I live in a tiny space. I still live at home and my room is just plain small. It’s a very squared room and I often find it difficult to arrange my furniture in a way that would make my small space seem spacious. I don’t have that many pieces of furniture, three big pieces at most, and even though everything I own is stored in my room (with the exception of my books, which are in a bookshelf outside of my bedroom), I still find my space feeling a bit too cluttered. My desk/craft area in particular, is alway extra cluttered.
I’m a messy crafter. When I’m at work on something, a mini book, my Project Life album, anything, my space is usually a mess. I like seeing all of the products I’m using spread out in front of me, so everything comes out of its packaging and is littered about everywhere. Most times when I’m done for the day, I put everything back in their packaging but don’t immediately put them back in my Ikea Raskog cart, where I pretty much store all of my craft supplies. And when I go out to Michaels or order more scrapbook supplies online, they tend to pile up on my desk because I have no time to organize them into my cart. This past week was one of those weeks that my desk was just piled high with stuff and it looked a hot mess.
So, today I spent the day organizing my space, cleaning my room and just rearranging furniture to make everything seem a bit more spacious. I took extra care of my desk area and just wanted to share a few photos of it after some cleaning and a major organizational overhaul!
A lot of the organizer trays that I use are those pretty cardboard ones you find at Michaels. The purple/blue/green paisley one on my desk that stores most of my Project Life cards is actually a jewelry organizer I found in the bead section. I wasn’t going to purchase it at first, but I’m so glad I did because it works so perfectly for Project Life cards! It was a complete life saver because I hate not having my cards right there in front of me where they are so easily accessible. The metal milk basket of sorts is a piece I found in a cabinet under the sink in our main bathroom that I share with my brother. I was cleaning it out one day and there was this slightly rusty metal basket. We were going to toss it, but I saved it and it houses all of my washi tapes perfectly.
I have a lot of pen/pencil cup holders and they come from all over the place. The two main ones that are on my desk are really pretty drinking cups that I found at Marshalls. The one pictured is a teal green and the other, which you can sort of see in the first and last photos below, is a dark pinkish burgundy color. I keep all of my cute pens in the green cup and all of my Sharpie pens, American Crafts markers, and small scissors in the pink cup. Then I have a lot of mason jars. All of my pretty pencils are located on the top tier of my cart in a clear mason jar. You can’t really see it very clearly, but in the second tier I have about five mason jars that hold my brushes, Sharpie markers, watercolor tubes, watercolor pencils and colored pencils. All of my mason jars are recycled pizza sauce jars. We like to make homemade pizza all the time in my house and the jars that the pizza sauce comes in is so utterly cute that I can never find it in me to get rid of them. So I wash them and clear out the wrappings and the sticky glue, and use them to help me organize my space! I tell my mother all the time that when I do get my own place, there will be mason jars everywhere, because I would have collected so many of them by that time that I wouldn’t ever have to buy cups for anything.
Looking at my space now, I really don’t have as much scrapbook supplies as I thought I did. It seemed like I had mountains of it before, when everything was stacked on my desk (I suppose getting rid of all that excess packaging is a real space saver). Everything besides a new Project Life Core kit is pictured below, most of it is located in my cart (I’m an absolute sucker for Project Life cards, so I hoard them like mad!) Hopefully my space will stay like this for a while. It looks less cluttered like this and I really like that.
I’ve been telling myself lately that I’ve “got a problem.” A big one that involves pretty things. Generally, it’s paper or stationery things and I suppose it stems from my recent snail mail obsession. I’ve sort of replaced my scrapbooking binges with buying stationery instead. In a way, I do save a lot more money because scrapbook supplies are EXPENSIVE, but the fact that I just replaced one addiction with another scares me a bit. I will say however that I’ve been doing quite well in how I have been spending my money (or not spending my money). I suppose it’s because I’m trying to save money for my trip in September, but I will say it’s terribly hard! Recently, I’ve been discovering all of these AMAZING brands that tempt me into spending that hard earn (and saved) money of mine and I can only afford to online window shop and long for the day I can actually purchase something.
Kikki K. Australian.
I’m seriously obsessed with Kikki K. I haven’t ordered anything from them just yet, but just looking at their products I’m in love. I’ve been stalking their site since I discovered their Mint with Gold Polkadots Time Planner that’s no longer available and have been waiting patiently for their new line of planners to come out so that I can finally order. But now that the new line is out, I’m unsure if I should order anything since I want their Mint Personal Planner that comes out in October. Nevertheless, their products are stunning! Inspired by Swedish design, Kikki K come out with new coordinating lines each year that are just gorgeous. I just love looking at their products and I’m always so tempted to buy a bunch of it, but I think I’ll try waiting until October. I can get the planner I want and it’s after my trip, so I can splurge a little. But definitely check them out! I can’t wait until they open at store in the States!
I stumbled upon Dailylike while doing an washi tape search on Etsy. I love Dailylike’s washi and fabric tapes! Everything they sell is just so pretty and simple. Lots of soft, pastel colors. Lots of decorative items like fabric, buttons, tapes, stickers, party supplies and gift wrap. It’s basically a craft supply shop that sells pretty materials for you to make pretty things! It also sells stationery that just as pretty, like note cards, stickers and stamps. I’ve order from them just once, and the quality of their products is great! I absolutely love their washi tape and if it weren’t so expensive to ship, I would buy every design they have!
I fell in love with Hema stationery when I came across dozens of photos on Instagram by Dutch and German planner nerds. Hema is like our Target and their stationery is fairly cheap in price, equivalent to our Target One Spot. I have completed one Target/Hema swap with a lovely lady from Germany and was able to get my hands on a few things from Hema that way, because the website doesn’t ship to the States. I love everything! The styles are so pretty, fun and bright. I honestly can’t wait until I’m once again in Europe to physically check this store out! I must plan a trip to Amsterdam immediately!
More cute stationery! Honestly, I’m in love with Australia because all these pretty cute things brands are sprouting up there and it’s wonderful! Though, they do ship to the States, but I’ve found that a lot of the things in the Australian part of the site isn’t in stock in the United States part, which sucks. I still like to admire their products and maybe one day I’ll definitely purchase a haul. Hopefully they’ll include more products on the States part of the site!
I just love me some cute Korean stationery. I’m not too fond of all those little characters, a la Hello Kitty style, but I love the designs of their stationery. Recently, I’ve been obsessively hoarding these cute pens from Artbox that I occasionally find in Chinatown. They always come in such pretty designs and colors that I just can’t resist buying them. Luckily, their Singapore online store apparently ships internationally, but I haven’t tried yet. I would love to visit a physical store. I know in the States, we have just one Artbox in Irvine, California.
I have the travel bug on the brain again. I think it’s because it’s getting closer to September when I’m due to fly to Turkey then Greece for the month. It’ll be the first time I’m traveling abroad by myself and I’m both excited and slightly nervous about it. But I just can’t stop thinking about my impending trip! With my trip on the brain, I couldn’t help but recall how many times I get asked for travel advice. Now, I’m no travel expert or anything, but I do have a few tips on how to go about your trip. These are things that I do when planning my trip or when I’m on the trip itself. They are all little things, but when done thoughtfully (and thoroughly) can have a major impact on how your trip goes. Here are just a few of those things.
- Know where you want to go and what you want to do and see. Have an idea even if it’s a vague one. Know your limits and be prepared to compromise. After doing some research, if one city seems way too expensive, think about skipping it and replace it with visiting two or three other cities nearby that aren’t so expensive. It’s fine if you just want to wing it and see where you end up, but I find that it’s less stressful if you already have an idea of where you want to go, that way you can plan out where to stay and what you can do beforehand without any of those last minute scrambling around. You don’t need to be stressed on your vacation. I’m seriously dedicated to STA Travel‘s guide books. If you pop in to one of their stores, you can grab one of their travel books that offer TONS of inspiration on where to go and what to do and see. Their guide books are free and they are broken into regions: Europe, Asia, Australia and South Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, and North America. They even have one for Volunteering. Their guides give you a lot of tips on how to go about booking your trips, but for the most part, they are used to sell preplanned group trips. While I don’t usually book a preplanned trip, I still enjoy looking at all the different routes and see how they planned out which cities to hit in a particular tour. This usually gives me an idea of how I should plan out my trip. You can read the entire itinerary for each tour, which gives a bit of insight on what to do and see at each city they hit. I love discovering new places to visit that are nearby some of the larger, more popular cities, from these guides. I’m constantly inspired to plan and go on countless different trips in different regions of the world because I spend so much time look through these guides!
- Research where you’re going. Not only should you know what you want to do and see, but you should try to learn the basics in any of the languages spoken in the places you are going. Hello, Please, Thank You, Do you speak English? All of these basic phrases are key when traveling abroad and it’s always polite to know them in the native languages of the places you’re visiting. Study up on the customs as well. Know when to tip and when to not. Know the exchange rates. Know the religions and holidays if any fall during your trip. Know the crime rate and what parts of the city aren’t the greatest. My opinion, you should know as much as you can about the places you are going to before you go. No one likes the ignorant. The more you know, the more you are showing respect to those individual cultures that sometimes are really different from your own.
- Research trip deals. This is a BIG one for me as it helps me save a lot of money on my trips. I’m fortunate enough to still be considered a youth, so finding student/youth deals especially throughout Europe are a blessing! Some sites I check out are STA Travel, Student Universe, Hostelworld, and Momondo. I’ve always gotten such great deals by booking through STA. My two month Eurotrip cost me about $2,900 total, flights, accommodations, rail passes, and all. That’s seven different countries and visiting ten different cities (staying a full week or more in all the major cities like London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona). All I had to worry about was food, lunch and dinner mostly, as all my accommodations offered free breakfast. That’s a steal considering you can spend just as much and more on just a week trip to Disney World. Always look for deals, whether it’s flight deals through Momondo or hostel deals instead of hotels on Hostelworld. Saving money while you travel extensively is always an amazing perk to be taken advantage of.
- Be prepared to compromise. This was one of the first lessons I had to learn and accept when traveling with a friend. Each of you might want to do something different some days and well, you’ll have to compromise. Maybe do something you both want to do then take a few hours to roam the city on your own and meet up later. Not only do you need to prepare yourself to compromise with your travel mate, but you need to compromise with yourself. For example, why stay at a pricey hotel in London when you can cut the cost of your stay in half by staying at a hostel instead? Sure you won’t have an ensuite bathroom and you’ll have to share a room with eleven other people, but think about it. Are you going to spend much time in your room? Chances are you aren’t, so there’s no point spending all that money for a fancy room when you’re not even going to be in it.
- Forgo the car or taxi and walk. Bike even if that’s more your thing. But go out and see the cities you’re visiting. I find public transportation and walking everywhere is the absolute best way to learn about the place you’re in and see things that aren’t highlighted in those bulky expensive travel guides. When you spend all your time in cars and taxis, you miss out on finding that really cool shop in the middle of the block or that amazing graffiti mural on a side wall. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a strange city and trying to find your way back to your hostel. You stumble upon the coolest places and you ultimately learn to navigate the streets like a local.
- Document your trip, but don’t forget to live in the moment. I always take a camera, notebook and pen with me everywhere I travel. I like to remember the things I saw and did. A camera can be very useful for this. I always come home with hundreds of photos, but at the same time I like to slow down, sit and write. When I was in Venice, one of my favorite things that my friend and I did was sit down by the water either on a quiet bridge or along the Grand Canal and write. You soak up everything around you when you take the time to chill out, observe and appreciate your surroundings. We then channeled that into words (or sketches as my artist friend did), and that just gave new meaning to our memories. There’s just so much that you miss when you’re constantly looking through a lens.
- On that note, unplug! Seriously, leave the gadgets at home. I almost never travel abroad with my smartphone. I know it may not seem like the safest thing, but I rather not have to worry about it being lost, stolen, or come back home with a crazy high data bill. Nope, the phone stays home. So does the iPad and laptop computer. Honestly, all I take is my iPod Touch. I can access the internet via WiFi to send out text messages to my iPhone family or Skype my parents, update my Facebook or post a neat picture on Instagram, but that’s about it. I limit myself to WiFi only, so that I’m not tempted to be online 24/7. I pretty much only use it as my alarm, to listen to music while traveling from place to place, and to contact people that I need to contact at any point on my trip. If you feel like you need that something extra to keep you occupied when you’re not out and about sightseeing, try bringing a book instead. It gives you something to do when you’re traveling or lying on a beach, but you aren’t completely zoned out from all that’s around you. (Note: I brought along my really old Kindle once and only used it during my long plane flights. I managed to read one book in its entirety, but never again will I bring it with me because it didn’t seem practical and I was constantly worried someone was going to snatch it. A book is much easier because really, a paperback isn’t that difficult to replace if you loose it or get it stolen. Plus, who steals books?)
- Pack lightly! Know what to pack and what to leave at home. If you’ll be traveling for an extended period of time, pack at least two weeks worth of clothing. That will leave you enough clothes to mix and match for about two and a half weeks, maybe even three if you wear things again. If you’re staying at hostels, chances are you’ll have a laundry facility at your disposal. Take advantage of that and wash your clothes! If you don’t have laundry access, try hand washing certain things like underwear and t-shirts, and letting them dry overnight so that you’ll have a few fresh clothes while you search for a laundry mat. Always roll your clothing when you pack and just be aware of what you’re packing. I personally pack more shirts than pants, as jeans or shorts can be worn multiple times before they are truly dirty. Always pack way more underwear than you think you’ll need because honestly you can never have too much underwear. Take a light towel with you and maybe a blanket (check out my 10 things to take on a backpacking trip post to understand why). One pair of sneakers (which you’ll wear), a pair of dressy shoes/sandals, and a pair of flip flops are all you need. Ladies, pack a few dresses because they are easy outfits that you can wear multiple times, different ways. Be smart. If you know you’re not going to use or wear something, leave it home. Most people will suggest laying everything out then cutting the contents in half. While I’ve never done that, it’s always something that I have in the back of my mind when I’m packing and it’s always worked for me. Be practical, make a check list and if you can carry on your pack onto the plane, you’re golden.