Spring Cleaning and Hot Messes. Inside Tip on How to Get Organized!


If you read a lot of blogs and follow a lot of bloggers on Instagram, you probably see lots and lots of photos of beautifully organized and thoughtfully styled homes.  I’ve shared photos of my own home before, generally on Monday afternoon because that’s when my house-helper comes and it’s the only time during the entire week that it’s clean.

Now I can’t speak for all bloggers, but I for one have four children and a very real-life life and I feel like sometimes we bloggers are pros at finding and creating beautiful scenes and giving people the illusion that our homes always look like that.  Let’s take my kitchen for example.  You’ve all seen it– maybe decked out for the holidays and sparkling white.

But let’s be real.  Behind the hashtags, there are legit hot-messes, at least at my house there are.  I’ve noticed there’s somewhat of a trend right now on social media where bloggers will hashtag things like #keepinitreal or #reallife and you can tell they worked really hard to make their perfectly styled image look “horribly” messy by tossing 4 pieces of laundry on the bed and maybe laying out an open bag of fish crackers.  You guys that’s not real life.

This is closer to real life.

Notice there is an actual shoe on my kid’s high chair and I have no idea how it got there.  And in terms of messy kitchens, this isn’t even close to as bad as this room gets.  I just want you guys to know that behind every sparkling white kitchen on Instagram, there are scenes like this.

I have some very scary spaces hiding around my house.  The good thing is that I feel like with every change in season I get re-charged to de-clutter and re-organize.  HELLO SPRING CLEANING!  With each season, the areas of focus change, too.  Spring time every single year has me thinking about 2 things in particular:  My patio, and my garage.  I’ve seen a few photos recently that have made my organization-loving heart go pitter-patter and seriously inspired me.  Like, my friend Lil’ Luna’s Garage with all of those bins lined up so perfectly:

Or how about Classy Clutter?  I mean, if I went to visit her and she told me to roll out my cot in her garage because that’s where I’d be sleeping I’d be like, okay awesome that’s super nice of you I’ll be sure to take my shoes off first.  This is amazing (and now I totally want to paint my outside garage door, that’s brilliant.)

And this little vignette from Julie Blanner is charming, like everything Julie does (seriously, go follow her, love her feed) but I would’t roll out my cot in there because I’d be too afraid to mess up her white garage in fear that I might have to actually sweep with the white broom and then what would hang on the wall?!

I joke.  Mostly because of what I’m about to show you.  Seriously you guys, my garage is on a whole other planet than my talented organized friends, here.  And I’m going to be real with you all because you know you can always count on me.  Let’s just take a moment to breath in the garage images above.  And now I present to you, my garage.  (Yes, feel free to Pin this.)

I know what you’re thinking and yes it does in fact look like a scene from an episode of TLC’s Hoarders.  We like to keep it like this in case anyone tries to break in our home through the garage.  They’ll never, ever get out.  It’s a legit #hotmess.

You cannot stage this stuff, people!

This is my gift to you, so you can instantly feel better about your life.  You’re welcome.

Now, why am I showing you this?  Well #1 I think it’s important to know that bloggers aren’t everything you see on social media (we’ve talked about that before.) but 2- I’m going to show you one of the things I’m going to use to turn that room around!

I’ve showed you the Gigmi App once before, because it’s amazing and I used it to organize all of my holiday decor.  And now Gigmi offers Gigmi Premium (and if you use our code BESTBITES you get a month free) so listen up!  If you’re not familiar, the Gigmi app allows you to organize containers/bins/boxes on your phone, and even manage them on the computer.

Here’s how it works:  You take photos of stuff you toss into your bins/boxes/containers, etc.  Maybe it’s decorations, or maybe it’s boxes full of kids clothes or camera equipment, or camping equipment.  Snap a quick pic with your phone.  Your real-life containers are all created and organized in the app, and when you click on one, it will show you everything that’s inside.  This is especially helpful if like me, you stack bins like this out in the garage, or in the attic, or deep in a storage closet that you really don’t want to dig through to go try and find something.  You can literally peek inside your containers without stepping foot in the garage and know exactly where your stuff is.

I used Gigmi recently in my closet where I have super high shelves that I can only reach when I pull out a stepping stool or ladder.  I use that space to rotate out of season items, like all of my swim stuff, for example.  I have a few bins of summer beach/swim stuff.  Instead of photographing each item that went into the bin, I took one quick group photo before I banished the bin to the top shelf.  I labeled the bin “Swim 1” and quickly entered what was in it.  You can add tags as well, so you can literally search for anything. ( Are you visualizing how productive you can be with this??!)  This is what the page looks like when I click on that container to see what’s in it.

With my different Swim Bins all entered in the app (which literally took maybe, 2 minutes, by the way) when I needed to grab a specific swim top for our recent spring break trip, I quickly checked my app and knew exactly which bin to pull down without shuffling through everything and dropping a bunch of cuss words.

You guys this is handy.  You could be thinking to yourself, “awe, crap.  I have no idea where the heck I stashed those camping tarps I bought on clearance last summer…”  So just search “tarps” and if you entered into the app when you put it away it will tell you something like “Bin 4, Garage Shelving”.  It’s like your own little mind-reading personal assistant.

Did you notice the tab on the right that says “labels,” by the way?  You can tap that and send labels straight to your computer to print, which will print out a QR code to place on that box which you can then scan and see exactly what’s in it (#mindblown).

Now, the best part: When you download the Gigmi app, you have the option of upgrading to Gigmi  Premium, which offers unlimited items, containers, labels, and organization. It’s only $5/month or $55 for a whole year and you can go organi-crazy.  You could literally have your entire house organized on your phone.  Next time you hear “Mom!  Where’s the….?”  You’ll know exactly where to look!  Or heck, open the app and make them look themselves.  I scored a code for you guys so when you sign up for Gigmi Premium to get your own hot messes in order you get your first month FREE!  (Seriously my favorite word.  Free.)  So look up  Gigmi in the App store, sign up and make sure to use code BESTBITES to get a free month of unlimited organization. Another bonus is that when YOU then share it with your friends, you earn a kick-back.  Everyone gets organized and everyone wins.  Boom!

My next project: THE GARAGE.  Wish me luck.  And if you suddenly notice I stop posting recipes, or anything at all, it’s because I got trapped under piles of garbage and in that case call for help.

You guys, I love this app and I hope you try it and love it, too!  I would also LOVE to see your scary rooms and hot messes.  I dare you to post your own on instagram and tell everyone I challenged you!  Leave a comment on this post and tell me about the messiest room in your house.  I showed you mine so now you have to make me feel better and tell me about yours.  Go!



This post is written in partnership with Gigmi and contains affiliate links.  As always, we only write about things we love and use!  You can read more about our terms and disclosures, here.


  1. I really appreciate this post! My husband recently wrote a blog on lifestyle porn (http://mike-thayer.com/lifestyle-porn/) because he saw how much all the fakeness on blogs/Instagram effected me. I have been a longtime followerer of y’all and I love how you keep it real over here on OBB. You guys are the seriously the best. Keep on keeping on!

  2. Thank you for being real! It is always refreshing to see what life looks like for people behind the beautifully staged Instagram pictures. Lately, I have been feeling like every room in my house is in need of an overhaul. Every time I open a drawer or cupboard and things fall out, or I can’t find what I am looking for, it makes me want to scream. That happens multiple times a day with every single cupboard and drawer in my house. And let’s not even talk about the pantry. I have seriously considered putting a lock on the door so that my kids do not open everything, eat it by the handful (and drop things all over the floor), and then leave open containers spilling out all over the place. (#5kids) I may have to give that app a try. It sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing your life with us! Like I said; refreshing.

    1. Oh my gosh don’t even get me started on the pantry. I almost used that as my example in this post, haha. I literally JUST told my husband the other day that I want a lock on that door!

    2. I do have a lock on my pantry and it is AMAZING! It’s actually just a chain lock like you’d have on your apartment door in the sketchy part of town, up at the top corner, but since all my little people are under 3′ tall still, it works for us. So nice.

  3. That is amazing. I need this! Those garages are the stuff of dreams, man!

    A few years ago I did a “living with kids” post on my blog in the style of design mom (http://emilyssomething.blogspot.com/2013/10/living-with-kids-emily-foley.html. ) As much as I love looking at the beautiful, spotless houses of other families, I know it simply isn’t possible for me to have a house like that, and so I showed what it’s really like to be a mom with a bunch of kids. And since writing that post I’ve had two more kids! We’ve moved out of that house and I’m trying so hard to stay on top of it but it isn’t much better. Thanks for keeping it real Sara!

  4. Thanks for taking your readers along the process. As an aside, I read on another blog (apologies – can’t remember where), that the idea of “keeping it real” often refers to the hot messes of our lives. I totally agree that being open and vulnerable in this way is often missing yet so crucial in combating warped views of reality. That said, “keeping it real” can also refer to being upfront and proud of what we’re awesome at! For instance, we might note something like, “I’m a great writer” or “I really rock at teaching in a supportive and inspiring way.” I wanted to add that perspective to this “keeping in real” discussion. Thanks!

  5. Oh man, our garage looks only marginally better, and only because we had to quickly shuffle stuff around so we could fit our cars in the garage after our 800th snow day this winter. The spring clean of the garage will be paaaaainful, but we need to get it done! Our patio clean up has already started and I am so ready for warm late nights!

  6. I’ve been using the Gigmi app ever since you first recommended it and it’s awesome! Also, I thought you’d appreciate that the amazon ad that popped up with this post included as a related product a novel called “Hot Mess.” The cover shows a shirtless tattooed man kissing a blonde woman so if you’d like to delay your garage cleaning there’s a great book reccomendation for you. ???

  7. This made me laugh so hard. I definitely have spaces in my house that look like this! I’m excited to try this app out. We are moving out of our house next month to do a major remodel. I’m thinking that this app might come in handy as I pack my whole house into storage for 6 months. Thanks!

  8. Thanks Sara for really being real. Like, really ?I have spaces in my house like your garage, actually parts of my garage look like your garage? I appreciate your candor because yes, although we realize that blog photos are styled…something it still creates a feeling of lacking in our own home/life. Good reminder to love our home just the way it is-crazy, busy and full of love!?

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