Get Organized Month: Closet Clean-Up

Yesterday, we posted our Organization Tip #1 for the month to our Facebook page (check it out here). Overflowing or disorganized closets seem to creep into just about every home, dorm, and apartment out there. The best way to tackle a “bursting-at-the-seams” closet? Shave down your wardrobe!

Let’s all be honest here – filtering our wardrobes is usually way more difficult than it should be. After all, it’s just clothes (it’s not like you’re giving away a puppy or anything…). So why is it that the moment we decide to give away some items, we suddenly become very attached to clothes we haven’t worn in years?

In honor of Get Organized Month, we’re bringing you some of the best tips, tricks, hacks, and rules…whatever it takes to help you Get Organized! Let’s get started on that closet. Check out our tips for minimizing your clothing inventory and be sure to comment with any of your own!

Tip One: Follow the “One-Year Rule”. If you haven’t worn something in more than a year, what makes you think you will in the future? Put all “one-year-rule” items in the Discard Pile – no excuses!

Tip Two: Be honest about what fits and what doesn’t. If something is too big, there is no reason to keep it. And as tempting as it might be to keep smaller clothes as “inspiration” to get in shape, get rid of them anyway. Treat yourself to new clothes when you’re in shape instead.

Tip Three: Beware of too many “extras”. It’s nice to have a bunch of tees or sweatpants to throw on before you go to sleep or hit the gym. However, these types of items are easy to hoard, so determine how many is too many. There is no reason to have 25 old tees taking up space in your closet.

*If you just can’t part with some of your tees, make them into pillows instead! We’ve got a simple DIY here.

Tip Four: Relocate what you can. This applies to all “seasonal” items – think heavy sweaters, shorts, sandals, etc. I can’t think of why you might need a pair of strappy sandals in the winter, so why let them take over precious real estate in your closet? Move these items somewhere you don’t need immediate access to: a bin in the attic, a box under your bed, etc. Rotate them as the seasons change.

Tip Five: Understand your closet is a “work in progress”. Work through it in sections: tackle your tees one day, your jeans the next, etc. You’ll get through it!

Now that you’ve got a pile of clothes, decide what you’re going to do with them! Don’t throw away any clothing unless it’s in really poor condition (or if there is another good reason not to give it to someone else). You might not wear something, but someone else might! Donating is the best option. Goodwill, Salvation Army, or a local secondhand store are all great choices. Some recycling centers also have a clothing drop. Research your area and find out what your options are.

Don’t forget to head to our Facebook page to enter the “Get Organized Month” Sweepstakes! The winner will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, so don’t miss your chance. All you need to do is fill out the form and share YOUR best organization tip here.

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6 Ways to Speed up your Morning Routine

Mornings are hard for everyone and getting ready in time is even more challenging. Here are 6 ways to make your morning routine a breeze to get through. Find even more tips and tricks for this tedious process in this cool article by ELLE magazine!

Tip #1: Take a shower at night! You don’t realize it, but taking a shower in the morning can take up most of the time you have to get ready. Sure, taking a shower might wake you up a bit. However, if you are constantly watching the clock, it might be easier and more productive for a quick splash of cold water on your face, rather than a full shower, to wake up.

Tip #2: Style your hair the night before (preferably after your shower!) If you style your hair the night before, getting ready becomes a piece of cake! If you have long hair or straighten/curl your hair everyday, put your hair into a high ponytail with a scrunchie before you go to sleep. The scrunchie won’t crimp your hair and the high pony will keep your hair from getting too messy. This way most of the work is done! All you really need to do is touch up your hair in the morning, which takes MUCH less time than actually styling it from scratch.

Tip #3: Organize your products! If you are an avid makeup-wearer or need your morning face creams/washes/etc… make sure to keep your products organized in an area where you can easily access it. This way, you’ll know where everything is and won’t run the risk of misplacing something vital which can seriously slow you down.

Tip #4: Plan your outfit the in advance. Even if it’s just a small idea of what you might wear that day, it is ALWAYS a good idea to plan your outfit. So much time is lost in the morning because of outfit changes. If you have a solid idea about what you are going to wear, you can just dress and go!

Plan your snoozing out...in advance!

Tip #5: Set an additional alarm to the one you have, for 15-30 minutes before you actually need to get up. This may sound horrible, but you don’t actually have to get up yet! You just have to wake up. If you are already somewhat awake by the time you need to actually get out of bed, it makes it that much easier to start your day. Think of it as a pre-planned snooze button.

Tip #6: Tape reminders to your bathroom mirror. If you are the type of person who needs to get a lot of stuff together in the morning, remind yourself by putting a list of things you need to do or bring with you in a place that you will see every morning. Little notes like these to yourself will make you more proactive about getting ready and will take a lot of the stress off of making sure you have everything with you.

How do you get ready quickly in the morning? Share your tips with us!

Written by Guest Blogger, Sydney Sheehan

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Dorm Room Organization is Within Reach!

A small space for a constantly-growing wardrobe? Make it work!

So as I sat staring at the three huge bags of hand-me-downs my big sister gave me, I realized…I have NO idea where to put everything. However, looking over the mountain of clothes in front of me made me think of how I managed to keep everything in my dorm room. Freshman year, my dorm had very little space to cram in the tons of clothes I had packed.

A dresser? Oh no, we had a small bureau with only three drawers and some hanging space for clothes.  So how does one stay organized when space is limited (and the clothes are overflowing)? Here’s how:

Refold: Yup. Dump your drawers and refold everything in them. I can’t tell you how many times a semester I take everything out, refold, and reorganize (yes, my drawers and closet are color-coded…please don’t judge). Refolding and organizing allows you to find that shirt that’s been stuck for months, unwrinkle the shirt you want to wear tomorrow night to dinner, and find extra space within your wardrobe, etc.

Don't mind my sister and Flo the Sheep...direct your eyes to my tiny closet space!

File your shirts: This is a great website that suggests “filing” your shirts instead of stacking them. This way you can just pull one out and not ruin the entire pile.

Grab some Containers: Use containers for little items in the drawer like jewelry, undergarments, scarves etc.Keep small things in one contained spot.

Divide things up: If you have large drawers like I did, use dividers. This way, half of the drawer can be for pants and the other can be for shirts without anything getting mixed up. It’s like having 2-3 drawers in one.

Stick with Necessities: Don’t pack every single clothing item you own – you won’t wear it! If you notice there are clothes you aren’t wearing, bring them home on your next break or give them to your parents when they come for a visit. It’s just taking up valuable space at that point.

Do you have any helpful tips? Post them in the comments below!

Written by Guest Blogger, Maria Cafferata

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Time-Management Made Easy

At some point or another, we’ve all had the feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Between classes and work, homework and practice, working until the late hours of the night becomes normal and sleep becomes a luxury. Good time-management becomes more crucial in college than ever before. We’re here to help you stay on track!

Prioritize.

Determine which assignments or tasks are most important and plan to get those done first. If something can wait until later in the week, work on it after the more immediate items are completed.

Make a To-Do List.

You can’t manage your time unless you’re aware of everything you need to get done. Each week, figure out exactly what you need to accomplish. Then, break it down each day and list out what items you want to get through. Rearrange when necessary (for example – a professor adds/takes away an assignment).

Pencil in Non-Academic or Non-Work-Related Items.

You need to eat. You need to sleep. Make sure to take these things into account when building out a to-do list. Have four assignments to get done? Plan to eat dinner between Numbers 2 and 3. This will give you a more realistic view of what you’ll be getting done. Also take your social calendar into account. Is there a big game you want to attend on Saturday? See if you can work that into your schedule and plan to get your assignments done ahead of time.

Stick to Your Schedule.

It’s great to get an agenda down and know what you need to get done. It’s even better when you actually stick to that schedule. The more prepared you are during the semester, the less stressed you’ll be. Staying on track takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it!

How do you manage your time and stay focused? Share your tips below!

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January is “Get Organized Month” – Closet Edition

I once had a floor-mate who was a neat freak’s nightmare.  When it came to clothes,  her sweaters and blouses littered the floor and her jeans and coats were draped over any inanimate object in the room (I once found pairs of socks lining her bookshelf!). To call her dorm room a DISASTER would be a complete understatement. Despite all of this, she insisted that she knew where everything was and that she liked her room a complete mess. Still, I had my reservations about the “method” of her madness. I found myself chuckling quietly every time I saw her scrambling hurriedly on her way to class only to find that all of her clothes were either completely wrinkled or simply nowhere to be found. Perhaps I feel a little guilty for finding amusement in her confusion or maybe it’s just that I can’t resist providing you with one final installment to the January is “Get Organized Month” series, but today I am bringing you what will be your Go-To guide for organizing that closet of yours. Get your hangers ready!

Think Big, Start Small - Before you dive right in, take a good look at all the storage that can be used for clothes. Are you particularly pressed for space and should consider getting rid of some clothes? Do you have plenty of drawer space but are limited in terms of what can go on hangers? Take these issues into account and then tackle them one section at a time.

Divide and Conquer - This might take some time, but will pay off in the long run. Divide all of the clothes that you want grouped together into categories and then divide them even more specifically. For example, group together all of your pairs of pants and then divide them into pants that should go on hangers and pants that can be folded. You only have limited space to hang up your clothes and limited drawer space so you’ll want to determine which clothes can go where.  From there, make the groups even smaller – shorts, capris, leggings, jeans, etc. Placing similar pieces together will save you a great deal of time in the end because you’ll already know where to look.

It's time to get your closet in tip-top shape!

Personalize your Methods – When hanging up your clothes, consider placing your smaller categories under three “umbrella categories” – Work/Dress Clothes, Casual Clothes, Going Out Clothes. For me, this makes it easier to locate particular items. But, find out what works for you and organize accordingly!

Timing is Everything – Being able to quickly locate wrinkle-free clothing will be a huge time saver in college.  When hanging your clothes, place them neatly one after the other so they are all pressed flat. Jamming them in your closet will just tangle the hangers and mess up the clothes. The same goes for clothes that will not be hung.  Neatly fold and place them within their categories in your drawers/shelves. Not only does this look less overwhelming, you won’t run the risk of needing an iron at the last minute! After you do a load of laundry, re-fold the clothes and place them back how they originally were.

Before you start feeling overwhelmed by the task in front of you, think how refreshed you’ll feel once everything is in order. Organizing your closet might seem overly meticulous and time-consuming, but the time saved in the long-run will be well worth it! Plus, you don’t really want people stepping or sitting on your favorite outfit, do you?

Don’t limit your newly discovered organizational skills to the month of January – use them year round! You’ll be amazed to find how much time and energy you’ll save by staying organized as best you can. Looking for more tips or just want to share an idea? Post a comment below!

If you missed an edition of “Get Organized Month,” check them out here:

January is “Get Organized Month”
January is “Get Organized Month” – Dorm Room Edition
January is “Get Organized Month” – Desk Edition
January is “Get Organized Month” – Schoolwork Edition

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January is “Get Organized Month” – Schoolwork Edition

The semester is starting to pick up and with it the assignments are starting to pile up as well. At times, just looking at the stack of papers and notes in front of you is enough to make you want to hibernate until the summer rolls around. With so many topics covered within each class, it’s hard to stay organized which, in turn, makes studying and reviewing the subject matter even harder. The key idea here is that organizing your materials should be a continuous process and not a one-time thing. Incorporate staying organized into your everyday routine and you’ll be good to go all semester long! Different methods work for different people, but we’re bringing you a few tips to get you started!

Get a Planner…and Use It: Even those of us with the best memories can’t keep track of every assignment or important date that professors put out there. Get a planner (available at your conveniently located campus bookstore) and make a point to write down every current and upcoming assignment your professor mentions. In addition to this, include any meetings or other important events. I always found it helpful to also include a post-it of To-Do items for the current day as well. Make it a habit to check your agenda every morning and evening and you’ll be less likely to forget an assignment – promise!

Stay organized by keeping track of your schedule in a planner!

Prioritize: Every student operates differently. For me, I can focus on a big project much better if I have already completed all of my other smaller assignments. Some students would rather get the big one out of the way first, however. Find out which you prefer and work accordingly. Next time you have several assignments due at once, list out which you intend to complete first and give yourself a deadline. Work towards it and move onto the next assignment.

Categorize, Label, and Color Code: Before you claim that I am being overly meticulous, I’ll have you know that this method has never failed me! How many times have you rushed off to class only to realize that you grabbed the wrong notebook? Keep all of your books and their corresponding notebooks together and avoid this mistake. Label or color code them to match and you’ll grow accustomed to grouping them together automatically.

Color coding helps you keep your materials in order.

The same goes for what you have inside your notebooks. Give every set of notes a date and title and you’ll save a lot of time scouring through the pages looking for a minute detail. Binder dividers are another great way to categorize your notes and make locating a specific topic easy.

Study on a Schedule: My main advice here is to start studying ahead of time and space out your sessions. This is much better for retention and lets you avoid cramming. However….I understand that sometimes this might not happen (but try your best!) so at least make a point to study on a schedule. Outline all of the topics you want to cover and star any that you’ve had trouble with so you know to focus on those. Work your way through everything until you’re set for your exam!

Organize your Computer: Nowadays, so many things are completed using the computer that it’s important to organize this too! Create separate folders for each course and then appropriate sub folders for any assignment or group of assignments. Back up all of your important documents on a flash drive to avoid the risk of losing anything. Keep your email inbox organized by using folders as well!

We hope we’ve helped you start off the semester in an organized manner. Have any questions or suggestions? We love reading your comments, so post them below!

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January is “Get Organized Month” – Desk Edition

You know the deal – every year you start out as a clean, mean, organized machine. That is, until you realize how much easier it is to use your desk as a coat rack/make-up counter/ping pong table (you get the idea). Think your messy desk is beyond repair? We’re here to help you reclaim your space and keep it neat and orderly for the rest of the semester!

Elimination Time - Go through your desk, one section at a time, and clear out anything that you don’t need. The excess clutter is only going to make it twice as hard to get organized. Toss any wrappers or old papers in the trash or recycling and get them out of the way immediately. Once you’ve done this, take out all that is remaining and divide it into three piles: a Keep Pile, a Move Pile, and a Trash-You-Missed Pile. The Keep Pile will be the stuff that remains in your desk, while the Move Pile consists of items that you don’t want to throw out but would be better situated elsewhere. The Trash-You-Missed Pile is just that and can be moved straight into the garbage. Once this is all done, you can begin organizing your desk with all of your necessary school supplies.

My desk organizer keeps all of my things in order!


Compartmentalize and Prioritize –
Ever spent precious time searching every drawer in your desk looking for something as minute as a paper clip? I know I have. Now think how much easier it would be if all of your school supplies had a specific spot in your desk. Fit everything into a category – small supplies (paperclips, erasers), writing implements, etc. Then ask yourself if there are any items that you use frequently and would like access to at all times. Keep these within reach to make it easy on yourself. Drawer and desk organizers are great for keeping all items in a proper place. Dedicate each compartment to a different set of things and never waste time searching again. Swing by your campus bookstore and pick one up today!

The same idea goes for textbooks, folders, and binders. Keep books with their corresponding notebooks and avoid the hassle of grabbing the wrong set on your way out the door.

Even “Junk” Deserves a Place – Let’s be serious here – little, useless trinkets and mementos are not going to be tossed in the trash simply because they’re not “technically” part of your supplies. Rather than fighting the hoarder within you, take preemptive measures to ensure it won’t affect your ability to stay organized. Dedicate a small bin or section of one drawer (you don’t need a whole drawer – no excuses) specifically to “junk.” By limiting these small items to one area, you’re keeping your belongings in order while still retaining any “memories” you’ve collected.

Maintenance is Key - It’s not realistic to expect your desk to remain immaculate at all times. When extracurricular activities and schoolwork start to hit their peak, making sure your desk is in order probably falls fairly low on the list of priorities. However, take a few minutes once a week or every two weeks to check that no clutter is making its way into your neat and orderly desk. By keeping up with this regularly, you’ll avoid having to perform a complete desk-overhaul.

Now that your desk is in order, we’re getting ready to take on your School Work! Next week we’ll be back with surefire ways to keep your ever-growing amount of homework in order. We’d love to hear your feedback, suggestions, or questions – so share them with us below!

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January is “Get Organized Month” – Dorm Room Edition

It is quite common to feel as though there is just not enough space for all of your belongings within the confines of your dorm room. However, just because your room doesn’t boast the same square footage as a penthouse, doesn’t mean it has to be cramped and uncomfortable. With the help of your roommate(s) and a few of our useful tips, transform your room from an overcrowded, cluttered box to the living space you have always dreamed of.

Swap Schedules - Before you begin organizing your things, it is also important to observe how your room is going to operate. Are you and your roommate going to be running on similar schedules or will one of you have early classes while the other attends at night? The key here is simply to communicate. Print your class schedules and hang them in the room so you are both on the same page. Add any meetings or sporting events when they arise and keep each other in the general loop. After all, you don’t want to invite over a study group if your roommate is hoping to gear up before his or her big game!

Refresh your Refrigerator - Ever opened up your mini fridge to grab a drink and ended up rummaging around for ten minutes in order to find what you wanted (and then had to spend ten more minutes fitting everything back inside)? Overloading your compact fridge with unnecessary items is both inconvenient and time-consuming. Take an hour with your roommate to toss out any old or unnecessary items (like that month-old pizza slice, for instance). Once you’ve cleared out all the trash, put what you can in small, stackable containers that are easier to arrange. Put day-to-day items (Ex – Brita filter) towards the front and less-used items towards the back. Take advantage of any storage space on the door as well. Most importantly, check back and clean out every few weeks!

Save space by using furniture for more than one purpose!

Kill Two Birds with One Stone - Why have a small set of drawers AND an end table when you can have a set of drawers that acts as an end table? Finding ways to use furniture for more than one purpose can be incredibly valuable to the organization of your space.  Many ottomans, for example, not only act as extra seating but are also great for storage due to their hollowed-out interiors. Consolidating the amount of furniture in your room will open up more space and, therefore, make it easier to keep clean than a cramped area.

Take Advantage of all Storage Spaces - Less convenient spaces – such as under your bed or the back of your closet, for example – should not go to waste simply because of their locations. Use these less accessible storage areas for objects that are not used frequently, such as off-season clothing or extra towels. Inexpensive, rectangular containers with lids are great for storing a variety of objects and also prevent them from getting dusty. You can find a lot of options to help you store all of your stuff at your campus bookstore.

As is the case with other areas of organization, the most important thing to decide is what works for you. Have you found your own special way to keep things on track within your dorm room? Drop us a comment and let us know what you did!

We’ll be back next week to tackle another key area to your academic success – your desk! Check back for our guide to turning your desk from cluttered and messy to neat and organized. Need help with a specific organizational issue? Share it with us below and we’ll be sure to give you some advice!

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January is “Get Organized Month”

With 2012 in full swing, there is no better time to refresh and reorganize. January is “Get Organized Month”, so we’ll be bringing you helpful hints that will aid you in de-cluttering and rearranging various aspects of your daily life. From managing your school work to making your closet more navigable, we got your back!

January is "Get Organized Month!"

We could not agree more with Unclutterer.com’s sentiment that the key lies in reevaluating your things and how their arrangements could be improved to form a system that allows you to act productively. Have you and your roommate been tripping over each other due to things you just can’t find a place for? Does your desk function better as a storage facility than as a work space? We’re here to help you discover what works for you! We’ll be tackling a new area in need each week so be sure to check back for our tips and tricks.  And we need your help!  Tell us what advice you need to organize your routine and we’ll research tips just for you!

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Organizational Bliss Is Right Around the Corner

Class is back in session and you have a million things on your mind—classes, papers, projects, friends. But, let’s face it– When you’re thrown into second semester after a nice, long break, you can become a little, uh, disheveled (I know.  I’ve been there).  So, it’s time to get back on track and get organized.  Don’t worry!  It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

1.  When you get back to school, you may have all of your things thrown anywhere and everywhere.  Clothes on the bed, shoes on the floor, DVDs in the wrong cases, etc.  I don’t know about you, but I seemed to always come back to campus with twice as much stuff as first semester!  If you find that you have tons of clutter, consider bins and storage units for your room.  Most bins are affordable and select storage units are up to 60% off at your bookstore (check with them for dates of the sale).  Tuck those storage units under your bed, in your closet or hang them on the back of your door.

2.  Once you’ve gotten your room in order, now it’s time to organize your academic life.  To avoid having books strewn about your room, try downloading eBooks with NOOKstudy.  And for effective note taking, try keeping one notebook per class or a binder with dividers per course.    

3.  You are on your way to organizational bliss. You have all your items for class, but now it’s time to organize your time!  What is the best way to do that? A planner! I personally live out of mine. I have yet to submit to technology (like a BlackBerry), but if you are efficient on your phone, that works, too! Either way, planners help you remember assignments, presentations, exams and special events. There is just one catch—you have to be diligent and keep it up to date.   

These are just some simple ways to help you once you get back to school to keep yourself organized. Being organized in all areas of your life is a great feeling—though, a little spontaneity here and there is always nice too!

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