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April 15, 2019

Spring Clean Up!

Organized to Perfection

Imagine an elephant walking into your living room and taking a seat. For most of us that would take up a considerable amount of room. Yet according to the show "Clean Sweep", that is the average weight of the stuff they take out of each and every home!


Americans have a knack for accumulating. It's in our DNA. It displays our wealth, our status, our safety and our laziness.

The best way to get rid of clutter is to write about getting rid of clutter! There is nothing like a garage full of stuff reading over your shoulder as you type to get you to purge. And when I speak of laziness, I mean me! In the lather of the garage clean up I gathered up 42 screwdrivers. 42! I can only hope that every time I went to Home Depot they offered me a, "Buy one, get 10 for free" offer, but sadly it was more likely to be, "Where is that screwdriver?!"

So today's blog is dedicated to the less than perfectly organized, well intended, wanna be organizers who sometimes just don't know where to start (or in my case, stop). I have collected some ideas from those much wiser than me and I can testify that some of these ideas are working already. And the good news is that if you read this blog to the end you are eligible for a free screwdriver!


There are very few of us who have not heard of Marie Kondo and her now infamous show, "Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". If anyone could inspire us to change our wicked ways, it would have to be Marie. She exudes patience, kindness and enthusiasm. The good news is that even if you don't have the organizing gene, her method can tame the most slovenly of us in bite size manageable pieces.

~Take spaces room by room, a little at a time. My advise would be to start with success by working on a space that is in pretty good shape. Making your bed in the morning sets the tone for having accomplished something as soon as you wake up. A check in the win column before I brush my teeth!

~Within a space, break out the cleaning into categories- Clothes, Books, Papers, Komono (misc stuff), and Sentimental.

~I have to admit I am a little obsessed with her clothing folding style. It takes time, which is part of the point, right? So often the mundane is banished to the dark corners of our day that we don't even believe they are worthy of celebrating. Turns out the only moment we have control over is the present, so why not allow it to take time and honor it. Once you have the clothes under control, engage your senses every time you open a drawer or closet by picking a fun and festive wallpaper or color to use in the interior. I love those kind of little secrets!

~Marie likes to keep books to a minimum, at least out in the open. I probably have more on my nightstand than she would like to see in an entire room, but hey, this is a little bit about embracing the inner you, so I'm keeping my books! You can however organize them in a way that is pleasing and interesting. We naturally gravitate toward symmetry and order (even if we have a hard time achieving it). Books loved to be ordered. Whether it's balancing them equally on each side of the side table or color coating them for impact, books are an easy way to bring calm and order to a space that is behaving badly. I also like to undress my books. Jackets off please. I usually find them much more interesting (and easier to color coordinate) when they are jacketless. And if the get worn and tired, so be it. Like we as we age, it's a sign we have had a well loved life!

~Papers! Even in this world of paperless newspapers and contracts, it finds it's way into our home. Mail, letters (ok I wish it was more letters!), schoolwork, etc. all take a daily toll on our lives. Try leaving a recycling bin as close to your mailbox as possible. It's considered a win if it never makes it into the house. If you are waste high in mail make sure you take a look at the Direct Marketing Association and opt out of mailings you do not want. The Washington Post has a great article on controlling all of that unwanted stuff (and saving a few trees while you are at it!)

~Komono- Miscellaneous items. So, this might very well be the biggest problem (along with Sentimental Items). This is usually all the items you probably don't need, but think you might (or worse yet your two year old will want when he graduates from college). This is where her theory on Joy comes into play. Just like with Sentimental Items, hold the item to you and ask if it brings you joy. If not, thank it and move it along to someone who will receive joy from it. In our home we have three piles (or bins in the case of screwdrivers)~ Keep, give away, and throw away (always a last resort and check with your town about the rules on throwing some items out like computers and paint). The Spruce has a great checklist for deciding what to keep and what to move along.  Be willing to do with less and you can find more joy in what is left.

~Sentimental Items- Hands down this has to be the hardest for most of us. The baby clothes, the puzzles, the legos! Surely all my kids will want to put their kiddos in those super sweet striped Hanna Anderson jumpers from the 1980's. Turns out I'm the only one who wants that! Pick a number that seems reasonable (42 is unreasonable) and set aside a clearly labeled container that has that number of items as a representation of those memories. 5 outfits, 3 of their favorite puzzles, 5 flat head screwdrivers. Give the rest a really good hug, a huge thank you, and visualize how much these items really could help others. With the majority of sentimental items taken care of, display the rest with joy!

A few extra tips that friends have shared have been~

~Involved your kids as early as you can. Growing up we had a 1 in- 2 out rule. Knowing that they might be giving up two stuffed animals for that one new one, usually made them think twice about whether they really needed it.

~30 for 30. I had a friend who's family gave away one thing every day for 30 days. It was such a success that before the month was over, they were giving away multiple things in one day!

~Embrace you. Forgive yourself for the mess you made and don't be too hard on yourself if you revert back. Although I can't tell you how many times I have gone into the garage lately, just to look. There is something so satisfying about being about to walk directly to your car without the threat of sharp objects peppering your path.

~For those that gain real satisfaction from seeing things organized (humans actually derive pleasure from things that are neatly arranged. It makes us feel secure), you must check out Things Organized Neatly .

It's spring! Open the windows, put on some of your favorite jams and get 'er done. Find Joy in the task and the task will give you Joy....

....and screwdrivers.

Declutterfully yours,


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Clients who have experienced the transformative power of healthy interior design

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design. Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it. We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Jim P.

Renee is an absolutely wonderful designer. Very talented and easy to work with! She will transform your room or outdoor space into exactly what you want, only better!

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We have worked with Renee Carman at this company for almost 2 years. Renee is professional, personable, and a pleasure to know. She is very helpful and will go the extra mile to please her clients. Renee has excellent expertise and knowledge of interior design. We have a beautiful home and highly recommend her.

Lisa W.

Renee possesses a rare combination of artistic creativity and intuitive design.  Her warmth and compassion extended beyond working with us to understanding the style and feel of our home and how we live in it.  We felt fortunate to work with and get to know Renee and absolutely love the updates she made to our home- from windows and walls to artwork and furniture!

Kate S.

Renee was a pleasure to work with and has great vision. We were doing a total rehab of a recently purchased property and she was able to look at a gutted out '50s cottage and turn it into a beautiful mid-century modern home. She understood our budget and timeline and was good about narrowing all our options down to just a few choices. This expedited the process, made it less difficult and more enjoyable. Once the rehab is done, we look forward to working with her again and finish the rest of the rooms.

Bill H.

Renee at Mandeville Canyon Interior Design was simply wonderful to work with. She was able to understand what we were looking for in terms of color, function and design from the moment we first spoke. She's easy to work with, goes above and beyond and delivers an outstanding design.

I highly recommend Renee and Mandeville Canyon Interior Design. I don't think I will attempt to decorate another room in my house without the help of Renee!

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Mary S.

Renee not only has an amazingly creative eye, she also directed a massive renovation for us this past year that included the challenges of operating during the pandemic. She put together a team that had an incredible work ethic and brought the project in on-time and on-budget. She's a great listener. When we threw ideas at her, she was never dismissive; quite the contrary, she made them better. Her patience, attention to detail combined with her whacky sense of humor meant we were all able to smile while producing a home that we love. A great talent and a great lady.

Ann R.

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