Declutter + Organizing Tips

Living in a small space or a space without much storage can make organizing and keeping everything decluttered a hassle, especially if you have more than one person living in that same space. My boyfriend and I live in a 800 square foot, one bedroom, one bath apartment. While the two of us are pretty clean people, two people stills means twice the stuff. I’ve gotten pretty good at decluttering when stuff piles up and coming up with ways to organizing things that we do keep. Here are my top tips to decluttering and organizing all your junk!

DECLUTTERING

Step 1: List of things to declutter in your home:

  • Clothing (closet and dresser, plus any extra stored away clothes)
  • Shoes
  • Make-up
  • Extra toiletries (shampoo, conditioners, toothpastes, tooth brushes, face washes, soaps, etc)
  • Pantry food
  • Refrigerator
  • Dvd’s, Video Games, CDs
  • Books
  • Personal papers and documents
  • Mail, magazines, newspapers
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Sheets
  • Dishes, Cups, Tubberware, Pots and Pans, Mixing Bowls, Water Bottles, etc.
  • Junk drawer
  • Under the bathroom and kitchen sink
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Candles
  • Bedside table

Be sure to get boxes, trash bags and/or clear an area to make piles. You’re going to want a place to put items to donate, throw away, recycle, and keep.*Remember when decluttering to be environmentally friendly and if you can reuse or recycle, please do so!

Step 2: When decluttering asked yourself these questions:

  1. Have you worn or used it in the past year? (If no, ditch it)
  2. Am I holding on to this for sentimental reasons? (If no, ditch it. If yes, its there a better way to store it?)
  3. Does it fit my current lifestyle? (If no, ditch it)
  4. Do I have something similar already? (If yes, compare and ditch the one(s) you haven’t used in the past year or are worn)
  5. Is it broken, worn, have holes, torn, cracked, or not work? (If yes, ditch it)
  6. Would I rather have to buy a new one and will it be expensive to buy a new one?

ORGANIZING

After I’ve gone through everything and put into my piles, it’s time to clear out the donate, throw away and recycle piles and start organizing what I’m keeping. Side note: Organizing can be pricey if you don’t already have some systems in place already. I suggest reusing boxes, shopping thrift stores or stores like Marshalls for cheap solutions.

  1. Declutter/Organize by category: While going room by room sounds like a good idea, it can make it overwhelming to tackle a whole room at once. I suggest picking a room/space and then picking one category within that room to tackle at a time. (i.e. if I’m organizing the kitchen, I’ll start by organizing the pots and pans before moving on kitchen utensils.
  2. Storing Upright: Visibility is my NUMBER one tip for organizing anything. Storing everything upright allows you to find items more easily and allows you to know what you have or what you might need. I swear when you can easily see everything in a drawer, basket, cabinet, etc. it will make your life so much easier!
  3. Keep what only brings you joy: *SPOILER ALERT* This one I got from Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, so if you haven’t watched it, drop everything and go watch it right now. It’s life-changing!! If you have seen it, you’ll know that one of her biggest rules is “Keeping only what brings you joy.”
  4. Don’t keep papers: I am guilty of keeping every single paper, important or not, and eventually it piles up… While keeping some papers is needed, such as tax, business, SOME bank papers, birth certificates, insurance papers, etc., most paper you do not need to keep. For the few paper’s you do need to keep, try to keep them to a minimum and organize them in label folders for easy storage and retrieval. PLEASE SHREAD AND RECYCLE ANY AND ALL PAPER YOU THROW OUT!!!!
  5. Fridge/Pantry Organization: I am a SUCKER for an organized fridge. Using clear bins to organize different items in your fridge will help use your fridge space efficiently and will help avoid wasting food. This can also be applied to your pantry! Try keeping food items in clear or labeled bins/containers, so you always know what you have or need more of.
  6. Small boxes: Using small boxes to organize drawers helps organize by category, size, or shape. Small boxes are super great to use in your undergarment, make-up, or kitchen utensil drawer!
  7. Label: If you have a label maker… great, label away! If not, the cheapest way to label items is cutting pieces of paper, write and tape it to what you want to label, OR you can buy sheets of label stickers and write and stick!

SHOP ITEMS I USE TO ORGANIZE


Glass containers to organize pantry items: I use these to storage flour, sugar, pasta, cereal, and other mixes or dry pantry items.

Command Hooks: Since we rent we try our best not to put holes in the walls so Command Hooks are such a great way to hang things. For somethings that are took heavy for command hooks, like heavy coats, I’ll use these hooks. They are super easy to use, only create a small hole and are able to hold up to 50lbs depending on which ones you use.

Cube Storage Shelf: If you want a slightly more pricey way to organize your things, investing in a cube storage shelf is a great item. Most are between $25-$50 (so still SUPER affordable).  These are super versatile and can be used to store so many different things. We use ours a an entry way table, coffee bar, show rack, book shelf, and have a few basket inserts to organize art supplies and extra cords and electronics.

Cube-Shelf Storage Bins: Helps easily and neatly store things in a cube-storage shelf.

Fridge Storage Bins: Keep like-products in your fridge together by using these clear storage bins.

Plastic Storage Bins: Great for keeping your pantry just as organized as your fridge!

Clothing Drawer Organizers: What I use to keep my undergarments drawer organized (see picture).

Catch-All Baskets: Great option for a catch all bowl to put by the front door!

Storage Basket: Great for storing throw blankets, towels, or extra accessories (i.e. hats, scarfs, belts, socks, or slippers).

File Folder: My favorite way to store papers I need to keep is keeping a sorted accordion folder. This one is great because you can use it normally or hang on the wall!

*As an Amazon associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support by shopping directly through my links!

Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth

Enter to win a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit in this post!

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We all want perfect pearly white teeth, don’t we? Well getting your teeth professionally whitened isn’t exactly the cheapest thing in the world…

I’ve always struggled with the image of my teeth. From a very young age I had always been make fun of my teeth; they were too big for my mouth and crooked as anything! Eventually came time to get braces and I couldn’t have been more excited. I was finally going to have my dream teeth when all was said and done. FINALLY, after FOUR years of being a brace face came the day that felt like would never come and I got my braces off! That day was also the first and only time I’ve ever had my teeth professionally whitened. I was so proud of new teeth, but eventually the shine faded, I lost my retainer so my teeth began to shift back, and I started drinking coffee daily.

As much as I would love to get my teeth professionally whitening again, I typically don’t have $400 to $800 (the average range for getting your teeth whitened at the dentist) laying around to do so. As a result of being a broke twenty-something year old, I have probably tried every at-home whitening product/trick under the sun, but nothing really stood out to me over the years.

When Smile Brilliant reached out to me and asked if I’d be interesting in trying their at-home teeth whitening system, I was a little hesitant due to the fact that I have fairly sensitive teeth. That’s when I learned they have a specific whitening system designed just for sensitive teeth! So not only do they have a products for different types of teeth, but their price point in incomparable to other professional whiten treatments, their products are vegan and cruelty free and everything is so simple to use!

Smile Brilliant sends you everything you need including the mixtures for your impressions, teeth whiten gel and desensitizing gel (if you ordered for sensitive teeth), instructions on how to take your impressions and how to whiten your teeth once you receive your trays.

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For the past 21 days, I have been whitening every night before bed in increasing increments from 45 minutes to 3 hours. I know what you’re thinking… “3 hours?! That’s SO long!” Yes, 3 hours is a good chunk of time, but the great thing is that you can knock out other things while whitening! You can whitening while getting ready for the day, cleaning, watching tv, or even have them on while you’re working. REMEMBER, the trays are specifically designed for YOUR teeth, so you can barely tell when they are on! I took mine with me when I went to visit family for Christmas and had a full conversation with my mom while whitening. After we were done chatting, she had seen the empty tray case sitting on the bathroom counter and asked if I had something on my teeth. She had no idea I had anything on my teeth the whole time.

Overall, I would recommend this product. It has noticeably whitened my teeth, especially compared to any other teeth whitening method I’ve used. See my before and after below:

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I am so thrilled to be kicking off 2019 with more confidence because of my new pearly whites. Now you can too! Click the link below to enter to win a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit or if you just can’t wait, use code blondebytheshore15 for 15% off.

Giveaway Link: http://www.smilebrilliant.com/g/blondebytheshore

This post is in collaboration with Smile Brilliant. I received this product complimentary. All opinions are my 100% own.


Tooth Whitening Gel

Reflections on 2018 + Setting Intentions for 2019

2018 was a such a good year for me. It was a crazy year of growth. I had many big life changes, accomplished major goals, but as everyone does, I also made mistakes along the way and had to learn from them.

A look back at 2018…

January – I started my last semester of college.

February – April – pretty much everything from the beginning of my semester through April was just studying and hustling incredibly hard.

May – Graduated with my degree! After working full time and going to school full time (at a school an 1+ hours away from where I lived), to say I was happy I was done is an understatement.

June – The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup and I just about died from happiness. Also, Donnie got the opportunity to transfer down to Wilmington, NC for his job and you wouldn’t believe how fast we jumped on it!

July – We looked for and got a place to live in Wilmington.

August- We officially moved to Wilmington! Side Note: When we moved, I kept my job in Virginia and transformed it into a telework position. So much adjusting has been happening in that aspect of my life since.

September – Hurricane Florence hit only 2 weeks after moving and we were forced to evacuate our new home and hoped for the best when we returned. (We were incredibly lucky!)

October- Decided to finally start the blog I’ve wanted to start since I was in high school.

November – December – Still trying to adjust to our new life, teleworking, figuring out how to run a blog and also having the busiest season of work yet. I also bought a new car.

So many amazing things have happened in 2018. I learned, accomplished, grew, gained and kept moving forward no matter what. In 2019, I want to continue to grow in every aspect in my life.

Going forward in 2019…

Setting goals and resolutions for a new year is the #1 thing people do. This year I’ve decided instead of setting just goals or resolutions, I’m going to set INTENTIONS and goals.

So, what is the difference between goals and intentions? Goals are WHAT you want to achieve in the future, while intentioned are HOW you will act in the present to achieve your goals.

Intentions for 2019:

1. Believe – I will believe in myself and believe I will reach my goals because I believe in myself.

2. Balance – I will consciously create balance in between my work and personal life.

3. Be Present – I will spend less time look at screens and more time being present to everything around me.

4. Get Active – I will create a weekly plan and get moving 5 days of the week.

5. Track – I will update my intentions monthly throughout 2019 so I don’t loose track of where I am and where I want to be.

6. Speak – Say what I feel needs to be said. Speak up for myself and for others.

Goals for 2019:

1. Make significant growth in my work life.

2. Work towards living a healthier lifestyle by getting active 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day and feeding my body to heal instead of to harm.

3. Save for a house and actually SAVE MONEY for this specific goal.

4. Step out of my comfort zone when occasions arise my own mind is holding me back from.


 So, while setting goals is important to move you forward, setting intentions are even more important. Intentions are the cause to the effect. Intentions are what make us feel full upon reaching a goal.

What intentions will you be setting for 2019?

“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

 

12 Days of DIY Christmas- Day 5: How-To Wrap a Gift

Are you a gift-wrapper or gift-bagger?? Well either way I’m here to show you how to easily wrap a gift, so your wrapping doesn’t look like a 5 year old did it… you know who you are!

1. Pick out your perfect Christmas wrapping paper!

2. Take whatever you are wrapping and measure out exactly how much paper you will need to cover each side.

3. Starting where your box ended, plus an inch more and cut your wrapping paper.

4. Start wrapping by taking on end of your wrapping paper and covering your gift so the side and top are completely covered and tape in place.

5. To make sure you have a clean line, fold 1/4 inch of the edge and continue to wrap rest of the box.

6. Now, because of the style of wrapping paper I got, I had a lot of excess on the sides that I don’t need. So, I measure how much I need to cut off.

7. Cut any excess off the sides that’s needed.

8. Throw it away! (Or save for later on a small gift or project)

9. Lastly, pick the right or left side to start with and fold in and tape. Repeat for other side. Then, take the top and bottom and neatly fold down and tape.

10. YOURE DONE! They perfectly wrapped box. No more wasting paper because you didn’t cut enough to cover the whole present.


More Tips:

1. The key to perfect wrapping is making sure you keep your lines tight, so be sure your creasing folds and edges as you’re going along.

2. Don’t be afraid to use the tape! I typically space out multiple pieces of tape when taping down edges to help prevent crinkles and gaps.

3. Remember you’re just wrapping a gift, it’s not the olympics… if you just aren’t good at it… use a gift bag. Lol

5 Easy Ways to Style a Blanket Scarf

A blanket scarf is hands down my #1 fall and winter style accessory. I get asked all the time how I wrap my scarf and make it look cute and not just like a frumpy ball of warmth, so I thought I’d make a little how-to for everyone.

The scarf featured I got in Target’s Dollar Section a couple years ago. Even though it was $7, that is still such a freaking steal!! I honestly get all my blanket scarfs from Target’s Dollar Section, because they’re WAY cheaper than almost all others and still great quality and they always have different color combos every year!


  1. Simple Lay Over: Fold your blanket scarf in half diagonally. It should look like a triangle when you do so. Slightly fold or twist a couple times and drape around next with two longest ends in the front.

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2. Wrap and Tie: Again with your blanket folded into a triangle, but this time drape it around your neck with the two long ends behind you and then wrap one more time so the long ends are back in the front. Lastly, fold one end over the other to create a knot.

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3. Simple Knot: Drape the scarf around your next exactly how you did in #1, then fold one end over the other to create a loose knot. All done!

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4. The Hidden Knot: While holding your blanket scarf in an upside down triangle (meaning the largest angle in facing the floor) drape it around your neck so the two ends are behind you. Next, wrap the two ends behind you once more, bringing them to the front. Lastly, behind the large front triangle you’ve created, tie the two ends in a knot to keep the scarf from coming loose while moving around and whatnot.

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5. Imitation Infinity Scarf: Follow the same directions has above, but instead of leaving the largest triangle part loose, tuck it up into the hidden knot for the illusion for an infinity scarf.

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“Millennial” Election Day Pep Talk + Resources

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ahh, the so-called “life motto” and Instagram bio of millions of young women and men all across the US. Though, out of all these young Ghandi wannabes, I can guarantee the majority won’t actually do the ONE important thing they have the right and ability to do to “be” that change they supposedly want to see in the world… VOTE.

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Yes, I get it. I can totally relate to the above. I was that 18 year old that didn’t believe my vote mattered. I remember telling my dad and sister over dinner one night, that I NEVER planned on voting. They said, “Ok, but that takes away any right you have to complain.” At the time, I was totally ok with that. I wasn’t politically aware enough to complain about anything anyway. All I did know was politics was messy and I didn’t want to be a part of it. But, each year that I got older, I started to become more politically aware and form opinions on political issues; the environment, human rights, the economy, healthcare, the list goes on. So when I was 21, I registered and voted in my FIRST election, because these things really started to effect me and I wasn’t going to stand by and not at least TRY to change things or keep them the same.

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Warning I’m about to get really real with you….

Millions of “millennials” (a term I personally hate to use, but for the sake of this post, I will) have the ability to vote and are even registered to vote, but don’t. And ya know what?! If you have the ability to register and vote and you don’t, it’s simply because you’re L A Z Y! (I warned you I was about to get real…) People can come up with more excuses of why they don’t, won’t, or can’t vote then the number of people who actually vote…

  • “I’m not registered.”
  • “I don’t know how to register.”
  • “I don’t know where to go to vote.”
  • “I don’t know anything about any of the candidates.”
  • “Who even are the candidates?”
  • “My vote doesn’t matter.”
  • “Me not voting isn’t going to affect anything.”
  • “I don’t have the time.”
  • “What even are the poll hours?”
  • “I don’t know how to actually vote.”
  • “What am I suppose to do with my kids, I don’t have anyone to watch them just so I can go vote”

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These excuses are ALL BS and you know it! We live in a world where we spend multiply hours, if not nearly our whole awake day, looking at a phone, laptop, iPad, computer and you’re telling me you can’t take 20 minutes to look up how to register and do it, or look up where to vote, the options of how to vote (absentee, early, Election Day) or the candidates and their platforms? That’s LAZY!! All I’m saying is if you can take the time to vote on Instagram story polls, you can take the time to vote on a real poll.

So, if you’re still reading this and everything I’ve said so far hasn’t gotten through to you, I have one more thing I want you to think about:

Think about the fact that you probably went your whole adolescent life having your parents, or whoever took care of you, tell you what you can and can’t do, say, believe and you hated it! Am I right?! And you couldn’t wait to be an adult so you could make your own decisions… I was right again, huh? So my point is, you’re an adult now, why are you still letting them be the majority to control, not only things that impact you, but our whole country??

At this point you probably think I’m just some crazy, rude, ranting chick that called you lazy, let me try to end this on a positive note… Voting is one of the best feelings! I can’t really explain it, but there is a sense of pride after you vote and that’s why I’m writing this because election day is November 6 (4 DAYS AWAY) and I want to remind you that your vote is IMPORTANT and your vote DOES matter and you NEED to voice it!

It’s time to actually, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi


Resources

I Am A Voter: Great resources and information or Text VOTER to 26797.

Register to vote here (too late for this election, but never too late for next one!):https://register.vote.org/?campaign=IAmAVoter

Rock the Vote: Scroll to the bottom of the homepage to find great resources and information. Click “Get Ready to Vote” to get information specific to your state.

Ballotpedia: Enter your home address to see what your sample ballot will look like, candidates in your district, and more!

Facebook is also a GREAT source for elections! Go to the “3 lines” icon in the bottom right corner, click “See More” and click “2018 Election.” Mine already had my home address listed, but you can edit it if it is not correct. This will give you the ability to look at all the candidates and learn more about them.

13 Must-Watch Halloween Movies

Is it even October if you don’t cuddle up with a million blankets, light every fall scented candle you own, and eat all the popcorn and candy while watching spooky halloween movies?? That’s why I complied a list of my top 13 MUST-WATCH halloween movies that I plan to binge all day and night on October 31st!IMG_2876IMG_2874Ultimate Halloween Movie Marathon

  1. Halloween
  2. Hocus Pocus
  3. Halloweentown
  4. Scream
  5. The Conjuring
  6. Nightmare on Elm Street
  7. Insidious
  8. Children of the Corn
  9. Haunting in Conneticut
  10. Sinister
  11. The Ring
  12. The Univited
  13. As Above So Below (this one is not for the faint hearted!!)

While you may be too old to trick or treat, you are never too old to watch a good halloween movie. Lights, Camera, Spooky!!