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.

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: Folding Sweaters

I’ve written about sweaters in the past, and how you should always opt to fold them. But now I thought I’d dive into how exactly you should go about folding them. Follow along to learn how to fold even the chunkiest of sweaters!

Step 1: Lay your sweater flat, with the front side down.

Step 2: Fold one sleeve and side in toward the middle of the sweater. You don’t want to overdo this fold (as that will make your sweater pile much too tall). Instead, imagine the sweater is divided into thirds and you want to fold in just 1/3 of the way.

Step 3: Fold the rest of the sleeve down toward the side of the sweater. This will also help to prevent an overly bulky fold.

Step 4: Repeat on the second side.

Step 5: Fold the bottom the sweater up to meet the top.

Step 6: Flip it around and voila! I like to then pat the sweater down a bit, as to smooth it.

Now what are you waiting for? Go get to folding those sweaters! I know you can do it.

DIY: Spice Containers

Without a doubt, spices are kitchen items that can be easily overlooked. You stock up on them as a given recipe calls and then you stow them away. But the problem with this is that you wind up with tons and tons of bottles–some that look too much alike and others that are a completely different shape and size. In other words, you wind up with a mess.

Sound familiar? Read on to find out how to do this super simple DIY that will make a big impact on your overall kitchen organization.

To kick off this DIY, I first took inventory of my spice cabinet. I pulled out all of my spices, threw away the ones I knew I’d never use again, and counted the remaining number. That way, I knew exactly how many bottles I needed to buy. I ended up purchasing these glass spice jars from the Container Store, along with transparent labels.

From there, it was just a matter of transferring from one (not so pretty) bottle to the next.

The final step is to add the label. The pack I linked to above also comes with blank labels so you can add custom labels, should you need to.

Let me know what you think of this simple DIY in the comments below!

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? : )