I was reading through my past few blog posts, and I noticed a little bit of a trend in how I’ve been approaching organization in my own life.  Namely, I’ve been putting it off.

I moved to the DC area a little over a year ago (that year went so fast!).  We are currently renting a 1-bedroom apartment and are in the midst of trying to buy a house.  We knew from the start that we were only going to stay in our apartment for about a year, so we kept furniture buying for this new apartment to a minimum.  So without making many large purchases,  I worked to organize and reorganize the space, making the small apartment feel like home and not overcrowded.  At least, this is what I did initially.

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about improvements I could make around the apartment and then dismissing them since we’re going to be moving “soon”.  Well no matter how soon “soon” really ends up being, why not just start today? What do I lose by making improvements today?

The answer: Nothing!

Here’s my short list of things to improve now:

  • Pictures in picture frames – This has never been a strong suit of mine.  I think it’s weird to have pictures of myself in my own place.. But I’m going to get over this.  I’ve ordered prints and now just need to get them in the frames (which I already own even!).
  • Hanging coat hooks – I’ve managed to get hooks inside all of my closets, but failed to hang up pretty much one of my favorite things in the house – our E & P hooks, which were a present from my sister and brother-in-law. Yes, I feel guilty about this.
  • Purging extra books, clothes, and knick knacks – I was waiting until we actually found a house to do this, as I started packing.  However, we’ve filled up our current apartment and I need to reclaim from space. It’ll be nice to have some empty shelves again.
  • A spot for paper – Another weakness of mine – I hate dealing with paper.  I’ve got the junk mail situation down, but not so much on the papers we actually need to keep.  This is a longer term project for me.  Step one will be research.  I’m starting with the Freedom Filer system and Babara Hemphill’s Taming the Paper Tiger.

As I make progress on these projects, I’ll give updates!

Adding shelves to some of your most used storage spaces will transform your life.  This is not an exaggeration.

This is a tip in three parts. First up, your clothes closet.

Clothes Closet

It’s a shame that the default clothes closet comes with a single bar for hanging clothes and a single shelf above that.  That top shelf is too high for me to use without a step stool and I have more clothes that should be folded than hung.  It’s a much better use of space if your clothes closet also contains a vertical column of shelves for all of your folded clothes – jeans, sweaters, more sweaters, etc.

For a quick and cheap solution (good for rentals) try a set of hanging shelves, which attach to that single high bar in your closet.  This has been my solution for the past several years.  Another good option is a tall, skinny set of shelves.  A single Billy bookcase or a skinny Expedit (hurry before they disappear from your Ikea!) might work, depending on the size of your closet. Try these vertical or horizontal – if you’re okay with having your clothes close to the ground.

Another option is to install some shelves.  There are (obviously) expensive solutions, custom designed closets and whatnot, but I’ve also seen some more affordable options at home improvement stores – Closet Maid is one such an example. Here and here are some examples.

Kitchen CabinetsKitchenCabinet

Our kitchen is small. (I mean, our apartment is small, so of course the kitchen is small).  We also have a large number of mugs (they are all necessary, I swear) and a second set of “fancy” plates.  How do I fit all of these into the one and a half cabinets we have for dishes?  Additional wire shelves.  Bam. Doubled the shelf space in no time.  Even if our kitchen wasn’t limited in space, I find kitchen shelves to be much higher than is necessary.  The wire shelves are inexpensive and come in a couple of different colors and sizes.  I bought mine at Target and The Container Store.


Medicine Cabinet

MedicineCabinetMedicine cabinets are small. Period. First of all, do yourself a favor and store only your most important items in here – tools and products used daily or weekly. Anything used less frequently should not earn a spot in this cabinet. Under the sink (in a bin, of course) or in the linen closet is a better place for those occasional items. Secondly, help your self out by picking up a couple of tiny shelves for the medicine cabinet. I have a number of short items that I wanted to store in the medicine cabinet. These acrylic shelves (from the Container Store) create additional surface area for these types of items. Now everything has its place in the cabinet and things don’t look overly crowded in there, either.


A key concept in organizing is assigning a home for all of your belongings. An easy project to tackle is the area by the door you use the most to leave your home. I call this a docking station. The rest of the internet calls this a landing strip.

The docking station should hold all of the things you need to leave the house – keys, wallet, purse. Additionally, there should be spots for things that you like to drop off as soon as you walk in the door. For us, this includes a change jar (to avoid tiny piles of change all over the house) and a basket to recycle junk mail immediately. For you, this might include sunglasses, hats and mittens, cell phone, etc.RedDockingStation

This is our current docking station.  We bought this little table (actually a night stand from Ikea) to fit in a very tiny space in our last apartment. Currently, there’s a bowl for our keys and headphones, another container for change, plus a basket on the shelf to recycle junk mail and other paper that comes in the door.  In the drawer, I store coupons that we will actually use.  After our next move, I’m going to upgrade to a larger table that will also hold my purse and another work bag – which you can see sitting on the floor next to the table.

The space devoted to the docking station need not be large – it just needs to be a dedicated space. Even if you don’t have enough floor space for an additional table, you can create a wall mounted docking station.  Here are a few ideas (from left to right):

  1. Cloud Key Holder – by Suck UK.  There are three super strong magnets on the bottom of the cloud.  A cute solution for those minimalists out there.  Available on Amazon and other online shops.
  2. Fusillo Wall Shelf – by andViseVersa.  This shelf is fully customizable.  Each slat of wood can rotate up to be a divider, down to be a hook, or flat to be part of the shelf.  See here for more pictures.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a price or a way to buy this item online!
  3. Elephant Organizer – by Kikkerland. This letter organizer can sit on a table or be mounted to the wall.  When mounted, the trunk serves as a hook.  Also available in bear shape, but with no hook, unfortunately.  Kikkerland.com has a online shop.








Life has been keeping me very busy since the start of 2014.  Not wanting to neglect my blog altogether (it’s on my list of intentions, remember!), I’m going to bring you a series of quick tips you can use to help you get and stay organized.  These are all things I do in my own home.

First up, hooks.  I don’t think I have enough words to express how much I love and use hooks.  By installing hooks (yes more than one) inside each of your closets, you’re making it that much easier to keep all that extra “stuff” off of the floor, such as:

  • Purses (if the straps are leather, make sure the purse itself is not too heavy before hanging)
  • Totes and reusable shopping bags
  • Umbrellas
  • Dog leashes
from theorderobsessed.com

from theorderobsessed.com – a blog i love.

A hook inside your closet door or a set of over the door hooks is especially helpful when it comes to dealing with clothing.  A hook is better than the floor, for sure.  Here’s some ideas:

  • Pull out tomorrow’s outfit and hang it on the back of your closet.
  • After you get in your comfy clothes, hang up today’s outfit, giving it time to breathe before getting returned to the closet.
  • Use a hook for your everyday coat.  (yes, sometimes its too much for me to put my coat back on the right hanger)
  • Hang up hoodies and jeans and yoga pants – or other things you wear all the dang time.

The hook itself does not need to be pretty or expensive.  In my coat closet we’re currently using large nails that were already in there when we moved in.  Our reusuable totes live there and the handles cover up the nail completely.  Also, Ikea is a great source for attractive, functional, and inexpensive (of course) hooks.

As much as I love December — snow is still exciting, listening to Christmas music all the time is socially acceptable, there’s time for vacation and visiting with family — it is an incredibly busy month for most people.  When January rolls around, I’m usually relieved to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  The weather seemingly always turns a little (or a lot) colder.  It’s in the teens in DC today and very windy, which means I had to break out the long underwear and I got to test out my warmest hand knit gear!

The colder weather forces us to slow down and maybe stay inside a bit more.  It’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that’s passed and the year that’s ahead of you and set some intentions (or resolutions, if you will) for yourself.

Here’s some tips to help you set and keep those intentions for 2014.

  • Think about the upcoming year.

It may sound easy enough, but we all know how hard it can be to give yourself some time to just think quietly.  Try taking a coffee or tea break away from the computer and your phone.  If you’re like me, bring along a pen and scrap of paper and jot down some ideas.  What life changes came in 2013? Have you adjusted your routine to accommodate these changes – or are you still struggling to keep up?  What changes do you want to make for yourself in the upcoming months and year?

Here’s my list so far:

  1. Establish routine for working on my organizing business.
  2. Establish routine for working on this blog.
  3. Keep all shopping intentional and planned.
  4. Continue daily walks – adding weekend walks!
  • Start Small.

The idea here is that you want to set yourself up for success.  By starting with something small, you’re more likely to achieve the goal.   I read an article that suggested changing the goal of exercising more to putting on your running shoes each morning.  Once you’ve accomplished something small, move onto something bigger!  No one says you can’t revise intentions during the year.

Here’s the changes I’ll make to my list of intentions:

  1. Block off 6 hours (minimum) weekly to business work. [One could argue that goal this isn’t small enough. I’ll acknowledge that and move on b/c I’ve got work to do! :) ]
  2. Work on the blog once a week: brainstorm, write a rough draft, or finalize a post.
  3. If I find something I like, wait a full day before actually making a purchase.
  4. Walk somewhere either Friday night, Saturday or Sunday every weekend.
  • Acknowledge your successes

We started small for a reason – so you could feel success sooner rather than later.  Once you do something on your list, even just once, acknowledge it!  Mark it in your calendar as completed.  Tell your mom, or BFF, or someone who likes you.  Say “Woot! I’m awesome”.  Put on a song and dance around to it.  Do not be embarrassed.  It’s a big deal when you do something you set out to do.

  • Get a support system

I got this idea from my knitting group.  We all put up our personal knitting plans in a forum post so we can cheer each other on during the year.  I think accountability is a great thing.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I put some things up on my blog just so you all can hold me accountable for plans and goals I’ve declared.  Remember that support systems should be about supporting you – not putting you down.  Let’s keep things positive!

  • Keep it going.

We’ve all heard that it takes n days to make a habit a routine.  Whatever that magical number of days is, an important thing to remember about New Year’s resolutions is that you made them so that you would make a change to your life – not just to your life during the month of January.  Create a reminder for the first of every month of 2014.  On those days spend 5 minutes reviewing your intentions for the year.  If you’ve stopped working on them, acknowledge that fact and start again. Make changes where you need to.

Happy New Year!  Feel free to share your personal resolutions in the comments.  I promise you’ll feel more committed to them!