On My Mind: Laying the Foundation

 

I’m a homesteader at heart. From scratch baking and cooking is more than just my favorite afternoon activity, it’s in my blood. I grew up with parents who cultivating our property, took us fresh fruit picking as a weekend trip, and who canned tomatoes, jammed berries, and lived their lives with a ‘from scratch’ mentality. Everything, from our Christmas trees to early-summer asparagus, came from our backyard. I certainly didn’t appreciate it near enough then (what child does?) but I had the most privileged, endearing, picturesque childhood, growing up on 10 acres in rural Maryland.

Unfortunately, I have a conflict of the heart, I’m in love with New York City. The bustling nature of it, the anonymity, the midnight Chinese food, I love it all. Growing up from a town where I was always ‘one of those Shephards’ and being introverted makes NYC all the more attractive to me. Somewhere to blend in and live my life in peace, which is ironic considering the volume outside my window as I write this.

But I have a dream of passing down a shade of the childhood I had to my children. I want them to know what fresh produce looks like, I want them to know where it comes from, I want them to know that carrots have tops and don’t come precut in ‘baby’ size. I want them to learn the patience I learned of freezing fresh berries in summer so that someday, months in the future, in the depth of winter, we could have a fresh berry pie. I want them to know that food changes with the season and to respect that. I want them to live in a nourishing way.

 

me, far right, with my older brother and sister.

 

I have a dream of having a massive kitchen and lining the shelves with canned vegetables, pickles, homemade jams, and raising little ones on farmer’s markets, herb gardens, and a love for whole foods. While my current kitchen is more of a kitchen/living room/dining room I decided to start this trajectory several months ago, when I adopted breadmaking into my life. Two sourdough starters are now my pseudo-children and hopefully, a living heirloom to pass down generation to generation. Starters are made from and are a product of the wild yeast and bacteria in the air. Meaning, that my starter will have an origin story of this tiny apartment, this little five-floor walkup, this first home.

In My Home: Organizing a Small Space

 

Organizing your home is a dreaded task. Sometimes you come in from work and just throw clothes on the floor, bags on your desk and keys all over the place. It’s easy to do. Your desk might be organization heaven, but your home may suffer because you’re putting it off.

 

Luckily there are a few organization tips you’ll want to start right now…

 

 

Get Strategic

First thing’s first: Come up with a step by step list of what you want to organize. Bathroom vanity? Kitchen cabinet? Having this list will not only show you what needs to be done, but also helps convert a huge project into approachable tasks. This way you aren’t actually doing any tidying, just planning to tidy. Which is different.

 

Move Smallest To Largest

I find the bathroom to be the easiest place to organize because it typically is the smallest room in the house. So here’s what to do, set aside a block of 30 minutes and tackle the smallest task first. Pick up those clothes and fold them, stack your notebooks, put your pens back into the pot, fold your towels. Ta da. Then stop, do something else. You’ve already made progress.

 

Purchase Organizational Pieces

What motivates me to organize? Looking at photos of other beautifully organized homes, of course. But also, you should examine which organizational pieces you already have. Do you buy a new pair of shoes every week? Consider picking up a shoe rack. Having organizational pieces doesn’t keep you organized unless they are working for you so do some sleuthing, find what pieces you need and customize a shopping list for yourself.

 

Categorize and Start From Scratch

When I’m organizing I love to start with a blank slate. I remove every single thing in an area (bookcase, closet, etc) and divide items up into three categories: Keep, Move, Toss. “Keep” is everything that belongs in that space. “Move” is items that belong in a different area. And “Toss” is for everything that it’s time to let go of.

 

Let Go

We accumulate a lot of stuff in our lifetimes, from those gifts you meant to return to participation trophies from sixth grade, it’s easy to get bogged down year after year. When you make moves to organize consider minimizing your life a little. Sift through items carefully, ask yourself “When was the last time I really used this? Do I really need it?”

 

Organization is all about finding what works for you! Some people like to work a few minutes every day while other people, like me, are down for the three-hour organizing gauntlet. Find your rhythm and stick with it!

 

*This article was originally written for and published on Career Girl Daily. Visit the original post here.*