We actually have two “junk drawers” in our kitchen. One is mostly mine (because it’s filled with stuff I use most often) and one is mostly Matt’s (because it’s filled with his stuff). When we moved in and originally organized our kitchen, I bought two of these bamboo drawer organizers and got right to work filling them with our junk drawer essentials. Since then one of the junk drawers works really well and is still very neat and organized, but the other one is a complete disaster. No matter how many times it gets re-arranged (cough-cough…. at least once a week), the drawer quickly relapses to its old, disheveled self.
My junk drawer (left) vs. Matt’s junk drawer (right)
Matt is amazing at a lot of things and works extremely hard to keep day-to-day operations around our home in tiptop shape. He makes the coffee each morning, does the grocery shopping, warms up the cars before we leave for work…. heck, he even irons! The man always gives 150% when helping around the house and totally spoils me on an everyday basis. He’s pretty awesome at A LOT of things, but one thing he’s just not a “natural” at is organization. Lucky for him (or maybe unlucky for him), he’s married to someone who actually LOVES to organize. #truth #myguiltypleasure
Clutter and disorganization stresses me out and as much as I can’t actually see the mess in his junk drawer when it’s closed, knowing about the disorganization that lurks makes me cringe inside. I would arrange and re-arrange his junk drawer just about every time I opened it and without fail, the next time I opened the drawer it was back to a hot mess.
After six months of chasing my tail by arranging and re-arranging, I finally realized that I was trying to force a system that clearly was not working and totally wasting my time in the process. Bottom line: If I wanted different results, I needed to try something different.
So I set out to create a simple and inexpensive solution that Matt could keep organized with very little effort. I was confident that if I provided a system like that, Matt would always find his stuff, and I would save myself a lot of time not trying to reorganize it so often. #WINWIN
Just like any organization project I tackle, I started by taking everything out of the drawer (including the bamboo organizer). Then I sorted the stuff into three piles: 1. important items that should stay in the drawer 2. items that could be stored elsewhere (ie. the office) 3. garbage
Then I measured the drawer’s dimensions and headed out to HomeGoods to find small containers that would act as individualized compartments for Matt’s junk drawer essentials. I knew that having a “home” for everything in the drawer would definitely help Matt keep this space organized.
I spent $19 on random containers in the HomeGoods’ office section. Then I used my Silhouette Portrait and this sticky, gold foil paper to print out labels for each of Matt’s new containers. <— in wife language: no excuses for him to let the drawer go back to its old, ugly ways.
I peeled the shapes from the gold sticky paper and stuck them to the bottom of each container. I chose simple symbols that made the system functional while really increasing the cuteness (Music notes for his headphones, a key for our car keys, a cent symbol for his spare change, and ampersand for his loose odds & ends, etc).
Then I arranged and re-arranged the containers back in the drawer until I found the configuration that wasted the least amount of space while being the most functional for Matt’s stuff.
Before long, the new system was in place and looking fabulous! I especially loved that the mini containers ensured that each item had a specific home.
Before & After
Fast forward a month and I am happy to report the drawer is still looking fabulous… without me intervening to arrange or rearrange (woo woo!). It appears as though maybe Matt’s organizing skills weren’t to blame on this one, maybe all he needed was a system that actually worked for him & his stuff.
To celebrate this mini major victory, we are giving away a FREE Silhouette Portrait to one lucky reader in hopes that this amazing machine can continue to solve everyday household challenges in style! Details on how to enter here —> a Rafflecopter giveaway
And even though I considered it a “finished” space, I still had one problem to deal with…
…the messy cords hiding underneath the desk. Because the desk is so slim, you can pretty much see everything going on under there. #eek
So in order to keep things looking streamlined and neat, I knew I had to figure out a way to tame the cord clutter.
The first thing I did was figure out which cords were absolute necessities in the area. I use the desk lamp quite often when it gets dark, so the lamp cord was definitely going to need some help. Then, I also had to deal with my charger for my laptop. Although, I needed that one to be less of a permanent fix since I often take my laptop and charger with me when working or traveling.
I picked up this value pack of hooks at Michaels and figured I’d give cord control a try using these bad boys. You simply take the sticky backing off, push it firmly into place, and the hook isn’t going anywhere! If you ever want to take them off, you can easily peel them off so they don’t damage the furniture.
Because the lamp is permanent, I hid the cord along the length of the desk’s back leg and base, running it all the way down and over to a nearby outlet. I simply placed a hook every few inches so I could string the cord along and secure it as I went. The cord fit nice and snug into the hook, and this allowed me to place the cord so it was hidden behind the slim desk leg.
So instead of the cord falling to the ground and being plugged into the outlet…It was now hidden behind the metal leg.
With the lamp tackled, I worked on the laptop cord. A huge pet peeve of mine is when you try to bring the computer cord up the back of your desk and then it drops to the floor every time you unhook it from your laptop. Anyone else absolutely hate it when that happens?! So annoying.
In order to keep the cord secured and on my desktop at all times, I simple used a sticky hook on the backside of the middle of the desk.
I can easily take the cord out of it when I need to take my charger with me. And if I don’t need to move the charger, the little hook keeps the cord firmly in place.
A simple fix for an irritating problem.
I’d guess that “hiding” these desk cords took me less than 10 minutes, and underneath the desk now looks 10x better. Sometimes all it takes is a little extra effort to get your home looking refreshed and organized.
As 2 busy gals, we know all too well how it feels to sometimes be overwhelmed by life. Often times that to-do list just seems too dang long, the house seems like it will never ever be clean, and that list of errands just keeps growing and growing!
But being organized is what keeps us sane. It keeps us on task, it keeps us happy, and it allows us to be able to juggle full-time jobs, the blog, and every other thing life throws our way. One of our most asked questions is, “How do you two juggle it all?” And let’s be very clear here, we absolutely do not juggle it all. We get by day by day just like everyone else. But we do practice things each week to make our everyday lives a bit easier.
So today, we figured we would share some of our tried and true tidbits for a more organized life. More specifically, we’re breaking down our Sunday rituals because it’s what gears us up for a busy work week. If you’re looking to take on 2016, to live a less stressful and more efficient life…then you may want to consider incorporating some of these tips in to your Sunday routine.
1. Wash your Sheets & Towels
After you wake up & shower, strip the bed and gather all of the towels in your home and throw them in the wash. It can be easy to forget to wash your sheets each week, but if you want to start your week on the right foot then slipping into a clean bed on Sunday night is the way to do it! Once everything is clean and fresh, hang up your towels and make your bed.
2. Grocery Shop/Meal Prep
It’s no secret that we are pretty terrible in the kitchen. We consider ourselves to be pretty dang lucky to have husbands who actually enjoy cooking. If we didn’t have them, we would probably be eating cereal and scrambled eggs for dinner every.single.night #nojoke
But one thing we can help with is the grocery shopping and food prep. Honestly, we don’t always go grocery shopping on Sundays because that’s when the rest of the world goes grocery shopping. So that means sometimes we’ll shop for all of the essentials on Friday nights or Saturdays <—we realize this makes us sound lame, but hey it’s less crowded! But then on Sunday we already have everything we need in the pantry and fridge! We’ll throw out old leftovers, clear out the shelves, and get food ready for the week ahead. Chop veggies, wash fruits, and make your lunch food.
Finn Household: We make all of our lunches for the work week on Sunday afternoon. Finn will grill chicken and roast vegetables, and I’ll bake sweet potatoes and make a big batch of quinoa. I’ll also chop any fruit for breakfast, and arrange some fresh flowers from the grocery store. We pre-portion everything out into tupperware, and then we can just grab and go to work every day. It may sound boring, but it keeps us healthy and on track. Plus bringing your lunch = good on the wallet.
Matkovich Household: Like the Finn household, we too make our lunches on Sundays. Usually Matt grills chicken and mixes the grilled chicken with organic spinach in individual containers for the week. We also sprinkle croutons on top (gotta have a little something to look forward to in the salad) and pour salad dressing into mini containers to pour on the salads at work. We also try and cut lemons to throw in our water bottles each morning. Like Casey mentioned, we bring lunch to work EVERYDAY and never eat out. Partly because it saves money, but partly because as a teacher I have 22 minutes to shovel my food in, hit up the restroom, respond to a few parent emails and get to the next class before the bell rings! Glamorous, right?
3. Spend 30 minutes with your Calendar
You need to carve out some time on Sunday to look at your week ahead. This is going to make Monday morning that much better. We’re fans of both planners & google calendars. Look at your upcoming week and make sure you’ve got it all written down. Pencil in after-work errands, write down that dinner with your girlfriends, and make a note of everything that needs to be done during the week. Plus seeing “happy hour” written in your planner will make the first few days of the week that much more tolerable.
This is also a great time to jot down your workouts for the week, or sign up for individual workout classes (any other Class Pass lovers out there?). Trust us, you’re less likely to skip your workout if it’s written down in your calendar. So take time on Sunday and make a realistic gameplan.
4. Pack your Workout Bag
So you’ve already signed up for your workout classes (or made a gym plan), now it’s time to make sure you can’t weasel out of exercising. Pack your gym bag with all of the necessities, and you’ll be ready to grab it and go come Monday.
5. Plan your Work Wear
Okay we may seem like we’re 5-year-olds, but we both always pick out our outfits the night before workdays. Yep, big dorks over here. But we’re telling ya…it makes your morning that much better! From the belt to the accessories, plan it all out so you’re not rummaging through your closet haphazardly before you’ve even had your coffee. You can even designate a pretty hook in your closet for the next day’s attire. Bonus points if you plan out your entire week of clothing. We only go one day at a time, but an entire work week could be a great plan too! Psssst..don’t forget to check the 5-day forecast during this time as well.
6. Make a Laundry Plan & Gather Dry Cleaning
Finn Household: Because the wash is usually monopolized by the towels & sheets combo, we don’t usually do our laundry on Sundays. Instead, we’ll pencil it in for a weeknight. With it on the calendar, it’s much more likely to get done and your pile of dirty clothes won’t grow too large. Also, gather up any dry cleaning on Sundays and put it in a bag by the door. That way you can drop it off on your way to work on Monday morning.
Matkovich Household: We actually try to get all of our laundry done by Sunday (aka do it Friday night or Saturday) and we then leave Sunday to tackle all of the ironing. Since Matt wears a shirt + tie + slacks everyday to work, we have a tall ironing order each week and if we don’t tackle all of it, it would totally cramp our small laundry room. As much as I’d love to bring it all to the dry cleaners, the amount of work clothes we would send would be too much $$$. So usually when Matt is making lunches for the week, I take care of all of our ironing…. usually while catching up on my fav shows. 😉
7. Clean out your Purse
Our work bags, wallets, and purses can quickly become black holes if we don’t tend to them. Take a few minutes on Sunday to clear out your bag. File receipts, dump heavy change into a bowl, and get your bag streamlined and organized.
8. Sunday Night = Me Time
Sundays don’t just need to be devoted to list making and laundry. Instead it’s also important to take care of yourself and unwind at night. That can mean putting on a face mask, taking a bath, and reading a book in the tub. This is also a good time to pluck your eyebrows, deep condition your hair, or paint your nails. Making these things a part of your Sunday night routine, will make your mornings that much easier when you’re getting ready for the day.
9. Talk to your Husband/Roomie/Significant Other
One question we always ask our husbands on Sunday night…”What does your week look like?” Yes, it’s a simple question but we’ve found that it can do wonders for your marriage. They say a good relationship comes down to good communication, and being on the same page about your week ahead is a great start. Knowing if he has an important meeting, or telling him I’ll be working late one night, or reminding him about a weeknight family dinner…these are all great things to discuss on Sunday night before the craziness of Monday arrives. Outline your expectations and you will be on your way to a great week.
So now we want to hear…what do you do on Sundays to prep for your big week ahead? We can always use more tips to make our lives run a little smoother…so bring it on!
Pssst…this post included some sneak peeks of Casey’s new desk space! More details coming on Thursday!
In honor of “the month of organizing”, we wanted to take a DIY time-out & share the products we use in our homes to stay organized…. and really do LOVE. Think of this post as “Our Favorite Things” but for Organizing.
Pot Lid Organizer: Casey originally bought this product to keep her pot + pan lids organized. After she used it for a few months, she SWORE by it and repeatedly told me it was a kitchen MUST-HAVE. Seeing as though my cabinets for pots & pans was a hot mess at the time (and literally made me frustrated anytime I would have to go in there to unload the dishwasher), I obliged. Now we BOTH swear by this simple and affordable organizer. Literally the b-e-s-t solution for the w-o-r-s-t cabinet.
Pop Organizer: Not a product that we would tag an absolute essential to add to the refrigerator, but we really do like having this product to keep our cans organized in the fridge. The only bad thing is that it doesn’t hold a TON of cans, so if you’re a huge pop drinker… you may get annoyed at how often you would have to add pop. We are not really pop drinkers and really only have it in the house for guests. In this case, we like having the pops organized and easy to grab for our guests.
Food Storage: If you have a kitchen where cabinet space is at a premium, you may LOVE this product as much as we do. Bridget received this “splurge” of an organizing product for her wedding shower and instantly fell in love with these containers. Since she loved them so much, I put them on my wedding registry too. Ironically, B ended up buying them for me (probably because she swears by them). We both LOVE these containers to store our dry food in because they keep the cabinets so clean & organized… plus, condensing the food into these containers and getting rid of the packaging saves some serious space in our cabinets.
Bamboo Silverware Tray: Both of us use this product for our silverware and love it. The best part of this one is that it expands to fit the width of your drawer, which is super convenient. If you want a deal on one of these, keep your eyes peeled in the kitchen section of HomeGoods because they often have them for sale at a discounted rate.
Wicker Baskets: These are probably one of our absolute favorites on this entire list, and quite honestly, one of our go-to home decor items in general. We love that these can be used in literally every room of the house to “hide” anything you need to. Cords, winter gear, DVD’s… anything! Plus, they can double as decor, which magically provides a ton of NEW storage in plain sight. <— #winwin
Gray Ikea Box: Oh Ikea…how we love you & your budget-friendly home products. We have a file cabinet in our house, but sometimes it can get overloaded with file folders…especially come tax season. So instead we file away all of the documents we need to keep, but don’t necessarily need to reach on an everyday basis, in these adorable gray boxes.
Lucite Drawer Organizers: Lucite is always a good idea, and we love these drawer organizers. Put one in your junk drawer to corral random items, throw one in the bathroom drawer for toiletries, or use it as a catchall for office supplies. So many possibilities for this trendy little organization tool.
Washi Tape: You would not imagine how many ways you can use these inexpensive, adorable rolls of temporary tape. If you have never used washi tape… you need to invest in a few rolls! We use washi tape to dress up mail, label boxes, create tab dividers in our calendars, tape reminders on the fridge, really anything! This tape is cute and colorful, but it’s also temporary so you can stick it to anything and eventually remove it without damaging the surface. If you don’t want to order this product online, you can pretty much pick up this tape at Michaels, Target, Walmart, Office Supply Stores, etc.
Felt Hangers: We invested in all felt hangers a few years ago, and have never looked back! Your clothing doesn’t slip, and you save so much space in your closet! Plus your closet will look streamlined with your clothes hanging on all of the same hangers.
Day Designer: I just got this for Christmas and I can already tell it is going to be a lifesaver for 2016. It is amazing! Just like the name, it has room to plan out every single day of your week. This to-do list queen can’t get enough.
Gold File Folders: Because filing receipts, invoices, and important documents is just a tad more fun when there is gold and glam involved #enoughsaid
Stylish Bowls: We love these West Elm bowls because they are 1. adorable and 2. super versatile. Of course you can use them for the obvious kitchen needs, but we also like to use them in our decor to hold extra change, to hold candy in the family room, or even as a spot for keys by the front door. These affordable bowls are very versatile (and so on-trend).
Camera Bag: We declared our love for these camera bags in this post, and our love for this bag has not changed since then. This is our go-to bag for organizing (and traveling with) our photography gear. Heck, Casey loves her bag so much that she uses it as her purse sometimes. Who could not love a purse with customizable compartments?!
Hooks: Hooks are simple, yet seriously effective, in using vertical space to stay organized. We hang hooks wherever we can in our houses in order to take advantage of every inch that is available. In the closets for coats, scarves, or even jewelry… in the bathroom for towels or tomorrow’s outfit… and definitely in the entryway for an easy drop zone. When in doubt, add a hook! They’re so darn cheap… why not, right?!
Obviously, we’re not all about spending a ton of money on elaborate organization items, but instead we love affordable products that work for our spaces. And although we like to think we are pretty organized people, we’re always looking for items to add to our everyday lives in order to keep things as stress-free and efficient as possible. Are we missing out on any other ESSENTIAL ORGANIZATION items?! We would love to hear what products you swear by so that we can give these new items a try!
Good morning & welcome to 2016! We can hardly believe that the holidays are behind us, and now it’s time to dive into January head first. Because it’s the new year, we’re both ready to get our places in tip-top shape to start 2016 off right. And today we’re doing just that!
As you guys know, each month we participate in the Michaels Makers challenge. And this month it’s all about ORGANIZATION (yay!). Because we live in small spaces we do our best to keep them organized year-round, but let’s be honest…there’s always room for improvement and we are feeling extra motivated to tackle some of the things on our organization to-do lists now that it’s January.
We each decided to take 1 small nuisance in our homes and try to make it better using the exact same item.
That one lucky item?
This adorable two-toned box from Michaels’ new Cre8ted Spaces organization line. Pretty cute right?
Here’s a look at the inside.Armed with the same box, we each decided to use it to make our lives a little easier and a little less disorganized.
A few weeks back, I showed you guys our dreamy new nightstands. Well, I’m still as obsessed with them as I was back in December. But there was 1 little thing cramping their style. My iPhone charger was always in a heap on the floor next to them, and it kinda cluttered the look. I’ve always loved Bridget’s charging station, but I could never find a box like hers (she got hers from Goodwill)…so I could never make one for myself. But with my new box, I knew I could somehow turn it into my own version of her charging station.
And that’s exactly what I did!
Here’s how I created my own mini charging station for our bedroom.
The original box had 6 compartments. Which is nice for organizing lots of small items, but it definitely wasn’t going to fit my iPhone. So I knew I had to alter the box slightly to make it work for me. I decided to take 4 of the dividers out, and leave 2 to house small odds & ends. I grabbed a sharp serrated knife and some work gloves (safety first!). Then I slowly & CAREFULLY sawed the edges of each divider to loosen it up. Once it was loose, I gently wiggled the dividers to break it off of the box. It took some time, but eventually I was able to get all of them loosened and out of the box. Again, be CAREFUL! Wear gloves & go slow with the knife.
Make sure you measure precisely and smooth out the contact paper as you go.
With the base of the box done, it was time to create a hole for the iPhone cord.
I used a 5/8″ paddle bit on my power drill and drilled a hole into the back of the wooden box.
Rookie Tip:Slow & steady wins the race when it comes to using a paddle bit. You don’t want the wood to chip, instead you want to create a nice clean hole. So go slow and know that eventually you’ll get through to the other side!
With the box done, I set out to organize a few of the items I would be putting into the box.
I picked up this colorful office supply kit from the same Cre8ted space line at Michael’s, and used some of the items to get my cords organized.
My headphones are now neatly tucked away in a compartment, as well as my bluetooth and an extra charger.
And my phone fits perfectly into the large compartment.
My new charging station sits pretty atop our campaign style nightstand. No more tripping over tangled cords on the ground on the way to bed, or digging behind the nightstand to grab the fallen cord #theworst
Instead, now I can easily open the box and plug my phone right in! Functional & fashionable. Oh how I love projects that work double duty.
I am seriously obsessed with my $3 charging station I scored at Goodwill a few years ago. Literally, it’s probably one of the only DIY projects that I use every.single.day and I’m so happy that Casey finally has one. Knowing Casey like I think I do, I’m pretty darn confident that bedside charger will change her life. Haha, well…. maybe not that dramatic, but I’m pretty pumped that she has finally found a box that is AVAILABLE for readers to snatch up and re-create. I promise you’ll love it and your newly organized nightstand will love you for it too.
Anyways… let’s chat about how I took that exact same box and created a stylish solution to a minor organizing problem we were having in our house. I like to think my house is pretty darn organized but for some reason, I just couldn’t get a handle on my “snail mail” accessories. I still use this DIY greeting card organizer for all of my stationary/greeting card stock…. but I was having a hard time keeping my stamps, stamper, ink pad, washi tape and general snail mail essentials in one place. #hatewhenthathappens
Initially I kept all of those items in my office. While some of those are still in the office, some of the items have made their way into my business/junk/everyday crap drawer in our kitchen. So when I would go to send bills or mail, I would find half of what I needed in the kitchen drawer and then I would have to head to the office to locate the other half. <– obviously this is not the worst problem in the world, but having to go to (at least) two different locations for such simple task like sending mail was annoying to me…. and quite frankly, something I could easily fix but never actually tackled it. Until now.
See that familiar box that I recently added to my built-ins? Well, well, well … when you peek inside (past that adorable lion knocker), you will instantly find a ONE-STOP-SHOPPING box for ALL of my mailing essentials. <— And no, I’m not yelling at you, I’m just that excited about this super easy organizing solution.
One little, two-toned box now is home to:
Blank Notes/Envelopes that I need in a pinch (I store my other cards here)
Stamper (for both DIY Playbook & our house)
Ink Pads (Black + Navy)
Washi Tape (instant way to “dress up your mail” on the cheap)
Clips, odds & ends
So let’s chat about how easy this little “Mail Box” is to recreate, shall we?
I used these dowels (which cost less than 50 CENTS (!!)… total) from Michael’s to create the area to hold envelopes inside of the box’s lid. I held the dowel up to the box’s lid and made a little pencil mark to indicate where I should cut the dowel in order for it to fit inside of the lid.
Then I grabbed a cutting board from my kitchen and a knife to cut at the pencil mark. This took a little muscle, so be careful. But the cutting of both dowels took me less than 3 minutes so it isn’t hard or time consuming, just be careful using that knife. #eek
Rookie Tip: You want the dowel to fit VERY snug in the lid, so don’t cut the dowel too short. If you buy a long enough dowel though, you’ll be able to get at least 2 cuts if not more from the rod. If you mess up on the measurements, you should have some wiggle room to cut another one from the original rod. And if not, the long dowel cost less than a dollar so it’s not like this step is going to break the bank if you need to re-cut. Once you have both dowels cut to size, simply place them diagonally into the lid… approximately where you want them to end up. Because they will fit “snug-ly”, force them from the diagonal position to fit into the lid horizontally. Repeat this same step with the second dowel.
You may have to go back to the cutting board and shave off a little of the rod in order to even the edge out so it’s snug, but that should not be a big deal at all. Once the dowels are secure in the box, you can place your extra cards or envelopes in the box’s lid… or even slide in a small address book. As long as whatever you are storing in the lid isn’t too heavy, you should be able to open and close the box with the dowels moving. I’ve been opening/closing mine for a few weeks now and haven’t had any problems with it (I’m storing about 10+ large envelopes and about 5 mini cards behind my dowels).I filled my box after I added my dowels, but if I were doing this again, I’d probably save this until last and tackle this next step first.
Adding some hardware to dress up the box (do this first). Of course, this step is completely optional as this box is super stylish by itself. I just thought adding a hardware pull would be a fun touch to make it my own. I scored this lion knob at Menard’s for $3. Just like installing any knob, all you really need is a pilot hole and a screw. I carefully added the pilot hole and used the screw that came with the lion knob to screw it on the front of the box. Easy enough, right?This whole project probably took me about twenty minutes… maybe less without having to stop to take the photos.
I added this “secret storage” to my built-ins and now have ONE place where I can find ALL of my snail mail essentials. Plus, my junk drawer is a little less of a hot mess…. which is a step in the right direction since it’s only January 1st!
So there you have it…1 box, organized 2 very different ways! Anyone else feeling just a little more motivated to get moving on some serious O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N?
Before you get lost in the black hole of organizing, check out these 49 other rockstars for more colorful and stylish organization ideas using this ADORABLE new organizing line from Michaels or check out Michael’s blog, the Glue String, for even more ideas!
Get your party pants on because we have TWO things to celebrate today! 1. DIY Playbook is part of the 2015 Contributor Team over at one of our fav blogs, iHeart Organizing! Remember when we gushed all about our love for this inspirational blog when B’s Laundry Room was featured. Welllllll, you can only imagine how excited we were when we found out we were going to be a part of this talented team of blogging rock stars. We’ll be sharing some of our favorite organizing projects over on her site a few times throughout the course of 2015.
2. Now onto Celebration #2. Bridget finally organized her photography equipment! Woo-woo!
… and we’re sharing the scoop on our first ever contributor assignment over on iHeart Organizing! We totally hope you can come on over, check it out, show Jen some love, and enjoy! But beware, once you click over… you may get sucked up into the never-ending amounts of gorgeous eye-candy & organizational tips that magically make you WANT to start organizing… like ASAP. Before you know it, BAM– it’s an hour later and you can’t. stop. reading! #consideryourselfwarned
We are excited to be contributors and are pretty pumped to challenge ourselves to tackle some looming organization projects this year!
My Purse/Work Bag: Well, let’s just say it’s pretty much my lifeline every single day. It carries absolutely everything I need on a daily basis and then some. Wallet, receipts, work ID, bus pass, keys, cell phone, sunglasses, makeup, contacts, you name it…I’ve probably got it in my bag. Even though this bag is so important, it’s often neglected and consequently turns into a carrier of chaos. “Carrier of Chaos”…this sounds like a horror movie. See, I told you I carry a lot of stuff in my bag. And this might be edited down a bit, so you guys don’t think I’m too much of a scary, hoarder lady.
Because I received an amazing new bag for Christmas (more on that in a bit) I decided it was finally time to take on the task of editing and organizing my bag. And I didn’t just mean throw away some old receipts and gum wrappers…I wanted to come up with an organization solution that would work today and every day.
1. Dump it Out
I dumped everything out of my bag, emptying all zippers and small pouches.
2. Pare Down
Then, I filed receipts, threw away garbage, and ditched any expired products.
3. Collect Loose Change
I went through my wallet and got it back to working order. I emptied 90% of my loose change into our home’s change bowl, and then kept some in a zippered compartment in my wallet. Wow, it was already 3 lbs lighter. If only losing weight was that easy!
4. Organize Wallet
I’m a big fan of wallets with multiple compartments. An area for my cash, credit cards, license, and a small section for that week’s receipts. I also love being able to zip it all up, so everything stays snug and in place.
5. Add a Small Bag for Makeup
I used to just throw my makeup and accessories into my bag. But I’ve realized that having a small separate pouch in my large purse, keeps things a lot more organized and easy to find. Bridget got me this glamorous black, white, and gold one and it’s the perfect size for all of my makeup essentials.
6. Gather Gift Cards & Business Cards
I have this small zippered Lululemon pouch for all of our current gift cards. I don’t always keep this on me (I don’t want to lose them all at once), but if I’m going shopping I’ll often pop this in my bag.
It’s nice to have all gift cards in one place, as I often forget what I have on hand. I also purchased a business card holder for my bag. They used to get all bent when I would just tuck them in my purse, and this cheap-o case keeps them looking sleek and professional. Things were looking much better! Instead of a big pile of junk, I now had separated items organized in individual bags and pouches.
Finally time to load my bag back up. My husband was definitely listening when I gushed about this bag back in December. I wanted it because it seemed roomy enough to hold work files and my laptop, and stylish enough to use for the everyday. Plus, I love having a zippered top on my bags for when I ride public transportation (safety first!) I got it for Christmas and I can see why people love it so much. There are so many compartments! I used to be the girl digging in her black hole of a purse, freezing outside our building, as I quickly searched for our keys. Now, that is definitely not the case. Everything has a home in this bag, and I can find my items in only a few moments. It’s pretty awesome.
So what are my big takeaways from organizing my new bag?
Before you fill it up…toss old items and pare down
Use smaller pouches to keep things separated in your large bag
Find a bag that makes organizing easy (think lots of compartments and zippers!)
P.S. I don’t take that big ol’ work bag everywhere! If I’m going out for a quick errand or on a date, I use this crossbody bag. All I do is take out the essentials from my other bag (wallet & makeup pouch) and toss it into this smaller one and I’m ready to hit the town!
We love January because of its “fresh”, “organized”, and “clean” connotations. It’s just such a good feeling to start the year off on the right foot. That’s why we showed you how to organize all of your paperwork in yesterday’s post. And that’s why next week is devoted to a heck of a lot of organization projects that are all well worth your precious free time.
Today we’re heading to the bathroom to do clean something I constantly forget about……my makeup brushes. Apparently you’re supposed to clean these bad boys a heck of a lot more often than I do (like a deep cleaning once a week!). #oops. I wear makeup just about every single day, but I certainly don’t give my brushes the TLC these overworked instruments deserve. Dirty brushes don’t just lead to a messy makeup application. They can cause breakouts, clogged pores, and pesky bacteria to linger on your face. No thank you.
So in 2015 I’m adding “clean makeup brushes” to my beauty routine, and I hope you’ll join me in this easy cleaning process.
I did a lot of research trying to find the most simple, budget-friendly, and effective way to clean your brushes. Most tutorials recommended one item…baby shampoo. So that’s exactly what I’m using today. There are lots of brush cleaners out there, but this seemed like the best one for me.
1. Run the bristles under warm water to get rid of any loose debris. Don’t submerge your brushes in water, instead just focus on the bristles.
2. Take a bit of baby shampoo and lather the bristles. You can even swirl the brush in your hand to move around the cleanser.
3. Then, rinse your bristles. Repeat these steps until the water runs clean and you no longer notice any makeup on your brush.
4. Finally, blot your brushes with a towel to dry them off and then reshape them. I typically let them dry flat on the edge of the sink.
Rookie Tip: It’s worth mentioning that you should apply your makeup for the day before washing your brushes. They’ll take quite a bit of time to dry, and you don’t want to be SOL when you go to apply your eyeshadow.I like displaying my makeup brushes in a little white cup on my bathroom sink for easy access. This is actually a pencil holder that I found at HomeGoods…but really you can use anything.
When I’m on the go, I keep all of my brushes and eyeliners organized in this case. It’s very handy and keeps everything secure. I’m trying to incorporate this “deep cleaning” into my weekly beauty routine and so far it’s going well. I’ve also heard that it’s a good idea to use a daily spray on your brushes, but I haven’t looked into that just yet. Baby steps…
PS. Happy Friday! If you want a great dose of Celebrity Real Estate Gossip, you have to check out this 2014 Recap of Celebrity Real Estate News You Won’t Believe! Who knew Reese Witherspoon purchased a fixer-upper in Nashville last year? Wait until you see the photos….. we can’t wait to see what she does with the place! And Justin Bieber pays HOW MUCH in monthly rent?! It’ll definitely make you feel less guilty about splurging this weekend. Enjoy… and stay warm out there! xo, B & C
Being organized is great when you’re in a hurry to find something, and you know exactly where to go to find what you need. That’s the whole point of being organized, right? To give items a specific home, so you can locate them on a moment’s notice. So it seems pretty crazy to me, that some of the absolute most important items in our home, were a disorganized, chaotic mess. Yep, our first aid kit and medicine was in a jumbled heap stuffed inside a cabinet.
Tummy ache? Oh wait here for 20 minutes, while I look for some Pepto Bismol that is probably crusty and expired.
Finger gushing blood? Just put some pressure on it while I frantically search for a bandage that is probably going to be way too small for your wound anyways.
You catching my drift here? Sure it’s okay to have a junk drawer here and there, but it’s probably not the best idea to completely disregard important, lifesaving items.
Here’s a pretty pic of the underside of one of our sinks. This doesn’t even give you the entire messy picture. I had great intentions to keep things organized with the little baskets, but as you can see it didn’t work out very well. So I came up with a new (very easy!) solution.
Earlier this year, my mom completely purged her entire home. Like every single drawer, closet, nook and cranny was cleaned out and items were donated. Not only was that good for me because I got to take home some of her unwanted items, but I also noticed that she had so many empty containers that were no longer housing her things. While in her closet (not slyly taking any clothes…I swear!) I saw a big pile of clear shoe boxes. After getting rid of dozens of pairs of shoes, Jan said she had many of these boxes left. I scooped up 4 and thought that maybe this was the ticket to an organized bathroom cabinet.
As with any organization project, it got worse before it got better. I took out every single thing from inside our bathroom cabinets and took inventory of what we had. I bid farewell to old, expired meds and grouped items together. In the end, I came up with four categories for our cabinets.
Since I wanted this project to be over as quickly as possible, I didn’t spend too much time crafting up ahhhh-mazing labels. Instead I typed up a few labels in word, printed them out, and slapped them onto the clear bins with washi tape. The tape added some color, yet I could still easily read each category on the bin.
Then for extra credit, I taped a yellow notecard to the underside of the lid again using washi tape. I then wrote out a running list of all of the items inside that particular box. This is great for those tricky times when you need some sort of medicine fast, and you’re not 100% sure if you have it on hand. This was also very helpful for me, because I made a list of all of the things that we probably should have in those boxes, but didn’t. I then headed to the store to make sure we had a well stocked “pharmacy” of meds for just about every mild sickness.
I plan to also write the date of purchase next to the item on my list. That way I’ll know when I need to toss some of the items within that bin. It took me hardly any time at all to get these bins under control and neatly put away. Now I’m just waiting for the first “emergency” in our household. Headache, tummy ache, paper cut? Don’t worry, I’ve got ya covered!
I’m not a girl who typically wears much jewelry. On a good day, you’ll probably see me rocking my wedding ring, possibly a watch (if you’re lucky), & that’s about it. But on a few rare occasions, I have been known to rock a statement necklace or two… not at the same time though. Why am I telling you this? I promise this is going somewhere.
Because I don’t wear much jewelry, I don’t really have a need for a fabulous organizer like Casey’s. Although hers is dripping in fanciness and does make me want to bedazzle myself from head-to-toe… I just don’t have a need (or room) for an organizer like hers. However, that doesn’t mean I still don’t need an organized home for my few beloved gems.
My necklaces used to be a tangled up mess on the bottom of my make-up bag, but now that I’ve invested a whopping $6 + tax on my new hidden organizing system, I haven’t been victim to that headache in a while.
Now, the 6 or 7 statement necklaces secretly live on the side of my tiny closet without getting tangled or taking up much space. I invested in these 3 octopus-looking hooks from Home Depot for a whopping two bucks each and used the nails that they come with to hang them on the side of my closet. These magical hooks hold my jewelry collection out of sight (and sometimes out of mind…oops). The whole project probably took about 7 minutes to complete start to finish.
Although I only have three hooks right now, there is no reason that I couldn’t easily add a few hooks if I acquire some new statement jewels in my future. In the meantime, these three hooks are the best six bucks I’ve ever spent!
How do you organize your jewelry?!
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