August: Use What You Have

This month as I try to get control over the chaos around me, I decided to take a one month break from sharing the things I’ve learned about a certain country or culture.  Instead, for the month of August, we’ll be going through the motions of organization, decluttering, and the concept of ‘using what you have.’  Basically, these are all tips anyone can use.  I know both men and women read this site, so this month still applies to EVERYONE.

This month is not turning into a hobby homemaker month.  There will still be food, book, art, chaos, photos…I did say CHAOS, right?  This site is called the Perfectionist Wannabe, so I’ll be taking you through the element of learning how to get control of your chaos at home with your things, focusing on the food in your kitchen and working with what you have and using it before going shopping, decluttering and donating the things you don’t need anymore so you can get your over-consumerized life under control.

The good news is that September is going to be Mediterranean month.  I will let you in on that secret.

As far as cooking and recipes, this month means I’ll be sharing a few NEW recipes based on the items that I have in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry.  There is an exception to the ‘using what you have’ rule this month.  Those exceptions are dairy products (almond milk, eggs, butter), meat and fresh fruits/vegetables.

I’m going to start the month off by sharing what I did yesterday.

Organizing the Chaos, Part One

For those who have a collection of scarves, neckties, or fabrics (for the crafters), I found a solution for getting these items under control.  I was searching ‘scarves organization’ on Pinterest trying to get a general ideal of how I wanted things to be organized.  Many wanted to display their scarves.  An ongoing theme were shower hooks on a hanger and looping the scarves through.  Some even suggested using trouser hangers to hang scarves.

I didn’t like those ideas.

From Pinterest
From Pinterest

To me, that was too cheap.  I didn’t want a temporary solution I was going to end up hating later.  I wanted a real, genuine solution that I would love for the rest of my life.  Besides putting in an order for a new closet (which almost happened…just so I could organize my scarves), I came across ONE SIMPLE PIN that made me exit out of the website I was getting ready to order a new wardrobe from.

This pin was the ultimate solution.  FOLD THE SCARVES BETTER!  I have a similar piece of furniture at home where the drawers pull out like this picture.

Before, the chaos was in how I was storing the scarves: laying each scarf folded one on top of the other.  I never could find anything.  The scarves would always end up messed up in my mad rush to find something to wear.  The culmination of all of these things made the drawers start to overflow.

I took one look at this photo and had to laugh at myself.  This is how I fold everything else.  Why didn’t I do that with my scarves?  {For the gents: you can do the same with your own winter scarves and ties}

My collection of couture scarves lined up and folded neatly. Pictured: Valentino, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gorjana, Tiffany & Co. and Hockey Fights Cancer.
My collection of couture scarves lined up and folded neatly. Pictured: Valentino, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gorjana, Tiffany & Co. and Hockey Fights Cancer.

So last night I emptied out the drawers and folded the couture scarves together and put them in one drawer because they are thinner and more delicate.  In the bottom drawer, I put the thicker, warmer scarves together.

What did this process net me?  I saved over $1200 (cost of the new wardrobe addition) and more room for more scarves (which will come in handy when I pull out the winter scarves).

All in all, trying to get control of our chaos at home sometimes only requires approaching how we store things and learning how to store them differently. I literally had no room for scarves prior to folding them and lining them up this way.

What’s also great about folding them this way is that I can now see what I have displayed nicely.  I don’t have to go digging under piles that all of a sudden turn into forgotten pieces.  I pulled at least three Valentino scarves from that pile and had no recollection of owning them because the blues and the yellows were on top.  Now, I can see every single scarf I own without digging through piles.

I literally dreaded the upcoming fall/winter when I’d have to pull out the seasonal scarves to add to the drawers.  Last winter my scarves were all over the place because I didn’t have any room at all.  Now, I do.  Now, I don’t have to force myself to go through and donate a drawer full of scarves.  I use them all.

The bottom drawer for the bigger, thicker and warmer scarves.  Still room for more.
The bottom drawer for the bigger, thicker and warmer scarves. Still room for more.

Also, the reason why organizational kings/queens love this folding/organization method is because you can pull what you need and not disrupt the other items next to it.  It’s worked wonders for my basic t-shirts, sweaters, tanks, pj bottoms, under garments, and exercise pants.

If you’re like most people…you probably own about 100 t-shirts, 100 pairs of jeans, or whatever else you can’t get enough of and it lies in complete chaos.  Using this method to fold your clothes actually creates more room to store your ‘collection.’

You’re probably asking…how does one fold?  There’s a Youtube video for that.

While this next one, she uses one of those folding devices…don’t go out and purchase one. It just adds to your clutter. The reason why I’m sharing it is because of how she organizes the shirts in the drawer. Technically, you would take the video above, do exactly the same thing, but fold the shirt in half again to place it in the drawer.

If you display your shirts openly, then you don’t need this next step.  It’s only for those who are storing clothes in a drawer.  You can apply this concept to all clothes you can store in a drawer.

So that’s how you fold.

Turning it Into ART

I ordered a Lanvin scarf, which should arrive sometime next week.  I am not going to wear this scarf.  I bought it specifically to display as art.

From Pinterest. BuzzFeed.com.
From Pinterest. BuzzFeed.com.

What I liked about this photo is the concept that you can take a frame and display colorful scarves as artwork.  For those who collect couture scarves, those pieces are literally pieces of artwork.

I’ve been putting together a wall gallery for my home office and my bedroom, so I thought this Lanvin scarf would be a nice little addition to the group that is reflective more of my style.  I considered framing one of the ones I already own, but I wear them all…

If you come across something that you no longer have use for, think of a way you could use it differently.  I’ve seen pictures of couture shopping bags framed as artwork.  Cost was only the picture frames, because the bags come free with purchase.

I’ve used a blanket I picked up in Morocco as a slipcover for my chair.  It’s all about using the things that you have already.  If it’s not serving the purpose you’d like it to serve, find a more unique way to use it.  It doesn’t always have to be exactly the way the product was designed.  You could take a nice rug and hang it up on the wall.  If a pillow doesn’t serve its purpose in one room, it may look better in a different room.

There are a multitude of ways you can re-organize your life a little better.  For me, I got my scarves in order and now I’m happier because of it.  I didn’t need to go and buy a whole new wardrobe unit just to fix this problem.  I just had to do things a little differently.

Many times when we start organizing, we end up running to the store to pick up a multitude of organizational do-hickeys just to get ourselves organized.  I’m going to let you in on a secret…many of those do-hickeys are a temporary solution.  Your goal in organization should be how you can make this a permanent solution.  {We’ll go through the steps on how to tackle your organization in a later post.}

The key with folding things correctly is that it doesn’t matter where you go or what new furniture you may come into during your lifetime, folding your clothes correctly in an organized fashion will stay with you.  You just have to learn how to do it right.

You can apply these folding techniques to just about everything.  For linens…that’s for a later post.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth has been a member of the NHL credentialed media covering the New Jersey Devils since 2008 for Inside Hockey. She is the owner or PerfectionistWannabe.com.

  • Thanks for finally talking about >August: Use What You Have | Diary of
    a Perfectionist Wannabe <Loved it!