8 Reasons You NEED to Get Organized This Year

Getting organized is always one of the most popular New Years resolutions every year – not surprisingly.

And you need. To. Do it.

This year.


It’s not just because being organized for organization’s sake is a good thing (It’s not good or bad – it’s morally neutral).

You NEED to stop procrastinating and finally get organized this year. Here’s why.

1: Getting organized will give you (a LOT of) extra time.

Think you don’t have time to get organized now?

How much time do you waste looking for things you know are “around here somewhere”? 20 minutes a day? That’s 122 hours you’ll waste this year because you’re not organized. Because your things don’t have designated homes.

pink watch on a piece of notebook paper
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs from Pexels

What could you do in an “extra” 122 hours this year? 122 hours to learn a new skill, to have special family adventures, to read books, to luxuriate in bubble baths… 122 hours for whatever it is that you’ve been missing in your life. Reclaim those hours.

When you get everything in its place, you can get to it when you need to—and get rid of all those little moments where you pause to wonder where something is.

PS In a Boston study, Americans were found to waste 55 minutes a day looking for lost items, not 20 minutes. That’s 335 hours in one year, y’all.

That’s like having a full month with 10 “extra” hours per day.

2: Getting organized will help prevent distraction.

woman with a laptop turning around in her chair to direct her children who are running around.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Everyone knows that feeling where you get a little bit of work done, then get distracted or “busy” and get nothing else done for the rest of the day—and do it all over again tomorrow. When you get your time organized and get control of schedule, you can have fewer of those days. With some planning and time-management skills, you can be on top of things instead of struggling to get back on track!

3: Getting organized will save you money this year.

Unless you’re just swimming in so much cash you don’t know what to do with yourself, saving money or paying down debt is probably on your mind.

Stop wasting money re-buying things because you can’t find the one you already own. Or replacing things that broke due to improper storage and maintenance.

woman obscuring her face with a fan of paper money.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Stop spending money on excess take-out dinners (I have nothing against ones that are within your budget – don’t get me wrong) because you can’t get your act together to plan your meals ahead of time.

Don’t find yourself needing to buy extra shirts because you’re behind on laundry – again.

Get organized this year and before long, it’ll be like you gave yourself a raise. You’ll be keeping more of your cash instead of watching it slip through your fingers.

4: Getting organized will help you get better sleep

You might get by without needing 8 hours every day, but you’ve heard it time and again: sleep is important!

When you get organized this year, you’ll start your morning refreshed and have a better chance of getting to bed on time at night. You might even notice what feels like a natural recovery period during the daytime.

a woman sleeps under a white blanket on a bed below a bright window with pink curtain.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Not only will you be more productive with that extra bit of energy from getting enough rest, but you’ll also find yourself much less stressed out throughout the week.

Suddenly those days off seem perfect for doing twice as much (including play time with family) without feeling any pressure.

5: You’ll be ready to welcome loved ones

Ever get a surprise guest for dinner or an overnight, and get all stressed out because you’re just not ready?

Get organized this year and you’ll have a company-ready home even when you’ve been busy with life stuff. What could be better than having your guest room, kitchen, or living room ready for the people you love most to visit?

two women smile and talk together.
Photo by George Milton from Pexels

You’ll have your laundry done and put away, your dishes caught up, and your clutter…gone (declutter, for real!), all while feeling like it’s easy.

Get organized this year and not only will you be better prepared to have people over, but they’ll also feel like they’re not adding to your stress. You’ll really be able to enjoy your time together!

6: You’ll be able to help out more when you’re organized.

When you’re organized, an added bonus is that you’ll have more capacity to help out where you’d like to. Whether that means stepping up for a friend in a crisis situation, or getting on a schedule to volunteer at your favorite cause.

many pairs of hands hold small tree seedlings on a background of grass.
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Getting organized might help you get more done at home of course, but you can also do more for your community if you’d like. Having the freedom to lend a helping hand is such a lovely gift.

7: Get to know your kids and partner better.

If there’s one thing we know about human nature, it’s that when people are disorganized, they get testy! When your family gets organized this year, you’ll be able to get to know the people around you better, even if you’ve lived with them for years.

a father and child stand on a dock and strike a dab pose together.
Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna from Pexels

All of you will be surprised to find out how much more fun a clean space can be! With fewer things getting in the way, you get to talk more and get to know each other better. Relationship-wise, when you get organized, it’ll really pay off in the long run.

8: Getting organized just feels good.

I know you’ve been stressed. Any sleepless nights? Worry about not being productive enough? Not being able to see your friends as often as you’d like?

Whatever your clutter-disorganization-stress looks like, chances are getting organized will significantly reduce its impact on your life.

a milk and flower filled bathtub, with a woman's hands holding a book
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

You will be able to be more productive and reliable. You’ll be on time to meetings, classes, and gatherings. Maybe you’ll even be more responsible with money, so you’ll have more of it for what you really value. And of course, you’ll have more time to take care of yourself, whatever that looks like for you.

Yoga? Coffee with friends? Going for hikes with your family?

When you’re not constantly running a background track of stress-worry-chaos in your life, you’ll feel so amazing.

So what’s next?

Check out my Crucial Strategies for Organizing This Year , then get to it.

You won’t regret making it happen this year.

Mini Kitchen Remodel – Bright & Airy AFTER (You’ll love it!)

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The mini kitchen remodel reveal

Have you been on the edge of your seat, wondering how my DIY mini kitchen remodel turned out? Well, here we go!

We didn’t do a full renovation, knowing we were only going to live in Virginia Beach for a few years before selling, but we still wanted to improve the kitchen and make it more comfortable and beautiful for ourselves in the meantime.

Kitchen Cabinet updates – simple and cheap

We started simple… replacing the dark hinges with white ones. At first, we considered painting them, but we knew that could affect how well they worked, and went for replacing instead. It was an inexpensive change, but really lifted the whole kitchen if you ask me… taking out a bit of the country-ness, and making the cabinets appear fresher and more modern.

a simple way to update cabinets can be as easy as replacing dark hinges for white ones. cute kitchen with white cabinets, subway tile backsplash, butcher block counters, tile floor, stainless steel appliances.

Clearing the counter with one simple change

Another thing we knew we needed to do was add a venting microwave over the stove. Microwaves take up so much space on the counter tops, and cleaning around and under them can be a pain, so we have always liked when they were installed somewhere else.

a diy mini kitchen remodel left this kitchen looking fresh and uncluttered. white cabinets, butcher block counters, stainless appliances, and subway tile bnacksplash.

We LOVED this change, and appreciated soooo much having our counter more clear and simple. It wasn’t “nothing” to install it, but it wasn’t hard to do, especially since the vent already existed.

a sprayer faucet sits behind a giant white single basin sink.

The simplest kitchen change that made the biggest difference – sink swap!

Another change that made a HUGE impact for us was to swap the shallow two-basin sink and the faucet without a sprayer. As far as quality of life goes, this may have been the #1 best choice of our DIY mini kitchen remodel!

We picked out a massive single basin sink made of quartz composite, and an inexpensive sprayer faucet, and it became sooooo much easier to wash large pots, cookie sheets, and anything else. The other sink was so cramped, so it was a massive improvement.

lots of fruit and vegetables soak in a gigantic white sink, surrounded by butcher block counters and subway tile backsplash.

Now I could wash an entire grocery haul worth of produce at once (just fill up the sink with water and splash in some vinegar, and go to town). It made me SO happy to see my colorful fruits and veggies swirling around in the sink while I prepped ingredients for the week.

best part of the diy kitchen remodel - switching to a huge new single basin sink. a child takes a bath in the gigantic white sink. butcher block counters and subway tile backsplash

And it was the perfect place for Henry to have a bath while I worked in the kitchen, too. I didn’t need to sit upstairs in the bathroom with him while he played. Instead, he could splash and play near me while I made dinner, and we could chat.

Bounce the light around the kitchen with bright white subway tiles

I feel like I have to talk about the backsplash now too. We went with standard 3×6″ white subway tile, with white sealed grout. My husband has done countless tiling projects ever since he was a kid. He definitely learned a lot from his dad and through experience (and trial and error). He did a FANTASTIC job on our backsplash! I have to say that I loved the reflectiveness of the tile all the way up to the cabinets. It really made the kitchen so much brighter and more cheerful.

spice jars on acrylic shelves hang on the side of the fridge. in the foreground, apple peels and cloves simmer in a pot on the stove.

Note than in the above picture, the backsplash wasn’t up yet, but we absolutely put it on this wall too.

Space-Saving Spice Storage that’s beautiful to look at (simplest part of the DIY mini kitchen remodel)

Onto less of a renovation thing and more of a creative storage solution. I needed to find a home for my spices that would work well for me. The drawers in this house are too shallow for them to stand up. They were even too shallow and narrow for drawer spice organizers! (Plus, I wanted that drawer to the right of the stove for my cooking utensils).

fresh bread in a cast iron skillet sits on a butcher block counter . spices are in jars on acrylic shelves above it.

Sooooooo… I came up with a solution that worked really well! I got these narrow acrylic shelves, and at first tried to hang them on the side of my fridge with massively strong magnets. But the magnets weren’t strong enough, so I ended up using 3M adhesive strips instead, which worked perfectly. Then, I transferred all of my spices, seasonings, and herbs into these beautiful glass jars. (They even came with labels for the sides or the lids. I put mine on the lids) so they’d be pretty to look at.i

I did have some that I use less often, so I didn’t feel the need to put into those jars. Instead, I just put those in a basket in the pantry. That way, they were easy to grab when I needed them, but out of the way for my daily cooking.

after a diy mini kitchen remodel, a child sits on a butcher block counter and licks a mixer beater.

Butcher Block Bliss – the best choice for a mini DIY Kitchen Remodel

At this point, you’ve probably noticed the countertops, and you’re like “Emily, why haven’t you said anything about that butcher block yet???” Because the old counters were some kind of cheapie laminate material or something, and they were mostly black. They weren’t the worst counters I’ve ever seen, but we were changing the island anyway. The island had a bar-height section, and we wanted it to be all one level. AND we were putting in a new sink, so it made the most sense to just replace the counters altogether.

a child sits on a butcher block kitchen counter, holding a mixer beater and smiling. the kitchen has had a mini kitchen remodel and looks fresh and modern

We settled on butcher block because it’s SO affordable compared with everything else we like. Plus, it would have felt really weird to put in quartz or something fantastic like that, while keeping the old cabinets. So we got the wood at the hardware store and my husband cut the pieces to size, then stained/sealed it with so many layers of Waterlox.

You don’t have to do all the sealing we did, but we wanted to have strong and waterproof butcher block, with minimal maintenance. I think if you don’t seal it similarly, you’d treat it with oil instead, and periodically you’d need to re-oil. It would give you a different experience/feel and a different look, aesthetically, so it’s just up to you what you decide.

We loved the counters so much. They did get little scratches and dings, but it added to the charm, and wasn’t a problem at all.

three children smile, sitting at a butcher block kitchen counter, with make-your-own-pizzas in front of them

A family-friendly kitchen: Counters make the difference!

And we absolutely USED the counters. Before , the bar height section of the island made it much harder to work around the entire island. It made it harder for the kids to sit for a meal and be comfortable. (And not worry about pushing their drink off the ledge accidentally).

child in an apron rolling dough on butcher block kitchen counters

Just like in our old house in Maryland in 2014 (where we had a counter-height peninsula), the kitchen became a hub of activity. It was a place where the kids could do artwork. They could help me with cooking, or enjoy their meals while I worked and we chatted.

fruit baskets mounted on the wall

Produce Storage NOT on the countertop

If I didn’t mention our fruit baskets, I’d be doing you a huge disservice… because while we’ve had other solutions in other homes, they don’t work everywhere. For instance, we had a 3-tiered hanging basket in Ridgecrest, CA that worked perfectly in that kitchen. But here in Virginia Beach, if I hung it anywhere, it would just be in the way of cabinets, or be really awkward looking.

Instead, I found these AMAZING heavy-duty baskets to mount on the wall. I used gorilla hooks to hang them, and they could hold pounds and pounds of potatoes, apples, and anything else I threw at them, without even flinching. If you have a wall in or near your kitchen where you could put these, I HIGHLY recommend them. That way, you won’t need a fruit basket taking up valuable counter space, and you can store as much produce as you need to in a convenient way.

That’s a wrap! I hope you liked our mini DIY Kitchen Remodel

I hope you liked the “after” tour of our DIY mini kitchen remodel. We did change a lot of things, but since we were working with the existing cabinets, didn’t change the footprint of the kitchen at all, and tried to keep costs minimal since we knew this wasn’t our “forever home,” it felt more mini than maxi.

Our Virginia Beach home belongs to a new family now.

Sure enough, as we had anticipated and planned for, after 3 lovely years in Virginia Beach, we sold our home and moved to Maryland. I hope the family who bought our house loves the kitchen as we left it, which is so much better than we found it.

Here are a few photos from our real estate listing from when we sold the house. This kitchen was so good to us.

bright and airy kitchen remodel - white cabinets and butcher block counters with subway tile backsplash
bright and airy kitchen remodel - white cabinets and butcher block counters with subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances
bright and airy kitchen remodel - white cabinets and butcher block counters with subway tile backsplash

But wait – there’s more! Kitchen Renovation, that is.

If you want a massive kitchen overhaul though… just wait! We’re in a new home now, and doing a COMPLETE kitchen renovation. When I post the “before” I’ll link it here, and you can follow along! You’re going to love it.

What was your favorite part of our mini DIY kitchen reno? What did you feel made the most impact? Will you copy anything we did for YOUR kitchen? Tell me about it in the comments!

How to Style a Book Shelf – 27 Ideas

Want to know how to style a book shelf? Here are 27 ideas, tips, and inspiration posts to get you started with your bookcase styling. From tricks to make your books even more beautiful to tips about organizing your trinkets and decor, you're going to love this post!

Want to know how to style a book shelf? Here are 27 ideas, tips, and inspiration posts to get you started with your bookcase styling. From tricks to make your books even more beautiful to tips about organizing your trinkets and decor, you’re going to love this post!

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How to Declutter Your Closet (Even if You're a Fashionista)

How to declutter your closet (even if you're a fashionista). Come on, you know you need this in your life.

This is a guest post from regular contributor Lisa Favre, who blogs at Marble Crumbs.

We all dream of a beautifully organized closet space.

Now, imagine this: sections divided into colors and seasons, neatly folded cardigans, and matching wooden hangers.

A tidy closet is possible in any home but a large part of the cleanup means getting rid of old clothes that you no longer wear. We rounded up several tips and tricks to help you through the elimination process so that you can get your closet back in tip-top shape.

Right after getting married, I realized that a part of my “you give and you take” philosophy had to be applied on our closet space. Right now we’re living in a one-bedroom apartment with a fairly decent-sized walk-in, but my (almost) selfish abundance of clothes was taking up too much room.

What can I say? I love to shop.

How to declutter your closet (even if you're a fashionista). Come on, you know you need this in your life.

Fashion, for me, is a direct form of self-expression. I’ll never hesitate to pick up various pieces (and not to worry folks, I purchase within my means) in order to make my own, rightful statement. Also, working in retail during my college years made good-quality clothing a rather accessible treat. (Did you say “discounts?” Then yes, I will gladly take your job offer!)

Up until now, I almost had this “hoarding attitude” when it came to my wardrobe. To my peers, this behavior seemed to be totally out of character: I tend to be the complete opposite in the other rooms of our home , so people were generally surprised when they found I still had a cardigan from junior year… of high school. Let’s take my kitchen as an example: I go through the pantry and refrigerator on a weekly basis in order to get rid of unused and spoiled food. Sometimes, my mother gets upset at how “slippery” my grip can be when it comes to items that I deem officially “useless.”

My closet was a mess.

After our nuptials, I realized that our walk-in was a mess. Yes, plain and simple: there was no order to our closet. It was quite a shame because I knew that deep inside, lurked a really valuable space. If used correctly, it could unmistakably offer a neat, organized, and presentable structure.

So I went at it.

With the way it was built, I knew that I could easily split it 50/50: one side for him and (cringe) one side for myself.

I’m not here to tell you how to re-organize yours because I’m a firm believer that not all closets are created equal. You’ll have to analyze your space in order to determine how to split sections, what furniture (like a dresser, hamper, or bins) can go inside, if you want to install additional shelving units, etc. I have, however, compiled a list of tips and tricks that can allow you to de-clutter your load.

How to declutter your closet (even if you’re a fashionista)

1. Don’t wait until you fit in it again.

Before my big clean-up, I was guilty of holding onto a number of items that were just too small. I handle my clothing with the utmost care, so I easily had purchases from my college years that were still in mint condition.

Now that I’m approaching my thirties, I (naturally) have been through some body changes. Shirts that once hung loose on my smaller seventeen-year-old frame don’t quite fit my body the same way now. There’s just no going back to the short-shorts I used to once flaunt (and at this age, I don’t think I should be flaunting them anymore.

Many fashion experts say to “let go” of items that you’re only holding onto because you’re thinking of squeezing into them again. Instead, look and feel your best by sporting clothes that fit your current body. It doesn’t matter what number is on the label: you will look even more amazing in clothes that are actually your size.

2. Top it with a bow.


The hanger trick you've never heard of - for decluttering your clothes and to organize your closet. You HAVE to read this one.If you have some pieces that you’re really uncertain you should keep, there’s a long(ish)-term trick that will help you decide if it really is a key staple in your wardrobe. Start by tying a bow with a string or ribbon on every one of your hangers. Throughout the year, whenever you pull a piece out for wearing, remove the string from its hanger. In one year, take a look at all the clothes that still have a string tied on — you’ll see what you haven’t worn and it’ll paint a clearer picture of the garments you just no longer need.

When I did this, I came to the realization that I was holding onto clothes for various reasons: “But it was so expensive and it’s designer… how can I just give it up?!” “I wore this one our first date, it has so much sentimental value!” Also, I switched careers in the past year and totally flipped over to another industry, so there are just some “work clothes” that I knew would never be used again. It’s always easier to justify de-cluttering when you actually see what’s being put to good use.

This “string trick” is hard evidence of what hasn’t been worn in a set amount of time.

3. Who would really appreciate it now?

I’m all about donating, and what’s great about our neighborhood is that there are plenty of drop-off boxes for toys and clothing. It makes it really easy to give to those in need.

When I finally decided on what should stay and what should go, I made myself different piles (well actually, more like extra-large garbage bags) and decided what would be going where.

I had one bag dedicated to donations and another bag for my nieces. My nieces are probably my #1 fans (which is extremely humbling) and they always talk about how “auntie’s clothes are so cool!” (it melts my heart every single time). I found several age-appropriate pieces and they were ecstatic when I presented them with their fashionable hand-me-downs.

4. Can this be used as something else?

Sometimes, articles of clothing can be put to use in other areas of the house. Wouldn’t that pattern on that dress look great as a chair cushion? Cut-up pieces of denim are ideal for at-home waxing sessions (i.e.: make your own hot wax and use the denim as your waxing strips). That super-soft t-shirt would be great for cleaning up your glass-top stove. The sky is the limit for alternate uses to clothes. I usually scour the Internet (and Pinterest!) for daily inspiration.

Ahhh… organized closet bliss.

Now that our closet is organized, I feel like a lot of our home processes run so much smoother. For example, choosing an outfit in the morning has become a quicker decision now that I can see everything (even from a distance!). No longer do I have to shuffle around untidy piles, wondering if I still owned “that white t-shirt” or if it was just in the wash. Also, laundry has become a lot more pleasant since everything has a place and putting away clothes doesn’t mean having to stuff everything in a jam-packed dresser set.

Have you recently been through a big closet clean-up? If you’re thinking of doing one, try one of these tricks and let us know if it worked for you.

Lisa Favre is the food blogger behind Marble Crumbs — a food blog catered to telling stories about meals, snacks, drinks, and everything in between. Lover of brownies, french fries, and all things delicious, Lisa believes that sharing bites from her plate is just as important as sharing the tale that goes behind them.

You can also follow her on InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Create a Cleaning Rhythm that Works for YOU

How to Create a Cleaning Rhythm that works for YOU. Routine is rigid. Rhythm flows. This is a different way to get yourself to actually succeed at keeping the house clean!

Rhythm is fluid and flexible. Routine is rigid. I can’t do rigid. So I created a cleaning rhythm for myself to work into my perfect day.
A cleaning rhythm means I know what comes next. Once I start cleaning the rhythm carries me through the chores and things go smoothly.

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