- The moment we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! Get Organized with The Home Edit dropped on Netflix last night! As a rule, I don’t watch anything that bills itself as reality TV, but I can occasionally make exceptions! Home organization, organization in general really, is my greatest passion, so this is like pornography to me. I do worry that bingeing this will cause me to absolutely spin out and reorganize my entire home. I’m already looking at my shelves and drawers disdainfully. I will say that, as nice as the aesthetic component of organizing is, creating functional systems has genuinely improved my life and helped me with anxiety and executive function. There is no such thing as organized chaos. The most creative and successful people I know are organized (and diagnosed and medicated). You don’t have to put your books in rainbow order—The Home Edit is, to some degree, selling an unattainable fantasy. But creating systems that work for rather than against you will change your life, and maybe even spark a little joy.
- So, one truly kooky thing that’s been happening is that I’m starting to window-shop my own wardrobe. Like, remember those comfy flats you used to wear to work? Maybe one day you’ll leave the house again and get to put them on! I swear that, since work-from-home began, I’ve exclusively worn my Birkenstocks and my Rothy’s flats. I have not put on a single other pair since March 17. I mean this especially about the Birks, but if you’re going to spend too much money on a pair of shoes, these are the ones. I would exclusively wear Birkenstocks if I lived in a warmer climate.
- The TikTok teacher is my queen. Ban homework.
- My September Book of the Month is Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I loved Homegoing, so I’m sure it will be an amazing read. I actually cancelled BotM because I’m trying to practice what I preach and stop buying physical books unless they’re really meaningful or something I’ll return to over and over again. I obviously want authors to make money, but getting ebooks through the library is absolutely where it’s at.
- My best friend sent me this recipe and !!!!!!!!!!!! Deb’s mind!!!!!
- My husband bought me this ukulele for my birthday. I promise I’m not a 2011-era Zooey Deschanel type or anything, but if there’s a chord chart in front of me I can play. I do have a feeling that this will be relegated to the decoration realm, but it was very sweet of him and who doesn’t love a pastel rainbow?
- THEY’RE MAKING A FILM OF REBECCA STARRING ARMIE HAMMER. Ceci n’est pas un drill! My body is ready! I loved this book as a teen, and I’m re-reading it before the film drops on Netflix in October. The e-book is on Amazon right now for literal shekels.
- This is random, but I have an enormous monstera plant in my living room that was overgrown and out of control, so I cut some of the leafy stems off to use as decorations around the house. I expected them to have a shelf-life like flowers but…they simply do not die! I’ve had three in a vase in my bedroom for months that look as vibrant as the day I cut them off. Needless to say, when I discovered that they were immortal, I put them all over my house and now I live in a rainforest.
- Finally started watching I May Destroy You and…it may destroy me.
- The episode of Black Frasier with Chris Hayes and Clark Neily is a must-listen, if only to shock and amaze yourself by vehemently agreeing…with a self-professed libertarian. Also, THEE Phoebe Lynn Robinson creating a podcast called Black Frasier in these dark times is a gift we do not deserve.
My queens and idols Clea & Joanna of The Home Edit have graciously provided us with “mini edits” throughout quarantine—small one-day organizing projects to help us optimize our homes during this, well, sub-optimal time. Full disclosure, I will absolutely be ripping a few of their ideas off, but this particular mini edit is tailored very specifically to a certain kind of home: one that is already organized but seeking to minimalize. I’m so inspired by minimalist homes, but no matter how much I sell/donate, I never seem to be able to get all the way there. I’m, I guess you’d say, a maximalist clutter queen trying to become a Scandinavian ascetic.
If you are already tidy, but want to take it to the next level, here is my *very Barenaked Ladies voice* One Week Organizing Challenge!
Refresh the Refrigerator*
Be honest—when is the last time you actually cleaned your refrigerator? Like, took everything out and cleaned it? I’m a tidy gal, but I must admit that I’ve done this maybe…twice? I’ve had my fridge for like 4 years. There are plenty of great resources online to set you on your path. Jolie Kerr wrote the definitive guide to deep-cleaning your fridge, but here are my tips:
- Take every single item out.
- Wash your bins with soap and water, wipe down any shelves you can’t remove.
- Check expiration dates. Expiration dates are mostly a scam, and have more to do with corporate liability than health hazard, but some things really should be tossed on schedule. Your miso paste is probably fine, but the sour cream has got to go.
- Organize all of the food/bev into categories. Put them back in the proper place, i.e. vegetables in the crisper, cheese in the drawer, etc. It’s easy to get lazy and just throw things in there, but maintaining an organizational system not only makes cooking & eating easier, but saves you time at the grocery store, since you always know what you have. I can’t recommend fridge bins enough. Target’s are great and really cost-effective. If you want to splurge, definitely hit up The Home Edit’s line at the Container Store.
Now, repeat the whole thing with all of your cabinets and drawers. Be ruthless.
Pare Down the Paper*
You don’t need your tax returns from 7 years ago. Off to the shredder! Keep a shoebox handy for sentimental items like Christmas cards and recycle everything else. Basically, all you should keep is tax paperwork from the past 3 years (just in case), identity documents (birth cert, SSN card), things relevant to your current health insurance, and receipts if you itemize. Or, honestly, just digitize everything.
Itemize Your Inbox*
Emails cause some people a lot of stress, and for good reason! They’re omnipresent—they bombard us at work all day, and then in our personal lives they’re receipts, coupons, bank statements, tracking info, personal correspondence, and politics. It’s a lot to take in. My first suggestion is to use a service like unroll.me to unsubscribe from or hide unwanted emails. Next, create broad categories with sub-labels to help organize what’s already there. Soon you’ll be living an Inbox Zero Lifestyle! Here’s an example of ideas for a Gmail side menu:
- Current Workplace
- Former Workplace(s)
- Student Loans
- Car/Car Insurance
- Credit Cards
- Family & Friends
- Tickets & Travel
Go through and delete anything older than 2 years, except tax/loan documentation and personal correspondence. Flag anything interesting that you haven’t gotten a chance to read. Take a deep breath and embrace freedom.
Sift through Your Shoe Collection*
“You’re never going to wear the yellow flatforms, Chelsea,” and other things footwear hoarders say. Truthfully, I feel like all femme-identified folx only need a pair each of the following shoes:
- Athletic sneakers
- “Fashion” sneakers
- Black pumps
- Black flats
- A “work” heel
- Riding boots (suitably waterproof for winter)
- Chelsea boots or booties
- Leather sandals (for everyday summer wear)
- Flip-flops (for the beach or pedicures)
When you purge, make sure you don’t overdo it and get rid of something functional #fortheaesthetic. But don’t get rid of your “fun shoes” either! You’re allowed to have a ton of fun shoes, just make sure you have sensible (preferably hidden) storage. I use this at my house and it fits…most of my shoes. It’s a great price and it looks really stylish. It also comes in a bench version, which I also have (for my husband’s shoes), which could be used as a TV stand as well.
Clean Up Your Carpets*
Do you have a pet? Or even just long hair that sheds? Your carpets/rugs are probably disgusting. No matter how much you vacuum, you can’t make up for the fact that rugs literally live on the floor. And vacuums can only do so much. Unless you’re a billionaire and can afford one of those fancy pet Dysons (please buy me one), a vacuum can only do so much. And every rug has different cleaning instructions (for instance, jute can’t be cleaned with water). Figure out what your rug is made of, Google deep-cleaning instructions, and go to town. You will be shocked at what comes up. This is especially important if you or a loved one has allergies!
Tackle Your Toiletries*
Your bathroom cabinets, drawers, or closet can be a breeding ground for clutter and chaos. Somehow, you can run out of bar soap while simultaneously owning 14 travel-sized tubes of toothpaste. I guarantee you have tubes of lipstick that should definitely be discarded. Getting a handle on your bathroom storage makes life a thousand times easier. This is a great guide to getting started! And since bathrooms are the least fun area to clean, less clutter means less surface area to wipe down—it’s a win-win!
Rehome Your Reading Material
I am a huge book-lover, and I would never go so far as to propose, à la Marie Kondo, that one should only own 30 books, but you probably don’t need all of the books you have. I actually wrote a post about this a few years ago and I absolutely stand by what I said. The beat up copy of Catcher in the Rye from freshman year of high school that you’ll never read again is just taking up space (if, like me, you probably will read that book again, treat yourself to a nicer copy and ditch the public school standard issue). You don’t need to own Faulkner’s entire bibliography; Toni Morrison was influenced by him, and her books are way more enjoyable. If you read her, you get the point.
Cut Down Your Closet
Another tricky one. People get very sentimental about clothes. I tend to go scorched earth on my closet every few years and then regret getting rid of that oversized Banana Republic sweater or that too-small Anthropologie jumpsuit that I will definitely fit into again someday. I think Marie Kondo speaks on this subject far more eloquently than I possibly can, so suffice it to say that you truly do not need all of those clothes you never wear. Go through everything, make a donate pile (or resell them on Poshmark!) and enjoy your simplified wardrobe!
Nothing makes a space visually interesting like color coordination. Organizing your bookshelf in rainbow order (or your dresser drawers, or closet, or literally everywhere in your home) is functional and fashionable. My favorite thing to color-coordinate is phone apps!
*I have actually accomplished all of these things very recently, so I know it’s not impossible!
So, I mentioned last week that I was thinking of changing the title of the feature. I’m still playing around, but we’ll go with “Shout Out Sunday” for now.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season two is sensational, but Amy Sherman-Palladino really likes to leave us on unsatisfying cliffhangers, doesn’t she?
- Everlane just added some amazing new styles! The button-fly jeans are everything.
- The No-Spend Month has been going…okay. I’ve definitely spent way less than I normally would, but I just went to Target and kind of blew it. But there were penguin-shaped catnip toys on clearance for like, $1! How can I not get that for Della? I may need to get her these, because how freaking cute are they? I mean, I also bought a Hearth & Hand wall shelf (I can’t find the link!), because self-control is hard, guys. And it matches my bathroom! When my spending freeze is over, I’m for sure getting this cactus.
- I just discovered this kiddo shop on Amazon and my ovaries are practically jumping out of my body.
- The Marie Kondo show is out! I KonMari’d years ago, but it’s so nice seeing other people catch on to what is truly the best organizational system you’ll ever try. Nothing else works. Clutter and “organized chaos” are not cute. It’s not “artsy” to be bogged down by possessions. Especially if you have a family, it’s so essential and time-saving to have a clean, organized space. Doing KonMari has literally improved my mental health and sense of peace. Try it!
- I’ve probably pimped this before, but this is my all-time favorite “natural” nail polish.
Short one this week. But isn’t that what self-care’s all about? Knowing your limits. See you next week!