Check your smoke alarms and fire extinguisher.

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.

Sort through the clothing in your closet.

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.  🙂

Prepare to organize your closet.

Organizing a closet is one of the most frequently searched organization topics on Google search.  Unless you have very little clothing, this task will require some time–and some preparation.

You might begin by creating some closet dividers.  I cut some with my Silhouette Cameo and have used them to separate my clothing into the following groups:

  • Clothing I can wear and love!
  • Clothing I can wear but don’t love and should consider donating
  • Clothing I can no longer wear (and need to discard)
  • Clothing that needs maintenance (such as sweaters that need shaving or pants and shirts that need to be mended)

A simpler way to organize might be to try the Sex and the City method of closet organizing:

  • Keep
  • Toss
  • Store

I personally don’t want clothing in storage, but I have friends who store winter clothing in the summer and summer clothing in the winter.  As usual, I suggest you do what works for you.

My husband organized his closet with dividers much like mine, but his dividers are marked M, T, W, R, and F.  Each weekend, he ensures that he has enough cleaned, pressed clothing to last through the end of the week.

One more thing:  Consider using this time to replace hangers if you so choose.  I personally prefer the black non-slip hangers that are 2 for $1 at Dollar Tree.  If my budget were more hefty, I would consider wooden hangers.

Time required:  About an hour, but that time included making organizers using my Silhouette Cameo and replacing all of our plastic and wire hangers with consistent ones.

Sort through your shoes.

Now that you’ve sorted through your socks and undergarments, spend today sorting through all of your shoes.  If they are worn, either have them repaired or discard them.  Replace them if need be.  Also decide if you really need to keep all of your shoes.  I have friends whose pairs of shoes have reached the triple digits.  If you have as many (or just slightly less), determine if you really wear all of those.  If not, consider streamlining them.

If you’re a female, consider abandoning your high heels.  They have been bad for my ankles and my knees as well.  Talk to your doctor and weigh the benefits (if any) of wearing them.  But as I always say, “You do you.”  Just keep in mind that when you get older, you may have knee and ankle problems if you have worn high heels frequently in your younger days.  (Ask me how I know!)

Finally, if your shoe storage is less than satisfactory, figure out how you want to store your shoes.  You can store them underneath your bed or in your clothes closet.  You can use crates or Rubbermaid containers (although the latter takes up a lot of room!).  I personally store all of our family member’s shoes in a divided hanging closet organizer in our foyer closet.  This storage decision ensures that very little dirt comes in our front door.  Our outside shoes are by the back door in our garage, again so that we don’t bring dirt inside our house.  Eventually, I intend to build a bench in the garage, one that will hold our outdoor shoes, too.  I tried one of those boot trays, but it broke more quickly than I believed it should have, and I won’t replace it at this point.  (My husband and I have already built a similar storage bench for our dining room, and I’ll post pictures of it later.)

So spend some time today sorting through your shoes, and then store your shoes away tomorrow.  I’ve devoted two days to this task because you may need to go buy whatever storage method you decide on.

Time required:  About 45 minutes for me.  I tried on a pair of high-heeled shoes I thought I might want to keep and decided after wearing them for about 40 minutes that I should just sell or donate them because they were excruciatingly painful.  I’m not representative of other people, though, because I have fewer than five pairs of shoes.  Also, I established our shoe storage situation two years ago when we bought our house, so I spent no time on that task.

Sort through your undergarments.

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Use today to toss stretched-out, ragged bras and faded underwear. Buy yourself some new ones if necessary.  Then use drawer organizers to keep your undergarments organized and laundry bags to keep them together and in good shape in the wash. I always recommend air drying bras, by the way.  (More on that later.)

I recommend these drawer organizers and these laundry bags.

Time required:  15 minutes.

Sort through your sock drawer.

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Today’s task is easy.  Sort through your sock drawer. Discard any socks with holes in them.  Discard any socks that have (permanently lost their mates.  (Remember that clutter frequently represents postponed decisions, so if you can’t find the mate after a quick search, just toss the sock.)  And if you’re like me and plan never to wear pantyhose again, throw away any you have.

If you have some spare change and your white socks are totally dingy, consider discarding those and replacing them.  You can try washing them first with OxiWhite or bluing agent (read those directions carefully!)–or you can do what I did a few years ago and boil those babies, but I really didn’t think it helped enough to warrant trying that tactic again.

If you’re like me and you hate to waste those individual socks, consider using them for some other purpose.  For example, I have used some to apply oil-based stain to wood.  I still use my husband’s sturdy old black military socks to clean with over four years after he separated from the military.

Two more things:  I recommend using a drawer organizer for your sock drawer.  I use these, and I like them.  And when I fold clothes, I always roll my socks the way my husband was taught at boot camp.  Look up “how to roll your socks” on YouTube.  And I recommend putting your socks in a sturdy laundry bag as soon as you take them off to keep any from getting lost.

Time required:  5 minutes, but I had only six pairs of socks and three pairs of pantyhose.

Easy, Quick, Inexpensive Upgrades: Change Out Mismatched Light Switches

Disclaimer:  My husband has electrical experience.  If you do not have electrical experience, you likely should not attempt this improvement; instead hire an electrician or skip this update.

Remember how my husband and I switched out our light switch plates?

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Our white switch plates still did not match the beige/cream switches.  And worse, many of the light switches in this house were black–or worse, were originally black but had been painted white.  Ugh.  So ugly!

For a couple of dollars and less than 10 minutes of time each, my husband was able to switch out these light switches.


So much better!