Home & Garden

Don’t let decorating become daunting task

Elizabeth Mayhew thinks decorating doesn’t have to be daunting. When friends ask her advice on what to paint a room, she says, they don’t want a design lesson – they want a specific paint color.

That’s why she’s written “Flip! for Decorating: A Page-by-Page, Piece-by-Piece, Room-by-Room Guide to Transforming Your Home.”

Mayhew, a lifestyle expert on NBC’s “Today Show,” simplifies design by concentrating on the casually sophisticated lo ok that’s popular now. For instance, she limits her suggestions on window treatments to shades, blinds and curtain panels, because she likes a simple, tailored approach. She also focuses on just four rooms: living room, dining room, family room and bedroom.

The book adds a fun flip-book feature that lets you watch rooms being decorated.

“Flip! for Decorating” is published by Ballantine Books and sells for $24 in softcover.


When you’re battling cancer, a clean house isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. It’s a matter of health.

A clean environment is essential when an immune system is compromised. That’s why the Cleaning for a Reason Foundation offers free monthly housecleaning services for four months to women undergoing treatment for cancer.

To donate or request services, visit www.cleaningforareason.org. Locally, the Web site lists Bonney Lake and parts of South King County as service areas.


Is there one organizational device/tip you can’t live without? There are so many products devoted to organizings. Do we need any of this stuff?

I think one organizing tip supersedes all others, and it’s one you probably heard from Mom: a place for everything and everything in its place.

It’s that simple. Clutter happens when we don’t have places designated for keeping all our things. When you figure out a logical, accessible place to put something, you’re much more likely to put it there – right away and every time.

That brings me to the second question. Stores and catalogs carry some great organizing products, but all the baskets and bins and planners in the world won’t make you organized by themselves. You have to figure out a system first, and then buy or make the specific tools to carry it out.

A lot of resources are available to help you develop a plan. I like organizer Beverly Coggins’ “1-2-3 … Get Organized” book series, available from some bookstores and www.1-2-3getorganized.com; organizer Chris Perrow’s free electronic newsletter, SOS (sign up at www.organizingsos.com); Deniece Schofield’s books, and the Clutter Club, a national program of self-help groups. Information is at www.realsolutionsforliving.com/clutterclub.html.

Libraries carry a lot of organizing books, too – and they won’t add to your clutter.

Mary Beth Breckenridge, Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal