Category Archives: Q&A

Declutter Your Home: Allison Weigensberg’s Tips and Tricks


Does the clutter in your home sometimes overwhelm you? With the right organization tools and tips, you just might be able to conquer that mess once and for all!

Allison Weigensberg is a professional organizer based in Montreal, and she knows that people lead busy lives. It’s easy to let closets, pantries and home offices become a jumbled mess.

As a frequent BTR shopper, Allison has hand-picked the items you need to help you declutter and organize your home so everything has its place (in other words – find what you’re looking when you’re looking!).

Over-the-Door Purse Rack: I love the over the door purse rack. It is a great way to store your purses, totes, grocery bags etc. It makes great use of the vertical space and is super easy to install.

Double Hook Over Door Rack: The over the door rack is such a versatile product. From hanging an ironing board or folding step stool on the back of the laundry room door to clothes in the bedroom to keep them off your floor, this is one I use everyday.

80-Pocket Jewelry Organizer: This is great for people who really need to see what pieces they have quickly, rather than rifling through a jewelry box. The clear, open pockets make finding and storing your jewelry incredibly easy. You can also hang this on the inside of your closet door if you don’t want your things out in the open.

10 Hole Space Saving Hangers: These hangers can be used in a multitude of ways. You can use it as intended if you have a scarf collection, or attach some shower rings to hang purses, baseball caps, jeans, tank tops and much more.

Accessory Bins in Lime & Melon Geo Print: These are so versatile. I’ve used them everywhere from a kitchen, to an office or a bedroom. If you have to store things out in the open it may as well be in stylish bins like these.

Need more tips and tricks? Check out our Q&A. We asked Allison about playrooms, repurposing common household items and more:

1) Parents know that it’s difficult to keep the play room tidy. As a parent yourself, do you have any tips for toy organization, especially ones that busy parents can keep up with?

I certainly am familiar with the difficulties of being a working parent of two young children. I have first hand experience in how quickly toys and other kid-related clutter can take over a house. The first tip is to sort their toys into categories (e.g. action figures, cars, dress-up, etc.) and then purge. I’ve found it is best to do this when the kids aren’t home. After paring down the toys I use bins to group like toys together. The bins should be easy to open and close so kids can help with clean up. I like to print out labels for the bins as well. Using picture labels helps even the non-readers participate in clean-up.

2) What’s your thought process when confronted with a new space to organize? How do you come up with a method?

I have a knack for looking at a disorganized space and seeing how the pieces fit together. Once I have a sense of how the space will be used, I take everything out and get a better picture of its full functionality. Every project is different, but I have a few simple principles I always find helpful:

Like with Like: It is helpful to sort all of the your items together so that you can get a full picture of everything you have that is causing the clutter. You might love a certain black sweater, but you probably don’t need 15 of them.

Purge: Throw out/donate/recycle the excess, the broken, the expired and the never used.

Put it Back: Find the right means of storage. That could be anything from the right type of hangers, to a cute tote bin. Try and keep frequently used items more accessible.

Label It: Use a label maker, post-it, chalkboard tag or whatever you like. You may know where everything goes but the other people in your house probably won’t and the only way to maintain an organizational system is to make it easy for everyone.

Live With It: Make sure the system you developed works for you and your lifestyle. If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to change it up.

3) On your Instagram, you’ve repurposed hair elastics to create a handy car cell phone holder. Have you repurposed other common items? What is your favorite creation?

Whenever possible I do try to reuse or upcycle things that I already have lying around. I’ve really been into self-adhesive shelf liner in a nice pattern. It takes just moments to transform a shoebox lid into a pretty trinket tray. One of my most versatile items is a scarf hanger I bought from BTR which I combined with plastic shower rings (also from BTR). Put those two together and you can hang up tank tops, jeans from the loops, belts, purses and more, all without taking up too much valuable closet space.

4) What are some of the most common home problem areas? Was there a particularly tough project to tackle that you feel proud of whipping into shape?

Every home has different areas that need help. In some homes you don’t see the mess until you start to open drawers and cupboards, in other homes the clutter can be more apparent. I see a lot of issues with paper clutter, piles of clothes and overflowing pantries. Most of the time the biggest problem is not being able to see what you have.

For example, I recently did a kitchen pantry that needed a lot of love. We were able to get rid of expired food and really see what was under all of the clutter. Sometimes just changing the container you use can make a huge difference. My client had bunch of the same products (for instance I found five open bags of red lentils). She kept buying more because she didn’t know what she had. I consolidated them into clearly labelled large mason jars. By the end of the day everything was so clean and streamlined, my client said the result was very calming. Such a satisfying project!

5) Once a system of organization is in place, how do you suggest maintaining it? For example, your pantry or shoe closet.

The best chance you have of maintaining a new system is to make sure that the spaces are clearly defined and that everyone in the home is on board. Labels are a great way to indicate where things should go. Often it is other members of your family (my husband and kids for example) who are not as committed to keeping things organized. The labels will help them stick with the program. Another tip is to try to follow the 60 second rule. If a task takes less than 60 seconds just do it right away. That may mean putting your shoes away as soon as you get in or returning a jar to the same place you got it in the pantry when you’re done with it. The bottom line is that there is no magic solution. Once you set up the system it will take some work to maintain it.

6) How do you balance practicality and style? i.e. How do you figure out a good method of organization that fits into someone’s existing décor?

My primary concern as a Professional Organizer is to set up functional organization systems. To me, the style has to come second. It doesn’t matter how good something looks if it doesn’t work with your lifestyle. That being said, when choosing the means of storage I always try to pick something that fits into my client’s decor and sense of style. For one client that might mean using plate holders/easels to display family photo albums on shelves but another client might prefer those albums to be out of sight in a cute box in the cupboard.

7) We know you that you are an avid BTR shopper. What continues to be your best/most-used, or versatile purchase?

I am a very avid BTR shopper so there is no way I can pick just one product. Some of my favorites include a clear plastic tray that I use to keep things sorted within drawers, a trunk organizer that folds up when I don’t need it and a closet rod doubler that adds lots of extra room without any reno. I also buy tons of tote baskets and plastic bins. My work bag is actually a great tote from Lug Life. It has a variety of zippered pockets and divided storage to hold all of my organization tools when I go see clients.

8) What are the benefits of hiring a professional organizer over doing it yourself?

Some people have no problem with the organization of their space. Others may be missing that “organizing gene” and that is where someone like me can help. As a member of Professional Organizers in Canada I am trained in this area and am able to guide the client through the decision making process that happens during organization. This can often be a difficult and emotional process, but because I don’t have an attachment to their things I can make the process easier. I have the knowledge and the tools to make organizing as painless as possible. A professional organizer can also be helpful if the client just doesn’t have the time to do it themselves. This can be a busy working parent who just want to get everything in order or children of elderly parents need help downsizing a home.

Make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook for even more great ideas. And if you happen to live in Montreal, book Allison for a consultation at

Jesse Kovacs Picks for Men’s Day


Jesse Kovacs has been a fan favorite on three separate Bachelor shows, he owns his own wine label with his brother, he’s a published author, as well as the co-owner of Liquid Lounge in San Diego. His star certainly is on the rise! Today on BTR for Men’s Day, we asked this eligible bachelor a few questions about finding love on TV, his love of wine, as well as his fashion choices for a first date.

Check out what he had to say:

1) Are you ever surprised when watching the show, or do you pretty much anticipate what will happen based on filming?

I’m always surprised when I watch the show live. Usually a producer will call the day before and give you a rundown of what’s going to happen but alas, the power of editing. The things people say during their respective interviews, usually late at night, usually four cocktails deep, are always surprising.

2) There is always drama on the Bachelor franchises. How much is real and how much is “made for TV”? Is there ever any drama that is NOT aired?

Oh no, if there is drama it will be aired. Sometimes the drama is elongated or exaggerated but most of the time it’s real. When a group of people are living together and there is no real alone time with no music, television, reading material, or any other outlet, people start getting a little jumpy.

3) When auditioning for the Bachelorette, what made you decide to look for love in the public eye? And now that you’ve tried finding love on TV, do you still believe it’s a good way to find your one and only? Would you do things differently?

When I was approached to do the show I just thought this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I never thought I would be asked back for two more shows. I have met a lot of awesome people and I’ve seen quite a few cast members fall in love either on the show or outside of filming. So the Bachelor machine definitely works and I do believe you can find love on this show.

4) Have you made any lasting friends with the other castmates from any of the shows you’ve been on?

I still am really good friends with a lot of castmates. Dave Good, Graham Bunn, Michael Stagliano, Kiptyn, and Natalie Getz are all good friends of mine.

5) When did you begin to have an interest in wine?

I first helped my Dad make a barrel of Cab in our garage when I was in High School. It was so exciting to finally try it 2 years later. We had created something that brought people together. It was fun to see these people appreciate what we did and want to buy bottles from us.

6) Was it challenging starting the wine label with your brother? Did you butt heads?

While I was still playing professional baseball, I wrote up a business plan and shopped it around. I finally got the start up money and we bought all the necessary equipment and made our first two wines. We threw our launch party Thanksgiving eve of 2007. Jacob and I basically drove up and down California, sleeping in our car, eating trail mix and selling wine. We definitely butted heads on occasion because he likes the labor process more and I’m more of the “lets get out there and sell” kind of guy.

7) How would you describe your fashion sense (when you are actually wearing a shirt!)? Did it change once you were in the public eye?

I would describe my fashion sense as laid back. I really like to dress up, but only because I don’t do it that often. My everyday look is very casual but I still like fitted shirts and funky shoes.

8) What do you recommend guys wear for a great first date outfit?

This all depends on the location of the date. If you go on a date in a laid back beach community you need to wear something light and colorful. But if the date is Downtown I would say nice jeans with a good pair a Tsobu boots with a tailored shirt. No tie unless you came straight from the office.

9) And of course, what do you hope your date will wear on your first date?

I tend to be attracted toward fun and funky. When I see girls with short tight fitting bandage dresses it makes me laugh. I say save that for Vegas!

To find out more about Jesse check him out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about Kovacs Bros. wine, click here.

For more info. about Liquid Lounge, click here.

Chef Chuck Hughes’ Picks and Q&A


There’s no question about it: Chef Chuck Hughes is passionate about food. It’s easy to see just how passionate when you witness him hosting his shows on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, or winning big on Iron Chef America. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, he continues a legacy of world-class dining with two restaurants in his native city. Garde Manger and Le Bremner are both located in the picturesque Montreal Old Port and present hip, unpretentious haute cuisine that is uniquely Chef Hughes.

Chef, restaurateur, television host, cookbook author: he’s definitely a busy guy. However, we were lucky enough to sit him down long enough to answer a few questions, as well as pick his favorite BTR products, which can be found here.

1) How has it felt going from a local Montreal celebrity to a world-renowned Food Network super star? How do you stay so down to Earth?

I don’t know if I would say Food Network super star. I’m just a regular guy who has had things work out. I feel really fortunate to have had the chance to do what I do. As far as staying grounded – working with food keeps me humble. A carrot doesn’t care who you are.

2) How do you manage to balance your time? Writing a book, owning two restaurants, travelling, appearing on TV…it almost seems impossible for just one person!

Yeah, I’m crazy busy but at certain times of the year I’m able to take some time off. I also to try to regularly squeeze in some time for myself – it may be playing a late night hockey game on Monday night or shopping early Sat morning at the market, whatever I can fit in. Though I’m lucky, I love what I do and I find when you love what you do it’s pretty easy to get up and get going every morning.

3) What inspires you to create new meal ideas?

Travelling is a big inspiration for me. I was recently in Italy and that was amazing. The TV series Chuck’s Eat The Street has me travelling all over the U.S. meeting other chefs and food producers so I’m often being introduced to different techniques or new food ideas. I also do a lot of reading and of course tasting new things.

4) With today’s busy lifestyles, we’re all pressed for time. What are your best tips/short cuts in the kitchen?

Cooking gets this rap that to do it well it has to be complicated and takes time. I disagree. I don’t believe in short cuts, it’s more about being prepared. If you prepare and clean as you go along, cooking a terrific meal doesn’t take much time. Some tips? Set yourself up like a professional kitchen by getting your mise en place done – that way you can cook like a professional chef. You can also sear meats and make a sauce in the same pan – it’s fast and easy.

5) We know you are catering the Osheaga Music Festival this year. What are you making? How do you organize everything so that all the food comes out fresh and hot? And who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

For the last couple of years we have catered the VIP backstage area of Osheaga. It’s an incredibly intense full-on three days. We have an amazing team of 45 cooks that make it happen. The dishes we offer often focus on all the food products that Montreal and Quebec are known for as well we have the best BBQ of the year! When it comes to actually watching the bands we don’t really have the time, as we are too busy feeding them. But I will try to sneak away and catch Portugal. The Man if I can.

6) Can you share one of your favorite (easy!) recipes with us?


Can’t get enough Hughes? The third season of Chuck’s Eat the Street premieres on July 10th at 10pm on the Cooking Channel in the U.S.