Throwback Thursday: Spring Cleaning the Closest!

When it doubt what to post, I always go back to the first year I started blogging – 2013.  I can’t believe how long it has been.  The timing for this post is perfect given the crazy weather we have been having in Jersey….. well everywhere.  

Over the last few days, I have begun to do some spring cleaning – my first stop is always my closet.  (Honestly, mine isn’t this bad but it is getting there.)  A chance to put away the heavy sweaters, pull out my capri pants, flip flops and short sleeve shirts.  Okay, so the weather may still be a little cool, down right cold,  but to me – spring is here!  

While doing this, I came upon some things I bought and still had the price tag on them.
(5 years later and this is still the case!)  You know – the perfect sale, something which seemed right at the time or the never ending impulse buying.  So, I have a Closet Filled with  (some) Regrets.  I saw an article the other day which made me stop and think about what is in my closet, the opener said – 

Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, says Ginny Snook Scott, chief design officer of California Closets, the designer of customized closets and storage spaces. That’s especially the case for women since “men tend to wear more of their wardrobe, as they stereotypically have less,” she says. “They tend to have less than 10 pairs of shoes that they rotate fairly well, whereas women have four to five times that amount, on average.”

WOW!  This made me take a look at my closet again.  What were the things I wore on a regular basis?  I am a jeans girl all the way in the winter so why do I insist on buying skirts/dresses which never seem to make it out of the closet?  Since I am still on my weight loss journey, (at doctor’s goal but still looking to go lower) I have not been buying as many clothes – holding out for milestones in my journey to treat myself to something new. The St. Paul’s Church Rummage Sale is coming up in May so as I clean out my closet, I add to the pile of things to be donated.  My impulse shopping may be just the right thing for someone else.  What will you do with the “regrets” in your closet?  Do you have a favorite charity to donate to or is there something else you do with them?

I saw a tip somewhere on a blog or Facebook, I can’t remember which which someone shared which I think is going to be my new rule of thumb:


My grandmother always says you should wear something once for every dollar you spend on it. I thought it was silly the first time I heard it, but now I find myself holding up items and thinking “Will I really wear this 25 times?” It definitely helps my impulse buys! G-E-N-I-U-S! 

What tactics do you use to avoid purchase regrets?  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Prepping to Declutter

Happy Monday!  Everywhere you turn people are looking to declutter their home and their life.  Let’s be honest, we all have too much stuff.  Whether you are a confessed hoarder or just a gatherer – there is plenty of things we can let go of, right?  For some the process is easy.  My daughter used to say when I was in “de-clutter mode” – if you aren’t attached or a have a purpose, you are going.

I would love to say, I am the one who declutters and sells things.  Well, it used to be the case.  Set up at a local flea market, sell things dirt cheap and then donate the rest.  Unfortunately things have changed.  Flea markets are harder to come by and most people are looking on social media to do their shopping.  Now, it just is easier to donate things – to a local cause or to the church rummage sale.

The reality is many of us have a hard time letting go (of anything).   Have you ever thought about “prepping” to declutter?  Let’s face it, decluttering is hard. If it wasn’t we would have done it a long time ago, right?  

I found a great blog post by “Creating My Happiness” with some tips on preparing for our decluttering journey.  With my recent health struggles, I get overwhelmed easily by all the stuff in the house.  I would love minimalism but I am not sure it is for us, but I definitely wanted to get as close to clutter free as we can get.Mental Preparation
Yes, you need to mentally prepare to declutter.  You have to be ready to let go of stuff. I mean it is easy to say “we have way too much stuff” but when we actually have to declutter and toss, we have a hard time making it happen.  We develop attachments to our things, remembering where we got them or who gave them to us. Or are you a “just in case” person?  The one who keeps things around because someday you may need it.

On a sliding scale from 1 to 10, how much stuff do you have; with 1 being completely minimalist and 10 being Hoarders level clutter.  We are probably in the 5 or 6 range in our house.  If I honestly opened all of the drawers and closets.

Now, you know where you are in the scale – where would you like to be?  Be honest about it.    I mean if you are at an 8, you are not going to get to a 2 in just one round of decluttering.  Also, you need to consider if you would be happy living at a 2 with little stuff. For some, it is the stuff which brings them happiness more than it brings them stress.

What to have on hand
You are ready to go.  You have mentally prepared yourself and now you need to make sure you have the tools to help you be successful. Yes, there are tools to decluttering!

Garbage bags. I love the suggestion of having 2 different color trash bags. This way you can use one color for items you’re tossing, and the other for items you are donating. Kristen of We Are That Family. suggests the items we donate should be things we no longer need, but we would use ourselves if we did need them. Having worked the last rummage sale at church, we sale many things people should have just tossed in the trash or recycled like torn clothes, or broken toys.

Cleaning supplies. Yup, you are going to have to clean as you are clearing out stuff.  Dust bunnies have found a home.  Hairballs (the cat sheds like crazy!).  So, make sure you have a vacuum nearby, dusters, and cleaning spray. My new favorite all purpose cleaner is a vinegar/water mix because it gets rid of odors while it cleans.  I was amazed how well this simple solution cleans.

Your phone. No, it is not so you can check social media or get side tracked from you decluttering mission.  You can take pictures of items you want to get rid of, ask if anyone wants them, or sell them in a local tag sale group. The key is to put a time limit on how long you’ll hold on to these things though. Put them all in one spot (or box) so if they eon’t go, you can donate them.  You don’t want to clutter up another spot hanging on to things for others.

Having a moment of indecision?  Not sure what to do about something you have never worn or used given to you by a family member?  Call a friend, let them be your lifeline.  Use your phone so they can remind you, even though you get rid of the ugly sweater, you’re not getting rid of the love or memories of the person who gee it to you.

So who’s ready to declutter! What are your best tips for getting ready to declutter?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

How to Organize Your Kitchen

our-kitchenHappy Monday!  I don’t know about you but the kitchen seems to be the hardest spot to keep organized.  Mind you, ours is one of those galley type kitchens in the condo so it doesn’t have much counter space to begin with.  Just one thing out of place and it is like chaos.

For most people, the kitchen and pantry are the most used ares of your home.  This is where family gathers, stuff gets dropped and where friends congregate when they come to visit.  Consequently, it quickly falls into chaos and clutter.

Here are some ideas for keeping the kitchen counters clear and the pantry organized. An organized pantry allows you to see what you have which saves trips to the store, money, and time.

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Bananas are a must have fruit in our house.  So this is a simple fix to keep them off the counter.  I also find they don’t bruise as easily as when they are on the counter.  Separating them does keep them from turning brown longer but makes for a cluttered counter.

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Do you love keeping things together? I hate opening the pantry and having to look around to find snacks. Using Thirty One’s cubes and rectangles allows me to keep similar foods together.  Personalizing the standards like snacks, pasta, etc can be done to keep things neat.  Or, you can use the chalk front and write your own label for those combinations which change frequently.  It makes it easier and faster to cook. Makes It easy to take inventory before I head to the store. Here’s a close-up of the bins:

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You can use them for various boxes of pasta or bags.  Since we are gluten free, I have found most of the pasta is in bags so the bins make it easy to keep the cabinets neat. Canned good are no exception to the keeping like items together rule. Canned goods can go into a bin, just like boxed foods. If you want to clean the shelf, it’s much easier to move one bin than all these cans separately.

storageorganizing24-300x214  I believe food storage lids are some how related to socks. They always seem to go missing for no reason and with no trace. Another alternative to keeping them together, and in a place you can see them, is critical to keeping them where you can use them. This can also be used to pot lids.  You can usually pick up stands like this in the dollar store.

double-duty-caddy Another solution to those pesky lids is Thirty One’s Double Duty caddy.  This handy bag works for craft, mail, car or cleaning storage solutions. It’s a great diaper caddy, too.  Approx. 10 1/2″H x 10″L x 8″D

8631800a Thirty One’s new Hang It Pocket Organizer is great for the kitchen as a command center.  Pockets for papers, keys, gloves or whatever else is tossed on your counter.  Get organized in the mudroom, office or playroom with this five-pocket organizer which can be tied on a door or hung on the wall. Extra-roomy pockets are great for craft supplies, file folders or even kids’ toys. Dimensions: 20″H x 24.75″L

What are some of your favorite tips for keeping your kitchen neat and tidy?  Share them with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Organize Your Craft Supplies

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I don’t know about you but when Belinda was out of school for the summer, my normally neat and tidy craft supplies looked like “who did it and ran”.  She loved to do projects BUT hated to clean up.

So. whether you scrapbook or the kids’ have lots of paper and markers.  Craft supplies tend to clutter up a closet faster than you can complete a project. It seems that the bigger the closet, the more we collect – just can’t resist that sale at AC Moore‘s of Michael‘s and of course Hobby Lobby is deadly, right?

Maybe you have a walk-in closet with lots of room or a closet with just a few shelves – there can be still create order out of craft supply chaos.

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Rolling carts: These can be tucked under a shelf or work surface for easy accessibility and are ideal for storing items you don’t use everyday.  I LOVE that the kids can roll this into whatever room they are working and then put things away in the drawers when they are done.

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Magnetic spice racks: These small round containers come with clear lids so it’s easy to see what’s inside.

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Baskets (or cubes): Small paint bottles, paintbrushes, crayons, markers and colored pencils are easily identifiable and moved about if you have an easel or separate area for drawing and painting.  These cubes also have a clear side so you can see what is in them.

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Small compartment boxes: The compartments are great for keeping up with buttons, beads, shells and rubber stamps.

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Expanding files: The individual files allow you to easily sort scrapbooking and decoupage supplies into categories, either by person, holiday or event.

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If you’re lacking office space, use an armoire or a spare closet (with an electrical outlet nearby) to store your computer, important papers and office necessities.

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Here’s how:

  • Paint the inside of the closet a fun color.
  • Add a shelf at chair height for the desktop and one or two shelves up high to store office supplies you don’t use on an everyday basis.
  • Create a message board by attaching cork to the inside of the closet door.

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  • Use wall pockets for incoming mail. Be sure to assign action verbs to each pocket, like To Read, To Do and Trash.
  • Place a rolling file cabinet under the desktop to store important papers. Use a color-coded filing system to distinguish between types of papers like bills, bank statements and work-related documents.

Who is ready to organize their craft/office space?  Share with us your best tips.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Simple Tips For Your Kitchen

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Is storage space a a premium in your kitchen?  Do you dread cleaning the kitchen?  We have a small kitchen so I try to make use of every nook and cranny.   I would LOVE to remodel the kitchen but considering we aren’t planning on staying here forever, that is unlikely.

 

1. Use Magnets:  Are you using your cabinet doors as a clever way to give yourself additional storage? How about organizing your spices by using magnets. They are also great for storing knives so that you don’t have to use a knife block… just make sure you use a strong enough magnet to keep the knives in place.

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2. Labeling System:  Labels are a great way to help you organize your kitchen. It takes the guesswork out of where to put things when others want to help.

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3. Add Storage By Hacking “Unopenable” Drawers:  We all have those “fronts”, right?  They look like a drawer but don’t have a handle.  What if you could make use of those un-openable drawers that are beneath your sink

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4. Store Lids With A Curtain Rod:  A very simple solution that helps you organize your pot lids.

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5. Use A Tension Rod To Hang Cleaning Products.  A tension rod can be a great way for storing and organizing spray bottles so that you have additional space in an otherwise cramped under-sink cabinet.

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6. Clean Your Blender Quickly.  Do you love smoothies but hate cleaning the blender?  Do you use your blender to chop up the garlic?  Here is a quick cleaning tip: pour warm water in it with a tiny bit of dish soap. Put the lid on the blender and turn it on. Now it’s all clean! Just be sure to give it a quick rinse after to get rid of the soap residue.

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7. Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances With Flour.  Tired of chemical in your cleaning products?  Here is a tip from Mother Nature Network. Just apply some dry flour onto a microfiber cloth and buff it into your stainless steel appliance, sink or counter. Then rinse it off and the surface should shine like new.

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8. Clean Your Microwave.  I don’t know about you but my hubby seems to get food to overflow and explode in the microwave all of the time.  I am forever trying to clean it up and get rid of the smells.  Here is a really simple tip: Put a wet sponge inside your microwave and then spraying the inside with a mixture of water and lemon essential oils. Microwave the sponge for two minutes, let it cool, and then use it to wipe up the leftover mess.

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9. Clean Your Silverware And Knives With Rust Spots Using Lemon Juice. Eventually, stainless steel silverware and cooking knives can get spotty with rust, especially if you wash them in the dishwasher.  Take your rusted silverware or cooking knives and soak them in a glass of lemon juice for a couple of minutes. The rust will loosen up, making it easy to scrub away… make sure to hand dry it afterwards!

What are some of YOUR best tips for keeping your kitchen clean and organized?  Share them with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!