Prepping For a New Month

Happy, May! (Insert Justin Timberlake meme here.)

While I’ve written plenty about how I use my planner, as well as how I organize my finances, I’ve never talked about how the two go hand in hand at the start of the month. So here goes nothing.

 At the start of every month, no matter what day that might fall on, I always make it a point to dedicate at least 1 hour to planning. During this time, I bring out my planner and first look at the month at-a-glance calendar. In this section, I like to mark the key dates for the month (ie: friends’ birthdays, various social commitments, travel dates, etc.) to give myself a high level sense of what the month will entail.

From there, I translate these days into the weekly calendar pages and in even more details here, too. As I’m making plans for the month, I always like to keep in mind my philosophy about weekend balancing. This helps me to ensure that I’m not overcommitting myself or leaving myself without any time to catch up on life.The last piece of my monthly prep routine is recording my finances. While I keep a close watch on my bank accounts every week, I really enjoy having the time once a month to do a deep dive. In a large spreadsheet, I record how much money I have in each one of my accounts, how much I saved since the previous month, and then set goals for the upcoming month.

Even though this seems like a lot, I promise it can be done quickly once you get in the routine!

Drawer Diaries

We’re all guilty of it—when we don’t know where to put something or we acquire a tchotchke that we’re not really sure what to do with, we stuff it in a drawer and forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

But you know what happens next: As soon as you need something from that drawer and open it up, you’re inevitably overwhelmed by its state and want to close it just as quickly as you opened it.

If you’ve been nodding your head this whole time because you can relate to this phenomenon, then let’s talk about how to tackle it together! Since it is the season to clean and purge, there’s no better time than right now to address the state of your drawers. And that can be any drawer at all, from the ones in your bathroom vanity to the others in your media console.The best thing to do is to open them up, take out all of the contents, and then begin to put only the things back that you want to keep. As you’re doing this, you should also aim to make sure that the drawer has a theme. For example, don’t let your nail polish slip into the drawer with the television remotes and batteries—rather, make sure that only like items are together in one single drawer. This will also help with future organizing, as you’ll know exactly which drawer an item belongs in.

 

When it comes to actually organizing the drawers, I’m a big fan of storage solutions like this one to capture small items. Instead of letting all of your items just roll around inside a drawer, consider various trays that can help keep everything neat and tidy.

Once your drawers are all organized, remember that they never need to revert back to how they looked before this exercise. Just remember that each drawer has a theme, storage solutions are your friend, and random items that you don’t know what to do with may be better suited for the garbage.

Tricks of the Trade: Keeping Clothes Fresh

There’s nothing worse than having to part with your favorite blouse because it simply looks like it’s seen better days. But by the same token, it’s also not a good look to be wearing clothes that clearly look like they’ve seen better days.

In an effort to keep clothes looking fresh and new as long as possible, here are a few quick tips that I’ve found helpful over the years:

  • Dry clean delicates: While it can at times be tempting to try to wash a delicate item yourself, it really never ends well that way. I’d highly recommend letting the experts do what they do best and taking your nice pieces to the dry cleaners.
  • Wash denim sparingly: This might sound gross to some, but I try to only wash my jeans when they need to be shrunken and/or have gotten visibly dirty. They maintain their wash far longer if you try to wash them as sparingly as possible.
  • Spot treat instead of doing a full wash: If and when I spill something small on denim, for instance, I’ll always attempt a spot treatment before throwing them in the hamper. With a little elbow grease, the spot usually comes right out.
  • Choose your laundry products wisely: I learned the hard way that fabric softener is noooo good for your clothes—well, if you want to keep them feeling crisp, that is. Some detergents have fabric softener included in the formula, so be sure you read the label carefully before picking up your next bottle.

Top 5 Organizing Rules

I’m such a sucker for a good “top 5” list—whether it’s about beauty or cleaning or cooking, I am exponentially more likely to click on something when I know it will be broken down into bite-sized chunks. Hopefully you’re like me in that sense and will therefore enjoy what I’ve put together below: the top 5 organizing rules, according to moi.

Rule 1: Everything in its place. In order for your home to be as organized as it can be, you need to make sure that everything has a place at the end of the day.

Rule 2: Put things away in the moment. So often, friends and clients tell me that organizing is not in their DNA and they’ve come to accept that they’ll always have piles of clothes in their bedrooms. My answer? Try putting things away in the moment so you never build a pile! Even though it may add five minutes to your getting ready routine, I promise it will be worth it.

Rule 3: Cleanse and edit often. We all have a tendency to collect things over time, which is totally fine so long as you make it a point to regularly review all that you have. For instance, I do a closet purge roughly twice a year during which I review everything that I have and pick pieces out for donation or selling.

Rule 4: Group items by type. While this rule may be most easily understood in the context of a closet, it applies to every room in the house. Simply by organizing by like items (ie: jeans with all other jeans, books with all other books in the living room, meats will all other meats in the refrigerator), your home will appear instantly more organized.

Rule 5: Create a routine that works for you. All of us are unique in our own ways, and that directly carries over into our organizing habits. Because of this, don’t try to force someone else’s routine onto you just because it works for them. Instead, develop a plan that is personalized to you and your schedule. After all, if you come up with a plan that works, you’ll stick with it!

Tricks of the Trade: Planner Organization

I’ve confessed just how much I love my planner before, but I’ve never really shown you a glimpse into how I functionally use it. But today, that changes! Keep reading to find out how I plan to perfection.

Before I really get into it, I should let you know that I use my planner to capture every little task or thought that I have. For me, it’s so therapeutic to know that everything is written down in one spot and that I don’t have to bother keeping it all stored in my head.

Because I write so much down in my planner, I need a system to distinguish between different tracks of work and to-do’s. What’s that system? So glad you asked!

Everything I write down in my planner falls into 1 of 5 categories:

  • Social: Weekend plans, important dates (ie: birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), travel plans
  • To-do’s: Various chores that I need to take care of
  • Work: This includes all things business, from my day job to my finances
  • Gym: The classes that I sign up for go here
  • Blog: Any and all work I need to do for The Tidy Corner 🙂

 

To make the categories super clear and distinct, I use colored erasable pens. Yes, you heard that right! There are erasable pens out there and they are an absolute must because plans always change and you’ll certainly need to move things around from time to time.

At the start of the year, I went through my planner and added in several items under the “social category,” namely friends’ and family’s birthdays, as well as travel dates I’ve already booked. Then, as a new month begins, I always reflect on what I need to do and what I’ve already committed to and enter it into my planner. This does wonders in helping me feel like the month ahead is on track and my life is in order!

I hope you found this planner tutorial helpful, and if you have any tips for how you organize your own, please do share in the comments!

New Year, New Organization

Happy New Year, organizers! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, food, and—most importantly—great gifts. I, for one, am feeling refreshed and ready to take on 2018.

There really is no better time than a new year to set new goals and routines for yourself—and including organizing into the mix is always a good idea. Whether it’s something so small as making the bed everyday or something much larger like cleansing your whole house, I encourage you to take this time to think about can become more organized this year.

In case you need some tips, check out all of my organizing advice here.

Workweek Scheduling

I’ve written about how I think about my weekend time before, so I thought it would be nice to share the weekday counterpart post.

There’s no denying that weekdays are hectic—between the stress that work can bring and commuting time, it can be challenging to feel motivated to do anything after work. Because I am really not a morning person and therefore have to do everything after work, I’ve had to think long and hard about a system that works well for me and allows me to get everything done without feeling completely wiped out. And while my current system is ever-evolving and improving, it has worked pretty well for me and I’m excited to share it!

Make Mondays count. Mondays are often dreaded—they’re the first day after the weekend and often involve a lot of work stress and catch up. My philosophy on Mondays? Look at them as a fresh start to the week and an opportunity to get organized! I like to try to use Monday to its fullest ability by getting all of my ducks in a row for the week (while listening to some really fun music, of course). For me, that usually looks like setting out my outfits for the week, setting a schedule in my planner, and meal prepping.

Make a checklist. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a big fan of to-do lists. I just love how they can serve as a brain dump, making it so I don’t have to worry about keeping everything straight in my head. On any given week, I’ll have different chores that need to get done, such as the usual suspects like laundry and grocery shopping, but also some standalone ones like gift shopping for a friend or getting my hair cut. By making a checklist for myself, I can easily see at a glance what needs to get done that week.

Break up the day. Going, going, going at work only to be followed by going, going, going after work is not a good combination. Instead, I personally need something to break up the day, which is where exercise comes into play for me. My gym offers tons of classes everyday but I have three that I really love, so I dedicate those days of the week to exercise classes. Breaking up the week with a physical activity helps me to stay focused, and because all of my classes end in the early evening, I can usually still tend to other to-do’s after they’re over.

Dedicate time on the weekend. When thinking about your workweek, it’s crucial to remember that not everything needs to get done in one day. In fact, not all of it even needs to get done that week. As I’ve written about before, I try to dedicate at least part of Sundays to errands and to-do’s, which makes such a difference on my mental health during the week. I’d highly recommend it!