Monday, June 29, 2015

Kid's Rooms: Book Nooks

A cozy book nook is the perfect place to
relax before bed, after a busy day!
Its not the best photo but a 

one of our clients has repurposed a dollhouse and created this simple reading nook for her 7 year old. 

All the books are in one area and of course, we added a comfy beanbag chair for lounging.

We may not realize it, but children experience stress too, and therefore need space and time to rest, relax and renew. Soft furnishings, blankets and toys allow children opportunities for privacy, relaxation and comfort. 

Cozy, stress-free spaces such as this, provide a designated area for reading, coloring or other quiet activities to occur and should be protected from excessive noise and active play so that children can snuggle, daydream and lounge when they need to. 



Friday, June 19, 2015

This Could be Why That Load of Wash is Unbalanced

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Controlling the Clutter: Kitchen Project

We know you hide clutter in the cabinets!

We helped a client organize her kitchen today. We finished in just under 4 hours, threw away what was broken, donated what does not get used and rearranged a bit so that the appliances that she likes and uses most are more accessible.

We found a place for all the kitchen counter top appliances that were rarely used, and cleared away the surface clutter. 

When my client and I were finished organizing today, she looked around her kitchen and said "Ohhh, can you just feel the calm?" 
Wow! Feel the Calm!
Another Stress-Free Space! 

By organizing the appliances and drawers so that the most used items are more accessible, we just saved this client about 5 hours or more a week. That is about 20 hours a month and 240 hours a year!!

What would you do with all that extra time?

Tell us in the comments below!

*Organizing Tip: I use small colorful canisters like the ones pictured below on my kitchen counters to hide the small items that don't really belong anywhere. Perfectly functional AND decorative! To order a set of your own, click this link.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Controlling the Clutter: Sorting Mail


There is nothing more frustrating than coming home to a huge pile of unopened, un-handled mail! tossing it onto the hall table, buffet or kitchen counter only adds to visual static, and subconsciously creates stress.

Today we picked up and sorted a client's mail. She is older and just had some surgery she is recovering from, so we are helping her to keep up with bills and down with clutter! 

You can use this same simple system we use to keep mail clutter to a minimum:

First, standing right over the trash can, I immediately discarded the circulars, (some were doubles) and the obvious junk mail so that only the important mail remains to be opened and handled. 

Bills and statements went in the 'Handle Now' basket, and other mail (such as get well cards and other correspondence) went in the 'Later' basket. 

Total time saved for client:   about an hour or two each week. That is about 8 hours a month or 50 - 100 hours a year.

What would you do with an extra 100 hours a year?

Tell us in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Children's Party Planning Made Simple

Planning and facilitating kids parties can be so much fun, but sometimes by the time you plan the menu, figure out the entertainment, hunt for and assemble the favors, you feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

Here are some of our tried and true tips for simplifying the process so that you and your child can focus on the fun!

1-Serve simple "Finger Foods"-
Finger foods are easy to prepare and serve-including dessert (cupcakes rather than a sheet or layer cake). Finger foods also eliminate the need for cutlery and leave less food wasted. Try pizza rolls or mini pizzas, chicken fingers, or these easy Mac & Cheese Muffins. For healthier (or special diet) options, offer a kid-friendly version of a fruit or veggie platter with dressings or dips. Juice boxes or pouches can be put out in a bucket with ice, and kids can serve themselves a liquid refreshment!

2- Combine an activity with a function- for example, rather than searching for themed pieces for goodie bags, have kids decorate their own goodie bag and then help themselves to a candy or snack buffet or a "Treasure Chest" prize. Or, paint & decorate a canvas, totes, aprons or t-shirts that the kids can take home as a party favor.

3-Eliminate unnecessary decorations- Again, keep it festive yet clean and simple: A colorful candy buffet can be a unique and functional decoration, OR colorful balloon bouquets, tableware and a pretty tablecloth will set the tone. You don't need additional streamers, AND hats, AND noisemakers, etc. too, which sometimes can distract from an intimate small gathering. Focus more on the activities,which is what the kids will remember much more than the decorations.

4-Hold the Party outdoors- Better yet, have a Picnic-themed party at a local playground or park. If the weather permits, this is the way to go, especially with younger kids. Outdoor parties eliminate the added tasks of cleaning up the house before (and after) your party, and will allow for plenty of interactive activities: monkey bars, slide, swings, sand box, tag, hula-hoops, hide and seek, nature "Scavenger Hunts",  and more. Don't forget your cooler packed with those finger foods and plenty of small water bottles or juice pouches! The possibilities are endless with this, so run with it (literally) !

5- Plan the guest list carefully- for younger children especially, the more guests the more overwhelmed they will be. A good rule of thumb, is to keep the number of guests to the child's age plus 1. When my daughter was younger, her school required that ALL of the kids in the class were invited-and while I understand why, I just don't think its a good idea for kids to get that over-whelmed or be expected to invite children they may not get along with. Not to mention the additional work/expense to entertain 20 kids. To avoid hurt feelings, I always made sure to make and take some birthday treats into school for her whole class, so no one felt left out. Then, I would call a couple of moms, to drop off the girls for a casual sleepover for the weekend. This allowed her to celebrate with friends, and without the overwhelm or hurting anyone's feelings.

5-Hire a Party Assistant- I cannot stress this enough-as both a mom AND an event designer. This is to give YOU a break -and so you can do what YOU do best-be a mom. Your party helper (or Party Fairie)  could be a professional party-tender, or a teenage family member or a neighbor whom you trust. He/She will supply you with an extra set of hands and feet-to pick up trash, keep kitchen clear, food trays full, help with activities and games and assist little hands in getting those straws in their juice boxes. Most importantly, they will be there to allow you to spend time with your child making sweet once in a lifetime birthday memories!

For more children's birthday ideas and inspirations,please join us on Facebook

To learn more about our services, visit our home on the web: 

To hire your very own Eclectic Domestic or Party Fairie, contact Barbara: 215-257-3193


Monday, June 8, 2015

A Place for Everything

PHOTO: Eclectic
Vintage Jars hold & display
a treasured cork collection.
We recently helped one of our clients find a place for her cork collection.

She has been saving corks for many years. Each cork is from a bottle of wine used to celebrate a memorable event, such as her wedding, her first home, the birth of each of her daughter's, etc.
We have placed them in some vintage mason jars (the rims are chipped so they cannot be used for canning) topped with a glass votive candle. Now both the candle and the memories can be enjoyed!

More Resources:

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Free to Be... A Housekeeper

For those of you too young to remember...

Free to Be… You and Me, was a project of the Ms. Foundation for Women in the 1970's.

The project included a record album and illustrated book first released in November 1972 featuring songs and stories sung or told by the celebrities of the day (credited as "Marlo Thomas and Friends") including Alan Alda, Rosey Grier, Cicely Tyson, Carol ChanningMichael Jackson, Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy, and Diana RossA television special using poetry, songs, and sketches, followed two years later in March 1974. 

The basic concept of this project was to break post-1960s gender stereotyping, and to encourage values such as individuality, tolerance, and being comfortable with one's own identity. 

The prominent message was and still is that anyone—whether a boy or a girl—can achieve anything.

In this clip, Ms. Channing brilliantly and cleverly explains to young listeners in a limerick-type monologue, how housework is NOT just "women's work" and  that TV advertising creates & perpetuates false stereotypes.

Housework - Carol Channing

(Soundtrack from Free to be You and Me, a Ms Magazine project, 1972.)


If you've no time for scrubbing a skillet or two-
or polishing pots till they gleam like new-
or scrubbing the tub or mopping the floors-
or wiping the stains from the walls and the doors-
or washing the windows, dishes or clothes,
or waxing the furniture till it just glows-
or cleaning the refrigerator, stove or sink
with a lighthearted smile and a friendly wink,
Call Eclectic Domestics and we'll be there in a jiffy
to make you house all shiny and spiffy!

To order a copy of the 35th Anniversary Edition 
of Free to Be...You and Me
click the link below!

Free to Be...You and Me
35th Anniversary Edition