The Flooring Debate

I get questions regularly about the differences between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring. There are so many products to choose from, and for many homeowners it can be confusing and challenging. Today, let’s play the “comparison game” with these two products.

What’s the difference?

Engineered flooring has consumed a fair share of the long-held solid wood flooring market. But what makes the two products unique? The main difference is that solid hardwood is just that—a single, solid product from top to bottom—while engineered wood flooring has a thin slice of hardwood veneer on top of plywood or (sometimes) hardwood.

Comparing the Two Products:

Solid hardwood is usually about 3/4” thick and engineered hardwood is usually 3/8” to1/2” thick. Solid hardwood is typically stapled or nailed down, while engineered can be easier to install—stapled, nailed, glued or clicked into place.

One of the biggest advantages of solid is that it can be sanded down multiple times if necessary. Engineered can typically be sanded down lightly once or twice (some may make it for up to four sandings).

Engineered tends to be a little less expensive, and it’s often more “environmentally friendly” because the majority of it is not made from the more expensive, ornamental wood. Both are durable, but the surface of the engineered flooring can “chip” if it becomes too thin.

Solid wood does not do well with moisture. Engineered is better in this area because the plywood base makes it more stable—it can even be installed in most basements because it can withstand some moisture due to its construction.

Solid hardwoods tend to dent and scratch easier than the engineered, which is designed to take additional wear and tear because of the wood under the veneer. Typically, you can’t tell the difference once installed because they both are wood floors.

Children, Dogs and Heavy Furniture

With dogs, or children with toys that will be dragged across the floor, or in a home where tables and chairs are slid across floors (without protecting them), either type of wood can be a gamble, which is why some folks choose vinyl, laminate, carpeting or tile.

What’s a Janka Rating?

Finally, the species of wood that you choose makes a significant difference! The Janka Test assesses the hardness of wood. It measures how many pounds per square inch (PSI) of force would be needed to embed a steel ball into the wood. Balsa—the wood inexpensive toy airplanes are made of—has a rating of only 100. The highest rated wood I know of is Patagonia Rosewood, which comes in at 3840. Following is a list of some species and their corresponding Janka number.

660 Douglas Fir
690 Yellow Pine
830 Elm
950 Black Cherry/American Cherry
1000 Teak
1010 Black Walnut
1225 Heartpine
1260 Yellow Birch
1290 Red Oak
1300 Beech
1320 Ash
1360 White Oak
1375 Australian Cypress
1450 Hard Maple
1820 Pecan
1820 Hickory  (often called “first hardwood choice of the U.S.)
1850 Tigerwood (Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay)
1880 Mongolian Teak
2200 Santos Mahogany- (South American, Southern Mexico)
2697 Red Mahogany (Australia)
2820 Brazilian Cherry
3190 Brazilian Redwood
3540 Cumaru
3585 Brazilian Ebony
3680 Brazilian Walnut
3840 Patagonia Rosewood

Bamboo is not a wood, but it tests in at a rating of 5000! Keep in mind, too, that the finish affects durability.

So, there you have it—a quick primer on wood flooring.

Have a great weekend!
Kay

IMG_7092

A beautiful floor sets the stage for a beautiful home!

 

 

 

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Organization- Room by Room, “Home Office”

After I completed the posts on “starting the organization process”, I decided that I’d revisit the different areas in MY home (space-by-space), so you get an idea of how I work with organization. Last week the topic was “Ground Control”. For many of us, “Ground Control” (the place from which you run/manage your home and, where you “check in” if you live with others) will be the space where ALL office related activities take place. Many people don’t have enough square footage to create two distinct spaces.  Today, as a natural segue, let’s move into The Office.

Space-by-Space

Whether you work from home or use your office just for bill paying and email, it’s important that the space WORKS for YOU!  Obviously, everyone has different needs when it comes to what would typically be in an office. Maybe you run a business from your home- that has its own set of requirements. Perhaps you have a large family and there’s a LOT of stuff to manage. Maybe you live alone but have a huge number investments to keep in order (that’s a good problem). Maybe you’ve never been exposed to any type of organization so you’re dealing with years and years of paper. Don’t worry if you’re not in a state of organization now. It’s where you’re going to end up that’s important!

In the OFFICE, there are basic guidelines that help everything function better.

Step-by-Step

We want to consolidate and compartmentalize. What I mean by that is: by keeping like things together and organized, it makes it a LOT easier to find (and use) what you need.

1. while you’re in the process of establishing how you want your space to function, use what you have first. Don’t go out and buy more pencils, paper clips or notebooks until you know what you already own. That might require hunting down all those random items in every room in your home, but you might just find that you have a lot more than you thought. Sure, it probably, ultimately, makes sense to keep a notepad and pen in various rooms, but let’s start by putting them all together. Think about it like this: you probably only keep flour in the kitchen and you probably only have a limited amount on hand (unless of course you own a bakery). The same should be true of all the other stuff you own.

2. put everything on one table. Test markers and pens. Throw away pencils that have been sharpened so often that they’re only three inches long, and crayon stubs that even little fingers can’t hold. Get small containers for paper clips, thumbtacks and other tiny items and slightly larger ones for tape, rulers, glue, etc.

3. let’s work on the filing system.Obviously, different files are going to be needed depending on your life and what you need to keep and have on hand. We’ll create one area for files and storing papers. You can use a drawer or cabinet depending on your set up with one set of “operating” files and one set of “reserve files”.

  • hanging files for operating:
  • set up hanging file folders for main (broad-based) categories with lower level categories inside
  • active– things you tear out of a magazine, forms that go with you to a doctor’s appointment, anything that all happen in the next two weeks; you’ll clean out this file every two weeks and decide if something in it should stay on the “active” list
  • misc.– magazine clippings, interesting books list, things you think you might want to read again, etc.; this gets cleaned out at the end of EACH month when you decide what you still want to keep
  • receipts– all receipts, that you need to save, go in here at the end of each day (except for those that go into the “house/car” file of the “charities” file)
  • financial– donations, etc.
  • investments– paperwork that has to do with any investments you might have
  • charities– receipts for charitable donations or miles driven
  • house/car– car repair invoices, oil changes, notes about home improvements, etc.
  • insurance– separate by auto, home, life, etc. (keep a copy of your life insurance in this file, the original should be in a more secure place)
  • save- cleaned out twice a year and stored
  • hanging files for reserve: (these will be accessed annually)
  • mortgage
  • house and product receipts
  • tax returns

You’ll also have files that are specific to YOUR life. For example, I have “kay mclane design/legal” and “kay mclane design/general” folders as well as one for “books”. As we move more and more into a digital world, we’ll probably have a lot less actually paper to file. If you’re really technologically savvy, you may already be at that place. In that case, create files like above on your device.  Regardless of where you are- with NO paper files or NO digital files, it’s important to make sure that you manage your office as if it’s a business because it is….it’s the business of running your home (however meager or massive it is).

4. Keep in mind that you should also have some sort of safe for documents that must be secure.

Next week, we’ll finish up with “office related” ideas.

Happy Organizing!
Kay
©2016 KAY MCLANE DESIGN, LLC
 kaymclane.com

ps. if you’d like to get more kay mclane design posts, please click “follow”.
p.p.s. if you have friends or family members who would benefit from these posts, please pass them along. Thanks! Kay

This lidded basket holds staplers, exacto knives, tape, paper clips, glue sticks, command strips and a lot more! ©2016 kaymclane.com

This lidded basket holds staplers, exacto knives, tape, paper clips, glue sticks, command strips and a lot more! ©2016 kaymclane.com

an organized filing system makes it easy to find the documents you need. ©2016 kaymclane.com

an organized filing system makes it easy to find the documents you need. ©2016 kaymclane.com

Organization- Room by Room, “Running Your House”

Last week, I posted a five-part series on “starting the organization process”:
1. Get Ready, Get Set, Get Organized
2. Get Ready, Get Set, Get In The Game
3. Get Ready, Get Set, Get The Rules
4. Get Ready, Get set, Get Going
5. Get Ready, Get Set. Get to Enjoy Your Home!

After I completed those posts, I decided that I’d revisit the different spaces in MY home, so you get an idea of how I work with organization.

Space-by-Space

Let’s start with what I like to call “Ground Control” or “The Hub”. Think about “Ground Control” as an area with the necessary things that help you “direct” the flow of your home. It’s the place where YOUR communication  (from a running a home perspective) and organization center is located. Think about it as the Johnson Space Center of your house. If you prefer the word “Hub”, that works too, because a hub is the center part of a wheel, or the point where traffic comes together and is then sent where it needs to go. Makes sense, right?

Without this key area– a space from where you run the show– organization can be really tricky!

Where ground control will physically be depends upon:
1. how many people live in your home
2. how many people “run” your home
3. what available space you have
4. where it makes sense for the way you LIVE in your house

1. If you live alone, it’s going to be much easier to choose a location. If you live with a partner, four children and an exchange student, you’re going to need to find a place that makes sense, and then “train” everyone to GO to that place for “hub” related activities. 

2. If you, dear reader, are in charge of all things “ground control” related, choose a space that “works” (mentally, physically and behaviorally) for YOU. What that means is, scout out a location that doesn’t make you want to scream, or that you can’t wait to get out of! It should be a space where you feel happy, calm and organized.  If both you AND someone else are involved in the actual managing of your house, you should BOTH be comfortable there. 

3. This goes without saying, but you’re going to have a lot more options if you live in a huge colonial with five bedrooms, two living areas and an office, than you will in a third floor walk-up studio apartment. Interestingly, sometimes it’s actually easier to make space in a smaller space (more is not always more).

4. Regarding how you live in your home, think about it from an accessibility standpoint. A student, in a recent class, shared that she has an upstairs office where she keeps her bills. When she wants to pay bills, she goes upstairs, brings what she needs downstairs (because she prefers doing that work on the first floor) and then schleps it back up the steps when she’s done. Unless you are purposely building “stair climbing” into your days as a form of exercise, this isn’t a good use of time. She would be much better off carving out some space on her first floor to “run her home”. 

So, “ground control” will be different for everyone. Some places that make sense are a kitchen (if you have desk space), an office, a library, or a first floor, unused bedroom (we never want to mix business with a room that someone sleeps in). My “Ground Control” is in the library where my desk is located.

In this space you’ll want everything that goes with “running the show”–YOUR show (not the show your best friend, neighbor or mother has).

Things that will “live” in the “Hub”:
a dedicated message center if you live with others- here you will share information or leave notes. It could be as simple as “there’s leftover lasagna in the fridge”, or as important as “I have a crisis at work, my phone’s dead so I couldn’t call you, I’m driving there now, will get in touch ASAP”.
a charging station– even if you keep you devices in the bedroom at night, it’s good to have another place where you can recharge them during the day when you’re home. (bonus- no more “calling yourself” to see where your phone is!)
billsif you don’t have an office that you use for bill-paying; these will (eventually) be dealt with daily (we’ll talk about this when we get to “processes”) but for now, we just need them to get to the right place.
mail– same as above
calendar– (paper or electronic) that can be shared, with everyone’s schedules so that you know where everyone’s supposed to be.
binder– with plastic sleeves that holds important information: emergency contacts, medications, school calendars with information that doesn’t need to go on the Main Calendar (lunch choices, etc.), sports schedules, cleaning schedules (whether your hire this out or do it yourself), information on charities you support, school forms that are used regularly, and other data specific to your life/family
supplieswe’ll have some of these in the office (if you have one) too;  envelopes, stamps, pens, pencils, markers, notepads, stapler, binder clips and other materials you use
electronics for shared use– computer, iPad, tablet, etc., etc.
batteries– in one location and easy to find
in/out box for each family member– for example, this is where you’d put a permission slip you signed for your child to go on a field trip, or a card you wanted your spouse/partner to sign
take-out menus– in one folder with pockets, arranged by type of food; each time a new menu goes in the old one (from your favorite Chinese restaurant) goes out
paper shredder– to get rid of sensitive documents
manuals binder(s)– you need to know where all your instructions are;  write the model number on the front of the manual as soon as you buy something new, tear out languages you don’t need (if they’re on separate pages). Add new manuals as soon as your purchase something and remove the old manual if the item was replaced. Purge annually.

This is a great start to creating a stress free home that’s easy to run! That sounds great, doesn’t it?  If you have specific questions about “Ground Control”, feel free to comment below.

Happy Organizing!
Kay
©2016 KAY MCLANE DESIGN, LLC
 kaymclane.com

ps. if you’d like to get more kay mclane design posts, please click “follow”.
p.p.s. if you have friends or family members who would benefit from these posts, please pass them along. Thanks! K

 

Get Ready, Get Set, Get to Enjoy Your Home

Since Thursday, I’ve been writing (five back-to-back posts) about the organization process. I’m got getting into specific rooms and solutions (that will come another time). I’ve been sharing a way of thinking about, planning for, and implementing organization.
Thursday– background day–understanding some of the reasons we have so much stuff and answering a few questions to help you understand what makes YOU tick.
Friday- an explanation of 
“what clutter IS?”  and the dozen Organization Goals”
Saturday- we jumped into learning to live with “love it or use it” and  “The Rules”– starting with the Preparation Top Ten– guidelines to get prepared for organization.
Sunday- the Action Top Ten.

Today, we’ll move onto the third and final set of procedures for staying organized:
The Rules- Staying Organized
MOVING FORWARD TOP TEN– how to keep your organized house….organized
1. if you can take care of something in less than seven minutes, do it now
Instead of adding it to your paper or mental “To Do” list, if you have what you need to do it now, get it done. 

2. don’t do things halfway
Hang up your coat when you walk in the door, put dirty clothing where you have your washer/dryer, hang up your wet towel, put dishes right in the dishwasher, etc., etc.

3. don’t create a pile of “stuff” or messes to process later
Piles = Chaos, so don’t pile a week’s worth of mail on the counter (“process” it right away), don’t make a pile of clothing on the bedroom floor (put it in the laundry room or put it away), don’t create a pile of things that the kids bring home from school ….you get the idea.

4. watch out for horizontal surfaces
Horizontal surfaces–your tables, counters, shelves and mantels are important in décor and should not become “holding” or “clutter” areas.

5. don’t overbook yourself
Sometimes it’s easier to over-commit outside the house (over-volunteer, etc.) so that you don’t have to deal with what’s INSIDE your home. Give yourself the gift of time so that you’re free to clean/organize when you see something that needs to be done.

6. of course there are exceptions, but in general, don’t store other people’s stuff
If you find yourself in a situation where you decide to become a storage unit, set a time limit. You need to claim your space. 

7. create a habit of “one item into my home – two items out”
If you master this skill, you’ll continually invite more breathing space into you home. In case you’re trying to outsmart this rule….two spoons do NOT count as the two items out when you bring another suitcase in! Size and relativity apply to this rule (but deep down you already knew that).

8. don’t shoot for “perfect”, aim for a home YOU can really enjoy
Perfect is an illusion. We’re not perfect beings so I don’t think we can live perfect lives with perfect people in perfect homes. What matters here is happiness, comfort and peace.

9. realize this isn’t just something you do once, but rather a life process
Many people make the mistake of thinking that once they get rid of a bunch of stuff and clean up their homes, they’re done. That’s not realistic and it’ll just set you up for frustration down the road. Once you get through your entire home, you’ll be in a position to maintain the organization you’ve created. Stick with it!

10. think of organizing as an adventure…it really can be fun!
I know that may sound crazy to you now, but once you get used to living in a home that works for you, brings you serenity and is the place you “can’t wait to get home to”, you’ll understand what I mean!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this five-part organization series. I’ll blog more about specific rooms and solutions another time, but for now you have the tools to jump in and get started!

Happy Organizing!
Kay

©2016 KAY MCLANE DESIGN, LLC
 kaymclane.com

ps. if you’d like to get more kay mclane design posts, please click “follow”.
p.p.s. if you have friends or family members who would benefit from these posts, please pass this along. Thanks! K

Once you GET organized it's important to STAY organized. ©2016 kaymclane.com

Once you GET organized, it’s important to STAY organized. ©2016 kaymclane.com

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Going

For the past three days I’ve written about getting started with the organization process.  On Thursday, I covered background, like understanding some of the reasons we have so much stuff and I asked you to answer a few questions to help you understand what makes YOU tick.
On Friday, we had the
 “what clutter is?” discussion and I listed the dozen “Organization Goals” and
Yesterday (Saturday), we jumped into “The Rules” with The Rules- Preparation– learning to live with “love it or use it”.

Today, we’ll move onto the second set of procedures:
The Rules- Action
ACTION TOP TEN– moving through the organization process
1. examine your reason for keeping anything and everything
This may seem like a lot of work and, honestly, it is. In order to get from where you are to where you want to be, it WILL be work. That’s okay. 

2. everything has to have A place (a home)
If you’d find a frying pan in the bathroom you’d put it back where it belongs (the kitchen); if you don’t know where something “belongs”, it becomes clutter.

3. have a “holding space”– an empty drawer or shelf where you put things that don’t have that “home” yet
This is a stop-gap measure. You need to commit to emptying the ‘holding space” once a week, every week, on the same day and finding a place for each item. If you can’t figure out where it belongs, rethink whether you actually need it. During this phase of organization I want to create “processes” that eventually become automatic (just like brushing your teeth).

4. don’t simply move “stuff” from one place to another
See #2, which is why I’m giving you 3#  (and because I think you’re great!).

5. get rid of the things you just don’t use
Whether it’s that deep fryer, waffle cone maker or exercise machine that you’re hanging on to, let go of the guilt of buying that item; donate it so someone WILL use it. 

6. don’t keep duplicates of things (hairdryers, crock pots, punch bowls) unless you will REALLY use them
I certainly don’t want you to have to go out and buy something because you felt you HAD to throw it away. Just be realistic and HONEST with yourself about what you use. 

7. keep like-items with like-items
I know doing this may seem logical and, sure, there are going to be some things (like pens for example) that will have homes in different rooms, but I’ve worked with a LOT of people who didn’t even realize they had the same items in five different rooms. 

8. customize every storage area
I’m not talking about expensive custom units (but if that’s in your budget, go for it). I’m talking about looking at every space (whether it’s a closet, a drawer or a refrigerator shelf) and figuring out how it would best work for YOU-not the previous owner, the builder or the picture that came with the manual. 

9. make spaces for things where you’re going to use them
Instead of having a “warehouse” full of stuff, consider putting everything in the place that makes sense (extra paper near the printer, cocktail napkins near the bar/kitchen, laundry detergent with the washing machine. ) Whenever you can save steps, you save time, and you can use that time to do MORE organizing!  

10. if you decide you have enough stuff to have a yard sale, make a commitment that anything that doesn’t sell doesn’t come back into your house
I’m personally not a fan of having yard sales. I think they’re a LOT of work for little return and, honestly, I have no desire to have strangers (and especially not people I know) rooting through my stuff. If you love having yard sales, go for it…just don’t let any of it back into your home! (after all, you were willing to get rid of it)

Tomorrow, the fifth and final sectioned of Organization Orientation: STAYING ORGANIZED RULES.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,
Kay
©2016 KAY MCLANE DESIGN, LLC
 kaymclane.com

ps. if you’d like to get more kay mclane design posts, please click “follow”.

Keeping like-items with like-items. At one class a few students thought this was a box of chocolates, but it's a box of batteries. May not be as delicious, but it's definitely just as wonderful@ ©2016 kaymclane.com

Keeping like-items with like-items. At one class a few students thought this was a box of chocolates, but it’s a box of batteries. May not be as delicious, but it’s definitely just as wonderful! ©2016 kaymclane.com

Get Ready, Get Set, Get The Rules

For the  past two days I’ve written about getting started with the organization process. It’s a new year, so let’s make a new start. On Thursday, I covered some background, including understanding some of the reasons we have so much stuff. I also offered a few questions to get you thinking about living in an organized home. Yesterday, we moved on with “what clutter is”, the dozen “Organization Goals” and a discussion about “loving it or using it”.

According to Merriam Webster, organization isthe act or process of putting the different parts of something in a certain order so that they can be found or used easily.” “Found or used easily”, wouldn’t that be great?

What if you could create a different home life; one where you live only with what you love and use?
What if you opened your bedroom closet and weren’t overwhelmed with items you don’t like, that don’t fit or that simply don’t “work” with YOUR life?
What if you never again had to search for car keys, the remotes, the perfect recipe, the receipt you need, or the batteries you’re SURE you bought?
What if you walked into your home and breathed a sigh of relief?

Let’s move forward and get to the next step, “The Rules”. In general, I’m not a fan of rules. Your house should be your home…a place that you can’t wait to get back to; a place that is restorative and calm and makes you happy; a place that reflects who you are and how you want to live.  With that in mind, many typical “design rules” may not apply.  Having said that, however, when you’re jumping into a process that may be new or foreign to you, it’s important to have a framework within which to work. That’s why I created the “rules”. If it makes you feel better, refer to them as “guidelines”, “great organization practices” or even “methods to stop the madness”. As long as you like the name, it’s okay with me!

There are three specific sets of procedures in the process:
Preparation Rules (we’ll start here today),
Action Rules and
Staying Organized Rules.

The Rules- Preparation
(getting ready to get organized)
PREPARATION TOP TENplanning to live with my motto “love it or use it”
1. schedule “organizing time” (like you plan time with others) because it’s important
For some of you that could mean you allocate some time each day to organizing; for others it may be only one session each week…there’s no right or wrong.

2. make sure you have the supplies you need- bags, boxes, labels, markers
You don’t want to get into the process only to find out that you don’t have the “tools” you need to do the job.

3. invest in a label maker– use it for bins, boxes, shelves, cabinets
Being able to label “what’s where” is a great help.

4. recognize that everything you own will end up in one of these categories:
KEEP– you “love it or use it”, so it goes in its correct place
STORE– you “love it or use it” but it doesn’t have a place to “live”
These things are often special treasures you want to pass down (“love”) or seasonal items (“use”); but try not to have too much store- be judicious!
DONATE– what you don’t like, doesn’t fit, won’t use
RECYCLE/TRASH– broken, torn, soiled items that can’t be donated

5. work in a way that makes sense for YOU– listen to music, sort through things quietly, work early or late in the day
Don’t start the process when you’re already tired or you’ve had a bad day–unless that’ll make you feel better (which often happens).

6. start with one area that will positively impact your life; a space that you’re in and use regularly (could be as small as one kitchen cabinet or bathroom drawer)
Don’t start with something you don’t see regularly, like the attic; you need to see the positive results (which should motivate you to keep going).

7. be methodical; do ONE room, closet or drawer at a time.
Finish one space and THEN move on; getting overwhelmed will get you nowhere!

8. allocate 50 minutes before you quit (set a timer), then take a 10-minute break and do something entirely different (check email, take a walk, throw laundry in the washer), or start again another day
You need to have enough time set aside to make a difference, but also the ability to either stop after that 50 minutes or take your 10 minute break and say, “I can’t wait to get back to it!”

9. have only one “To Do” list; segregate that list by area
As you move from room to room take that list with you. 

10. don’t keep stockpiling (paper towels, tuna fish, toothpaste, ) during your organization period- it WILL go on sale again

Coming next, to a blog post for you, ACTION RULES.

I hope you have a great Saturday,
Kay
©2016 KAY MCLANE DESIGN, LLC
 kaymclane.com

ps. if you’d like to get more kay mclane design posts, please click “follow”.

This little labeler and I have done a lot of work in the past decade! ©2016 kaymclane.com

This little labeler and I have done a lot of work in the past decade! ©2016 kaymclane.com

Get Ready, Get Set, Get In The Game

Yesterday, I jumped into the new year by jumping into ORGANIZATION. How great, right? If you’re emphatically shaking your head “no”, or uttering something like, “this woman must be crazy to think this is great”, I’m not offended. Most of us are inundated with the “STUFF” of life. If your possessions truly bring you joy, that’s wonderful. If, on the other hand, the stuff of your life weighs you down (physically, mentally or emotionally), that’s another story. Yesterday’s post covered some basics like:
-questions to ponder
-internalized reasons that you may have too much stuff 
-more simplistic reasons that you live with clutter or disorganization

My mantra (regarding EVERYthing in your home) is “Love It or Use It”.
What that means is you either:
“love it”- it makes you smile, brings you joy or has a wonderful memory associated with it, or you
“use it”- it has a true utilitarian purpose.
In an ideal situation you’d “love it” AND “use it”, like the handbag that holds the stuff you use AND makes you smile, or a piece of cookware that you genuinely enjoy using that helps you create a wonderful meal. Since that can’t always happen (think of a broom or maybe a beautiful piece of art), I’ll settle for “love it OR use it”. Makes sense, right?
It’s all the stuff that doesn’t fit into one of those two categories that’s the problem!

What IS clutter?
I define clutter as  anything that:
is disliked
is unused
you have excess of
is broken
is obsolete
makes you uncomfortable
or is disorganized 

Clutter doesn’t just suddenly appear, It gets that way over time.
Clutter is the biggest enemy of space!
When there’s too much to take in➜
your personal space has been absorbed➜
you to feel PUSHED toward the door➜
you sense that “this room is too small”➜
and you retreat because it’s overwhelming!
This is NOT the way to live in your home!

Another problem with clutter is that it:
“roots” you in a home,
cuts off breathing space,
leaves you little or no room to grow.
You become root-bound like a plant.

So, let’s set some “Organization Goals”. These are important because if you don’t know what you’re aiming for, it’s pretty challenging to get there.

ORGANIZATION GOALS
1. empower yourself to make changes and evolve
2. design a “vision” for each room in your home
3. live in the home you WANT, not the one you’re stuck living in with all this STUFF
4. think about enjoying what you do have as a different kind of abundance;
embrace “less is more”
5. edit your life to create “breathing space”
6. recognize that there’s more to life than taking care of stuff 
7.have less to store, insure, move and dig through, making it easier to care for your home
8. know what you have and where it is, so that you can enjoy what you own
9. streamline or simplify activities by having less stuff to deal with
10. clear things out rather than hide them away
11. create serenity– doesn’t that sound great?
12. move toward living only with what you love and use- “Love It or Use It”

Tomorrow we’ll be starting with the first section of “Rules”: Preparation- Top 10.
Let the games begin!!

Happy Friday,
Kay
©2016 KAY MCLANE DESIGN, LLC
 kaymclane.com

ps. if you’d like to get more kay mclane design posts, please click “follow”.

Wishful thinking won't get you the organized, serene home you want. Goals (and a plan) are what you need. We'll get there together, one day at a time! ©2016 kaymclane.com

Wishful thinking won’t get you the organized, serene home you want. Goals (and a plan) are what you need. We’ll get there together, one day at a time! ©2016 kaymclane.com

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Organized

On Tuesday evening I taught a three-hour “Organization Crash Course”. I typically teach Organization as a four-week, eight-hour class, so we didn’t get through all of the material. We did, however, cover a lot and had fun in the process.

I haven’t written about organization (one of my favorite design topics) since early last year, so it seems like right now– A BRAND NEW YEAR which equals A BRAND NEW START– is a great time to cover at least some of the basics.

Organizing a home can be pretty darned daunting, especially if:
1. you’re new to the organization process,
2. you live with others who don’t see the benefit the same way you do,
3. just thinking about getting from “here to there” makes you want to cry or,
4. you are so overwhelmed that you have NO idea where to start,
so, today, I want to start with something simple….a little conversation.

Before you jump in with both feet and say, “this year I’m going to actually do this!”, I’d like you to:
1. understand the “psychology” of why you have more stuff than you want and
2. do some “planning” so that you can achieve your goal

Understand that:
1. You are NOT defective!
2. You are likely not a chronic hoarder– there are over a million people in The United States who suffer from that condition, according to statistics. If that IS your situation, you would need to work with a psychologist who treats that particular disorder.
3. People hang on THINGS for a variety of reasons. This is important because if you can understand the “why”, it’ll help you open the door to where you want to go. Let’s talk about those reasons now. I like to break them down into two categories:
“Internalized Reasons” and “More Simplistic Reasons”.

The “Internalized Reasons”: stem from issues that are profound, personal or emotional.
1. Poverty early in life- the fear of not having enough causes people to hold onto things so that they never experience that scarcity again
2. Moving a lot- for some, moving from place to place is an adventure; for others it’s unsettling and creates a nesting instinct- a desire to “hunker down” (with stuff) and create a place to call “home”
3. Being shy, insecure or hurt by people- for folks who have had rough experiences with other people, finding comfort in staying home (cocooning) is easier than risking rejection by putting themselves outside their comfort zone
4. Loss of a significant person- this may make you want to hang onto those things that remind you of the person who’s gone; there’s a strong “need” to process in your own time (and that’s different for each of us)

The “Simplistic Reasons” (which doesn’t mean they’re simple at all) explain many of the reasons there’s just too much stuff in your home.
1. Feeling overwhelmed it’s a LOT of work to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of; sometimes it feels easier to simply live with it
2. The “What If” clause
What if we run out of paper towels?
What if both of our can openers break and we need this 3rd one?
What if we need these 75 old gift boxes?
3. Letting go of a belief if I get rid of this exercise bike, (huge make-up case, intellectual book), I’ve failed to live up to what it promised- I’d be thinner, (more beautiful, smarter)…
4. Misguided loyalty this happens when you stick something in the back of a closet or cabinet because it belonged to someone dearly departed and you don’t know how to be “okay” with getting rid of it, even though you KNOW you’ll never use it (this is different from #4 above, where there’s a deep emotional connection)
5. Reminders of the past when you were younger, more successful, etc., etc.

Are YOU able to relate to any of these nine reasons? If you’re like most people, more than one may resonate with you.

Before I sign off for today, I’m going to leave you with a little assignment.
Please read the following questions a few times, write them down on a piece of paper (or on the device of your choice) and then write down your answers.
1. What makes you most upset about your disorganization and clutter?
2. What types of homes have you enjoyed being in?
3. What are the “things” (possessions) that are most important to you? 
4. What does CALM feel like to you?

One of MY goals is to publish posts for the next four days to finish this five-section organization orientation. That way you’ll have the tools to start moving forward! 

Thursday (today)- Background, Reasons For Having a Lot of Stuff
Get Ready, Get Set, Get Organized

Friday (tomorrow)- “Love It or Use It”, “Organization Goals”
Get Ready, Get Set, Get In The Game

Saturday- The Rules, Part 1– “Preparation Top 10”
Get Ready, Get Set, Get The Rules

Sunday- The Rules, Part 2– “Action Top 10”
Get Ready, Get Set, Get Moving

Monday- The Rules, Part 3– “Staying Organized Top 10”
Get Ready, Get Set, Stay Organized

Let’s work together, to make your house a place you love calling “home”!
Happy New Year,
Kay

©2016 KAY MCLANE DESIGN, LLC
 kaymclane.com

ps. if you’d like to get more kay mclane design posts, please click “follow”.

Organization

Organization class- a really fun way to start the year! ©2016 kaymclane.com

Tablescapes- The Art of Arranging Objects, continued

Two weeks ago, I started talking about “tablescapes” and today we’ll continue with some of the “formulas” or “structures” you can use to create them.

Formulas/Structures:
Although the ways that you display objects are as limitless as the items themselves, these are my “top 10” tablescape layout “formulas”:

1. rule of three: one of the most basic design “rules” (or guidelines, since I’m not a big fan of rules) is this: the eye processes things more easily in odd numbers, which is why, if you pay attention to details, you’ll often see groupings of three (or five or seven). photo- this basic arrangement, on a front porch table, has three different elements (the two candlesticks and the plant) that are different heights. As a bonus, the colors of those items marries with the wreath, pillows and other greenery

2. asymmetrical: shorter object(s) on one side, a taller object on the other side (like a sculpture or vase). photo- the items on this dresser not only blend well with the furniture, they also tie into the contemporary artwork behind them. Typically, I’d place the small dish with the other low item (the jewelry box), but in this case I wanted it to “soften” the weight of the sculpture

3. balanced asymmetry: even in “balanced” compositions, the elements don’t have to match. photo- this works because the two tall candlesticks on the right are balanced by the heavy triple candle holder on the left; the matching stockings create a unified look with the wreath

4. high/low: large artwork hung on a wall (or leaning), with low objects in front of the art. photo- the artwork in the back is complemented by the fossil and piece of stone below and in front of it; the vase to the right is not part of the 3 piece composition but is an example of “marrying” art with other elements

5. “tray it”: 1 tray with the “rule of 3”, centered or to one side.  photo- this small tray holds three different elements that, on their own, might be lost; this method works with large or small trays

6. clean and streamlined: just 1 element (chessboard, large art book, large-scale item). photo- this scale with tomatoes “reads” as one clean element

7. reading material: cover most of a surface with stacks of books or magazines- either keep the height of the stacks very close to one another or vary the heights significantly. This is a great way to use a dining room table that rarely has anyone dining on it!  photo- if you love to read physical books or magazines use them to add interest to a horizontal surface

8. build in some “rhythm: rhythm is one of the principles of design and a great way to tablescape. photo-this example of rhythm shows a run of candlesticks- all in clear glass with off white candles 

9. from the top down: this is a low arrangement (think of it as a “bird’s-eye view”). photo-  generally used where you need to be able to see over the surface–like in this coffee table setting; there are three distinct areas all tied together by scale and color

10. tall, fat, flat: three items that are tied together by style or finish, but representing different shapes. photo: this clock, vase and bowl, all in brushed silver are a great example of this formula

Now you know some of the formulas that you can use to create your own impactful tablescapes. Look at the items that you own, that also bring you joy, and play around with them to see what interesting combinations you can come up with.

Until we meet again, enjoy your home!
I’ll “see” you in the New Year,
Kay

©2015 kaymclane.com 

 

 

The Art of Arranging Objects

Often, clients don’t feel comfortable with arranging decorative items in their homes. It CAN be very intimidating to look at a pile of things and try to make sense of them in a pleasing way.

The word “vignette” is often used to describe a grouping of objects. Vignette is French, and literally means “little vine”. Although the original meaning of the word referred to a decorative design (like a leaf, on a book page), it is now often defined as a “scene”. What we want to do is to purposely create “scenes” that add flavor to our stages–our homes.

Another word to think about is “tablescape”. This word was coined by the late decorator David Hicks, who believed that it doesn’t matter how valuable your possessions are, but rather the care with which they’re arranged. I get that. I’ve seen very high-end homes with beautiful objets d’art that lost their luster, simply because they were hung or placed somewhere with no thought at all. I’ve also seen very humble homes where items were arranged in a way that made them stunning! Like much in life, it’s all about how we manage what we have.

Vignettes and tablescapes both tell a story or paint a picture, through intentional arrangements. The difference is that vignettes take in “areas” that can include walls and furnishings whereas “tablescapes” deal only with horizontal surfaces. Today, we’re going to look at the latter.

Horizontal surfaces are important in design. Because walls, columns, bookcases, étagères, fireplaces and cabinets are all vertical, the horizontal surfaces we DO have matter a lot. Those surfaces, especially counter tops, desks and, in some homes, dining room tables, often become resting places for all kinds of stuff! If that’s the case in your home and you’re ready to make some changes, start by removing everything from those places and finding a home for them. Then, you’ll have a fresh place to start.

One of the basic ways to give your home a “finished” or “designer” look is with your accessories. By creating groupings on tables, dressers, mantels, countertops and shelves you’re adding personality to your home!

Some elements that are naturals for tablescaping are:
fruit or vegetables – in a glass vase, basket, or bowl
flowers- they’re fresh and life-giving
paperweights
plants- make sure they’re not unhealthy, straggly or dying
photos
clocks
vases
trophies
glass hurricanes with fresh greens, pinecones, acorns, etc.
books- stacked alone, under items or standing in bookends
organic items like: ceramics, paper lampshades, journals
nature items like: coral, books on birds, art with plants
candles & candlesticks- they add warmth & light and can be clustered together or  staggered by height (see photo below)
some “can’t fail candlestick/candle combinations:
white candles in silver, stainless steel or brushed nickel
medium brown candles in copper, brass or bronze
dark chocolate candles in wood
ivory candles in glass

Guidelines/Tips:
1. tablescapes are usually not too crowded (crowded being different from clustered)
2. a collection of items- milk glass, paperweights, nutcrackers, pottery is an easy way to create a scene
3. although beautiful arrangements are often made with “like items”, mixing it up is absolutely okay too
4. create balance among your pieces
5. think about scale and height- if necessary raise items up on pillars or books
6. ask, “do you need room for a lamp, drink, coaster, or reading material?”
7. ask, “do you need to see over it?”
8. think about color & theme- does what you’re using make sense with YOUR design aesthetic and the colors YOU love, in YOUR home?
9. think about the style of your home- if your decor is very traditional, a more symmetrical or structured approach might be best. On the other hand some types of contemporary design need more fluidity and asymmetry
10. if you’re working in front of a wall, make sure the tallest item is in the back
11. consider varying the “texture” of the elements used
12. look around your home for ordinary things that can be transformed
13. make sure there’s a light source so that you can see your impressive tablescape
14. study photos you see to discover what speaks to you
15. use the “Rule of Three”
If you’ve been reading my posts (or attended my classes) you know that I’m not a big fan of “rules”, but in some cases they make sense. The rule of three is applicable because three is the smallest number need to form a visual pattern, items arranged in odd numbers are easier on the eye; they’re more visually appealing and memorable. After three of anything, move to the next odd number (5, 7, 9, etc.) The exception to this rule is in bedrooms where I tend to purposely create pairs of items in homes where couples share a room.

Think about the process of “tablescaping” as if you were painting a beautiful picture. Most importantly, remember that it’s how YOU feel in your home that matters, so decorate in a way that makes YOU happy!

In the next post, I’ll discuss my top ten favorite “Tablescape Structures”.

Have a great week,
Kay

©2015 kaymclane.com

glass candlesticks with ivory candles ©2015 kaymclane.com

glass candlesticks with ivory candles
©2015 kaymclane.com