Wednesday, May 7, 2014

College Clean Out: This one is for YOU college students!

Living in a college town and working with college students on a daily basis is seriously awesome.  I get to work with bright, motivated individuals who want to change the world.  Today marked the last day of classes and the students are getting ready to complete their final exams, papers and projects.  Soon many will pack up to go home, travel, or move into different apartments.  All of these options require packing up a lot of stuff.  So this post is specifically for you my college student reader.  Here are the best tips I wish I would have had in my college days for packing up at the end of an academic year.

Whether you are a senior who is graduating and either moving back home or to your first non-college apartment all the way to a freshman leaving your first dorm room, you may have noticed that your stuff has multiplied this year.  The t-shirts from the different clubs or events you were involved with, your papers and text books that you are starting to think you may need again, or the kitchen supplies you stocked up on but never had the time to really use.

Take some study breaks this week to think about the state of your stuff.  What has your space felt like this year and how do you want it to feel and function for next year?  In college, many of us don't have a lot of space to begin with, so why fill it to the brim with things you don't use anyway?

Tips for the College Clean Out:

1) If you haven't worn a clothing item ALL year, trust me you won't be wearing it again.  Donate it or sell it in a consignment shop.

2) Really think if you need EVERY Fraternity/Sorority Insignia item you own?  Will one item be enough to capture the memories?  Take pictures of anything you want to remember and hand down to younger 'brothers' or 'sisters' in your house as you head out. Maybe you will start a new tradition, and a minimalist one at that!

3) Sell your textbooks to other students for decent prices.  Trust me, you won't need them again and they are heavy and cumbersome.  

4) Projects and Papers should be saved digitally and never in paper.  If you do want to refer to it later you will more easily find it on the cloud than in a pile.

5) Kitchenware can be tricky but you probably already know your housing plans for the fall at this point.  Talk to your roommates/housemates and see who has what and then get rid of the excess.  No need to have doubles and triples of plates and pots that you won't end up using.  Down the line you can always re-buy if you need and in the meantime you don't have to worry about storing and adding clutter to an already small living space.

6) Donate unopened food items to local food pantries, don't just throw away food that others could use.

7) Take a study break to actually find out where you can donate furniture items instead of tossing by the dumpsters.  Many places will even pick up the items for free. One example: The University of Illinois YMCA has a great program called "Dump and Run" where you can drop off items or have them picked up.  The items will be sold and the proceeds will go to fund YMCA programming.

I hope these tips will help you cut down on the clutter to make move-out and your next move-in a lot easier and less stressful.  Let me know if any of you have any awesome tips or if you have any questions!  

I will also put a plug in here for my home simplifying business: Your Simple Home for any local students who may need some extra help.  Special discounts for students, please inquire with me at

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Makeup Makeover

Back around December I was overwhelmed with my drawer in my bathroom.  I would sift through quite a lot of makeup but was only actually using a small amount.  I realized that not only was I not using most of what I had, the stuff I was using was old, running out, and probably not the best stuff to be putting on my skin.  I decided to do an overhaul.  I went through everything and tossed about 75% of what I had.  I went to the store of the brand I like and told the sales woman what I wanted.  I explained that I needed her to help me find a minimal amount of products that I would use consistently, would be fast and easy to apply and would be as simple and natural on my skin as possible.   Luckily she listened.  I was honest with her about which products I simply wouldn't end up using based on my experience.  I now only have four products total that take me about 2 minutes to apply in the morning.

What happened to the other 25% of products that I didn't throw away in December?  Well here they are before hitting the trash bin now in May:

Brushes, lip gloss, eye liner and cases I simply have never used since acquiring them. No need to keep them in my drawer cluttering up my space.

Now getting ready in the morning is a breeze and a joy without seeing a bunch of clutter I haven't used in years sitting in a drawer.  I like not having a ton of options when it comes to my makeup routine and I now have a system and products that work well for me in all types of occasions.

Here are some tips I learned that may help you in your next Makeup Makeover:

* Throw Away If:
1) You haven't used the product in over a year.
2) It does not flatter you or work with your skin type.
3) The product isn't recommended for use past a certain time frame (like eye make up).
4) You don't LOVE it.

* Don't be shy about asking for help from experts: There are many makeup artists and specialists who can point you towards products that work well for you and your lifestyle.  The key is to be honest with them about your habits and past experience with makeup. For example: If you never put on eyeliner because it takes too much time, you probably won't start now even if you buy some.

* Don't feel pressured to buy more than what you are looking to buy.  Stand firm, you will be glad you did.

* Make sure you only have the amount of products that can fit in the space you have allotted for them.  If your makeup is spilling out of drawers and bins you won't know what you have and it won't be fun to apply and wear.

* One In, One Out Rule:  Just like clothes and other items, this is a trick to keep your makeup from multiplying. For example: If you find you are getting bored of your current eye shadow, it may be time (for health reasons) to get a fresh one, make sure the old stuff hits the trash bin before you open the new one.

I hope these are helpful! I would love to hear additional tips and tricks about simplifying makeup and other beauty products! Please share in the comments.