Tips for Organizing Like a Pro + Why Living Simply Is Good (With Abigail Nowell)

Monday, August 1, 2016


If I know one thing to be true, it is that my dear friend, Abigail, knows how to organize. Through the years of our friendship, we have bonded over our love for the Container Store and our shared giddiness when our room is clean. Not to mention, we could talk about the pros and cons of our planners for hours. No joke.

During the weeks of planning and preparing for this blog, I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate an organizing aspect. Yet, I wanted these posts to reflect more that physical cleanliness. Because, here is the thing: having an organized space you love is all about living simply. It is about surrounding yourself with items that are purposeful and make you happy (flashback to last week's post, here). It is about coming home to a clean home in order to spend more time on moments that matter-- family, friends, hobbies, leisure, etc.-- rather than hanging up clothes for the fourth night in a row. It is about making a house not just four white walls, but a home.

Therefore, I am beyond excited to introduce you to Abigail's first of many posts focused on the art of organization and the wisdom behind a simple space. Get ready for some serious tips, my friends. This girl is the definition of a pro.

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Abigail: So, right off the bat, I have to say that organizing is my go-to stress reliever. It is one of the only ways that I feel like I have a grasp on things. Plus, living in a clutter-free space is nice too. Here are a few of my tips for organizing like a pro. 

01 | Beware of what you buy. 

Y'all I am all about a good ole shopping spree, but lately (especially since I'll have a shoebox closet in about two weeks) I've been very conscientious of what I buy. I've downsized my closet in the past few months and realized that a lot of the items I get rid of, I've only worn once or twice. That being said, I make sure I really love something before I buy it

02 | Find a Place for Everything

As soon as I bring something new into my room, I automatically find a place for it. It could be hidden away in a junk drawer or displayed on a bookshelf, but it has its own spot. Now, it will not be cluttering my desk and I won't be straining to find where I put it. 

03 | Group Things of Similarity Together

This one seems kind of obvious, but people with cluttered spaces often forget it. If you have a mountain size pile of "stuff" on your closet floor, go through it and figure out what is inside. Do you need to grab a few storage bins for t-shirts? Should you group all your shoes together? Chances are, your clutter will filter out because things will start having more of a place.

04 | Two Words: STORAGE. BINS.

I cannot reiterate it enough when I say that storage bins are your best friend when it comes to organizing. Every time we go in Target (which is too much for the average person), Cate and I linger around this section of the store. Bins, containers, baskets, etc., are perfect because you can put whatever you want in them and it looks clean (even if the contents of your last three purses are inside). I keep two big bins of workout clothes, several with scarves and swimsuits, and one massive bin of my hoarded t-shirt collection on my closet shelves. 

05 | Find a System that Works for you

The term "organized" is different for everyone. I would like for my definition to be somewhere along the lines of "we are getting ready to have an open house and your room needs to be spotless", but that never tends to happen. If organizing for you is putting your laundry away, then great! If it is making sure every lipstick has its own spot in an acrylic drawer from the Container Store, even better. I have my jeans, pants, and shorts neatly stacked on a shelf. A lot of my friends keep their in drawers. It is all about personal preference! Just keep in mind that your room/space is yours. 

06 | Take Inventory

If you notice a particular collection of something seems to be expanding a little too quickly, take a little time to sort through it. If you have a collection of bottle cap necklaces from elementary school that are collecting dust, it is probably time to trash them (or donate!). If there is something you are questioning whether or not to give away, give it another chance. My rule is to keep it throughout the season (i.e. if it is March, try though May), and if I do not wear or use it, then I get rid of it. 

*Cate's Closet Organization System: Ditch the plastic or wire hangers, and invest in some huggable hangers by Joy Mangano. Not only do they look nicer, they take up less space and are sturdy. 


All in all, what I have realized as I have tried to clean through my room/closet is that I have way too much stuff. When we start to get too much stuff, we become overwhelmed by the amount but also by how it is affecting our lives. I try to keep my space clean because it helps me have a clearer mind throughout the day (instead of worrying about how much laundry I have to put away when I get home), I can fully use everything I already have, and I get to be more creative with outfit choices! (All that to say, I still have a terrible online shopping habit. The college student budget will be changing that soon.) A fun idea is to spend an afternoon with a friend going through a space that needs some major organization. Turn on some fun music and make day out of it!

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Abigail, thank you so much for sharing your wise words concerning not just the physical space that surrounds us, but shedding light into how that affects all aspects of our lives. I think we are all prepared to head to the Container Store this afternoon to grab some storage bins. Who's with me?


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1 comment:

  1. This is such a helpful post! I LOVE THE CONTAINER STORE!!

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