before & After for a Family Room. We downsized the toys and books and rearranged the furniture to create better flow in the room and stored toys in bins. The toys are no longer the first thing you see as you walk in.
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