Organizing your closet

A while back, I came across this 31-day challenge to a better organized home on the cheap. While I love this idea, I just don’t have 31 days in a row to devote to organizing. As, I had noted in one of my very first posts, I truly believe that keeping your home clean and organized is key to being a successful homemaker – in fact, I listed it as number one! In all honesty, though, it is the one I have the hardest time with. I feel like I am always playing catch-up on the housecleaning. Last weekend, inspired by Deb’s post on closet audits, I decided it was time to tackle my closet. Let me share how I did it, and some helpful hints on how to keep your closet organized!

Hanging Clothes: As you can see from the ‘before’ picture, my hanging clothes are really not that bad off. But the shoes are a disaster, and the shelves on either side of the closet are just overloaded. First things first, I emptied my closet of the hanging clothes, one clothing type at a time. Skirts, shirts, pants, etc. I tried on nearly everything, and following Deb’s instructions, divided into piles: Keep, Toss, Fix and “how do I wear this?”  I’m pretty good at tossing items I no longer use. But I had a few surprises. Of the 19 skirts in my closet, I tossed 11! But nearly all the shirts stayed.

HELPFUL HINT #1: When hanging your clothes, the hangers you use are key. A year or so ago, I got rid of all my clunky plastic hangers and replaced them with thin, felted hangers. These are great for three reasons: One is that they take up so much less space in your closet. Second is that the felting on the hangers keeps your clothes from slipping off the hanger. No more need for those annoying ribbon hangers that seem to be attached to every piece of clothing nowadays. Third is that they’re just so much prettier!

HELPFUL HINT #2: As you can see from the pictures below, I have this great second-tier hanger. It provides a lower hanging bar for a second level of hanging clothes. I love this thing. Be sure to hang shorter clothes from it, so as to not block the shoes on the floor!

HELPFUL HINT #3: Many people have different ways of hanging their clothes – by color, by what they go with, etc. As for me, my clothes are hung by type. My shirts are all hung together. And in order of type of shirt. Sleeveless first, then short sleeve – first the t-shirts and knits, followed by button up. Same with the long-sleeve – t-shirts and knits, followed by button up. Then, the sweaters, cardigans and pullovers grouped together. This may seem a bit OCD, but this will help you so much when you’re putting your clothes away. And it will help you to always find what you’re looking for.

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You Got This, Girl! Replacing your outlets

Recently, I painted my bedroom a pale pink. As I admired my work, I realized that the dingy ivory electrical outlets looked just hideous. I knew I needed new, fresh, white outlets. I called my dad to see if he thought I could tackle this on my own. After a resounding ‘Of course’, I headed off to the hardware store.

IMG_3472Here are the basic supplies you will need to replace your outlets:

Outlets
Cover Plates
Screwdriver
Electrical Tape
Outlet Tester/Voltage Meter
Needle-nose pliers (pictured later)
Wire cutters (pictured later)

 

IMG_3475Step One: Turn off the power

Once you have all your supplies ready, shut off the breaker to cut off all power to the outlets. My mother, who has done wiring for years with my grandfather (who was an electrician) will actually do wiring with the power still on. That scares me, and is not recommended. The shock wont kill you, but it will hurt. And will put a dent in your pliers. So, just go turn off the breaker.

My breaker box is horribly labeled – I really can’t tell what connects to what. So, it’s a lot of trial and error to make sure the outlets are off. One way to test that your outlets are truly off is to plug in a lamp or an alarm clock. If it doesn’t turn on, the power is off and it is safe to work with. However, if you are working with switches also, you should get a voltage meter. You can get a simple tester for about $10, or more advanced ones for more. It is worth it. I thought I had turned off the breaker for all my outlets, and just happened to test this one to get a picture for this post. As you can see, it is live. I was lucky I tested it!

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(Not Extreme) Couponing

Regardless of your opinion of couponing, it is a notable ‘trend’ recently. Yes, coupons have been around forever, but with the TLC show ‘Extreme Couponing’, there is a lot more attention on it. From local church seminars on couponing to mom blog tutorials to CBS’s show 2 Broke Girls, couponing is more present than ever.

While I can’t imagine anyone being opposed to saving money, some folks are going to the extreme. Have you actually seen ‘Extreme Couponing’? I’ve seen a couple episodes and am equal parts impressed and appalled. These people have figured out how to get hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and supplies for tens of dollars. Sometimes free! Impressive. But they’re buying things they don’t need. I saw an episode where a guy had converted his entire garage into aisles of shelving for hundreds of bottles of shampoo, tubes of toothpaste, and dozens of other items he will never use. The episode did show him donating a few hundred packages of diapers or something that he managed to get for next to free – which is fantastic. But, for the most part, he was essentially hoarding. He had a collection of things he’ll never use. Honestly, I find it a bit disgusting.

With all that said, coupons have their place, and I do use them. The trick is to use coupons for things you actually use. Every week, most of us get a flyer with coupons in the mail. Occasionally, you’ll get a booklet from a local drug store, the monthly Val-Pak envelope of coupons, or grocery coupons.

Here are a few tips on how to use coupons effectively, without them taking over your life (or your garage!)

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Ok, fine, this week I’m just girly. (The Bachelor Episode 3 semi-live recap)

The past couple of weeks I have regaled you with stories of the more “manly” aspects of my life, in order to distract you from the fact that yes, I do watch that horrible girly monstrosity that is The Bachelor. I have yet to find something worthy of this week. I did watch the NFL playoff games this weekend and proudly cheered for my 49ers. However, I followed the games by watching Miss America and the Golden Globes. Both very non-manly shows. Manliness cancelled out. I painted my nails, I sewed a lacy decorative pillow that has no use whatsoever, and called my friend Stefeny to rescue me because of snow flurries. Completely non-manly. But let me remind you – a few weeks ago, I won my fantasy football league! Awesome! And last week, I caulked my bathroom! I am tough and independent and so not girly! But this week, it appears the only manly thing I will do is to remind you of all the awesome things I did in the past while having nothing new or impressive to show for myself. Now that’s manly. (too mean? nah!)

8:00pm – Oh, the pre-cap for the week. Blah. I do like the twist that with Ben in his town, he can talk to his sister about his experience. Nice to not have to wait til the end for that. Gives good perspective earlier.

8:06pm – Is it just me or does Emily look a little bit like Jenny McCarthy? Seems pretty normal and like a decent girl. Too bad Courtney can’t relate.

8:10pm – Climbing to the top of the Bay Bridge?! AWESOME! Where do they find these girls with no sense of adventure? Sissy!

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Sometimes a girl needs a cookie (or two)

cookieSometimes a girl needs a cookie. I mean really needs a cookie. My craving hit me on a Friday night. Chilling out at home after a steak dinner with red wine, then a Manhattan with corn whisky from Cashmere, WA (local is good) I found myself craving a cookie. Two problems were keeping me from fulfilling my desire for warm crumbly goodness: 1. I am allergic to wheat. Yeah, I know, bummer is right. And 2. I did not have the energy to make a batch of cookies. I mean I could, but man, all the measuring and mixing and blah. Not on a Friday night, and not when I am a little buzzed.

Then, it hit me. I can make my super easy Peanut Butter Cookies. I call them Bachelor Cookies because they are so easy, but they will also do for a single girl wanting to relax on a Friday night. I can hold my own in the kitchen. There are times when I consider myself a sure win for Top Chef (Although usually only after a glass of wine). But there are times that I need to give myself a break and not have to prove my domestic goddessness to my cats. I mean, do they really care anyway?

IMG_0896 IMG_0895
Red and Max, two very unimpressed kitties

So, back to the cookies. A super easy sweet treat that you can do any time. Use them to satisfy a craving, or impress those who are not in the know. There are only three ingredients. That is right, three ingredients. How can that be you ask? How the hell am I supposed to know? Do I look like a scientist? But, somehow, these three ingredients work together to make yummy, crunchy but soft cookies.

IMG_0894This recipe is from a cookbook that I got at a thrift store called “Cooking the Costco Way”. In between the recipes to make 20 lbs. of some salad, there was this great recipe that warmed the heart of this gluten-intolerant girl.

Peanut Butter Cookies, The Easy Way

1 Cup sugar (you can choose white, brown or organic, as I had on hand)
1 Cup Peanut Butter (creamy, crunchy – whatever floats your boat)
1 Egg

That is it. Mix it all together, drop onto a cookie sheet and bake 11 to 13 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Then, you open the oven and you are in heaven. Cooking doesn’t need to be labor intensive or time-consuming; you just need to find the short cuts.

So, there I was, caulking the bathroom window (The Bachelor, Episode 2 recap/semi-live blog)

IMG_3495All day I debated whether or not I was going to watch The Bachelor tonight. As I said last week, this show really is dreadful. And Ben is really unattractive. I mean really unattractive. Buck teeth, face like a horse, hair like a… well, horse. Maybe attractive in a ‘take his shirt off an put a bag over his head’ way, but ugh. However, The Bachelor really is a single-girl staple. And just a little addicting. But my better senses had kicked in by the time the show started, I’d decided NO. I was not going to blog about it this week. I have so much more important things to do. Like finally finish Battlestar Galactica. Or do dishes. Or, caulk my bathroom windows. No joke, I was actually caulking the bathroom window. And I can hear the show in the background. The audio alone was annoying me. As Ben is describing his time with this girl, it’s Kacie B this, Kacie B that, Kacie B is blah blah blah. Seriously, dude. Her name is KACIE. Just KACIE. If you’re in a room with another Kacie, a last initial is fine. But we all know it’s Kacie B. The caption under her picture says so. Ugh. 

Anywho, there I was, caulking my bathroom window (I really am not joking), and I hear that they’re in a movie theater. And then I hear that they’re showing home videos from when Kacie was a child. And then Ben’s childhood video, of course, after they’ve made a point to remind us all that his father has died. F@*# you, Bachelor and your sweetness! Who does that? Coordinates home videos to show in a romantic, private theater? (Ok, probably the producers, but still!) Who wouldn’t fall for some floppy-haired goofy-lookin’ dude who pulls that off? Ugh. F@*# you, Bachelor for dragging me back into this crap!

So, I put down the caulking gun, pressed pause on the DVR, took a shower, and now, I’m back to blogging about The Bachelor. Ugh. I am weak.

Now, it’s 8:38pm and I’m a little behind, but catching up. DVR is at 8:25. Holy crap, Blakeley’s boobs! Welcome to the show!

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My inspirations for 2012

I don’t really believe in New Years Resolutions. Not necessarily because I don’t think they’re a good idea – mostly because everyone else is doing it, so I won’t! But, I am discovering a lot of sites and people that are inspiring me, and hope to continue to be inspired by them in the coming year. I am sure this list will grow throughout the year and I look forward to all the new inspiration this year!

Here is the list of the people, sites and links that inspire me. I would love to hear who inspires you!

DIY/Home Décor

Pinterest. If you have not joined Pinterest, you must! Create your own virtual idea boards – it’s so addicting! Need an invite? Let me know!

Design Sponge. I love this site, especially the ‘Before and After’ and ‘DIY’ sections. So many great ideas on this site! (Facebook | Twitter)

Ana White. I just discovered this site. She is a true modern homemaker, wielding powertools with the best of them! Great site for DIY’ers like myself, with project plans for building furniture and home décor. Can’t wait to build my own bed this year! (Facebook | Twitter)

The High Low Project. Sabrina Soto hosts this show on HGTV. She designs a room first with all high-end furniture and décor –usually the cost runs around $25,000. Then, she redesigns the same space for closer to $4k, and it looks exactly the same! My hero! (Facebook | Twitter)

Lowes Creative Ideas. They send a free magazine every couple of  months with fabulous DIY projects for your home, outdoor living, and woodworking. I love this site! (Facebook)

 

My Life – entertainment, fashion and laughs

Hello Giggles is a super-fun, girly site, started by actress/singer Zooey Deschanel and her friends. Fun trends, fashion, articles for single gals, and a place to feel safe for still holding on to your Hello Kitty purse. (Facebook | Twitter)

The Bloggess. This gal cracks me the f*#$ up! Her brash humor comes with such honesty. I never leave her site without tears of laugher! (Facebook | Twitter)

Serendipity Photography. Ok, so Kaela and I have been friends since the first day of junior high. But that doesn’t mean I’m not constantly amazed at her photography! Who else could make me look so amazing in these photos? Need an ego boost? Family photo? Boudoir photos? Kaela can do that!

Buzz Deb. Deb’s a friend of mine with a passion for trends and fashion, and a great sense of humor (and lovingly patient hubby!) (Twitter)

 

My Dreams (may never happen, but always good to dream)

Mystery Trip. This site from American Express plans a mystery adventure for you based on your travel profile. I want to do this SO BAD! I am an ‘Adrenalista’, btw! (although Detourist is a close second).

Drive a Tank. My dad and I both have this on our bucket list. Hoping to find somewhere closer than Minnesota to do this, but if not, I’ll totally travel!

The World’s Longest Yard Sale. 675 miles of yard sale in the midwest! If I’m gonna travel to Minnesota to drive a tank, I may as well rent a truck and yard sale nearby!

The Bachelor–Season Premiere! Semi-live blog

I want to start this post by letting you know that I won my Fantasy Football league this year. Yep, that’s me. Team Tankgirl. I went 10-5. Of course, most of the glory goes to Drew Brees and Maurice Jones-Drew. And I only beat Back Off Flapjacks by one point in the final game (Sorry Heather). But I need you to understand that I won my Fantasy Football League. Thank you. 

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Now that I have that established, on to The Bachelor. I hate The Bachelor. I hate the Bachelorette. These shows are dreadful. So much staged drama, and crazy people and a system that is so ridiculous, I can’t imagine why anyone signs up for this. Granted, there are so many reality shows that are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much worse. Yes, I’m talking to you all of the real housewives and Jersey shows. And this small fact is what gets me through my Monday evenings, sitting on the couch, embarrassed to be watching the Bachelor.

To pass the time, I’m gonna blog w/ you. I enjoyed doing this the final episode of DWTS with my dear Becky, so I will continue it with The Bachelor, as Becky has a one-week-old baby to take care of! I know there are a lot of Bachelor/ette recaps (Hello Giggles, Watch with Kristin, etc), but why not add another one to the mix?

So, here we go!!

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