Modules are the 'M' in Francine Jay's 'Streamline' method of organization.
They are also the secret to my purse organization success. How many bags do you have? Likely it's more than one. Are the bags that you are *not* currently using full of mysterious contents? Chap-sticks, lotions, band-aids, jewelry, receipts, notes, change, granola bars, maybe a pot of gold or two? Because who even knows? Modules are the key to avoiding losing possessions to your purses. But, what are modules?
"The concept of Modules comes from systems design; basically, it means dividing a complex system into smaller, task-specific components....For our purposes, a Module is a set of related items that perform a particular task (like paying the bills or decorating a cake). To create them, we'll need to gather things of similar functions together, eliminate the excess, and make sure they're easy to access and move around when needed. In short, we'll need to consolidate, cull, and contain our stuff." -- Francine Jay, "The Joy of Less"
The Module system applies obviously to many household items...
...Like keeping dvds together in one place, books together in one place, art supplies together in one place, socks with socks, dishes with dishes, coffee supplies with coffee supplies, etc. It's a simple and intuitive tool for keeping a home organized. But how does that apply to bags and purses??
Here's a not-so-secret about me; I am a chronic purse over-packer. I really took my brother's boy scout motto (Always Be Prepared) to heart. When I leave for the day, I am prepared for and number of scheduling, boredom, hunger, thirst, makeup, and first aid emergencies. If I get stranded somehow, that purse is filled with enough contents to keep me going for a day or two. My secret to purse over packing while remaining organized is utilizing the module system. If I had a camera that worked right now I'd share pictures, but here is basically how it works for me: simply, I keep like items contained with like, within my bag.
I have a:
- Medical Module: a small zipper pouch full of various band-aids, miniature Neosporin, Tylenol, floss, a tide pen, after bite, tissues, a spare lip balm, and an emergency feminine product or two.
- Makeup Module: a small zipper pouch that is filled daily with *only* the makeup I am wearing that day. Usually for me, it's just whichever lip color I've decided on, a spare lipbalm (look, I'm addicted), loose powder and a brush. If I'm going to be going out straight from work, I may include an eyeliner and/or small blush, just to touch up on the go. I trade out the contents every day, after putting on my makeup for the day. If I don't wear any makeup that day, the module is emptied into my makeup box (which is also full of modules) and left home for the day.
- Writing Module: a pencil case with sharpened regular pencils, a few colored pencils, a hot dog eraser, a few pens, and a highlighter.
- Day planner - self contained
- Usually a book, packed in the morning and unpacked at night.
- Cash system friendly wallet - has separate and defined areas that I use for cash, cards, coins, and receipts. Receipts and coins are removed either in the evening when I get home or the following morning when I'm packing for a brand new day! (I input my receipts into my budgeting spreadsheet & then toss most of them, and coins get put into my coin jar. They are rolled and deposited once the jar is full).
- Sometimes, a phone backup module: a charger and/or external batteries, and/or headphones, kept in a clear ziplock bag.
- Usually, a filled reusable water bottle or a spare La Croix, for thirstmergencies.
The Modules you need will be unique to you.
The point is to keep like items with like, in separate containers. Then you will always know where everything in your purse is, and it makes it VERY easy to change from purse to purse; just remove your modules from one purse, stick em in the other, and put your empty purse away where all of you bags are stored neatly together.
Going from a big bag to a small bag? No problem! Just transfer essential items from your standard modules to the clutch for the evening. If you're a big nerd like me, you can still keep like items together and separated through the use of clutches with multiple compartments, or small zip-lock snack bags.
The use of modules keeps everything organized and easy to access. It also keeps you from ever having bags that are not in use but are full of mystery items and trash!
Before you get to organizing techniques like the Module system, you must declutter/cull your possessions!
Everything's got to be done in order, just like baking a cake! If you want a helping hand with decluttering and organizing, send us a message on our contact page, or give us a call!
of this association of organizers! How exciting! I start taking classes this month, and I'm so excited to get to use my new skills to help you reach your organizing goals!
This is all very well timed, as we have quite a few tidies lined up for October! Be sure to follow us on Instagram & watch our stories for inspiration!! I'll be back to soon to share some new tips and tricks with you.
We hope you're having a happy & hyggeligt fall!
Moving to a new apartment, especially when you're combining households for the first time, is a great opportunity and motivation to tidy! Emily and Scott are both fairly minimalist in every way but one: books! They had a lot, and only one bookshelf. The bookshelf was overflowing and looked as uncomfortable as if it had eaten too much for Thanksgiving! (Like that fall flavored analogy?! It's the second day of Fall!)
Go through everything as a couple
It's not totally necessary, but when partners tidy together successfully, they share a sense of accomplishment and get to see firsthand the sacrifices that they make for one another. This is one of the times that having a tidy coach like us (!) can make a big difference, because it keeps everyone on track and on their best behavior :)
To answer his question, yes, people buy books. But they don't pay a great deal for used books, so it's up to you whether you want to spend your time and energy trying to sell them. My recommendation, short of having collectibles or signed copies, is to put the books in the apartment lobby with a "Free Books" sign. Then take the remainders to a donation spot. This will save you having to lug ALL of the books.
Tips for Discarding Books
Here are a few easy discards:
Consider Each Shelf a Display Case
As their tidy coach, I reconstructed the newly decluttered bookshelf with display in mind. I separated their collections so each shelf is now grouped by category of book: Scott's books are on one shelf with his memorabilia, and since Emily had more books, I grouped them by topic. Political books, plays, and biographies are grouped accordingly. I also left breathing room on each shelf for memorabilia and photos.
Use Books as Bookends
To create variety and more easily separate topics, I used stacked books as bookends. This can also be done as a temporary measure until you have bookends you like, so there is no need to buy something as a quick fix.
Remove Dust Covers When Possible
When Emily saw her Renoir book displayed, she said:
"Oh! Did we have another Renoir book?"
Nope, I just removed the dust jacket!
"That book has been under there the whole time?!"
Often books have a beautiful hardcover. See what you think! The only book I have ever regretted removing the dustcover was a white, cloth art book. That book DOES collect dust. But most books are fine without the cover and are much more attractive.
This kind of stand-up display is a good solution for lightweight books that are wider than the bookshelf.
In the end, there was plenty of room for the books AND memorabilia AND space to grow their collection. A win all around!
Tell us about your books!
Are books your particular bugaboo? Do they feel like old friends or finger-wagging teachers? Which are the ones that are most difficult to part with?
Comment below on our open comment section, or talk to us on our Facebook page, or on Instagram (tag @TidyFairyLA)!
As I've mentioned previously, the changing of seasons is a great reason to do a tidy! Tidying is not only about decluttering and simplyfing your home - it's a journey toward yourself. As you discard the old and the excess, who you are today emerges. How fun is that?! So as the leaves fall and the pumpkin-spiced-everything's grow, I encourage you to go on a tidying mission to build your ideal hygee season! Here are a couple of ideas to get you going!
Do you have any pieces of fall-specific decor that you just don't feel like putting out this year? When you actually get the things out and touch them, do they spark joy? Or do they look sad or leave you feeling guilty or uninspired? It is time for those things to depart from your home! Give them to friends, donate them, what have you. But they are evicted!
I hope these handful of ideas have got you inspired to shed the past and welcome this brand new fall! Share your fall tidies with us on our Facebook page, or on Instagram (tag #TidyFairy)! And if you need help, just reach out to us! We're here to help on your journey to a clutter free and supportive home!
In California we don't get big temperature changes, so I have felt more compelled than ever to have my surroundings reflect the season. This is different than holiday decorating for me. It's more about feeling clean and released for Spring/Summer and cozy and comfortable for Fall/Winter. Here are some ways you can do that without breaking the bank.
Now that I have less stuff, I have more than enough space in cabinets for a seasonal item or two. One of the easiest rotations I have done this year is with my statement color dishtowels. I COULD use all of them all year round, but having a season for them has been really enjoyable! They are also super reasonable in terms of storage space when not in use.
Not all of my dishtowels suggest a season, but these are the ones that do.
Repurpose a scarf or other textile
Scarves and blankets can be repurposed during the fall/winter to drape over furniture - tables, backs of couches, arms of chairs - and give them a cozy feel. Best of all, they can easily be thrown in the wash.
We always feel tempted to fill that empty space, right? But sometimes removing one seasonal item doesn't mean you have to replace it with something else. Here, I removed this pink pillow that is very spring/summer to me, and filled the space by rearranging the remaining pillows.
Around Christmas, I may put a holiday pillow in the middle, but in the meantime no one is gonna die.
Add a Little Rug
With the exception of the sheepskin above and another tiny one for meditating, I don't have a lot of rugs in my home. I just don't like cleaning them. I even keep my bathmat slung over the tub. I don't live in a cold climate, it's fine. I made a decision pretty early on that they aren't important to me.
HOWEVER, World Market et al have very cute 2x3 rag rugs for $17 and they can easily be thrown in a cold washing machine. You can place them in about a million different ways to bring warmth and color to a room.
Consider the rest of your environment
I would feel lax as an anti-consumerist if I didn't list other ways to enjoy the seasons! These are all a part of the environment but are disposable.
What's your magic?
Tell us about your seasonal traditions on the Instagram @tidyfairyla or go to our page on Facebook to share your own tips and tricks!
A couple of years ago I read Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and it truly did change my life. She is the gold standard for these books for a reason. She makes minimalism simple and relatable. Does the item "spark joy"? If so keep it, if not get rid of it!
It is even a minimal process!
Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki takes things a step further, saying even if something DOES bring you joy, chuck it anyway lol. He is all about focusing on experiences, not items. He argues that items have outgrown their welcome.
Here are my favorite takeaways from his journey! All the quotes are from the book.
1. We don't have the mental capacity for our stuff
"I used to be a slow computer where you'd see the loading icon spinning on the screen for what seemed like an eternity...I lived in fear of my future, constantly worrying about my career and how others saw me."
I have often thought this. Our brains are 5,000 year old computers, and we can only keep track of so much. The more stuff we have, the more likely we are going to short circuit trying to manage it all. And the more fear we have about being able to manage it all in the future! What stress! Even if something sparks all the joy in the world - is it serving who you are today?
2. Your stuff owns you
"I suspect that when we're feeling lazy or unmotivated, it's either because our to-do list is too long or we're surrounded by so many menial tasks that we can't get around to doing what's important."
He mentions how the things in our space talk to us.
You see a sculpture, it says "Dust me," you see a blanket it says "Wash me," you see a fancy dress in the closet it says "Why don't you ever wear me?"
And this goes on and on, wearing us out!
3. A lot of your stuff is for other people
I am fortunate to live alone right now. So all of my stuff technically BELONGS to me. No confusion there. But how much of it is still FOR other people?
Sasaki points out :
"My feeling is that minimalists are people who know what's truly necessary for them versus what they may want for the sake of appearance, and they're not afraid to cut down on everything in the second category."
I'll say that again.
For the sake of appearance.
So much of decluttering is about being honest with yourself. What do I want for me? Am I keeping my dining room table so my house will look a certain way to others, or do I really want it??
4. Your stuff might be making you fat
"Many others have observed this effect by observing that when the things that have been stuck around you begin to move, your chi - the life force that flows through everything - will flow better and you will also slim down."
The idea that minimalism can lead to weight loss is one I have seen in more than one minimalist writing. Sasaki reports that he lost 22 lbs in his own journey from maximalist to minimalist. I can't help but notice that since I have started decluttering I HAVE found my ideal weight. And I am staying there with little to no effort.
I am going to attribute this to a few things:
But I also love his esoteric energy-centric view of it. When you (and your ancient brain) are literally holding onto things all the time, afraid to let go, it seems possible to me that we are unconsciously holding onto a lot more than things. We are locked in, holding onto bad habits as well, which could pertain to eating.
And more than that, we know that stress literally affects our metabolisms. Could it be the stress is not from your job or your family or your bad hair day, but from all the things in your way all day?
This is not something I have the answer to, but it is interesting all the same!
5. Less stuff means less fighting
"The more material possessions you have, the more energy you need to handle your everyday household chores. You become stressed, then frustrated, and you're likely to want to blame those who aren't eager to help out."
I agree with him so much! Next to money (which is often spent on things!), chores around the house can be one of the biggest sources of friction between couples. While everyone needs to be doing their fair share, what if there was less to do in general?
It's just a fact that the less you have, the more space you have for everything to have a specific home. When things have a specific home, the house doesn't get cluttered as long as everyone returns the item they just used.
Which is easier to do now because it has a real, unobstructed home!
Now all you have to do is vacuum relatively uncluttered floors and wipe down cleared countertops.
So much simpler!
Postscript: My Own Declutter!
I was inspired by the book and tried using Sasaki's idea that EVEN IF something sparks joy, what if you just don't need it? Actually?? This led to the deepest decluttering I have ever done.
I puttered around decluttering with the aim of really reducing for about a week and ended up discarding a lot! About 2-5 items from every category really adds up. Can you imagine all of this was just in the way!!!
Some of these things don't spark joy anymore, but some do. They just don't serve me as much as they could. I have started putting higher scrutiny (to borrow a term from the Supreme Court lol) on what gets to be in my living space.
Even if it sparks joy!
One example of something I discarded despite it sparking joy is this antique typewriter. It still sparks joy to see it, BUT it doesn't work, and when I bought it I thought it would. Also, it is taking up space where I could display my record player, which I would actually use if I could see it! My 5,000 year old brain cannot remember to play records if I can't see the player!
Talk to us!
Do you have just too much stuff to do the things you want to do? Are you willing to let go of something that sparks joy?? Let us know what you parted with on Instagram @tidyfairyla or follow our page on Facebook for scintillating conversation on tidying ;)
Stars are just like us! They too need decluttering! ;)
You may know Sean as Kirk on the popular television series Gilmore Girls, or from the recent Marvel blockbusters Guardians of the Galaxy Parts 1 and 2! Sean has an adorable craftsman style house in Los Angeles, but one of its bugaboos is clothing storage! He has a walk in closet, but it was being used for other things. His built in wardrobe had gotten a little out of hand, so he called us in to help him declutter and spruce up the sitch.
Sean was totally game for our special brand of decluttering, which involves taking out EVERY. SINGLE. BIT. and going through it! This part ended up being really fun with Sean, because he has seriously awesome stuff. Vintage jackets and shirts and hilarious tees, as well as a stylish shoe collection. It was tough to decide what to keep!
After decluttering 5 garbage bags full of clothing, shoes, and miscellaneous, Sean's wardrobe and dresser drawers were ready to go! The decluttering process also included a wardrobe of outerwear in the living room, which turned up space for shoes that were not worn as often. As always, decluttering in general turns up space we didn't expect!
Now Sean has a closet he can be excited to use!
Pro tip: Folding items vertically meant there was more room inside the drawers!
If you love Sean and want to see more of him, follow him on Instagram @thejudgegunn
Do you have a built in closet? Do you find it tough to keep decluttered? Let us know about your decluttering bugaboos on Instagram @tidyfairyla or follow our page on Facebook for scintillating conversation on tidying ;)
That's all she wrote!
What do we want? Only what we love and need!
How do we get there? A multitude of ways!
We here at Tidy Fairy want freedom from the tyranny of things. We want homes that make us feel relaxed and inspired. We want room to dig into creativity. We want less time spent doing chores. We want less debt, and less mindless shopping. And most importantly, we want more joy!
Obviously, we are very much inspired by Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method, but there are tons of fun ways to get started on the path to minimalism/joyism. The Minimalists came up with a great method called the Packing Party, and seeing as I'm helping my brother move, I thought this was the perfect time to learn about it and try it out!
The method is simple:
Believe it or not, I'm actually out of internet range and off on a nature adventure AGAIN. Hey, it's summer! The friluftsliv is what July is all about!
I'll be back in two weeks with something more current. In the mean time, I'd like to flash back to early spring and longer hair, to remind you not to accept any part of your home that makes you feel dismal!
Dismal was exactly how my coat closet made me feel.
So one rainy day this past spring, fueled by caffeine and impulsivity, I decided not to stand for that any longer! $50-ish at Home Depot and a few hours later, I had a functional hallway coat closet that brought me much more joy!
Here's a video of that endeavor. I hope it reminds you that with a little time and elbow grease, you can improve the functionality of any part of your home!
Here's a video of that endeavor. I hope it reminds you that with a little time and elbow grease, you can improve the functionality of any part of your home!
Have you been up to any summer home improvement projects?
Share them with us on our Facebook page! And if you need a little help getting your summer tidy into gear, shoot us an email of give us a call! We'll make it a party! =)