Tag Archives: organization

Clutter + the KonMari Method

Clutter + the KonMari Method. Read more at pamelapetrus.comMy quest to reduce clutter began when Matthew and I married in 2012. We had both lived on our own for quite some time, so in essence we were combining two full households. There were basically two of everything and to fit in our quaint rent house, we had to pare down. In addition to having doubles of things, it was also evident that Matthew had way less stuff than what I’d accumulated and that made me feel a little self conscious.

You see, I had an addiction to keeping everything. After doing a bit of self-exploration, I realized that most of this tendency came from a fear of not having what I needed. I was afraid that if I got rid of something and needed it later, I wouldn’t have the money or ability to replace it. I’ve also experienced my fair share of losing loved ones. This caused me to have boxes and boxes of sentimental items that I simply must keep because they originally belonged to someone that I loved. The reality is, most of these things were just given to me, not things that I actually chose for a reason. Shortly after Matthew and I were married, I purged so many things. We had an epic garage sale and the result made me feel pretty good about myself and our home.

My second voyage towards a clutter-free home came when we bought the new house. Even though I’d purged quite a bit from the rent house, there was still so much extra. When we moved, I was determined to not fill this new house with extras. The tall ceilings and ample windows made me really want an open, airy, and tidy home. We had another garage sale and donated so many things. I considered it great progress.

After these two large purges (and several small ones), things were looking up. There wasn’t nearly as much stuff, yet there was still more than we needed or used. Then, I picked up Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Honestly, I did this primarily out of curiosity. The internet acted like this book was indeed life-changing and I read about it everywhere I turned. I figured that I’d read the book, maybe pick up a few new tricks, and then go on about my life. Instead, reading this book prompted one of the biggest purges of my entire life and has completely changed how I look at things in my home.

First, I immediately tackled my closet. Even though I’d thinned quite a bit in the other purges, I was still hanging on to so much extra clothing. My approach was to either hold on to it because “I might wear it again” or because “I’d not gotten my money’s worth out of it.” Therefore, even though I’d thinned and thinned, I still had a closet full of things I didn’t love or feel fantastic in. I had mentioned some tips for cleaning out your closet before, yet I still had so much extra that I “might wear under something one day.”

After just a few chapters of this book, I was filling garbage bag after garbage bag of items. It was like something clicked and finally gave me permission to get rid of those things I didn’t really want to keep anyway. Kondo’s approach is to take every single item that you own into your hand and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If it does not, then it’s just taking up space and it’s time to get rid of it. This approach alone was responsible for me purging over five large bags of clothing and shoes and 200+ writing utensils.

Not only has Kondo’s book helped me to make serious headway in a curated home, it’s also changed my approach to shopping. I no longer by things that I just barely like because it’s on sale or a good price. Instead, sometimes I pay a little bit more for things that I love. Overall, I’m spending less money and not bringing as many extra things into my home. Because of this book, I have a new outlook on how easy it is to have a clutter-free home full of only things that you love. If you’re even slightly concerned about having a home that you’re proud of, I recommend the book. It’s a no-nonsense approach to tidiness and you’re guaranteed to find at least a bit of insight as you read along.

Another way that I’ve been able to create a much more tidy home is by actually using my sentimental items. Rather than continuing to store box after box full of miscellaneous sentimental items, I got rid of the things that meant nothing to me and am now actually using the others. (There are still a few boxes of these items in the attic that I’m prepared to cull.) I read somewhere that our grandmothers would much rather us actually use their old wedding China than have it stored in a box in the attic where we never even see it. The risk of breaking a plate is worth it for the years of memories we’ll create using those plates and thinking of our grandmothers. Those family quilts should be draped across our couches and used for family movie nights instead of stuffed away in clear containers in the closet. You should wear your mother’s pearls instead of just seeing them in the jewelry box occasionally. I wish I could find the link to that post to share with you, because reading this made me realize that I was just storing things instead of using them. Even if a quilt becomes more tattered or a plate gets broken, I’d still rather have the memories with those items rather than my home being a storage unit for things we don’t touch. Beginning to use my sentimental items alone has contributed to less cluttered storage space, and using those items brings me joy now rather than the sadness I used to feel when opening a box and being flooded with forgotten memories.

There are a million and one strategies that you can use to reduce the clutter in your home and we can all have different approaches. Whatever method you use, I know that you’ll feel like a new person as you reduce the clutter because I certainly have. I found that by having less things stuffed in my home, I get to actually live rather than spending all of my time working on my things. There’s less to put away. We don’t need as big of a house. I don’t have to spend entire weekends trying to get things back in order. And most importantly for me, I don’t loathe putting away my laundry as much as I once did. Instead, I can tidy quickly and easily and the rest of my time can be spent exploring new hobbies or spending time with family and friends. There are still some areas and closets that I hope to tackle. However, the progress I’ve already made feels amazing.

Keep in mind that I’ve been working towards this goal for three years now, so don’t feel like you have to tackle everything in one weekend. Instead, start in one little area and do a bit as you can. And be sure to read the book. It very well could change your life.

*The earrings pictured above belonged to my great aunt and I wear them often.*

Re-Purposed Muffin Tins


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Have some old crusty looking muffin tins?? It turns out that these make great organizers for your earrings! I was just about to toss these pans when I realized I could likely re-purpose them.

Re-Purposed Muffin Tins

Re-Purposed Muffin Tins
Here’s how to do it:
1. Clean the pans. Be sure the pans are clean and free of debris. Any extra granules or particles will show up after they’re painted and cause the paint to not stick.

2. Spray the bottom of the pans. I used Rust-oleum for metal spray paint in copper for my pans. You’ll want a paint that’s designed for metal. Otherwise, the paint will flake off too easily. I recommend starting with the bottoms because if there’s overspray from the top, it won’t matter as much.  I did two coats on the bottoms.

3. Spray the top of the pans. I did 3 light coats of paint. You have to be careful to not overspray while trying to get the paint into the cups. I held the can 7-8 inches from the pans and kept it moving, which seemed to help achieve an even coat while getting into the crevices. (Be sure to let the paint dry between each coat.)

4. Spray the pans with polyurethane. Be sure the paint is dry before spraying. I used Minwax fast-drying polyurethane and did 3 medium coats. This step isn’t mandatory. Although, adding the extra coating will help keep the paint from chipping after excessive use. It will also protect the paint from too much damage from pointy earring backs. Again, be sure to let it dry between coats. (I did not seal the bottoms…just the tops.)

5. Fill with goodies! After the pans are dry, fill them with earrings, craft supplies, or whatever your little heart desires. The shallow cups allow you to sort smaller items while still being ableto see your options clearly.

Re-Purposed Muffin Tins
Re-Purposed Muffin Tins
If you look closely, you’ll see that these aren’t done perfectly. It was a windy day, and I ended up with a bit of yard debris stuck to my wet paint. However, the important thing to note is that I could mark this project off of my list and that I ended up with a functional storage solution for my home. After all, “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

Personally, I love seeing an everyday item repurposed into something more useful, especially when it was otherwise going to be trashed. Have you seen any other useful ideas lately? What else could these tins be used for? If you decide to re-purpose some old muffin pins, please share your finished product!

Side note: I’ve been planning this project for months and haven’t actually taken the time to do it. After joining #the100dayproject,I finally got it done! Happy crafting, everyone!

No Clutter!

no clutterI’ve posted a lot about goals on the blog lately. Yearly goals, monthly goals and just miscellaneous goals in general. While sitting on the couch one Sunday, completely exhausted from working on our house for days like a mad woman, I realized that my biggest goal for this place is to get to a point where I don’t have to work on it.

I want to be in a position where things feel ok. I want to be in a place where Matthew and I can take spontaneous weekend trips or spend the afternoons biking or sitting on the patio. I want to go sit and chat at Starbucks or explore our neighborhood. I don’t want to always feel like I have to work on this house nonstop.

I’m sure these feelings are common for people moving in to a new home, but I remember feeling them until the day we moved from our rent house. I never finished that house. I never felt like things made sense, and I never felt like I could sit and take a breather there.

Today, I’m happy to finally put this unspoken goal into words. I’m not hoping to have a perfect home that’s always clean and wonderfully decorated. (Although, I do hope to get my head wrapped around the decor soon.) I understand that nothing will ever be perfect, and I actually hope that our home will always continue to evolve as we find new things that we love or make this place work better for us. However, I do expect to end up with a home that’s free of clutter. I want emptied boxes and closets that aren’t crammed to the brim. I want to be able to easily replace and remove items from their drawers, and I want everything to have a place to go. Basically, I don’t want any excess.

For many years, I’ve kept extra things around as a false sense of security. I found comfort in having things and I attached sentimental value to the silliest of items. When moving into this house, I decided that it was time to part ways with some of the stuff. Parting with the extra things, will make my daily life so much easier, less stressful, and more rewarding. Having a home to come to that’s a reflection of myself (extra clutter is not a reflection of who I am), will make such a huge difference in my overall well-being and feelings about myself and my home.

I’ve read lots of blogs on clutter-free living and creating spaces that work for you and your lifestyle instead of just housing your junk. Since Matthew and I have been married, I’ve done so much better at not holding on to so much stuff. Part of my problem is that I attach sentimental value to practically everything. The other part is that I hate to get rid of something that I’ve spent my hard-earned money on and that I’m afraid I might need/want later. Nonetheless, something can be said for learning to part with the extra stuff…only keeping that things you love and need.

I’m right on the brink of reaching this goal. Honestly, just the progress that I’ve made recently feels so rewarding. Knowing that I’m on the brink of feeling better about my world is such an invigorating feeling. I feel encouraged and inspired, and I know that I’ll feel even more amazing once the last item has found a home.

Now that this goal is out in the open, I have no choice but to make it happen. I’m determined to make this dream a reality. I’m determined to get to a point where our home is a place of relaxation, not of work. Need to declutter your home and let go of some extra baggage? Join me! I’d love to talk about our progress and ideas along the way. How do you feel about clutter? Do you tend to keep extra items or is it easy for you to part with things?

To-Do Notebook

Tennessee5Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty much always going 90 miles an hour. I seldom slow down, and I always have a million irons in the fire. As I get older, I’m trying to really get a grasp on my daily life in order to take it a little easier on myself and eliminate as much stress from my life as possible. I hope that you’ll do the same because stress is really, really bad for you.

One thing that I’ve spent the last year or so working on is mastering my to-do list. One of the major productivity methods suggests that you write down every little thing that you need to do instead of just trying to remember things. It maintains that by not writing these things down, you force yourself to try to remember them wasting valuable brain space and increasing your stress levels. Once upon a time I was the person who never used a calendar or wrote out a grocery list…I did it all from memory. I shiver at that thought now!

Throughout this process, I’ve tried several different ways of organizing my life. I’ve used list software like Wunderlist. I’ve read pages and pages on processes like the Getting Things Done method. For a while, I used a combination of methods along with Wunderlist, and it actually worked pretty well for me. However, I soon fell off the wagon and quit using my newly developed system. I no longer had a grip on my days, and I didn’t have the desire to pick my old method back up. Then, I started using a little notepad to track my daily activities, and I felt in control again. Using this little notebook to keep track of what I need to do each day has made a profound difference in my productivity and stress level. Today, I’m going to tell you a little about my current productivity system and my beloved to-do notebook.

Tennessee5First, let’s talk about my requirements for a notebook of this type.

  1. Spiral Binding: I like my notebooks to be spiral bound so they stay open easily by themselves. I can’t stand when a book closes when I don’t want it to!
  2. Size & Weight: I carry this notebook with me at all times, so it needs to be lightweight and not too large. Most of the times I prefer something around a 5×7 size…it’s not too big and not too small and can easily slip in my purse.
  3. Paper: I do not like recycled paper. (I know, shame on me.) In theory I’d love recycled paper, but in most cases certain pens and highlighters will bleed through the paper and that can make a mess quickly! The pages must also be lined…it just makes sense!
  4. Cover: The book itself needs to be very durable since I’ll be using it daily for months at a time. Furthermore, I need it to be fun and cheery. This book is what motivates me to accomplish my daily tasks every day. A boring, plain book is simply not going to do that for me.

Tennessee5-3I’m pretty sure that you don’t know many other people who are so peculiar about a notebook. You should discuss daily planners with my friend, Amanda, if you think I’m crazy! Honestly, I’ve learned a ton about productivity and organization from her, so don’t judge!

So now that we’ve thoroughly discussed my qualifications for a to-do notebook, let’s talk about how I use it. I have a few different to-do list pages. I have daily to-dos and overall to-dos. (While I’m referring to them as to-dos all throughout this post, I don’t actually use that term in my notebook. That term is known to cause some anxiety itself. I haven’t settled on another name for them yet, but “to-do” is never written in my notebook.)

The overall to-dos are things that I need/want to do eventually but aren’t time sensitive. For example, cleaning out the pantry and selecting a new rug would be on this list. These items don’t have to be done today or tomorrow, but I do want to get around to them soon. It’s important to write these sorts of things down because otherwise they’re clogging up your brain space and can cause anxiety when you suddenly remember that you needed to do something like pick up the dry cleaning. Ideally, you would transfer items from this list on to the daily lists as time permitted. You should reference this list often to be sure you’re working towards the things you want to accomplish. Be sure to understand that this isn’t the place where miscellaneous tasks go to die…it’s more like the waiting room.

Daily tasksThe meat of my to-do notebook is my daily to-do items. Each day I have a page where I write the day and date as a header. It’ll say, “Thursday, February 7th” on the top and that page will include everything that I need to accomplish on that day. One of the important things that I learned during my productivity research is to not write down big goals. Instead, your list should be full of smaller items that can be accomplished quickly. For example, your list wouldn’t include painting the bedroom. Instead, it would include taping the edges, picking a paint color, buying paint and supplies, covering furniture, etc. Nothing should go on your list that isn’t a specific action itself. Therefore, my daily lists contain items like sending a contract to a client, returning a phone call, etc. I put any and everything on there that I need to remember with the goal being to not retain any of that in my head. I even include calendar items there like “lunch with Sheila,” but that’s mainly for the satisfaction of marking it off after lunch.

Lists, lists, listsThe goal of this notebook is to keep me from forgetting important things, but it has so much more value than just that. It frees up my brain to focus on more important things than trying to remember what 17 things I had to do today. It also helps me to stay focused and productive. More importantly, it reminds me of just how hard I worked that day. I’m quite the workaholic and I struggle with guilt issues on a daily basis. When I wrap up a day with a full page of items crossed off, I can remind myself that I worked hard today and I deserve to take the evening off. I can remind myself that even though the day may have been chaotic, I still knocked it out of the park and got a lot accomplished. The value of this little notebook has surpassed what I ever thought possible, and while I may switch to another system eventually, this method knocks my socks off right now.

What system do you use to organize your to-do lists and stay productive? As you know, I’m very goal driven, so talking about productivity methods gets me excited! I’d love to hear about how you handle daily tasks…please share!

2015 Goals

Today's GoalsIt’s that time of year again….the time to set goals for the upcoming year. Once upon a time, I had a serious problem with setting “new year’s resolutions.” I talked about that a bit in last year’s goal post. As a matter of a fact, I still don’t like that term. However, I do like setting goals. 2014 was a big year for goal setting for me. I set several goals for the year. I even ended up setting goals for the month, for the last part of the year. What I learned from my obsessive goal setting in 2014 is that I love setting goals. Turns out, I respond really well when I set realistic and manageable goals for myself. I quickly learned that making these goals public gives me just the push I need to actually make big things happen. In thinking about what my goals would be for 2015, I knew that I’d end up sharing them here with you.

I actually started lining out my 2015 goals in October. Yes, that’s a tad crazy. Nonetheless, I was getting very excited about wrapping up 2014. There’s just something about the fresh start that a new year brings that gets me excited! I started getting a little carried away (too many goals), so I spent quite a bit of time trying to narrow them down and make them more realistic and specific. Remember, a good goal must be realistic and attainable. Setting a million goals for one year was neither of those things, so I had to force myself to pare themdown a bit. I decided to approach goal setting a tad differently this year, so I broke my goals down into three different categories: personal, business, and home.

Without further adieu, here are my personal goals for the year:

  1. Maintain a regular fitness plan. – My goals is to do something active at least three times per week.
  2. Be up by 6:00-6:30 every weekday morning. – I’ve never been accused of being a morning person. I tend to wake up just in time to get dressed and make it to where I need to be. (I literally count this down to the second sometimes.) Instead, I’d like to be up early enough to have a few minutes of quiet time (sipping coffee of course) before starting the madness of my day. I might have to increase my coffee intake a bit.
  3. Blog 2x per week. – This was one of my goals for 2014 too. While I didn’t quite make it, I did definitely feel like I improved on posting regularly here. I’m going to do even better this year! (Fun fact: I made 50 posts in 2014. Doesn’t that seem wild??!)
  4. Have monthly quality time days with Matthew. – We’re busy people. Sometimes finding time to really spend together is tough. I didn’t want to say “date nights” here, because some of my favorite times together are days that we take off and do something special during the day. The goals here is to be sure we disregard everything else and actually spend time together at least once a month this year.
  5. Complete three random acts of kindness per month. – Last year, I wanted to say more nice things. I definitely did better at this, but sometimes I’d forget. Life gets busy and it’s sooo easy to forget to do little things like this. This year, I want to continue trying to say nice things, as well as doing other random acts of kindness. I hope to do this at least three times per month.
  6. Volunteer 4x. – I love to help people. Sometimes that’s actually a flaw of mine…I get too involved. However, my good intentions sometime get the best of me and I don’t actually make it to helping out causes that I care about. This year, I want to be sure to volunteer my time at least four times throughout the year. Four doesn’t sound like a big number, but I know that a quarter of the year will pass before I know it, so I’ll have to be very diligent on this one.
  7. Host at least two parties/events. – There were several times throughout this last year that Matthew and I would run into old friends. I felt like we were constantly saying “we should get together soon,” and yet not actually doing it. This year, I want to be sure to host people at our home at least twice. These can be big or small gatherings…I just want to be sure to focus on spending time with thepeople we love.
  8. Replace 3 mediocre things with 3 beautiful things. – I talked about living a beautiful life before. I’ve been working hard to put an emphasis on surrounding myself with things that I love, but it’s a daily battle. This year, I hope to replace at least three things we don’t love with things that we do…big or small.

Make29 ProductAmanda  and I starting meeting in late October/early November to talk about goals for 2015. (We had regular goal tracking meetings in 2014 but sort of dropped off later in the year.) We agreed that we needed some sort of way to track our progress this year since we both love that feeling of marking something off a list. We decided that we’d create some sort of spreadsheet to track things quarterly and then meet back up to talk strategy. Then something magical happened. Elise released her December Make29 product.

I follow Elise’s blog religiously, and I think she might be the master at getting things done. (She’s releasing a Getting Things Done workbook/calendar later this year and I can’t wait to see it!) As I looked over her December product, I realized that this was exactly what I needed to track my goals for this year. As soon as it was available, I purchased the PDF and began printing sheets for each of the items that I wanted to track. I knew that I might get a little carried away (with too many sheets tracking too many things), so I decided to combine some of the smaller, more yearly items on one sheet. For example, I have just one sheet for all of my home goals. (More on that later.) If you’re looking for a way to track your goal progress in 2015, I highly recommend purchasing this file. It’s a mere $4 to get an instant download that you can print as many times as you need.

I ended up with eight sheets tracking some of my personal, home, and business goals. I envision these being marked up, tattered, and stained (most likely with coffee) by the end of the year, and if that’s the case, I’ll be thrilled. I love how these trackers focus on the big picture. You can miss days here and there. Not every circle has to be filled. Instead, the goal is to see that you have 365 days to work towards something. If you fill in even half of the circles, that would be an amazing accomplishment! If you feel overwhelmed by goal setting, pick a few simple goals, purchase these sheets, and then begin chipping away at it one little bubble at a time.

It’s not too late to set a few simple goals for this new year. After all, it doesn’tmatter when you start working towards something….it only matters that you do start. What are you hoping to accomplish this year? I’d love to hear about your plans. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great year!

One Box + One Thing

empty boxEvery time someone asks me how the new house is coming along, I say the same thing. I’m ready to be settled. I’m ready for boxes to be unpacked and things to be pretty. I had coffee with my assistant, the lovely Taylor McCarty,  recently (for her to tell me she’s leaving me…boooo) and I told her the same thing. I’m tired of boxes and the sheer number of things left to do overwhelms me.

Honestly, this tends to be the case with everything for me. When the project feels too much or too overwhelming, I tend to avoid it altogether. Rather than chip away at it a little at a time, I just don’t bother with it. I put it on the bottom of my to-do list and then it nags away at me forever. I even have this approach to cleaning sometimes. Unless I have time to clean the entire bathroom, I won’t even do one thing like wipe down the sink. Reality is, I seldom have time to clean the entire house in one sitting, and I’ll likely not have time to unpack all of the boxes at once.

paintingDuring our meeting, Taylor suggested that I unpack just one box a day. While I’ve had that idea before, it just sounds dreadful! However, I finally realized that this is really the only way that I’ll make sense of my new home, so I decided to give it a shot. In addition to unpacking just one box a day, I decided that I’d also do one “thing” a day. The list of “things” that need to be done in this house is simply astounding. It feels like it could go on forever. Instead of avoiding all of the things like I have been doing, I’ll do one “thing” a day and unpack one box a day. It’ll likely be painful at first, but I’m hoping that I’ll adjust to the new approach quickly. I decided that I’ll unpack one box and then wipe down the door, hang the shower curtain rod, or clean a set of windows, etc.

After a week or so of using this method, I realize just how helpful it has been. I’ve certainly not enjoyed teaching myself to be okay with not accomplishing everything at once, but I’ve seen progress in my home and that makes it worth it.

boxes to unpackAs a matter of fact, things are really coming together around the new house. With the exception of the dining room/kitchen/entry way, I don’t feel like the boxes are taking over. We’ve also hung some art on the walls which was one of my September goals. I’ve done quite a bit of moving things around and then moving them again, but nonetheless, I feel like we’re making progress. I suppose I’ll keep unpacking one box and doing one thing until this house of ours is squared away. For my sanity’s sake, let’s all pretend that day is right around the corner!

Little Changes, Big Differences: Scarf Organization

This post is the beginning of a series of posts called “Little Changes, Big Differences” where I’ll show how tweaking small things in your home can make a big difference.

My first project for this series is tackling my scarf storage. Owning a boutique where we’re known for our scarf selection means one thing: I have a ton of scarves. One of the main questions we get in the store (after how to tie scarves), is how to store them. Here’s how I’m currently storing mine, beginning with a before picture.

Bad scarf storageI mentioned before that I turned a spare bedroom into a giant closet. This project is still a work in progress, so it’s not exactly the fashion oasis that I’m hoping for, but we’re getting there. As you can see, my scarves are hanging on rods on the wall. I like to hang them so everything can easily be seen. I love seeing how pretty they all are, and I like the color it adds to the room. Even if you don’t have a closet room like I do, you can still hang scarves with a rod on the back of a closet door or back or side wall of your closet.

To hang these scarves, I used silver bars from Ikea. As you can see from the picture, the system wasn’t working. The problem was that the bar wasn’t far enough off of the wall for me to be able to easily hang the scarves. The thicker scarves barely fit through there, and when I was in a hurry (always), I wouldn’t have time to fight with them. In turn, the scarf wall ended up look like this crazy mess. Not good.

If a system or storage function isn’t working in your home, CHANGE IT. Spend a few minutes thinking about what the problem is and usually a small amount of effort and/or money can remedy your problem and makes things work more smoothly for you.

Since I determined that the bars were too close to the wall, I decided to replace them with actual curtain rods. We’ve used curtain rods on a wall at Salt & Pepper before, and it worked wonderfully. I already had these rods so this update didn’t cost me anything, but you can get similar ones at Ross for under $5. These were $3.99! After installing the new curtain rods, I have more room to slide the scarves in, making it much more feasible for me to keep it tidy.

(Shopping tip: I actually get most of my curtain rods from Ross, because they have really nice ones for amazingly cheap prices. Obviously, the ones that I’m using for this wall aren’t the “really nice ones,” but I needed smaller ones with a yellow tint for a different project, and they’re coming in handy for this project too.)

New scarf storagenew scarf storageAgain, making a small change, such as this one, can sometimes make a big difference in the overall function of a space. If you’re looking to make your home less cluttered and more functional, be on the lookout for areas like this where you can make a small adjustment and in turn create a better environment.

Do you have any areas that aren’t working for you in your home? Tell me about them…I might can help!

See more from my closet room here!

 

Let’s Talk about Shoes.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have quite a large shoe collection. My sister always jokes that she’ll never help me move again because I have too many shoes. (I hope that’s a joke anyway.) Let’s begin by talking about why I have so many shoes:

  1. I’m a girl. Need I say more?
  2. I’m a girl that works in and loves the fashion industry. Again, self explanatory.
  3. And the big one…I have the world’s smallest foot. Seriously, I wear a woman’s size 4 1/2. There’s a saying that goes, “If the shoe fits, buy it in every color.” This isn’t just an excuse to buy shoes. For me, it’s a way of life. If I come across a shoe that fits my tiny, little foot, you better believe I’m buying it!

fabulous shoes!Over the years, I’ve collected my fair share of shoes in all styles and colors. Because I have so many, I can’t have them all out at once. To save space, I store my off season shoes and display only the ones I can wear during the current season. Prior to this week, I’ve stored the out of season shoes in their original boxes. This means that I have over 100 shoe boxes stored in the tops of various closets. This also means that at any point during the year, at least half of the boxes are empty while their corresponding shoes are on the shoe shelf.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s insane. I could have easily just kept half of the boxes and let winter and summer shoes share the same ones. However, I liked being able to quickly and easily grab a pair that was stored if needed. I could easily do so because they were in their original boxes, and I knew which was which. This was especially important during transition periods, because I may need a pair of sandals before I’d unpacked all of the summer shoes and vice versa. Here are what the tops of two of our closets looked like. As you can see, it’s rather messy looking because the boxes are all different, and since they’re all different sizes, it’s impossible to stack them neatly. A few boxes are missing from me pulling them out as the weather warmed up, an example of why I liked having them in their original boxes. (I apologize that the pictures aren’t very good…it’s very difficult to photograph the top of a closet!) Shoes in storageshoes in storageThe past few months, I’ve been making a focused effort to simplify my home life and get a handle on clutter. (Combining two full households provides for a bunch of extra stuff!) I’ll be posting more about changing systems that don’t work next week. It suddenly hit me that I needed to create a new system for my shoe storage, and that’s what I did. I decided that purchasing clear shoe storage boxes would tremendously improve my shoe organization system and free up a ton of storage in our home. By using the clear boxes, I will no longer be storing empty shoe boxes, as I can use the same 50 boxes to store both summer and winter shoes as necessary. Plus, since they’re clear, I’ll be able to find a certain pair if needed, even more easily than I was before. I’m estimating that I have approximately 150 pairs of shoes…and this doesn’t include things like Old Navy flip flops! I threw away almost 100 boxes when I started this project! Here they are lined up in the living room. That’s a ton of boxes and storage space that was being wasted! 100 shoe boxes to throw awayObviously, I didn’t purchase a box for every shoe that I own, because I’ll use the same boxes for both summer and winter shoes. Plus, some shoes like sneakers and certain flats and heels, can be worn year round, so they stay out on my shoe shelf. I also stored 2 pairs of flats in some boxes and will do the same with sandals. In this case, I just made sure to store similar shoes together. For example, one box contains 2 pairs of similar black moccasins. Another holds ballet flats that I have in 2 different colors. At first, I thought I’d have to come up with a different option for my tall boot storage, but it turned out that most of them fit in the regular boxes if folded a certain way. Anyone with a normal sized foot probably wouldn’t be so lucky. This project cost me around $60, because I bought 55 boxes at just under $1 each. When you look at the benefits versus the cost, it was well worth it. If you’re considering investing in clear shoe storage, I highly recommend getting these exact Sterlite containers. I’ve used several other brands for various projects and these stack better and have better lids. You certainly don’t want lids that won’t attach properly or won’t withstand the weight of stacking. I purchased mine at Walmart. Sterlite clear shoe boxesCheck out the difference that the clear storage containers made! I went from shoe boxes in 2 closets, to barely filling one. And it looks MUCH better.

new shoe boxes in storageTo continue the shoe storage discussion, here’s how I store my in-season shoes. They’re housed on cheap, Target shoe racks that you can build yourself. I’ve had these shelves since college, have moved with them 5+ times, and have been surprised at how well they’ve held up. They’re certainly not the most attractive things, but they’ll do until I have time to come up with a new option. As you can see, my shoes are shelved by color. You’ll notice that everything in my closet is sorted according to color. It’s my number one organization rule! (Of course this isn’t all of my spring shoes…I robbed this photo from Instagram from the night I switched out my shoes. The shelf actually stands approximately 6 feet tall, and is currently holding 81 pairs of shoes.)

shoe shelfMore to come from my closet room soon!

Spring Cleaning.

I was reading this post about spring cleaning, and the writer challenged her readers to blog about their spring cleaning goals. At first I was reluctant because just the thought of all of the things I need to do made me instantly stressed. But, I decided to bite the bullet and thought that an actual list (and blogging it) might give me a starting point and some accountability. So here we go!

One of the most important things about setting goals is to make them achievable. So, I made an effort to really think about specific things that I felt like I could knock out this month. Here’s to hoping that this list will help me make them happen!

My Personal/Home Goals for April:
1. Build a curtain rod and hang new blinds & curtains in my closet room.  (Yes, I have an entire room for my closet. I talk a little about it here. More to come soon!)

Ugly windows in closetOur house had these hideous, yellowed  blinds from 1940, and we’ve changed all of them except this room. I’ve had the curtains and blinds for a while now and just haven’t gotten around to changing them out. It’s time to make that happen.

2. Clean out the third bedroom.

Messy third bedroom
This is just one corner of the room. I’m embarrassed to show how messy it is!

I had to take a deep breathe before even writing this one down. The third bedroom –AKA The Dungeon — is a terrible place. I hate it’s darkness and outdatedness. (I seriously doubt that’s a word.) It has paneling walls and the most hideous carpet in the world. On top of that, it’s filled to the max with stuff. It has boxes that haven’t been unpacked from when I moved in, boxes of Matt’s things from when we got married, excess furniture, holiday decor, and loads and loads of other JUNK. You would be amazed at the amount of stuff crammed into this one space. I’m talking a couch, bookshelves, entertainment centers, two beds/mattresses, and boxes galore…that’s just to name a few. All of that being said, cleaning that room out has been on my to-do list for months. I need to make it happen now because we want to….

3. Have a garage sale.
Garage Sale ItemsOnce I get #2 taken care of, the next big goal is to have a garage sale. We could likely furnish an entire second home with the excess stuff we have. If you’re in our area and need some stuff, come by our garage sale. There’s no telling what you’ll find.

And now for a more fun goal:
4. Switch closet over to spring.

Yellow wedges
Love these shoes! (Available at Salt & Pepper, of course!)

This is one of my favorite tasks of the year! I love getting out all of my clothes & shoes that I’ve forgotten about. Even though I love it, I always tend to put it off because it’s a hefty task. Nonetheless, spring is here and I know there’s a ton a cute sandals waiting to show off my newly pedicured toes. I’m going to knock this one out soon.

And lastly…
5. Do at least a little work on the bedroom decor.
MasterbedroomOur bedroom has taken on a few different looks since we’ve been married…a little over 8 months now. (We’re on our 3rd comforter if that tells you anything.) On my birthday, my sweet husband surprised me with this lovely Anthropologie duvet that I’d been drooling over. He also hung that shelf and threw those decor items up there. And it hasn’t changed…I haven’t done one single thing in there. It looks exactly the same as this picture from January (except for a few pair of earrings that have collected on the shelf.) I’ve been very excited about decorating our bedroom, but it keeps getting replaced with “more important” things. This month I hope to at least make a tiny bit of progress in there.

I almost got carried away while making this list. It’s so easy for me to let my mind run wild when thinking of all the things that I need to do. However, I knew that I needed to keep myself in check. I need to finish my real estate class in the next 2 weeks. I will also need to study for/take the final test and the licensing exams. This is in addition to regular home upkeep/cleaning and my lofty Salt & Pepper to-do list. Time is a valuable commodity around the Petrus household.

All things considered, I think I’ve set some pretty obtainable goals for this month. Most of all, I’m hoping that actually making this list and sharing it with the world, will give me the dedication I need to make these things happen. (Thanks Elsie for the push!)

Maybe you should join me! What would you like to accomplish over the next month? If you have a blog, write about it and then share a link in the comments. If not, just share your goals here in the comments section. I’d love to hear about them! And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all get a little more done by creating accountability for each other.

Here’s to a productive April!

Cleaning Out Your Closet

The night we came home from Memphis, I unpacked my suitcase and went into beast mode in my closet. My darling husband convinced me to turn an extra bedroom into a closet (Why wouldn’t I marry him after that?!), but I’ve spent months trying to get it set up properly and more efficiently. Something on the ride home made me determined to make it happen.

This room is a work in progress, so I’ll be sharing more about it as I go along. This post is about cleaning out your closet. (That could also be about cleaning negative things out of your life, but I meant it in the literal sense.) You must clean out clutter before you can get an area organized.

Honestly, it’s quite sad that I had an entire room for a closet, and I still didn’t have room for everything. Every area was spilling over, and it felt like I could never get everything squared away. I decided that I needed to get rid of more stuff. This is the 3rd time I’ve “cleaned out my closet” in the last 4 months. Even though I’ve already gotten rid of a ton of stuff (3 storage tubs and a big box full + a few garbage bags), I still felt overwhelmed by the amount of clothes crammed into one room. Somehow I still managed to purge 2 full garbage bags of stuff.

Garage Sale PileThere are tons of suggestions on the Internet for how to clean out a closet and I’ve tried a few of them. After all, this is a very daunting task for me…I hate getting rid of anything! So here’s how I finally did it.
1. One of the most important things to think about while cleaning out a closet, is to get rid of anything that no longer fits well, isn’t flattering, or is damaged. Don’t keep a shirt with a hole in it even though the tear could be covered with a jacket. If it’s stained, throw it out. Period. Even more importantly, don’t keep anything that you don’t feel great in. One of the most common bits of fashion advise that I give is to only wear things that you feel great in. If those jeans are just a little too tight and give you even the slightest muffin top, get rid of them! If that shirt fits just a little too tight across the midsection and makes you uncomfortable, don’t keep it! It’s much better for you to wear the same flattering pieces over and over again (in different ways of course), than to wear things that don’t make you look your best. Being brutally honest with yourself in this area will help you to get rid of things that you shouldn’t be holding on to. It doesn’t matter what brand it is, how pretty it is, or how much you paid for it. If it doesn’t make you feel like a million bucks…get rid of it!!

A purging hindrance can often be weight fluctuation. You don’t want to get rid of things because you might lose/gain weight and be able to or need to wear it again. This is another area where you have to be brutally honest. And let’s face it, thinking about your weight can be brutal. It’s a good idea to keep a few pieces in a size up/down from what you’re currently wearing, especially if you fluctuate regularly. However, do not make a habit of keeping things that haven’t fit in years.

2. The second strategy that helped me was to pick a storage area for certain pieces and get rid of any that wouldn’t fit there. For example, there is no reason that my yoga/lounge pants shouldn’t fit in one drawer. So, I picked the best place for them to go and narrowed down the collection until they all fit. (Remember, you don’t want any drawers, etc. to be too full or you’ll be less likely to keep things in order. Nothing is worse than trying to cram things into an overly full drawer.) When I realized how many would fit, I got rid of a few of my least favorite pair to make it work. Realistically, why do I need more than two pair of black yoga pants? I always gravitate to the same two pair anyway.

Folded Storage
Storage tip: fold items and store them this way rather than on top of each other so that you can always see your options. I’m also a fan of color coordinating…it just looks more attractive!

I’m going to share more about closet organization soon, but you must start by getting rid of extras that you don’t need. Don’t forget rule #1. If you wouldn’t wear it on a day when you wanted to look top notch, then don’t keep it in your closet.

Anybody have any tips that’s worked for them? This is a constant battle for me, so I’m always open to suggestions!