Spring Cleaning with Sous Style and Elle


Pippa over at Sous Style featured me on her weekly "Organize The Chaos" column, also as part of a series on Elle.com. Each feature has different photos and questions that I answered about how I organize my kitchen, closet, beauty products, cleaning supplies and life in general. Thank you to my amazing friend Blair at Sous Style who wrote out the feature, she was the one who nominated me as being an organized person. I never really think of myself that way, but I do put photos of my shoes on their boxes, so I guess that's that.

Just in time for Spring Cleaning, it's very TMI but if you ever feel so inclined to read about how I like to keep myself organized and what the inside of my refrigerator is like...



In a word, my refrigerator is very: 

Balanced... When we do our big weekly grocery shop we buy things in pairs to make a meal, that way we only buy what we need. So enough combinations or recipe ingredients for at least three dinners. I always keep a supply of staples like quinoa or ingredients for a quick side salad such as greens, avocado, tomato on the hand and always a little stash of dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Same goes for breakfast and lunch that week. Stock only that with tons of fruit. The other days we play as a wildcard with what is season across the street at Marlow and Daughters or we go out to eat, it is New York City after all!


I always keep handy: 

Frozen vegetables. They are such great backup when you don't have anything fresh on hand. We always keep packs of frozen veggies like peas, corn, carrots, baby onions - they are great to just throw into a quick stew or risotto.


My cant-live-without-it cleaning product is:

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers - I keep boxes of them with disinfecting wipes in a cabinet under each sink in the apartment, just add water and do a quick wipe down.


My floors are generally:

Very clean but with the occasional doggy tumbleweed of fur, thanks to a very furry Shiba Inu that we live with. Because of Rocky we have to vacuum every other day.


When it comes to doing the dishes, I tend to:

We have a dishwasher, so thank goodness for that! Andrew is an amazing cook so he always prepares the meal, then the deal is that I load the dishwasher and clean the kitchen after we eat. So that always gets done before the day ends, it's nice to wake up to an empty sink and a clean kitchen.The gadget that changed my life is:

A Breville Juicer. Otherwise I'd never consume as much kale as I do now.


My top kitchen-cleaning technique is:

To make it enjoyable and feel rewarding. I open the window, put on some favorite music really loud and when I'm done cleaning I light a fancy candle like Diptyque. I always keep a small little cup of fresh flowers in the kitchen or a big bowl of pretty fruit and produce, having everything visually pleasing and bright makes me want to stay on top of keeping it that way.


Can't-live-without it products:

I am big on scents, I have my favorites - it just makes cleaning more pleasurable. I love Meyers Clean Day products in the geranium scent, it reminds me of my favorite geranium bath wash from Aesop. Baies candles from Diptyque, the Baies scent also comes in a palette parfum to hang in your closet. Common Good's Dish soap is refillable and essential oil scented. Savon de Marseille Hand wash in rose and Aesop's Resurrection Hand Wash smells so good, it makes me happy just to wash my hands after I clean. For cleaning, I love Swifter Dusters and Microfiber cloths. The cloths are washable so they are less wasteful and clean better than paper towels. I keep all of my cleaning supplies in one container with a handle so I can just carry the kit into each room and have everything at hand.


The secret to keeping on top of my schedule is:

I used to be strictly paper and pen for my schedule but because I always have my iPhone on me it’s better to have everything on it. There is just about an app for everything now and with iCloud it’s so easy to have everything synced together. I also love the big calendar on my iPad. My favorite calendar apps are Teux Deux and Notefile.


I'm a little obsessive about:

Notebooks. I have designated notebooks for everything, from to do lists to movies I want to watch. I write every little random thing down.


On the slob to neat-freak scale (1 being total mess, 10 being completely anal), I would be a...

8.  Because that's just life when it's still a little rough around the edges and I just lose points automatically because of the state my drawing desks are in sometimes.


I clean my house whenever I...

Get home from the gym which I do every day at around 3 pm.  It feels good to stay active after working out by tidying up. I don't binge clean, I keep on top of small habits like making the bed every morning and wiping the bathroom sink down at the end of the day. Each day of the week I designate for cleaning through one room in the apartment, that way the whole apartment is cleaned on a rotating basis.


For me, tidiness is next to...

Accomplishment. Creating a nice space sets you up mentally, I'm the type of person where I can't focus on work or relax unless everything else around me is in order.


The best cleaning advice my mother ever gave me:

I grew up with a clothesline in our backyard, so I loved doing laundry outside with my mom. She taught me how to fold clothes neatly and hang them properly after they'd dried so that they don't wrinkle.


The method to my madness is:

Being a visual person. With my job, presentation is everything and that overlaps a lot with how I like to keep things organized. The trick i think is to be a little creative with organizing, it doesn't have to be so cookie cutter. I look for cute vintage jars and boxes at the flea market for alternative ways of storing things instead of just in a plastic box. We charge our vacuum cleaner under the bed. Put a beautiful table in your bathroom. Use the same kind label maker or a signature color for all of your storage so it appears to be uniform and neat. Whatever works for you!


My beauty routine generally takes:

15 minutes each morning. Since I work from home, I don't have to go too crazy and I don't hit the gym until late afternoon so after that is when I freshen up for dinner and take a longer time with my beauty routine. On Sunday nights, I like to do a little bit of a longer beauty ritual with facial masks and that sort of thing to get myself ready for the week.


The product I couldn't live without is:

Mascara. It instantly changes your look, I've been using the same one for years - YSL Volume effect faux cils.


My make up bag is usually in a state of:

Vacation. I like keeping my makeup out in the open on one table designated just for makeup, so I only carry a makeup bag if I'm traveling.


To keep things orderly in my medicine cabinet, I try to:

I like to keep the entire sink minimal and clutter free so a lot goes into my medicine cabinet. I like to group things together by the kinds of products and then use old jars and cups to help organize it even more inside.


Everyday I carry a few:

Pencils and a small Postalco notepad so I can quickly jot down things I see that I'd like to remember.


I can't stand finding ----- in the bottom of my bag

It's the opposite with me, I'm happy when I find something at the bottom of my bag because it's usually a favorite lipstick I thought I'd lost.


To deal with spare change, I usually

Put it in the inside pocket of my bag. Then when I'm home I throw it into a big change jar we have. When the change jar is full to the top we trade them in and get fancy burgers somewhere.


To clean my bag, I dump everything out on the

Entry table. Having a that one place where you can put your throw mail, keys, sunglasses and bags when you come home goes a long way and really helps keep you organized.



My shoe-organizing method is:

I like to see what I have in my closet otherwise I will never wear it. My dream is to have open shelves where I can display each shoe out in the open but the reality is that I have New York sized closet and a boyfriend that absolutely permits having a bedroom where he surrounded by my shoes. Andrew uses this little photo printer for photo shoots so I thought it would be a fast and easy way for making small snapshots of my shoes. So I store my shoes in clear shoe boxes that are small and compact, so I can fit a lot in my closet. Then tape a photo of the shoe on the front and then arrange them by style and color so I know just exactly what I have.


I keep my clothes orderly by:

Arranging them by style and then color. Keeping a chair next to my closet also helps, when I'm in a rush, instead of throwing clothes on the floor or the bed I put everything on the chair. Then at the end of the day I put them away back where I had originally placed it in my closet.



Extras See more pictures over at Elle.com and at Sous Style's Organize The Chaos.

Get the Goods I and Get the Goods II




BeautyBernadette Marie