Tips

Tuesday 05.09.17

The Top 3 Things Your Mother Really Wants This Year!

The surest way to your mother’s heart is through home organization—trust us, we’re the experts. Below our NEAT SF girl, Lisa Ruff is giving you a few ideas for quick and easy organizing jobs that will make your mom’s heart swoon. Even if you were consistently voted kid with the messiest room, there’s a project below you can tackle for her Mother’s Day gift. 

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Jewelry or Makeup
 
For a luxurious gift, organize her jewelry or makeup. If she has an overwhelming collection, choose one item that she uses everyday like her bracelets or lipsticks. Or take the leap and organize it all.    
 
Acrylic not only elevates the look of makeup and jewelry, but it also makes it easier to find the right lipstick in a pinch. A big budget splurge is Glamboxes. They make beautiful sets or individual pieces for items like clutches, bracelets and makeup. The Container Store also offers many pieces that can give you the same feel at a lesser price point.    
 
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Lunch Prep Drawer
 
One of the unifying laments of parenthood is the tedium of packing school lunches day after day. Why not make the process less painful for the mom in your life? A few easy steps and you’ve made the daily task almost delightful….well, almost ;) 
 
The first step is to inspect all the containers. Are they in good condition? Do they have matching tops? Once you’ve tossed the tired containers with missing parts, sort them by type. Then purchase and implement drawer dividers like these
 
Drawer dividers are a snap to implement. Just make sure the drawer divider accommodates the width of the drawer.    
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Edit Her Closet & Change Out Her Hangers
 
Clear several hours off both your schedules, bring a bottle of wine (or two) and a few boxes of matching hangers. I’ve done this with my mom and I was surprised how happy it made her. Not only are you helping her out with a space she uses everyday, but also you’re giving her your undivided attention. 
 
Help her edit down items that are sad, out of date or ill fitting. Then make piles for “donate,” “consign” and “trash.”  For any items she decides to keep, change out the hanger. When you leave, make sure you take all the donations and trash with you. Besides seeing your smiling face, that’s the best part of the gift because she won’t have to deal with the donation run. 
 

 

We are in LOVE with these ideas and are sure your Mother will be too! Happy Mom's Day to all you hardworking women out there! And thanks to Lisa for such great tips. 

xx

the NEAT girls

Thursday 05.04.17

We've Got This One in the Bag!!

Even if a girl can't be NEAT inside your home, we think it's critical to at least be NEAT inside your bag! Think about it...it's the one thing that goes with you everywhere. Shopping, to the gym, to pick up the kids, etc. So, how great would it be if you had that one bag that could actually keep you organized?!?

This has actually been a point of contention for us as NEAT girls over the years! We've tried several bags both personally and professionally and it wasn't until we came across this one that we took a moment to notice all of the NEAT qualities it had to offer. 

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Please meet our new companion, the Coyn leather tote bag! We are sure you are wondering what exactly sets this bag apart from others?!? We are here to tell you...there's a lot. Not only is it beautifully made, but it also has the perfect amount of internal sections/compartments. Many bags we've tried often times have too many sections that all look the same. Hence, losing everything inside every section! This is one of the first that actually took into consideration making each section size a little different from the other. And...there aren't too many sections, which helps to know which one to designate for what. 

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So, not only does this bag look great and function perfectly, we are also happy to report that this bag has been put to mulitple uses amongst the NEAT girls! From a regular everyday personal tote, to making the perfectly stylish diaper bag...we are just in love with it! It's even joining us at our client's homes full of all the organizing supplies you could imagine (think; label makers, labels, taper measures and notebooks). 

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So, if any of you are in search of a new bag or if you tend to just hoard them for fun, then this one is a must for your wishlist! Just call us to come help make you as organized as possible to fit it in your space! 

xx

the NEAT girls

Thursday 03.30.17

A Spring Break Guide to Disney World!

Orlando, Florida is one of the top tourism destinations in the United States. With Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and many more attractions, it’s no wonder why so many families flock to the City Beautiful for vacation.
 
When you’re visiting the most magical place on earth, it’s important to be organized and prepared so you can fully enjoy your time! Here’s a travel guide organized especially for you from the local NEAT girl Meg Wittman ::
 
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"I highly suggest you do your research ahead of time, book hotel & restaurant reservations early and read plenty of “Disney blogs” to get the inside scoop. As an Orlando resident, here are my quick (sometimes overlooked) tips on how to stay NEAT while traveling to Orlando".

Tip #1: Pack these essential items!
 
- Snacks & Water Bottle – save yourself time and money by bringing in your own fruit, snack bars, and refillable water bottles.
- Rechargeable Battery for Phone – make sure your phone has enough charge to utilize the Disney app for park info, show times and fast passes
- Lightweight Rain Coat – you’ll be prepared if it rains or if you end up on Splash Mountain. Nobody wants to walk around soaking wet all day.
- Comfortable shoes – it goes without saying, but with a lot of walking you need to wear some supportive shoes.
- Sunglasses – you’re in the sunshine state after all, so make sure to pack a lightweight pair of inexpensive sunglasses in case they get misplaced
- Sunscreen – similar to sunglasses, if it’s winter where you live you may be shocked just how sunny it gets in Florida. Be prepared with enough SPF.
- Lightweight bag – a backpack or a large cross body bag works really well to hold all your essentials
 
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Tip #2: Plan out your days!
 
- Prioritize & Plan – there’s so much to see at the parks, make sure to prioritize which parks you want to visit and what you want to see while you’re there. You can even book fast passes ahead of time, so it’s important to know what you and your family really want to do, see and experience while at the parks.
- Use your phone calendar – keep track of all important times while you’re on your trip: restaurant reservations, fast pass times, important show times. If you’re in a group, invite the other members so everyone is on the same page. You can even set reminders to keep you on track.
 
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Tip #3: Go with the flow!
 
Being NEAT isn’t about stress, it’s about being as prepared as possible, so you can relax and enjoy your life. Once you’ve done all the research, planning, packing and scheduling… simply have fun, you’re on vacation after all! If you miss one of your fast pass times, no big deal. If you forget to pack something, there are so many places you can purchase necessary items. If your kids want to spend all of their time at the pool and not even go to the park (believe me, it happens) don’t freak out. Enjoy the amazing sunshine with your friends, family and loved ones!
 
xx
our Orlando NEAT girl, Meg
 
Thursday 03.09.17

No More Stepping on Legos

In San Francisco, we’ve been knee deep in Legos since the holidays. Seems it’s the one plastic toy beloved by every parent…until you step on one, barefoot, at 2AM. Never fear though, NEAT is here!  Keep reading for organizing tips that should cover every Lego enthusiast in your home...
 
The first step to organizing Legos is to decide how to categorize the pieces. By color? By set? All together? This all depends on your child’s age and how they play with the Legos. Older kids will appreciate having them organized by color because they’re likely to do more free-building. Kids just starting out might feel more comfortable with Legos kept in their sets. As for the littles, it will probably be a free-for-all. 
 
Pro tip: Even if Pinterest pictures of Legos color-sorted sets your heart aflutter, it’s not always worth the work. Sorting by color is a serious time investment. And if the sorting inhibits your child’s play or they won’t keep it up, it’s not worth doing it in the first place.
 
After deciding how to organize the Legos, the next step is choosing an organizational solution. What you purchase will depend on how you decided to organize. 
 
Below are some containers recently used, and approved, by the NEAT San Francisco team. 
 
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By Color - For Small Collections
 
The Container Store’s Akro-Mills drawer cabinet is a nice option for smaller collections.
 
If you are more style driven, Bisley’s multi-drawer cabinets (below) are perfect. They have a fresh, modern feel and come in many colors. Plus they can easily be repurposed for art or office supplies once your kids grow out of the lego phase. 
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By Color- For Large Collections
 
With regards to Ikea, clients either fall into the “pro” or “groan” category when I mention their products. We happen to think Ikea is a great resource for kid organizational products. They’re inexpensive and can easily be repurposed or donated when no longer needed. 
 
For large Lego collections, we love Ikea’s Alex line. The 9-drawer can be used if you only have vertical space. Or the 6-drawer on casters is great. You could easily add Linus organizers in the drawers to further organize the collection. 
 
The other great part of the 6-drawer is that you can place a project tray on top. Any masterpiece currently being built can be carried to a playtable, worked on, then put back on the tray and stored until next time. Or you could attach Lego baseplates to the top of the unit and turn the top into a building area.
 
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By Set
 
We recently organized a client’s son’s Legos by set and used Ikea’s Trofast line. We individually bagged the sets in Ziplocs with the manual and placed them in the drawers by type. We only used deep drawer bins.  (If sorting by color, we suggest the shallow drawers.) 
 
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All Together
 
Two great options for Lego beginners or for Duplo enthusiasts are Swoop Bags and Lego Storage Bricks.  They’re cute and can be easily repurposed for other toys.
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Labeling
 
The gold star for Lego labeling goes to i heart organizing. She easily dealt with the conundrum of labeling for pre-readers by using the color to write out the label. (Sidenote: She also used Ikea’s Trofast.)  It’s nice looking and functional. Definitely NEAT approved!
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Happy sorting!! 

xx

the Neat (SF) girls

Thursday 03.02.17

4 Secrets to Improving Your Handwriting

They say that penmanship is a thing of the past, but we, over here at Neat Method, are doing our best to make sure that it never goes out of style! As perfectionist, we tend to get a little frustrated when our handwriting isn’t up to par with our organizing skills. 

As you know, we recently held our annual Neat Summit in Austin and had the honor of working with handwriting expert, Jesilyn Kay. Not only was she a delight to work with, but she also taught us several tricks of the trade for best labeling all of the bins and baskets of our client’s homes. Now, you of course won’t get the full affect as one of her classes, but we thought we’d share our Top 4 Highlights with all of you in hopes of keeping pen(wo)man ship alive. 

1. Spacing is Everything. We most definitely live by this motto when organizing any space of a home, so we were pleased to hear that we should approach labeling the same way. Before you go to write something, make sure you know how you want to space out the word on the section you are writing. Is there equal distance from left to write? Don’t be afraid to use a ruler to help you mark where you want your letters to be spaced from top to bottom. 

2. Center the word. This might have been our favorite trick! Now, it’s not the easiest to do, so don’t be embarrassed if you have to write the word on a separate piece of paper. Basically, once you’ve figured out your spacing, find your center point. Now, place the middle letter or two letters right smack in the middle of the space/label. From there, start completing the word from left to right one letter at a time. Once again, this isn’t easy to do when it comes to spelling the word out, so get that extra piece of paper handy. 

3. Aren’t confident?? Write in pencil. Who knew that it didn’t have to be perfect the first time?!? We quickly realized that the ability to practice the lettering and spacing in pencil made it super easy to go over in the pen or marker color of our choice. Then, if need be, just erase the pencil lines that were created. 

4. Proper pens. This really might be the answer to it all! For years we’ve worked hard at knowing the proper pens and markers to use on each surface. It really does take a skill to find the ones that won’t rub off, that will allow for even lettering and create the effect we are looking for. Jesilyn shared a little secret with us with these and these pens. She said the finer the point the better and to then just take your time to fill in the lines in order to create the thickness we are going for. 

We hope that you find these tips helpful, but if you want to go the extra mile…we recommend picking up this book from our friend. 

xx

the NEAT girls

Thursday 01.05.17

Inside the Home of House Beautiful's Editor in Chief

We were recently brought in to help transform a closet for House Beautiful's, Sophie Donnelson. Now, this wasn't just any closet, but one her 4 year old son was to share with his new baby brother. We were excited for the challenge and knew that with enough team effort the space would become as functional and beautiful as possible. Working hand in hand with California Closets on the design and us on the actual organizing, we created one of the cutest, most functional spaces we have ever seen. 

The first thing we did was review the closet design to make sure we understood all of the dimensions and placement. Then we went right to work on coming up with best products to fit that space. It was most important to Sophie for us stick with products that she loved, but still fit all of her needs. That's where our friends at Pottery Barn Kids came in! They had the perfect selection to fit the aesthetic of the room. You will see from the before photo below that the space was not at it's full potential! 

Editor in Chief, Sophie Donnelson, House Beautiful, Nursery Organization, closet design, california closets, small spaces, closet organization, closet inspiration

We then arrived for organizing day to sort, categorize and color code everything and make way for the new closet to be installed. We learned that Sophie's oldest son had a love for toy cars, books and gadgets. Making it extremely important that he was still able to access all of those things even though his brother would be taking over a good portion of the closet. 

The second most important thing was for Sophie to be able to access everything she needed for baby with ease. Picture this...a kid at your feet with toys strewn about, a baby on your hip and trying to access the closest burp cloth or diaper. It was that exact image that we used for inspiration when we put the puzzle back together.

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What a difference, right?? By starting with a professional closet installation, then making sure the space was perfectly planned and laid out, we were able to make this transformation fit all the needs that Sophie requested. 

Editor in Chief, Sophie Donnelson, House Beautiful, Nursery Organization, closet design, california closets, small spaces, closet organization, closet inspiration

     

Editor in Chief, Sophie Donnelson, House Beautiful, Nursery Organization, closet design, california closets, small spaces, closet organization, closet inspiration

This was definitely a fun one and we couldn't have done it without the help of California Closets, Pottery Barn Kids and our amazing New York NEAT girls.

Ps. Rumor has it, Sophie and her family have been able to maintain this perfectly NEAT closet. 

xx

the NEAT girls

photo cred :: Cory Dawson Photography (minus photo one from our iPad)

Editor in Chief, Sophie Donnelson, House Beautiful, Nursery Organization, closet design, california closets, small spaces, closet organization, closet inspiration
Thursday 12.08.16

The Cutest Gift Ideas for Kids Brought To You by the NEAT girls!

Although sharing what we want for X-mas brings us much JOY...sharing what we want to get the kids in our life brings us even more! Mostly for the smiles that presents bring to their little faces. Check out our NEAT kid gift guide. Could these be any cuter?!?!

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1. Molly has this on her list for her little bakers. Might as well start them young!

2. Lauren in Detroit is excited to get her kids this interactive book and plush friend to go with it! 

3. Alex in St. Louis recommends some great storage bins to hold all of the toys they are about to get!

4. Lisa in San Francisco has this adorable sweater on her list for her girls. 

5. And...Laura in Naperville found the perfect play kitchen for her daughter. 

Ok, that's a wrap! Let us know if you want more ideas. We have plenty! Happy Shopping everyone!

xx

the NEAT girls

Tuesday 12.06.16

5 Gifts That Will Make Him Really Happy this Year!

Wouldn't you all agree that if your man is happy then you are, too! The way we see it is, if you buy him an extra special gift this holiday season then he will have no reason to not do the same in return, right?!?! Here are our top 5 gifts that are sure to make him want to buy you somehting equally as great! 

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1. Ashley H. in DC recommends these wireless speakers from Mr. Porter. 

2. Brooke in Chicago is looking to get her man a custom shirt from Knot Standard

3. Joyce in Naples thinks it's only fitting to up her husband's cooler game for their beach excursions. 

4. Allo in Denver wants to keep it simple with this amazing Shinola watch

5. Katie in San Diego is kind of loving this bag from Douglas Rose for all of her husband's travels. 

Happy Shopping NEAT Friends!

xx

the NEAT girls

Tuesday 11.08.16

Find Out Who NEAT is Voting For This Election...

As we are sure most of you know, today is Election Day in the United States. At this point you would have had to have lived under a rock not to know who the candidates are and we are ready to share who we at NEAT are voting for…

Did you seriously think we were going to make NEAT political? We have completed our own votes for our recent favorite organized spaces.  No matter what party you favor, we are sure that these spaces would get your vote! The winner for best shoe solution goes to Melanie in Las Vegas. She used the Ikea Billy Bookshelves to complete this amazing shoe closet in a challenging space!

Our latest favorite pantry goes to Laura in Naperville. We love that she mixed and matched some of our favorite products from the Container Store to complete this perfectly appointed space.

Ashley in Washington, DC got top votes after working with wood hangers in this posh closet. 

Speaking of Closets, Liz in Milwaukee was voted best closet update. Check out the fun wallpaper used behind to add a pop! 

Finally, Alex in St. Louis got the vote for most motivating. We love the use of this smaller space dedicated to workout apparel. 

No matter what political side you fall on, get out and vote today! Then, after you are finished voting, get organized.

xx

the NEAT girls

Thursday 10.27.16

Top 3 Pinterest Boards You Must Follow Today

The NEAT Girls have been talking a lot about Pinterest this week. Why you might ask? Well mostly because it is our number one driver of social traffic to our website. Therefore, for obvious reasons, pinning holds a special place in our hearts! 

Becasuse we love Pinterest and spend a bit (read:: A TON) of time on the site, we thought we would share the top 3 boards we find inspiration from. Here are some secrets to get to PInterest's best organizing ideas in seconds. 

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Okay... we lied... we aren't going to share the three boards QUITE yet...First and foremost make sure you are following ALL of NEAT's boards, we are constantly sharing our latest and greatest tips and spaces. #Humblebrag

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Okay, on to the top 3!  Absolutely make sure you are following the House Beautfiul organizing board! They are always pinning inspirational images that are sure to push you to take the next step towards organizational bliss.

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We also cannot get enough of the Good Housekeeping's organizing board. They tend to offer a lot of DIY options so if that's your thing, this is your board! Did you also happen to see that we worked with their Editor in Chief, Sophie Donaldson? We can't wait to share how things turned out soon!

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And finally follow Today Show's organizing board! This board is full of simple guides and quick tips for each area of your home.

Don't forget to always repin the ones you like best so that other NEAT freaks can find what they need in a time effecient manner! Happy Pinning! 

xx
the NEAT girls

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