organizing

lingerie bags

I’ve never considered using a lingerie bag for washing my bras until I read this post.  I knew my mom had one laying around somewhere because I’ve seen her use it a few times so I asked if I could borrow hers this past weekend.  Game.  Changer.  Especially if you have padded sports bras and find yourself stuffing the pads back in after every wash.  This goes for bikini tops too.  I will never wash my bras without one again.

organizing

empty inbox

My inbox currently has zero emails.

It’s not completely empty all the time but for the last 6 years or so, my inbox rarely consists of more than a handful of current emails.  Like most people, my inbox used to have thousands of emails (hundreds of them unread because they were junk).  Getting my inbox to zero didn’t happen overnight.  Here are the steps I took:

1.  Made a folder for every new email that came in worth keeping.

It’s important to make a habit out of sorting each of your emails.  So I think the best way to start that is to tackle each email coming in starting now.  Don’t worry about organizing past emails until you’ve gotten a handle on your current emails.  Start with broad labels for your folders like Friends, Family, Work, School, Church, etc.

2.  Every time I received junk email,  I unsubscribe right away.

3.  Once I was able to quickly delete or sort each new email that came in, I started sorting through my old emails in reverse chronological order using the same methods.

If you keep this up, the 2,000 emails in your inbox will slowly go down to 1,000…then 700…then 500…then 200… then 50…and before you know it, you will also have an inbox with only a handful of current emails.

Once I got to this point, I started using my inbox as an electronic to-do list.  For example, let’s say I get an email from my mom reminding me to schedule an appointment with our optometrist, I keep the email in my inbox until I’ve completed the task.  Once I’m done, I sort it in it’s appropriate folder.

Having little to no emails in my inbox makes me feel really on-top of things.  I recommend doing the same, especially if opening your inbox currently makes you feel really overwhelmed!

organizing

sorting old photos – part 1

This past weekend, I finally started the daunting task of trying to organize all of my old photos – something that’s been on my “to-do” list since forever.  The entire bottom drawer of my dresser is completely filled with boxes and boxes of photos from elementary school all the way to college.  Unfortunately, they are in no particular order so I have to go through every single photo and sort them into very broad categories (elementary school, middle school, gymnastics, etc.) and then go from there.  Originally, I wasn’t going to start this project until I had a good photo scanner.  But I’m so glad I started the sorting process first even without a scanner because I realized (very early on) that I will only need to scan a fraction of the photos I have.  Most of the photos I took aren’t even worth keeping, let alone scanning.  They are either really terrible quality (think disposable camera, with no flash, in the dark) or of people I don’t even know/remember anymore.  The younger I was when I took the picture, the more likely it is that I’m not even in it.  So I have at least a couple dozen pictures of just one person, who I don’t even remember, sitting on the grass or something.

organizing

My New Bookcase

Back in June I mentioned how I wanted to buy a folding bookcase but would refrain until I organized all my paperwork.  Well I’m happy to report that after countless hours of scanning and shredding, I’m finally done!  So I bought the bookcase last week!

Here is a picture of the bookcase I was using before:

photo

I didn’t like it very much because 1) it’s pink.  And as much as I love pink, I’m kind of over the whole pink furniture thing.  2) I never really liked the cube look.  My mom chose this bookcase for me.  And 3) it’s not tall enough to fit binders!

Here’s what my new bookcase looks like:

photo1

It not only looks better but it also fits a lot more stuff!

organizing

Dollar Solution – Make-Up Divider

A few weeks ago I stopped by Target and found a small white divider (or mini lunch tray according to James) for $1.  I thought it’d be perfect for my make-up drawer, which up until recently only had a paper box to corral all the smaller items:

photo

After organizing the drawer, I noticed how many partially used items that have been neglected for at least a year.  It wouldn’t be sanitary to give them away but it seemed like such a waste to just toss them.  I was about to keep them around for a while longer when I saw this cheat sheet on IHeart Organizing and was reminded of the fact that make-up also has an expiration date.  So if I haven’t used up an item within a certain amount of time, it needs to go for health purposes.  That was the extra push I needed to get rid of the items I had been holding onto “in case I might need it one day.”

The drawer not only looks much better with the divider but now I can also clearly see my make-up inventory:

photo

organizing

Storing Memories

As a very sentimental person, I like to keep a lot of things that are associated with an event or a specific season of my life that I consider significant.  For instance I still have the name badges I wore to MUN conferences back in high school, the halo that I got when I rushed for my sorority during my freshman year of college, and just about every single letter that anyone has ever written me.  I know I sound a bit like a hoarder but I’m really not.  In fact, you’d never guess how much stuff I keep from the past just by looking at my room/closet/drawers because I keep it all methodically stored and organized.

Up until recently, I’ve always stored my “memories” in either hanging files:

hanging file

or rubbermaid boxes:

rubbermaid box

Even though everything was organized, it never felt organized nor was it aesthetically pleasing.  I’ve toyed with the idea of making a scrapbook for each event instead.  But that would be extremely time-consuming and expensive.  Plus, it wouldn’t hold three-dimensional items like stuffed animals, pins, etc.

Another idea I considered was using pretty boxes that I’d find randomly at Ross, Marshalls, HomeGoods, etc.  But then I realized that those kinds of boxes look best when they’re by themselves.  Collectively, it still wouldn’t look organized.

The best solution I found was storing my memories in one of two solid-colored boxes for a streamlined look (that turned out to be pretty too!).  I use the Martha Stewart Document Storage Boxes in blue for events that don’t have many items (like stuff from the summer programs I did in high school).

Martha Stewart boxjpg

And I use the Kassett Box from Ikea for events that have many items (like stuff from my sorority days).

Ikea box

I transferred some items into these boxes over the weekend and was very pleased with the result!  I didn’t take a picture of the final product because I keep these boxes on the top shelf of my closet so the lack of natural light means the picture wouldn’t do it much justice. 

Do you keep a lot of memories?  How do you store them?