• Vidya Shyamsundar

Why do we do what we do, and why is it important to us?

Our days are filled with some activities we enjoy and some we do not. Why do we still do them? Probably because our actions ignite or inspire us, giving us a sense of accomplishment. The things we do make us happy even though they may only bring us interim satisfaction. It is such an immense feeling to check off a box “yes! we did it” from our to-do list. Sometimes, we do what we do with the hopes that they would help enrich our lives. Other times, we do what we do for no rhyme or reason. Whatever that may be, by tweaking our attitude and mindset we are able to get things done even if we don't enjoy them.

If you are passionate about what you do, it would not seem like work for you. It brings you instant gratification and contributes toward your end goal. For me, organizing my home is one of them. I admit that organizing can be boring and time-consuming. It also requires hard work, which many would not enjoy. Creating an aesthetic and functional space that really works for you can be quite challenging. However, it is quite natural that anyone would be pleased when they walk into a beautifully organized space! You sense a warm, positive energy that would trigger your daily productivity. Creating an assigned space for your belongings saves you time, helps you unwind, and stay relaxed.

A clutter free space is worry free.

If you ask me about home organization, I would say it is a form of art but it is always a work-in-progress. Organizing a space is not easy magic. Whatever works for you may not work for others. As a matter of fact, what may work for you today may not work for you five years from now. Your needs may change, your habits may change, or you may just want your space to have a refreshed look. So, if you cannot find a “perfect” system that works for you, things can go haywire in no time! Identifying a system tailored to your needs is key! This is the first step, but many run into issues at this point. So, how do I keep my space organized? I have a system defined for each area. Some of the spaces that I constantly keep under my daily check to prevent clutter are my kitchen pantry, home office nook, bedroom closets, utility/mud room closet and of course, my art studio. They are clutter free because the system I have in place works for me and my family and makes my daily maintenance easy.

Even if you think that you have a perfectly organized space, performing a periodic check would help you identify what works for you currently. This would help you to stay on track with your decision to discard, donate, re-arrange, or create room for any add-ins. To avoid the stress of going through piles of clutter once a year, I follow a schedule to re-evaluate my organized spaces.

Kitchen Pantry - once in 6 weeks

Home Office Nook - once a week

Bedroom Closets – once in 3 months

Utility/Mudroom Closet – as needed

Art Studio – as needed

I'm flattered when my friends ask for organizing tips and ideas. A few years ago, one of my friends wanted me to organize her pantry, and I was happy to help. She was so pleased with the result because it worked for her family of six with four young children.

Ram's Family Pantry Re-Organization by Vidya Shyamsundar


Note: Pantry area was painted by the owners. Closets were installed by Closets By Design. Pantry was organized by Vidya Shyamsundar

A few tips:

  • Wicker Baskets work well to stow away bagged products such as chips, snacks etc.

  • Labeling goes a long way. Use a label maker (such as Brother P - Touch Label Maker) to give a clean and crisp look. Making sure that each label faces outward helps you identify items easily, and gives a lift to the way they look. I confess that I am obsessive and compulsive when it comes to organizing. I have the tendency to straighten things if I see them crooked. I like seeing things more aligned because I feel that they appear to be more pleasing to the eyes.

  • Assign a place for each item, and categorize them based on how you would like to see them so you could get to them easily.

For example, categorize items by :

  1. Dry and wet ingredients. For example, dry may include rice, pasta, flour, lentils, spices etc. Wet may include sauces, oils, canned foods etc.

  2. Cuisine such as American, Asian, Italian, Mexican etc.

  3. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

  4. Baking vs Cooking.

Sometimes, you will have to mix and match categories to create 'the one that works' for you.

  • Use Shelf Organizers (such as Copco Non-Skid Shelf Organizer) to avoid crowding, and for better visibility.

  • Large /Medium clear bins can be used to store items that you frequently use. I call them 'replenish bins.' This way, you won't have to run to the store when you realize that you are out of that one simple ingredient when you are in the mood to try out a new recipe.

  • If you use your pantry to store any non - food items, assign a specific place for them. For example, paper products (such as plates, bowls, napkins, cutlery), plastic or disposable containers, small appliances etc.

I hope you find these tips helpful if you are just getting started. Happy Organizing!

Art Studio Check-In

In the past few weeks, I have been experimenting a new medium called Alcohol Inks on Yupo. Yupo is a synthetic paper (like a glossy photo paper),which is strong, durable, waterproof, and stain resistant. Alcohol inks are vibrant and colorful fluids that are highly interactive and are so unpredictable when you drip, drop, stamp, paint, or splatter on a non-porous substrate. I was so moved by the vibrancy and spontaneity of this medium that varies depending on how you work with it. When the inks react with each other, they make these mystic shapes that are quite capricious and abstract. Currently, I am working on a mini landscape series (5"x 7") titled Dawn & Dusk.

Here is a quick peek of the behind the scenes from my studio. Painting with bits of foam and alcohol inks on Yupo. A Dawn landscape in progress...

Dusk Landscapes are complete!

Hope you enjoy my work! Watch out for more of the behind the scenes and new paintings in my next blog!



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Chester County, PA | 215.206.4635

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