Wednesday, July 29, 2015

7 Wardrobe Organization Using Stylebook

A couple of weeks ago I completed a major closet purging session and went through every last piece of clothing that I owned.  I typically keep a "donate" bag inside of my closet, so I have been pretty good about maintaining a "one in" and "one out" policy.  And being that our personal closets are not all that big to begin with, I really didn't think I would find myself getting rid of too many pieces of clothing.

I still ended up removing 114 pieces of clothing/shoes from my wardrobe!  That was almost half of what I owned and left me feeling a) astonished and b) amazing.  Suddenly, I felt free from my daily "what should I wear" battles.  I shared in this post how I tucked everything back into place, and today I am going to share a little more about the new system I have been trying out ever since. 

I am going to preface this post with a few points right off of the bat:
  • This post is not at all sponsored by Stylebook.  In fact, they were a long time blog sponsor (which is how I learned about them), but they are no longer advertising on iHeart Organizing.  I decided to purchase the app on my own to help me make better use of the clothing that I own.
  • Stylebook is an app that I use on my iPad and iPhone.  Just like many organizational apps, this app can be utilized down to an incredible depth of detail.  I am using it at a higher level and know that I am not fully taking advantage of every last feature that the app offers.
  • Some of you asked that I share a few examples of the outfits that I decided to keep.  Knowing I am far from a fashionista, I was a bit apprehensive, but further down I do share how I put together a week's worth of outfits using the inspiration I gathered and stored in the Stylebook app.  Not a trendsetter, totally a follower.

The first step for me was to completely empty out my closet and my drawers.  I dumped every last piece of clothing onto my bed to prepare myself for a major sorting session.

As I began to work through my jumbo pile, I started to realize a few things.
  • Many items hadn't been touched in over a year.  I would let myself believe that I would find a way to wear it or make it work to avoid letting go of something I thought I loved and splurged on.  This time I was ruthless and was OK letting go of things regardless of the cost or intention.
  • I made sure to pay attention to the brands of the clothing I was purging the most.  There were a few brands that hadn't held up well to frequent washings and wearings.
  • Many of the clothing items I was putting in my donate pile, were items that I purchased either impulsively or to create a single outfit.
  • Having too many pieces of clothing to select from can create an overwhelming feeling in the morning and can also mean that the clothes that are being invested in, are not being worn often enough.
  • Having too many clothes costs more than just dollars, it costs sanity and space.
  • I had a lot of items that were quite similar in shape, size and style.  Below is an example of two dresses that I owned, and when I put them together I had to ask myself, "why"?

With each item of clothing I touched during the sorting process, I asked myself quite a few questions.  Do I really love it?  Like, really, really love it?  How often do I wear the item?  And more importantly, how many different outfit combinations can I make with the specific item?

Last week I shared my tips for making the most of your home decor, and I shared my new rule of three.  The rule is that any home decor item that I purchase should work within at least three different areas of our home.  I also tried to apply a similar rule with my clothing.  Was I able to create at least three different looks/outfits with each piece I was keeping?  And more importantly, did I enjoy the piece of clothing enough to even try?

I think the overall goal was to make the most of my closet and the items I own.  I want to spend less and achieve more.  To make the most of the amount of storage I have available instead of going out to purchase more as my inventory grows/changes.

Because I am not a blogger known for creating creative outfits, and because I also do better with visuals, I thought I would utilize Stylebook to manage my current clothing inventory.  Previously, I had pin boards on my closet door that I would use as outfit inspiration each morning...

The concept worked well but required me to print and pin up the photos, and truthfully I started to fall behind.  The same outfits stayed on the board to the point of not being useful any longer.  In fact, one board fell down completely a few months ago and I didn't even miss it.

Where did those outfit ideas come from?  Bloggers.  And where did I find those ideas and store many of them?  Pinterest.

As much as I fight it at times, technology can make our lives easier and is much more instant than the process of printing, cutting and pinning.  After my sorting session, I had reduced my clothing inventory to only key pieces that I truly enjoyed.  Now it was time to digitally catalog each of those special pieces.

Wowza!  This was not a quick process.  Fairly easy, but it did take a few different time slotted sessions to get everything added in.  And for those with walk-in closets and rows of clothing, this may not be the best solution for you.

Using a combination of Google Images, Online Shopping Sites and the "Shop" feature in the application, I loaded in an image of each of the items of clothing that I decided to keep (or images that closely resemble my clothing items). 

Once each item of clothing is saved, you can take things a step further and create outfit combinations with each of the clothing images.  Those combinations can also be saved within specific outfit categories, such as "day", "evening", "formal", etc...

If you are at all like me, you like someone else to tell you how to dress.  I typically will utilize Pinterest to search for specific outfit combinations based on the item I would like to wear.  For example, if I would like to wear a coral skirt, I will search for "Coral Skirt" on Pinterest.

I will then scroll through the images until I find outfits I can make with the items I own (or outfits that look similar or can be used as inspiration).  I save each of those items to my inspiration files in Stylebook.


And that is as much as I have personally done with the app.  I have saved quite the variety of outfit ideas based on the clothing that I already owned, and finding at least three ways to wear each piece.  Now, each morning I am able to flip through the categories in my Inspiration file and based on what my day holds, I can easily plan my attire.  And because the application is on my iPad, I can do this from bed the evening before or right away each morning.  Heck, I can even plan an entire week's worth of outfits in a jiff!

I also loved that many of the clothing items left in my closet really reflected my personality and my favorite colors (the same ones I use in my decor, printables and day-to-day life).  That was a VERY good sign.

P.S.  Major props to the fashion bloggers putting together outfits effortlessly each day.  Even laying out pieces to photograph is not as easy as one would think! 

A few more notes about my Stylebook experience:
  • I can easily sync and share my items between my iPhone & iPad, however, I wish it was automatic based on my profile and not something that I have to do manually.

  • This app will prevent me from purchasing duplicate items and help me become much more intentional about my clothing shopping.
  • Once I got over the major time suck of the initial setup, maintaining the app is easy breezy.  If I purchase a new piece of clothing, I just have to track it down on the clothing's website and save it to my Stylebook app right away. 
  • I have been utilizing the app for a couple weeks now and it definitely has helped me make better use out of the items I am storing in my closet.  I am actually excited to pull together outfits each day because it is easy and I know I won't be wearing the same things week after week.  No more clothing ruts!
  • One of the biggest wins for me is that although my closet is organized (even by clothing type and color), I can gaze at everything hanging there and nothing jumps out at me.  Looking at a full closet becomes visually overwhelming to me.  This app allows me to see my inventory right with the push of a button and also provides me with a variety of compatible outfits at any time, from anywhere.
  • Stylebook offers a calendar that allows you to schedule your specific outfits out in advance.  I haven't done that yet, but I did want to mention that for any of you long term outfit planners.
  • Stylebook also offers the ability to photograph your clothing, I opted to utilize stock images for a cleaner look.

Overall, the app is pretty user friendly, however, I did run into some questions along the way and realized I was making things a bit harder than necessary.  I found this website extremely helpful when it came to troubleshooting my questions

Anyone else a fan of the Stylebook app?  Or any other apps that help you manage your wardrobe?  I would also love to know where y'all find your clothing inspiration.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

91 Organizing Under the Kitchen Sink

I have no idea how it happened, but this past week was one of those blink-and-it-is-over type of weeks.  All of the sudden it was Friday morning and I was hit with the realization that I hadn't organized one single thing all week.  The horror right? 

As far as our kitchen goes, the good news is that we have begun installing trim, toe kick and moulding!  I am hoping to have a full kitchen update for y'all very soon; we definitely needed to step back and take a small break to troubleshoot a few issues that have come up as we near the end of the renovation.  One problem is in regards to a major appliance/kitchen island snafu... We also have some cabinet moulding decisions to make and the Mr. and I are not seeing eye-to-eye.  We appreciate you hanging in there as we work through some of those detailed decisions that we just don't feel comfortable rushing.

This week when I took a look at my giant Home To-Do List, I picked something that I knew I could accomplish quickly, something that would keep me excited about the kitchen, and something that would help us out during our day-to-day routine.  I decided to tackle the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

Although our kitchen was far from finished, we needed to reclaim our guest room a few months back.  All of our kitchen belongings that were temporarily being stored in the guest room, were brought back out to the kitchen and the boxes were unloaded in a single evening.  When we came up with our initial cabinet design, I made sure to assign every last pot, pan, appliance and gadget a home.  This made quickly unpacking our items fairly painless, however, nothing more was ever done.  Many of the cabinets have since been in a state of chaos and waiting for that special touch, under the kitchen sink included.

Majority of the items under the sink are things we use to clean our entire main level.  There were also a few items that were brought up from our cleaning cabinet for a single use and then tossed below the sink instead of being returned to the proper home.  Paper bags were acting as our recycling bin, and things were always getting lost in the back of the cabinet.  It was time for a little organizing action.

Step one, empty it out!

My initial impulse was to reach for some shelf liner I had on hand...

But the pattern was a little busy and the lack of color left me looking for a different option.

I found some gift wrap (purchased from HomeGoods) and knew it was more more fitting for my love of color happy organizing.  I also knew that once things were placed back into the cabinet, that the boldness of the paper would simmer down a bit.

To ensure the gift wrap would be easy-to-clean and hold up to heavy daily traffic, I covered it in clear contact paper.  Read more about this process here.

As I was emptying out the cabinet, I jotted down a list of everything that I needed to store, as well as the ideal way to do so.  One thing I realized right away is that I wasn't taking advantage of the cabinet doors.  Also, I have been wanting to find a second caddy to corral cleaning items as I have been enjoying keeping house chore supplies on both levels of our home.  The entire cabinet needed to be purged down, items needed a specific home, and a few labels would be useful in keeping the entire family on the same page.

I began by addressing the items we utilize daily to clean the counters and wash our dishes; we use a combination of dish cloths, scrubbers and sponges.  Because these items become wet during use, they needed to be stored in a location that would allow them to dry, without damaging the interior of the cabinet. 

I found an acrylic spice rack at The Container Store, and thought I would give it a try.  It ended up being the perfect solution because it is easy to clean and extremely light weight.  I was able to use a couple heavy duty clear Command Strips to hang the organizer on the inside of the door, and now our daily tools are always within arm's reach, yet keep the sink area clutter free (and I can think of 1,589 other places I would love to add these charming little gems).

I also appreciate that the spice rack pairs beautifully with the clear stacking drawers we had used in our previous kitchen setup.

I removed the jumbled mess of cleaning rags from the drawers, and washed/re-folded all of our dish cloths and towels.  I also added some vinyl labels to the faces of the drawers to keep things orderly down the road.

On top of the drawers I added our wet-sack to hold our dirty/damp used rags that are waiting for wash day.

HomeGoods came through for me in my quest for a second caddy to corral our daily cleaning supplies. 

The caddy is large enough to hold a variety of items; everything from our hand sweeper and dusters to rags and cleaners.

When selecting items to use for storage and organization, the number one requirement was that they had to be easy to keep clean/wipe down.  I also tried to select items that would be versatile should our needs for the cabinet ever change (which I really don't see happening in this case).  A simple clear tray holds our extra soaps for the dishwasher, sink and fruits/vegetables.

Our pull-out recycle bin didn't fit in our new cabinet because the new sink is fantastically larger and deeper.  I searched high and low for an alternative pull-out trash option but came up short.  It is totally worth it to have the deeper sinks though, so I just stayed with a very basic bin that also received some vinyl labeling love.

I put the other cabinet door to work holding our paper towel roll and dish-washing gloves.

The paper towel holder is extremely light, and was also attached to the cabinet with a Command Strip.  I am not ready to screw holes into our new cabinet doors just yet, not even for the sake of organization.  And although I didn't end up storing our food wrap boxes inside the cabinet doors for long, I did want to re-use the dowel and hooks for my dish-washing gloves.  I just wrapped the dowel in some vinyl to protect the wood from wetness.

And suddenly I had myself the happiest cabinet in our kitchen!

No organization project is complete without a before and after to celebrate:

And a quick recap of our under-the-kitchen-sink essentials:

Aside from a little product sourcing/shopping, the entire project took about an hour (planning, cleaning, lining, organizing, Command hooking, labeling and admiring).  Not bad for one of the busiest cabinets in the entire kitchen. 

Now that I am feeling accomplished again, I can get back to fun in the sun with the kiddos.  I mean, back to installing trim and moulding.... sigh...

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