on moving apartments: packing and organizing

It’s been a couple of weeks since I first talked about moving apartments and a lot has happened since then. After reading the life-changing magic of tidying up, I set out to remove clutter from my life. It ticked the first box off my list. The next box to tick off, securing a new apartment, was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I had set up appointments for one weekend, viewed several places, and came to an agreement on one all in the span of a week. It was quite a feat – and lifted a huge weight off.

So next on the list: packing.

I definitely was not looking forward to this – I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the last year. However, one of the nice things about packing is you could go through and organize everything. For me, it’s working through the stuff I know I’ll need in the near future (short sleeve t-shirts, skirts) and packing away the ones I don’t (heavy jackets, thick jeans, tall boots). It will set me up for success in the long run; when I get to my new apartment, I’ll have tote boxes that don’t need to be unpacked until later on in the year.

 In my closet, I have two black plastic tote boxes in my closet that are divided into two categories: (1) things I’m wearing this season and (2) things I won’t be touching for a while. The second box lives under the first and they’re stacked to take up less space. Since I started using this system last fall, I haven’t opened the bottom bin. It also makes choosing clothes easier – I only have a few choices and I won’t see things I’ll never dream of wearing in 40 degree weather (I’m looking at you, high-waisted shorts). The same goes for shoes – tucked away in the bottom of the closet are shoes I don’t wear now – sandals, flats, or anything that could cause a tumble in the rain. Compartmentalizing your clothes based on season is extremely handy, especially when you have a lot of items in your wardrobe. There are a lot of space saving options (like tote boxes or plastic bins) that could help organize and store at the same time.

And now that I’m moving, I get to re-organize my closet, especially since the weather isn’t as bad as in December or January. I’ve started to trade jeans for dresses and tights, so those heavy materials are going into the black bin. The chunky sweaters are being trades for lighter long sleeves, which will eventually be traded for short sleeves and tank tops. I am so ready for spring to be here.

If you’re not moving like me and re-arranging your closet to accommodate tote boxes and plastic bins doesn’t seem doable, you could always store these items in an outside storage unit. There are several options, like a local storage locker. If you are like me and you don’t drive, there is also the option for someone to take it for you and return it to you when the next season rolls around – and that’s where a company like MakeSpace comes in. You pack and they pick it up and bring it back when you like! Pretty nifty huh? They have a bunch of different options for any size room – everything from storing a closet to an entire apartment and you don’t have to move a thing.

What are some of your organizing tips? Let me know in the comments!

’til next time, xo!

finance report: budgeting retrospective

the finance report: all the pretty stars

One of the things I want to focus on in 2016 is my finances – especially as I plan for moving and vacations throughout the year. This meant not only planning my budget on a monthly cadence, but looking through the next several months as well.

Starting on January 1st, I really buckled down on following my budget. I use Mint to manage my budgets, but I didn’t normally go into my account that often. However, I knew if I wanted to save money for both a new apartment AND vacations, managing my money needed to become a bigger priority in my life.

Here’s what I learned from my first month of budgeting:

it’s a lot harder than it looks. Sure, the basic concept for budgeting is pretty easy to understand, but when you start from not really budgeting to basically counting every dollar, it’s freaking hard. However, at the end of it, it’s worth it – I understand where I tend to overspend (ahem, makeup and dining out) and where I over budget (like groceries).

focusing on long term goals helps stop short term spending. One of the things I had to keep reminding myself is that not spending in the short term is good for the long term. When putting the purchases in perspective – like is this handbag worth it in comparison to a bigger apartment? – it made me want to spend less. I didn’t feel like I was constricted – I felt like I was “spending” money on something bigger.

but a little fudge-room-budget is good too. It’s okay to spend a little bit on something you want and I had to remember to not feel guilty. For example, I still bought my cat some toys or splurged on a little bit of makeup because I knew that my “fudge room budget” could afford it. It’s hard to not spend on yourself, especially when you put in the time and work to make the money – so don’t feel bad when you want to buy something, as long as you’re mindful of your budget.

finally, make small changes to your lifestyle to adjust your budget, rather than huge changes. I knew my habits were not going to change overnight, so making small changes was more realistic for my situation. Rather than quitting Starbucks completely, I still allowed myself to buy a cup or two throughout the month. Also, I didn’t pack my lunch every day – because I knew that there would be days where I either didn’t have leftovers or was too tired to prepare a meal. Rather than beat myself up about it, I just accepted it for the day and moved on. Slowly, I started to not want to buy a $5 coffee every day and liked packing my food. Small, gradual changes are easier to implement than large, drastic ones.

I’m hoping as the months progress, I get better and better at budgeting.  It’s definitely a lifestyle change for me, but it’s a change for the better – so I’m going to stick to it.

Do you have any budgeting tips? What’s worked (and not worked!) for you?

’til next time, xo!

on moving apartments: the magic of tidying

the life-changing magic of tidying

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the things I wanted to focus on in 2016 was my home life. I’m moving in a few months and it’s given me a little bit of anxiety thinking about it. There’s a lot of moving parts to, well, moving, so I decided to focus on different things at different times. By focusing on bits at a time, it feels so much more manageable to move. I’ve done it in the complete opposite way – do everything at once and freak out immensely. Let’s just say – I never ever want to do that again. The goal is to finish one task before moving onto the next – pretty simple concept that I’m hoping will work in execution!

So I chunked it out into the following tasks, in order:

  1. Downsize what I have
  2. Secure a new apartment
  3. Change addresses, figure out utilities – you know, the not-so-fun part of finding a new apartment
  4. Pack &  Move
  5. Decorate!

Going down the list, the first order of business was downsizing what I have.

By now, you may have heard of a little book called the life-changing magic of tidying up: the japanese art of de-cluttering and organizing by marie kondo. I’ve seen vlogger rave about it, read bloggers rave about it, and seen it in every book store I’ve walked into. So when it came time to actually think about downsizing, I thought it was the perfect read for me. One of her key messages is you shouldn’t keep anything that doesn’t “spark joy” and to be thankful for all the things around you.

As I head down the path of moving, this book has helped me see the light on so many things I could easily downsize in my apartment. I spent a few hours one weekend just shredding old documents. I had papers from years and years ago – and I’ve just been lugging them around from apartment to apartment! I got my paper pile down to about a folder’s worth of items – not bad!

I did half a tidying session of just my clothes and it’s amazing how many items I found just did not “spark joy” for me anymore – clothes that didn’t fit or didn’t fit my style or just clothes that I bought and never wore. I had a pair of shoes still in it’s shoebox because I missed it’s return window. At the end of the day, I had three large trashbags filled of clothes for donation.

While I didn’t do a full crazy turn apart every room cleaning, I think I’ll do another half session soon. I feel like I can really downsize and lift that weight off the pressure of moving.

Have you read the book? What did you think of it?

’til next time, xo!