DEPACK – Starting with Clothes

24 Days until the move!!

Packing and decluttering at the same time. DEcluttering + PACKing = DEPACK. Let the boxes overflow!!

Omg what have I gotten myself into *facepalm*

Packing and moving is hard enough. Why add decluttering? Well, here are some good reasons:

 

  1. You are paying movers to move your things – those things must be valuable enough to be worth spending on in this way
  2. You are starting a new chapter in a fresh, new space. Do you really want to take along dusty items that haven’t seen the light of day for several years at your old place? 
  3. You are spending the time picking up each belonging to put in a box. As long as you are going through everything, use the time to decide what you want to keep and what you want to discard.

 

Obviously this is easier said than done. If you are doing a rush moving job, by all means pack it all up and go. However if you have the luxury of packing at a slower pace and not rushing to move, take a little extra time and declutter as you go. You will thank yourself later.

How do you declutter as you pack, or DEPACK??

I recommend following the same steps as Konmari method of organizing in general. She starts with clothes. So I started with clothes.

I’m touching each item, folding it according to the Konmari method, and putting it in the box. As I take each item and handle it, I am pondering – does this spark joy? When’s the last time I wore this? Do I look forward to wearing it again in the near future? If the answer is no to the above questions, I put it aside into a donate bag or sell bag depending on its condition.

After clothes, I am straying a bit from Kondo’s order and moving onto the categories that logically work in my space, according to what we are not using the weeks prior to moving (and hence can already pack), and also in order from difficult to easy – I’m getting the harder stuff done first.

See pics below of the beginnings of packing – clothes first. The plastic bags are to keep the clothes dust-mite free. I like clear bags as the contents are easily visible inside.

24 days left until the big move – think I’ll be ready??

 ~Shirit

 

 

 

Look how much I already cleared from the closet!! And the box is above right..fill ‘er up!!

Depack

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The big move? Let me explain. This apartment has been our lovely home for 2.5 years, the previous apartment for 3 years. Those two apartments were literally a block away from each other, so essentially we were in the same neighborhood for 5.5 years.  

 

Before you panic, we are moving to another area of Brooklyn G-d willing, like 20 minutes away driving. 

 

So the lifestyle elements that originally inspired this blog: the struggles of stuff, lack of storage space, need for affordable organization solutions while renting, and overall aim towards a more streamlined and minimalist lifestyle, still stand. The new apartment is still super urban, crowded, rented apartment-living with no storage space and no car. Our budget for home decor and organizing still stands at an all-time low. Or nonexistent lol. But I am super super super hopeful for excellent closet space, a spacious kitchen, excellent sunlight, and an easy entryway (no stairs!) A girl can dream.

 

So now comes the big task: packing.

 

There are hundreds of articles on packing and organizing online. Only one urgent, pressing element comes to mind though: can I use this as an opportunity to declutter and truly go through everything??!!! What an organizer’s dream come true!! This isn’t organizing and decluttering all in an existing space, this is packing, sorting, donating and really deciding what is worth paying a mover to lug across town and what simply is not needed in our home and is taking up valuable space. 

So join me on my declutter packing adventure!! Let’s call it…DEPACK. Decluttering and packing all in one. 

Let’s do this!!

~Shirit

 

Decorating with Photos

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Photos make the best home decor. To put up images of the ones you love, those close to you, and meaningful sites and artwork beats any famous artwork in my book. How can you display photos without breaking the bank?? 

By far the cheapest photo printing service I have found is Amazon prints. With only 9 cents per 4x6 image, it beats Walgreens.com and Shutterfly.com in my experience. The downfall is that it can take a week+ to receive your images unless you pay for expedited shipping. If you need them asap then in my experience Walgreens is the way to go – they have same day prints available for in-store pickup, and delivery by mail is quicker than Amazon prints. For less than a dollar per image we are still talking pretty budget-friendly.

Canvas images are in vogue and look gorgeous displayed on the wall. The issue is, they have always been too pricey for me to justify. If you get one on sale, or use a coupon code that would be your best bet.

Below was a large canvas received as a gift (L), to the right is simply a picture frame with photo prints arranged & taped inside. Pretty economic and I think asthetically pleasing way to bring honor to relatives and decorate the walls at the same time!

As well if you keep your eyes peeled occasionally Walgreens or Shutterfly will have free 8x10 photo print deals! Below are simply 2 8x10 photo prints displayed on the wall. It would look one step up if they were canvases, however for a more budget-friendly option this does the job as well. I also can’t help but think flat images on the wall are slightly safer above beds when it comes to earthquakes? Would love to hear your perspective on that one 😉 Best, Shirit

Open Pantry – Update!

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Pantry Update!

Even when organized, stuff can get out of control! Especially in a small kitchen.

I revamped the pantry, making use of a new bowl and a new shelf unit for additional kitchen and dining items.

Picked up a free bowl being given away by a local flower shop, thank you @Mimulo (SCORE!). Where do you keep your produce?

Yes, my pantry space is valuable. Though my counter space is more valuable, so I decided to put the produce bowl in the open pantry.

Also picked up a free shelf unit someone was giving away in my neighborhood – took it home in an uber (SCORE!). Idea for this was threefold: extra kitchen/pantry storage, toy storage, and a nice aesthetic on top.

I thought the bowl would be EXCELLENT on top of the new shelf. Problem is, it is too big (see pics, it extends over the edge). Sigh.

That’s where the idea for a produce bowl came in.

Then I redid the pantry since it was getting out of hand anyways. With small spaces, I think every few months reorganizing is in order, even having done the Konmari method. Everyone eats, the pantry contents change, and we need to adjust. Nothing wrong with that!

These are the before (L) and after (Center and R) images of redone pantry!! No, I am not embarrassed lol of the before – this is real life my friends.

More organized new shelf pictured below. Another reason I wanted something in this location in the living room is due to the cords, they used to be on the ground and were an ugly eye-sore. I can’t move them since this is where they are attached to the wall/internet hookup, and this is at least safer and possibly less ugly than before. Still looking for more ideas regarding storing these cords more aesthetically, however they also generate heat so cannot be closed up in a drawer for example (tried that previously, lol).

Similar items to what I used:

New black shelf: https://amzn.to/2FwGlpE

Gold produce bowl: https://amzn.to/2TfmZbe

Happy centering,
~Shirit

Toy Storage!

Toys! So easy to buy, yet no space for them all!

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In a previous apartment (upper right photo) toys were stored on a bookshelf in the living room in plastic containers/bins. It was an easy-to-access solution, not super aesthetic as the bins didn’t all match. 

Now in this apartment (upper left photo), we no longer have that bookshelf, and what you see is a mess of toys all over the ground! I’ve tried a few different storage methods in the closet, living room, and kids room, which you will see below.

1. Rubbermaid closet system: The system is installed in the kids room closet with one rack for hanging clothing and one shelf. More shelves could be added – this is a possibility I have entertained at some point. This link is similar to what I purchased from Walmart online at the time, though now the price is better on amazon: https://amzn.to/2TcG65L

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2. Fabric cubes: These have been useful in storing toys. I have one in the main living room bookshelf, sometimes one or two grace the floor in the kids bedroom, and I am using two in the new bookshelf in the living room as well. Disadvantages of these are they are not super durable, they don’t last forever, and kids have to dig through them to get to what they want. See some below (turquoise, gray, I also have some black ones). This is a link to some similar, though get some colorful ones to brighten things up: https://amzn.to/2B7LmjS

3. Plastic drawer units in the kids closet and in the kids bedroom: I’ve alternated with set-ups with plastic drawer units around the kids bedroom with toys in the three clear drawers, and in the closet under the mounted shelf. Right now I fit two such storage units in the closet and it makes for a less cluttered feel for the room. I also have one miscellaneous sized drawer still loose in the room, which also serves a purpose slightly elevating the laundry hamper..hmm I can address this at some point. You can see the drawers in some of the pics above. Big drawers: https://amzn.to/2qPugkR Smaller drawers: https://amzn.to/2zaGfy3

4. Laundry hamper: stuffed animal storage. I used to do this, and though cute and aesthetically pleasing, it wasn’t practical as inevitably all the stuffed animals ended up on the floor – it is just too deep. I’ll find a pic somewhere, but you get the idea. Now stuffed animals are stuffed (pun intended) into the clear drawers, and they also live in the doll strollers. Taking advice in this area – please comment below for stuffed animal storage! (I’m not a fan of the nets above because I like the Montessori-theme of kids accessing toys themselves, I don’t want storage up high that I have to get down each time). I got mine at TJ Max as a gift (the tag was on so I knew where it was from lol) a similar one on Amazon if you choose to go this route for stuffed animals: https://amzn.to/2DFxJei

Links to stuff I used or similar:

Rubbermaid closet configuration:  https://amzn.to/2TcG65L

Fabric bins (but I recommend bright and colorful ones for an easy pop): https://amzn.to/2B7LmjS

Plastic 3 drawer unit (large): https://amzn.to/2qPugkR

Plastic 3 drawer unit (small/narrower): https://amzn.to/2zaGfy3

Laundry hamper for stuffed animals: https://amzn.to/2DFxJei

Which methods do you prefer of storing toys and stuffed animals? 

~Shirit

Clothes – Inspired by KonMari

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Marie Kondo’s mission is to “Organize the World.” Let’s start with our own personal spaces.

A. What I’m working with:

Small apartment = not lots of clothes storage. I’ve got one small closet and one tall bureau – 3 drawers for me. It seems we have always struggled with clothes storage and moving into apartments without closets!

In apartment 1 (my first NYC apartment) which came without closets at all, see the Walmart Rubbermaid closet system below (link: https://amzn.to/2DZ4TXq) that I put on an open bedroom wall. I put these up on two open bedroom walls, only one wall pictured here:

In apartment 2 (current space) there are two small closets without doors, on which I installed a rod with a curtain (curtain link: https://amzn.to/2y0qxVU) to serve as a “door” on both closets. This was less permanent than installing doors as a renter, and I actually found this technique more pleasant and aesthetically pleasing than leaving it open and even nicer than a real closet door! I have two of this ocean blue shade installed in one bedroom, one as a “closet door” and the other as a curtain for the porch door. In the other bedroom I have two dark purple similar quality curtains, one covering the window and one serving as a “closet door.” See the blue one pictured below:

In terms of drawers/dressers, in apartment 1 I had at first a six drawer long unit. Sold that for valuable floor space reasons, and opted for a skinny, narrow, almost custom drawer unit going upwards instead of lengthwise. Found it on amazon, was SO happy with the width that was perfect for the old apartment, link: https://amzn.to/2RsdbJV. This tall unit held the grown-ups clothes.

In apartment 2, rearranging a bit, the narrow tall dresser holds kids clothes, and grown-ups clothes are now in the heavy, five drawer unit that in apartment 1 housed miscellaneous items – kitchen towels, electronic equipment, etc.

The sturdy real wood five drawer unit was a family hand-me-down, no links, but it is easily the heaviest piece of furniture I have. Two strong movers heaved and hawed moving this beast.

Pictured below is the mammoth 5-drawer unit used first in the living room, then re-purposed for clothes in the master bedroom:

It’s important to mention the drawer storage because Marie Kondo relies heavily on drawers for storing clothes. More on her organizing philosophy now:

B. The organizing gets real…

Marie Kondo (KonMari), author of “Spark Joy” and “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” is on the forefront of organizing gurus today. She is Japanese by origin, and Japan is known for having small apartments and tiny spaces – no wonder she learned to truly keep only what she needs and what “sparks joy” for her.

KonMari recommends storing most if not all of your clothing items in drawers utilizing her unique clothes folding and storage method. At first this method seems foreign and more time consuming when doing laundry, but over time it gets easier, faster, and becomes second nature. It truly is the most efficient way to store clothes in drawers – more things fit inside along with the advantage that you can see all that you have! No more searching for clothes for hours.

Below see the same drawer, on L it is not organized via the Konmari method, on R it is! (It is the same drawer, I’m not sure why it’s showing up brighter on the R)

I do believe in going through the KonMari method to the T, following all of her steps and recommendations. A primary component of the KonMari method is to keep the items which spark joy and to declutter and purge the items that don’t. She advocates doing this once and for all, to do a big organizing project (she predicts it will be over a six month period) and then thereafter only follow up maintenance will be needed. This level of organizing will not have to be attempted again.

This part is crucial. Most of us accumulate and obtain way more than we need or truly want. It is a huge breath of fresh air to let go of the clothes that no longer serve you at this time in your life, make space for new clothes that will spark joy and maintain a usable closet. I have gotten rid of numerous garbage bags full of clothes using this method, clothes that I hadn’t touched in years and didn’t plan on wearing but held onto ”just in case” (how many of you can relate??)
I also now have a bag in my closet designated to put things in that I find no longer spark joy or that no longer fit for donation.

After going through the whole KonMari method, I believe it is acceptable to adapt her philosophies/strategies for your lifestyle and space. For example, she advocates to keep all seasons in your closets and shoe spaces, doing away with storing the off-season clothes. I have implemented this in our closets in terms of winter coats, but i have found that keeping our snow boots in the entryway with our other shoes year round is not practical for us nor for our space. Snow boots and all-weather shoes I store in the closet during for the summer months.

Links to stuff I used:

Rubbermaid Closet Configuration:  https://amzn.to/2DZ4TXq

Curtains for Closet Doors: https://amzn.to/2y0qxVU

Awesome NARROW dresser from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RsdbJV

Black hangers I use, allow for more things to fit in the closet! https://amzn.to/2OJJVfm

Marie Kondo’s Book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” https://amzn.to/2DFThaS

That’s all for now, folks! I’ll share more Konmari photos of my Kitchen organization Konmari style, other rooms of the house purging and tidying, and my hanging clothes closets sorted in her recommended way as well. For now, goodnight and good luck organizing! ~Shirit