Finding Your Calm in the Storm

I have been putting a lot of thought these days into preparing for the long “Covid Winter” ahead of us. My first priority is protecting my family’s physical health, but I’m conscious about not neglecting our mental health in the process. Winters are difficult enough under normal circumstances, and here in the Pacific Northwest, the dark rainy days seem to stretch on forever! This winter will be EXTRA challenging. Many of us are working and/or schooling from home, and on top of that, we can’t socialize or have Holiday gatherings to break up the monotony. In light of these new challenges, I’ve been brainstorming some strategies for making a home into a sanctuary that feels not only safe, but relaxing and calming at the same time…

STEP 1: DECLUTTER

I know, it’s probably not what you wanted to hear. I wish there was a quick and easy fix, but there’s no getting around the fact that clutter adds an unbelievable amount of stress to our lives. You might not even realize how much it’s stressing you out until you clear all those surfaces and put all the things back where they belong. Anything that doesn’t have a clear place to live in your home, probably shouldn’t be in your home. The goal is to be able to easily find the things you’re looking for, and to also have a more visually appealing and cleaner environment.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to beautiful.

- William Morris

STEP 2: DESIGNATE A WORKSPACE

If you are working or schooling from home, dedicate one specific area for these activities. The idea is to isolate the stressful activities in one area of the home, to prevent that stress from being felt throughout the entire house. Unfortunately, we can’t all be so lucky as to have a home office, so make do with whatever works for you. For example, if you prefer to work from your dining room table, keep all of your work supplies in attractive bins or baskets that can be tucked away out of sight after the work day is over. You just don’t want a pile of projects sitting out at the end of the day, reminding you of your to-do list.

STEP 3: CREATE A CALM SPACE

Just like you designated an area for work/school, designate a spot in your home just for relaxing. This could be a bedroom, a bathroom, a reading nook, or a window seat. Take a comfortable area and make it more comfortable! Think about the places in the world that make you happiest: a vacation spot, a favorite restaurant, or a walk on the beach. Create your own tiny resort. Try to replicate the elements of your happy place within your home sanctuary. Use artwork, photographs, or scented candles. Think about how colors affect your moods. If you love walking in the forest, think about painting the walls a soothing shade of green. If you love the beach, consider painting your bathroom a cool blue with sandy accents. If painting your walls sounds like too big of a project, bring relaxing colors into your sanctuary space through accessories like pillows, throw blankets, or rugs.

STEP 4: BRING THE OUTDOORS IN

Plants, plants, plants! Having plants in your home or office has been proven to reduce stress and improve overall well being, concentration, and productivity. House plants also improve the quality of our indoor air by increasing oxygen and humidity and filtering out toxins and fumes. My goal for my own home is to have at least one plant in every single room, even if that means hanging a planter in a bathroom window! Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of low maintenance house plants that will survive all the neglect you can throw at them (snake plant, pothos, zz plant, spider plant, to start…).

Think about how to add other natural elements into your home. Raw wood, stone, or woven baskets are all great options.  And on gloomy days when you need a little extra cheering up, don’t hesitate to pick yourself up a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store for a splash of color and an instant mood boost.

To summarize: Declutter! Isolate your workspace! Create your calm place! Plants!

These small steps could have a big impact on how well we weather this storm. So snuggle in and try to use this winter as an opportunity to relax, reflect, and reconnect with family. 

We’re all in this together so if you need help or advice, please reach out to us! This is what we do!

-Much love, from Robin and the rest of the Organized at Last family

The New Organized at Last

Welcome to our new website and our first blog post!! This has been a long time coming and we’re so excited that it’s finally ready. It’s been a crazy year, to say the least (I’m sure we can all agree on that!). To sum up our year so far… Lauren had just purchased Organized at Last from the previous owner, Julie. We began the year hopeful about the “new” business and new beginnings. And then… Covid-19 struck. What a time to start a business, right?!? Everything screeched to a halt for a couple months but we’re happy to report that, despite the setbacks, we’re back in business and busy organizing, designing, and staging!

The one positive thing that Covid-19 has given us is time to reflect on our goals and dreams for this company. Family is at the core of our personal values and we have been so lucky in realizing that we can make family the core of our business as well.

I suppose this would be a good time to introduce the Organized at Last family…

Lauren: Lauren is the new owner of Organized at Last. She has been blessed with the gift of natural organizing skills and a creative mind. She’s been passionately organizing and designing her whole life. Owning and operating this business is literally a dream come true for her. 

Kyle: Kyle is Lauren’s husband and the company “handy man.” He is the person we call in when a client needs something built, assembled, or installed. His perfectionism and confidence make him an ideal addition to the team.

Lauren with her husband, Kyle, and their daughters, Sloane and Dilyn

Robin (that’s me): I’m Lauren’s assistant organizer/designer and I also happen to be her sister. I help Lauren execute her visions and I put my skills as a visual artist to use. I also enjoy writing, so I get to be the voice behind this blog!

Robin with her kids: Roman, Larkyn, Elektra, and Atticus

That’s a pretty basic introduction to the “new” Organized at Last family. If you want to learn more about us and our other employees, check out our “Team” page.

Check back here often for tips on organizing and design for your home and office, as well as projects we are working on. If there is a specific topic you’d like us to write about, please let us know!

OAL Team Outdoor Spaces: Julie

Happy Summer!  The weather in the Pacific NW has been absolutely beautiful for the past month.  I love summer and I love spending time outside so my outdoor spaces are really just an extension of my indoor spaces…simple, welcoming and low maintenance!  Oh and I almost forgot, low cost as well.

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My bright orange chairs are a fun addition to my 20 year old white bench and an easy change when I’m tired of them  ($17 at Lowe’s).  I also am also in love with my hanging basket, a Mother’s Day gift from my youngest son.

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My outdoor wicker is an older set from Costco.  I love the neutral color and it’s easy to change pillows, wall art or add an outdoor rug when I need a new look.

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I love color and I always keep a few perennials in my pots so that I don’t have to replant each year.  My asters have come back now for 2 years! A $25 planter from Lowe’s is a great addition next to my perennial pot. I also added a small coral lantern that I picked up on sale for $7.00.

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As always, the team at OAL is happy to help your create your own special outdoor spaces. We love what we do and creating cheerful, low cost, low maintenance inviting spaces is our specialty!  Step out and soak up some sunshine today!

OAL Team Outdoors Spaces: Sasha

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Welcome to my outdoor space!

Over here, I am all about keeping my kids close, and keeping their friends close as well! With a twelve and fourteen year old, our yard needs have changed over the past few years, and we’ve tried to adapt our outdoor spaces to those changing needs. Gone is the play yard structure, and in it’s place, we have a 15 foot enclosed trampoline. (Sadly it killed the grass in the main part of our yard, but it brings in kids from every part of our neighborhood and keeps them entertained for hours on end, so it is worth it.)

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We also added what we call the Party Pit to a backyard corner that never got used much when our kids were little. It’s hidden behind one side of our house, but it’s the perfect spot for catching the last rays of the sun in the evenings and feels like a hideaway of sorts. We put two creamy-painted picnic tables back there for entertaining friends, a potting bench my guys made that doubles as a buffet, a fire pit surrounded with Adirondack chairs for marshmallow toasting and late night chats, and six garden boxes ring the outside edges. Over the top of all, we strung cafe lighting which creates a festive mood.

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Our family doesn’t love doing yard work, but I enjoy gardening and especially growing flowers to bring inside and enjoy all summer long. We made an herb garden box, a salad garden box, one for veggies and three cutting garden boxes. We have an out of control Wisteria vine growing up the side, and we have plans for a small arbor as you enter into the party pit

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We have a lot of places to land in this yard, which is perfect when there are a lot of middle schoolers around. We have a hammock, an umbrella topped bistro table, a bench with cushions, and some lounging chairs in various corners. On the other side of our house, we have a long narrow strip of grass that gets used as our ball throwing area. Each night, as the BBQ is going, my people play catch or shoot nerf guns in this area. I even created a painted plywood target for them and hung it on the inside of the gate.

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I love lavender plants, hostas, boxwood, peonies, lilacs and hydrangeas and you’ll see them scattered throughout the front and back yard beds.

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 Perhaps my favorite corner of our outdoor space, is our front porch. I spend a lot of my summer out here. It’s a perfect place to sit in the afternoon shade, sip iced tea, and keep an eye on kids bike riding or roller blading, etc. (I showed a before and after of these these chairs here, in this post. One problem with having homes so close to one another, is a lack of privacy. Earlier this past spring, I hung a trellis on the side of the front porch and planted a climbing clematis. It doesn’t exactly solve the no-privacy issue, but it does help it to feel a little more private and it wasn’t an expensive fix!

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When we moved into this home twelve years ago, it was a new construction, spec home with very basic landscaping and no grass. Every year we have add a little more to the landscaping as the budget allows and over time it has begun to take shape. Our exterior color is gray and I’ve kept an overall yardscape color of greens, blues, lavenders, and whites that compliment the house color.

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It is so easy to get bogged down with all the ideas we want to do, and the budget for the things we actually can do…. Every project I’ve ever tackled, has been on a budget, using what I had on hand, or adapting what I could get my hands on or make, and now everything in our space tells a story, albeit an imperfect story. So yeah, the umbrella might be broken and have to be opened a certain way, and the borders might not be perfectly edged, or the grass under the trampoline might have turned to dirt, or there might be an empty flower bed all year long waiting for budget freedom to get filled… but the nice thing is this; It doesn’t have to be perfect to be perfect for you. Life isn’t a Pinterest board, it’s a work in progress. It’s otter pop wrappers on that just oiled butcher block table top. It’s watermelon rinds thrown into the grass. It’s a slightly deflated exercise ball on the trampoline and kids fighting at the top of their lungs over who’s turn it is. Or at least it was for me yesterday. And it was pretty perfect just the way it was. Thanks for stopping by!

Your messiness could win you $100!

Does a mess like this live on your counter, explode in your closet, or reside in another area of your home?

Clutter

Well, your clutter could pay off and win you $100 worth of organizing services! Here’s how it works:

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1. Take a photo of the messiest space in your home. Don’t be scared; we can guarantee you we’ve seen worse.

2. Post it on our business facebook page at www.facebook.com/organizedatlast.

Please describe what is challenging about this area and how your life would be different if you could get it under control.

3. Make sure to submit your entry by the end of June.

We will begin judging and announce the winner on the business page, as well as notify them through a private message.

4. The winner will receive $100 of in home organizing services with the team from Organized at Last.

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Call or email us today for more information. Offer valid in Whatcom County only.