Packing Tips

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Friends, I have something to confess: I am not a good packer. The ladies and lads who can pack for a month in a carry-on and still seem to have everything they need? Not me. I’m more the type to feel as if I need a fresh pair of pants for every day I’m away, not to mention the “just in case” outfits I pack for the things I imagine (to be fair, I could randomly be invited to a red carpet event). This from the lady who is perfectly comfortable wearing the same pjs for a week at home. However, this starts a month full of travel for me, and I am desperate to change my ways–as well as finally master the art of packing. So I went to masters (my well-packed and traveled friends) as well as the internet to get as many tips as I could! The best packing tips I have found are as follows:

  • Roll your clothes, don’t fold them. This makes more space in your suitcase
  • Limit yourself to one color palette. Out of this choose a pant, a jean, a dress, a flat and a heel. Build tops (the rule is 3 per bottom) around this.
  • If needed take one neutral coat
  • No more than three pairs of shoes (how with workouts I am going to do this is beyond me)
  • You need only one pair of pjs per week you’re away
  • When planning make a list of things you’re doing  and what you’d like to wear to each activity. Then see what you can double up–wearing the same jeans (no one will know) or using yoga pants for sight seeing.
  • If you have to add color or a pop to your outfits chose accessories–scarves, jewelry are easier to pack and take up less room.

 

I plan on incorporating as many of these tips as I can! I’d love to know–are you a light packer? What are your tips? I will keep you updated on my progress!

Happy Tuesday! XO RA

Closet Clean Out: Organizing and Selling

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Loves! I hope yesterday’s post gave you some inspiration to clean out your closet! And it’s hard-right, right? The good news? It’s doable and you did it! Yay! The bad news? There still may be work to do–but again it’s so doable, and if you have just a touch of the OCD, it’s a little fun. I promise!

So you’ve cleaned out, you got rid of things that no longer serve you, and made space for new things! Now: what to do with all of the amazing things that you want to keep? Organize. Yes, it may take a minute, and yes putting away laundry may take some thought–but I promise it’s worth it! Here are some of my tips:

  • Think like a boutique, or in other words, think seasonally. If it’s winter, make sure appropriate items are in the front or plain view. There’s no need to hide items you need from yourself! When seasons change, rearrange! This is also a great way to make sure you’re putting things you want to wear in front of you–because let’s be honest, in the morning it’s easiest to grab what’s in view!
  • Consider organizing by type–all skirts, pants, tops together, etc. I go a bit further–I have skirts together, then organize by length and within the length go from light to dark. Tops are grouped together, then by type (blouse, fancy, denim, athletic–yes, I know I seem a little over the top!) Find what works for you–the goal is to know where things are and be able to find things quickly. There’s also something to be said for making your closet look inviting!
  • Keep sweaters and other items that may stretch folded instead of on hangers
  • Use space to your advantage –have a coat closet? Put all coats there! Have a spare room–use the closet for clothes that you don’t often wear (like formal wear)

Most importantly, organize your closet in a way that works for you! After the clean out you deserve it!

The Clothes You Didn’t Want

After every closet clean out there are cast offs–remember those piles that we made of clothes we didn’t want? Here’s where we deal with them!
Clothes that are old, dingy, etc can go straight to GoodWill. But what about the clothes that are still in great shape, in fashion, and could be well loved by someone else? You sell them. It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds–there are several places that can help or brick and mortar stores that will take the clothes off your hands! Read below for my tips! Also Real Simple has some great tips!

Selling Online
The best sites, I think, to sell online are:
ebay
Tradesy
The Real Real
Poshmark
Vaunte
Each has their own guidelines, and each has their own pros and cons. While you can name your price for all items, Ebay and The Real Real are known for higher prices, Tradesy and Vaunte have both low and high prices, and Poshmark prices are more moderate. The sites usually will let you know what similar items have sold for –and are more than happy to guide you. The downside to selling online is that you are responisble for taking the pics, posting them, and mailing the item once it’s sold. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, you do have options!
Brick and Mortar Selling
Each city has a range of re-sell stores and consignment shops. I find places like Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading, and Plato’s Closet are great places to sell items from places like Zara, Jcrew, and HM–they usually take seasonal items and pay you a percentage of what they will sell the clothes for!
Higher end items do better at consignment stores (if you’re in LA I love Recess and if you’re in Austin I love Moss Austin)
While you don’t get to set price and have to share the profit with the store, you don’t have to do the work of selling! Either way you get to make a little profit off of your closet clean out–and let your clothes find happy clothes elsewhere!

I hope these tips for organizing and selling your clean out help make the last bit of your closet clean out painless! Of course, now comes the best part–shopping!
Happy Thursday! XO RA

Closet Clean Out : The Process

If you’re like me and think of January as a time of new beginnings, you might also be dealing with a massive closet clean out–which can be scary and daunting. But my Internet Loves, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be great–and give us reasons to go shopping! Read below for some of my tips on getting the most out of a closet clean out!

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The Questions

I think closet clean outs are a bit difficult for two main reasons: the amount of things to go through (tips on that below) and the emotional toll. Let’s be honest–clothes are not only what we may invest in, but clothes are what our lives happen in-first dates, promotions, weddings–we’re dressed in clothes for these events. And can sometimes hang onto the clothes as a memento. I am not one for throwing things out–if there’s something that’s super important to you (from wedding dress to that concert tee from high school) and you can’t bear to part with it, pack it up (gently and with cedar) and store away. That’s not an excuse to hang onto everything–but hopefully knowing that not everything HAS to go gives you some peace.
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As for how to go through everything else? These are the guidelines I use. Yes, we all have different needs for a wardrobe–but treat whatever needs you have like a bad boyfriend; meaning that there is no reason to hang on to things that you don’t like or treat you well because you’re afraid of not having anyone or waiting on something better to come along. For everything in your closet ask yourself these questions:

  • How does it make me feel? The clothes you wear should make you feel good, they should bring you joy. And if you hate what you’re putting on, you should get rid of it and buy new!
  • Does it fit my needs? If you need to wear a suit to work a closet full of sweatshirts won’t serve you.
  • Is it really what I want? If you’re holding onto a pair of pants you hate while lusting over a pair you love you’re better off getting rid of the pair you hate and buying (or saving) for what you want. There’s also no reason to hang onto an item you “should” have that you don’t love.
  • How does it look? Does it fit properly? Can it be altered? Is it flattering on me? Get rid of things that don’t work with your body–true story I’ve hung onto jeans for years wishing that the rise was longer, it’s better to just move on. However, if the item can be altered it may be worth it!

Hopefully these questions (and maybe a friend to help with the answers!) can help make the clean out a little less traumatic! And now that we know what to think of when we clean out–let’s talk about how to clean out our closets!
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Divide and Conquer
I don’t know how you organize your closet (and if this is where you tell me you have a dreamy Pintrest worthy closet, I have to let you know how jealous I am)–but I do mine by type–skirts, tops, pants, dresses, shoes–with coats and fancy dresses in another closet. Which means I can run around getting dressed–but also means it’s easy to go through things. Part of what can be daunting about a clean out is the thought that it has to be done in a day–which is great if you can! Grab a friend, grab some wine and get going!However, that’s not always doable–so I’ve been known to pick a category (pants, shoes, etc) and go through them one at a time. However you do it, give yourself a time line (if it’s a category at a time say a week, if you’re doing it all say 4-5hrs)–there’s no reason to prolong the process!
The Method
1. Part of why I think it’s best to work by type of clothes is that I think the best way to do this is to pull out everything. So do it by type–for example take out all your skirts. Go through them, touch them, look at them–and be honest. What do you want to keep? Those can go right back in.
2. The things that you aren’t sure on keeping? Put them in piles–the ones you’re on the fence on, the ones to go to Goodwill, and the ones you don’t want but may sell.
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3. Here comes the work–that pile you’re unsure of? Go through it and try everything on. Yes, try it on. Those questions we talked about? This is where we really use them. So look at yourself in your clothes, really ask yourself about how they make you feel and look on–and be honest. Then make a choice and put them in a get-rid of pile, or put them back in your closet.
4. Repeat until every category in your closet has been looked at.
5. During this time it’s also helpful to really think of the things that you need and want in your closet–be it pieces you need to replace or pieces you need to buy! Make a list if needed (I personally do my wishlists on my phone!).

You should have a pile of things to give to Goodwill, a pile of things you may be able to sell, and your closet should be full of things you love and that look amazing on you!
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So what’s next? Tomorrow we talk my tips for closet organization and how to sell those clothes in the sale pile! I hope this helps your closet clean out be something to look forward to–because if nothing else, when you get rid of things, it gives you a reason to go shopping! Right? Right!

Happy clean out! XO RA

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! I hope your night was festive and safe and that today is the beginning of a wonderful year! It’s tradition at my house to eat black-eyed peas (and cornbread) for good luck so we’re brunching and watching football. One of my dearest friends comes in this evening and I plan on catching up with her (with more champagne) before we head to our alma mater’s bowl game on Saturday. (TCU and the Alamo Bowl if you want to cheer us on!) I hope you spend the day doing what makes you happy, and that this last bit of holiday weekend is good to you!

Happy 2016! XO RA