Category Archives: Organization

How To Survive the Summer Commute

Because I am a true California girl, summer is by far my most favorite season of the year. I love the long days, endless blue skies, and the super warm weather, not to mention the nights we are able to BBQ and dine al fresco at our local eateries.

However, one thing I do not love is my long commute in the blazing heat! Sure, I have a working air conditioner (thank goodness for that), but with a long drive and black interior in my car, it sometimes feels like I am heading to and from the office in my oven.

There are a few simple items that have really helped make my commute just a tad bit easier. The best part? Most of them are simple staples that you probably already have laying around!

Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This type of water bottle is an absolute essential for me. When looking for a bottle, I found out that one of the most popular brands is S’well. I must admit I was a little surprised at their cost per bottle ($25-$35). What could be so fabulous about this type of water bottle? However, after a sip of surprisingly still cool water from my water bottle after it sat in 100+ heat for an hour, it became very clear that the money was well spent!

I keep this filled up for my drive to and from work, and I am happily refreshed with cool water whenever I need to take a sip.

Windshield Sun Shade

I have to admit this is a relatively new addition to my car’s accessories. Whenever I thought of windshield sunshades, I was immediately transported back to the 1990s with accordion-style cardboard shades (which were just plain awful!). However, I am excited to announce that the market carries a number of different options, which hopefully make them a bit easier to use. I chose a two-piece vinyl material option, which actually folds up into a very small bundle. While it takes an extra minute or so to put it up, I’m always so grateful to return to a car that hasn’t had the front seats baking in the sun for hours (hello shorts, skirts and dresses!).

Old Towel

Along the lines mentioned above, grabbing an old towel to throw in your trunk is such a great idea. I cannot explain how many times I have thrown it over my driver’s seat leather to provide a little extra coverage from sun coming from one of the side windows. It’s also a great accessory to have when you’re wearing your cute summer outfit and you cringe when your bare leg hits your car’s warm interior. Nothing genius about this idea, just a nice-to-have.

Lip Balm

I am a major lip balm queen and typically have a tube of this in just about everything I carry. However, I find that it’s not always super accessible. I leave a tube of my favorite balm (Burt’s Bees) in my drink holders for a quick moisturizing swipe through my commute. While I have found other brands tend to get mushy when they are left in a hot car, Burt’s Bees seems to hold up a bit better (though it definitely softens a bit).

Extra Sunglasses

Sunglasses are my other must-have during the summer. Like lip balm, I tend to have a few pairs in different work bags and purses, but always seem to find myself scrambling for a pair when I get into the car. I like to conveniently keep a back-up pair of sunglasses in my door compartment. That way, whether I have my purse within arm’s reach or not, I have something to get me through the drive.

For those of you that commute through the hot summer, I hope these tip help make your drive a bit more convenient! Happy Summer!

Organizing Camisoles

For many people, camisoles are a wardrobe essential and it’s easy to accumulate a collection. I’ve tried a few different ways for organizing camisoles. My favorite, by far, is on a belt hook.

Before I tell you why – I’d like to show you a few other options you could consider for your wardrobe based on your organizing style and preferences.

On Hangers

  • One hanger for every camisole. If you like to hang clothing and have ample closet-rod space, this could be a nice option for you. It allows you to easily see each camisole and its details such as color, length and trim. For my closet, though, this method took up too much rod space.
  • Camisoles organized by color, per hanger. This method lasted a few months for my closet. I love that it was more compact than the previous method mentioned, but I found that I wasn’t a fan of having to remove some camisole straps to get to another that was a layer or two deep. You may want to give this a try!

  • Camisoles on shower rings, all on a single hanger. I’ve seen on Pinterest and some other blogs that people love this method. I can see why. It’s a space saver, for sure. However, having to unlock the closure of the ring every time I wanted a camisole wasn’t a fit for my organizing style, so this method lasted about a week before I scrapped it. Given how popular this seems to be, it may work for you, so don’t knock it ‘til you try it!

Folded in Drawers

  • If you like to fold rather than hang, this could work for you. My only qualm is that this method makes it hard to discern the differentiators for each camisole such as the length of the top or if it has detailing such as lace trim. If I had more drawer space, I might consider this as my second favorite method, but the belt hook won out! Tip: consider separating the folded camisoles using a sock-drawer divider with labels for an even faster way to find the one you’re looking for.

On a Belt Hook

  • This is my winner (so far – never know what the future holds!). With this method, it’s so easy to see what I have and it’s super easy to take out each item and put it back. I keep this in my closet on the rod, but you could hang it somewhere else in your home, of course.

While you may think it’s trivial to spend so much thought and time organizing something as simple as a camisole, when you combine it with the other organization tools I’ve put into my wardrobe, getting dressed is a breeze, since a lot of the stress and guesswork has been taken out of the process.

What are some of your favorite things to organize for a more streamlined day?

Decluttering Dilemma: Does it Spark Joy?

In the popular book by Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she recommends that as you sort through your belongings, you hold each item to help you determine whether it sparks joy. If the item doesn’t spark joy, you should remove it from your home (e.g., donate it, recycle it, repurpose it or toss it, as appropriate).

If I hold an item and it’s not sparking joy, then what is it sparking? Oftentimes, for me, it’s guilt.

I’ve been known to hold a beautiful scarf in my hands and turn it over a few times, only to gently put it back into the same drawer it came from. And there it sits for another 6-12 months until I open the drawer, take it out, feel the fabric run through my hands, mumble to myself with regret about the amount of hard-earned money that was spent, and wistfully put it back into its designated storage space. I don’t wear it because it’s uncomfortable — scratchy. And while it’s nice to look at, I don’t love it enough to turn it into a piece of artwork for my wall.

What is the cost of keeping these items? After all, it’s just a few square inches of drawer or shelf space. No big deal, right?

No. These things – dare I say “junk” or “stuff”? – add up to piles of clutter that emanate bad vibes. So piece by piece, I’ve learned to let things go. And it feels amazing.

What I’ve come to realize is that it doesn’t feel good to put an unloved and unused item back into its storage space. If it doesn’t fit my style or is no longer functional, then there’s no great reason to continue to allow it to take up space that could be used for an item that I’d want to use and love.

You know what feels good? Passing it on to be a blessing to someone else who would find the item useful and give it the respect it deserves.

Once I turned over the leaf from hoarding items out of guilt to moving them out of the house to be a blessing to someone else, it became addicting. One bag of donation items grew into two and then three. As it turns out, that scarf made an excellent gift-wrap option for another small boxed gift item.

But… I might need it someday!

I realize this may not be the case for everyone, but I think it’s worth mentioning:

In my 5+ year journey of decluttering, the regret of letting something go has only come up twice! Both, incidentally, were cords for electronics. The first issue was remedied by a $6 purchase on Amazon and the second by a quick text exchange: “Dad, do you have an extra Ethernet cord?” “Yes.”

The lesson I learned: it’s important for me to put labels on cords. Previously, I would let random cords pile up (albeit in neatly organized piles with twist ties to keep them looking orderly); however, since I didn’t know what purpose each cord served, the cords became clutter that I moved to the donation bin.

Otherwise, I’ve been ever so thankful to have a less cluttered, more serene home.

Some of you may be cringing: she’s been decluttering for 5+ years? Why, yes, I have. The purge is never fully complete. Sure, you might have one large pile to move out in a single go. However, the skill of discernment is constantly put to the test. I’ve had to learn to say “no” to items entering my home on an ongoing basis and it’s not easy, but necessary.

After going through a large purge and maintaining a somewhat clutter-free home, I’m no minimalist. I have one neck, but still there are more than a dozen scarves in my dresser. (I use a sock divider to organize my scarves, by the way!)

I have two feet, but more than a dozen pairs of shoes in my closet. Two wrists, but more than a dozen bracelets in my jewelry collection.

However, the items that I’ve kept are items that I use and appreciate.

Does less stuff=less stress? I think so! Has the decluttering bug bit you? What kind of impact has it had on your life?