Celebrating 3 years!

This summer marks 3 years in business for Rachel Jennifer Interiors!  And what a journey it's been. 

I started this business to help busy moms, families, and homeowners who are ready for a change - whether that means they are stressed out by their homes, selling their home or moving, ready to update their decor, or accommodating a major life change such as bringing a new baby home. 

It has been such a joy to bring people relief by helping them get organized, and make their surroundings a place they want to relax and spend time in.  Thank you to my clients, who welcome me into their homes and trust me & our team to help!

And of course, I am so grateful for the support of my friends and family, who have always encouraged me, brainstormed ideas, shared my posts, and told their friends.  The last 3 years have been a blast, and I'm looking forward to what the future will bring!



Occupied Homes: How to live in your home while it’s on the market

Preparing your home for sale can be a daunting task.  All of a sudden you're looking around with fresh eyes and a different perspective - that of a potential buyer.  The tiniest of flaws you once overlooked, now need to be addressed and repaired.  That list of projects you were going to get around to one day, now needs to get completed, and fast.  Any extra clutter or furnishings need to be packed up and stored.  This can add up to be a lot of work for any home seller.  But if you haven't already settled on your new home, here are some tips on how to live life in your picture perfect property.  

Pack up all the non-essentials.  It's so much easier to keep a clean home when there is less stuff in it.  And for a home on the market, we are talking A LOT less stuff.  Portable storage units are a great resource to pack at your own pace and have it taken away.

Stay on top of the housework.  Keep running that dishwasher and emptying it regularly.  You don't want a sink full of dirty dishes and nowhere to put them when you have a last minute showing scheduled.  Consider compiling all the household laundry into one basket.  As soon as you have enough to wash, throw it in!  Especially if your home is tight on space, it's easier to keep up with the laundry when you don't have multiple loads to do at once.

Get the kids involved.  It's likely that many of their toys, extra stuffed animals, and books will be packed up in advance.  Keep them in the loop by letting them pack a bag of their favorite things to keep in their room.  One basket can be used to quickly straighten up if need be, all the toys and books can be thrown in there and slid under the bed or at the bottom of the closet.

Clear out a closet area to stow pet items.  When you're leaving the house for showings and bringing your pets, make sure to create an empty space in a nearby closet or cabinet to store their things.  This makes it easy to bring their dog bed or food & water bowls in and out.

Keep a showing checklist.  With so many things to tidy up and have in place, it can be difficult to remember everything before leaving the house in the morning.  Keeping a checklist of what to do each day helps to make sure everything is in showing condition.

Get help if you need it.  You can only be in one place at one time.  Prioritize what you are able to take care of, and what you need to get help with.  Make a list for a handyman to tackle some projects for you.  Hire a cleaning service.  Give us a call to help with packing up and staging your home.  Enlist family and friends to help and order pizzas!

Feel free to share these tips with someone who is putting their house on the market this spring.  It's a lot to keep up with, but with a plan in place it can be done!

5 Easy Ways to Save Time Now

There's a shift that's happening for many people and families across the country.  While resources such as money and clothes and stuff and homes have always been considered valuable in society, there's one valuable that will always be finite and fleeting.  That one thing is "time".  It can be said that families and people in the workforce used to have more free, unscheduled time from day to day.  But with today's busy schedules, dual income families, and multiple sport per season kids, free time is regarded as a precious resource of which many of us have very little.  So, we know how to make money, and how to slowly save for the things we want to purchase.  But how do we make the most of the time that we have, and create the feeling that we have more of it?

Be present.  Multi tasking can be overrated.  Live in the moment, and focus on what's right in front of you.  It's hard to enjoy the little moments with the kids, your favorite tv show, or walking the dog on a nice day, if your brain is already focused on the big meeting you have to lead the next day.

Plan ahead.  Often the moments we feel like we have the least amount of time are when we are simply trying to squeeze too much into too little time.  For example, anything that can be accomplished at night to ease the morning routine makes a huge difference.  Taking 15 minutes before bed to pack lunches for the next day, empty the dishwasher, and lay out clothes at a leisurely pace makes the next morning feel much less time crunched.

Delegate.  What do the busiest of CEOs and celebrities all have in common - they have assistants!  If you're not in the position to have one yourself, get creative.  Use an electronic calendar on your phone for not just appointments but tasks and reminders too.  Use a notepad (in paper form or on your phone) to track ideas and thoughts you don't want to forget.  Writing it down saves the idea for later and lets you get back to focusing on what you were already doing.

Budget.  Not just for more things and purchases, but for services that will free up your spare time.  Hire a cleaning company to come through once a month, pay for an amazon prime membership or grocery delivery service.  Of course you can always put a call in to your local professional organizer as well.  We all know getting organized and streamlining our belongings saves time looking for things and makes tidying up take much less time.

Prioritize.  When it comes down to it, every time you put something on your calendar, you are prioritizing that activity over having free time at home.  Organizing your calendar can be much like organizing your things.  Sometimes there is just too much to fit in one space, and something's gotta go.  If it's hard to resist scheduling something into an opening of free time, then plug "Sunday at home" into your calendar!  Sorry we have plans that day.  We're going to be at home catching up on things we have to do around the house.  Or doing nothing.  But that's the fun thing about free time, you can do whatever you want with it!

Love Your Home

Your relationship with your home is much like your relationships with your loved ones.  Nobody is perfect, but we look past their faults and emphasize their merits.  When something isn't working or goes wrong, we communicate our feelings and work toward a solution.  Well that's the goal anyway.  We can do the same with our homes. 

It is very common to end up in a situation where you've found the location you love, but because of home prices you end up with a smaller space than you had envisioned.  Maybe you love the charm of an older home, but small closets were part of the deal.  When it comes to prioritizing space over stuff, location over square footage, these decisions aren't easy.  Luckily when we compromise, we can work with most any situation to figure out a solution that works. 

We bought our first house before we had any kids.  It's a 3 bedroom, and the bedrooms are a bit small at that.  After our first daughter was born, we had a room for her and still had a guest room.  But when we found out we were having the twins, we knew we would have to think outside the box for their sleeping arrangements!  We could have decided to move, but did I mention I was pregnant with twins and raising a toddler?  So, we made the obvious choice, to keep our oldest in the smaller bedroom, and have the twins share the slightly larger one.  Which was fine when they were in cribs.  But as they got bigger and so did their beds, we got a bit more creative.  We ended up having all three girls share the larger bedroom for sleeping, and use the smaller bedroom for playing & clothes storage.  They LOVE sharing a room, and I couldn't imagine it any other way.  I'll share some pictures with you all in an upcoming post, because we have always loved rearranging their rooms and creating fun spaces for them.

The point is, that if you're unhappy with your home, there is a path to falling in love with it again.  It will probably involve some tough decisions, prioritizing, and commitment to making it happen.  You can start by identifying what is and is not working.  Then, you can focus on addressing one challenge at a time.  Look online for ideas, or contact me to get the ball rolling.  Be cautious browsing Pinterest and Houzz for these types of solutions.  These photos are wonderful inspiration, but not what these homes look like from day to day.  With a little dedication and creative thinking, you can fall in love with your home all over again!

Getting Motivated in the New Year

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has come to a close, and as cold as it is outside, it's a great time of year to do some work inside the house.  But what if you're having trouble with where to start?  Sometimes taking the very first step can be the hardest part.  So here's a few tips I like to use with clients - and with myself - to get to work.

Define your goals.  Not exactly talking about New Year's resolutions, which are hard to keep up with.  But I am a big fan of setting goals year round.  How can you work towards something without knowing what you are striving for in the first place?

Set priorities.  Sure we might want it all, but is it possible to accomplish everything on your list simultaneously?  Timing, budget, and other factors typically force us to make some tough decisions.  Prioritizing helps to tackle one project or goal at a time, instead of facing a bottleneck of too much at once.

Establish routines.  Keep things in line by setting up routines.  For example if you decide to put a hall tree in your garage, make sure to help the family get in the habit of hanging coats and taking off shoes before entering the house.  

Declutter your calendar.  Don't stop at the physical clutter in your home!  If you're short on time, consider ways to cut down on things that waste it.  Try a grocery delivery service, limit kids activities, or research some new crock pot recipes to cut down on dinner prep!

Put things to good use.  If not by you, then by someone else!  Donations of food and clothing really ramp up during the holiday season, but why not keep it going year round.  When going through a cramped storage space, think about whether or not you really do have a use for each item.  If it's just collecting dust, it can help to remind yourself that there is almost always someone out there who does have a need for it, and can put it to good use!

Fun finds: Home office

Set your loved ones up for success this holiday season, with these home office gifts that add a little whimsy to the daily grind!  This post contains affiliate links, for which we may make a small commission.  Thanks for your support!

High heel stapler

Margarita glass tape dispenser

Cat Post-It Dispenser

Cat tape dispenser

Looking for more sophisticated office supplies? Go for the gold to update your desk with a feminine touch.

Gold framed dry erase calendar

Rose gold desk accessory set

Set of 3 crystal pens

Acrylic & gold pen holder (see matching stapler & tape dispenser!)

Want a more organized desk in 2018?  Get started with these ideas.

Paper sorter
This unit is a great choice because it accommodates vertical files as well as space to sort incoming mail and paperwork horizontally.

Monitor stand
If you're short on desk space, go vertical and incorporate storage right under your monitor or laptop.

Desk organizer
If your desk is located in a visible area, like a kitchen or den, look for organizers that blend in with your home decor.

Vertical file sorter
This low profile file organizer fits in with a home office or kitchen/command center.

For more ideas or custom options, reach out anytime and we can help get your home office streamlined and organized!

Feedback + Enter to Win!

As 2017 is winding down, it's a great time to reflect and make room for improvement in the new year.  I would love to hear your feedback, whether you're a client, have attended one of my seminars, or even if you just enjoy staying connected via social media!

Of course we'll also want to make this fun, so I've decided to count your reviews and feedback as entries to win a sweet giveaway!  This cozy faux fur blanket is just as soft as it looks.  Add in a warm scented candle and a sweet treat, you'll be all set to snuggle up and hibernate for the winter.  Already have one?  This will also make a great gift for the holidays, so hang on to it and check something off your list!

Here's how it works.  Each unique response is an entry to win!  We'd love to hear from you either by completing the included survey, or by leaving a review on any of the sites listed below.  So if you fill out the survey, and then leave a review on Facebook and Houzz that's 3 entries to increase your odds!  Each entry will be assigned a number and one winner will be chosen by random.org.  Entries must be received by Wednesday December 6, 2017 at 11:59pm EST.

Where to enter:
Survey included below

Good luck, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Update your entryway for winter

We may be in the middle of fall, enjoying the pumpkins and the cider and the leaves, but rest assured:

Winter is coming!  Is your entryway ready?  Here are a few tips to get your winter gear ready to go for those first cold mornings.

Get out the gear.  Go through the coat closet, or storage area if you've had the winter gear tucked away for the summer.  Now is a great time to find matches for gloves, check to see if everything still fits (especially for kids!), and make a list of additional items you'll be needing to pick up.

Image credit: MarthaStewart.com

Make it accessible.  Incorporate a few baskets or bins to organize gloves, hats, and scarves for each member of the family.  Keeping these things within reach this time of year reduces the amount of time it takes to get out the door in the morning!

Image credit: Wayfair.com

Keep it dry.  For soggy snow pants and gloves, an expandable drying rack is a great solution.  You don't want wet gloves & hats going into a basket with dry items, or hanging a wet coat in a closed closet.  The drying rack can be set up when needed, and tucked away to save space until its next use.

Image credit: Wayfair.com

Protect your floors.  A boot tray isn't really necessary year round, but in the wet and snowy fall and winter months it really comes in handy.  Puddles have a tendency to travel, and that can create a slipping hazard or damage to your floors.  Simply add a boot tray in the garage or mudroom, to keep the water in check.

Organizing kids schoolwork

The school year has just begun, so let's get a handle on the papers and artwork before they nestle into a nice big pile somewhere in your home!  I would like to share not only my favorite storage strategy, but also a regular routine that will keep everything under control throughout the school year!

Daily routine

To keep up with the daily papers, we need to establish a routine that includes a landing spot for everything.  Sterilite drawer units are great for this.  You can get them in different sizes - smaller ones for letter size paper, or slightly larger ones for scrapbook size paper, whichever works best for your family.

So on a daily basis, it's real simple.  Just go through the kids' folders every day like you'd go through the incoming mail.  Reminders and info for parents can go straight to mom or dad's desk.  Once you look through the artwork and schoolwork, it can go straight into the drawer, one drawer for each child.

Throughout the year

Here is what happens as the schoolwork begins to accumulate.  As the year goes on, limit what you keep to what will fit in this drawer.  Just weed out anything redundant, or anything that wasn’t really completed during school.  This allows you to keep some of the schoolwork, without it getting out of control.

End of the school year

This is when the magic happens!  I choose to wait until the end of the year to decide what my daughters and I want to keep from that year.  It's much easier to look at everything together and decide on favorites then.  At the end of the year, just pull out each child's drawer, and sort everything out.  Artwork, handwriting, math, etc.  Pick your favorite art projects, and a few worksheets/spelling tests/etc from the beginning and end of the year.  You can also include any certificates, special notes from classmates, and their class pictures.

Putting it all together

As I mentioned, there are many ideas for how to store your child's school memories and work.  I always loved the pre-made baby books, you know the ones that you just fill in and complete as you go.  

They end at age 5, but I wanted something similar for their elementary school days.  So I decided to create a memory book using a binder.  You can get them in any color and size, and unlike bound memory books, you can rearrange the pages and insert things wherever you want.

What I love about this solution, is that we can get the binder out and look through it any time.  It fits right on a bookshelf, and doesn't take up too much space.  For any artwork that is oversized (which you usually don't get much of in elementary school since everything comes home in their folder), I have one larger portfolio and everything goes in there with the child's name and date.  

So there you have it!  A place for everything during the school year, and a beautiful book with the most favorite pieces from the school year.  

To the mamas

It's the day after Mother's Day.  Yesterday was no doubt filled with appreciation, celebration, and adulation.  But, as all the second Sundays in May that have come before, they are followed by Monday morning.  Back to work, another early morning at home with the baby, the sink once again full of dishes.  

Hopefully all the mamas are approaching their day with a little pep in their step today, a little boost from the reminder of just how appreciated they are.  But when it comes down to it, mama will take on the days and the nights, the highs and the lows, whether she is recognized or not.

In many homes - not all, but most - mama is the glue that holds things together.  I work with many of you, moms that are holding the weight of [the home, the teenager, the stuff, the move, the newborn] on your shoulders, to lighten the load, to find some relief.  

What they say is true, it really does take a village, and it can be incredibly freeing to accept that and accept help.  I am so happy to have my village of family, friends, and resources so that I don't have to go it alone.  And even though Mother's Day has come and gone, I'm so delighted to be able to support Moms and their families all throughout the year!