Paper. What’s the big deal?

How’s your spring clean going, fam?

I took last weekend off from working with my mom on her room reorganization project because she wanted to make some headway on her own! She’s been going through folders and folders of files, making hard decisions about what to keep and what to purge. Hard because, like so many of us, she’s got a fierce relationship with paper. On top of loving paper things, there’s also the pressure paper brings. Paper can be really sentimental! It also used to be really important. Remember the need for a paper trail? (I mean, it’s tax season, after all. Y’all know what I’m talking about!)

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Mindful and Efficient Book Sorting in 10 Steps (including breaks!)

Happy April! How’s that spring cleaning going?

One big ol’ tip I have for anyone starting a large organizing project: BE METHODICAL.

Pick your starting point, and work through your space as if you’re reading a book: work from left to right and top to bottom. Go one shelf, one drawer, and one box at a time. That way you won’t get overwhelmed about what to sort next — it will always be clear.

If you’re just joining us, this is a post in a spring cleaning series documenting the work that I’m doing with my mom to reorganize and repurpose my childhood bedroom! After we sorted the paper piles, the next step in making my mom’s dream guest room/art studio/office a reality was to work through a bookshelf. Why? Because there was a bookshelf in the corner we chose to start in!

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Mindful and Efficient Paper Sorting in 10 Steps (including breaks!)

One of the biggest challenges for anyone tackling a large organization project is paper. Paper, PAPER!!

What to do with your paper, whether to keep it, how to store it, when to toss it and how? These are the questions attached to this not glamorous, but oh-so-necessary task, making it feel so daunting that we put it off for days or months… Or years.

Wherever you fit in on that scale, these are tips that I put into action whenever I tackle my personal paper piles and those of my clients.

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The elimination of summer arts funding for ELLs is a bigger problem than you think.

Last year a got my first job as a teaching artist with People’s Theatre Project.

PTP’s Misson and Vision are:

People’s Theatre Project, a non-profit arts and social justice organization, unites members of under-represented communities and raises awareness of their shared struggles through the personally and socially transformative process of collaborative theatre making.

People’s Theatre Project envisions Washington Heights, its home base, as a model for community building through the arts.

Since last Spring, I have worked at middle and high schools in Parkchester, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Hamilton Heights, and Ozone Park, as well as with adults in Jamaica. It’s a lot of commuting, but some of the most satisfyingly challenging work that I have ever done.

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How to start a large organizing project …and finish with the space you want!

Happy Spring, villagers! I know I’m a little wacky, but I can’t be the only one who gets excited about Spring cleaning. (Or am I?)

I’ve always found a huge amount of satisfaction in organizing– be it a protest, my own home or a best friend’s desk (truly). And there’s no better time of the year to organize than Spring. Let some of that rebirth and renewal cycle into your living space!

As an actress and writer, I’ve had to depend on other jobs to pay my bills. Most of my work now comes from being a teaching artist, but before I realized how much I love teaching, my money-making job was retail. For many years I worked at a small jewelry shop in the Village. And at one point, I worked at The Container Store where I gained expertise about how to do any organizing project efficiently and with lasting results.

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How to Spray Paint a Lamp

Got an old lamp that’s begging for an upgrade?

Years ago, I pilfered an elephant lamp from my parents. When its lampshade ripped during some move or another, I just kind of shoved the lamp in the corner. When I finally found a wonderful replacement from Cruel Mountain Designs (an embarrassing number of months–erm, years–later), it became immediately clear that the lamp would need a revamp to do justice to the custom shade!

I don’t have “Before” pictures because the lamp was in a very sorry state. During a paint stripping phase last year (shout out to Citristrip!) I decided to strip the lamp, too.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I spent three days in Woodstock last week with my boyfriend!

Though Jason and I have been dating for over three years, this was the first vacation we’ve taken together that didn’t involve visiting family, or one of us working. We agreed that the only thing on our to-do list was some serious R+R.

Woodstock absolutely lived up to and surpassed my expectations for a small town in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Vibrantly painted Victorian houses, tie-dye and candle shops, bearded men who perhaps never left after the festival,  long-haired ladies with prayer beads and amber necklaces? Yes, please! And all of the food spots we hit were top-notch: Sunfrost Farm (which really should not be missed), Shindig, and Yum Yum.

We struck Airbnb gold with the fabulous farmhouse we rented. (Check out that succulent pallet!!)

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Paper Party Banners D.I.Y.

As a New York City Public School kid, Mid-Winter Recess has always been a special time.

It means a week off from school for teachers and students starting on President’s Day. I took serious advantage of my teacherly time off this year by booking a much-needed three-day bday getaway to Woodstock with my beau.

Fun fact: My boyfriend and mom share a February 22nd birthday.

It’s a big year for both of them: Jason turned 30 and my mom turned 70! (Please hold your judgments on my poor daughterly-ness for choosing to spend this bday with my boyfriend instead of my dear mother!)

Since I love crafty things and can’t let my hands stay idle for too long, I made a paper banner to surprise Jason on his birthday morning.

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Just 1 of 500,000 at the Women’s March on Washington

Have you ever marched for a cause?

For many women at the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, January 21, it was their first protest or march. For others, like me, it was one of many on a long list of protests. And it was absolutely overwhelming in scope.

I traveled to DC on a bus from Judson Church with my mom, my friend Elizabeth (see more of our protesting together here), members of the Judson congregation, and many new faces. Our bus loaded at 5:30a, and we were on the road to DC by 6a.

We got off our bus at close to 11:15a and walked to the closest spot we could find to the march route start. By 4:15p we finally made it to the actual route but had to turn around to get back to our bus.

There were just that many people standing, marching, and making it known that we will not allow women’s rights to be stripped away without a fight.
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Right On, Roland! (or Memorializing Your Role Models)

The day before the election, the Greenwich Village community lost one of its longest guardians: Roland Wiggins.

We all have those family friends that we can’t remember not knowing. Maybe you don’t know the details of their lives, but you can’t really imagine the world without them in it? Roland was one of those dear people to me.

He was the sexton at Judson Church for longer than I’ve been alive. When I was born, my mom was the secretary at Judson and would bring me to work with her. One day at the office, I rolled over (a baby development milestone) and Roland was the first to see me do it! At Roland’s memorial service, my mom recounted the story of how I entertained them for hours that afternoon. The deep love that I felt from Roland made that much more sense.

I was asked to speak at his service, too.

I was honored but realized very quickly that I barely knew much about Roland’s life. I had also never spoken at a memorial before. What could I say?

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