Spring is definitely in the air and with it comes an instinctual desire to make some changes, clear out spaces and start anew after the long winter. It’s a busy time of year for Solve My Space and I love the range of projects I’m currently working on: redesigning office spaces, creating new paperwork solutions, clearing out clothes + closets, refreshing bedrooms and even managing a home renovation project.

If you have specific home or office needs where you need help OR if you just don’t know where to begin and need help to get started, let me know! I always offer a free phone consultation in advance to assess your needs and goals for your spaces.  Are you ready? Send me a note via my contact form!

 

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Bio and pantry photos via Vivian Doan photography

How many times a day do you interact with the clothes in your closet/storage/dresser? Probably a minimum of twice a day.  So when your clothes feel overwhelming OR you can’t find anything OR you don’t like or use or fit what you own OR things fall on top of you all the time, then it’s probably time to do something about it!

For me, working with a client and their clothes is always fun and interesting.  First, you really gather a sense of someone and their style.  Second, I love helping people figure out exactly what they want/need/use in terms of their clothes and give them the permission to let go of those unhappy-making/guilt-inducing/really not right pieces.  Next, you always stumble across little treasures here and there so it can feel like shopping in your own closet (without spending any more money!).  And finally, having a closet that really reflects who you are and what you like to wear and feel great in is a really good feeling.

Here are some recent examples of closet spaces.  With the before and afters it can be hard to fully capture the amount of progress made with all the sorting, sifting and decision-making. But they will give you a sense of what we can do together–and in just a few hours time!

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Sbaron clothes before after

What if instead of holiday gifts, you gave the gift of decluttering and organizing your home? So that you felt better every single time you walked in the door and you knew exactly where things were and where they belonged?  Wow, now that would be awesome!

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a young couple who asked if I would help them purge + organize their entire home as they wanted to give my services to each other instead of more gifts at Christmas.  Of course, I love this idea and was very happy they contacted me.

We had our first session this week and focused on the dining/living room as well as both of their office spaces.  Below you’ll find some before + afters of some of the areas.  Photos are definitely useful aids to show the progress made but what’s truly important is how people feel in their homes after an intervention.  So a follow-up email from my client that says “The pictures look great but being in the room feels even better!” is for me, a sign of a successful session.

Linnea and Simon before after books + games

Linnea + Simon small bookcase

Here’s part of the donation pile after the first session–the entire car ended up being filled as well as furniture that was left on the street for a lucky person to claim for free.  I’m looking forward to next week’s session where we tackle the bedroom and closets!

Linnea + Simon donations Day 1

And on top of it, both of them have already started working on their homework list, including starting to tackle the entryway to create more organization in their shoe + exercise area.  Here is the after photo of what they did by themselves after we discussed a plan together….I’m so proud of them course!  And the email that accompanied their photo:

“I’m so excited I couldn’t wait for the next session to share this with you, so I’m sending a picture. Look how much bigger the space looks without the yoga and exercise clutter!”

Linnea and Simon before after shoe

Often the emails that I receive from interested clients are ones that contain the words “HELP!” or in this case: “I need help urgently and seriously.” My client was feeling “paralyzed by mess” so that she was unable to work in her office.   After a number of life transitions (including selling her home + moving as well as changing jobs), objects + papers had accumulated into unmanageable piles and being at home created a feeling of dread due to the chaos.

Sbaron HELP photos

In one four hour session, we were able to tackle to majority of the office space and whip it back into shape. This included going through all the piles and boxes in the office space, sorting + classifying papers as well as sending things to the recycling and shredding bin.  A new inbox system was created to tackle action items so that they get accomplished.  New home and zones were created on both bookshelves to organize and contain the wide range of work + personal files.

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s baron office before after

As I do after each session, I sent along a “homework” list of items for my client to tackle into between sessions. This included removing the single bookshelf on the wall behind the desk to create a separate space for music.  The end result is a peaceful and inspiring space where creative work will definitely be able to occur!

stephanie baron full office room after

CH living room edit

The vision for this living room was a completely new look, one that was Scandinavian inspired.  The first step was purging and donating furniture items, with the exception of the large red armoire, so that we started with a blank canvas for recreating the living space.  With the help of a design board, inspired by Holly Becker’s book, Decorate Workshop, we began by deciding on colour tones and textures for the space.

My client was looking for a combination of modern and vintage pieces as well as pops of colour with accessories and seasonal touches.  In addition, we wanted to create an office area next to the fireplace to increase the use of the overall living area.  The space evolved over the course of a year as finding pieces that you love for a home takes time, patience and yes, investments! The end result is a beautifully curated home that feels wonderful to be in, calming,  comforting and all around joyful.

For a list of resources, see the portfolio section here.

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CH lving room before and after window view

CH living room desk area

CH dining room edit

This is a project that I loved working on as it involved a room-by-room transformation.  The family was thinking of moving but once they looked at the options and realized how much they loved their home, they decided to invest in a complete makeover. Given the budget involved in such a project, one room was tackled at a time with incredible detail and organization, thanks to my client who was a natural in the process.  My role was to act as a a “design coach” throughout, linking her to resources + ideas, providing feedback throughout and being a sounding board for decisions.

I’ll be posting before + afters of each of the rooms but for now, starting with the dining room.

The goal for the dining room was to create a completely new and fresh look, one that felt open and bright with some pops of color.  The dining room is used for family meals, art projects, homework and more so we wanted it to be an accessible space and one that worked for day-to-day use as well as entertaining.  You’ll see from the photos how much evolved over the process and what a completely different room it is now!  For resources, please see the Portfolio page.

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CH dining room before + after (side view)

teamSo here’s a post I’ve been meaning to share for a long time now, but this spring, a great design + photography team came to our home (well, now our previous home!) to take some photos for a segment for the magazine, Les idees de ma maison.

It was a super interesting + fun day, watching how the team of Judith, Angus and Dominique worked together to arrange everything and tell a story about our home.  There were a number of props + accessories they brought to add to our decor and I loved seeing a different way of organizing our space–it was like Solve My Space but for our home!  And as always, just a few changes here and there can really recreate a place and give it a new look and feeling.

Here are a few photos from the day and I’ll post again when the issue is out!

livingroom design

 

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photo room with stuff

 

 

This week’s before + after features a reorganization of bathroom cabinets. Truth is, I love working in bathroom spaces!  They are one of the quicker parts of homes to organize and it’s fun to think about creating a mini and effective pharmacy in your own home.

Our bathroom closets + drawers can feel overwhelming because they are full of things we don’t even remember we had or bought or used.  For example: the 3 kinds of ear drops for that painful ear infection, lots of different medications for kids (they didn’t like the grape flavor), expired antibiotics (but I waited the entire day in the clinic for them!), 5 bags of cough drops (oops, forgot I bought them), way too many bandaids (but they were on sale!) and all those travel-sized toiletries (but they were free and cute…).  Sound familiar?

Here are a few photos of a job involving the organization of a bathroom closet.   The project entailed through everything in the entire bathroom, sorting/classifying/tossing/recycling and then working with the clients to come up with a system that made sense for their daily use.

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To be completely honest, I have a VERY big backlog of before + afters so I’ve set myself a goal this summer to start uploading and sharing them.  Today is the beginning!

Here is snapshot of a project involving organizing paperwork and setting up file systems in a home office.  My client was interested in gaining control of the piles around the house and setting up a system that could be easily followed with a very busy work + family schedule.

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I love working in offices so this was really fun and it’s always a relief to see all the clear spaces once paper has been conquered. What did it involve?

Step 1: Sorting + classifying all of the paperwork (including what to shred + recycle)

Step 2: Identifying items that needed to be regularly accessed vs ones to archive (ie. tax returns)

Step 3: Discussing different types of file systems + categories with my client to find the best one that works for her + her family

Step 4: Putting it all together–labeling files, color coordinating for easy retrieval and feeling excited about a new system!

 

I recently spent a Saturday at the light-filled studio of UNIK Printshop taking a screen printing workshop with (the very awesome) Sophie Joubarne.  Over the course of 6 hours, a group of 4 of us learned about the basics of screen printing and then had the chance to print and create handmade + personalized items.  It was a fun, creative and new experience for all of us and would highly recommend this workshop to anyone.

For the class, I wanted to print something related to Solve My Space so I chose these words + font and of course one of my favorite colors, neon pink!

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Here is Sophie modeling the process prior to printing:

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Trying out the print on different papers + textures (ended up also using textiles, vintage hankerchiefs and fabric scraps):

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An action shot of the printing process and a sneak peek into the great studio + view:

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Some examples of products from other people in the class–fun to see the different styles + colors + ideas that everyone had:

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And here’s Sophie!

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Thank you to Amelia Evensen for organizing the workshop for all of us. And to Sophie for an inspiring + fun day.  Looking forward to another opportunity to return to UNIK!

Je m’appelle Zoë Le Galliard et j’ai 13 ans. Je vais à l’école Pensionnat-Saint-Nom-De-Marie. Je dois faire des heures de bénévolat afin d’aider nos parents ou nos voisins. J’ai donc tout de suite pensé à Tinka qui exerce un métier fascinant. Elle m’a donc proposé d’écrire un article en français pour son blogue.  J’aime beaucoup faire du sport tel que la natation et le ski. De plus j’aime écrire pour le plaisir, car ça me permet de m’exprimer.

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Les adolescentes ne rêvent-elles pas d’avoir une jolie chambre sans le moindre collier ou crayon traînant par terre? Il y a de nombreuses solutions à ce problème, mais j’ai sélectionné 4 façons de ranger vos affaires tout aussi faciles à faire que belles dont les filles de 13-14 ans ne pourront plus se passer!

De nombreuses adolescentes ont plusieurs foulards, surtout lorsque l’hiver arrive, mais ne savent pas où les ranger. Donc, le premier conseil que je vous donnerai servira à ranger vos foulards facilement, dans votre chambre. De plus, il rajoutera de la décoration et de la couleur. Vous devez vous procurer un pot en verre. Celui-ci peut être de la grandeur que vous désirez. Tout dépend du nombre de foulards que vous avez. Par la suite, mettez tous vos foulards, dans le pot de façon désordonné. Finalement, je vous conseille fortement d’installer un rangement comme ça, car il n’est pas dispendieux et est facile à se procurer.

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Souvent, les bijoux s’entremêlent et forment des nœuds. De plus, les adolescentes les perdent facilement, car ils ne sont pas bien rangés. Mon deuxième conseil s’agit, donc à vous montrer deux rangements très efficaces.

Le premier s’agit simplement de vous procurez différents pots. Si vous n’avez pas envie d’en acheter, vous pouvez aussi réutiliser, par exemple des pots de compotes. Ensuite il faut que vous triez vos joyaux, soit par couleur pour que dans chaque il n’y est pas très de bijoux par pots. Après, vous pouvez coller des étiquettes sur les pots décrivant la catégorie.

Je vois conseille fortement d’utiliser ce rangement, car il est très pratique. De plus, il ne prend pas beaucoup d’espace.

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Le deuxième rangement est un peu plus compliqué à fabriquer, mais est très efficace. Il est surtout conçu pour les boucles d’oreille. Pour commencer, vous devez vous procurer un grand cadre, préférablement en bois. Ensuite là où il aurait eu la photo, mettez un grillage. Les trous du grillage peuvent être gros ou petits, cela dépend de vos goûts. Après mettez des petits clous en haut du cadre. Ce rangement est aussi efficace que beau. De plus, vous pouvez l’accrocher comme un vrai cadre.

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Fréquemment, les filles adorent utiliser de beaux crayons pour faire des cartes ou des travaux d’école. Par contre, ceux-ci prennent beaucoup d’espace et ils ne sont pas bien rangés, on les perd facilement. Donc, pour mon quatrième conseil je vous propose un rangement utile et fait maison pour vos feutres, stylos, etc. Premièrement, vous devez vous procurer une boîte de chaussures en carton. Ensuite, recouvrer la boîte d’un papier-cadeau que vous trouvez joli. Par la suite, mettez des rouleaux de papier de toilette à l’intérieur par deux dans la boîte. Il ne vous reste plus qu’à mettre vos crayons dans les rouleaux. Ce rangement est très bien, car il n’est pas dispendieux et ne prend pas beaucoup de place. De plus, tous vos crayons se retrouvent à la même place, plus besoin de les chercher.

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En conclusion, ces 4 rangements sont très utiles et faciles à faire ! Les adolescentes ne pourront plus s’en passer. J’espère que mon article vous aura plus, car j’ai pris beaucoup de plaisir à l’écrire.

Images via Zoë Le Galliard and buzzfeed

  • Jennifer Roberge - What great ideas! Love the earring frame and the shoe box ideas. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Félicitations Zoë pour ton billet sur «Solve My Space». C’était informatif et inspirant! Et avec des bonnes idées pour les jeunes ainsi pour les adultes. Très bonne idée pour la boîte avec des rouleaux de papier de toilette. Je pense que je vais fabriquer un moi-même!ReplyCancel

  • Vivian Doan Photography - De très bonnes idées ici! Great post!ReplyCancel

When I come across an infographic that has awesome info + design + overall message, it just needs to be shared.  On the topic of organizing your home documents + office, I especially love this one created by Sarah Henderson and found on The Joyful Organizer (great website, check it out!) about what paper you should keep + pitch.  It’s divided into different categories (how long to keep things, tax documents, safe deposit box, going paperless, etc.) and useful when you’re tackling those piles or figuring out what systems you want to implement at home.  Print it out and keep it for future reference!

Documents-to-Keep-and-Document-to-Pitch

Image via Sarah Henderson and found on The Joyful Organizer

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