• Tara Kenavan

Italy through the Eyes of an Organizer

They say if you do what you love for a living, you’ll never need a vacation. I believed that wholeheartedly…until I took a vacation. My family and I went to Italy and I really focused on taking a break. What I realized was you can’t “get away” from organizing and I really didn’t want to escape entirely!

I found that whenever I saw something “organizy”, I was attracted to it and my hand flew for the camera. When I work with clients, sometimes we’ll do what I call a “quick and dirty”, which means we’ll go through a pile or box really fast so that a gasp or an “I LOVE this!” means your heart made the decision. This is a really helpful technique to help clients distinguish what’s important to them from what’s “meh” to them. So, there I was strolling through ancient Italy and sure enough my heart was leaping left and right and as I’m want to do, I followed my trusty guide…

Well. I suppose I should start at the very beginning…a bathroom stall in the Paris airport. I couldn’t help but think “What a neat hook. Great way to add function and color to a bathroom stall. Well done, Paris. Well done!”

In Florence, they had lots of cute little shops with lots (and lots!) of cute little things, therefore, the need to organize, or at least vow to try (just like the States!). And as any PO will tell you, the decision to start is the first step. The decision to buy these cute little things (or not!) is the last step, after all the sorting and organizing.

I actually walked around with this little garbage can with the intention of purchasing it. I love garbage cans (I think it’s the best organizing tool for your money!) and this pencil sharpener looked just like the ones we have in LA. I always walk around with items I want to purchase and 9/10 times I don’t buy them. I’m no psychologist but for me, I think it satisfies the “yes, you can have that if you want it” in all of us and by the time I get to checkout, I’m much more reasonable and I put stuff back. It really works, give it a shot! So after my tour of the little store with the little things, I no longer loved the little garbage can, but I still liked it enough to snap this pic! Isn’t it funny?

I’m always up for a little organizing humour! But seriously, it is!

I’m sure these Festival Feet are aces against “festival fodder” but I when I saw them, I envisioned my team organizing a new home for our clients. I didn’t buy them, but I wanted to!

At a restaurant the waiter announced to us (and my heart perked up!) that he likes to decant the wine into these great pitchers they have…I liked it, too! Clients have so many pitchers that they never use but really want to keep - just in case. Forget the water and iced-tea, how about decanting your wine into a pitcher when friends come by for lunch? Use what you got!!!! Loved it!

In Venice, we toured the Doge and I found these gems. Absolutely gorgeous woodwork throughout all the museums- they must have been SO organized, those ancient Romans!

My favorite find (also at the Doge) was this little box. I stopped here for a few minutes just to daydream. How was it used? Coins? Maybe the keys to the dungeon, cubby treats for the lions, fibula, extra iron hobnails, brass hooks for his lorica hamata (that’s right!)? The possibilities are endless - just like present day - a little box for pins, keys, coins, paper clips, etc. can tidy up any desktop or nightstand. Wise, they were!!

A couple of days in, we realized one adaptor was not going to cut it for 5 phones and a laptop so…off to the .99 store (in Italy!!). I’m a huge fan of the .99 Store and The Dollar Tree so I was game for a quick trip. Let me just say, my heart was not prepared for what I saw. It was fabulous! The jars, the containers, the color coding! Oh, the color coding!!!! Italy knows how to do a .99 store.

The gondola rides in Venice are quite magical. I imagine you’d need to take several (we didn’t) to capture all there is to see. I’ve always been a bit obsessed with laundry and so I was mesmerized by the old world simplicity of the clothing lines. Yes, I’ve seen clothes-lines before (I’m a New Yorker!) but something about these were kind of…well, beautiful.

At last (and alas), it was time to leave this beautiful country. Our suitcases were packed (the night before - highly recommend!) with rolled clothing (so everything fit) and we had the evening to say goodbye.

I’m vacationed and better for the rest. I’m ready and excited to take on new organizing projects. And I’m so grateful that I get to come home and do what makes my heart sing. No vacation needed…until the next one!

So I guess music, laughter…and organization, transcends language.


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