You guys! It’s 2018 and my little apartment is an absolute freaking disaster! One of my “2018 Goals” is to downsize and live a more minimalistic lifestyle so here I am, elbows deep in this mess, trying to get out and helping you along the way!
Let me start by saying I’m naturally a VERY organized person but I also have way too many things and not enough space for them. In October, we moved from a 2 story townhome with a 2 car garage, into a small high-rise apartment in Downtown St. Pete. Although our apartment is GORGEOUS, with views that sometimes give me goosebumps, it’s pretty tiny. We didn’t really have a plan for storing all of our sh*t, instead, we just thought it would all come together… Well, it didn’t. Now, I’m constantly opening cupboards and catching items as they pour out, trying to find places to put new things and watching the clutter get more and more out of control.
Also quick side note… I suffer from anxiety attacks sometimes if I feel overwhelmed or if I feel disorganized. Wooooosaaahhhh!
Ok, now let’s get into it.
Step 1: First, go through each and every room and bag up the items you can live without. This one might be tough but you HAVE to do it. Just close your eyes and rip that band aid off girl, you will feel so much better after you do it.
My rule of thumb for clothes: If it fits, you still love it, it’s in good condition AND you’ve worn it over the last 2 years – keep it. If not, it gets donated. The only exception to this is special occasion outfits, and of course SHOES!!
The kitchen is harder. If you’re like me, you have way too many kitchen gadgets and tons of different pots and pans. First, try to donate the items that you really never use, or the items you have duplicates of. Also get rid of the kitchenware that isn’t in good condition (pans where the non-stick coating is flaking off, chipped coffee cups, stained plastic plates etc). Next go through your refrigerator and pantry and toss anything expired!
Step 2: Organize the stuff that you do have by putting the items you rarely use (like that $300 blender you just had to have, eh heh… or the DVDs) in the back of cupboards and the tip top of closets.
Another rule of thumb is if you don’t use it at least every other day, it goes off the counter and into a cupboard, closet or drawer. Basically, unless you’re making toast regularly, the toaster doesn’t need to be on the counter, taking up space, cluttering up your life and soul… Sorry, please excuse me.
Step 3: Everything has a place. This is the hardest, most time consuming task of them all. Everything should have a home. Yes, even that little awkward kitchen gadget that you never really use. Start in the easiest, cleanest room, like the bathroom. Start by opening the medicine cabinet and figuring out what you WANT in there. Some people put medication and vitamins in theirs; I put skincare items in mine.
Next open the cabinets and drawers and figure out what you’d like in them. Some people keep their towels and washcloths in their bathroom, while others keep them in a linen closet. Some keep extra shampoo, conditioner, face products. For me… because my apartment is so small, I keep most of my beauty items, extra paper products, cleaners and cleaners under the bathroom sink.
Step 4: Organize Organize Organize. For your clothes, try to keep a consistent organizational system. For some people (like me), they like to organize by type of clothing item. All of my parts get hung up together, skirts together, long sleeves together, dresses together etc. I go a little further (go figure, right?) and organize by season… Here, in Florida, we really only have 2 seasons – summer, and fall. So in months October-February, I put my spring/summer pieces in the back of my closet and then from March-September, I put my fall/winter pieces back there.
Make sure you keep your drawers super clean by neatly folding all of your clothes. In each of my drawers, I keep my tops on the left hand side and my pants/shorts on the right. I keep my workout clothes in my top drawer. Loungewear in the second drawer, jeans and shorts in the third drawer, and since I’m losing weight, I keep the clothes I’m just a few inches away from fitting into, in the bottom drawer.
- Clean up before bed – Before you go to bed every night, take a quick walk around the house and pick up anything that looks out of place. Wipe the counters down, take out the trash if it needed, fluff the pillows on the couch, make sure clothes are picked up off the floor. This way when you wake up the next day, everything is clean and beautiful!
- Don’t press snooze – Its rough the first few time, but it gets better! Trust me!
- Make your bed every single morning – There is nothing better than getting under the covers of your clean, freshly made bed not to mention that a bedroom always looks cleaner and fresher when the bed is made.
- Transfer/backup your photos often – This is my favorite tip because every 1st of the month (or around there) I religiously backup my photos from my phone and my camera to my external hard drive. I have to tell you guys, I am a little ridiculous. All of my photos are saved and filed by year, then month, then event/occasion, then type. Honestly, if my phone/camera memory card is running short on storage and I haven’t done a photo dump in a while, I’ll just dump all of them on my laptop and put them all in a folder called “Phone” until I have a minute to organize. This gives me so much anxiety knowing they aren’t organized, I kid you not. Knowing there are snap chat pictures, mixed with memes, mixed with blog post pictures, mixed with Christmas pictures. Seriously, I’m getting myself worked up right now thinking about it. When it gets that bad, I sit on my couch with my laptop and just organize my pictures until all the folders and clean and beautiful. I’m not saying this is normal… it actually sounds insane when I write it out… but I do think you should organize your media at least every other month if you’re like me and you take
way too manyquite a few pictures.
- Keep a list of all of your usernames and passwords in a safe place or secure app
- Put it back where you found it – This may seem like the simplest task, but it’s probably the hardest to follow through with. When you’re done with it, put it away. Sounds simple right? Well, for me, putting away my makeup after I’m done applying it is the hardest… but I make time to do it!
- Donate one thing for every one thing you purchase
- Unsubscribe from junk mail – This one is awesome because most of us have a ridiculous amount of junk email. What you do to start is go through your email and delete everything you don’t need. I recommend doing this on a computer because you’ll be able to delete more than on an app. It might take you a few days but really commit to it. Then when you have NOTHING in your inbox, every morning after you make your to do list, go through the previous days emails and unsubscribe from anything you want to. Then delete the email. This is a work in progress since you’ll get some emails daily, some weekly, some monthly etc. but you’ll start to get less and less spam!
- Before you go grocery shopping, take inventory – Make sure you take it on an app you use on your phone. I use Wunderlist for this!
- Write (type) everything down – If you want to have a super organized life, you have to write things down. For me, I can’t do a handwritten to do list or a handwritten agenda. I HAVE to use my phone. So the three apps I use all the time are Google Docs, Wunderlist, and my Calendar.
- Google Docs – My holy f*ing grail. It’s an app that allows you to write, edit, save, and collaborate wherever you are. I have several word documents saved and I add to them throughout the day, right there in the app. Super easy and super convenient and I don’t know what I’d do without it. Sometimes, I’ll be in the car driving and I’ll think of a great blog post idea. I instantly As soon as I get to a stoplight, I grab my phone, open the app, go to my Blog Post Ideas document and type it in. The app automatically saves every few seconds and you can access the document on any computer.
- Wunderlist – I use this app for my grocery list, packing list, and to do list. Try to make your to-do lists in the morning while you’re still in bed. It gets you in the right frame of mind for the day! Also, try to stay away from making to-do lists before bed because for some people, it can keep them up at night, knowing all the tasks they need to get done. Also, you can add people to your list so Paul and I use it together all the time, especially with grocery shopping. Whenever one of us uses the last of something like coffee or dish soap, we add it to the grocery list. Then when we are at the grocery store we check off the items as we put them in the cart and the item just goes away. It makes grocery shopping so much easier. You can also set reminders and schedule to do items for specific dates. Pretty sweet sh*t. You should try it.
- My calendar – If you don’t know this by now, my calendar is my absolute LIFE! I use it for everything… I put doctor appointments, lunch dates, work events, assignment due dates and everything else you can think about. I also color code it
Green is for work events/blog stuff
Red is for appointments and personal events
Yellow is for my boyfriend’s travel schedule
Blue is for holidays and birthdays
Black is for school deadlines
Whenever I make an appointment or plans with a friend, I add it to the calendar. That way I’ll never forget and I’ll always have it with me. On my phone, I use the calendar widget! I just put it as an entire page on a page by itself so when I’m on my home screen, I just have to swipe left and my calendar is there, big, and easy to read.
- Break old habits – Try to make a mental note, or if you’ve learned anything from this post, a physical note in your Google Docs, when you notice yourself doing something on a regular basis that contributes to clutter and chaos. For me, I used to have a horrible habit of putting my purse, jacket, keys, and anything else I walked in the house with on the kitchen island. As soon as I noticed this, I tried my hardest to change it. Now when I come home, I put key keys in my purse, and put my purse in my bedroom. I hang my jacket up and empty my lunchbox… immediately. This will save you time, and will make your house cleaner.
- Don’t overcommit!!
I really hope this helped you! If you guys like these kinds of posts, I could start a series on organization and dive a little deeper into some of the steps/tips.
Let me know your favorite tips on getting/staying organized and if you would like to see more of this on my blog!
Lets make 2018 our cleanest, neatest, most organized year yet!