Tricks of the Trade: Grocery Bags

If you’re anything like me, then you frequently arrive at the grocery store only to realize that you’ve left all your reusable bags at home. Cue: facepalm.

Because that was happening to me more often than I’m willing to admit, I made some super simple changes that have had a big impact. Here’s what I did:

Got Rid of Old Bags: It seems like every function or event you go to these days gives away reusable totes as party favors. As such, it’s no surprise to me that I had about 30+ bags hanging out in a drawer in my kitchen. Because I only genuinely liked a handful of them, I first took the time to go through them and purge. Now that I have only a few bags that I genuinely think are cute, I’ve found that I reach for them far more often.Store Bags On Door: After parsing through my bags, I then found a new home for them on the back of the pantry door in my kitchen. I like this storage solution much better than a drawer because now I can actually see them, which once again helps me to remember to reach for them before leaving the house. To keep things tidy, I placed the smaller bags within one larger bag and hung that one on a hook.

Keep Extras in Car: But because sometimes you can’t predict when you need to run a last-minute errand, I also stowed two bags away in the glove compartment of my car. Since that space can often be really tight, I’d recommend investing in the foldable bags from Baggu to maximize storage!

Tricks of the Trade: Denim Organization

As someone who wears jeans just about everyday of the week, I’ve collected quite a few pairs over the years. Couple that with my passion for all things organized, and let’s just say I’ve tested out many different ways to store jeans. From being draped over hangers to folded up in a dresser, I’ve tested every which way and finally landed on my favorite.

From my perspective, the absolute best way to organize your jeans is to keep them on an open shelf in your closet (seen here in mine). The reason for this is that I like to keep my jeans in piles, separated by wash. This is identical to how I organize the rest of my closet: by color coordination.

Having all jeans of the same wash stacked on top of one another inevitably means quite a tall pile. For this reason, storing my jeans in a dresser simply doesn’t work because the drawers are just not deep enough. Plus, keeping your piles of jeans out on an open shelf means you can see every single pair in the mix.

As you’ll see above, I have 4 different piles of jeans: 1) whites and colors, 2) light washes, 3) dark washes, and 4) gray and black washes. By folding each pair into thirds, the piles stay nice & tidy and are super easy to maintain.

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.

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!

Tricks of the Trade: Bathroom Organization

My bathroom is, without a doubt, the smallest room in the apartment. Somehow, all three of our walk-in closets are larger than our bathroom. But even with its small size working against us, I’ve manager to pack a whole lot into it without making it feel cluttered or cramped. From a shelving system to hidden storage, keep reading to find out my tips for maximizing storage space in a small bathroom.

The biggest tip I can give is to invest in an over-the-toilet shelving system—I found this one on Target and seriously couldn’t love it any more. With this system in place, here are some more ways to increase storage space:

  • Use vases as storage — I love shopping at flea markets and second-hand stores and often pick up quaint vases when I do. The vases in my bathroom not only serve as decoration, but also double as storage. I put all kinds of things in my vases, from nail clippers and tweezers to floss and travel toothpaste.
  • Place baskets on top of your shelving unit — Without the baskets I’ve placed above our shelf, I would definitely not be able to fit all of my toiletries. The two that we have in our bathroom hold everything from sunscreen and body lotion to cold medicine and advil.
  • Hang a shower caddy — I’m a firm believer that everything in a room should have a spot, which is exactly why I hung two shower caddies over our rack in the shower. I love how this keeps everything up and off the bathtub and into its own designated spot.

Do you have any storage tips for a small bathroom? Let me know in the comments!

Tricks of the Trade: Makeup Organization

I’ve always appreciated the magic of makeup, but recently that appreciation has turned more into an obsession. Every night, I find myself watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, which inevitably have product endorsements in them, which inevitably winds up in me ordering said products and growing my makeup collection. Please tell me I’m not alone in this!

Because my collection has grown these past few months, I’ve been experimenting with different organizational techniques and have finally landed on a system that I’m excited to share.

Of course, if my bathroom were much larger, I’d definitely be stocking up on these clear makeup holders to do the job. But alas, I’m working with a few drawers in my second closet, as well as some vanity space. To maximize this limited space, I invested in some really pretty vases to store my brushes, eyebrow gels, and lip pencils. Some days, I’ll only apply some eyebrow gel and hint of lip color, so I love that these two staples are now super easy to reach.

As for the rest of my makeup products, I found these very practical cubes from IKEA that happen to fit perfectly in my vanity drawers. I use two for my makeup: One for My concealers, highlighters, and beauty blenders, and the other for bronzers, blushes, powders, eyeshadows, and foundations. Because they are quite small, I stack most things with the largest item on the bottom and the smallest on top. When I get ready in the morning, I simply empty out the bins and pull my selections for the day.

How do you organize your makeup? Please share in the comments!

Tricks of the Trade: Pantry Makeover

I’m not going to lie, I’ve really struggled with organizing my pantry over the years. Sure, I’ve got a system in place for what goes where, but I’ve had a hard time finding enough space to store all of my snacks and canned goods. While our pantry is very tall, it’s not practical for me to store essentials all the way up at the top, and I’ve been trying to find a solution for a while.

Just the other weekend, I was in the Container Store and stumbled upon acrylic risers. I wasn’t sure if they were going to work for my project, but I figured I’d give them a try and return them if need be. Thankfully, they worked perfectly and have created much-needed additional shelving in my pantry.

As you can see in the above photo, cans can go under the riser while other items, such as farro and quinoa, can live on top. Hooray for extra storage!