#FixItBlitz: the top desk drawer

Although I used this tag on my very first post here on AudreyBeerman.com, I’ll explain it here: #FixItBlitz is what I call that beautiful moment when I can jump into a situation, take five minutes (or similar superfast period), and make a positive change for a client. (Or friend or family member or myself!)

I met with one of my clients in his midtown Manhattan office to discuss plans for his lower Manhattan apartment. His assistant came in to ask for a receipt and as he struggled to find it I was surprised to see that the best real estate in town – his top desk drawer – was such a disaster. I asked him if he could leave me and the drawer alone and go to the bathroom or to grab a soda. He paused and seemed to consider putting up a fight and then smiled, thanked me, and closed the door behind him. (Because he knew.) 

BEFORE:

See the photo for yourself! My client’s top drawer was just overflowing (and sometimes not actually closing, I later learned ::cringe::) with actual really useful stuff and totally useless junk co-mingled. Not the best way to be painfully efficient, as is required of my busy client!

AFTER: 

  1. Basic organization tips we can adopt in many places: Like items are grouped together. Frequently needed items are moved to the front, and infrequently needed items are moved to the back. (Except the staples. My client jokingly made a fuss about keeping them in front! Clients always have the final say, I reassured him!)
  2. The nature of #FixItBlitz means supplies aren’t always available, and more crucially, many clients come to me and simply cannot or will not invest in organizational products. A little MacGuyver action keeps me sharp, folks! I’m up to the challenge! In this case, instead of buying a proper drawer organizer, for instance, I cut the top off of the cardboard safety pin box so it became more convenient.
  3. Don’t be afraid to throw stuff out. That lone birthday candle? That impressive but unnecessary collection of rubber bands? Yeah, I was not crying as those were staring up at me from the trash can, and neither will you! Recycle, reuse, donate, sell – and throw away when necessary. Mental clutter matters, and the weight of holding onto something that isn’t working just drags us down.
  4. My client now has an envelope on his desk, adjacent to his outbox, which is clearly marked for receipts. He showed it to his assistant, who gave me a knowing smile, and she retrieved the first receipt out of there. It’s hard to get people to change their behaviors, but now he knows that putting a receipt in that envelope instead of just throwing it in his top desk drawer will save him time and effort later, so he’ll do it. We didn’t try to break a habit; we upgraded his routine!

In other good news, we found $12.30 in change! Told him he could treat for a cab back to Grand Central.

#FixItBlitz – NYJL neighborhood project

My New York Junior League (NYJL) provisional class was divided into small groups to make presentations about neighborhoods in NYC. My group of four fantastic ladies got the Upper East Side (UES), which gave us “home court advantage” (NYJL HQ is on 80th between Park and Lex) and lots of great ideas! Since our class meetings on weeknight evenings, I immediately thought “we should bring snacks” – and then the idea of a fun goodie bag came to mind!

Thanks to an epic dress-buying experience in November (ironically for NYJL’s Fall Fete!) I had a terrific contact at Bloomingdale’s. She put me in touch with their in-house PR office and 20 iconic “little brown bags” were set aside for me. Some shimmery silver tissue paper gave them a polished look, and gave my group the perfect base for our neighborhood project!

My groupmates and I each contributed various items to the bag, from restaurant matchbooks to perfume samples, all from the UES. Superfun! I got delicious chocolate-covered strawberry candy bars from Dylan’s Candy Bar (which were about 75% discounted since it was the day after Valentine’s!) and then created a map with some of our favorite UES locales. I used a traditional map and then instead of typing a list, used my own handwriting to give it a personal, upbeat feel. My handwriting looks like a font. 

#FixItBlitz – wedding place cards

Today is my seventh wedding anniversary! I am still so very much madly in love with my awesome husband Hal. Planning our wedding was perhaps the greatest expression of my organizational prowess. I became a well-oiled machine built of Excel spreadsheets and specifically-worded intelligently-delegated tasks.

As we know, weddings can be bonkers over-the-top expensive. It was a joy to find creative ways to make our wedding extra special without breaking the bank. These fantastic place cards were quick, inexpensive, and easy – a trifecta of wedding planning perfection.

I wanted funky, different place cards to greet our guests upon arrival at our wedding reception, but I wasn’t willing to devote a lot of our budget considering I knew the vast majority would end up in the trash by the end of the evening. I used Vistaprint for fantastic double-sided full-color business cards and clear Avery address labels, run through my printer, for the names and table numbers. Thanks to eBay I found mini-topiaries for a very reasonable price – and remember, you don’t need one place card holder per GUEST, but per PLACE CARD – so couples only need one for two. Voila! Funky, bright place cards.

Awesome tip: Replace a few guests’ names with meaningful nicknames. My childhood best friend loved seeing her place card as Peanut and was giggling while walking to her table. Weddings have the potential to be magical and meaningful for everyone in attendance!