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It’s September. My favorite month, actually. Aside from it being the month of my wedding anniversary and the birthdays of about 7 different family members, it’s when we get that first hint of fall! Labor Day passes and suddenly the air smells a bit crisper and you start itching to wear those boots and sweaters you have had packed away since spring. September also means back to school time which, for me, was JUST like that Staples commercial – the most wonderful time of the year! Skipping through the aisles of your favorite office supply store while tossing brightly colored pens and notebooks into the cart… but I digress…

As Brooke mentioned in her post last week, September inspires a shift in our lives. Back to reality. No more beach vacations or summer Fridays or days spent lounging at the pool. So how can we use this change for good? You guessed it – resolutions! That’s a fancy way of saying goals. Use this time as a way to inspire yourself to do those things that you have been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to actually doing. Resolutions don’t just have to be for the new YEAR – they can be for any new time in your life. Here’s a few tips on how to go about setting your September resolutions:

  • Make a list of everything you want to get done, and post it somewhere in your home or office where you can see it throughout the day. I find that if I make a list on my phone or computer, I forget to look at it! But if it’s sitting in the middle of the coffee table or hung up on the fridge, I’m more likely to remember.
  • One of the things that really helps me keep organized with the changing of the seasons, is to swap out my closet. I know, it sounds simple, but so many people don’t actually do this. The sweaters are hanging up right next to the sundresses, and the Uggs are piled on top of the flip flops. Which is fine, if you have a GINORMOUS walk-in closet that BSLM has organized by season. But for most of us – especially here in NYC – our closets are not exactly spacious. Take an hour (or two, if you have a lot of clothes) and just sort through everything. Move the summer stuff to a high shelf or back corner that’s hard to reach, and display those fall gems front and center! This will also make getting dressed in the morning a snap!

Now the final part of making resolutions or setting goals is always the hardest – ACTUALLY DOING THEM!

  • My best advice is to make your goals public. Post them on Facebook or email them to a few close friends and family, then ask them to check up on you to see how you’re doing. If your whole family is participating in these fall resolutions, have a weekly check-in to see how everyone is doing. Hopefully the fear of having to admit you didn’t do any of the things you said you would, is enough inspiration to get them done!
  • If you have a fitness or health related goal, you can sign up for GymPact (www.gym-pact.com).  You pledge an amount of money, per week, that you would like to receive for going to the gym/working out a certain amount of times. If you accomplish this goal, they PAY YOU! However, if you DON’T go to the gym, you have to pay them! Talk about motivation!

Now, if you need that last little push to get going on your fall resolutions, here’s a playlist that will surely have you bopping around the house getting things done before you even realize you’re being productive!


Post authored by Beth Renoni

Its springtime folks! And that means it’s time for a little Spring Cleaning. Time to fling open the shutters and roll up your sleeves and reclaim your space as a home, and not the den of hibernation you spent the winter in. Perhaps a light cleaning will do the trick or maybe an overhaul is in order. Whatever the case may be I thought I’d share some of my most favorite new uses for old things with y’all, so while doing your spring cleaning you can keep your eyes peeled for some of these otherwise overlooked items.

A Tape Cassette Case

if you haven’t shipped all of these off to the Smithsonian yet, you can repurpose it as a fantastic storage case for your earbuds. A great way to keep them neatly stored away and knot free.

Rubber Bands

I am a super fan of the rubber band, it is my MacGyver go to. But my favorite use for it keeps closets looking spit spot. Slipping a thick rubber band onto each of end of a hanger will keep those strappy little tanks and summer dress from slipping off and becoming unsightly heaps of strappy things.

Magnets

For those little metal office trash bins that seem to always lose their plastic liner at the bottom, try using magnets as trash bag holder! Just pull the trash liner over the rim of the trash bin and set at least 4 magnets around the edge to keep the liner in place.

So, those are some of my favorite new uses for old things. What are some of your favorite new uses for old things? Be sure to share them with us!

Post authored by Josh Schulteis

Hello, all! My name is Nikka, and I’m a performer, style blogger, and inhabitant of a 300-square-foot studio apartment in New York City (that’s REALLY tiny, trust me!). Having been in such small quarters for 3+ years, and now sharing it with my boyfriend as well, I’ve learned a few things about living stylishly while staying organized!

My Small-Space Philosophy

  • Have patience with your space. It’s going to take awhile before it truly feels at home, and that’s okay. Have forgiveness for yourself, and move as slowly as you need to.
  • Know your limitations/willingness. Really assess your levels of organization, cleanliness, and what you know you’re like at your busiest. That will help in the planning of your spaces. Are you a neat freak? Open storage might be an option, because you’ll take care of the visual clutter. Are you a bit on the messy side? Bins and cabinets will be your best friends.
  • Spatial awareness is key. Think above and beyond the basics of furniture. What else can you do to make sure you’re living in a space you can truly call home? Little things like photos on the wall can help make anything more comfortable while living in flux.

Here are a few ideas about organizing a small space.

Before Buying Furniture

  • LIST while living: it’s important to live in your space a bit to get inspired by it. As you figure out your way of life, think about these questions:
    • What do you want your space to accomplish?
    • What kind of a vibe are you after?
  • Find some online inspiration. Here are my favorite places –
    • Apartment Therapy has an amazing archive of small space ideas.
    •  houzz.com has an incredible archive of thousands of photos
    • decor8 is a fantastic blog run by Holly Becker
    • I love Pinterest.com for inspiration across the board – for home ideas for anything of any size!
  • Delineate your spaces. Find the function in every corner. For example, my apartment, although it is a studio, is divided up into four distinct spaces: kitchen, living room, bedroom, and office. There is, of course, overlap within the spaces, but I try to keep them as separate as possible. I found this to be key while decorating, and it also enabled me to exercise my style in different ways!
  • Measure/tape everything. Before I buy a new piece of furniture, I look at its specifications online and tape them out on the floor with blue painter’s tape. Then, before I lay any money down, I live with it for about a week, practicing moving around my apartment and seeing if it would be an option. I also have an idea of measurements in mind when looking for new furniture, even if I’m not looking at anything specific. I write down measurements and keep them in my wallet. That way, if I see an amazing piece at a flea market, I know if it’ll fit in my apartment before I take it home.
  • Clean out your closets. Yep, now. Do it twice a year, at least. Keep cleaning things out. I’m sorry, it must be done.

Living in a small space has taught me a lot. Here are some actual furnishings and ideas that have  saved my life in my small space.

  • The Elfa Closet System at The Container Store. Worth. Every. Penny. I have it done in every single closet, and I will for the rest of my life.
  • Shelving. Wall-mounted furniture. Furniture with legs. All of these things have small footprints, enable storage, and keep things looking light.
  • Fabric Bins. I can’t live without fabric bins. I store everything in fabric bins – linens, sweaters, spare cables and cords, scarves and hats – anything I want to keep hidden but also need easy access to- fabric bin!
  • Clear plastic shoe boxes. Easy organization, easy storage, plus they make you look really cool, like you have the kind of shoe collection that needs to be in shoe boxes.
  • Lucite storage – a lot of my jewelry is in Lucite drawers from Muji. I can see what’s in there, so I don’t forget about it, but it’s contained so it doesn’t look messy.
  • Mirrors! It’s a tried and true design element for a reason. They make every space feel bigger, bounce light to make it brighter, and you can always find cool mirrors on the cheap at flea markets.
  • Storage Bed. Mine is from Gothic Cabinet Craft, and it has eliminated the need for a dresser, making space much easier to come by.
  • Drawer Organizers – these can be found at IKEAfor about $6, and help keep small things organized in small spaces. I use them both in and out of drawers.

Post authored by Nikka Graff Lanzarone 

Nikka is a dancer, singer, stylist, blogger, and constant redecorator. She would like to be better at cooking, but cannot find the patience. She lives in New York City with her boyfriend and a lot of shoes. You can see find out more about her at www.nikka-graff-lanzarone.com.

Check out Nikka on Tumblr and follow her on Twitter @nikkalanz

With the weather being as it has this past week here in NYC, two things are certain; the Mayans have had it right all along and cold season is in full swing. As the later is more substantiated I’ll stick to it, though do check back in December regarding the former.

We do what we can to prevent from catching cold but when it does happen all we can do is push liquids and wait. For me, I sequester myself away and watch Top Model marathons with a box of tissues, some homemade chicken soup (which is only homemade because I opened the can at home) and gallons of Gatorade.

Well, with any luck the bug passes after a few days and your only left with a couple sniffles, some empty soup cans, and a few new catch phrases you wish you didn’t remember! Your also left with what might have been your only constant companion while you were feelin’ down right crummy – your box of tissues. Always there, showing constant concern for you sheet after sheet. Tissues always ready at hand to soothe and care for you and if you splurged all with a touch of aloe.

I propose its time we repay the kindness that our box of tissues showed us in our time of need and we show them that they can continue to be needed long after they are emptied of tissues. Reuse them! I like to reuse my empty tissue box as a storage solution for plastic grocery bags. If you hold your plastic grocery bag and flatten it so its about the width of a 2” rope and fold it in half, its the perfect size to keep them in your empty tissue box. Insert your flat and folded plastic grocery bag into the top of the tissue box and continue to fill it so that the bags fit snuggly inside. Hooray! Your tissue box will be elated with its new lease on life. You’ll be happy ‘cause its cheap and useful storage solution and the Earth will be psyched because it’s a little greener. And who doesn’t like a greener planet – even if the Mayans are right…

Post authored by Josh Schulteis

I’m proposing that Star Wars has potentially solved the single greatest storage conundrum faced by man – holiday stringed lights.

So, I was getting ready for a friend’s “Who’s Your Daddy?” costume party (I know, bear with me) and decided to go as Luke Skywalker. My costume was spot on– a manly shift dress and camel leggings paired with a smart ninja knee-high sand boot. My feathered hair, self-tanner and post-apocalyptic utility Zen belt would have Mark Hamill thinking he was getting punk’d on an episode of Quantum Leap.

Anyway, while practicing my best surprised face for when my name is announced for the best costume, I went to strike my best Jedi pose and realized I was missing the most important piece of my ensemble– a lightsaber. Panic!

What was I going to do? The party was mere hours away and my window for crafting genius narrowed because the party was in Brooklyn (of course, where else would a “Who’s your Daddy” party be hosted?). How could I let this happen? It’s like doing Björk without a swan dress or a Kardashian with class –it is just wrong! I began to see my best costume title disappear like a sand mandala taken by the wind. Noooooooo!

While I was wallowing in the defeat of my oversight and thinking of what miserable costume was to take my title, she came to me; my MacGyver Muse and without a minute to spare. I saw the empty tube from the giftwrap I used for my friend’s present and knew instantly what to do. I gathered my crafting essentials and broke into my holiday stringed lights that I had just a week ago packed away. Of course, the lights had somehow managed to knot and tangle themselves like Virginia creeper in spite of my best efforts  to solve this annual crisis. After several long minutes and more than a few expletives, I finally freed a strand and began to wrap it around the cardboard tube to fashion my makeshift lighsaber

While doing this I had the moment of clarity my Muse had probably always intended. What a great way to store holiday stringed lights and keep them tangle free. They are very space conscious; these lightsabers can be easily stored in the tightest of spaces or assembled for neat group storage in clear, flat containers with the rest of your holiday keepsakes. They’re also a fantastic green solution and with the amount of gift warp we go through during the holidays, I’m sure you’ll have enough giftwrapping tubes to accommodate the number of light strands you need to tame and store.

Feeling as if I solved world hunger I hurried off to claim my title and party down like one does in Brooklyn – holler!

Post authored by Josh Schulteis

Who doesn’t love a great cashmere sweater or scarf?  Most of us read those bossy labels that tell us to “Dry Clean Only” and obey. However, the harsh chemicals in the dry cleaning process will actually shorten the lifespan of this very delicate (read: expensive) yarn.  Instead, try hand washing your cashmere in cold water with mild baby shampoo. Rinse with cold water and DO NOT TWIST! Gently wring out dripping water and lay flat on a towel.  Begin to roll the towel/sweater into a wrap until you have soaked up all excess water, then lay your cashmere flat to dry. Once your cashmere has dried, store your pieces in freezer ziploc bags or plastic containers (we love The Container Store Sweater Boxes) to keep safe from snags, moths and odors.  Your investment will last a lifetime! This method can be used for wool as well.

If you are thinking “Who has time for this?!” try putting an eco friendly tote in your bathroom, depositing the to-be-washed items within as the week goes on, and washing out your bag full of woolens IN your shower on Sundays while your deep conditioner is taking effect! Wring dry when you get out of the shower while your lotion dries.

If you MUST dry clean from time to time, remember to immediately remove the plastic and move garments to felt hangars. This will allow your garments to breathe. Don’t forget to recycle the outer plastic and wire hangars.

Dry cleaning junkies be warned: you will begin to notice a “shine” on wool from pressing and fraying in fabrics after repeated exposure to chemical cleaners.

Post authored by Maria Skopas

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