Trying to organize my apartment has lead me to some knowledge along the way. I’d like to share! Here are some ways I’ve learned how to pull together a space not only to be organized, but so that it looks pleasing to the eye.
Place identical items together
A quick away to make a space look well thought out is to put all identical items next to each other. This looks especially nice in closets and display cases because it’s easy to do with bins and baskets. Here are some examples. Notice that identical bins, cases, and baskets are placed in a row.
Group items together
This tip is best for items stored in drawers or even a vanity table. Group similar items together in and give them their own space. Really, any space where you’re forced to place a lot of items can benefit from this. The organization helps you remember where things are. Plus, it looks nice!
Out of sight, out of mind
Unless I have to, I prefer to keep most items hidden away while at the same time using both of the above tips. This keeps your place looking clean even if your drawers are stuffed full. To which I suggest you try to empty them!
As promised, I’m going to log my quest of organizing my apartment! I’m going by area, so you all really will get a glimpse of my apartment from every nook and cranny… Here are some obstacles I have to overcome:
My budget. I don’t have a lot of money to buy things to organize. I’m hoping to score most of my stuff at thrift stores or on eBay. For everything else, I always have coupons.
I rent. This means I can’t tear things down or heavily modify without wanting to kill myself whenever we move out and have to put it back the way it was. On the plus side, my style would be portable.
Studio space. I live in a studio apartment with my fiancé Josh and our animals. It’s a small space that’s well shared, so that will play a huge role in organization.
I live with a Boy. I live with Josh, so I can’t go around putting flowers everywhere and hanging pearl necklaces or else I’ll never hear the end of it. Luckily, pushing my girly instincts aside, we tend to share some androgynous sense of style and I try to stick with that.
Those are going to be my obstacles throughout this organizational journey. And here is my starting point, the bathroom, which I hope will look nothing like this in a few weeks.
I like to organize and have less things. I’m okay with how I’m living right now but there are so many improvements I can make every time I look around. It gets very overwhelming! Especially when I spend all day visiting blogs and websites that have some really great ideas.
While I’d still like to do an apartment tour, I figure why not do this… I’m going to hit each area separately and log my progress of trying to get it the way I’d like it to be. This keeps me from being overwhelmed and I still feel like I’m sharing my space with you. The first place I’m going to hit up is my bathroom, which needs some serious TLC. A post on that is coming at the end of this week.
In the mean time, I’d like to share some places that inspire me on the topic organization and interior design. I know a few of you would be interested!
Places that inspire me to organize
Chez Larsson – Benita is amazing and completely awe inspiring. So is her house! Her blog covers her DIY projects and what inspires her. She’s currently fixing up her vintage, humble home into something beautiful and functional. I very much enjoy following her on the progress. She also has so many great ideas on how to store your things beautifully. For even more overwhelming inspiration, check out her Pinterest page and spend a few hours hopping around that.
Arianna Belle – Cute ideas on how to keep organized and stylish. She’s just opened up her own online store, which I find gorgeous if not a bit pricey for my lifestyle.
Bryn Alexandra – Bryn is actually an interior decorator, so she knows her stuff. She shares a lot of inspirational pictures and some DIY projects. She is also trying to style her home and log her progress. It’s fun to keep up with! Check out that section here.
Coco Pearl – I like looking through this blog because it’s like glancing through an interior decor magazine, but for free. There are some more personal entries every once in a while, but nothing that takes away from the blog’s purpose.
Pink Wallpaper – Very cute ideas here. Think outside of the box! This blog is all about organized, classic elegance with some fun mixed in. I love Shannon’s style!
Where I get my resources
Thrift stores – I can’t wait to start visiting my locale thrift stores, because there are many in my area. You can find some adorable things you may not find elsewhere like vases, mirrors, glass containers, baskets, etc. for next to nothing.
Ikea – I love Ikea. The time will come when I will be old enough and well established enough to invest in furniture for my very own home. But right now? This cheap, stylish furniture is a God send. Lots of baskets, organizational tools, and of course…furniture.
The Container Store – Some unique organizational tools here that you won’t find anywhere else. I didn’t have one of these back in Orlando, but I think there’s one here in LA so I can’t wait to take a trip. You can also order online!
Bed Bath and Beyond – I love this store because they carry common organizational tools and baskets like the above two stores. They also hand out coupons like crazy, so I try to buy things here with my coupons if I have one on hand. Once again, you can order online!
eBay – You won’t believe what you can find here. Always check here for something you want, because someone is probably selling it cheaper. People notoriously buy things like vanity organizers on eBay. Lipstick trays? Display cases? eBay has it.
I’ll start off by saying I’m a huge procrastinator. In my defense, I do try really hard to get things done on time, no matter when I happen to start! In fact, I work better on a shorter deadline. So I figured I would write a short and sweet tutorial on how to manage your time wisely and get whatever is on your to-do list done — no matter what time you begin and when your deadline is. I use these steps for managing course assignments, online business, and even regular old hobbies like blogging!
I’m a frantic mess when I know I need to start working on something. That’s why it helps me to visualize everything I need to accomplish. You can do this in many ways, here are a few ideas:
Post-it notes: Put everything you need to do onto a separate post-it note. If you just need to do one thing, break it down into steps and put them each on a post-it note. Rearrange and add to your notes as you stick them on your desk and get an idea of what it is you need to do.
Illustrate it: Sometimes I’ll just take a blank page and start sketching a big web of things I need to get done, along with notes at the bottom so I don’t forget details.
Make a list: I use this for my course assignments. Make a big list sorted by month and days, having all of your to-dos in a chronological list that you can refer to and cross off as you accomplish them.
Use technology: Evernote is a life saver for fellow Mac users. I screencap everything I need to remember — from pictures, to conversations, to files — and then save them under the same folder in Evernote. When I’m ready to begin, it’s as easy as opening the application and finding the folder! The best part is you can store information to remember from your phone, iPad, and computer all into the same place.
This part is important. Within every project, there are steps that are unnecessary. If you’re shooting for a deadline, you need to know what you can turn in as acceptable for the time you’re working with and what has to wait until later.
Be upfront. Make a timeline of what you’re going to do first. Use your visualizing tools!
Delete steps! Quickly spot those time wasters. make a note to get rid of them, cross them off, erase them, put them in a pile for later. Things like color coding, highlighting, fixing a very detailed error only you will notice, or adding abundant information can be saved for when you have time to do so. You can always make something pretty or re-arrange it later.
Just start it! Write an outline, draw, or dive right into the first thing written on your visualized list. You can go back and edit as needed, but it’s important to start right away to avoid putting it off or brainstorming too much.
Stay On Track
You need to keep track of time while you’re working. In the past I would look at the clock and tell myself what time I needed to be done. This is a disaster waiting to happen! Instead, try these tips I find to be much more helpful:
Work in 15 minute increments. Every 15 minutes take a break for up to five minutes.This will keep you focused, because you’re “starting over” frequently with the same determination!
Log your progress. Keep a notebook and write down everything you are getting done. You can even use your visualization tool and check things off on there. This way you’re visually seeing what you’re getting done, or how little you’re getting done. If you’re working on one big project, remember to write down your little achievements and not just the big picture.
Use a timer. This works best for me! Mac users can download an application appropriately named Timer. Give yourself a time limit and hit the start button. It’s amazing how fast you’ll be working just to beat the clock!