52 Spaces in 52 Weeks: January Update

At the beginning of this year, I embarked on a challenge to organize 52 different spaces in my home in 52 weeks. Read the full post here. Today I'm finally giving my first month update along with sharing some progress from a friend who has decided to join me on the challenge!

Space: Bedroom Closet
This was a massive space & a massive project.  I actually started this space right before I decided to do this challenge, but take it from me, it was BAD. Because this was such a big space, I decided to break it up into 3 categories: Clothes/Shoes, Bags & Jewelry.  So far, I've only tackled the clothes & shoes, but 5 large garbage bags later, things are coming together around here! (Sorry no pics of this one)

Space: Middle Shelf in the Kitchen Table
Since the first week was such a big project, I decided to tackle a smaller space this week. This shelf has become a bit of a storage unit for crap.  When you sit on the couch in our dining room, you have a full view of the space & having so much stuff piled up always made me anxious & made our house feel so cluttered, even though it was hiding under the top of the table.  Of course I fucking forgot to take a before picture (I swear, I will remember from now on) but the after...feels SO good!
Someone was insistent on being in the photo

Space: Basket under the Kitchen Table
Since I tackled the middle shelf of the table last week, this week I took a stab at the giant wicker basket on the bottom shelf. This basket is the perfect hiding place for more crap! Since I don't have a set office space in the house, anything that would go in a desk has a tendency to float around in piles in different rooms.  My computer lives on a side table next to our couch,  all my office supplies are scattered everywhere, my camera mainly hangs out either in the kitchen or on this table...it's not good. So I decided to get rid of all the junk I didn't need & turn this basket into my own little office!

All this crap was inside this basket.  That Bloomingdales bag is FULL of stuff I got rid of.

Drawers in the Bar
Since I had tackled the table, it just made sense to stay in the dinning room for Week #4. We have an unconventional bar in our dining room that is actually part of a media console, but given that we have no place for a TV besides above our fireplace, we decided to turn this piece into storage for alcohol. It works out really well, except the drawers just became a another dumping ground for things we didn't need.
(I won't admit how long I've had that 2 Buck Chuck)

LOOK! You can actually see drawer! There is empty space!!!

 I broke the drawers up into categories: Wine Items, Liquor Items, Party Items & Canisters & Candles. Everything in the drawers now has a purpose & space to live.

Since most of these spaces were smaller, I didn't feel they warranted their own post. However, next weekend I'm tackling one of my top 5 BIGGEST projects. Be sure to tune in here & on Instagram as I'll be sharing my steps along the way! (insert shameless plug to find me on Instagram here: rachelalyse120)

My college sorority sister & good friend, Lindsay, is also embarking on this challenge with me. While this may not look like much in terms of a pretty pics to share on a blog, it is SUPER IMPORTANT to acknowledge her achievement of her first space! She's struggling to come up with 52, but at least she's trying!

I have an accordion file to keep important documents organized, and well...it hasn't been organized in quite some time.  With tax season rearing it's ugly head, I decided now is as good a time as any.  I had the file in a closet, along with a whole bunch of loose stuff that I was too lazy to actually put IN the file and was just piled on the shelf next to it.  The first picture is the folder and the additional stack of things that needed to be sorted.  
Then, I went through each compartment one by one, discarding anything that was no longer relevant to me.  (My favorite item was a doctor bill from 2009. Runner up was a letter telling me about my new debit card PIN from a bank that no longer exists.)  
Literally ALL THAT JUNK was in that file folder.  It filled almost an entire trash bag.  
It was actually really nice to get everything in order.  Looking forward to the rest of the challenge...think it will be fun! 

OK Linds, that's ONE space. Time to continue to tackle!!!


{Books} Mini Indie Bookstore Crawl

E-readers have never been my thing. Audio books have never been my thing. But actual paper books? YES PLEASE. Books that I can touch, smell (yes), stack, bend...those are my thing. I love the feel of turning pages & feeling accomplished when I see how far I've read. We have stacks of books all over our house that very well may kill me should we ever have a bad earth quake, but I love how they look...so whatever. And,  I absolutely LOVE going to the bookstore.  I used to primarily shop at *gasp* chain stores like Barnes & Noble (I know, I know, stop judging me) but that was only because I was blind to the fact that LA has some awesome independent bookstores (besides The Last Bookstore. If you haven't been there, you MUST) & I'm cheap.  When my BFF, also an avid reader, came in town a few weeks ago, we decided to do a mini indie bookstore crawl.  It had to be mini because trying to get to different neighborhoods in LA is no easy task.  Going off of reviews online, I chose 3 stores to focus on; Book Soup, Vroman's Bookstore, & Skylight Books.

We started at Book Soup, located on the iconic Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.  Known for having over 60,000 titles, Book Soup specializes in art, film, photography, music, & literary fiction. They have events multiple nights a week, which is awesome. You can check their schedule here.
The moment I walked in, I fell in love. The store has such an intimate feeling but with a HUGE selection; the store just kept going & was extremely deceiving from the outside.
Also, we need to talk about these floor to ceiling black shelving units. STUNNING. 

One of the things I loved was there were staff recommendations all throughout the store with little notes. It felt very personable & not just like they were listing off the NY Times best seller list. There were so many books I'd never heard of!
In addition to the wide variety of books, they also had a nice selection of book-related gifts/homegoods. I seriously could have spent hours in here.
I have to give the staff immense credit for this display. I know how fortunate enough I am to live in a city that reflects my views & I try to acknowledge it whenever I can.  This gave me a real good laugh, even though it's quite depressing because it's so true.
I only had one complaint while we were there & that's the parking situation, or lack there of.  If you're lucky enough to find a meter outside, they only go up to 20 mins. Seriously, who spends only 20 minutes in a bookstore???  We didn't check the side streets, but we probably would have had better luck there.
Overall, love love loved this store.

Up next, the oldest & largest independent book retailer in Southern California, Vroman's Bookstore, located in the heart of Pasadena.
When I began my bookstore research, Vroman's was the first to pop up. By far, this is the largest indie bookstore I have ever been in. Two full stories, a giant home goods, gifts & stationery section plus a nice big parking lot out back! It is PERFECT.

This is just the beginning of the home goods section. Seriously, this is my heaven.
But the best part? When you check out, you have the option of choosing a local organization to have a portion of your proceeds donated to! How amazing is that?
Also, did I mention they have not just an animal section, but a pets section? Amazing.
Look, more home goods!
Overall, there is not much to complain about this pretty perfect store.  Perhaps because it was so big, it was really busy? But ya know, I was totally OK with it. Love love love.

Our last stop of the day was Skylight Books. Open since 1966, Skylight is a charming little local shop located in  Glendale. My first experience with Skylight Books was last summer when they brought in Elizabeth Warren to speak about her new book. (Catch up here.) They always have an awesome line up of authors & events, most recently Joe Biden!
The overall shop is really sweet, but it is a bit on the smaller side. They don't have as many book-related gifts, but they did have a decent selection of books! They also have a giant tree in the middle of their store...so that's a win.
Parking is a bit tough given that this store is located on a busy street, but there is a lot of neighborhood parking if you get lucky! 

Overall, I really loved all the stores we went to & I definitely plan on going back to each one.  
But perhaps, my wallet could use a break.
My haul!