Monday, April 02, 2012

kitchen sink wisdom

I'm really happy to share my newest blog - Kitchen Sink Wisdom. It's a blog about home, and food, and living. I like to think of it as an online version of the simplest lifestyle magazine you can imagine - only without the annoying banner ads. Or recipes for cupcakes, next to stern articles about fitness and diet.

And with more soul. For the times when you need it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

where do you go from here?

Hello beautiful person! Thank you for finding this blog. I'm so glad you came.

I am slowly moving all of the original content from this blog to my new blog, here. I hope you'll check it out. It's all about eco-friendly cleaning, organizing, healthy living, art, design and my life.

Peace out.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

lightening up

The summer is really starting to heat up, and whenever the hot weather comes, my knee-jerk reaction is to get rid of some stuff. Less clutter and more space in my rooms somehow makes me feel cooler.

I've been wanting to get rid of a few pieces of second-hand furniture for a couple of weeks, but it took me that long to really commit to no longer having them in my life. My name is Michelle Lynne Goodfellow, and I have a chair fetish. Also: I covet worn things.

But tomorrow is garbage day, so out to the curb I took everything this afternoon. Luckily I live in a neighbourhood where curb surfing is not only tolerated, but expected.

Above and below are two chairs I found while curb surfing myself last year. I really like them, but one is kind of loosey-goosey, and I haven't been able to fix it with my Lee Valley Chair Doctor set, so it's kind of dubious seating. I have plenty of working chairs in my apartment that I like better.

I think the guys (my cats Tear and Guy) are going to miss them, though. Here's Tear taking one last sniff.

I'm also getting rid of a lectern I found at a church rummage sale several years ago. It has seen me through endless hours of singing practice, and when not in use as a music stand it made a great place to display coffee table books. But I don't really have room for it anymore, so it's going too. (For pics, see my junk style blog, here.)

Having trouble getting rid of some of something? Ask yourself these questions:

Do I really like it? (In the case of my chairs: Yes.)
Do I actually use it? (Yes.)
Do I have too many things just like it? (Yes.)
Is it broken? (Yes.)
Will I feel better without it in my space? (WAY yes.)

If you still can't bear to actually part with it, put it in storage for six months to a year. At the end of that time ask yourself: Do I miss it? If the answer is no... get rid of it!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

creating beautiful work spaces

My social media guru, Leesa Barnes, just posted a new Marketing Fit video that talks about creating or finding beautiful spaces to work in.

I was inspired to post pictures of my own home office, which I have created to nourish and uplift me as I work at my computer every day. Enjoy!

This is my desk, which is really just a cedar door on top of three filing cabinets. I need LOTS of space around me when I work, and I also love the clean, uncluttered look of the bare wood. (And check out the vintage oak office chair, which a former client gave me.)

Adjacent to my desk is a folding table that I use when I'm working on large sewing, craft or art projects. If I ever need more floor space, I can always fold it up and move it elsewhere in my apartment. I also served dinner parties on this LONG combined surface.

The room has a gorgeous southeast exposure, and when it's not cloudy (like the day I took these pictures!), the sunshine pouring into the space is absolutely amazing. This small sitting area is a great place to read journals, drink tea, visit with friends or watch videos on YouTube; the standing lamps provide task lighting when the room gets dark after sunset.

I love the mis-matched charm of "junk style" or "shabby chic"; I found this simple chair at the side of the road on garbage day not too long ago. Once I brought it inside and cleaned it up, it looked pretty good! Now it's a place to set magazines and journals, and can be used as extra seating in a pinch.

I also love natural elements in my rooms - I'm forever bringing home branches, nests and other bits and pieces from my daily walks. Here's a maple branch that I found after a windstorm this winter; propped in a corner against a pale wall, it adds a calm, zen-like touch to my office.

I found this antler in the woods recently, when I was helping a local farmer set up the saplines in his maple sugar bush in preparation for maple syrup season.

A large metal locker holds art supplies and tools, and is a great surface to stick magnets onto. Here, a large rare earth magnet from Lee Valley Tools holds a gorgeous recycled-paper calendar from Avalanche Publishing Acquisition that features photos of trees - yet another natural element for my office.

Behind my desk is my infamous wall o' shelves, which everyone always comments on whenever they see the space for the first time. Yes, I'm a professional organizer; no, I don't always remember where I put everything!

Creating your own inspiring workspace is easy, once you know what pleases and refreshes you. I know that I prefer wide, open, clutter-free spaces in order to work most effectively. Having a place for everything, and putting things away when I'm done with them, helps me keep my space organized.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

my moving book

This week I've been starting to plan where I will put furniture in my new apartment, and I was suddenly inspired to make notes in one of my art journals. Normally I fill the journals with thoughts, and then make images over top of the writing; I often prep several pages ahead of time with scraps of colourful paper for inspiration, as well. Flipping through the pages of this particular journal, I saw blank spots where I could sketch floor plans and make lists, and my moving book was born. Above is the first spread, where I'm trying to map out my moving day and the personnel who will help me at each end. The numbered circles indicate where everyone will be "stationed."

The next spread already had these random Post-Its pasted in, so I'm using it to make lists of supplies I need. (I'm also keeping all my lists in my BlackBerry, which goes with me everywhere, but it's great to see everything collected in the book as well.)

Then I've inserted the page I filled out for my apartment when I was conducting my apartment search. The flip side of the page (below) has the living room measurements I took the last time I was there, signing the lease.

Also included in the above spread is my one-and-only to-scale floor plan, of the living room. I wanted to know how my desk and shelves would fit in the room, and I can't wait to see the final result.

Next is my bedroom, which will be very spare, with only my bed, a small metal locker, and a couple of small dressers that I'm getting from a friend. A wooden chair, for dressing, will probably round out the furniture in that room.

On this bright orange page I've mapped out my kitchen, which is also going to be very spare; there's enough room for an eat-in table and chairs, but I think I'm going to put one of my shelving units and a wicker armchair in the empty space instead. On the right side I've planned where I will put everything on the shelves.

This is my spare room, which will be a combination library and yoga/meditation room. My bookshelves will line half the walls, and one armchair will give me a spot to read, while leaving lots of space to do yoga.

The living room is my favorite area so far. It's going to be a combination home office and studio, and my current "kitchen" table will again serve double-duty as a work table and an eating surface. (I use only non-toxic materials in my art.)

Finally, I'm in the process of mapping out where I will put things on the shelves in my living room. I'm playing the shelves and their contents here in my old apartment, so that I can try out different arrangements before my actual move. Even with all this activity going on, when someone came in to view my apartment recently, their first comment was, "You have everything very well organized."

No kidding.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

michelle is moving

I'm moving back to my hometown of London, Ontario in approximately two months. I'm sad to be leaving behind the life that I have enjoyed here in Toronto, but I'm excited by the thought of the new things that will happen to me soon.

And the professional organizer in me is chomping at the bit to get started on plans for moving. Who am I kidding? I love it all: the purging, the organizing, the packing, the moving, the unpacking, the sorting - a move is a professional organizer's heaven. Even if it's my own move. Especially if it's my own move.

I'm already excited to see if I can improve on how things went the last time I moved. In my favour is the fact that I have significantly less stuff than before - which means I have less to pack, and less to organize in my new home. It's also going to be easier for me to edit my things before packing, because nearly everything I own is currently being used in my apartment. (Last time, many of my things were stored away in boxes, so I couldn't access them easily to do a really good pre-move purge.)

My mind is already buzzing with plans, and you can be sure I'm going to hone the techniques I've learned through my work with clients and my own previous moves. (See my earlier posts on moving, here and here, for additional tips on packing and organizing.)

Expect more to come, as my moving day draws closer!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

my blackberry

(This post was originally published on my personal blog, here.)

I love my BlackBerry. If you'd told me six months ago that I would get a BlackBerry (and that I would come to feel that I couldn't live without it), I would have told you you were crazy.

I thought I knew myself well. I thought I knew what helped keep me organized, and what would drive me crazy. Turns out I was wrong.

I'm a very visual person, and I like to see everything laid out in front of me. (In an organized fasion, of course.) Don't give me directions; give me a map. Don't tell me something; write it down for me. Don't hide my schedule in binary code; give me some paper and a pencil, already.

But my BlackBerry has become one of my very favorite tools. Yes, it's addictive. (And yes, I'm kind of ambivalent about that part of it.) But it helps simplify my life so much that I'm seriously figuring out how I can afford to keep it, should I ever leave the job it came with. (BlackBerry plans are a little more expensive than those of your average mobile phone. Go figure.)

Why do I love my BlackBerry so much? It does so much - all in one tiny little package.

It's a mobile phone.

It can receive e-mails. (IT CAN RECEIVE E-MAILS!!!) That feature alone blew me away the first day I had it. No more having to log on to my computer when I want to check and see what's going on. (And a lot is going on - mostly business. Which is why I got the thing in the first place - it made sense to the organization.)

It can SEND e-mails. (IT CAN *SEND* E-MAILS!!!) How ridiculous is that? Someone needs a two-word reply on the fly? No problem! I have (dare I say this) responded to e-mails from just about anywhere: the grocery store, the health food store, restaurants, my car (no, I wasn't driving at the time, officer), my bed in the middle of the night, and the while using the toilet.

It has a web browser. I know cell phones have been able to browse for years, but this is the first time I've had a mobile plan with browsing. Brainerd and I were at a choral management conference a couple of weekends ago, and during a session on strategic planning we were able to view, right there and then, the vision and mission statements posted on the Chorale's website, and discuss some changes we needed to make to them.

It's a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). One of my favorite features (oh, who am I kidding - they're all favorite features) is the address book, because - get this - you can click on someone's name and have the choice of phoning them (at any of their million locations), texting them, messaging them (Blackberry has its own messenger service between users) or e-mailing them. And like all PDAs, it also has a calendar/datebook and assorted sundry functions (calculator, etc.).

It's a camera. (Okay, I don't really use the camera all that much. I have a much better digital camera that I take with me almost everywhere, too. But if I WANTED to use my BlackBerry as a camera, I could. I even used it this morning, to take a photo of a sidewalk I saw during my morning walk, apparently created during Canada's centennial year.)

(1867 - 1967: Yay, Canada!)

It's a clock - and an alarm clock. My watch stopped working a couple of months ago. I haven't noticed. The BlackBerry is with me everywhere, so I always know what time it is. I only wish that it also had a timer. I mean, the alarm is kind of like a timer, except it's not. You have to set a clock time, as opposed to an elapsed time. Here's my advice to the BlackBerry people: BlackBerry people, make a BlackBerry with a proper timer. I love the ring I've set for the alarm, though - it's called ChiGong: a gentle, Tibetan bowl sound. And my ringtone for incoming calls is equally soothing - it sounds like a single chord played on a harpsichord.

It's a GPS (Global Positioning System). Took me a while to figure out how to navigate the map functions, but I still get a kick out of the device telling me exactly where I am at any given moment. Brainerd and I took a research trip to Cape Croker, ON (near Wiarton) last spring, and when we got lost on the winding country roads in the Native reserve, it could tell us exactly where we were. Sweet. The GPS can't give you directions to brand new addresses, however - which I discovered to my dismay when trying to find a friend's house in a brand new subdivision north of Toronto. Might not have helped me much, anyhow: the houses were so new they didn't even have street numbers on them, yet.

It's an mp3 player. (I haven't used that function yet, but I'm sure it's awesome. Awesome.)

My number one favorite reason I love my BlackBerry, however, is that I can create lists on it. Like shopping lists, and to do lists, and lists of my favorite inspirational quotes. I currently have 29 lists on my BlackBerry, and I add more every week. No more paper lists that I can never keep track of! I always have my BlackBerry with me, so I always have all my lists. I consult them constantly throughout the day, and especially when I'm shopping or packing for trips. My CrackBerry definitely feeds my list addiction.

Number of times I have left my BlackBerry behind in a store or business: 3

(I have a constant mantra now whenever I'm leaving a store: Do I have my BlackBerry? Where's my Blackberry?)

That's about it. I highly recommend the BlackBerry. Mine is a Curve. I've heard iPhones are pretty cool, though. May have to check those out, someday...