HeartWork Organizing

Helping you find peace and purpose through organization and design

Recovering: You Might Want to Sit Down for This February 21, 2012

Filed under: One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Got kids?  Pets?  A husband?  Then your chair cushions are probably taking a beating.  One of the most satisfying decorating projects that absolutely anyone can take on is recovering a chair cushion. After snacks, stains, and general wear and tear take their toll, you can go from this:

How to recover a chair seat

Reupholstering a chair-before

to this:

Recovering chair seat cushions

Reupholstering chair seat cushions, after

in about a half an hour.  Who has more than a half hour for projects, anyway?

You only need a few tools, which you almost certainly already own, and you can freshen your chair’s look in minutes.  There is no need to be stuck with a basic boring neutral cushion.  When you see how easy it is to change, you’ll be willing to take a risk on fun and colorful fabrics, like this leopard print chenille.  (The remnant roll was $3.  Shhhh.)

Read the steps for this super easy chair makeover.

This post was originally published at AboutOne.com on 2/18/12.


The Amandas: Reality TV, Not Reality Organizing February 14, 2012

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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You’ve gotta love TV.  If you’re looking for a new sweetheart, check out Amanda LeBlanc , star of the Style Network’s new show, The Amandas. She’s sweet, smart, driven and gorgeous.

My only beef with her new show is that it is billed as an organizing show.  Unfortunately, it’s really more in line with what we’ve come to accept these days as “reality TV,” which has very little to do with reality.  If you are looking for organization inspiration and education, you’re better off with some of the more true-to-life shows like those on HGTV or even shots on the newest social media-crack-addiction, Pinterest.com. I’m not saying these are 100% reality either, but there is a high probability that they represent real organizing outcomes with much less TV producer-induced drama.

Organizers in high heels aren’t new, but they are not the norm, and in fact, not reality.  Yes, I wish I had her team’s drop-dead wardrobe, but if I did, I wouldn’t be scraping floors, painting and climbing ladders in it. If you call a professional organizer, you can expect a professionally dressed person, who is hopefully appropriately dressed for the type of work they will be undertaking.

I love my team, and they are each priceless, with their own talents.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

I have no desire to turn their unique talents into little mini-dramas just for TV viewing.  And whenever I am fortunate enough to have a staff of six, you can believe that one of them will be a full-time handy-person or carpenter.  The Amandas could be just as great of a show with her team chosen for their talents and not their egos or shoes.

While it makes for good TV, I wish that The Amandas TV show didn’t harp so much on Ms. LeBlanc’s striving for perfection.  She rants through tears in a recent episode, “Everything I do is PERFECT!”  To quote Michael J. Fox, “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.  Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”  I’ve lived enough and seen enough homes and businesses to know that perfection isn’t attainable or maintainable.  Good organizing processes should result in spaces that can be lived in, adapted, and easily maintained.  But good organizing processes don’t always result in magazine-pretty.  Having been a part of a magazine shoot, I could tell you some of the silly stuff that goes on to create that beautiful shot that you admire for about 10 seconds, but that gets burned into your psyche.  So, if you decide to seek me out as a decorator, professional organizer, or home stager, recognize that there is only so much I am willing to put you through, because good organizing processes are “good enough.”  Good enough to get you out the door in the morning with a smile on your face, good enough to lower your stress levels, good enough to allow you to enjoy your beautiful home without going into crazy debt, good enough to allow you to file your taxes on time, and good enough to allow you to get ahead at work.  And I promise not to cry twice an hour and leave you feeling more stressed than when we started.

One thing that the Style Network got spot on was choosing a star for their show who is both professional and a professional organizer.  Ms. LeBlanc is an entrepreneur, a respected member of her community, and a smart woman.  She’s building her business and taking care of her clients with great detail.  She’s also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, which is a serious support organization for professional in our industry.  I not only belong to this organization, but I have volunteered on committees at the national level, and have served on the Board of NAPO-Greater Philadelphia Chapter.  I have a long list of involvment in community affairs.  And I’ve committed to this career by attaining the Certified Professional Organizer® designation.  I also attend annual conferences, and I’m very exciting to be heading to our next one next month.  I can’t wait to share the latest and greatest with you when I return.

Nope, I don’t have a TV show, but if you need to check out a Certified Professional Organizer® live before you hire one, check me out at the many seminars and low-cost group classes offered year-round, or check out admittedly very low budget organizing videos.

I applaud Amanda LeBlanc for her efforts and her successful business.  If she shows up at the NAPO conference, I’ll gladly buy her a drink to toast her success.  Just watch The Amandas for fun, and don’t let it ruin your real life, okay?


How to Have an Art Room of One’s Own October 18, 2011

Filed under: One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 9:20 pm
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Doing design work for artists is some of the most intimidating and rewarding work that I do.  Many people think that if they are good at some things, they should be good at all things.  Not so.  My recent collaboration with a collage artist shows this in action.  She is absolutely fabulous with her collage and mixed media art, but her spaces were not showing her personal style.  While I can make her room sing, I couldn’t collage like she can to save my life.  I often found myself gazing at her creations, which is kind of unusual for me since I’m surrounded by so many gorgeous influences all day long.  But she needed a little help to turn her unused bedroom into a space that she ended up calling something special.  Read to the end to hear what she thought of her transformed space.



Closet Storage before:

Closet storage after; even this can be a gallery space.

Window treatments needed to say something more interesting than the before:

So the window got a fresh new simple treatment:

Of course the office side needed a facelift, too:

And the whole space became more organized and calm:

Can’t decide if my favorite part is the pretty organization…

the stylish cork memo board circles…

Or the Dynamic Frames gallery

She can update these just by flipping open the fronts and presto-chango updating her portfolio…

Perfect for displaying the client’s own works and her favorite things.

Her final judgement:  the space is cheerful, fresh and original.  Just the sort of space to inspire more beautiful creations.


How Do You Sign “Control”? June 23, 2011

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 10:51 pm
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our lives are really very much about being able to control our environments.  My youngest daughter is just about to turn two years old.  She’s a pretty easy going kid, and she’s very easy to talk to.  But she does spend a lot of time telling me what needs to happen in her little world.  She’s still using more sign language than words, so I have to pay close attention.  As soon as I pick her up from the crib, she wants me to turn off the fan that sits on her dresser and is shaped like a cat (sign: kitty, all done).  I carry her into the kitchen and she tells me she wants to explore outside (sign: shoes).  Even though she sees lunch already on the table, she heads toward the TV for her favorite video (sign: sign time).  She wants to play in the water when she sees me at the sink (sign: wash hands).  She wants more pickles (sign: more more, because we don’t know the sign for pickle).

It’s fun to watch her make these mostly silent demands on me.  I know that she is hardwired to create patterns, demonstrate possession, and anticipate activities.  She is trying to shape her world. 

In a way, that’s what we all do.  I see it with the people I work with.  As a Certified Professional Organizer®, I’m privy to the way people set up their homes, their time, and their information.  As we get older, we are able to anticipate and assimilate the needs of others better than my almost-two-year-old.  But, really, it’s the same instinct showing up in adults.  One reason we want to be organized is that we want to control our environments.   

As adults, we often get discouraged about our ability to get or stay organized, to have the perfect home, or meet some goal we’ve set for ourselves.  Little people are great for showing us that whether we do it quietly by signing or with a lot more commotion, trying to get our way is only human.