7 Ways to Pare Down Your Closet

7 ways to pare down your clothing once and for all!

I find paring down my clothing one of the hardest decluttering tasks to do.  I get this weird attachment to certain pieces. Like the ones I remember wearing on a golf date with my husband 10 years ago. Or the ones I think I’ll fit into again one day.  Or even the ones that I spent a pretty penny on but hate the way they fit.  It’s silly really, to hang on to clothing that doesn’t fit properly, you don’t like, or is outdated.  It’s easy to replace those things on a budget with items you actually love!

I was talking with my mom the other day about how I was going to be ruthless during my upcoming purge.  In a sense, I want to start over.  Keep the pieces that I love and that fit me well, but finally say goodbye to the things that make me feel frumpy and unbeautiful.  It just doesn’t do my postpartum body and ego any favours by hoping certain pieces will fit me well again.

So in a new effort to add only pieces that I LOVE here are 7 questions I ask myself when I purge clothing:

1.  Does it fit?

If the shirt pulls in entirely the wrong areas, it doesn’t fit.  If I can’t do up the zipper on my jeans easily, they don’t fit.

2.  Have I worn this in the last 12 months?

Chances are, if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year or more, you’re not going to wear it again.  Or you might be like me, and feel sorry for that piece of clothing and wear it again out of sympathy, but it really isn’t flattering.  In order to determine if you’ve worn something in the last 12 months, you could try the backwards hanger trick.  When you’re hanging up your clothes, flip the hanger around so it hangs (with the clothing on it) backwards on the rack.  Every time you pull something out and wear it, hang it back up with the hangers facing the proper way.  That way at the end of 12 months, you can see if there’s anything you didn’t wear because the hangers are still hanging backwards!

3.  Will I ever wear this again?

Maybe you bought something for a special occasion you were attending, but don’t have much, or any, opportunities to wear it again.  It might be time to consider selling it in a consignment shop or even on Kijiji/Craigslist.

4.  Is it currently in style/does it represent my style?

I’m sure we’ve all got those sentimental pieces in our wardrobe that we wore in the “good ‘ol days”.  Well, new “good ‘ol days” are upon us and it’s time to get with the times by getting rid of those outdated pieces.  If it’s just too hard, put them in the dress up box for the kids to enjoy!

5.  Do I feel good when I wear it?

This is becoming one of the most important questions I ask myself.  If I just don’t feel confident when I put something on, it’s time to really consider putting it in the purge pile.  As I mentioned above, it’s doesn’t do my postpartum body and ego any favours if I’m just wearing something for the sake of getting dressed.  Even the hoodies I purchase have to make me feel “cute”!

6.  If it’s damaged, will I actually find time to fix it?

Enough said.  If you don’t have time to fix something, whether you want to fix it yourself or go out of your way to take it to a professional, it’s time to part ways.  That piece of clothing will just nag on you anyways as it taunts you from the depths of your closet!

7.  If I were shopping right now, would I buy it?

Often times, I’ve looked at a piece of clothing and wondered what I was thinking when I bought it.  (Most likely it was cheap!)  So, if you look at your current clothes and see things you wouldn’t buy today, maybe it’s time to say goodbye.

I sure hope these questions will help you to determine what you should keep and what you shouldn’t.  Starting now, I’m deciding to buy only what I love and makes me feel like a million bucks.  Sometimes, that might mean I have to spend more to get something that truly fits well.  I’m okay with that, because I’ll probably be buying less in the long run ($5 here and there adds up!) and I’ll feel like a million bucks!

Do you have any other ways to pare down your closet you can share with us in the comments?  What sort of outrageous clothing are you storing in your closet?

Click on the image below to have a 5×7 to print and enjoy!

7 questions to ask to help you purge clothing once and for all!

Cozi: Free Family Organizer App

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Are you looking to get your family a bit more organized?  You should check out the Cozi app!  It’s FREE to sign up for!

Cozi is a free calendar app and website (that was named a must-have app by The Today Show!) that helps families stay organized and manage it all:

  • Everything in one place: calendar, shopping lists, to-do lists and more
  • One account the whole family can share
  • Accessible on any device (iPhone/iPad, Android, PC and Mac), at home and on the go

Sign up for Cozi today and you’ll finally have one place to manage school schedules, sports activities, meal plans, chores and more.

What do you use or do for family organization?

How to Clean Your Fridge…and Keep it Organized

How to clean your fridge...and keep it organized!

Having a clean and tidy fridge can save you some big money on your grocery bill.  After all, if you know what you have stored in there, you won’t be buying doubles or letting it go to waste!

Here are some tips on how to clean your fridge and keep it organized:

What You will Need to clean with:

  • A cloth or a sponge
  • A sink full of soapy water
  • A dish towel
  • Glass cleaner (optional)
  • Counter space or table space for organizing food
  • A garbage can

How to Clean your Fridge:

Take everything out of the fridge

First of all, you’ll want to take everything out of the fridge and throw out any expired or rotten food.  I found this guide for how long to keep food in the refrigerator on Good Housekeeping that you may find useful!  (Also, I have to take things out one shelf at a time because we don’t have much counter space.)

Deep clean everything

Take out the shelves and drawers and give them a good wash in your sink with soapy water.  Dry them well. Before you put the shelves and drawers back, be sure to wipe down every surface inside the fridge.  Don’t forget to do the shelves in the door, the outside and the top of the fridge!  We have a smaller fridge with no coils, but if you have a fridge with coils, be sure to vacuum them!

Wipe down any sticky jars/containers

Before you put your food back, wipe down any sticky jars or containers.  Don’t forget to clean inside the lids of ketchup bottles and the like!

Now that you’re ready to put everything back, here are some tips to help you organize your fridge and keep it that way:

Make zones

Arrange everything by zones.  Meaning, all meats should go on a bottom shelf so that they don’t spoil other foods if they drip.  If you find yourself always reaching for the eggs and butter every morning, for example, be sure to place them together for your convenience.  Salad dressings are always together in the top door shelf in our fridge.  Likewise, I like to keep all bottled goods together in the door.  Cheeses are also together in the cheese compartment in the door.

Use baskets

You may find that using baskets will help to keep you organized.  Especially if you find you’re always shuffling small items around on the shelves to get the one item you need in the back.  I recommend picking up some baskets from the dollar store if you think the basket system would work for you.  No need for them to be expensive!

Use clear containers

This is one of my favourite tips that my Mom has thought me.  Use clear containers to store any leftovers so you know exactly what you have on hand.  If you can actually see what’s inside a particular container, you’re more likely to use it up!

Sort by date

When you get home from the grocery store, make sure to put items in according to the date if you have doubles.  For example, say you brought home a second container of sour cream knowing that you’ll need it in a few days time.  Make sure you put the new container behind the old/already opened container to ensure the old container won’t go bad before it’s used up.

Not everything belongs

Not all grocery items belong in the fridge.  While a freezer is more efficient if it’s jam packed, a fridge will keep things longer if there’s space between the items.  Here are some items that you may be keeping in the fridge but don’t necessarily belong there:

  • Potatoes (these should never be kept in the fridge, but in a cool dry place)
  • Tomatoes (their flavour is enhanced by sitting in a sunny window)
  • Onions
  • Apples (give off gases that will make other things ripen quickly)
  • Eggs (if you use them quickly and buy them quite fresh, they can be left on the counter)
  • Butter (store it in a butter keeper to keep it soft)
  • Herbs (can be placed in a jar or vase, just like flowers!)

Did you learn anything new?  Do you have any tips or systems that work well for you that you could share in the comments?

Entryway and Stair Landing Organizing Tips

Entryway and Stair Landing Organizing Tips

Entryway and Stair Landing Organizing Tips

Getting and keeping the house organized is a challenge for most families.  Two areas that tend to fall victim to the accumulation of stuff after only a week (or day!) of living life, are the front entryway and the stair landing.   To help keep these areas organized, you’ll need to develop some good habits and have suitable storage solutions.

Here are some entryway and stair landing organizing tips that are sure to help keep you more organized.

Put Things Away Right Away

There is one habit to apply when you’re battling to keep your entryway neat and tidy; put things away immediately upon arriving home. We tend not to return to hang up a coat or put away shoes once we’ve settled into being home. By forcing yourself, and creating a habit at the same time, by putting your things away immediately will restore order to the entryway.  Just make sure each item has a proper place!

Use that Closet

Coats, shoes, backpacks, and purses tend to collect in piles in the front entryway. If there is a closet, use it!  If there isn’t a closet, or the closet is too small, then a coat rack or a set of hooks is the next best thing.  Hang a set of hooks on the wall or purchase a free standing coat rack, if the budget will allow.  Backpacks and purses should go in the closet as well, or straight to the owner’s bedroom.

Shoes, boots, hats, scarves, and the like need to go in the closet right away, unless they’re wet.  Then they can be set aside to dry.  Another tool for footwear is a covered bench, baskets, or storage cubes. Storage cubes are handy because each family member can be assigned his or her own.  Pick up some of those storage cubes that have cushioned seats; they can double as a bench!

One Item per Trip

Habits and tools can also help keep the stair landing clear.  Most people will go up and down the stairs more than once during the day, so picking up and bringing one item each trip is a great habit to get into.  That was a rule my Mom liked to enforce.  If we were headed upstairs and there was something that belonged to us waiting on the stairs, we had to bring it up.

Use a Basket

Since the stair landing is a common catch-all for toys and other items, a large basket can be used. You can then assign one family member to take on the chore of bringing the basket upstairs each day.  Everyone just needs to return his or her things to the proper place at the end of the day.

It takes a few tools and habits to keep the entryway and stair landing clutter-free, but it can be done!

What are your tips for keeping the entryway and stairs tidy?

What Not to Do When Organizing

What NOT to do when Organizing

Decluttering and organizing are fantastic things to do on a fairly regular basis. Not only does decluttering help you save money, it helps create a comfortable living space. I like to devote January to purging and organizing; there’s just something about the new year that makes me want to simplify!  A fresh start at home, if you will.  I love the satisfaction I get from seeing boxes fill up with stuff we don’t need or want any more.

Though, I’ve found there can be a few downfalls to all the excitement I’m feeling at the prospect of a home with less clutter.  Here are three things that I’ve learned not to do when organizing:

Don’t buy storage containers, then organize

I’ve done this many times in the past.  I have grandiose ideas of having every little thing contained in it’s own little spot.  So I would head to the store and pick up a few storage containers without having a specific purpose in mind.  Not only is this not a frugal thing to do, I’m often left with empty containers that I have to store somewhere because they didn’t suit my needs!  (I also can’t return them for fear of needing them at a later date…)

To solve this issue, I started cleaning and purging first, then assessing what containers I really needed. I started to buy only a few bins at a time to see how they “worked” in everyday life. I could always add more later if I saw fit.

You don’t want a bunch of empty containers cluttering up your home while you figure out where you might use them!

Don’t do part of a task

This is a tough one, I think!  You spend so much time organizing and purging unnecessary items into boxes that you’re too tired/lazy to take the boxes to the thrift store.

It doesn’t actually matter where you’re taking an item; recycling, trash, to a friend, or even the basement.  What really matters is that you take it there as soon as possible once you have decided where it’s going to go.  Finish the process.

I’m quite guilty of this.  I’ve let multiple boxes, that I’m intending to take to the thrift store, pile up in a corner.  Sometimes it can feel like so much work to get the boxes delivered when I have a toddler tagging along!

Don’t strive for perfection

Your home will never look like the cover of a magazine, unless you don’t live there!  I think very few people have drawers and closets that are perfectly in order.  Order in my mind, means knowing where important things are, even if they’re at the bottom of a pile!

Really, sometimes good enough, is good enough. After all, the goal should be to set up a space that works well for your needs. I find that I have to regularly change things around because our needs are constantly changing. Or I find something doesn’t work as well as I initially thought it would.

Have you been found guilty for any of these?  What are your Organizing tips?

7 Ways to Organize Your Cosmetics

Take a peek at these 7 ways to organize your cosmetics so you can always have what you need when you need it!

7 Ways to Organize Your Cosmetics

If you love blush, eye shadows, eyeliners, and other cosmetic products, chances are you have a whole stash of them in your bathroom drawers. These items can quickly accumulate and take over, and if you are not careful, they can create quite the colorful, cluttered mess! This year, take control of your cosmetics and get organized. Not sure where to begin? Take a peek below at 7 ways to organize your cosmetics so you can always have what you need when you need it!

Make magnet magic

For compacts and container items like eye shadows, magnets can be your best friend. Add a drop of hot glue to the back of the compact and attach a magnet. Then, you can simply attach the compact to any metal surface where it will hang and be ready for you to grab!

Find a toothbrush holder

The holes in toothbrush holders are great for keeping lip liners and eye liners organized. Simply place the slender pencils in the holes and they will be at your fingertips when you need them.  Some lipsticks and liquid eyeliners may even fit.

Hit up the dollar store

Your local dollar store will carry a variety of plastic bins sure to fit any drawer or cabinet. Measure for the size you need then grab a few. They are great for sorting items into and keeping the items you don’t want to mix separate. You can even label these if you wish.

Baskets can be beautiful

If you are short on shelf or drawer space, a pretty basket can make any countertop look sweet and functional. Find a fun basket and fill it with the cosmetics you use most. Then, leave it on your bathroom counter where it not only looks nice, but will be there when you are ready to get glam.

Give the old heave ho

Many times we hold onto cosmetics for longer than we should. Get rid of the clutter by tossing any old or outdated make up. This is not only better for your health, but better for keeping your space organized as well. A good rule of thumb is anything older than 6 months should go.

Tackle the clutter with tackle boxes

Inexpensive tackle or hardware boxes are great for keeping small items such as applicators organized. Gather your brushes, applicators, q-tips, etc. and tuck them neatly into a divided box such as one of the ones mentioned. It is a great way to keep them dry and organized.

Don’t neglect the back of the door

Hang a shoe organizer (the multi pocket variety) over the back of your bathroom door. The multitude of pockets make them great for keeping cosmetics organized as well as high and dry. Simply drop the items in the pockets and place a label on the front. Or, find an organizer that is clear. This is a great way to use up space that is often neglected.

See how easy it can be to keep your cosmetics orderly and organized? Give these tips a try and you are sure to conquer the clutter your make up is causing!

Organize your Home with Mabel’s Labels (Plus, Exclusive Coupon Code!)

Get Your House in Order for 2014 with Mabel’s Labels Household Organization Labels!

Since we’ve been taking time this month to get our homes in order I thought you might enjoy the organizing labels Mabel’s Labels has available!

From sweet little spice jar labels to industrial strength recycling bin signs, Mabel’s Labels Household Organization Labels bring a sense of structure as well as design to your home management.

Mabel’s Labels offers free shipping within Canada and the US.

Plus, use the coupon code SIMPLYFRUGAL to save 5% off your entire order!

Shop online at Mabel’s Labels now!

The To-Do List: Important for Productivity

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We’re headed to Mexico at the end of the week and I have a ton of stuff to do before we leave.  I’m also a list maker, but I’ve been a slacker in recent months.  I also find the more I have to do, the more I don’t do anything. Paralyzed by too much to do’itis’, if you will. :)

To keep my sanity, I’ve been making an effort to make lists again and I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve been able to get accomplished.

It really helps being able to see what has to be done and when.  Not to mention the satisfaction of crossing things off as they are completed!  ( I love to get things done!)

If you’ve been been noticing some procrastination in your own life I’d like to encourage you to start making lists!  If you have big, time consuming tasks, try to break them down into more manageable tasks that you can cross off one little step at a time. Keep going until you’ve completed your big task then give yourself a pat on the back!

Are you a list maker?

Creative Ways to Use Ordinary Objects for Organizing

30 creative ways to use ordinary objects for organizing!

Last year I compiled a series of posts featuring creative ways to use ordinary objects for organizing.  The objects featured, are ones that I’m sure you’ve got on hand right now! The ideas are also quite brilliant so I thought I’d bring attention to the posts again to help get your creative organizing ideas rolling!

What’s your favourite idea?

How to Get Started Organizing

You want to start organizing, but you're just not sure where to start! Here are some suggestions that may help you to get started organizing.

Sometimes, getting started organizing is the hardest part. You want to start, but you feel overwhelmed because you’re just not sure where to start!

Here are some suggestions that may help you to get started organizing:

Make a list 

Sit down and make a list of all the areas in your home that you would like to see organized. Seeing everything written down could help you to pick something, whether it be a small task or an area that annoys you!  Simply pick one thing, do it, then cross it off!

Start small

By starting with a small project, such as a single drawer, you may be inclined to keep going onto the next small project.  And so on and so on, until you’ve finished each area of your home!  Here are some small project ideas to get you started:

  • A drawer
  • A shelf
  • A closet
  • One surface space
  • Your spices
  • One cupboard
  • Medicine cabinet

Start in the room that requires the least amount of work

It’s a possibility, that by starting in an area of your home that requires a lot of organizing hours to complete, could turn you off before you start to see any results.  I personally, love to see almost instant results in nearly every situation. So when it comes to organizing, starting somewhere that doesn’t require a lot of effort will motivate me to carry on.

Start on the area that annoys your the most

Is there a an area in your home that annoys you to no end because you can never find what you’re looking for?  Start there.  If tackling an area means it’ll make your life more manageable while you’re working on organizing other areas, that annoying spot could be a great place to start!

Just start

If you’re not naturally a planner and you’re trying to get things just right in your head before you start, the planning process could actually scare you into doing nothing. Instead, clear your mind and tackle a drawer. Once you see how easy that was then you can move on to another, then another. Take baby steps and don’t overwhelm yourself by looking at the whole picture.

Set goals

Set goals that will allow you to look at the big picture.  If you don’t don’t start with a plan that focuses on the big picture then you could find yourself constantly ‘organizing’ your home.  In this case, you may not be making long term decisions about how to store your things to make them work with your lifestyle.  For example, I have a drawer in a storage pantry in our kitchen/dining area that is devoted to diapers.  I purposely put them in an easily accessible drawer because I knew we’d be constantly in need of them, yet they’re not in plain sight.  This works wonderfully for our lifestyle right now!

Get motivated

Find yourself some motivation!  Here are some ideas:

  • Read organizing blogs – These blogs are full of useful tips for everyone!
  • Read decor blogs – Maybe envisioning what your space could look like will motivate you?
  • Watch an organizing show -Something like Hoarders could really help light the organizing fire
  • Have guests over – Nothing gets your act in gear when you’re anticipating company! (or maybe this will only force you to shove things in the closets…)
  • Lose something – hehe, but seriously, I’ve gone on organizing rampages when I can’t find something of importance!

Set the timer

If you know a project will take you 3 – 4 hours or more, you’re likely to put it off.  But, if you work at it and organize in small bursts, by setting a timer for 15 – 30 minutes, you’re more likely to get your project done!  Or how about doing a quick project (sorting the mail) while you’re waiting for water to boil or the microwave to finish?

Hopefully these are some ideas to help you get started with organizing your home to make it a place that you love being in!

What I really want to know though, is that I’m not the only person that tries to get as much done as I can while I’m waiting for the microwave to beep?

Where do you start first when you organize?  Did these tips help?  Share your ideas in the comments!