Tricks of the Trade: Refrigerator Organization

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Let’s be real, the fridge can get pretty unruly really quickly if you’re not careful about it. Covered tupperware can go unnoticed, jars of tomato sauce can go bad, etc, etc. So how do you keep it clean and orderly? You’ve come to the right place!

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I like to have a system when it comes to my fridge, not only for where each food group belongs, but also for when I go through its contents with a fine-tooth comb. I typically do all of my grocery shopping for the week on Sundays, and when I get home I like to take a moment to go through the fridge. I’ll quickly check expiration dates, throw out anything that looks browned, and wipe down the bottoms. That way, I’m putting all of my fresh food away into a clean space.

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Much like how I organize my pantry, I use each shelf in my fridge for a different food group. It looks a little something like this:

  • Top shelf: All of my breakfast foods, such as fresh berries, bread, eggs, and yogurt.
  • Middle shelf: Dinner foods and beverages. This week, I made a big batch of soup so that’s taking up the bulk of this shelf currently. On other days, you might find roasted chicken or even some lasagna.
  • Bottom shelf: Since the bottom shelf is hung so low, I usually put all of my smaller lunch items here. I like to meal prep my lunches, so once I do, I divvy them into tupperware and slide them on this shelf.
  • Bottom drawers: We have two drawers in our fridge, so I use one of them for fresh produce and the other one for cheeses and deli meats.
  • Side shelves: You can see a glimpse into my shelves in the first picture. My strategy here is pretty simple: I sort from largest to smallest to create an aesthetically-pleasing array of sauces and jars.

Tricks of the Trade: Packing

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If you’ve followed my blog for some time, then you know I’ve written a packing tutorial before. But since that was more than two years ago, it felt like the right time for an update!

Whenever I am leaving town–whether for a weekend getaway or a two-week excursion–I always follow the same 4 steps. They’ve never once failed me, and I hope you find them as helpful as I do.

  1. Go shopping: In your closet, that is. Kick off your packing process by looking through your clothes and pulling out what catches your eye.

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2. Lay it all out: Once you’ve selected your favorite items from your closet, go ahead and lay them down on your bed. No need to make this super neat, as you’re just starting to lay the foundation.

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3. Start making piles: In my last post, I advised you to make piles based on type–shirts with shirt, jeans with jeans, etc. Recently however, I’ve been changing my ways and actually setting out my outfits. So instead of creating piles by type, I create piles of actual outfits that I intend to wear on my trip.

I find this to be the most crucial step, as it ensures that you’re only bringing exactly what you intend to wear and don’t wind up 500 miles from home with 10 blouses but no jeans that pair well with them.

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4. Pile it into the suitcase: With your outfits all set out, it should be really easy to see exactly what you’re bringing with you and what can go back into your closet. Simply put, if you have ten extra dresses than days on your trip, you can confidently put those all back in your closet.

When it comes to actually laying things down in the suitcase, I like to revert back to the piles by type strategy. I’ll put jackets with other jackets, jeans with other jeans, and so on and so forth.

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I like to start with the bulkiest items first and gradually layer in my lighter pieces.

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So now that we’re all packed, where should we go? : )

Tricks of the Trade: Collecting v. Cluttered

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Have you ever loved something so much that you start a collection and want as many of that thing as you can get your hands on? I certainly have, and when I come across that thing, it’s always important for me to remind myself about the differences between collecting and cluttered.

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In order to keep your collection from overflowing into a cluttered mess, I always recommend that you pay close attention to the amount of negative space available. Take my bookshelves, for instance. They’re filled with lots of books with lots of colors, as well as a few tchotchkes and several pieces of pottery. Without a clear strategy behind item placement on these shelves, they could easily look and feel cluttered, but with a few simple adjustments, they feel collected and clean.

First and foremost, it’s important to keep space between each item. By having distinct piles of books that are separated from the pile next to them, the shelf looks and feels cleaner and more open. Additionally, I try to balance the amount of tchotchkes on each shelf, such that if one shelf has several, the ones sandwiching it do not. That way, your eye is not torn about which shelf to look at, as there is a sense of balance between each of them.IMG_5728 IMG_5730  IMG_5723 IMG_5727

Tricks of the Trade: Socks

First ImageMy socks need to be organized? – You right now.

Yes! They most certainly do. – Me always.

While I loved a lot of what Marie Kondo had to say in her book, one thing that particularly stood out was the way in which she recommends organizing socks. She describes how people often bunch their socks by folding one onto the other in a large ball. Sounds like something you do? Then keep reading.

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She goes on to describe her belief that socks enjoy being laid down flat, as opposed to being balled up tightly. Though I’m not totally sold on this belief, what I am one hundred percent certain about is that folding socks in a ball only serves to stretch the elastic. Why would you ever want to do that? Yep.

To avoid stretching the elastic and creating a mess of your sock drawer, all of you have to do is gently stack socks on top of one another. Just be sure that pairs are matched together and you’re good to go!

Tricks of the Trade: Organizing Papers

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As we move in an increasingly paperless direction, it can at times be difficult to figure out where to keep individual papers. So, I thought I’d share my tips for what to hold onto, what to get rid of, and how to store all those papers that collect in random parts of your home.

First things first, do a cleanse. Do you need that manual for the microwave you bought five years ago? Probs not. I like to hold onto boxes for big purchases for a few months and once the item proves it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, I get rid of it, along with the dozens of papers it came with. The only thing I hold onto is my receipt—and if you paid for it with a card, you don’t need to hold onto anything.

IMG_5472 IMG_5474  Now that you’ve done a nice cleanse, you should have a much lighter stack of paper with which to work. Let’s hope so anyway. What I like to do is group all my papers together by category and store them in folders. For instance, I have the following folders:

  • Medical: Where I house all of my medical documents, proof of insurance, etc.
  • Professional: Where I house past offer letters, contracts, and the like.
  • Bills: Here, I keep really big invoices as well as my rental agreement.
  • Finances: This folder holds important bank statements, financial goals, 401k information, and my checkbook.
  • Important documents: Where I keep some miscellaneous yet super important papers, such as my college transcript, birth certificate, etc.

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Once you’ve created and filled your folders, I’d recommend reviewing their contents every few months. You’d be surprised to find what you don’t need anymore each time you do so.

Tricks of the Trade: Maintaining a Clean Home

First ImageAfter a long day, there’s no worse feeling than opening the door to your home only to find that a mess awaits you. Sure, sometimes there’s no way to avoid this—like if you had a really late night or had a friends over—but as often as possible, I strive to keep my apartment feeling fresh and clean. Here’s how I do it:

  • Set a cleaning schedule: A few months back, I shared my cleaning checklist that I follow religiously. Just pick a day that works best for you and deem it your cleaning day. Turn on your favorite music, buy some colorful cleaning products, and tidy away.
  • Be open to touch-ups: Maybe you spill some milk on your counter or you go to the beach and leave your entryway all sandy. Whatever the case, your home is likely to need some touch-ups here and there between your weekly clean day. Typically, I vacuum my entryway, sweep my bathroom, and wipe off my countertops and kitchen table once between clean days. I know, I know—you’re thinking, ‘ugh, more cleaning?’ But trust me, this will only make your once weekly cleaning day easier!

So go ahead, give it a try, and let me know how you like it.

Tricks of the Trade: The Pantry

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Let me let you in on a few secrets: 1) my kitchen pantry is more of a cabinet and 2) the top few shelves cannot be reached without standing on top of the counter. As such, I had to get pretty smart as I crafted a foolproof plan to store all of my dried foods. Here’s what I did:

  • Bottom shelf: Short items, on-the-go snacks that I reach for on a daily basis.
  • Second shelf: Dinner foods, such as pastas, soups, and rice. I also reach for these quite often.
  • Third shelf: Tall items, like big cracker and cereal boxes.
  • Fourth shelf: Teas, coffees, etc. I don’t reach for these as much so they can live on a higher shelf.
  • Top shelf: Baking items and wines. I bake about once a month so it felt right to keep these ingredients up high.

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What’s your pantry strategy? Share in the comments!