Organizing Your Filing: A 5-Step Purge

I know I’ve been MIA these days, but being gone doesn’t mean Elvis has left this building! Nu-uh. I wish I had some exotic adventures to share, but I don’t. No, instead the fed-up bug has gotten me, and I’ve been tackling a backlog of ‘to dos’ one-by-one.

The dreaded filing purge has moved to the top of my list. How does it always manage to slide back down? So sneaky!

This was my filing tray when I got started.

Overflowing Filing Tray

Yes, it was this bad!

And this is my filing tray now.

Empty Filing Tray

Who knew this tray was prettier than it looked?

I also tackled two filing cabinets, and did a whole lot of purging between them.

This is a little glimpse of the ‘in progress’…

In progress purging of files

Oh yes, it was this bad, too!

But in the end…

Here’s shredding bin one…

Overflowing shredding bin

And shredding bin two.


Believe it or not, we do as much electronically as we can! But I have to confess, some of this is years worth of backlog. Life happens, and paper builds up. Can you relate?

Here are a few tips when you’re purging years worth of files:

1. Don’t let years worth of files build up!

Okay, I just had to say it, LOL. 😉

2. Empty your file drawers exactly as they are into file boxes.

This way you have half a chance of finding something while in the transition of purging and refiling.

3. Work methodically through the files, sorting as you go:

  • Refile – I recommend getting files back into the cabinets as quickly as possible.
  • Shred – keep your bins handy and fill them; tackle the shredding later, and don’t forget, you can hire a shredding service!
  • Recycle – fill your recycling bag as you go, so all you have to do is take it to curb side on recycling day.

4. Don’t get bogged down in the details.

The purging process is the clean sweep. Once this part is done, you can always go back to reorganize your filing system, revamp your colour coding, make up new file labels, or whatever detail-oriented job you feel is pressing to do!

5. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Don’t overwhelm yourself with the task at hand. Depending on how backlogged your files are, tackle them in chunks over a few days. You’ll be so glad you did! Caution: do give yourself a deadline – there’s nothing worse than a job like this hanging over your head for too long.

Here’s where I left off…

Bankers Boxes of Files

Hubs and I have to go through these two boxes together.

So glad it was raining today!

How do you handle the purging of your files? Do you stay on top of it, or do you let it get away? Do you have any tips to share?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller 

Vintage MCM Desktop Mail Sorter

Maybe it’s my office background, maybe it’s not, but when it comes to office organizers, my knees go weak! Looove them, look for any excuse to need them, and no matter what, just flat out want them!

So when I saw this Mid-Century beauty, how could I just turn and walk away? Honestly.

Compact, made of wood…

And designed with function in mind.

The drawer has four small compartments on the right, and I bet back in the day there was a roll of postage stamps in one of them!

And see those numbers, 1 to 31 along the top edge? No, they’re not a metric ruler. Although I have to admit, for a second I wondered why they took a standard 30cm ruler to 31! 😉

The numbers actually belong to a slot, and there’s a slot for each day of the calendar month.

The slats you see are for letters, invoices… basically incoming mail that is time sensitive.

Now, how cool is that for visual organization? Can’t you just picture the secretaries of Mad Men working this system?

Such a great piece, and through its design, one that hints at the story of the way things were.

I will be making room for this prized piece to sit up front and center in my own office. I love it!

So how about you? What kind of office organizers do you like to use? How do you keep your time sensitive mail sorted and on track? Oh right, we’re all about the digital age now, aren’t we?

This sweet find was featured by the sweet Andrea…

Junkin Joe Linky Party - I Was FeaturedTYSM Andrea!!!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have an awesome weekend.

Photographs by Sheila Zeller 


Shopping ‘Used’? Remember What You Went For!

Do you ever shop the used sites online? I love to scour our local ads, and not too long ago I came across this one for a sweet vintage typewriter table.

Used Cowichan

I’ve been looking for a small writing table as an alternate work station in our home. But not just any table. So when I saw this little beauty, I was smitten. What’s not to love, right? Vintage 1950s or 60s, a nod to the changing role women played in the 20th century… You know – all those things that make my heart skip a beat! 😉

I made the call to set up a viewing, and when I headed off this was my ‘must meet’ criteria:

  1. The scale needed to fit my intended purpose, and placement;
  2. Its finish, preferably original;
  3. The price, hopefully negotiable.
As soon as I saw the table, right away I could see it was too low. Like, almost as low as my heart sank 🙁  Once up close and personal, I could see the green finish was not the factory finish. The photo shows that when you look at the shelf underneath, but I like to see these variances for myself. And the price. Well, I never got to the negotiating stage to find out if there was any flex in the price.
Here’s another look.

 Used Cowichan

I really fell for this little guy. And I found myself trying to talk myself into buying it just because it melted my heart.  I mean, I could slide it into place as an end table, a phone table, or a bedside table. I could use it for another folding surface in my laundry area, I could sew on it… heck, I could even wheel it around and multi-purpose it!

But… none of these uses was what I went for. And even though I loved the green in spite of it not being the factory finish, I had to let this one go.

My tips if you’re shopping ‘used’…

  1. Know what you want;
  2. Know why you want it;
  3. Know what you’re willing to pay;
  4. Know when you need to walk away (need, not want)!

And if you’re looking for vintage, do your homework.

  1. Find out a little bit about the piece before you go.
  2. Try to find out roughly what circa it is;
  3. Have an idea of the average asking price for pieces like it so you know how much wriggle room you have;
  4. Pay attention to the details.

This little guy is in great shape, and has definitely been refinished. The colour is not the factory finish, and the drawer pull is not the original hardware. This piece has been nicely refinished, and you also see the efforts of that work reflected in the asking price. You need to know if that’s part of what you want to pay for.

In my case, I had to walk away because as much as I loved this little guy, little was the problem. It was a little too low to serve the purpose I needed it to.

Urban Remains Chicago

Have you done any ‘used’ shopping lately? What’s on your checklist when you set out for a potential purchase? Got any great stories to share?

Thanks for stopping by!

Organizing: Planning A Gift Prep Station

I was working yesterday on an organizing overhaul with owners in their commercial space, and one of the things I was able to see right away was the need to establish a gift prep station. This company offers gift bags and baskets filled with their product, along with nicely presented gift certificates.

The problem: prep was taking place in the staff room, in the back storage area, at the front counter, and even on the fly in the boss’ office. Madness, right?

In the open storage area there is an old metal office desk being used for a work surface. All the drawers have been removed, so the desk surface is really its only function. This storage area also has lots of unused vertical space.

I don’t have any photos to share right now, but here’s a mock-up of what we plan to do.

  1. Add open shelving above the desk for supplies
  2. Install a removable rod under the bottom shelf for rolls of ribbon
  3. Mount containers to the wall for scissors, pens, and all those miscellaneous tools that need to be handy
  4. Install a bulletin board to help keep track of things
  5. Install open shelving in the desk
    • the 2 wide shelves will hold flat sheets of tissue (they usually work with just 2 colours)
    • the 3 smaller shelves will hold their stock of gift bags and gift certificates
  6. The opening under the desk is left free for the completed gift bags.

The owner was thrilled with this plan, and by the time I left yesterday I had moved everything related to the gift prep into this area.

If all goes well the shelving should be installed next week… just in time for the Mother’s Day rush!

Do you look at your space in terms of zones or stations?

I really believe thinking of your space chunked into zones or stations, makes it easier to stay organized. Not only does this establish the function of the area, but it narrows down your options for where things belong. And this makes it easier to keep things in their place, and maximize the function of your total space.



It’s about coming home… and home is a special place that tells your story! 

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Photo Diagram: Sheila Zeller

DIY: My Rub ‘N Buffed Frame for ‘Postmodernity’

Some of you might remember waaaaay back in December that I was the lucky winner of Marcus Design’s giveaway, ‘Postmodernity’ by Nancy Marcus! If not, you can read about it here, or check out Marcus Design Inc on Etsy.

Since then I have bought 2 frames, a replacement piece of glass, Rub ‘N Buff, Pearl Ex Pigment powder, and Krylon Matte Finish spray! There is a story!

Here’s the first frame I bought.

Postmodernity Print by Nancy Marcus

But I decided the black overpowered this piece. So I prepped the frame to spray out in a metallic silver.

I had my make-shift spray booth all ready to go and was giving the frame a quick dusting before spraying, and it broke apart in my hands! No kidding.

I couldn’t find another one like it or a metallic frame to fit, so I ended up with this black replacement.

Black 16" x 20" Frame for DIY Makeover

It’s wider with more detail, and since I already knew black was too much, I got the frame prepped for spraying.

A light sanding…

Sanding Frame for Painting

And then the first coat of paint.

Spray Painting Frame for DIY Makeover

And a second coat to finish it off.

2 Coats of Metallic Spray Paint - DIY Frame Makeover

I decided I wanted to try Rub ‘N Buff on the frame to dull it down a bit, and give it a more aged look. But the Rub ‘N Buff was harder to get than I thought. The Victoria store was out, and so was the warehouse! I ordered what I needed, but in the end I should have tried ordering online for how long it took my order to arrive at the store!

I wanted something bronzy-gold because of the fleck colour in the background of the print. It was hard to tell the actual colour online, and in the end I ordered European Gold.

Rub 'N Buff - European Gold

I’ve never worked with Rub ‘N Buff before, so was surprised at how fast it dries!

Rub 'N Buff application on plastic frame

After I started buffing it, I kind of liked how it looked, but wasn’t convinced.

You can see below where I’ve buffed the frame.

Before & After Frame Makeover with Rub 'N Buff

I wanted a gold sheen, but wasn’t so sure about how much silver was showing through.

I decided to keep going with this look, but as I buffed away, some of the original black started to show through from the frame!

Black 16" x 20" Frame Makeover with Rub 'N Buff

And when the print was placed in the frame, the frame looked way too rustic. Also, the silver that was showing through now looked too blue for the print.

So I decided to go over the frame and dust it with Pearl Ex ‘Antique Gold’ pigment powder.

Pearl Ex Pigment - Antique Gold

This is a close-up before applying the pigment.

Once the pigment was dusted on, I used Krylon Matte Finish to seal it in place, and then let it dry.

Frame DIY Makeover - Pearl Ex Pigment over Rub 'N Buff

I did this in 3 layers before I finally got the frame to start taking on the look I had in mind.

Frame DIY Makeover - After - Pearl Ex Pigment over Rub 'N Buff

Can you see how there’s more of a gold shimmer now, and how much the black spots have been toned down?

I finally decided to leave it, place the print in the frame and live with it for a while before deciding whether or not to do anything further.

That’s when this happened!

Broken sheet of glass on hardwood floor

When I was carrying the glass over to the frame it flexed in my hands, cracked and broke! Definitely crappy glass! Trust me, the replacement glass is much thicker!

After living with the print in the frame for a few weeks, I decided it needed one more thing.

Annie Sloan Clear Wax finish.

See where the wax has been rubbed on to the right?

Annie Sloan Clear Wax over Rub 'N Buffed Frame

What a difference it makes in the finished look.

DIY Frame Makeover - After - Finished with Annie Sloan Clear Wax

And here’s a peek at where ‘Postmodernity’ has been hung in the office.

Postmodernity Print by Nancy Marcus in SZInteriors home office

The frame looks slightly darker in this photo than it actually is, and the gold highlights shimmer more than you see here.

But remember where we started?

Postmodernity Print by Nancy Marcus

I’ll admit, I would’ve liked another frame that had the clean lines of this one, but do you think the black frame is too heavy?

There’s more to come, styling to be done, I’m working on another Rub ‘N Buff project… and I’m trying to find some specific vintage pieces that will keep pulling the look together, but for now…

‘Postmodernity’ is finally in place! Thank you again, Nancy!

So tell me. Do you use Rub ‘N Buff? What’s your secret to success with its application?

I hope your week got off to a great start. Can you believe it’s already Wednesday?



It’s about coming home… and home is a remarkable space that tells your story! 

If you would like some help with your space contact me here.

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Photos: Sheila Zeller

What do Sitting and Smoking Have in Common?

As a blogger…

I am sitting and working for long periods of time. Too long, in fact. I try to get up and make sure I move around, find reasons to go up and down the stairs throughout the day, pay attention to my posture, but in the end I’m still sitting for WAY.TOO.LONG. And yes, periodically go through bouts of lower back pain.

Sound familiar?

This image, shared on my friend Sarah Loewen’s facebook page, was my wake-up call.

Source: Sanders Says Blog

But it’s the caption that went with it that really snapped me to attention:


Seriously. Have you ever watched Mad Men? How can sitting be the new smoking? How does it even compare? I urge you to read the full article from My One Resolution Blog, or at least the quick recap by Sanders Says Blog. Short, but the message… not so sweet.

Blogging and Physical Fitness

It was in this moment that I stopped trying to figure the blogging and sitting vs. physical fitness, health and well-being ratio out on my own. I contacted Sarah without wasting another minute, and set up one-on-one sessions to build a fitness plan just for me. You see, Sarah is the owner of Loewen Behold, a full service fitness practice in Shawnigan Lake. Sarah has known me forever, and that includes our days in high school when sports were my life. So I trusted her to help me get my physical fitness back on the rails.

Yup, my name is Sheila, and I’m a blogger!

So why this post, and where am I going with it?

Well, I know many of you who read my blog are bloggers, too. And if you’re not a blogger, I bet many of you have a day job that requires extended periods of time spent sitting. And if you’re neither of these, I bet reading the short articles linked above will still come as a shock and surprise. I’m not kidding.

But what I’m really trying to do is bring an awareness, and present a partial solution to the greater whole.

A New Office Chair

Here’s what I just ordered for my office… the one on the lower left, but in blue – at least I hope it arrives in blue!

Source: Squidoo

The first time I ever used a stability ball for an office chair was about 6 years ago. I was a casual office assistant at the time, so this was not my permanent work station, and trust me, I wasn’t too keen to navigate the ball with a skirt on! And it was just the ball, no frame, so getting the ball to stop rolling while I tried to clamor on was yet another coordinating comedy in action. Can you picture it?

It was Sarah who told me these balls come with frames. Who knew? I had long forgotten about the ball dressed up as an office chair! And Sarah also advised that it’s good to switch up your chair throughout the day, including some time spent standing and working.

Ergonomics Matter

This all makes sense… and I think I can handle a ball in a frame!

Source: Amazon

I know it looks a little space age, and it’s not exactly the ‘pretty’ I’ve been imagining for the office, but ergonomics must factor into the equation. I’ll do what I can to give it a custom look that fits the rest of the space – you know, recover the back or something. And I do plan to swap between my current chair and this one throughout the day, so it won’t totally impose on the aesthetics of the office all of the time!

Why this chair?

Click here to read more on stability ball chairs. This is just part of the bigger plan to keep my body healthy and fit in this world of blogging.

How are you doing with your physical health? Are you sitting for way too long at a crack?

What Can You Do?

If you need a little personal support, why not get in touch with Sarah. Don’t let distance be the divide. Sarah offers one-on-one sessions via skype! Isn’t that convenient? And she’s amazing! She’ll get you started on a program that’s designed just for you!



PS – Don’t forget to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway!

It’s about coming home… and home is a remarkable space that tells your story! 

If you would like some help with your space contact me here.

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Inspiration for a Bookcase Makeover…

Do you remember the bookcase I was painting a week ago?

Well, it all began here.

A boring pine bookcase caught up in yesterday’s look.

And so I decided to give it a makeover.

I used paint that was on hand, which you might remember from here, here, and here.

But I had inspiration to use this colour, other than the fact I had leftover paint to use up! When you piece the inspiration together you can see how the paint colour was a good fit. Besides, turquoise just makes me feel happy, so using it on an office piece makes sense to me!

Here’s a story board of the other pieces involved.

  • Fabric:  used on my bulletin board makeover (here)…
    • Do you remember that it’s hanging right outside the office door?
  • Ocean print:  we bought this print for the office in our last home…
    • And I bet you know by now, the ocean is my favorite place to be.
  • Sand dollar print, ‘Seashore’ by Sarah at Wooden Spoons Edition
    • My first win ever in a giveaway, and it couldn’t be more perfect. Sand dollars remind me of my life growing up on the Charlottes.
  • Woman and telephones print, ‘Postmodernity’ by Nancy Marcus of Marcus Design Inc. on Etsy…
    • My lucky win in another giveaway this past Christmas, and from a very special dlbWEST blogging friend! Don’t you think this is the perfect print to prettify an office space?
  • ‘Thank You’ card:  given to me by my friends, Chris & Leigh Davies of Mid-Island Ink Depot, also clients for a lighting redesign I helped them with…
    • I loved this card when I received it last year, and so it became the inspiration for the wallpaper I picked out.

I found the wallpaper at Home Depot, and it was exactly what I was looking for!

Here’s the bookcase after it was painted.

Now that the paint has dried, we’re ready for the wallpaper application.

And that’s a whole other story, but here’s a sneak peak!

What do you think so far?

For the fully styled bookcase reveal, click here!

Thanks for stopping by!

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All photos by Sheila Zeller

Pining for a Change!

It feels like forever since I’ve been able to tackle a project, and my DIY list is getting kinda long!

I’ve been working away at the office, you know, trying to purge it and bring some pretty into the space. But then my days got lassoed away with random appointments and commitments, and before I knew it weeks had slipped by! Stay tuned. The office will get finished… it drives me a little crazy when projects hang on forever.

In the mean time, here’s a glimpse at what I was up to this weekend.

Yup, this bookcase is from the office, and it’s getting a makeover!

And since it’s not a quality investment piece, I’m just using up some paint I already had…

Do you remember this colour?

But I’m adding a little something extra to give it a bit of ‘today’ style.

Kind of fun to try something new.

All the painting is done, and now the bookcase just needs to fully dry. Then I can move on to the wallpaper. And then… show you the reveal 🙂

I need to get some Rub ‘N Buff, too. I have a frame that needs to take on this metallic hue… But I’ve never used it before, so if you have, which metallicy one do you suggest?

Oh, I saw this same bookcase being sold second-hand for $75 and a shelf was missing! Seriously, even though the shelves are solid pine, that price is not a deal for this piece! Just say’n in case you’re looking!

So, are you working on any projects right now? Do you go into DIY withdrawal when demands on your time keep you away? If you’re like me, then I bet you do!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Inspiration… It’s In The Mail

Do you ever start something full of enthusiasm, only to find yourself dragging before it’s done?

Well, that’s me and our office right now. I’ve been decluttering random piles of paper ‘stuff’, because I want to rework the space and prettify it a bit. But I can’t do the pretty until I finish the purge. Can I say, ‘groan’?

At this point I’m ready for a little visual inspiration. I need something to feed that initial burst of good intentions.

Like this vintage metal letter holder.

Source: Etsy

I wouldn’t mind looking at this on my desk!

And I totally love this repurposed porch railing.

Source: Pinterest / Better Homes & Gardens

 Such a great piece, and my hubby likes it too! Did I mention we share the office?

If I could find a small bird cage, it might strike the right note between whimsical fun and fun-ctional.

Source: Embellished Weddings Blog

But I would set it on my desk, minus the flowers and bow! And I think I would like one that showed a little more weathered wear and tear…

Now we all know the thing with women and shoes…

Source: Etsy

But have you ever seen a wooden shoe form stand in for a letter holder?

Letter holders can be simple and without slots…

Source: Mockingbird Hill Cottage Blog

Like this hand painted bin. And how hard would a pretty bin be to find?

I’m thinking slots are suited to my style, and a vintage toast rack might work just right, too.

Source: Design Sponge

Even one slot will do the trick, and it would be easy to repurpose an old napkin holder to sit on my desk.

Source: I Heart Organizing Blog

Like this one. All it needed was a coat of paint!

So this is how I procrastinated yesterday. And even though I digressed, I still focused on the office in the end.

How do you plough through and finish something that’s starting to drag? Where do you find the inspiration?

It’s about coming home… and home is a remarkable space that tells your story. Contact me if you need a little help!



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Lucky Winner I Am! ‘Postmodernity’ by Nancy Marcus

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, and are still enjoying the Holiday Season!

I have taken a few days to spend time with my family, slow down a little, and just soak everything in. And I have had an awesome time so far! I can’t wait to share some of the highlights with you.

So on that note, let’s start with this highlight. Imagine my surprise, and shriek of delight when I woke up this morning to a message from Nancy of Marcus Design telling me I was the lucky winner of her Christmas giveaway! Did I say shriek of delight?

Nancy’s giveaway, a professional print of one of her own original pieces, titled ‘Postmodernity.’ Can I just say, I LOVE this print!

Photo Source: Marcus Design

I feel incredibly lucky to be the winner, and can’t wait to showcase this amazing piece in my home. I’m thinking my office might be the perfect spot since that’s where I seem to spend most of my time. And now I’m inspired to shake things loose and revamp my whole office space around this ultra awesome piece! I wont’ make any firm decisions just yet, but you can be sure there will be a blog post once I do!

If you haven’t stopped by Marcus Design, you really need to! You will find one amazing post after another, and lots of ideas to keep you busy for a long time. And when you see some of the projects Nancy has tackled you will be even more inspired to roll up your sleeves and get started on your own too! And don’t forget to check out Marcus Design on Etsy.

Thank you so much Nancy! I am in awe of your never-cease-to-amaze-me talent, and extremely excited to share ‘Postmodernity’ in my home!


It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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