Here is the deal. I feel as if I have hacked the whole vanity situation. While the dresser it sits on was in my nursery and my girlhood room and the beautiful mirror above it lived not only there too but in my own mother’s as well, I have a special affection for everything here. That’s because, yes, there is nostalgia but also because I’ve made things so easy for myself. So here is how I created an easy, inexpensive, organized, chic vanity.
I also have recently talked about how much I love and adore trays. Guys, can I just tell you this is a game changer? I can pick it up and easily wipe down the area where I do my makeup. I can also carry that acrylic tray (Target) and my gold hand mirror (Target) to other parts of the house, like the front room where I can watch Bravo and put my makeup on there. It’s also important to have some organization within the tray for two reasons. First of all, it would be a hot mess if everything was just thrown in there. Secondly, it helps me keep the makeup I use on the daily in a kind of capsule makeup situation. I use these copper/rose gold organizers from Target. To be fair, I have a ton of other makeup stored in the top drawer of my dresser, along with everything I use to blow my hair out.
It’s truly a one-stop shop…but one that I can move too.Because I kept it pretty minimal on the top of the dresser, I chose three of necklace that kind of pull colors from the rest of my room and laid them out. It’s kind of a glamorous touch to me. It’s like I am Elizabeth Taylor picking through my diamonds except these are from H&M. Ha.
I have put off reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Upfor awhile now…probably because I knew it would change my life. When it first came out, a woman I respect beyond measure posted about it and so I knew I would read it. It’s just taken me a long time. And yes, this book will change your life. It is changing my life as we speak.
Marie Kondo makes two major points at the beginning that got my attention. She talks about why being tidy and organized is hard for people and why people relapse constantly (none of her clients who followed this method have ever relapsed).
She also talks about people like me (and most people are like this, whether they admit it or not, according to her). Even though we live messy lives, it gives us such anxiety (and yet we cannot stay organized). But the anxiety that comes from our living space and the amount of stuff we own is actually a cover, a safe place. If you clear it all a way, you actually have a clearer view over what you are really worried about and the life you really want to live. This “untidiness” can keep us from living the lives we want to live…which is a big statement to make. But by the end of the book, I was a believer.
Basically, this isn’t just a book about tidying up. It promises to change your life overall and frankly, though I was skeptical, I am not anymore.
(before I started)
Anyway, I promised myself I would follow the rules to the letter. Except she asks you to start with clothing and I am in this weird nomad’s land because I am slowly losing weight for health reasons (if I went through stuff now, I would have to go through stuff again and one major point of the book is that you only have to do this once). So I went to the next area which was books.
Now, in Chicago, after a lifetime of reading everything I can get my hands on, generally reading very quickly, the effects (or should I say artifacts) that come with being an English/Creative Writing major, and being the type of girl with likeminded friends (I mean, we would call each other up to go spend an entire Saturday at the bookstore), I have a lot of books. In fact, the last part of that sentence is an understatement.
I love books. But thank goodness for the Kindle app because after living in two studio apartments in a row, digitally storing books was a necessity. In my current place, I have the most book storage I’ve ever enjoyed–two huge book cases and yes, every inch beneath my full size bed is covered with stacks of books.
Here are Kodo’s steps for tidying up your book situation:
1. Put all your books on the floor, off the shelves, out from under the bed, in one place (why? read the book but it makes great sense).
2. Sort in silence–no distractions from the most important question. See number five for that question.
3. For unread books, if you say you’ll read it sometime…you will read it never. (She talks about the timing of books…if you buy a book plan to read it and follow through on reading it right away…Do not keep a list of books-to-be read on your shelves or…ya know, under your bed
4. Are you actually someone who rereads books? (Most people aren’t. I happen to be a weirdo who does).
5. The most important question, when you pick up the book, is this: Does this bring me joy/pleasure?
So that’s what I did. She says the more you can do in one sitting the better (better yet, you should do it one sitting). I adapted this slightly because of health issues while maintaining the heart of it. Kodo is the expert after all. Anyway, bending and carrying a lot of books and taking them off shelves was done late in the day on Saturday. When I woke up on Sunday (she says it is best to do it early in the day when your mind is blank), I sorted and discarded everything. Putting everything away, again for health reasons, will have to wait until tomorrow (which is actually today). In my mind, I did follow her rulse and it is important. If I would have quit halfway through and gone back, I know I would not have been able to judge the next round of books with the same criteria. I need to be brutal. You need to be brutal. I can’t wait until everything is cleaned out (she also asks that you get rid of everything from all the categories before you begin to tidy and find places for everything…again, it makes sense) and my space matches the life I want to lead which Kodo suggested I write down, which I did.
(at this point, I know what I am keeping and I am starting to reshelve…tomorrow–which is actually today–I will finish reshelving, pack into boxes the books I am sending people upon request–see below. In a few days, once everyone has claimed what shall be claimed, I will load everything up which needs to leave the premises and I can cross books off my list of things to tidy up–which is a major area for me!)
Have you read this book? If you have, have you followed through? How did it go? And if you haven’t read it, has it sparked your interest, this idea that you can do this thing once and then never again?
P.S. After I finished sorting, I posted this on instagram and a ton of people were interested. Which is crazy but also makes me happy because I want my babies to have good homes! If you are interested, read the comments for more info and shoot me an email. I am not making money off this…just the price of shipping.
So last week, I told you what you already knew: I am not good at keeping my living space organized. So I turned to my mom with where to start, 5 things to do when organizing doesn’t come naturally. You can be sure that I am taking her advice or trying to. I wish I was more like her. This week I just wanted to follow up because I also have this problem: I organize and clean and before I know, things are back to the old standard. How to maintain? Here are Lifehacks: 5 Tips for Staying Organized with some massive help from my mom:
1. A Catch-All Basket
This is great if you have an upstairs to set on the stairs or to put some place in the living area of your single level home or apartment (like me). Throughout the day, or when you come home from work, items that need putting away go in the basket. At the end of the day, you do a kind of backwards grocery store shopping, taking your basket and putting the items inside of it away where they belong. Then you start over the next day.
This helps keeps all those misplaced or unplaced items in one place instead of randomly all over the place. It overwhelms me to see it around my place and it also makes it seem like there is more to do than there actually is. By putting everything in one place, it’s not only hidden if people stop by, but it takes five minutes to put everything back in its place.
2. Have a Place for Your Things When You Come Home
Hooks are my go to for my purse and for my jacket. My keys always go in the same place. This is a system my mom implemented for me (I’m a total adult, swear) and it keeps me from throwing everything on my couch (something I am prone to do).
If you’re prone to do something that creates a mess, consider a system that stops you from doing that. Maybe you throw all your mail on your kitchen counter. Find a container to place it in. Or I don’t know, ask my mom what to do.
3. Keep a List of Things You Need
Whether it is on the fridge or on a chalkboard keep an ongoing list. Here is where my mama blew me away: if it’s a chalkboard, take a picture on your phone and save the trees (she’s brilliant, I tell ya). I’m going to have to get her a byline here or something.
How am I supposed to remember that I am out of toilet paper and stevia? I remember one when I am in the bathroom and the other when I am making coffee–two very separate times. A list to the rescue which keeps me organized and the house (apartment) running smoothly.
4. When You Come Home, Put Your Clothes and Jewelry Away
I feel like she wrote this one exactly for me. This is definitely where I struggle. But mom says whether it is hanging up a dress to wear again or putting it in the laundry just freaking do it! Also, if you take off your earrings or bracelets or watch, put those away too.
Like I mentioned before, these things tend to end up on the couch and then suddenly I can’t sit on it and it takes me 40 minutes to do what I could do in 60 seconds every day. Also maybe I wouldn’t be scrambling and screeching where is my black dress to myself. Just a guess though.
5. Don’t Let Anything Sit
More wisdom from mama: when the garbage needs to be taken out, do it. Not when you feel like it. Go through the mail everyday. Don’t let it sit. Do the laundry once a week, not when the pile resembles Mount Everest. Wash dishes when you make a mess. Load the dishwasher. Run it when it’s full.
Bonus Tip from both of Us: Get some Clorox Wipes and use them throughout the week. I live for these wipes. I introduced them to my friend, Lis, in SF and they are life changing. They can work on all surfaces and as my mom says “a little spit and polish in between major cleans.”