Modern*Simplicity

Creating a Life Free From Chaos

How to Declutter Your Closet

How to Declutter Your Closet / Modern Simplicity. Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

It may seem like winter is here to stay, but spring really is on the way! If you haven’t decluttered your closet lately, it’s time to get started. I recently did a massive KonMari-style purge of my clothes. I wanted to decide what items of worn-out winter clothing needed to make an exit, plus I needed to make a shopping list to fill in the gaps of my spring/summer wardrobe before an upcoming spring break trip where it is most definitely warm. 

I purged my own clothes first (closet and dresser) before rounding up the boys to go through their clothing. While I didn’t do much hands-on purging for them, I oversaw the process and gave them some guidelines so they’d know what to do.

Here’s a step-by-step process for decluttering your closet in preparation for a new season.

Laundry first!

Catch up on laundry! It’s hard to purge your closet when a bunch of it is in a hamper or in the washing machine. Wash it all, dry it, and bring it to the “scene of the crime” — aka wherever you’re doing the purging. For us, we got out every clothing item and put it on the bed for evaluation.

Purge

Time to wade through the pile. Start by pulling out anything you don’t love, don’t wear, or doesn’t fit. Pull out anything that has unwashable stains, holes, rips, or that needs to be altered in any way. If you haven’t worn it in a year or two, take it out. Be honest with yourself here — if you’re not wearing it and have no plans to, it’s just taking up precious storage space in your home. 

Discard

Bag up the discards and put them by the door to drop off for charity. Bag up anything that needs to be altered or repaired and make plans to take it to the tailor or fix it yourself in the next week. 

Sort

For the clothes you have left, it’s time to put them away in a nice, organized fashion. Arrange the clothes by category — pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, t-shirts, pjs, etc. If you want, you can divide them further by sleeve length and color.

Organize

Hang up clothes you like to see in the closet — for me, that’s dresses, skirts, dress pants, and most shirts (except t-shirts). I may also be a little weird this way, but I like all of my hangers to match, so I invested in a bunch of white plastic hangers for a uniform look. For clothes you like to fold, consider using the fold-and-file method of vertical drawer organizing, made popular by Marie Kondo. This involves folding clothes into small squares or rectangles, then storing them upright in your drawer (instead of in stacks) so you can see each piece and nothing gets buried. This piece has some great visuals to show you how to fold. I like this method so much that I now pack my suitcase using the fold-and-file method as well.  

List out the gaps

As you hang and fold to put your clothes away, keep a running list of items you need to fill in your wardrobe. Then you can keep an eye out for the perfect piece while you’re shopping and avoid frantic trips to the mall later. In this particular purge, I realized I have no casual sleeveless tops for spring, and I needed a nice black skirt that would travel well for several upcoming trips. My older son had no swimsuit or shorts that fit (which he’ll need for spring break!) My younger son only needed some new jeans to fit his rapidly lengthing legs. Both need new sandals or flip flops too. They enjoyed a quick shopping spree to Target to fill in the gaps in their wardrobes. I turned to ThredUp for mine — I love picking up secondhand clothes in my favorite brands that look new and cost a fraction of retail. 

Repeat for shoes and bags

Repeat the above steps for shoes and handbags. It’s good to go through this process every time the weather changes for the season, especially if you rotate storage with out-of-season clothes. We no longer have out-of-season storage except for winter coats and gloves/scarves/stocking caps. If you have kids, you may also need to do a quick purge whenever you notice a growth spurt — that’s not something you can plan on a calendar! 

How to Declutter Your Closet / Modern Simplicity

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Quick Tips to Stay on Top of Bill Paying (Video)

Quick Tips to Stay on Top of Bill Paying (Video) * Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Hey guys! Today I have a quick video for you on the subject of bill paying. I’m experimenting with doing more videos, so let me know what you think! I even have a newly revived YouTube channel here. Enjoy!

Simple Habits to Manage Your Mornings

Simple Habits to Manage Your Mornings

Getting out the door in the morning can be a three-ring circus, with breakfast battles, lost homework, and fits of fashion fighting for center stage. Developing good habits and adopting a strong morning routine can help everyone get out the door on time and happy. Here are 10 habits you can incorporate into your routine to make mornings more manageable. 

  • Check your calendar every night, so school events, appointments, and important meetings don’t sneak up on you. Also, check the weather report, so you know in advance if you’ll need cold weather gear, umbrellas, or extra sunscreen. 
  • Prepare lunches the night before, and pack any snacks children need for school or after-school activities. You can cut down preparation time by packing lunches while you make dinner, cutting extra veggies to bag up while making a salad or slicing meat and cheese while your pasta simmers. 
Developing good habits and adopting a strong morning routine can help everyone get out the door on time and happy. Click To Tweet
  • Choose clothing the night before (for both you and your children). Make sure to include underclothes, shoes, and accessories. If your child is a fashionista who likes to change outfits several times before deciding, asking her to choose the night before can save valuable a.m. time. Hang the outfit on the closet doorknob or on a special hook so your child knows exactly what she is supposed to wear. It can also be helpful to store clothing you don’t want your children wearing to school in a different spot than their school clothes. 
  • Set up a “launch pad” area for bags, backpacks, keys, and other important items you’ll need for the day. Pack briefcases, backpacks, musical instruments, and diaper bags the night before to ensure you have everything you need. Set aside time to check your child’s homework and ensure his backpack is packed before he goes to bed, so permission slips, lunch money, gym clothes, bus passes, and school papers and projects don’t get forgotten in the morning fray. Go through any reminder slips he brings home and add any new or changed activities to your calendar right away. 
  • Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. A child (and a parent) who is well rested will have a much easier morning that one who repeatedly hits the snooze button. Children under the age of 10 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, and adults should be clocking at least seven hours. Also, waking kids gently, with kind words, hugs and kisses helps ease children into the day more positively than barking “get up!” while tossing clothes at them. I’m not a morning person, and neither is my oldest son, Wyatt. Going into his room and cuddling with him for a few minutes helps both of us wake up in a nicer mood.
Check your calendar every night, so school events, appointments, and important meetings don’t sneak up on you. Click To Tweet
  • A visual chart of each step of the “getting ready” process can cut down on the number of reminders you have to give. Consider making laminated checklists or task cards so the kids can mark off tasks as they complete them. Include such tasks as making the bed, getting dressed to the shoes, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, washing face, putting on sunscreen, and getting the backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle. Encourage children to take responsibility for getting themselves ready for the day. Kids are more eager to help when they have some control over the process.
  • Have a standard rotation of simple breakfast options, including a few “to go” items for those extra-crazy mornings. Knowing what’s on the breakfast menu ensures you have all the groceries you need, and keeping a small rotation of regular choices reminds kids that you’re not running a full-service restaurant. Crockpot oatmeal, toast, yogurt, cereal, and fruit are all easy, healthy choices. You can also make up an extra batch of your favorite pancakes or waffles and store them in the freezer, then microwave or toast them for a fast meal. Muffins, bagels, or breakfast bars make good “to go” options. For kids that don’t like traditional breakfast foods, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese, and crackers, or even last night’s dinner leftovers can be a reasonable way to fill their bellies before school. 
Have a standard rotation of simple breakfast options, including a few “to go” items for those extra-crazy mornings. Keeping a small rotation of regular choices reminds kids that you’re not running a full-service restaurant. Click To Tweet
  • Associate tasks with specific times, such as what time you should be eating breakfast, what time you need to be dressed, and what time you need to leave. Use cell phone alarms for reminders to get going. If you know you need to leave the house by 7:30 to get to school on time, set an alarm to go off at 7:20 and again at 7:25 to prod you out the door.
  • Television, computers and video games should be off-limits in the morning, even if the kids are ready to go with time to spare. Once kids get involved in a show or game, it’s often difficult to get them to shut down and go. If your children are ready early, encourage them to play with toys or read until it’s time to leave. 
  • Allow extra time whenever possible. Padding extra time in the morning routine can save you from disaster since anything from a missing shoe to a spilled cup of milk can throw the whole morning off schedule. Figure out how much time you really need to get everyone out the door (time yourself for a week to get an accurate number), then add 15 minutes. Leave five minutes earlier than you need to so you can be prepared for traffic slowdowns or that ill-timed railroad crossing. Keep a few extra supplies in your car for last-minute emergencies, like breakfast bars or extra mittens. 
Simple Habits to Manage Your Mornings