The Organized Life: 5 tips to organizing a closet in a small space.

January 22, 2015

Organized Closet-2I didn’t grow up as an organized person. I have been known to quite literally sweep things under the rug a time or two. Being organized is not always an inate skill. But the good news is that it’s never too late to learn!

Over the holidays I talked to one of my friends about New Year’s goals. I told her that my biggest one was to have an organized, streamlined life. Sound familiar? It’s basically turned into a mantra, especially now that having a baby has added a whole new level of need to stay organized.

Organized Closet

I wanted to share a few things I have learned over the years about gaining control over at least one area: the bedroom closet. Now, I used to be kind of a pack rat when it came to clothes, bags, shoes, belts, scarves…you name it. I also used to spend a lot of my free time scouring thrift stores, so as you can imagine, I had stacks on stacks on stacks of shit. Yes, shit. Because that is what most of it was. Which leads me to tip number one:

1. Be brutal and purge, purge, purge!
Say bye-bye to excess! Take a look in your closet and ask yourself “What do I really need“, or better yet, “What do I actually wear all of the time?”. Yes, you have those special occasion pieces that you save for years and hardly wear, but day to day, do you really need everything in your closet? For example, I tend to kind of buy the same kinds of pieces over and over- for a long time it was stripes. I took a look in my closet one day and realized I had 3 quarter-length black and white striped shirts that were almost identical. Does one really need this many nautical striped tops? It will sting a little, getting rid of some of those things, but pare down to your favorite peices and I promise you, you won’t miss any of those things you toss.

Organized Closet-6

2. Uniform is key.
This might seem trivial, but trust me, it’s super important: buy uniformed clothes hangers. Toss out all of those hodge podge wire and plastic hangers and invest in some nice wooden or streamline plastic hangers. Visually, it makes a huge difference and, surprisingly, everything fits better in your closet when you aren’t trying to jam mismatched or cheap hangers into every tiny hole.

Organized Closet-93. Closet cubes.
Speaking of uniform, investing in a cube storage system for your closet is another important tip. I found these flexible cubes at Ikea for about $10 a pack of 6 differently shaped bins. These are great for small storage because they give you the opportunity to utilize your closet space more efficiently and to compartmentalize your wardrobe. For example, instead of having one huge, messy bin of scarves, I have two bins – one of heavier scarves and one of more lightweight fabric scarves.

Organized Closet-11 Organized Closet-12 Organized Closet-54. Display your favorite pieces.
This has always been one of my favorite little tricks. Obviously, we all have those tshirts that are pitted out and those shoes that should probably be thrown out. I like to neatly hide those away and showcase the pieces I am most proud of. I know this sounds silly, but I actually think this is a way to have daily self affirmations without even knowing it. If you start your day feeling good about what you see in your closet, I think it sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Organized Closet-7 2015-01-22 Organized Closet-16

5. Store away seasonal clothes.
This is such a simple way to keep your small closet space to a minimum. I have all of my summer items neatly tucked in a soft box under my bed, and as soon the weather permits, I will be trading the winter stuff that is in here now with those more breezy summer clothes.

Organized Closet-10Aaaaaaah it feels good, guys! I’m not gonna lie – I worked on this closet for about 10 days and it is finally done.

What are your biggest organizational challenges?




January 18, 2015

Paris Apartment Unpacking-8

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

Sometimes I feel like the earth beneath me is spinning, and I am trying to keep up. The last 2 months have been gone by unbelievably fast, and we have gone through so many huge changes as a family. A new country and apartment to call home, holiday travel, our now-8-month-old son is growing quickly and has added several new tricks to his repertoire. He can sit up on his own, almost crawl, and he can pull himself up on the rails of his crib. I am attempting to get my reigns in on a new neighborhood and language and public transportation system as well as adjusting to Connor’s crazy travel schedule and, generally, a new way of life. It is such an incredible adventure that I am extremely happy to be a part of! All of these changes are exciting and exhausting, and I am trying to remember to move with them, to plunge into them and to be continuously grateful during the process.

I have been obsessed with getting this apartment put together. While we were gone on holiday vacation, I lay awake in bed visualizing an unpacked and perfectly organized home. I am sad to report that we are far from that goal. It will definitely take time.

Paris Apartment Unpacking-17I have managed to organize a few nooks and crannies in the new place, however, and I thought I would share the progress we have made so far..

Paris Apartment Unpacking-2Colin’s room also doubles as a guest room, with an en suite. It’s an awesome little space for him and I love this pull out sofa we purchased for the room. I sit on it all the time when he is playing in here.

Paris Apartment Unpacking-3 Paris ApartmentIt feels so good to be sleeping in our own bed finally. I will never take it for granted again! Our room is slowly coming together.

Paris Apartment Unpacking-7Our bathroom is so luxurious! It’s quite different than what I was expecting to have here. Colin has his very own little bathtub below this window.

Paris Apartment Unpacking-9 Paris Apartment Unpacking-11The living room is our main hang-out space right now. It’s not super huge but it is cozy and perfect for Colin to roll around on the floor.

Paris Apartment Unpacking-12 Paris Apartment Unpacking-13One of my favorite features in the living/dining room is the marble mantel. We are going to use it as our bar, and I’ve had fun arranging little pretties all over it. My friend Susan brought these awesome woven bowls back from Cape Town recently.

Paris Apartment Unpacking-14This is the view from one of our dining room windows. We are on the first floor, which in most of Europe is the American second floor.

Paris Apartment Unpacking-16Another gift from my friend Susan is this set of delicious smelling hand soap and lotion by Aesop. I can’t wait to visit the shop here in Paris!

Paris Apartment Unpacking-10The winding staircase up to our apartment.

So we have made some progress. We have also met a couple of our neighbors, one couple who is American, and everyone has been really friendly.

I have plans to share more about the kitchen soon. I am trying to plan a couple of storage DIY solutions, so stay tuned for that!



We have a new home!

December 17, 2014

KeysWell it’s been a minute. As of today, I have internet again, which means (yay!) I can start posting here more, among other things. Also, check out those keys! We moved in to our new place! Which has also been taking up some of our freetime. Or all of it.

We have made some progress- we have purchased almost all necessary furniture and only need a couple of appliances at this point (washer/dryer, television). This apartment is seriously amazing! The ceilings are so tall, the wide-planked wood floors are so beautiful and it’s really comfy and, mostly, it’s ours. And in Paris. I feel incredibly lucky!

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We made the obligatory trip to Ikea and managed to get out unscathed. Does anyone else always defer to that episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon and Criss Chros plan their doomed trip to Ikea and attempt to make a pact NOT to fight while they are there? One of my favorite episodes. And so true! What is it about Ikea that is rage-inducing?! Still, Connor and I did really well – no fighting – and we got everything we needed (almost) within budget.  Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetColin is getting used to his room, although he seemed to take to it pretty quickly. I think he was happy to be back in his bed that he was used to. He had been sleeping in a Pack-and-Play for 2 months.

There is so much beautiful light in this apartment. And I love seeing how our stuff looks here – the things we brought with us look totally different to me!

As soon as the holiday season ends and we are settled into our place, I have a few DIY’s in mind that I can’t wait to execute/share. Until then, hope you all have wonderful holidays and I can’t wait to touch base with you again soon…



Our New Place: Mapping Out the Living Room

December 1, 2014


Our new apartment has one, big rectangular room that will double as both our dining area and our living space. The apartment is about 86 square meters (which is roughly 925 square feet, give or take), which is about the same size (only a tiny bit smaller than) as our home in Tulsa was. Much like our home in Tulsa, I think we will spend the majority of our time in the living room- it’ll be Colin’s play space, our “office” and an area for us to relax and entertain in. That’s asking a lot of one room. So I want to do right by it and pick the right stuff!

Connor and I decided before we moved here to continue our thrifty lifestyle. We chose in favor of saving and spending money on travel vs having super expensive furniture. Don’t get me wrong- it’s super tempting to buy nice things here- there is so much to choose from!! But having an infant and a desire to see the world trumps those temptations. We did, however decide to invest in one nice piece of furniture, one that we can carry with us from house to house through the years and have forever! More on that in a later post!

Anyway- we picked a few things from Ikea as well as a couple of stores here that my friend recommended to me that I quickly fell in love with – Muji and Habitat. I chose my normal gray and black and wood- I tried to mix it up with some brighter pastels and earth tones- what do you think? Suggestions? Love it? Hate it?

Our new apartment in Paris!

November 28, 2014


Welcome, you guys! It finally happened. We found an apartment in Paris. In one day, we viewed 9 apartments, which considering the fact that trolling Craigslist Paris apartments online has been a long time hobby of mine, was a dream come true. All but two of them were so beautiful and perfect. But this one – this one was just right. Sorry in advance for the iPhone photos – it is just easier right now. I actually carried my DSLR with me to take photos, but only had my 50 mm lens which didn’t capture the full scale of the room quite the way I wanted to, so I went with the iPhone instead. IMG_1761.JPGOne thing I wasn’t privy to before moving to Paris is how “unfurnished” doesn’t necessarily mean “without furniture” – it also means “without anything in the kitchen” and “without light fixtures”, and “you are now out of another 2000 or 3000€” No thank you . My friend tells me that up until a few years ago, it was almost completely likely that you would have to completely outfit your kitchen with cabinets, a sink, a refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and stove top. And the washer/dryer situation is almost always on you. And this is just as a renter! I wanted a super baseline, very classic French apartment that had only a sink in the kitchen, meaning we would have had to overhaul the entire kitchen. Plus, the apartment of my dreams was about 300€ more per month than our budget. When we walked into this apartment, it was almost immediately clear that this was the one. It had the old French style that I had been dreaming of with all of the modern updates. It is in a quiet neighborhood in the 16th arrondissement, just a couple of miles from all the fun stuff but juuuuust far enough away to satiate my ever growing need for peace and quiet. Don’t get me wrong – we are city people! We just don’t need to live in the thick of it anymore. Being comfortably right outside of it suits us better. Above is the main living space. The room can be closed off by two large French doors. Fire Place One side of the living space has this ornamental fireplace. What do you do with a faux fire place? Candles? Fondue pot? “Hang in there, baby” cat poster? I am open to suggestions. HallwayThis is the hallway that you walk into – our front door is to the left, and the two doors directly in front are large storage closets/coat closet. Which is perfect! Another plus of this apartment is the built in storage! IMG_1763.JPGTurning the other direction this is the other end of the hall. I’m thinking that blank wall needs a bench or a large floor dressing mirror. MasterThis is our master bedroom. Pretty small, but I would live in a box if it had these chevron floors. IMG_1766.JPGThis is our built in bedroom closet. It has really nice gliding drawers and plenty of space to hang. Colin's RoomBedroom deaux (sorry) is directly next door to the master and has an en suite. This will be perfect as a nursery/guest room (we already found the perfect pull out couch from a really awesome store here called Muji - minimalism at its finest!) IMG_1770.JPG IMG_1771.JPGHere is our kitchen – which is completely outfitted with an “American sized” refrigerator, which is to say it is larger than most we have seen here, a stove top, an oven, a built in microwave oven and a dishwasher. The only appliance we will have to buy is a washer/dryer, which my sweet friend Susan will be selling to us when she moves in a couple of months. Added bonus – ample counter and cabinet space! This kitchen is perfect! Not sure what to do about all that exposed plumbing (??), but I think that’s where I will get to be clever…(<–see what I did there?) IMG_1769.JPGThe bathroom has a large tub with a his and hers sink and a walk in shower! So luxerious! Trust me when I say this is by the nicest bathroom situation I have ever had. I am used to timing my showers in the winter and old, stained porcelain tubs with crappy fixtures that spray in all different directions. THIS is living, you guys! IMG_1781.JPGYou can see in other photos that all of the doors have these old handles and locks on them – I think they are so beautiful! It preserves a little of the history of the apartment. Not pictured is the gorgeous entryway, foyer and staircase leading up to our doors. This building is a gem and I CANNOT WAIT to get into it! I am, obviously, sooooo excited about filling it with furniture and decorating it. Connor picked out this amazing couch and we are trying to find the perfect chairs to go with it. I still can’t believe I get to live here. Every day is like a dream – I feel so, so fortunate to get the opportunity to live in such a gorgeous city, and as soon as I can get it together I would love to do a post about all of the things I’ve learned about life here for anyone planning to visit or move to this part of the world. More later!