Spending more time indoors has forced me to re-examine my home life, compelling me to create a space that is conducive to maximum peace and comfort, which also means a space that is aesthetically pleasing. One way to effectively advance towards my goal of ultimate serenity is living in a thoughtfully curated and organized clutter-free zone with everything having a proper place. Although a perfectly organized home looks as if it's only seen on TikTok or Pinterest, I'm finally ready to make it my everyday reality.
It can be difficult taking on home projects without feeling tired and overwhelmed from all of life's other responsibilities. When thinking of getting our homes in order, no matter your family size, tasks such as organizing can sound overwhelming and expensive, especially when working with limited space and a limited budget. In need of expert advice, I enlisted the help of LA-based professional organizer Charlotte Upshaw to jumpstart the process. Lending her expertise with projects large and small from LA-based brands to family home projects, Charlotte is known for her beautiful and masterful work when it comes to maximizing any space, perfect for individual and family needs.
Keep scrolling to check out our conversation for insight on how to get started on decluttering your home to live your best gratifying life.
Meet Charlotte Upshaw, "the Iverson of organizing."
Courtesy of Charlotte Upshaw
1. What's the first step when tackling a home organization project?
"At the beginning of a project, it's important to access what you have. The best way to do so is by pulling everything out of the space you want to organize, then do an honest edit of things you no longer need. Editing is very important here so that you're not re-cluttering your space all over again."
2. What about bathroom tips for women like myself with tons of makeup and hair products with limited drawers and cabinets?
"When it comes to bathrooms, categorizing is important. I like to organize according to category and store it as such. I'm not big on crowding a sink with product. I suggest editing down to everyday essentials if anything. Stackable containers are great for bathrooms and allow you to get the best of your space under the sink."
3. Any closet hacks for those of us struggling to work with minimal storage space but want to maintain an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere?
"I always tell clients that vertical space is important, so make sure you're using all of the height as well as width. Getting rid of original boxes is a huge help; bulkiness takes up much-needed space. A few of my favorite closet products that I always suggest for those with storage space are slim hangers (they come in various colors and textures), drop front shoe containers, and 's' hooks for purses and accessories. Another thing I do is use decorative bins that can function as both as storage and a cute piece of furniture."
4. For those that feel like a professional organizer would be too expensive, what are a few tips on organizing on a budget?
"First, I want to clarify the misconception that professional organization services are expensive and unfeasible. It's a great investment because it's essentially a lifestyle elevation. However, when organizing on a budget, I suggest doing things in phases. Whether that's buying new hangers and getting rid of your old ones or tossing flimsy shoe boxes that are taking up too much space. The Container Store is actually not as expensive as people assume; their perks program is extremely rewarding. Your local Target is always a good resource for organizational and aesthetically pleasing things as well."
5. I have a hard time organizing overall but the amount of accessories I own such as jewelry and sunglasses are overwhelming. Any suggestions on storing these smaller items?
"I love an open acrylic tray for sunglasses and accessories. They can easily just lay flat, lined up and look great on a dresser."
6. Growing up, a junk drawer and utensil holder were the only two things organized in our kitchen, ultimately causing me to create the same bad habit. What are a few kitchen organization ideas I can adopt to break this cycle?
"Drawer organizers! Adjustable drawer organizers can be used for more than utensils. You can find them at Target, Amazon, etc. I also love incorporating clear fridge bins whenever I can to create the most refrigerator space."
7. You mentioned hiring a professional organizer is more affordable than people assume. For those that are now considering this new lifestyle elevation, what can they expect from an expert such as yourself vs. an everyday DIY project?
"By hiring me you're paying for a specific creative execution. DIY is great for the short-term but I feel like everyone needs to have an organizer get their space to another level. DIY projects are time-consuming and the result sometimes doesn't meet the initial vision you may have had. Essentially, once I come in and create a system for you, I'm setting the tone and you just have to maintain it. It's absolutely worth holding off on that pair of shoes or bag you were going to cop and hiring an organizer instead."
For a more detailed home organization consultation, feel free to contact Charlotte on Instagram @CHELF.LIFE.
Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Imagine having the worst luck in love. Dating all the worst men but also being superbly desired in the process. Having to tell your truths, like how you became famous because you decided to focus on your talent after an old boyfriend left. Imagine putting all the hurt in your music through songs titled "Broke," "Waste My Time," or "Blocking You."
And imagine still being willing to trade everything you've worked hard for, for love. That's a hopeless romantic. More specifically, Ari Lennox.
Our fave hasn't had the best journey of finding her person, and she still wholly believes that it will happen for her.
On the heels of the release of her fourth album, Courtney Shanade Salter, known professionally as Ari Lennox, is entering her self-proclaimed 'Eat, Pray, Love season.' For context, she stopped by the R&B Money Podcast with hosts Tank and his business partner, multi-platinum songwriter, and executive J. Valentine, for almost two hours of raw conversation. And of all of the gems she dropped or the experiences she's had over time in her short time as a household name, it was the conversation surrounding her love life that drew me in most.
After Tank asked her if she always knew she would be famous, she responded, "Never. I just always just kept doing it, and I was ready to leave it all for this man, but he went to the military, and so I was forced to kinda like focus on my dreams. But really, I always want to leave this for love and start a family. I don't want to keep doing this." As the co-hosts digested what was said, she continued, "I don't want to give that much energy to this man or dream man, but it's like, I want a family. I feel like that's true life or true love. To have a family is beautiful, it seems, so I want that."
Lennox was last tied to a "mystery man" that it didn't take long for fans to figure out was Married At First Sight star Keith Manley II after sharing photos on IG. The duo split after a month of dating.
She is now prioritizing therapy and crediting her progress to going to help her navigate love to her breakthroughs on the couch. And despite being open about her dating life, even speaking with Huffington Post last year about how finding a significant other hasn't been the easiest journey for her, she is appreciating the tools she's gained to make that progress to having her family.
"[I'm] in a space where I've ignored the red flags too much for the last time, and now I'm so hyper-aware. And it's been a blessing to say, 'You know what? This is not right. This doesn't feel right. It's time to move on,'" she explained. "So it's cool learning about myself, learning my flaws, becoming more self-aware, and just realizing there's a lot of healing I need to do before I can even consider being in a situation with someone."
Self-love attracts love, ladies.
Watch the full podcast episode below:
Ari Lennox • R&B MONEY Podcast • Episode 024
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Featured image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET