Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Ten Commandments of Thrifting

I'll be the first to admit that I have a shopping problem.
The problem is that I don't get to do enough ;)
I LOVE to shop, and I love clothes, as my last post detailed completely redoing my closet I'm sure it's no surprise to you all that I am a total clothes horse. Where did that saying come from anyways???
Since we moved to a bigger town I have found the remedy to what ails me!

Thrift Shopping!
Don't get me wrong, I thrifted pretty often in our last spot, but donations weren't as great, the material only got rotated out every few months, and it just wasn't quite my scene. Where we live in Utah we have what is lovingly referred to as the D.I., short for Deseret Industries. This is a HUGE thrift store chain that you can find throughout Utah, Idaho, Arizona and a few other spots and they are AMAZING! For whatever reason people love to donate to the D.I. resulting in lots of items to shop from and I love to shop there! In the three months we have been here I have been there 4-5 times. Each time I find new stuff, great deals, and I notice that I'm not just cycling through the stuff I saw last time which is nice. They move a lot of product, and I can appreciate that.

Over these visits I have found some fun stuff I am going to share with you all today, and a few tips I have learned on the way, " The Ten Commandments of Thrifting" if you will,  which you may or may not have picked up on yourself.

1.Shop in season. Not only will they have more of what season you are in, or about to go into to, but then you can wear it right away which is not only exciting, but can insure that the item will fit if you wear it within two weeks of purchasing, rather than 6 months.
I really wanted to buy winter clothes over the summer and had zero luck at any thrift stores through Arizona, New Mexico AND Utah. Lesson learned.

2.Shop your current size. I know, I know you hear it in every women's magazine article ever, but more often than not if you buy something in the wrong size in hopes that the piece will be inspirational, or "this will be good for later", you generally (if you are like me) will just end up sticking it in the spare room, or in the back of your closet and you may forget about it and then it's been eight months and all you can think is, "Where did this come from?" and "This doesn't even fit, how discouraging.". Save the time and money and buy stuff that fits right this very moment and that you can enjoy now!

3.Buy like new. When you buy thrift items that need some sort of repair we tend to put them by the wayside and forget about them. Also, who wants to buy something and then have to mend a bunch of stuff...I don't even get to the mending of stuff I bought new and wore out. I like to wash and wear when I thrift shop, if I can't wash and wear it, I don't buy it.

4.Be choosy. It can be easy to buy a lot at thrift stores because things are so inexpensive, but I live by the "Love It" rule. If I don't walk out excited by the piece, or regretting that I didn't pick it up in an instant to insure someone else doesn't snag it, then I probably don't love it, and I will live without it.
I don't want to buy a bunch of t-shirts that are just so-so to fill up a closet when I can have two or three pieces that I am super excited to wear and make me feel fantastic.

5. Exchange! Not all thrift stores have an exchange policy, but the ones that do be sure to utilize! I bought a pair of shoes the other day that I thought I would love but once I got them home I saw that they didn't really fit my wardrobe and I still had the original tags, receipt and it was within the allotted days of return. I took them back, got in store credit and got one of the above dresses instead!

6. Go often. If you can, try to stop by often, even if it's only for five minutes between kid pickups and doctors appointments. Do a quick sweep of your favorite spots (furniture, shoes, art, etc.), and be back the next week or two to check them out again, this is how you get really great finds. Most people don't have time to stop by a lot, but I know some people who work from home that go once a week and have found famous original art, impeccable furniture pieces, funky costumes and some stellar brand name clothing all because they frequent their favorite spots.

7. Have a budget. I go in knowing I have $20 for two weeks worth of thrifting and I see what I can do with that. Some mom and pop shops will be willing to haggle, but some stops not so much. Give it a shot and see what you can get, it never hurts to ask.

8. Know when to say no. There are a few things I won't buy at thrift stores; underwear, lingerie, bed sheets, beauty products, to name a few. Everyone has different ideas of what is ok to buy used, you'll have to decide that for yourself, but please keep safety and sanitation at the top of your priority list! Also, sometimes you just have to use your better judgment and know when an item just won't look as great in your closet, or in your home, as it looks amongst all the other junk treasures surrounding it.

I almost took this fun guy home, I love the kitschy look, but the giant crack in the top and my husbands lack of enthusiasm persuaded me otherwise.

9. Know when to make an exception. Every once in a blue moon you will find something that defies all odds of logic or common sense, this item HAS to go home with you or you might just die right there in the middle of the hoards of 1970's furniture. This item is your thrifting unicorn. This is a very special rule, be careful not to abuse it, but every once in a while you will find an item that just makes you cry with happiness. Whether it is a abstract velvet bull fighter paining, or a clown clock that whistles at you, this item has to live with you forever despite what your logic tells you. Be careful what you choose as your unicorn, you only get a few! But absolutely have fun with it.

10. Wash everything! Just do it. Before anything else, everything must be appropriately washed and or sanitized.

I love thrifting! I often walk in the door not knowing exactly what I am looking for, but what I find is always fun (and sometimes I don't find anything which is fine too!). Use these suggestions as guidelines on your own thrifting adventures. Thrifting is great for me because it combines my limited shopping budget with my love to shop and my longing for quarkiness. There is really really really something out there for everyone.

Give it a shot and share your best finds with us, and any other great tips! If I get enough of your cool finds I will do a compilation post!

*All items pictured above (excluding amazing table) were found at thrift stores and now happily live in my closet*

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Living a Life You Love: Tip #5-Try New Things

Tip #5 in a week long series on Living a Life You Love.
Click the links to read the series IntroTip #1Tip #2, Tip #3, and Tip #4

Tip #5: Try New Things

If we only ever did things that were completely in our comfort zones or aligned with our interests we wouldn't do a lot. Especially as couples, friends, or families.

If you go with an attitude of supporting your family/spouse/roommate/friend in their interests, and if you are more interested in them and enjoying time together than you are in yourself, you'll likely have a fabulous time. 
Cameron and I have vastly different interests and comfort zones. We've tried new food, seen new sites, and done new things we probably would have never done if we only ever stayed in our own comfort zones. 

I'm not big into viewing historical buildings, but Cameron loves it. He's wanted to check out La Posada for a while now and I've resisted some. But we finally went not too long ago and I am in love with the place. I want to go back and watch the trains, try the food, sit under the trees, walk the labyrinth, play the green grand piano, etc. If I'd been a butt and declared we weren't going because historic buildings aren't my thing, I'd be missing out on a huge gem and some fun family memories already. 

You won't see the things we do on "Top 10 Things You Must See/Do Before You Die" lists, pinned on Vacation boards on Pinterest, or talked about on BuzzFeed articles. Someday we would love to do some big trips, but we're not going to quit living until then. For us, living life every day and trying to add joy to life is important now. When we are finally able to take the big trips, they will be built on all the memories and experiences of these "small" things, and it'll mean so much more!

Taking time to live life does inspire our work and our lives. We see it, but sometimes we have such a hard time convincing others. I promise it makes a difference. When we wait for our circumstances to bring us joy, we are never fully satisfied with life. Create that joy in your life. Live a life you love!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Living a Life You Love: Tip #4-Serve

Tip #4 in a week long series on Living a Life You Love.
Click the links to read the series IntroTip #1, Tip #2, and Tip #3

Tip #4: Find Someone to Serve. 

One of the quickest ways to forget your worries, fears, or struggles is to throw your heart into doing something for someone else.

Take cookies.
Leave a kind note on a door.
Do yard work.
Sit and visit with someone who's lonely.
Take a walk with a stay at home mom and her kids.
Volunteer at the library
Pay for the person behind you in line at the movies.

It doesn't have to be elaborate, or even cost you anything.

You will make new friends, develop deeper connections, and can learn so much about yourself, others, and even your surrounding area that you'd never know.

And even if work doesn't sound fun, if you have the right heart it can turn into such a fun and happy experience!

It's hard to serve someone and see the happiness it brings and not feel happy yourself. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Living a Life You Love: Tip #3-Be the Bright Spot

Tip #3 in a week long series on Living a Life You Love.
Click the links to read the series IntroTip #1, and Tip #2

Tip #3: Be the Bright Spot

Too often we don't go do something because we're waiting for just the right people to go with. A trip like Disney Land, I could see that! But when it comes to mini-vacations and exploring where you live, sometimes you have to just venture forth, even if maybe the social aspect isn't what you'd dream it to be. 

-Be the bright spot in a group of grays
Sometimes you find yourself with people who are determined to be miserable. That's hard! Don't join them in the pool of woes and misery. Keep positive. Be goofy if you have to. Some may lighten up and realize they are pulling themselves down. Some may just roll their eyes at you and stay grumps. One of my favorite memories while working at the fudge shop was a lady who was just cranky and upset about everything. She was getting after me, complaining about the fudge, criticizing the displays, and just couldn't find anything nice to say. Rather than falling to her level, or even trying to ignore her, I tried an experiment. 

"You're right! Those pieces of fudge are big! How fun to have a piece of fudge to munch on slowly all afternoon!" "Good point, those rows of truffles are crooked. We'll get them lined up so they look beautiful!" "I haven't ever put a pendant on my scarf either. Your scarf is sure pretty though! It matches your eyes!" It got where I had to try to not giggle...this had become a game and I was not about to let her ruin my day. She paid and left. A few minutes later she came back in because I'd given her one too many quarters for her change, and apologized. "Here you were being so sweet to me and I was just awful. I'm sorry. Thank you for not stooping to my level." I just grinned and wished her a good rest of her day. I'd never expected that. I was just doing what I could to not let her mood bring my day down. 

We won't always be able to snap someone out of a cranky mood, but we can keep ourselves from joining them in the pit of despair. 

-Involve the Kids, even if they're cranky. 
If there are young children involved in your life right now it can be so hard to find the oomph to do anything some days. Especially when they are being less than pleasant to be around. Some days those are the days we need to do something the most! We as adults have bad days and days when it's hard to stay cheerful. We have to remember kids do too. Sometimes doing something as a family, or even just as a mom and child during the day, can been sanity savers.
Pop popcorn and snuggle as a family while watching a kids film instead of each tuning in on your own devices. 
Go for a walk. Even if it's around the neighborhood. 
Visit a local touristy spot, even if the kids are crying. 

Some of our recent explorations and family time have been on days Darrow was less than happy (at least not at first...sometimes he cheered up as we went), but boy did we need them. Usually it turned what could have been a miserable evening at home with all of us on short tempers into something we could handle and was less tense.

He's running away from me, crying. He did not want me, he wanted Dad. 

"Neat mom. Stone trees. It's hot. Let's go." 

But what if you don't even have a group to be the bright spot in?! 

Go it alone if you have to!

Whether it's because your honey is working that day and you aren't, you're flying solo in life right now, or you just need some time away from people, don't think you can't build a life you love because you don't have the prefect group or companion to go along with. You can be a bright spot just for yourself and the strangers that pass you. 

Now, I'm not saying abandon your spouse every time you get a whim, but sometimes I think we find ourselves opting out of things we'd love to do because we don't want to go it alone. Before Darrow was born I'd take myself out to lunch at a new restaurant every few months. I loved it! It was rejuvenating. If I didn't want to spend money on a full meal I'd wander around downtown and window shop (and...usually that ended in spending $1.50 on a piece of heavenly fudge). 

If you wait to live and love life until everyone is off work, not busy, in a pleasant mood, and all in agreement, you're going to end up mad at life. Be the bright spot!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Living a Life You Love: Tip #2-Just Do It

Tip #2 in a week long series on Living a Life You Love.
Click the links to read the series Intro and Tip #1

Tip #2: Just Do It.

I'm going all Nike on you here. Just do it. Quit making excuses.

Want to join water aerobics, but your friends think it's weird? Jump in the pool anyway! Be the weird kid! Want to go see the birds take off from the lake in the morning? Set the alarm...it's only that one morning of getting up early, not a life time of lost sleep! Want to see a funky little shop you passed last week? Stop by on your way to the grocery store just to take a peek!

So many times we come up with excuses to not do things that we really would love to do. some excuses really are legitimate. Like if you only have $15 in your bank account and driving up the mountain to go camping would take $20 in gas. Or a broken foot keeping you from running a marathon. Obviously there are real excuses to not do things. I'm not talking about those though. I'm talking about excuses like not doing something neat because you don't want to miss the next episode of Once Upon a Time. Those excuses are the ones that kill the magic. 

Not too long ago we looked up the best time to see Fall Foliage near here and found it was the peak weekend. But it was already 3PM on Sunday. We were half way through the long weekend and the colors were at least an hours drive away. We hemmed and hawed for half an hour.  There's not much time left. I don't want to pack the car. I don't want to unpack the camping gear and clean up after. I'm tired. We don't have good camping food. What if Darrow hates camping and it's miserable? Excuse after excuse rolled out. 

Thankfully we finally just decided to bite the bullet and do it. By 4:10 we'd thrown the tent, clothes, blankets, pillows, and various food items in the car and we headed out. We got to the north end of the mountain at sunset with just enough light to get camp set up. It was chilly, the ground was hard (my neck and shoulder still hurt a week later...I'm a wuss), and we had bean burritos for dinner. It wasn't the most comfortable and yummy camping experience, but we enjoyed visiting, sitting by the fire, looking at the stars, and watching Darrow explore with his tiny flashlight. 

In the morning we broke camp at sunrise, finished the driving tour around the mountain to see the colors, did some Halloween costume supply shopping, and went back home. It wasn't a vacation you'll see on Pinterest. We hurt. I had more laundry to do than normal. We were tired from the lack of sleep. But it was completely worth it! We feel closer together as a family. It makes us smile. It made it easier to jump into this next week. And we have some fun memories! 

Had we kept hemming and hawing and making excuses we would have missed this. We wouldn't have these memories of Darrow's first camping trip, of the leaves (not spectacular by East Coast standards, but pretty good for AZ!), seeing the spectacular night sky, or the family time.

Moral of the story:

Let go of your excuses and fears and just go do it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Living a Life You Love: Tip #1-Explore Where You Live

Yesterday I talked about mine and Cameron's philosophy behind building a life you love and learning to be content with your life. There are different things we do to help this, and I'm excited to get to share some of those with you this week! 

Today I figured I'd start with one of our favorite tips. 

Explore where you live.

"But there's nothing to do here."
"I've been everywhere!" 
"Why? I live here! I want to get away!" 

I know. Exploring your town, especially if you don't live somewhere big and diverse, can seem incredibly boring and lame. 

I promise, this is seriously one of our biggest tricks to falling in love with where we are. It's like making a crescive bond with a city (see the last post for an explanation of crescive bonds)! 

Winslow isn't big. You won't find things here on "Top 20 things to do or see in Arizona!" lists. But we're really coming to love it! We are slowly getting to know the city and the surrounding areas, and in the process we're making memories. These aren't big "I'll remember this for the rest of my life!!" memories, but they are feel good memories, family bonding memories, happy times. 

Sometimes people we've talked to about this have found it difficult to figure out how to tell where to go. Sometimes people resist this idea because they are afraid a place they go may be boring. Sometimes they just want to be entertained rather than being actively engaged. I can completely understand these fears! Cameron's helped me move past them a lot. We explore way more now than we did the first few years of our marriage. Don't go to be entertained, go to experience, to bond, and to look. You never know what you'll discover! 

Now, how do you go about exploring where you live? Here are our tips: 

1. Visit Local Parks
Check out that tiny square of green on the chamber of commerce map. Look at the local 9/11 memorial statue. Stroll down the "River Park" walk next to that dried up arroyo everyone calls the river. It doesn't have to be spectacular! Just discover! 
We've just been going to the closest playground park, but finally went to check out a park downtown and were blown away. It's beautiful! You can watch the trains go by, it's quiet (well...when a train's not going by), it's long and thing and windy, and well taken care of. It'll be a nice spot if we want to do a quiet picnic dinner sometime without the constant noise of the playground park. 

2. Tour historic buildings in town.
We just recently discovered the amazing La Posada Hotel. How did it take us 2 1/2 months to go check this place out?!?! It's absolutely spectacular. 

I want to go there all the time now. It's a restored Harvey House that serves as a hotel, restaurant, gallery, Amtrak station, and walking grounds. I was seriously blown away. I felt like I stepped out of sagebrush mesa land and into a whole different world. There was even a great hay bale labyrinth there to set Darrow loose in. I'd driven by there so many times out to Cameron's work, and never knew I was missing a gem behind the vegetation and adobe wall. 

3. Visit the state, county, and national parks nearby.
Not all of them have entrance fees! The Little Painted Desert County Park here is free versus the Painted Desert National Park fee of $20...and we like the Little Painted Desert better anyway! It just drops out suddenly and is unreal!! We took a last minute drive up there and didn't expect much. We rave about it to everyone now! 

Many State and National Parks do have fees, and we know those can add up. If you're in an area rich with parks, it may be worth it to you to look into annual passes.

In Silver City we visited the free ones, and then only the Cliff Dwellings and White Sands a few times. They were just far enough away that we knew we wouldn't go often. Here though we have so many National Parks within a Day Trip distance that we decided to spring for the America the Beautiful Pass for $80. We would have never done that in Silver because we wouldn't have gotten our use out of it. We've had it for 2 months now and we've already used up $40 worth in entrance fees, and that's only with hitting 2 National Parks!! There are still 3 more within 2 hours of us. That'll reach our $80 limit easy and then we're getting extra visits out of the pass. 

4. Look up festivals in your town and drop in for an afternoon. I'm not a huge Blues fan, but I do love dropping in on the Blues Fest in Silver City just to see and experience. We found a vendor that sells the best green chile powder mix. We've gone back every year to the Blues Fest just to find that guy and get us our next year's worth of seasoning! We'd never have found him if we hadn't given the Blues Fest a chance!

5. Window shop and wander downtown. 
The first place I'd send people in Silver City is downtown to walk and check it out. 

You can just window shop, look at old buildings, eat, or do real shopping. I spent many afternoons checking out the stores there and just poking around. My favorite fudge shop ever, an excellent New Mexico enchilada plate, a funky clothing store, vintage dresses, thrift stores, and great art are all hidden away down there. I would have never discovered most of those if I hadn't gone exploring! Plus, it supports the local economy and business owners! They love knowing you are interested in them and it's a great way to make new friends! 
This is also how we discovered the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson!

6. Still having trouble finding things to do? Search online. 
Google "Things to do in (your city/county/state here)." Sure, you'll get a bunch of expensive things, but you'll find some treasures as well. Other great google searches are "Day trips near..." "Hikes around..." "Family fun in...." and "Free things to do in..." Don't be afraid to read blog posts. Sometimes those have the best info on the little known and the under explored!

So, don't wait to get out of town to start exploring. Get to know every nook and cranny of your town or city!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Living a Life you Love

Everywhere Cameron and I have lived (5 towns now), we have had people tell us the same thing. "You guys know all the places to see around here!" We've only lived here in Winslow 2 months now and we've heard that twice from people! We don't feel like we're out scouring town every night, or off on adventures every week, but somehow we do tend to know the funky little hikes around, the delicious Mom and Pop restaurants, the festivals, and the sites to see. Most are free or cheap (because that's how we roll).

Exploring where we live is important to us. It is a vital part of our relationship as a couple, our relationship as a family, and our relationship with ourselves. We'd felt this way from the start of our marriage but last year an article from the #StayMarried blog gave us more of a social-scientific explanation: "There is a term in sociology called the 'crescive bond' - the bond created between people through shared experiences - which is vital for healthy family relationships."
"Families have memories, inside jokes, and crazy stories together. However dysfunctional family can be, the thing that brings us back together over and over again is that crescive bond and those irreplaceable memories. Taking a trip together, whether it's a two hour road trip, or an international adventure, helps create those shared experiences much more than simply going through the motions of your everyday life." 

Now, we love our Netflix binges every now and again. We love evenings at home. But sometimes we get in a rut and that's all we do. It's these times that our relationship suffers, our satisfaction with life suffers, and we find ourselves less happy with ourselves. It's so easy to come up with reasons to not do things. We're too tired. It's getting close to Darrow's bedtime. We're broke. I'm cranky. Cameron has lesson plans to write. You can ALWAYS find an excuse. 

However, when we get past our excuses and just do it we find out this exact thing over and over again:

It's so true! Going on a sunset walk through the artsy district of town doesn't really give me ideas on how to be a better mom to Darrow, but it does make me feel closer to my family and want to serve them more (and my family is definitely part of my work!). Touring a historic building doesn't give Cameron much by way of lesson material for his Biology class, but he feels so much more relaxed and has more of a clear mind when he is working on his lesson plans. And Darrow is much much happier when we get out of the house and do anything even for 10 minutes...it inspires his play and obedience.

Now Cameron and I are horrible budgeters. Horrible!! We'd love to take big international trips, but we also really love that mole enchilada from E&O's Restaurant, taking last minute car rides out to see a local site, making new food at home together, and visiting family. When we look at the big picture we can't say that a big trip to Scotland would make us happier than doing these small things we love. We've come to learn that creating a life we love is so much more important than trying to escape a life we hate every now and again for an occasional fun vacation only to have to come back to our dreaded existence. Some people are lucky enough to afford both, but that's not us right now. And I imagine that's not many of you either. So instead of dreaming of escape, we've learned to make our lives something we don't mind living in. Something we love.

Now, of course there are things that are less that awesome about life. Jobs aren't ideal. Kids can be tough. Houses never stay clean. Things get hard. But there will always be hard, dumb, and less than savory things in life at any given time. The trick is to not focus on those. The trick is to learn to love life despite the trials and the mundane. 

Easy to type. Easy to agree with. NOT EASY to do. But Not Easy doesn't mean Impossible.

We've come up with our approach to this. We've found ways to build lives we love no matter where we live. Tiny house, ranch house in mountains, desert apartment, student life, parents life, summer jobs, etc. Are we happy 100% of the time and always optimistic and cheery. Of course not! But we've learned how to be content, and that is a huge step towards finding happiness in life no matter where you are. Learning to be content has taken us some years and a lot of work, but it has changed us and how we look at life. It made this recent move so much easier and more enjoyable. It's been a game-changer in our happiness as a couple, a family, and as individuals. 

Each day this week I'm going to share one thing we do to build lives we love and to become content with what we have rather than pining over what we're missing out on. I realize this approach won't be everyone's cup of tea, but maybe this will inspire you somehow if you're looking for a way to build a life you love.

I can't wait to see you tomorrow morning for Tip #1!

Links to each Tip will go live when the posts are published on the blog (7AM MST Tuesday-Saturday this week)

Tip #1: Explore Where You Live 
Tip #2: Just Do It
Tip #3: Be the Bright Spot
Tip #4: Serve
Tip #5: Try New Things

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe, Take Two!

Good morning!
Those of you who have followed us for a while may remember when I did a capsule wardrobe post a while back, you can find that here for a refresher. I was a little hesitant because it was so different from what I had done in the past, but I ended up really liking it! Fast forward to now...we have graduated college, moved states, changed schools, and careers and my closet looks like this on any given day...

Or this...

Either way you look at it, it's not great. I feel disorganized when I walk into the closet, I feel like I can't make a cohesive thought and I don't feel like I can really see what I am doing or what I have to choose from as far as what to wear that day. This closet is significantly smaller than the one in our last apartment, I miss the old closet SO much! I will probably never have a closet like this again! :o
My beautiful old closet. This one was probably 2.5x the size of the one I have now.
Whose to say though that the closet I currently have can't be an oasis??
First off, what is a capsule wardrobe?
As far as I have understood, from various fashion and lifestyle blogs, magazines, websites I have gathered info from over the year(s) it is a wardrobe that reflects only the current season and is restricted to (+ or -) 40 pieces that you mix and match to have a more cohesive look. This is supposed to include bottoms, tops, shoes, scarves, coats, vests etc.
This can be HARD! There are pieces you can become attached to, pieces that don't fit that you want to keep "Just in case", and pieces that were gifts that you just can't part with!
There are several steps to this kind of change. First take everything out of your closet. Everything!
Lucky for me I just did a massive take down on all of my stuff earlier this year so this step was small for me today. Marquette and I had a HUGE yard sale this summer, we ended up having five families participate and we each made sever hundred dollars! Woohoo! I sold most everything I owned, the majority of the stuff I had leftover were clothing items.
Here are all my clothes out of my closet:
Ah! Panic attack! I'm a total clothes horse in case you didn't know...
Next, go through each piece and section them out into groups; Fall wardrobe yes, fall wardrobe maybe, out of season wardrobe, donate, and trash.
I didn't have any trash, and seeing as I just went through everything a few months ago I only had a few donate pieces, but here is my first round of categorizing.
 Obviously some pieces are out of season here in mid-October in northern Utah...
Then I had to attach the yes pile and lighten it up, somehow I had 20 extra pieces in my yes pile...having too many options for clothing everyday can be overwhelming. A lot of times certain pieces will always go unworn, or it can be difficult to know what to choose when you have so many options, this system really helps you pick pieces that you enjoy wearing, and because you only get so many you tend to pick pieces that go with more instead of that one shirt that only goes into one outfit.
Next I categorized my yes selection of 38 pieces into skirts, button-ups, shirts, sweaters, causal tops, bottoms, and dresses.

I should note that I don't count undershirts that I use for modest coverage in the final count because I don't ever wear them by themselves, they are just for added length or sleeves. Also, this time around I didn't count shoes because I don't have a separate closet for those so they stay in the room and I just thought it would be silly to only allow myself to wear three pairs of shoes when I have them all in the same place. Shoes have never really been a tough choice as far as wardrobe goes for me so I wasn't too worried about it. I also don't count jewelry, underwear,workout gear  or socks in this count for obvious reasons..."Well I only get 38 pieces and I need at least 7 pairs of underwear and at least 2 bras...that's 9, and then socks...does each sock count as one?! Ah!"
Now that you have your final count, you can start putting stuff back into the closet (after it is picked up and organized a bit).
Next is the fun part! Bring in your new organized closet!
Organized shoes and purses (the tote beneath this is rain/snow and cowboy boots).
 Various coats, and undershirts.
Chip even went through his stuff and has his fall wardrobe.
 My final selections!
I think this looks SO much better!! What all do you think?!
In case you were wondering where my other stuff went, and maybe you are thinking, man I wish my closet looked like that...I present to you the spare room closet of horrors...
This has three seasons worth of clothing for two people and all our other random junk...so much for organization.
I hope this was helpful to someone, I love having my organized capsule wardrobe, it makes it easier to get ready in the morning because all of your options are right there and they all go together (for the most part). Has anyone tried this? How did it go for you?! Any other tips I'm missing or I could use would be great!
Have a great weekend!
Before                                                           After