It’s resolution time! I know many of you have vowed to become more organized in 2022, so I wanted to share some of my best tips with you. I am crazy organized; it’s just how I am, so I love helping those who are more challenged in this area. Truthfully, it clears your mind to have an uncluttered space. My biggest tip is to start small.
Even the smallest of organizing projects can launch you into a full-on organizing frenzy. In order to keep from being overwhelmed, select one project per week. It’s totally doable and will make a huge difference in your home which will trickle into the rest of your life.
First things first, identify the areas of attack. Let’s go room to room, shall we?
Check your pantry for expired items and toss accordingly. You will be surprised how quickly your pantry clears out. If you make it a regular practice to toss and check labels, your pantry will stay organized.
I like to go through my clothes and purge them every 3 months. If you are starting fresh in January with a closet purge, start with reorganizing your jewelry. I find that the Container Store has some great jewelry storage solutions.
I work from my home, as many of you do these days. Staying organized at home is more important than ever before. An organized office makes for an efficient workplace. Toss unnecessary papers (or go paperless!), and make sure everything has a place.
I don’t know about you, but I love a well-appointed laundry room. Sometimes this is the easiest room to effectively change. Storage bins and baskets on an added shelf might be all you need. Something decorative like a small piece of artwork makes this workspace feel pretty. A quick and easy fix is to color coordinate some pretty soap and laundry products. There are so many available now at any store like Target, and Mrs. Meyers detergents and cleaning supplies are some of my go-tos. It makes for instant design, and it’s functional too.
I would love to hear about your projects and organizational practices. Use the start of the year to challenge yourself to organize your home and create peaceful and beautiful spaces to live in. All the best for 2022! Make it a good one.
It. has. been. a crazy week. Well for me, it’s been a crazy few weeks. As most of you know by now from following me on Instagram, Frank and I went to Italy only to return a few days later. We immediately went into self-quarantine and have been at home ever since.
While it’s not entirely what we had in mind, it has given me time to work on recipe testing for the new La Fortezza cookbook. It’s also inspired me to think creatively about meal planning.
A few years ago, I posted my pantry staples, and I cannot think of a better time to repost that post than right now. Use this guide to order your groceries to be delivered. I even include a few recipe ideas at the bottom!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you more Easter ideas along with a few faithful recipes to get us all through this difficult time. We’re all in this together.
Annette’s Pantry Must-haves
– Tomatoes, crushed and sundried
– Organic Marinara Sauce
– Beans, white, black and pinto
– Dijon mustard
– Soba noodles
– Broth, veggie and chicken
– Flavored oils, garlic, sesame and lemon
– Balsamic vinegar
– Soy Sauce
– Salts, truffle and garlic
– Dried spices, parsley, basil, curry powder
– Honey, flavored with truffles
– Jam, raspberry, fig, apricot, lemon curds
– Nuts, walnuts and almonds
– Popcorn, microwavable
– Tortilla chipa
– Baking powder
– Corn starch
– Spices such as cinnamon
– Chocolate chips
– Graham crackers
Quick Appetizers – Olives
– Popcorn with truffle flavored salt
– Baked artichoke spread, artichoke, parm cheese, garlic salt, Dijon mustard, olive oil serve w/crackers
– White and black bean salad, with pimento, stir in salsa
– Salsa and chips
– Parm cheese with honey and crackers or jam and crackers
– Salmon with capers with dried parsley, and lemon oil and crackers
– Artichoke and egg, frittata
– Soft cheese with salsa ( pineapple or mango) and crackers
Quick Dinners *I serve all of these with a salad with balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper*
– Pasta with lemon-flavored olive oil, and crushed nuts, with dried basil
– Pasta, sun-dried tomato and chopped olives, and parm
– 3 Bean soup with balsamic vinegar reduction.
– Couscous with tomato and artichoke and pimento, almonds, with dried basil, with a pinch of cinnamon, served with baked basil, garlic salt and mustard rubbed chicken.
– Chicken with rice, sliced almonds, dried basil and chicken stock.
– Chicken and tortilla chips with salsa and rice, chicken broth
– Curry Chicken and rice soup
– Soba noodles and sesame sauce, frozen edamame
– Baked Polenta, with marinara sauce, parm cheese
– Chili, with turkey, beans, tomatoes, garlic, and chicken stock. serve with tortilla chips and salsa
I know it sounds absolutely crazy to think about, but trust me: NOW is the time to prepare for the 2020 holiday season. As you clean-up wrapping paper, but away ribbons and decide which bags and boxes you plan to keep, it’s important to keep an eye on the prize: being organized next year. Here are a few things you can do to be prepared:
To organize for 2020, make sure you shop for your holiday essentials over the next few days while they’re on sale. That way you will have them tucked away waiting for you next season! It’s such a wonderful surprise when the occasion arrives to be prepared.
Go through your wrap and decor stash to see what is missing. Restock wrapping paper, ribbon and tags, scissors, tape, washi tape and other festive accouterments.
Dispose of any ragged bits of wrapping paper, rolls that are empty or bags that are torn. Think about investing in a shredder to do the job and limit the trash. After all, shredded paper essentially doubles as confetti!
Organize everything in a tidy box that can be slid into a closet, tucked under a bed, or put away in a basement or attic. In fact, invest in two wrapping boxes: one for the holiday season and one for any other wrapping needs that might arise. This way, you’re not digging through Santa tags and snowman paper when your BFF’s birthday comes along.
Any other holiday organizational tips we should share? I’d love to hear your tricks in the comments!
WARNING THIS IS LONG POST, GRAB A BEVERAGE OF YOUR CHOICE AND HAVE A SEAT.
As you all know, I am a stylist. I edit objects for the camera, so I am great at making sure everything looks perfect and edited at all times. I am not bragging when I say that people look to me for answers about how to style and organize their spaces. I have a big prop collection that I regularly cull and edit. I go through my closet every 6 months, I used to do it every 3 months, but spending 6 months in Italy has really changed my point of view about clothing. Since I am in Italy in the summer, my summer wardrobe in the US has shrunk considerably. I am cleaning up, throwing out, scanning and donating all of the time. It is part of my weekly routine, sometimes 4 or 5 times a week. I am always editing, asking myself, “Do I need this? Have I used this? Have I worn this?”
I like to think I am a minimalist, but I am not really a minimalist. The truth is that, like everyone, I do have hidden corners in my house, and some things I don’t want to let go of emotionally. I am a prop stylist after all, the collector of beautiful interesting objects that all have a story. So here’s my true story…
Recently our daughter temporarily moved back in with us, and she seriously lives like a monk. No stuff, very, very pared down. She is here with us for a few months while she settles into a new job and looks for a house to buy with her husband. She looked at me about 2 months ago and said, “Mom you have too much stuff.” I thought she was kidding! After all, we had just done a huge purge in the past year thanks to her. But according to her, it was not enough…
Last year, our daughter had talked to her dad and I about Swedish Death Cleaning . I know, horrifying concept right? Dying. But it’s actually a great concept. You can read about it here.
Here’s the concept in a nutshell: as you age you should simply your life. When you’re young and have kids, it’s natural to have clutter. But as you age, you should work on getting rid of possessions. This is the ultimate kindness to your children and family.
With my daughter living at home and pushing for another purge, I decided we needed to revisit the entertaining pantry (I have 2 of them)–lots of platters, plates, coffee makers and cups and saucers and bowls and decorative trays, baskets and bowls and bowls and bowls. She and I tackled the pantries. It took us 2 days to excavate the items and rearrange everything. Believe me, it was not smooth sailing. She was merciless and ruthless in her editing. Yes it’s true, even I have to have some things pried out of my hands.
I love organizing, and I think everyone needs to do more of it, everyday and every week of the year. That’s why I was very excited to see that Marie Kondo was getting her own organizing show on Netflix.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizational guru. Her show “Tidying Up” started streaming January 1st on Netflix – perfect timing for organizing and cleaning right?
A little about Marie… Marie Kondo achieved worldwide fame in 2014 when her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, was translated into English and published in the United States, where it became a New York Times best seller and sold more than 1.5 MILLION COPIES!!!
My take on her show...anything that brings awareness to cleaning up your stuff brings me great joy! Anything that makes YOU think about purging and cleaning is a good thing in my book.
On to the show…Marie shows up with her translator and briefly speaks to her clients through a forced smile. First things first, she “introduces herself to the house” by doing some kooky made up woo woo ritual which involves her meditating when kneeling on the floor.
I am an organizing freak and wanted to love the show! But honestly, I found the show very boring. Her offerings are superficial fixes. She never addresses the real issues–like what to do with paperwork? She never talks about technological fixes like a scanning paper and becoming paperless. Instead she has people put things in paper boxes? Huh? She’s very simplistic, and of course, very Japanese in her approach. No one ever reminds her that Americans do not live like the Japanese, we have larger spaces and as a result, MUCH MORE JUNK. Her show features clueless band-aids on the epic problems of the obsessive, non-stop-buying culture of America.
Though entire show, I wondered what she really thought of our culture of hoarding and buying beyond our means compared to the pared-down lifestyle in Japan. I am sure she thinks it is horrible! But her face cracking smile never lets you know what she is thinking. Mostly it just got on my nerves. Basically, Marie offers small boxes to people that have BIG box problems.
The best thing about this show is that purging and cleaning is now the part of a larger discussion in America. And people are indeed looking at their stuff and assessing and tossing and donating it. For us, the Swedish Death Cleaning lifestyle is a better fit, but if Marie’s method is your style, go for it. The truth is: We all need a complete paradigm shift in how we shop, how we consume, and how we teach our children to live.
*to read more about the mental effects of clutter click here
One no-fail stylist secret is gathering things in mass on trays. It works in the living room on your coffee table, for home accessories, and even on the dining room table. It’s a universal stylist trick. When I’m hunting flea markets and vintage shops, I’m always on the lookout for trays to add to my I prop stash. They’re just so versatile.
Trays make plating food simple and fabulous, and styling with them is a tool of the trade you’ll want to have in your repertoire. Next time you have a party to plan, look around the house for trays to repurpose. Think outside the box, and you will wow your guests.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use trays:
For an unexpected centerpiece: Gathering guests around the table will never be a problem if you place a beautiful tray of bruschetta (or any other nibble!) in the center.
For salad, beverages, and desserts: Try turning the tray upside down to use it as a riser on the table.
For a beverages station: Gathering glasses for guests to help themselves always makes for a beautiful display.
For entrees: Using a gorgeous wooden tray instead of a ceramic platter adds instant style to your table.