Monday is Memorial Day. While it is a solemn holiday, it is considered the kick-off to the barbecue and cook-out season. So today, sort through your paper products. Take inventory of your paper plates, plastic cups, plastic silverware, and paper napkins. Don’t buy more this summer if you don’t need to.
I actually did this about a month before my preschooler’s birthday this year. I realized that I had white plates, black plates, white and black damask plates, pink plates, and red plates, all from my preschooler’s previous birthday parties. (I also had red Christmas-themed cups and plastic Solo cups and a slew of white paper napkins.) And then I didn’t buy any paper products for her birthday this year because I had enough that matched the theme we went with.
One more thing: If you can avoid using paper and plastic disposable products, please do so. Not only are reusable products better for the environment than disposable products, but also you can save money over the life of the reusable products. I bought some gorgeous melamine, dishwasher-safe plates and bowls earlier this year from Big Lots for $2.50 each, and I love them.
Time required: Less than 5 minutes.
You should have sorted through your scarves yesterday. Today, you’ll need to organize them. Maybe you just have one and you have a hook on your closet door to store it on. But if you’re like me and you have more than a few scarves, you’ll need another way to organize them. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m cheap, so I tried just hanging them on a hanger for years. They were constantly falling off even non-slip hangers. I ultimately bought two scarf organizer hangers on clearance for around $5 from Burlington Coat Factory, and now all of my scarves are organized in one visible place–and I can move the hanger to the back of the closet during the summer.
If you’d like some different ideas for organizing your scarves, check out my Pinterest board on the topic:
Time required: I spent quite a bit of time in stores searching for a good organizer, but just five minutes organizing the scarves after I found it. Your mileage may vary, obviously, depending on the number of scarves you have and how you decide to store and organize them.
I’m sure that some of you have no scarves, but even though I lived in Florida for most of my life, I have a lot of them. However, I typically look back in the spring and realize that I did not wear all of them during the winter season. So in the interest of decluttering, I will need to donate or sell the ones I do not wear. This is one of the harder decluttering tasks for me because I truly love my scarves. But if I don’t wear them, they are simply wasting space.
So today, spend some time decluttering your scarves if you have them.
Time required: Five minutes. And yes, I did decide to donate one scarf. My uncle’s ex-wife bought it for me when I was in high school, she has been particularly vicious to him since their separation and subsequent divorce–oh, and it’s too short. 🙂
Now that you have sorted through your jewelry, you should figure out a way to store it. I bought a jewelry storage center at Marshalls about five ago for around $35, more than what I wanted to spend (secret: I’m cheap), but well worth it. The one I have holds bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and watches, so it’s multi-functional. If you are in the market to purchase a jewelry organizer, I would suggest looking at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross, and Bealls for decently priced organizers, but you might also see if your local craft boutique carries refinished vintage jewelry boxes.
If you’re looking for a less expensive or a do-it-yourself option, check out my new Pinterest board about how to organize your jewelry! (Again, this board is on my new Simplify. Declutter. Organize Pinterest profile for my new blog.)
If you have mostly rings, you could try a ring display case. Rings can also go in a ring dish, which can be something as simple as a $1.99 dipping bowl from Target or Pier 1. If you have a lot of necklaces and bracelets, you will need something different, obviously, something that will not allow these to become tangled. You can also combine these ideas and use, for example, the mug holder to hold bracelets and necklaces and dishes to hold your rings.
Time required: I organized my jewelry into my organizer five years ago. I spent about an hour on this task, and thanks to how complete my own organizer is, it has stayed organized! Your mileage will vary. Obviously, if you decide to build your own jewelry organizer–especially one of those beautiful wooden ones!–you will spend a great deal more time on this task.
By now, you should be finished or nearly finished sorting through your clothing. The task for the next few days is to sort through your jewelry.
If you have sentimental jewelry that you have no intention of wearing, I would recommend putting it in a safe or safe deposit box along with a note of the jewelry’s significance. Otherwise, if you have jewelry you haven’t worn in ages, consider donating it to the local thrift store. If you have damaged jewelry (I have a pearl necklace with a broken clasp, for example), get it repaired.
One note: I’ve simplified my worries in the last couple of years by focusing on wearing jewelry that doesn’t feel irreplaceable. For example, the “diamond” earrings and pendant I wear on a daily basis don’t contain real diamonds. I’m content now with lab-created sapphires and emeralds because I don’t worry about losing them in public. I still wear my diamond engagement ring, but other than that, most of my “public” jewelry was $50 or less.
Time required: An hour or so for me, mainly because I have a hard time parting with items with a sentimental attachment, such as the myriad pieces of jewelry I received over the years for participating in various weddings.
Whether you love it or hate it, daylight saving time went into effect in much of the United States last night. Today is a great day to check your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and fire extinguishers to ensure all are working.
Time required: 10 minutes here for four smoke alarms, one carbon monoxide alarm, and a one large fire extinguisher.
Yesterday, you prepared for organizing your closet. Now it’s just time to do it. Spend some time over the next two weeks trying on clothes, deciding what clothes fit, what clothes don’t, what clothes need maintenance, and what clothes just need to be donated because you don’t love them.
If you have clothing that needs to be mended, either start mending it on your own if you have sewing skills or find a tailor. If you can’t afford to take all of your to-be-mended clothing at one time, take one article of clothing to the tailor a week or month.
If you have clothing that you’ve outgrown but hope to get back into, I would suggest putting it into a storage container such as a Sterlite container. Give yourself 3 or 6 months. If you’re no closer to getting back into the clothing, sell or donate it.
One final issue: What do you do with old prom dresses and wedding dresses? I still have three of my favorite special occasion (two are prom dresses; one was for a Halloween party) dresses, and I still have my wedding dress. But I have donated all of my other special occasion dresses, several of them to charities that provide special occasion dresses for girls who might not be able to afford them otherwise. Do what feels comfortable to you.
Once you get to the end of this task, take a look at your closet and decide what you need, if anything. For example, I know I’m going to need to replace two of my turtleneck sweaters. (I know people make fun of them, but I think they are classic in black and white!) I need to find some dress flats, and my husband has encouraged me to replace my flip-flops and buy a pair of boots for winter. My husband needs a host of new polo shirts because his are fading despite my consistent usage of Woolite. (He also needs to discard a grey sweater that has a pull in it, but I think I am going to have to do that one day soon because he seems to be delaying that decision.)
Use this time over the next few weeks to purge your closet and freshen your wardrobe.
Time required: Days and days. But fortunately, less than 5 minutes a day. 🙂