B&A | The SIFTED Life with the Ogles


A couple of months ago, the lovely Elena invited me to enlighten her in the ways of sifting. After several email promptings walking her through mentally and emotionally preparing prior to our date, I was in awe when I arrived to see their airy, modern/industrial loft. I mean - those windows! Those architectural details!! Those floors!!! I was a puddle. And what's more, they are a designer duo - The Lady designing and building businesses, The Sir building one-of-a-kind statement furniture. I was pretty much in heaven.

We sipped coffee and chatted about her dreams and had a delicious time of connection and shared vision. Once I knew the lifestyle she and her husband wanted to cultivate, it was easy to identify those areas not contributing while we walked through the apartment. 

Features they loved? The ample openness, sublime windows, the table, desk and shelves that Derek had crafted himself, their carefully chosen decor, the retreat of their bedroom oasis, a record player and vintage cameras - beautiful, functional things. Things that reflect who they are as artists and designers.

After talking through their joys, it was simple to see what was not doing its job in the gladness department. Clutter, erupting closets, nomadic piles of laundry, homeless trinkets and papers, a collection of empty boxes - and we also acknowledged the need for a bookshelf and laundry storage solution in addition to creating an uncomplicated schedule for handling small but essential daily and weekly household tasks (e.g. laundry, make bed, dishes, trash, mail, etc.). 

A word from Elena: "Our motivation to sift stemmed from our desire to live a more simple life. After a year of marriage, my husband, Derek, and I realized we had accumulated too much 'stuff.' We began to feel anxious to get rid of some of our old things, but found that we had a hard time trying to decide what to let go of, and what to keep. Every time we thought about getting rid of a possession there was a level of guilt we felt because we lacked the mindset that is needed to make that change. We needed someone to come alongside us and prepare our minds and our hearts to let go of the things that no longer brought joy into our lives. We also needed simple, practical solutions to 'problem areas' in our home."

Armed with clear eyes and determined hearts, we began to overtake each corner of the apartment, measuring every single item against the standard of joy and usefulness. I acted as Elena's guide, gently asking questions getting to the root of whether or not a belonging really brought her happiness, and Elena courageously persevered through hundreds of decisions. As she clung to those objects that brought her joy and let go of the rest, I began to see her gain confidence in her decision-making abilities and her elation at not being weighed down by belongings fleeing their felicitous function. 

While we sifted her wardrobe, I separated the cast-offs into piles bound for the thrift store, consignment, or trash. Then we tore through accessories, odds and ends, the linen closet, and bathroom drawers. While Elena hung up the apparel she loved, we put all of them on the same colored hanger to provoke a more aesthetically pleasing affect. That in and of itself can make a space calm down a little.

During our time, I gave Elena countless tips, thoughts, insights, and methods and helped construct a system so that Elena could still use it to depend on herself long after I left - an inevitable fate when there is any accumulation of objects, no matter an apartment or mansion. It was up to Elena and Derek to finish their homework which included dividing the shelves currently in Elena's closet to lower in height so she could actually hang her clothes, sift the main level closets, shelf bins, kitchen, and side closet - as well as get everything out of their space and off to their respective new homes - namely, anywhere but there.  They also needed to sort through his side of the closet, but he asked for a limit - a specific number of items he should keep. And he did!

Once they completed their tasks, I came back for an exciting look at their freshly sifted home and was in love with the transformation. But not only of the space - Elena couldn't stop pouring over the transformation in herself and in their relationship. They dreamed together and thoughtfully decided what they wanted in their home and it was a deepening experience to share, especially as newlyweds and designers. 

"The sifting experience was so refreshing! Letting go of the excessive amount of possessions we had freed us, and let us beam with joy. Getting rid of the things we did not love empowered us by providing a clean slate that we can build our life on. Since our sifting experience, we have chosen to thoughtfully purchase only items we love. Everything in our home has a place and a purpose. We have a schedule for the monotonous tasks that used to pile up, and have found that we even enjoy keeping our space clean. We love our space, and the time we get to spend in it. "

Elena and Derek, I am delighted to have gotten to know you better and am beyond fulfilled to have been a part of the renewal and revolution of your home. I'm so proud of you and the dauntless decisions you made and that you truly know yourselves, your ambitions, and your lifestyle. Way to sift!

For an exclusive look at the Before and After, scroll along...

Those windows...sigh. Most people would think this already looked awesome and it does! But those features are camouflaging the insides. Time to dig it all out!


Totes and an awkward but useful ladder in the walkway, bins overflowing, an avalanche of boxes one door swing away...

It has to get worse before it gets better! We emptied the contents of the linen closet which is that pile at the top of the stairs. You absolutely have to make a mess before you can decide what stays and what goes.

The end of Before.

The beginning of After...


Coats and shoes now get to live together on the main level (shoes should never be in your clothes closet - move those puppies to the door where you use them - and more importantly, where they're not adding everything they've stepped in + odors to your clean clothes!) and books and supplies were sifted and stored.

Sifted bins, boxes removed, and the ladder now has a home instead of being in the walkway.

Clutter gone! Laundry baskets purchased and in use.

I'd estimate 70% of what was in this area was nearly-empty bottles and random odds and ends that jumped into the trash. After moving around boxes from other parts of the house, Elena was able to find a storage solution for her drawer that didn't require a trip to the store - win!

Vertical storage shelves split in half and shared on each side for maximum use of space up top. And you guys - streamlined wardrobes...eeek! Makes me so giddy :)

Ahhhhhhhh. Soothing and stunning all at once.

Time to spend less time cleaning/storing/maintaining, and more time doing what you love - like kitten cuddles and coffee :)

Props to you two!

Until next time...

Heather Hall