Ashe Organizing Solutions

As the warmer weather approaches (we hope sooner than later!) we begin thinking about new and fresh items to wear. Establishing a capsule wardrobe is a great way to assess what you do and don’t wear, streamline your closet and save both time and money. Before we go any further, you may be wondering what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing made up of versatile pieces that you completely love to wear. The key is that you need to buy for YOUR lifestyle and YOUR own personal style.

The average capsule wardrobe includes 20-30 pieces per season, four times a year. Some pieces will stay with you season after season, while some will be exclusive to only one season. You will also find yourself replacing items like layering tanks and tees more often while outerwear styles last year after year. Investing in styles that fit well will help you replace these items less and love them more as the years pass.

Here’s an easy checklist that includes all lifestyles and personal styles.

Whether you work a 9-5 job, stay at home with the kids or have an on-the go lifestyle, keep reading. If you’re trendy, edgy, classic, feminine, and anything in between, this list covers it all.

 

Capsule Wardrobe Base

RECOMMENDED FOR ALL

NEUTRAL COLORS ONLY (SEE COLOR LIST BELOW)

TEES/TANKS

TOPS

  • Chambray shirt
  • White button up

SWEATERS

DRESSES/SKIRTS

OUTERWEAR: we recommend choosing 3-4 outerwear pieces because this pulls your entire look together.

DENIM: (1 of each recommended OR 4 total)

BOTTOMS

NEUTRAL COLORS LIST

Black, white, grey, beige, cream, olive, navy

 

Capsule Wardrobe Additions

NOVELTY PIECES ONLY

QUANTITES WILL VARY BASED ON PERSONAL LIFESTYLE

TEES/TANKS: (3-5)

TOPS: (3-5)

SWEATERS: (2-3)

DRESSES: (1-2)

OUTERWEAR: (1)

DENIM: (1-4)

NOTE: can be any denim wash including black or white http://elizabethboutique.com/articles-of-society-london-crop-flare/

BOTTOMS: (1-4)

 

Printed dresses can be a fun way to add some color to your closet. Wear one to work or any upcoming occasion with a cardigan, blazer or denim jacket. Add wedges (as shown) heels or flats to finish off the look!

We love white jeans! Crisp, clean and classic, the white jean is a spring must have. Dress them up with a flowy blouse or collared shirt for a classic look, then switch to a casual style with an easy tee or tank.

The pieces in this outfit are all incredibly versatile. Paired together, they create an updated look that is functional and comfortable. Separately, you can do anything with them! Pair the white denim jacket over a t-shirt dress and hurry out the door. The raw edge hem jean is a subtle way to stay up to date. Add a cold-shoulder top and slip-on sneakers to be on trend. The sleeveless striped blouse pairs beautifully with a pair of trousers or a skirt for an easy work outfit.

Easy tees with novelty style like this peplum one pair well with your favorite denim, comfortable sneakers & simple accessories for an on-the-go look!

This easy-to-wear floral dress is extremely versatile and fun! Wear her to work with a long cardigan or blazer. Take her to a bridal or baby shower with cute flats and a denim jacket. Slide into your slip-on sneakers and wear her on the weekend. You could even wear her over a t-shirt dress for a fun layered look!

You may run the other way when you see a printed pant, but we love a great pair that’s easy to wear in a variety of ways. We paired this dotted pant with a bold patterned top (perfect for the woman who loves to standout or favors fun looks), versatile gold statement accessories and a scarf for a pop of color. This look can be worn to work or to any upcoming function! Not into standing out? Pair these pants with your favorite white tee, a denim jacket, flats or sneakers and you’ve got a paired down every day look!

Neutral sweaters can be timeless additions to any women’s wardrobe. This sweater can be worn either with the v-neck in the front or the scoop in the back! Pair it with your favorite jeans, sandals or slip-on sneakers for easy weekend style or pair it with black ankle pants for a 9-5 vibe! Add some pretty pastel spring accessories to amp up the look.

Updated chinos with a twist (we love a raw edge) paired with a basic tee in a bright color and our versatile rain-resistant jacket makes for the perfect spring look! Pair them with your favorite sneakers for running errands (a blanket scarf can help keep you cozy when spring temps are cool)!

Plaid woven button-ups are lighter weight and perfect for spring! We love them paired with your favorite denim—and longer versions can even be worn with leggings. This look mixed with simple accessories and your favorite sneakers can be worn casually any day of the week. Tip: We love a plaid shirt unbuttoned and worn over your favorite t-shirt dress!

Whether you have a walk-in pantry (ok, I’m envious) or a couple of deep shelves in the kitchen, your game plan in two words is this: zone defense. Here’s how it’s played:

1. Completely empty out the entire space.

2. Sort items, grouping like with like.

3. Discard all expired foods.

4. Consider donating large volumes of excess food to a local food pantry.

5. Set-up zones in the available space, giving a name and purpose to each zone:

  • a. All pasta making supplies in one area
  • b. All breakfast supplies in one area
  • c. All snack supplies in one area

 

6. Take stock of your zones, with an eye on the sheer volume. Admit it, you cannot store 10 lbs. of sugar in a 5 lb. bag, so don’t fool yourself if the volume is more than the available space.

7. Take a second pass now that you can see the volume clearly.

8. Less is more. Exactly how many cans of tomato sauce/paste, etc. do you need? If you want a stockpile of anything, consider storing it in a separate place if you’re short on space.

9. Select containers to hold like items—and have fun with it! I use a pretty basket to hold our favorite protein bars—no mismatched boxes here. I remove all the various bars from their boxes and put them on display, easy to grab and go!

10. Place loose items, or small items that tend to get lost, in containers as well. I like clear containers with bold labels, which helps to see what we have. I use a clear container to hold my smaller baking supplies, like food coloring, icing tubes, cupcake papers, and birthday candles. You get the idea!

11. Less is more with kitchen gadgets and heavy machines. Ditch (or donate) the bread machines, yogurt makers, George Foreman grills and Panini presses that hog up precious shelf space but are rarely, if ever used. Consider storing infrequently used gadgets elsewhere—or at least not on the most accessible shelves.

12. Have fun! You’d be surprised at how a zoned pantry can rein in your food storage challenges.

Let’s face it; the room we use to clean and groom ourselves should not resemble a science experiment gone wrong. In fact, studies show that that you can actually get sick from the filth left behind in the bathroom. But you can have a spa-like bathroom with a little elbow grease and some simple, smart strategies. Queue the spa music please! We’ve got some work to do:

1. The easiest maneuver you can include in your game plan is to tell each and every family member to close the lid before flushing the toilet. Who knew that tiny, microscopic particles go flying around your bathroom with each and every flush. Ewwwww!

2. Less is more when trying to create a spa space. Focus on clearing counters and shelves of everything and anything you don’t absolutely need to store in the bathroom. Don’t be afraid to pitch candles you never use or soaps you don’t like.

3. Next up, completely empty the vanity. Without looking, I guarantee there’s lots of stuff stashed in your bathroom vanity that you no longer need, use or want.

4. Sort all contents, grouping like with like and take stock:

  • a. Properly dispose of anything that’s expired
  • b. rash anything that’s dried up and no longer serves its original purpose
  • c. If it doesn’t belong there, remove it
  • d. Ditch the excess. How many curling irons can one human being possibly need?

 

5. Take stock. Sure, we like to have extra items on-hand just in case, but only store what you reasonably need in the vanity, which I will now label your prime real estate.

6. Assess volume. Exactly how many hotel samples do you have? How many razor blades do you need this month? How many rolls of toilet paper do you need on hand? For the extra stuff you want to keep, consider storing them elsewhere. Perhaps the linen closet?

7. Zone the vanity space for the items you absolutely, positively need to use in the bathroom, focusing on what you need day in and day out. Figure out what items should be stored high (in medicine chests) or low (under the sink).

8. Group like with like and determine the best containers to store your zoned items, keeping in mind easy access and corralling items that tend to multiply, like Q-tips.

9. Select fun, practical bins, fill them and complete the look with labels. Then, tuck each in its rightful space.

10. Take stock of your bath towels, bath mats and shower curtains. Donate the well-worn items to your local animal shelter. For all of the rest, store them in your linen closet or designate a space in the bathroom. I love to roll towels, instead of folding them, and tuck them in a pretty basket.

11. Finally, attack your bathtub or shower stall. Ditch any products you no longer need, use or want. Corral the rest in caddies, grouping like with like.

12. Clean everything. I repeat, clean everything.

Don’t forget to treat yourself to a nice bubble bath or a steamy, hot shower!

With spring just around the corner you might be gearing up for Little League season, softball games, joining a golf league, or jogging on local trails. Whatever your sport or hobby, you’ll enjoy the sport more with this triple-play game plan:

1. Prepare to play. Sounds easy enough, but how many times have you (or your child) arrived at the field, missing a key element to play in the game? One cleat, a mouth guard, sunglasses. It’s always something small that is completely essential. To avoid that, place your well-stocked bag at your launching pad (that place organizers refer to as the spot closest to the door you exit) the night before.

2. Participate in the event. Again, sounds easy enough, but actually take the time to enjoy the selected sport of choice. Be fully present and participate. Whether you’re a spectator or a participant, ditch the cell phone and thoroughly engage in the activity.

3. Prepare to play again. When you come home from a game or practice, take the time to empty sport bags, wash and refill water bottles, place dirty uniforms in the laundry room and restock any other items you need to play again. These few minutes at the end of play can make all the difference when it’s game time again.

Prepare – Participate – Prepare Again…. a sound triple play that works every time! It also works for the non-sport enthusiasts for activities like playing a musical instrument, taking a family bike ride, getting out of the house in the morning with less stress or nailing a great bedtime routine. Try it; you might just score a triple play!

Live in the moment!

February 1st, 2017

Live in the moment!

Are you guilty of saving more of your past than you—or anyone else in your family— will ever want? Have you saved every Picasso created by your first-born? Do you still display dust-covered sports trophies from way back in the ‘90s? Do you have every report card, book report and science fair board your kids worked hard on stashed away? No guilt here, just a dose of reality. Ask yourself a simple question: Why? Why are you keeping memorabilia that no one has looked at for years? As professional organizing guru Peter Walsh says: “If we save everything because it’s special, then nothing is special.” Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not advising you to simply trash every scrap of memorabilia in your home. Instead, take stock and weed out your true favorites. Here are some tips for living in the moment:

 

1. Ask family members if they want what you’re holding onto. Simply asking the question may give you the freedom to recycle, donate or trash memorabilia that no one actually wants.

2. Take a picture or scan the document. If you want to capture a special event, or age, take pictures of items relating to it. For paper memorabilia, consider scanning the items to create digital keepsakes (think recital programs, report cards, and vacation itineraries).

3. Make a scrapbook, a photo album or perhaps a coffee table book. Take stock, and decide what you absolutely want to save. Take a picture of it and recycle, donate or trash the physical item.

4. Create a shadow box of fun, three-dimensional items, tied to a special event.

5. Resolve to actually go through sealed boxes that were moved, but long forgotten, after the death of a loved one. You can enjoy the walk down memory lane and decide what you truly want to preserve and what you can live without. Your loved one would likely agree it’s best to enjoy life now by living in the moment.

 

 

Organizing products to love!

 

Like Oprah, Ashe Organizing Solutions has our own list of favorite things. In fact, we absolutely love the following products and stash them in our workbag, which we affectionately refer to as our Mary Poppins satchel!

1. Post-it Notes, especially the super sticky variety! Always at the ready, a pack of Post-it Notes is the perfect organizing tool to temporarily label piles, files and bins as we work through the organizing process. We love that we can stick a label on a pile and give it a name and destination. And when we move items to their proper home, the temporary label can easily be replaced with a permanent one.

2. Sharpies! We gravitate to black sharpies, but any color will do. They make a bold, easily readable statement when used. No guesswork—bold and beautiful!

3. Label Maker! Add a label maker to your home toolbox and you can polish off any organized bin, shelf or space with a clear, bold label. Always the finishing touch to an organizing project, you’ll be amazed at how much better a space can look and feel with uniform labels.

4. Time Timer [http://www.timetimer.com]. We were first introduced to this tool at a NAPO conference. It is a great productivity tool when you need to focus on one thing and get it done. I often set the timer for 30 minutes of focused time, and love to “see” the time shrink.

5. Banker boxes – O.K. we are obsessed with banker boxes and should likely purchase stock in the company. Whether you use the brand named Bankers Box, or the less expensive models, these boxes are the best thing since sliced bread. They’re great because they hold more than you expect, can stack up easily (because of uniform shape and lid) and have ample room for a great big label to clearly show the contents.

 

PS: Shredder. With the ever-increasing incidents of identity theft, we encourage all of our clients to invest in a shredder. Shred any papers with personal and/or confidential information. Don’t leave it to chance. Fun fact, shared by my favorite Staples Tech guy: do not run your shredder to the point of over-heating. Yes, shredders over-heat and will cease to run, until the motor cools down. Running the shredder to the point of actually over-heating it, will, over time, damage the motor. So be kind to your shredder and run it in shorter intervals. It will be your new, best friend for even longer. Or bring your shredding box to Staples and let them do it for you (99¢ per pound).

Laugh!

February 1st, 2017

 

When was the last time you had a good laugh—one that left you with tears streaming down your cheeks? According to authors Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., laughter helps us stay emotionally healthy: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

We love to laugh with our clients… and we encourage them to laugh often!

1. Nothing brings on hysterical laughter quite like perusing old photos… hair and clothing styles can be downright comical and invoke the age-old question, “What was I thinking?”

2. Laugh your heart out when you find an extreme number of anything! Whether it’s a lifetime supply of batteries, Zip-lock bags, toilet paper, pens, rubber bands, twist ties, paper bags or tomato paste—laugh!  When an item doesn’t have a dedicated space in your home, it tends to replicate faster than bunnies. Take stock of normal household items and recycle or donate the excess.

3. On February 11th, celebrate don’t cry over spilled milk day. Laugh, don’t cry over spilled milk—or any other slight mishap. While it’s easy to get frustrated when little—or not so little—hands knock over a glass of milk, try laughing instead of crying to put your family in a better mood. (Growing up with a gang of 8, spilled milk was almost a nightly occurrence at our dinner table!)

4. Laugh out loud with a home movie night, complete with popcorn! Queue up your stockpile of old home movies, sit back and laugh! It’s so much fun to reminisce and laugh out loud. After all, isn’t that why you captured the moments in the first place?

Squeeze more out of 24 hours!

January 4th, 2017

Ever notice how 15 minutes can drag on and on… and on while you’re waiting to see a doctor, but, when you’re not focused (say, scrolling through Instagram), 15 minutes is gone in the blink of an eye? If you do the math, you’ll learn that every day actually contains ninety-six 15-minute blocks of time. That’s a lot! With a little bit of planning, you can accomplish much more than you think, in just 15-minute increments. Want to learn how?

1. Make one and only one To Do list! The two biggest mistakes we’ve seen with people scrambling to “get it all done” is that they either have no To Do list or they have To Do lists written everywhere—plastered like wallpaper on computer screens, on refrigerators, on scraps of paper in the darkest caverns of their purses. Either way, these systems don’t work. Whether it’s electronic or paper, commit to having one and only one To Do list in 2017.  The power of one—try it!

2. Schedule tasks to get them done! The key to getting things done is focusing on the things that actually matter. All too often, we just do the easy stuff. Instead, give this a try: select one big item from your To Do list and schedule specific blocks of time in your calendar to work on this one task. Start by scheduling a 15-minute block of time—what is the first step you can take to tackle a big To Do?

3. Hone in on time robbers! To truly understand what’s raiding your 15 minute blocks, track for a week or two exactly how much time you spend on social media, binge watching your favorite TV program, playing Call of Duty, or doing anything else that tends to devour precious blocks of time. In our experience, these are the biggest time robbers. Once you know what yours are, commit to reducing the time spent by 10%, as a start.

4. Last, but not least, just say “no” to multi-tasking! Most experts, including CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, agree that multi-tasking is actually counterproductive. Our brains are not programmed to do more than one thing at a time. As a result, we’re using precious brain cells switching back and forth between tasks. Try instead to focus on one and only once task until its completion. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/09/health/your-brain-multitasking/

It’s a Date!

January 4th, 2017

The New Year is a great time to start fresh, with a clean slate and a fresh calendar. Oh, the possibilities! Let’s make 2017 the year to remember—and pencil in—all the special dates, as well as the, don’t-you-dare- forget dates. Whether you’re a paper calendar guy, or a tech-savvy gal, take out your 2017 calendar and start booking away!

1. Start by filling in family and friends’ birthdays and anniversaries, making a special notation if it’s a big one, like someone turning 50 or a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

2. Next, reach out to family and friends and ask about other important events and mark those on the calendar (college graduations, Bar Mitzvahs, etc.).

3. Don’t forget to mark important school dates.

4. Pencil in opening day for your favorite baseball team. Yeah, we like to have fun too!

5. While you’re at it, mark down those pesky car inspection months!

6. At the end of each month, purchase all of the cards you need for the next month’s celebrations…. or be wild and purchase the next two to three months’ worth of cards. Bring them home and place them in one place and they’ll be at the ready when needed.

PS: Always have a couple of sympathy cards, some thank you notes and some congratulatory notes on hand, so you can be ready for life’s unplanned events.