5 Blogging Basics

So, this semester has finally balanced out and I am back into a normal routine. (I kind of lost my bearings there, for a minute!) Which means that I am finally getting back into the routine of writing… which means that I am finally getting around to writing y’all’s requested posts

…which means that we’re all happy! YAY!

I am starting with this one since it’s the most common request I’ve received lately. Many of you have been asking for blogging advice and, while I’m certainly no expert, I will share the 5 biggest things that have been helpful for me! 
Let’s get right to it!

1: Be Consistent
I try not to have one post about a closet that I organized and then another about a meal that I cooked and then another about my recent vacation and then another about how I blow out my hair. The more consistent you are (1-3 topics), the easier it will be for people to know what to expect!

This is why it’s SO important to pick what you are most interested in writing about!

2: Be Helpful
This is a super important one! People want to read things that will benefit them! So, if you’re looking for readers, you need to provide them with something. When do your friends seek your advice? Fashion? Decorating? Cooking? Photography? Makeup? Making people laugh?

If your friends notice that it’s a strength of yours, then so will your readers!

3: Be Interactive

This is another thing that’s important. (Even though I’m falling behind right now) I always, always try to reply to every comment, e-mail, Facebook post, tweet… even if it’s just to say, “Thank you”. I think it’s a polite thing to do, respectful to readers, and awesome getting to know new people!

Treat your readers like your BFF!

4: Be Positive

  Very, very important: be NICE. No one wants to read a blog written by Negative Nancy (Annie Anxiety maybe, but not Negative Nancy)! So while you’re writing, just try to keep it as positive as possible! If you need to “vent” about something, write it out somewhere private then let it gooo…

Use your blog to contribute positivity to this world!

5: Promote. Promote. Promote.

I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. PROMOTE YOUR OWN WORK! Sure, it would be totally awesome if you could write a couple of posts and become College Prepster or Sarah Belle. But the (blogging) world just doesn’t work like that. Share your own work all over social media!

People can only read your blog if they know about it! 
These are the things that I’ve found helpful in my own writing! But different things work for different people! The biggest part of blogging is that it should be something that you look forward to. If you’re interested in writing about something, then just write about it
As long as YOU are happy with what you’re doing, that’s the only thing that really matters! 🙂 
If you have a blog, what advice to you have to add to this? 
If you’re starting up a blog, what has been your biggest challenge? 
Do you have any other questions on this topic?!

Dorm Room Organization

{ So, let me first start out by saying I’M SORRY for how little I’ve been posting since the summer started. As a person who thrives on busy-ness and structure, I have just had the most difficult time ever making myself write regularly when I’m off all day, every day. To most, that would sound like a dream come true, but I know that some of you fellow OCD-y people know exactly what I’m talking about! So, thank you for your patience and just bear with me until I can get a full calendar (or several) again! 🙂 }
Okay. A few weeks ago (I’m lying… it was a few months ago. shhh) a reader asked me to do a post on dorm solution ideas. “Great idea!”, I thought. Then summer happened. So, finally, here it is! AND I feel like the timing is a little perfect because: a. It’s better to get a head start on things like this, and b. The stores are in “summer mode” right now, so it’s a good time to be buying storage supplies for less!
One more thing: I do have to divulge that I’ve never actually lived in a dorm (aside from a week-long softball camp at Auburn), BUT I did live in a studio apartment in college, which is pretty similar! Okay, here we go!

Dorm Storage Solutions:

1: Make sure that you have the right layout.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that I pin a lot of Feng Shui things. Now, before you skip right over this because you don’t believe in “energy flow”, hear me out! So many Feng Shui rules are backed up by psychology, and there is a ton of information out there that discusses how important environmental factors are to learning (which is why most high schools have that medium blue color in the hallways). 
This Greatist Post by Jordan Shakeshaft explains how to arrange a dorm room perfectly! 

2: Banish all clutter.

As with any organization project, clutter is the #1 enemy. This is the rule I use: 
If it doesn’t have a home, find it a home; if you can’t find it a home, get rid of it. 
Tiny spaces are the ones that are the MOST important to keep clutter-free! You know that feeling you get when you walk into an old person’s home and it’s just full of every little figurine or paper they’ve ever received? That’s the feeling that others will get when they walk into your dorm that’s overflowing with textbooks, picture frames, makeup, and clothes that can’t fit into the closet. 
I like to try to get rid of 15 things every week! I promise, it’s easier than it sounds!

3: Find (or make!) a home for everything

The most important part of a “storage solution” is, of course, the storage! In our new loft, I don’t have an office like I did in my house, so I’ve had to hide my office supplies in plain sight (more on that coming soon!). First, make a list of everything you’ll need to store: textbooks, computer, chargers, notebooks, files, etc. Then, look for (or create) pretty storage solutions for each thing! 
I don’t mind displaying things that are uniformed, such as clothespins, paperclips, binder clips, matching pens, etc. However, find a “hidden” home for things that are mismatched, sloppy-looking, or just plain unsightly (used textbooks, for example. EW!). The Container Store, Etsy, Office Max, and Target are just filled with canvas bins, covered storage containers, and cute document boxes. OR, you could take to Pinterest and find ways to create your own pretty storage solutions out of paint cans, plastic cups, shoeboxes, etc!

4: Multi-Purpose items are lifesavers 

Functionality is essential in small spaces! The more purposes that a piece serves, the more valuable it is! Target’s furniture aisle is always filled with $40-ish ottomans that can be used as a table, extra seating for friends, and a place to discreetly store books, extra blankets, or even shoes! Always be on the lookout for things that can pull double duty such as bedside tables with lots of drawers, decorative vases that could store writing utensils, or jewelry organizer/mirror combos!

5: Clean Constantly 

When I was in undergrad, I made the mistake of having a “cleaning day” once a week… which would have been a great idea, if every week looked the same! However, things always came up for me to do on my cleaning day. Then I would get all stressed out over how messy everything was! Now that I’m older (and oh-so-much-wiser), I just do a little bit every day! There are literally hundreds of cleaning systems out there! I use this one from Apartment Therapy! But FlyLady and Modern Parents Messy Kids have some nice ones as well! And, of course, I have a Pinterest board just full of printable to-do lists to help you stay on track! 
It’s never too early to start organizing for the fall! 🙂 
When it comes to storage solutions for small spaces, the options are limitless! Feel free to add any advice, information, or links to your favorite dorm organization solutions below! 

Do you want to know about storing anything specifically?! 
(I would love to have something to research with all this free time! haha)

Closet Organization Solutions

On my 4 Things to Organize in April checklist, my closet was right up there! I have a pretty good system in place for keeping up with what I’ve worn and purging it frequently. What I need is kind of a revamped closet organization system!
As I always do, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and it did not disappoint!
(click on photos to follow links)

Buy uniformed hangers.
If all of the hangers match, the closet looks 100% more organized and put together. Plus, designate a specific number of clothing items for your closet and buy that many hangers. It will be a good reminder that your closet it getting too full! 
Find a cute way to display your accessories.
From pegboards to hooks to repurposed picture frames, Pinterest is FULL of cute ideas for displaying all those little accessories we need! Rather than just messily cramming them into a drawer, why not put them on display like a cute little boutique? Maybe it will make you enjoy getting dressed as much as you enjoy shopping! 
Store your shoes. 
Shoes are another one of those things that are easy to accumulate. If you don’t quite have the closet space of Sarah Vickers, no problem! Try a hanging heels on a curtain rod on the wall, a shoe rack on the back of the door, and storing flats/sandals in a bin on the shelf in your closet!
Find an organized home for tiny clothing items. 
So, hanging up clothes is easy but what about all those little things like scarves and tank tops? Luckily, they’re super easy to roll up and fit into small spaces! How about in a tiny dresser drawer, a “shoe rack”, or grabbing a couple of small clear drawers from Target? 

Hang your bags.
These are one of my biggest challenges! I love the way that they fit onto closet shelves and I can line them up neatly but I hate the way they get all smooched. Try designate a hanger in your closet as a “bag hanger”, a tension rod with S-hooks, or hanging some pretty hooks where you can easily reach them!

Pre-made closet system.
Of course, if you’re really getting serious about closet organization, Home Depot and Lowe’s have a TON of pre-made closet organizational systems! Just choose one that fits and works well for you!

You don’t have to have it all out at once.
Finally, this is one of the biggest things that keeps my closet in check. It isn’t necessary to have every item out all season long! Having 3 extra bins to hold clothes for each season will free up a TON of closet space!

Now let’s get those closets put back together! Summer is right around the corner and you don’t want to waste all that beautiful weather by being inside reorganizing a closet, do you? Me either 🙂

What kinds of closet organization tips do you have to add? Do you organize it a little at a time or do a big seasonal overhaul? Have you invested in a professional closet system or just created one that works well for you?