Tag Archives: organize

The Minimalism Journey

 

This would be the appropriate time to say, “all good things must come to an end.” However, the end of this monthly column does not signify the end of my journey with minimalism, and it doesn’t have to mean the end of yours.

The basics of minimalism are simple. You don’t need a book to tell you that having less stuff means less clutter. We all know the feeling of metaphorical and physical weight being lifted from our shoulders when we drop off a bag of clothes at a thrift store. Living with less means that you can focus on things that really matter. It gives you more time for family and pursuing your passions. No matter where you are financially, it gives you permission to live your best life.

This column is ending, but I hope the following things stick with you:

Decreasing the items in your wardrobe will give you more time to get ready, workout, or prepare a healthy breakfast every morning. Ultimately, it will give you more time with your family and eliminate mountains of dirty clothes in your closet and throughout your home.

Keep surfaces bare and sinks empty. Deal with clutter as it happens. This includes washing and putting dishes away after each meal, filing or recycling mail as it enters your home, and finding a place for purchases the moment they enter your door. Giving these items a home on your coffee table, counter, or dining room table may be the most short term convenient option, but you will regret it in the long run.

And, speaking of purchases, decluttering your home is only the first step. As we celebrate the holiday season, remember that in order to stick to your new minimalist goals, everything that enters your home must replace something that already exists. By making this rule, you become a more conscious consumer. You will also likely become even more appreciative of the gifts you receive because they will always have a purpose instead of finding a home at the back of your closet.

Minimalism is also about taking back your schedule and making time for things that matter. It makes you aware of the amount of time you spend on social media, watching television, and clocking in to work. When you stop spending so much on decorations and sale items that will be meaningless by January, your finances will thank you—and you may be able to adjust your work habits accordingly.

Finally, make minimalism a family goal. Instead of forcing it, however, lead the way with your own habits. Show your family that, by decluttering and being a conscious consumer, you are happier. You have more money to put towards experiences instead of electronics or toys. Show them your awareness of how detrimental consumer distractions can be has increased your potential for joy because you can appreciate what you already own.

We spend so much of this life in pursuit of happiness. The question I want to leave you with is, what if it has been right under our noses all along?

Making Small Spaces Spacious

If you’re struggling with feeling claustrophobic when you go home because you have too much stuff, or you live in a smaller house and you’re dying for more space but there’s no chance of moving any time soon, hang in there because we’re here to help! Sometimes we don’t realize how many unnecessary items we have collected over time until suddenly one day we look around and feel overwhelmed! Other times we just haven’t utilized the space that we do have in the right way. Here are some ideas on how to make those small spaces feel spacious!
Work with white!- First off, if you live in a small house and you’re thinking about painting your walls a dark color, put the paintbrush down! Work with lighter colors, these kinds of colors will open up your small areas more than you might think. Instead of slate black or navy, stick to bright whites, light grays, sand colors, or even a fun seafoam green!
Accent colors!- If you’re really set on a darker color in a room, use it as an accent instead. For instance, you could use a dark color for your lampshades, couch pillows, or throw blankets. These pops of color will add character and are a fun way to show off your style without making you and your guests feel like you’re living in a shoebox. Or, if you are just dying for a dark color on the wall, you can use that color on a single wall to create an accent wall! Doing this will help make the room seem deeper and will create a focal point. An accent wall is an opportunity to show off your style and personality because the options are limitless! You can use one solid color, horizontal stripes, or even polka dots! Horizontal stripes are a great idea because they will create the illusion that the room is wider than it actually is. Or, if that’s not quite your style, you can create an accent wall by placing multiple works of art on the same wall. This is neat because you can use photos, canvases, or paintings that are meaningful to you as a focal point of a room and a conversation starter!
living-room-421842_1920Embrace the light!- Another common problem in rooms that feel small is a lack of light. For goodness sake, open those curtains! If simply opening the curtains doesn’t give you enough light and the room still feels like it’s underground, grab a lamp! Another way to maximize light in a room is to add mirrors. A great place to add a mirror is the wall right across from the window. Doing so will directly reflect all of that wonderful sunshine that is coming in through that window and will make the room seem brighter. You can also add a fun or unique mirror to your accent wall to show off your style and brighten up the room at the same time! You might not even realize how dark your home is until you start adding light in order to create a more desirable atmosphere for you and your family.
Declutter!- We hope that these decorating ideas help your home to feel comfortable and inviting again, but none of these will help you if you continue to hold onto those items that you don’t use or need anymore. In order to decorate you have to declutter! No, you really don’t need six remotes and four blankets in every room. For the things you do need, look into fun and functional storage units to prevent your house from feeling cluttered and messy. For the things you don’t need or don’t use often, downsize, throw it away, or donate it!  (Check out our monthly minimalism column in Bella for decluttering ideas!)

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Top Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for College

Heading back to school can be stressful for a number of reasons, from new routines and lengthy shopping lists to preparing your students for the year ahead. It becomes even more stressful when you’re faced with the tough task of outfitting a college-bound teen for dorm life. But there’s no need to fret, the following tips will allow you to rest easy and have confidence that your child is prepared for the adventure ahead.

Plan-ahead packing
Unlike typical back-to-school shopping, college preparation takes a lot more planning. Begin shopping for school supplies and clothes at least two months in advance to avoid last minute stress. Many schools help by providing a shopping list of must-haves for the dorm, including power strips, refrigerators and toiletry kits – which is a great place to get started. You can also encourage your teen to reach out to their new roommates in advance through social media to discover their likes and dislikes. This can help them learn what kinds of supplies and furniture each person is bringing, so they don’t end up with two microwaves or small refrigerators in what will likely be extremely limited space.

Many retailers even allow grads to create a college registry so family and friends know just what to get them. Soon-to-be college students can create an account and handpick specific gifts that range from dorm room essentials to tailgating supplies, bicycles, and even pepper spray. These retailers also often provide helpful registry guides so you don’t miss a thing. Creating a registry will allow you to start preparations early and shop throughout the summer for items that may not be purchased as a graduation gift, rather than darting out on a mad dash when it’s time to move.

Savvy storage
If there’s one thing your teen will need to adjust to when going to college, it’s dorm life. The rooms are typically a small, bland 200-square foot space with very little storage. And sharing with at least one other person is definitely not luxurious. While preparing for life in such small quarters may feel like a messy situation, it doesn’t mean your teen’s room has to look like one. With a little creativity and know-how, your teen’s home away from home will be an organized, cozy retreat.

For storing large items, look no further than under the bed. Use extra-long containers to store clothing, shoes and other items that require easy and often access. To eliminate clutter, you can also turn empty suitcases from move-in day into storage containers. If you need more space, consider requesting a lofted bed to create more height for additional storage.

When closets and horizontal space run out, look to the walls. GeckoTech Reusable Hooks help provide added storage to dorm rooms, allowing your teen to easily organize items such as desk accessories, jewelry and jackets. Utilize these hooks in the closet to organize scarves and hats, and by the door to keep keys, umbrellas and backpacks at hand. GeckoTech Hooks are easy to re-position and reuse, which means you can move them – and your belongings – around the room, to find the best organizational solution for your new space. Plus, the hooks remove cleanly so you won’t have to worry about damaged walls during move out next spring.

Life Basics
While purchasing the correct supplies is essential, it’s also important to teach your child to become self-sufficient.  Show your teen how to do laundry and insist that they do their own clothing, sheets and towels for the entire summer.  By the time they get to college with a roll of quarters in hand, they’ll have the hang of it. College kids also need basic financial know how. This summer, show them the basics of banking, including how to responsibly use an ATM and debit card, write checks, pay bills online and balance their account. You may also want to set a budget – late night pizza and movie nights can quickly add up – to ensure your teen is responsible enough to manage his or her own funds.

Sending your teen off to college can be an exciting and emotional time, but with these tips you can make sure they are well equipped to survive dorm life.

Removing the Clutter from Your Life

A few small changes to your surroundings and your routine may be all you need to reduce stress and improve efficiency during your work day. Check out some of the recent changes I’ve made and leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Decluttering:
Every room in my house needed help. Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was very inspirational to this process. I’ve cut my entire wardrobe (summer and winter clothes included) in half. There will be no more storing clothes in their off seasons. Getting dressed in the morning is easier— and in two weeks, I have yet to wake up and say, “I have nothing to wear!”

Deleting unnecessary smart phone apps:
I once used three screens on my iPhone to house all of my apps. Now I’m down to one. There are quite a few that you can’t delete, but you can push them out of the way by making a folder for all your extra stuff. And, speaking of unnecessary apps…

Limiting time on social media:
I used to “relax” and “unwind” before bed by surfing through Facebook.
As it turns out, after deleting the app from my phone, I’m sleeping better— for a couple of reasons:
Watching people exchanging harsh words on Facebook over any issue is stressful. I often wonder if the same people would approach someone in a crowded restaurant and have a heated argument with them if they were wearing a shirt broadcasting their opinion instead? Sometimes a keyboard shields us from the fact that there are actual humans on the other side— and becoming emotional about an issue that a Facebook debate will not solve is detrimental to a good night’s sleep.
Reports from the pages of various news outlets on various catastrophes do not bode well for shut eye. I’m not saying I don’t want to be informed— but I am saying that stirring up my fight or flight mechanism before bed probably wasn’t the best idea.

Exercising:
Staying active on a regular basis is just better for your health. With less distractions in the form of physical and social clutter, I spend more time getting my nervous energy out on the trails or the track— which helps get my brain ready for focusing at work.

Eating a better breakfast:
I’ve eliminated coffee and bread from my morning— only because it is better for ME. Ask yourself what would be better for you—maybe even talk to your doctor about healthy foods that could meet your needs. I start my mornings by drinking an entire bottle of water and eating a couple of hard boiled eggs and an apple. I have more energy and I don’t have to worry about the dreaded caffeine crash mid-morning.

 

How do you get relax and stay organized during the week? Let us know!

Declutter and Get Organized

hbx-closet-tips-charity-getty-deSpring is right around the corner! This weekend is the perfect time to reinvigorate your life. We really like the idea of becoming a minimalist, living simply with fewer possessions. You can enjoy your life more if you don’t have to deal with so many things in your life. Making changes in your life can be scary but also very good for your well-being. A good way to ease into becoming a minimalist is to begin the process of decluttering and spring cleaning.

A great tip for de-cluttering your wardrobe is to put your hangers on your rack backwards. Whenever you wear something and put it back on the hanger, turn it around the right way. Do this at the beginning of every season, and at the end of the season donate the clothes that are still turned around backwards.

When spring cleaning, we are often faced with the dilemma of what to get rid of and what to keep. Here are a few tips on getting rid of useless clutter:

Ask yourself if you are holding on to something just because there is a memory attached, like those ticket stubs to that one play you saw with your significant other. If so, get rid of it. If you have a strong emotional connection to it, take a picture of the object so you can always go back and look at it. You may have the urge to keep something because you “might put it in a scrapbook someday.” To save space, try to be content with just taking a picture of the object and putting the photograph in the scrapbook instead of the actual object.

If you really want to keep something, ask yourself if it is something that you can display in your house. Frame pictures or put them in photobooks. Dust off your shelves and place mementos on them.

Ask yourself if you’re holding on to something broken because you might fix it one day. If this is something that can easily be replaced, go ahead and trash it and get a new one. Unless you have serious plans about fixing something, don’t let broken junk take up space in your house.

Remember that the changes you make to declutter and become minimalist can be hard. That’s why you should take it slow at first. Don’t get in over your head. Minimalism has many benefits for improving your life. So, begin by doing your spring cleaning.

 

Written by Krista Knauer