Cleaning Out My Closet: Spring 2018

Woohoo, exciting stuff here! I’m cleaning out my closet again, taking out (some of ) the winter things and then I’ll bring in the spring/summer things. Not QUITE yet with the spring/summer, because it’s still, incredibly enough, snowing here on Long Island! It should get warmer this week but I’ll believe it when I see it, and when I see it, I’ll move the warm weather items into my closet. But I need to start shopping for warm weather as I can already see items disappearing from the online sites where I shop…and I can’t shop til I make a list of what I need, and I can’t make a list of what I need til I’ve cleaned out my closet! Phew, sometimes it’s tough being me with all my internal rules and such. But it really does help me, doing it this way. And I’m going to explain to you why and how and maybe something can help you, too.

Sorry there aren’t a lot  any pictures in this post, because there’s a video. But I’ll explain my routine here in case you don’t want to watch the video (though you should). So here is how I clean out my closet twice a year.

Step 1: Take everything out of the closet. Lay it on the bed or hang it on a rack, but get it out of the closet. If you leave it hanging in the closet it’s much too easy to leave something something there that should really go. Take it out first, so you have to make an effort with it either way, keeping or letting go of.

Step 2: Go through every single item one by one. Don’t go “these are all long-sleeved tees” and pick up a bunch together and hang them back in the closet (or put them back in the drawer). Look at every single thing, touch every single thing. No, I’m not going to ask you if it “sparks joy.” That sounds lovely, but come on. A lot of things don’t spark joy, but they’re still necessary. A bra. A toilet brush. These are not joyful items but I’m not getting rid of them because they have a role in my life.

Also, while you’re touching each item, you’re looking at it. Is it stained, torn, pilly, dingy? Sometimes we look at things without really seeing them. This is the time to see them and really assess their condition.

Step 3: Assess each item. Do you still reach for that item when putting outfits together? Does it have several different items it goes nicely with? If yes, it can stay. If you’re just tired of it and find you never or rarely reach for it, maybe it’s time to let it go so it can be replaced by something you really enjoy. If it’s not in good condition anymore you can donate it. If the condition is good and it’s still reasonably in style, you can donate or sell on any of the online used clothing sites – ebay, depop, swap.com, poshmark, etc.

Step 4: Put all the keepers back. Enjoy your neat closet with breathing room. I love when it’s not packed so tight that there’s no room to slide the hangers on the pole.

Step 5: (and here’s where I sometimes get stuck!) Actually let go of them items you set aside. Bag up the clothes to go to the donation center. For the items you plan to sell, hang them somewhere neatly so they’re not wrinkled and messy in the photos you’ll take. Don’t Be Like Bettye and just pile them up in a corner on a bunch of boxes (for six months. or so.).

Okay. That is my process for cleaning out and getting rid of items. Next week I’ll talk you through how I make up my shopping list so I only buy items that will go with what’s already in my closet. It’s The List that helps me avoid having items in my closet that were purchased on a whim…and then never see the light of day.

And if you want to see the steps in action, watch this video!

Will you be cleaning out your closet this spring? I’d love to hear (or see!) how you make out!

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I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WEAR!!!

Sound familiar??

It happens to all of us: you have to leave for work/dinner/party in five minutes and you have no idea what to wear. UGH!!! Here are some things I do to help avoid this stressful situation.

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1. Plan your outfits the night before OR, better yet, on the weekend for the whole week ahead. That’s not as extreme as it seems, and the little bit of time you spend doing this on your day off will give you such a sense of calm and control for the entire week ahead. I take a quick look at my calendar for the week ahead AND the weather, and I select the days’ outfits accordingly. I connect the hangers of the different items in the outfit and hang them either at one end of my closet rack or on a separate garment rack that is sometimes set-up in my bedroom. Doing this in advance also gives you an opportunity to notice if anything needs to be washed, mended, dropped off/picked up from the dry cleaner, etc., so you can do that BEFORE you realize in the morning that a part of the outfit is missing or dirty. PS – if your schedule or the weather changes, you can always reach for the NEXT outfit instead of “today’s,” and just come back to today’s another day (that wasn’t a confusing sentence at all).

2. Part of #1 is trying your outfits on before getting ready in the morning. Things shrink in the wash and even at the dry cleaners. Or things you THINK will go together and look fine together hanging on the hanger, just don’t look right together on your body. So be sure to actually try the outfits on in advance.

3. Always have a couple super comfy back-up outfits in your closet, so if you ever wake up in the morning and just feel blah about heading out to your day, you can by-pass the scheduled outfit and put on your favorite “feel good” outfit instead. Sometimes just feeling cozy in a favorite outfit is enough to turn a day around.

4. This is part of longer-range planning, but work on making your wardrobe as mix-and-match as possible. I’ve talked before (see video here) about using base layers with easily swapped-out “third pieces” to make lots of outfits. If you have one or two base layer outfits in your closet, and several different toppers – cardigans, kimonos, vests, blazers, etc., you will always have easy go-to outfits.

5. This is also part of #1 and #5, but work on making sure that you have the appropriate accessories (shoes, bag, scarf, etc) for all your outfits. There’s nothing worse than coming up with a great outfit and then realizing that none of your shoes are going to look right with it, so…it’s a no-go. I’m actually living in that particular hell right now, and this season I’m really working on rectifying that situation.

6. After wearing your clothes, HANG THEM UP NEATLY. Another dressing horror is thinking you’re going to wear the grey turtleneck with the black jeans and black blazer…only to discover that the grey turtleneck has been smooshed into a crumpled heap under a pile of whatever and is not in any condition to wear to work. Not that that EVER happens to me. Ahem. (Do as I say, not as I do. I want more for you, my children).

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I hope these tips help you. When I do them, which honestly is a little better than 50% of the time, they really help. It’s hard enough getting up and out the door in the morning, it’s such a help to take one thing off your plate and know you’re all prepared.

peace

Switching Out My Wardrobe from Summer to Winter

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So, I FINALLY got around to switching out my warm weather wardrobe for cold. We had such a lovely long pleasant Indian summer here on Long Island, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it any earlier even though I’d had to pull an item or two out for the few chillier days…and I had already bought a couple new things (see Fall Haul). The video got so so long as I explained my reasons for leaving this in or taking that out…that I decided to split it into two videos. So, Part 1 is taking out warm weather items…and Part 2 is putting in cold weather items. Ha, it kinda sounds like watching paint dry, but I know I LOVE watching this kind of stuff, so…maybe you will, too!

I’m still working on improving the production quality of my videos. I realize that in my Fall Haul video it got so dark it was practically impossible to tell a black item from a dark green one from a plaid one. My apologies. I’m very aware of the imperfections and will rectify them asap. I begged a good friend to go with me to my storage unit yesterday so we could dig out (among other things) my tub of lighting equipment from my vintage clothing selling days, so hopefully that will be better soon. And I think I’ve resolved the lens focus motor noise.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to round out my cold weather wardrobe by online shopping like a madwoman…and returning like five things for every one kept – online plus size shopping is a Very Slow Process. But so there will be ANOTHER Fall Haul video soon…I promise not as big as the first!

Thanks so so much for sticking around while I learn the ropes about videoing and YouTube. I appreciate every like and view I get! I hope you’ll watch “Switching Out My Wardrobe from Summer to Winter: Part 1” and give it a thumbs up!

What Am I Going to Wear This Week??

So, THIS is a terrifying thing. I’m sharing my first real vlog with you today. Have patience. Be kind. I was going on the “don’t go live til everything is perfect” model but realized…I will NEVER go live! So here goes, for better or worse…

I know there are some issues. Focus is going in and out. The focusing sound the camera makes is quite loud. I feel like I roll my eyes a lot (ha) and I sound a little nervous. I have to figure these things out. And it *will* get better (dammit).

The video explains my process for putting together a weekly wardrobe, so I don’t waste precious time every morning when I could be sleeping or scrolling through my Instagram. Maybe everybody does this already, but maybe it will help *someone,* and that is my hope. It also talks a bit about how I organize my closet so putting outfits together is easier.

If you enjoy the vlog I hope you will give it a thumbs up and comment and even subscribe. Tell me what you liked and didn’t like about it so I can make future videos more helpful and interesting.

Okay. Here goes nuthin’!!!

Ha ha, nice picture, Bettye! I have to figure out how to make a nice thumbnail!

My Week in Review: Weeks 40-43

Ooh, I’ve been remiss! In my defense: Holiday and Sick. So I’m doing a big Week(s) in Review catch-up here and can then proceed as usual starting next week. Do you guys even *like* Week in Review? I’m coming up on Fashion Schlub’s 1 Year Anniversary and am thinking about switching some things up. I feel like I get more new people liking and commenting on the WiR posts, which I guess is good? I don’t know? I’m just stumbling my way along in Blog-Land. Thoughts?

Gosh, THIS seems forever ago! I’m actually just taking the tree *down* this weekend. Sadface.

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Janey was helping not helping decorate the tree. Funny little crooked-faced cat.

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Janey loves sitting with me at the computer. And the sofa. And bed. And the toilet. You get the picture.

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I’ve been trying to eat more fruit. My reward for eating an orange is a vegan gingerbread cupcake from Batata Cafe in Northport.

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I love old building advertising. I loved painted signs, I think they’re so much more charming than big plastic or polyvinyl (or whatever those canopy type things you see everywhere now) signs.

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Meh. I so loved the other book of hers I read, Secrets of a Charmed Life…I was disappointed by this one.

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The last day of work before vacation is lovely. We’re all so productive and get just tons of work done.

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I drank a toast to the start of vacation. Alright. I drank a *couple* toasts.

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Exmas Eve with my baby.

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Christmas Day. We exchanged gifts at my apartment then went to dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant and drove around looking at Christmas lights. It was a nice low-key day. I like a low-key holiday.

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My boy.

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We drank a toast to the holiday. Alright. We drank *several* toasts to the holiday.

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I LOVED The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Do recommend.

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Ha ha. Christmas had too many toasts and threw up in their front yard.

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I spread my friendship wings (ha ha, someone dear to me used that phrase once when I was making a new friend and it has just always stayed in my heart and head) and made a new friend when we photographed one another for our respective blogs – Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me. You can see some photographs I did of her here.

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That day we shot was cold and super windy and we were out in it all day and I got SICK. This is what sick looks like.

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I’m trying to tackle some small projects in the apartment this winter. This is one of the cubbies staring me in the face when I sit at the computer and I was tired of it. The top pic is the before, the bottom is after. Ahh. But where did I put those chocolate chips??

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Which brings us to today and it is snowing out so I’m staying in with some work, some projects and some reading. But not enough snacks. Unless I can find those chocolate chips.

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Phew! All caught up! Holidays are over, tree is coming down, now the long cold blah winter begins. Will have to make effort to spice things up! Who’s with me??

My Favorite Style Vloggers

While I’ve been a fan of reading blogs about various topics for a lonnng time, I’ve recently gotten turned onto watching YouTube vlogs. Watching style vlogs has become my evening dinner companion. Some people are addicted to reality television – I’m addicted to watching shopping hauls, seasonal capsule wardrobes and fitting room try-ons.

I thought I would share some of my favorite vloggers with you!

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  • Fat Girl Flow Carissa is so down-to-earth and really real. She does great online shopping haul videos and is very body positive. I just love her attitude!
  • CeCe Olisa: The Plus Size Princess Look, this gal got me to do EXERCISE. What’s not to love?? She does in-store fitting room videos, workout videos, lookbooks and more.
  • Learning to Be Fearless Alexandra is THE most darling girl! If my mother was alive she’d say, “go make friends with that cute Alexandra!” She looks amazing in pretty much everything and her hair and makeup skills are incredible. She’s a real life pretty pretty princess.

Capsule Wardrobe/Ethical Fashion (while I haven’t actually *committed* to shopping more ethically…it’s rolling around in my brain and eventually….)

  • My Green Closet Watching Verena’s vlogs is almost like meditating…she’s lovely and speaks in such a gentle way about living a simpler more ethical life. I feel better about myself just *watching* her.
  • Viviana Does Makeup I have really tried to not even Go There with the makeup videos, but I do enjoy watching the Viviana Does Style videos about her capsule wardrobe/wardrobe makeovers. Her outfit videos usually have me yelling at the computer “WHY DON’T ZARA/REISS/WHISTLES HAVE PLUS SIZES?!?” because I love EVERYTHING she wears.
  • Mademoiselle More capsule and ethical fashioning…but she’s also into Project 333 which is a whole *other* topic for me to get obsessed over…

Hair. Sigh. This is the most frustrating category for me because while I long to wear THE MESSY BUN my hair just doesn’t want to do that. I keep watching the video tutorials, though, and hopefully will someday hear the magic words that will make it all click for me.

  • The Small Things Blog Okay, aside from her simple and lovely hair and makeup tutorials, Katie just feels like your best friend, know what I mean? She’s the cutest, her husband and little boys are the cutest, her house is the cutest. I’ve been following her blog and Instagram for years.

If any of these are new to you, I hope you’ll give watching them a try…and I would love to hear some of *your* favorites!

 

Cleanin’ Out My Closet

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Well, I think the weather is *finally* going to hold here in NY and today I started switching out my winter clothes for spring and summer. I love pulling out all the big bulky sweaters and coats from the one narrow closet I have and having more SPACE. I keep my off-season clothes in a vintage metal clothing hamper and some in a tub in a storage unit. I stacked the spring/summer clothes from the hamper (sort of, ha) neatly on the bed…and now I don’t want to hang them up and lose the space (and empty hangers!) I just reclaimed by taking the cold-weather clothing out. Besides, Janey is napping on some linen slacks, so…PROCRASTINATION WINS.

The good news is I have two garbage bags-full of clothes to donate…and two garbage bags-full of clothes to post on Swap.com, an online clothing consignment site. I used to sell clothing on ebay and I am SO over all that…and with Swap.com I just send the clothes to them, they do all the annoying photographing, describing, listing and shipping, and I get a check when things sell. Easy-peasy! You can also buy clothes there, they have TONS of women’s plus-size items at thrift store prices. I’ll let you know how I make out with that.

I’m still editing down the amount of clothes I have and am focused on building a manageable capsule wardrobe. I don’t have room here for more than I need. For some reason the hardest things for me to let go of are the stretched out, holey, had-them-forever tops that I like to wear around the house or to take the dog on walks. Good “comfy but not precious” items are hard to come by. I can’t just *buy* something and relegate it to laying on the dog-hairy sofa and planting pansies in the outdoor pots duty. That’s a job for things that long ago re-couped their original investment so I no longer care if I ruin them. Am I crazy that way?

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This closet is an ongoing project. Every work vacation I say “I WILL take charge of that closet this week.” I have some time off at the end of this week…maybe I’ll have an “after” shot to show you soon. Maybe. It’s the only closet I have in the whole apartment so it becomes a catch-all for Everything That Doesn’t Have Anywhere Else to Go. I *would* love for it to be easier to walk in so I can reach things – and put clothes away – more easily. Because I hate going in there so much, during the week most of my clothes get tossed on my bike after wearing…until the pile gets so heavy that the bike threatens to go over. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.

I might finally break down and read that Marie Kondo organizing book, take EVERYTHING out of the closet, and only put back the things that bring me joy. Yeah. I’ll let you know how THAT goes, too.

What system do you have for not letting your wardrobe and closet get out of hand?