Getting Organized

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year, friends! 

How has 2018 been treating you so far? We rang in the occasion with a 4:30pm dinner reservation (#parentlife) at one of our favorite restaurants with the girls all dressed up in tutus, and then Steve and I watched a movie and tried our best to make it to midnight. We succeeded, but just barely! We were asleep by 12:10am. ;) Fun fact: I can't remember the last time I missed the ball drop. For NYE 2013/2014 I had a 1 month old and still managed to catch it. Going to sleep at a normal time is so tempting these days, but there's something about counting down to the new year that I just hate to miss.

This week finds us back in our regular routine: work, doctor appointments, preschool, kids' activities. Bring it on!

I know I shared my resolutions for 2018 and have already made it 3/4 through the book I mentioned, A Simplified Life. It must have lit a fire under me, because Steve and I spent a good chunk of New Year's Day cleaning, purging, and organizing. I mean, I cleaned out my sock drawers and had two grocery bags full of socks to toss. I swear, some of them dated back to middle school (I know). We have a VVA donation truck coming to pick up fifteen bags from our house on Friday, and I'm already filling up more bags and boxes for another pickup. I've sold a couple of large items and have given away multiple things on our local "Buy Nothing" Facebook page. It all feels so good, which brings me to the topic of getting organized. I'm no expert, but I definitely feel like my brain -- and my life, overall -- is less scattered when my surroundings are organized. So, in the spirit of the new year, I thought I'd share some tips and tricks, plus storage/organization solutions.

Tips for Cleaning/Purging/Donating/Tossing

+ Put a garbage bag in every room. Move from room to room as you're able, tossing anything that is worn out or worn through, expired, broken, or that you simply haven't used/no longer reflects you into the bag. Of course, some items will be appropriate to donate or even to sell -- put those aside in a pile. You'll come back to them. Some examples of things I've tossed: old makeup, socks with holes or pairs that I haven't worn since the 8th grade, scrap pieces of paper, pens without ink, expired vitamins and eye drops, etc. You get the point!

+ Gather up the items that are still in good shape or useful but you haven't used in the last year. If you've made it through four seasons without touching it, it probably won't get used in the next four. Here are some great resources for donation:

1. VVA Pickup ( -- this is what I use because they come right to your house to pick it up. I've learned that if I put donations in my car, I will drive around with them for months.

2. The Library -- most public libraries accept book donations, and what a great way to pass along books you no longer read. Check with your library about their policy.

3. "Buy Nothing" Facebook Groups -- as I mentioned, I'm part of a "Buy Nothing" Facebook group for my town. People post items that they want to get rid of (for free, of course), and members of the community will comment if they're interested. This is an extremely active page in my community and I've found it's an easy way to get rid of those things that are still in nice shape and might be useful to others, but aren't to you. Just leave it on your porch or driveway for quick pickup, or arrange a drop off. 

+ Keep the things that are truly irreplaceable. Think: "Can this be replaced?" A letter from your grandmother, a handmade card from your kid, a necklace that was your aunt's... these things can't be replaced, so although they're not "necessary," don't be afraid to keep them somewhere special and safe.

My Favorite Organizational Tools
+ A planner is an absolute must for me to be mentally organized. Every year, I buy a brand new paper planner and it might be one of my favorite purchases of the year. I love to see its blank pages, fill in special dates, and get a big picture at the month and year ahead. They don't have to be fancy or expensive -- this one is almost identical to the one I bought this year.

+ I keep a letter sorter like this one in our kitchen to sort things like receipts, bills, important school papers, even coupons -- it's a quick place to file those things until we put them into the big filing cabinet. It keeps things clean and organized.

+ Last year we added a hanging wall basket system to our entryway, hung right above the shoe rack. It holds our pup's leash, mail that we bring in or needs to go out, and is a great place to toss keys. I also love this one for the same purpose.

+ I just got this for our master bath and so far I love it. We put our toothbrushes and toothpaste, my basic makeup that I wear daily, and my brush in it and it easily spins around to make life easier while getting ready in the mornings. It really simplified all the clutter on our vanity... which is a great way to start the day!

Also, give me all the baskets. They are an absolute must as a mom -- I keep one in every room of the house to collect whatever lands there and either return it to its proper spot or store it if need be. I even have a basket in between the girls' car seats in the car for blankets, books, and things like that.

Are you inspired to simplify this year? What are some of your favorite tips for getting (and staying) organized?

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