Last week, a friend of mine and her son were flying out of town for a 3-week trip that required them to pack for two different seasons. The bad news is that their plane was delayed by 12 hours. All the passengers had to deplane and wait it out in the airport, leaving their luggage behind and taking only their carry-on items with them. The good news is that my friend and her son had packed everything they needed for this big trip in their carry-on bags, so they sailed off the plane with all of their belongings in tow!
My family and I always travel only with carry-on bags. I love the secure feeling of knowing that my possessions are under my control at all times. It’s freeing to travel light and not be burdened with so many items to keep track of during the trip and re-pack when heading home.
Many of you may know Gretchen Rubin who gave a “bonus keynote” address at the conference. She has some interesting ideas about personality types, but my favorite takeaway from her talk was about how we can declutter our clothes.
If you have trouble deciding whether or not to keep an article of clothing, see if it passes the “Ex-Factor” test. Imagine you are wearing that faded, tattered sweatshirt and you run into your ex. Would you be happy to be wearing that?
Gretchen’s other insight about paring down clothes is that she noticed that people actually feel they have more to wear after getting rid of excess clothes. It sounds counterintuitive, but I experience this with my clients all the time. Once you weed out the excess, you feel more satisfied with what you have and experience a feeling of increased abundance.
I know lots of organized people who have various strategies for keeping up with laundry, but the one thing they all have in common is that they don’t let it sit around. Once the dryer cycle is done, they fold it and put it away all in a single session.
You know how work swells to fit the time you give it but if you give yourself a deadline you manage to get it done faster? It’s the same with laundry. Give yourself a deadline (try using a timer or stopwatch) and plan your time so that you’ll be able to put it all away in the same day that it comes out of the dryer. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with piles of laundry sitting around your folding area for days!
Here are some strategies:
Apply one of these strategies and stick with it for at least a month to give it time to become a new habit.
Banish those piles of clothes!
P.S. If putting clothes away is a bigger problem for you than getting them washed, then you won't want to miss my next post!
The weather here in New England is finally warmer, which means it’s time for the winter-to-summer wardrobe switch! Even if you took my advice (see my 9/23/16 post) and set yourself up with a year-round closet that doesn’t require the semi-annual switch, it’s still a good idea to check your wardrobe a couple of times a year to weed out old items and keep your clothes in good condition.
This year, find some inspiration and motivation from this vintage WWII postcard that I found at the Churchill War Rooms on a recent trip to London.
In those days, people were trying to conserve all the resources they could for the war effort. Today, we have an interest in being thrifty and conserving for financial and environmental reasons.
As you go through your wardrobe, look at each item and consider:
Although this sounds time consuming, make it a game to see how quickly you can accomplish this wardrobe pruning. If you’re having too much trouble deciding on an item, it’s OK to keep it for now and see if you wear it this season. Try the trick of putting the hanger backwards on the rod or putting a folded item backwards in the drawer or shelf. In the fall, when you go through your items again, you’ll know if you haven’t used it because it will still be backwards. It might be easier to part with it then.
Here are three options for what to do with the clothes you edit out of your wardrobe:
1. Consign them: This option is only for in-season designer clothes in excellent condition. Resale shops are picky!
2. Donate them: Find your favorite spot (donation box or thrift store drop-off) near you and take the clothes there right away.
3. Recycle them: This comes from my very first Tip of the Week back on 9/12. For those really tattered or stained items, H&M stores offer fiber recycling drop-off bins and they even give you a coupon for a percentage off your next purchase.
Finally, focus on the clothes you really enjoy wearing. If you “make do and mend” these beloved clothes, they’ll serve you for a long time.
Last week, the Tip of the Week and I were on vacation, so this week's post is inspired by my trip.
Here are my top 3 tips on packing your clothes for a trip:
This week's quick tip is a reminder that it is now time to put away the summer clothes and get out the fall/winter wardrobes.
If you want to free yourself from this time-consuming ritual, read on.
For young children who are still growing, there's no escaping the need to go through their clothes seasonally. Now is the time to:
-donate or hand down what they've outgrown
-put away shorts and sundresses (Because if you don't, they'll try to keep wearing them all winter long!)
-stock the dresser with sweaters and footie pajamas
But for adults and teens, consider switching to a year-round closet.
Years ago, I used to perform the semi-annual Big Closet Switch and each time it was a messy, agonizing, days-long chore. It always looked worse before it got better: clothes spread all over the room; keep/donate/wish-it-still-fit piles everywhere; next season's clothes wrinkly from the bin and needing to be ironed (ugh!) before being re-hung, re-folded, and put away.
Then a few years ago, I read an article about having a year-round closet. I loved the idea of being able to ditch the dreaded closet-switch chore, but I also liked the concept of having access to my warmer or cooler clothes to wear anytime.
We're no longer in the rigid era of "no white after Labor Day" clothing rules, so why do we still think we have to switch our wardrobes with each season?
Here are just a few of the things I've discovered with my year-round closet:
-T-shirts and tank tops are not just for summer — they are great as under-layers to keep warm in winter.
-The big sweatshirt that I used to pack away is just what I want when the sun goes down or the wind picks up on those early- or late-summer evenings.
-Around here, fall doesn't really get started until part way through October and we can't count on spring until tax day, so I appreciate having a flexible wardrobe for those "Don't like the weather? Wait 10 minutes" seasons.
Here are a couple of little tricks to make a year-round closet work for you:
-Shoes can take up a lot of space, so consider just swapping your shoes each season and store the off-season shoes either at the back of your closet or in a bin in a storage area of your house.
-Coats are another bulky item that you might not want in your closet all the time. Keep them in a mudroom closet, hall closet, bin, or even dry cleaner storage when not in use.
-If you don't have a lot of space in your main closet, formal clothes (dresses, tuxedo, etc.) that you rarely wear can be stored in a different closet.
-Swap winter and summer accessories each season, instead of your entire wardrobe. Winter accessories include hats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Summer accessories include flip flops, hats, bathing suits, and coverups.
I'd love to hear how your closet switch is going this year and if you've made the change to a year-round wardrobe.
Closets and wardrobe consultations are some of my specialties, so feel free to contact me if you need help getting yours under control.
Wondering what to do with those tattered, torn, or stained t-shirts, pants, towels, sheets, etc. that aren't good enough to donate for resale?
Bring them to an H&M store and they'll recycle them for you. Plus you'll get a coupon good for a discount off your purchase. Your house gets decluttered, your stuff doesn't end up in a landfill, and you get a coupon to buy some fun new fashions! How cool is that?
Click here for all the details.