Pretty Little Things

I get lots of questions from friends and clients about jewelry storage. Jewelry storage is tricky because in this category the solution is entirely dependent on the items in your collection and your personal preference on visibility and the space you have to support different storage solutions. 

This vintage serving tray was a steal at $19. It has enough space to hold all of my necklaces while avoiding tangles!

This vintage serving tray was a steal at $19. It has enough space to hold all of my necklaces while avoiding tangles!

Recently I have been into using trays and bowls that I find vintage or pick up while traveling.  I don't have much dainty jewelry so I don't need to worry too much about avoiding tangles which is one reason this solution works so well for me. I also really dislike the look of hanging a bunch of necklaces out in the open so I had to play with other options. As you can see above, a cool vintage serving dish holds my thin-chined jewelry easily. While this piece of mine only holds necklaces, the great thing about a divided dish like this that it would be great for storing different types of jewelry in one place, like rings and stacking bracelets. 

This is a vintage Japanese hand-painted bowl that came from my grandparents house. It is the perfect size for my chunky collar necklaces!

This is a vintage Japanese hand-painted bowl that came from my grandparents house. It is the perfect size for my chunky collar necklaces!

Most of my jewelry is pretty chunky which means I can just pile it high in a cool dish and call it a day. I do this with the rest of my necklaces and most of my rings and bracelets. Whenever my jewelry dishes start to feel a bit disheveled or overflowing I pour everything out on the floor and sort through piece by piece. This act of re-organizing allows brings mindfulness to these possessions and I always find that I'm holding onto something that I don't need to be. That necklace that is broken either goes out for repair immediately, or something I haven't worn in a long time goes to the donation pile. 

I got this little dish at EXPO in Milan last summer. It was handmade in Tunisia and holds rings like a dream!

I got this little dish at EXPO in Milan last summer. It was handmade in Tunisia and holds rings like a dream!

I can't stress enough how valuable it is to maintain a level of awareness towards your belongings and dumping everything out and sorting through is the best way to achieve that! We don't need stress or chaos surrounding our pretty little things. Because pretty little things should be just that - pretty, little things. For those of you with a daintier jewelry habit, check out the amazing jewelry storage option I taught Rachael Ray and keep scroll through below for more easy jewelry storage ideas! 

Dream Shelf

The kitchen cabinet of my dreams consists entirely of whole, nourishing foods housed in those nice, neat clear glass (or BPH free plastic) containers. I'm a smoothie-bowl-for-breakfast and a grain-and-greens-bowl-for-lunch kinda gal so I need to store lots and lots of dry ingredients. Food packaging has become an unwelcome stressor for me both on the store shelf and in my kitchen cabinet. How does one remember that they have two types of brown rice to choose from when they can't even discern the rice package from the quinoa package from the farro package at first glance? I got to a point where I had to pull almost everything out of my cabinet to figure out which bag or box contained what. Being over stimulated visually, especially because of branding and marketing on packaging isn't something we need to keep dealing with once we get a product into our home. Going labelless in the kitchen makes decisions about what to eat easier and it creates a little more calm space in our lives. Your morning smoothie routine should start you off in a positive, clear, calm direction and facing a messy cabinet first thing does not set you up for success.

BEFORE - Piles and piles of disorganized bags and jars and packaging

BEFORE - Piles and piles of disorganized bags and jars and packaging

So, how did I fix it? I shopped online and IRL at the Container Store for the fancy containers for months and months without being able to make a single decision, let alone a purchase. There are so many options out there and I needed something quick, easy and inexpensive. I was feeling pretty bummed about not having sorted this out yet so I reached for comfort in a pint of ice cream and a jar of homemade blackberry sauce. As soon as I opened the jar it hit me. Ball Mason Jars.  They had been a staple in my house growing up for everything from button storage to food preservation. Why did it take me so long to remember how valuable these were for storage? Who cares. I practically ran to my neighborhood hardware store to check out their selection. Of course, I ran out of my apartment before measuring the height of my shelf or counting the number of products I needed to store, so I picked out a few different sizes in the wide mouth jars to take home and try out. The 18oz and 24oz sizes ended up working best for my needs. 

AFTER - All that mess fit perfectly into 25 wide-mouth mason jars

AFTER - All that mess fit perfectly into 25 wide-mouth mason jars

I was able to solve my kitchen cabinet crisis in about 45 minutes (including a second trip to the hardware store) and for less than $30. Yes, 20 mason jars for less than $30. I feel like I hit the jackpot on this one. One concern with going labelless, especially in the kitchen, is losing cooking instructions and expiration dates, but you can label the jar or the lid with a p-touch (the lid is less conspicuous) to remember any important information about a product if necessary. I'm storing long and short grain brown rice, red and tri-color quinoa, amaranth, farro, pistachios, sliced almonds, mixed nuts, raw almonds, acai powder, hemp protein powder, popcorn kernels, shredded coconut, goji berries, chia seeds, flax seeds, moringa powder, marcona almonds, and coca nibs. 

The aftermath - check out all of the packaging I was able to recycle!

The aftermath - check out all of the packaging I was able to recycle!

I know you're wondering what I was able to make happen with the rest of the cabinet, especially the spices so check back for some more tips on kitchen cabinet organization! 

Getting Started

Happy 2016! Its time to make those resolutions last! The key to getting organized and staying organized is simplifying your life by creating habits that work for you, and continuously thanking yourself for making those habits stick!

Lets talk about the word "finish" and how being relentless about task completion can put you on the fast track to a more organized life. I struggled with finishing well into early adulthood. To me, putting away my shoes or clothes seemed unnecessary, almost like a painful form of punishment. I had this habit of letting things live wherever they landed. This went for clothes, shoes, car keys, purses, dishes, kitchen supplies, bath towels... you get the idea. I lived in piles of stuff and I couldn't find anything, ever. I was always rushed and always stressed because I couldn't find what I needed, which was perpetuating a negative feeling towards so many of my belongings. My thought process was that when I was done using an item, any further interaction with that item was completely unnecessary. Not being conscious of the way I was treating my belongings created a very negative cycle that put distance between me and the things that served me. This behavior was rooted in carelessness (with a touch of ADHD) and somewhere along the way I'd managed to confuse being "done" with being "finished".  I began to realize that my life did not look like the life I'd aspired to. I wanted a tidy entryway, shoes I could find, accessories I enjoyed looking at, an inspiring workspace, etc. I realized that in order to have the life I envisioned I needed to start creating new habits. So, where did I start? At the end, of course.  

There are a few physical spaces in our lives that can have a huge impact on the others. I like to think of these as sort of the building blocks to creating and maintaining a well organized, intuitive system in which to live from. Lets talk about some quick, easy ways to organize and maintain your workspace, entryway, and closet.

Tidy your workspace at the end of each day

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

At the end of the day you're tired and ready to get the F out of dodge. I get it. But leaving a messy desk behind today puts you on the fast track for frustration tomorrow. If you take the time to put away your pens, file your papers, and clear your coffee mug (think three minutes or less), you'll arrive at a desk that feels like a blank canvas. Warning: increased productivity ahead!

Create a landing place and use it responsibly

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Hitting the couch, gym or fridge as soon as you get home oftentimes feel like priority over making sure your shoes land in the right spot. But, the amount of time it takes to place your coat on a hook, headphones in a bowl, and shoes neatly in their home (think 30-90 seconds) pales in comparison to the panic you'll feel when you're rushing out the door the next morning and can't find your keys. If you can be consistent in putting things away at the end of the day, the number of mornings you blame your tardiness on a subway delay will drastically decrease. You may even have time to stop for a smoothie!

Clothes deserve an organizational cheat

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Deciding what to do with clothes at the end of the day can be challenging. Clothes just aren't as simple to categorize as things like scarves and keys. Some clothes should go straight into the hamper like socks, underwear, and workout gear. But, some things need to go to the dry cleaner or be hand washed. There are also things that you'll get several wears out of before cleaning, but that you may want to air out before putting right back into your closet. For things that need special care, I suggest dedicating a basket to these things that you take care of weekly or bi-weekly. For the things that you'll wear again before washing but that you feel need some time before going back in the closet, you can create an area for hooks near your closet or use a chair to drape things over. Whichever option you choose, be sure to put all of your clothes away at least once a week. Sorting everything you've worn at the end of each day will save you the daunting task of dealing with a huge pile at the end of the week. You'll end up with less wrinkles and easier hauls to the laundry.