What to do if you have 5 minutes?

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. vs. 27

What do you do if you have 5 minutes? Take a nap? (you wish!) Sit there and wait on the next scheduled event to begin? Waste time? Do nothing?

Well, in a 5 minute time period, you can actually get a lot done!  Do you ever look at your to-do list and think, “Gosh, I have so many emails to respond to, phone calls to make, things that need to be cleaned, clothes that need to be put away, meals to be planned, and I still have to go to work/school all day!”

Yep, that’s pretty much an every day thought for me.

Over the years I have developed a level of productivity that helps me “get stuff done” in just a little bit of time. If you respond to all of those emails and do all of those residual tasks at once, it could take up to an hour. And you may not have that kind of time in a day. And if you do, it’s whenever you come home after a long day and simply to kick your shoes off and prop your feet up. So the solution is this: Use 5 minutes to do one/two of those small tasks. Not all of these are “not fun” tasks either. Read on, and you shall see!

Side note: The way you can keep a straightened/clean home is through prevention. Whenever you see something that needs to be picked up, just do it. Most of the time it takes less than a minute.

Another side note: If you do these small tasks around the house and at your office during your 5 minute breaks, whenever you have a big project, paper, or etc.. you have to complete, you won’t feel the need to clean up before you can begin. Trust me, I know how that feels too…I often feel like I have to have a clean home before I can type a paper. Well, guess what? That means I am procrastinating from the task at hand. Yes, I am being generally productive but really avoiding the my goal that I set out to accomplish in the first place. While it may be helpful to get it clean so you can focus, I have learned that not every task will always get done. So if you use the 5 minutes you have here and there to get these small tasks done, it will hopefully eliminate some of those tendencies to want to clean while needing to do something else, since it’s already done! 

So here are some tasks that you can do if you have 5 minutes at any point in your day:

1. Unload the dishwasher

2. Grab the windex (or your homemade cleaning remedy…click here to learn more about home remedy products) and wipe down your bathroom sink. I’m sure it needs it.

3. Make a phone call. Not to your long distant Aunt of course…give her a little more time in your day.

4. Respond to a few emails.

5. Start the washer or dryer.

6. Sweep your floor. You’d be surprised what’s on it.

7. Straighten your office desk.

8. Wipe down the inside of your car. You know it’s been a while since that interior has been free of dust.

9. Read a blog post. Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman is good one to check out 😉

10. Watch a funny youtube video. Preferably about cute kittens. Hey, not everything has to be productive, right? And everyone could use a little pick-me-up during the day.

11. Go through your mail. Sort it. Throw away your bills….just kidding.

12. Take out the trash.

13. Send an encouraging text to a friend! Taking time to build relationships with others is just as important as checking stuff off of your to-do list.

15. Throw dinner in the crock pot.

16. Make your bed.

17. Read the Bible. I like to get on Bible Gateway and look up the verse of the day and think on that for a bit.

18. Sit down. Yes, you are allowed to do that. While this post seems all about productivity, sometimes simplicity allows for more productivity. And sometimes rest is just way more important than completing your tasks.

What are some of the tasks you are able to accomplish if you have 5 minutes? 

* This is part of the Cozy Home Scenes link party.

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kitchen staples @ a blossoming life.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. vs. 25

Today I am a guest blogger at  Amy’s place…A Blossoming Life. She is not only my blogging partner but also friend and bridesmaid. She likes to create new things and make homemade masterpieces. So please, check out this post I wrote for her blog: Kitchen Staples.

Also, the giveaway is still happening until Sunday night. If you don’t know what I am referring to, check out my post $100 gift card giveaway!

A final note: My hometown, Harrisburg, Illinois, was hit really hard by a tornado. It is currently a disaster area. Please pray for me and all the families who a lost loved one and for anyone that was left without  a home due to the storm. God is still sovereign.

menu planning and store sales.

 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. vs. 18

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the importance of menu planning and how beneficial it can be for you and/or your family. To see that, check it out here. Well, I recently have been trying to improve the way I do menu planning.

Planning meals is a great way to be organized and save money; however, if you use it to try a lot of new recipes with all of these ingredients that you don’t have/are expensive, then your grocery bill sky rockets..and you wonder: “How did that happen?!”

A couple of days ago, I shared a website with you all about how to find recipes using whatever is already in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. It was called “What’s in your fridge?” This was a challenge to utilize what food you already have and plan your menus around that.

Well, today I want to talk about how to plan your menu based off store sales. This is another money-saving tip with your grocery bill. Before making your menu, get an inventory of what you have in your home, as mentioned before. THEN find out what your local grocery stores have on sale that week. After that, decide what’s for dinner in the upcoming week.

Here are ways to find your local store sales:

1. Store fliers/weekly ads.

These can be found online, in newspapers, or in the store.

Here are the links to find the grocery stores’ fliers  that may be in your area:

Aldi

CVS

Dierbergs

Dollar General

Dominicks

Jewel Osco

Kroger

Meijer

Save-A-Lot

Schnucks

ShopRite

Target

Walgreens

Walmart

2. Sign up for emails through Money Saving Mom

This is a great resource and a little bit more convenient than the first option. Money Saving Mom allows you to go to her store deals link and sign up for any local store sales. Then every week, she will send them to your inbox. It’s that easy!

3. Talk to others. 

If you have friends who are also wanting to stay on a budget, get a system where you each share sales, coupon, etc with each other. My mom calls me frequently just to tell me that blueberries are on sale at one store or pork loins are $1.99 a lb at another store.

What to do next?

Once you know what stores have sales, plan your meals.

For example:

At Kroger this week, Ragu Pasta Sauce is on sale for $1.49. At Aldi, Happy Farms Shredded Cheese is on sale for $1.79.

I already have ground beef, spaghetti noodles, onions, eggs, diced tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper at home.

So I can purchase the sauce and mozzarella cheese on sale and buy cottage cheese regular price (or look online for a coupon).

Then I have all the ingredients I need for Lasagna Casserole from Money Saving Mom.

Also, for lunch, I can plan to eat cottage cheese 2 days that next week and find another recipe where I use mozzarella cheese for another dinner that week.

See how that works? It saves you more money rather than just picking out  a recipe that looks good and having to buy most of the ingredients in that recipe.

Use what you have in your home, shop the sales, AND go to multiple stores. Go where the deals are!

You may say, “Well, doesn’t it use more gas whenever you go to multiple stores?” Yes, but if they are all within just a few minutes within one another, it is more cost effective to shop at different stores (wherever the deals are) rather than stay at one place in fear of using a little bit of gas.

What are ways you are able to save a couple of bucks on your grocery bill? 

Remember: It’s about spending less so you can give/save more.

* This is part of the Somewhat Simple link party.

living an organized life part 5: in the kitchen.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. vs. 27

As you know, I’m  kinda obsessed with having dinner parties and people over to my house. Quite a few posts ago, I talked about ways to make a gathering successful. You can check that out here. Well, Mr. Cook and I have made friends with the most hospitable couple I have ever met. And despite my tendencies to exaggerate, this is not one of those moments. They are constantly thinking of how to bless others. We wanted to bless them in return so we had them over for a big meal. I was feeling overwhelmed about the timing of the meal. In my head, I was worried about making sure everything came out at the right time, how to keep it all warm, and getting it all done before they got there. So I decided to tap into my organizational side and take charge of this meal like a real woman would.

Sorry, I feeling a little witty today. Forgive my attempt at humor.

Here’s a continual disclaimer for this blog series: I don’t expect everyone to enjoy organization the way I do; however, I would challenge you to try out some of these tips in your own life, make them work for you, and see how you feel at the end of the day.

So here’s some things that can be done to organize a big meal and make the cooking experience a success:

1. Make a list.

The list can look something like this (this is an example of the meal I prepared):

Fresh produce that needs to be cut:

tomatoes for salad, cucumber for salad, zuchinni, squash, potatoes for roasting, potatoes shaved for tilapia, onions for salmon patties, onions for veggie mix

Items that need to be cooked/prepared:

Salad- prep and chill first.

Dessert- prep and chill first. add toppings after dinner.

Salmon Patties- prep and chill 20 minutes. skillet 10 minutes.

Parmesan Potato Crusted Tilapia- prep 20 minutes. skillet 20 minutes.

Fresh Asparagus- steamer 20 minutes.

Zucchini, Squash, and Onions- skillet 15 minutes.

Roasted Potatoes- oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Crescent Roles-oven 450 for 13-15 minutes.

Texas Toast- brought by guest

Punch- brought by guest

2. Cut produce early.

It took me about an hour to cut all the produce needed for this meal. Which was nice because I actually find chopping veggies kind of therapeutic. But I am glad that I got a head start on it because whenever it came time to cook it, I just grabbed it from the refrigerator. It made the cooking process MUCH simpler.

3. Set the table early.

When I leave it for last, it’s always a disaster. All of the food is coming out of the oven, off of the skillet, etc..and then the last thing you have time for is to set the table all nice and fancy. So just do it before you start cooking. You will be thankful later.

4. Set out the serving bowls, utensils, etc early. 

I have a kitchen bar that I set all the food on whenever I have people over. Since I know that I will be needing a plate to put that hot fish on, I have it already I set it out on the bar early so it makes it easier during “crunch time.” Also, it’s good to have all the serving utensils out early because if you need that soup ladle that is currently dirty in the dishwasher, you know to wash it sooner….. rather than make your guests wait because they need something to serve their food with.

5. Do the already dirty dishes before the meal.

If there is a big load of dishes in your dishwasher, start it before the meal and put those dishes away. That way whenever you go to cook, you can put your just used dirty dishes in the dishwasher since it is now empty. Or in the sink, if you are an unfortunate one that lives with an dishwasher. (I did not have one for many years. And now that I have one, I feel like a spoiled kitchen brat).

6. Clean as you cook.

With big meals, this is almost a priority. If you are waiting on something to finish cooking, clean those dirty dishes you just made, put them in the dishwasher, wipe down the counter, put the boxes back in the pantry, give you kid a hug even…something productive.  I say this for two reasons: your house will look clean when your guests arrive & there is less for you to clean up later. And what else would you do with your time? Watch the timer on the oven slowly decrease? That’s too boring.

Tell me: What are some of the ways you stay organized in the kitchen?

living an organized life part 4: finances.

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. vs. 20

Student loans, rent, eating out, electric bills, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes thinking about finances makes my head spin. This is not my strong suit; however, I am really trying to learn more about budgeting, money-saving, and the like. Whenever your finances are in order, your life is often a lot less stressful. So a lot of these organizational tips are coming from other resources. I read a lot of blogs and articles about these topics, so I have run across a lot of helpful things along the way. Keep this in mind while reading this series on organization: I don’t expect everyone to enjoy organization the way I do; however, I would challenge you to try out some of these tips in your own life, make them work for you, and see how you feel at the end of the day.

Part 4: Keeping your finances organized

1. Read stories, testimonials, blogs, articles, books, etc about this topic.

This is simply a good starting point to help you get a good grip on money-saving ideas and how to keep your finances running smoothly.

2. Have a few people who are knowledgable and wise in this area keep you accountable.

Kaleb and I have learned from others. That’s what we do. I love it when other couples share their methods for keeping their house in order through organized finances.It’s good to take not only advice from others but have people in your life keeping you in check so you don’t spend more than you have.

3. Have a budget and stick to it.

Crown Financial Ministries is a great resource that has everything from budget calculators to home buying & selling calculators. You can find them here. I actually keep track of my budget in an excel sheet; however, these calculators helped me when I first started getting my finances in order.

4. “Pay” your bills at the first of the month.

What I mean “pay” them at the first of the month is write that check early or set that money aside, even if the bill is due at the end of the month. That way everything that HAS to be paid is “paid” or at least the money is allotted for. Then if necessary, you can cut back on entertainment or groceries if your funds get low because of added expenses that you didn’t except.

5. Save, save, save.

This is good for organization because when an emergency comes up, you have some back up cash. It’s really easy to say things like, “I will save money WHEN I make good money.” But truthfully, if you continue to put it off, then it probably won’t happen. I have noticed that as I get a higher paycheck in life, I tend to have more bills and obviously pay more tithes. Which means saving money still makes me cringe because I still live paycheck to paycheck. If you can’t save much a month, simply save change. My parents bought me a swing set when I was younger by their pocket change only. Also, it’s good to set your savings aside in another account so you don’t consider it as spendable money. Even if you can only put $20 a month in that account, over the course of a year that will be $240. Have a vision for what it can be, not how slow it seems to be going.

6. Utilize resources.

One of our wedding mentors told us about Mint. They use it and have said that it works quite well for them. I have yet to try it. Basically, it is an online resources that brings all of your financial accounts in one place and organizes your bills so you can the “big picture” with your money. Here’s a video that tells more about it. Another resource that a lot of banks offer is BillPay. It may be called a different name at your bank. With this, your bills can automatically be taken out of your account and sent to the company that the bill goes to. This saves money on postage and envelopes, and it also saves you time.

Overall, these seem like fairly basic tips. But it’s good to be thinking, “How can I improve my finances? What are way to help me be more organized?” Whenever your money is in order (even if there’s not a lot of it), there is a lot of freedom.

What are ways that help you keep your money organized?

living an organized life part 3: your schedule.

Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. vs. 29

Life is sometimes a busy mess. Lately, I have been feeling that way about my life. I think it’s an art to be able to gracefully organize your schedule in a way that you accomplish all the things you need to do, want to do, and most importantly ….rest. What does that word mean again?

Also, I have learned that people really appreciate it whenever you say you are going to be somewhere at a certain time and place, and you are there. It’s good to be committed to even the small things in life. It says a lot about your character.

As mentioned before, I am hoping that this blog series will inspire, encourage, and challenge you. This is not intended to say, “Your way is wrong.” Or bring you guilt because your life isn’t very structured. As a disclaimer I continue to say: I don’t expect everyone to enjoy organization the way I do; however, I would challenge you to try out some of these tips in your own life, make them work for you, and see how you feel at the end of the day.

However, I hope that all of you can grow with me in this area because having an organized life liberates your mind from all the distractions of life and allows you to focus on the task at hand.

Part 3: Ways to be organized with your schedule.

1. Don’t schedule too much in one day.

This really takes practice. I still will put like 8 tasks to accomplish on one day..and I NEVER get them done. Don’t do this to yourself. Be reasonable and set healthy expectations for yourself.

2. Decide what task is most important and do that first.

If you do have a lot of things to accomplish, start with the most important first and work your way down. I tend to like to do the easiest or shortest first; however, at the end of the day, that paper due tomorrow never got typed. It helps to do the paper first, then the small things later (in case, you can’t get to those). It’s kinda like when you get laffy taffy and you save the banana for last because you like it the best. Get the paper out of the way, and then do your fun task that night.

3. Write it down and get it out of your head.

I even write things down like, “Call insert friend here.” That way, if I told someone I would call them tomorrow, I remember to do it, and I don’t have to think about it all day. I just remember it whenever I look at my planner. In order for this to work, it’s important to check your planner frequently.

4. If you are very busy, schedule in free time. And stick to it.

If your life is super busy and you just want a few hours to yourself, then make it a point to say something like, “Tuesday at 5pm free time.” And if someone wants you for something, you can say no. Don’t always feel like you have to accept every offer.

5. At the beginning of the week, take a look at your planner and see what your week looks like.

I like to look at my schedule on Sunday night. Then I have a good idea what to expect for that week. Then I’m not blind sided mid-week and think, “Gosh, I didn’t realize I had all of this stuff to do.” This helps me feel prepared for the week ahead.

6. Schedule things like work outs and time with friends.

If you are busy, you naturally want to use any free time that you get being alone or just chilling. While it is very important to give yourself that alone time, try to schedule in the things that you know are healthy for you: working out and spending time with others. This takes care of your physical needs, emotional needs, and even spiritual needs. We can feel the love of God through relationships with others who love Him, and we can grow together.  This is not limited to fitness and friendships. The point is that it’s good to make some of your other needs a priority rather than “if I have time.” Because we never really feel like we have time. And if you don’t schedule it, more than likely you won’t do it.

7. Take a Sabbath day.

Uh oh. I am in trouble with this one. I have yet to do this in my life. Not plan anything for one day and simply rest. Let’s work on doing this together.

living an organized life part 2: with school.

…let her works praise her in the gates. vs. 31b

Yesterday was the start of something new. A new series: living an organized life. Some of you cringe at the word while others smile with joy.. Either way I am hoping that this blog series will inspire, encourage, and challenge you. Organization is a lifestyle that produces much freedom when used properly. As I said yesterday as a disclaimer: I don’t expect everyone to enjoy organization the way I do; however, I would challenge you to try out some of these tips in your own life, make them work for you, and see how you feel at the end of the day.

I know many of my readers are students, so this one’s for you! Let’s talk about staying organized with school.

Part 2: Ways to be organized with school.

1.  Use a planner.

There’s no earthly way I would be able to keep track of everything without one of these. I have noticed a trend with planner users vs. planner refusers. The users often remember/have their assignments done more than the refusers. So don’t refuse, but use. Sorry…I am feeling a little too witty today. Forgive me.

2. Whenever you get your syllabus, actually read it and write down ALL of the assignments in your nifty planner.

Reading a syllabus is extremely important because some teachers slide discrete lines in their like, “Two unexcused absences means a lowered letter grade.” Since it is a contract, there is often no way around it because they say, “Well, it was in syllabus.” Then as far as assignments go, I like to write down in my planner the day before its due.  It looks something like this, “Policy- assignment 1 due tomorrow.” This tactic has worked well for me for many years. You don’t necessarily have to write it in a planner. A friend of mine has one whole sheet she writes them on. I find a planner nice because I not only write down homework in it but also household chores, events, and bills due in there as well. It’s helpful when “your life” is all in one place.

3. Don’t wait until the last minute.

I sound like a teacher don’t I? Sorry about that. I have just realized that doing something the night before stresses me out more than my cat dying, so it’s just better not to put yourself in that predicament. Too far? Well, you get the idea. I like to have the assignment done 3-7 days before. That is if your program is designed like mine where we basically know at the first day year what assignments are due for the whole semester.

4. Don’t clean your house whenever you should be doing homework.

Guilty. The epitome of procrastination: doing something else that needs to be done and feeling productive about it while never doing the task that is really supposed to be done in the first place. Okay………moving on now……my toes hurt.

5. Don’t stress out.

How does this help you stay organized? Well, whenever I am so stressed, that stress is a distraction and causes me to lose focus on the task at hand and forget things more easily. Just take one day at a time and let it flow.

What are ways that help you stay organized with school?

living an organized life part 1: the home.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.vs. 27

Recently, I have been thinking/blogging a lot about organization. I know that a lot of you readers are college students, and the best way to start off a new semester is to have a positive attitude and get yourself organized for the next few months.  I have come to learn that organization is not a one time thing, a task at hand, or even something that relates only to one part of your life. Rather it is a state of mind that you can live in. To live an organized life is to live a free life. By being organized, you can learn to de-clutter your mind from your to-do list, de-clutter your home for a relaxing atmosphere, and de-clutter your schedule so you can make time for others. So through a short series, I would like to share some helpful tips on “how to live an organized life.”

Disclaimer: I don’t expect everyone to enjoy organization the way I do; however, I would challenge you to try out some of these tips in your own life, make them work for you, and see how you feel at the end of the day.

Part 1:

Ways to keep your home organized:

1. Give everything a place.

This is helpful for many reasons. Whenever you need to find something quickly, you know where it is. Also, it helps keep your home neat and tidy.

2. Whenever you come home from a long day of work, put your stuff in its place.

If everything is going to have a place, then that means that it is important to put it back in its place. I know, I know. It’s super tempting to just throw your coat down, leave your purse out, and put your  keys  wherever they may land. But I assure you, that it takes less time to just put the coat in the closet and your other items in their place rather than setting it all down and on “cleaning day” putting it where it belongs.

3. Take pride in keeping your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer neat and tidy.

First reason for this: It looks better. Second: You know what food you have and what food you don’t.

4. Do the dishes/clean up after you cook.

I am not saying you can’t ever leave dishes in the sink. However, I like to do them as soon as I am done at the dinner table so then I don’t have to worry about it later. I do them before I sit down and watch a tv show, and for some reason, I always enjoy that show better because I don’t have this nagging thought in my head that dishes need to be done sometime soon.

5. Regularly go through closets and get rid of things you don’t need/want/or use.

Over break I made it a point to organize all of the closets in my apartment and not only did it feel nice to look in the closet and see a space that was straightened, but also I was able to get rid of stuff that I didn’t need and bless others with it by donating it.

6. Make your bed.

And fluff up those pillows while you’re at it. Make it look appealing.

7. Put similar items in the same place.

As you are giving the items in your home a place, think, “Where is this best suited?” For example, one closet can house cleaning supplies and one kitchen drawer can have all of the utensils. This may seem like a basic step; however, you’d be surprised how many people don’t think to put similar items in one location.

8. If you are in a hurry and leave stuff out on the counters or throw clothes on the bed, then whenever you get home, simply put it away.

This is not a “fix all” solution to keeping an organized home. There will be days that things are out of place, dishes are in the sink, and laundry is overflowing. It happens. But make it a priority to consistently and regularly keep it a place of de-clutter and a comfortable atmosphere for studying, relaxing, and having people in your home.

What are some tips you all have for keeping an organized home?

Check back for living an organized life: Part 2!

menu planning.

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. vs. 20

My friend Leslie introduced me to this lifesaver method known as menu planning. Actually, my mom has done it my whole life, but I didn’t really realize she did until I became an adult and started doing certain things that she always has done. (funny how that happens, huh?).

So a few months ago, I knew that I wanted to start menu planning but I wasn’t sure where/how to begin. Leslie told me about Money Saving Mom. This site is both addicting and quite resourceful, as her slogan states, “Helping You Be a Better Economist.” Her whole mission is teaching others to live on less so you can save more and give more. I’m for sure interested in that! Then I can open my hand to the poor and reach my hand out to the needy, like verse 20 states.

Basically, all menu planning consists of is printing off one of these meal/menu planners from her website…here. Then planning your whole week out. What you will eat and when. Breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. Then whenever you make your grocery list (which some of these have a grocery list section on the side), you simply get ONLY the items that you need for that week, 2 weeks, or month depending on which plan you use. So ladies, that means whenever you are walking down that cookie aisle and you see the delicious Milano cookies, you turn your nose in the air and say I don’t need to buy those becaue those are not part of my menu this week. (However, if you really want them, plan ahead and put them in as a little afternoon snack).

So you may be thinking, where’s the spontaneity in that? Well, you can plan on Monday being taco night and then come home and feel like eatin fish instead (which was Friday’s dinner). Just switch them around! No big deal. The point is that you will only buy the groceries you need.

Here’s a tip: make sure that before you make you menu/grocery list, look in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to see what foods you already have and make meals based off of that. Don’t just buy all new food for different recipes and have a lot of food already in your pantry. Be smart. I vow to do one new recipe a week. It works well.

Here are some benefits of menu planning:

1. It saves you money.

2.It allows you to utilize the food you already have in your pantry.

3. It saves you gas. (because you don’t make a million trips to the grocery store)

4. It saves you time. (if you pack a lunch to work, then that morning it makes it really simple to look at your menu and see what you planned for lunch that day and grab it from your pantry, rather than trying to figure it all out that morning when you are already running late and can only “halfway fix your hair”)

5. It helps promote healthy eating. (if you plan to buy healthier foods, then whenever you are being a rebel and eat something that is not on your menu, healthy foods are your only choice. Chips are only an option for you to eat if you buy chips)

Kingdom Mom says that there are common excuses why people don’t make the time to plan their meals:

“It’s too time-consuming.”
“It’s way too complicated.”
“I don’t want to cook every night.”
“I’m too busy.”

Well ladies, let’s stop making those excuses! It actually saves time, it simplifies life rather than complicates it, you don’t have to cook every night (plan to eat out once a week or whatever your budget allows), and if you really want to do something, then you will find time (it takes about 10 minutes to do it. so get off facebook, and plan your meals.)

Tell me: Have you ever meal planned? And if so, do you enjoy it?

a new wardrobe…well, kind of.

Strength and dignity are her clothing…vs. 25a

Sometimes I am a bit of an organization freak. Most of the time I can’t relax until everything is in its place. Problem? Yes and no. On one hand, my life is quite structured and organized which allows me to have freedom. On the other hand, my life is quite structured and organized which is quite constraining.

Let me explain. Because of the way my mind works, I am good at multi-tasking, and I am quite efficient in the home, workplace, and at school. However, I often lack spontaneity and the ability to let things go undone. So basically, I’m not always a lot of fun. I feel like people closest to me in life often think, “Why don’t you just chill out?” I’m working on it, ok? Give me a break! No, in all seriousness…I am trying to let Jesus show me a good balance between productivity and simplicity.

This weekend I went on a little organizational spree. The reason I did this was because I am going on a little shopping trip to STL on Saturday with some girls. I would like to not spend unnecessary money that day, but rather get items I really want/need/ or will use a lot. So, in order to prepare for that, I organized my closet.

Here’s a tip: whenever you feel like you don’t have “anything to wear,” go through your closet. You will discover belts, shirts, and other items that you forgot you had hidden in the dark crevices of your closet. Also, as you are organizing it…you will discover how that one summer shirt can be combined with that one winter shirt, and now it can be a summer AND winter outfit!

Ok, here’s my closet before…(keep in mind, it wasn’t terribly unorganized, but enough where I felt overwhelmed and like I didn’t have anything to wear)

I decided to rearrange things a bit…

I put my tanks hanging on a nail in the corner of my closet…

My winter clothes together sorted by type of shirt (type meaning a cardi, casual shirt, dressy shirt, sweater, etc..)…

My jeans organized by type as well (skinny first, then boot/flair/tailored fit)…

Then I decided that my scarfs needed a new home. I didn’t like them all thrown in a basket by my shoes because then I forgot about different ones I had. So I wrapped them around my closet bar and used them as a divider between my winter and summer clothes…

Then I made an entirely new section for the clothes that are shirts/dresses that look good with leggings! I was super pumped about this because leggings is one of my favorite things to wear, and now I have a nice section just for those items that can easily be a summer long shirt or a winter dress with leggings….

Next came my summer shirts, dresses and shorts (in the back for now since I won’t be needing them) (this area organized by type just like the winter shirts)…

Then I put belts on the opposite side of the closet from the tanks on a belt holder…

And I stacked my shoes nicely on the floor (in the future, I want some neat organizational shoe shelves)…

And this is what it all looked like after…

The best part of this whole experience (besides feeling like I had a while new wardrobe) was that I had a HUGE pile of clothes to give to friends and the goodwill…

P.s.- please donate to the goodwill. I appreciate it when you do and so do lots of other people who get clothes and other amazing items that you may think is not useful anymore.

So there you have it! Now I have a good idea of the items that I am on the search for on Saturday. And when I go to my closet to pick out my outfit for the day, I feel like I can more easily put together a piece of art to wear because I can see everything more clearly.