A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: org junkie

Clothes Purging Tips via Org Junkie!

Hi and welcome to another edition of Just the Tip Tuesday!

As you may know, for the past 30+ weeks I’ve been diligently working little by little toward getting more organized.

It’s been an uphill battle rife with roadblocks and setbacks. But I’m thrilled to tell you that all those little accomplishments week by week are starting to add up to big results!

Being a bit of a pack rat, a recovering craftaholic, and an oftentimes emotionally unstable woman with impulse control issues and poor decision making skills, parting with old clothes is especially difficult for me. Perhaps you remember my 20 year old cow jeans that were particularly unflattering?


Sorry about that.

Well, I never did finish cleaning out my closet. I just got overwhelmed and moved on to another project. (I did get rid of those cow jeans though!)

But a couple of weeks ago, I came across an incredible post chock full of specific directives on parting with clothes. It was so empowering that I just had to share!

The following is verbatim from my beloved organizing guru Laura the Org Junkie in her brilliant and entertaining post titled: 11 Excellent Reasons to Get Rid of Your Clothes.

Org Junkie’s Tips to Help You Part with Your Clothes

1. If you haven’t worn something in a year then out it goes regardless of condition, price or size. Why a year? Because you cover every season in that period of time. If you haven’t worn it during the year, you probably never will.

2. If you have a piece of clothing that you wear but are annoyed with it every time you do, seriously stop it.

3. If it’s waiting to be mended and it’s been waiting for a long time then enough is enough already.

4. If you hate to iron and your ironing pile sits there totally neglected while you wear all your favorite clothing over and over again, why do you still have an ironing pile?

5. I’m not opposed to keeping your “skinny” clothes (and I know we all do it) but for goodness sakes you don’t need to keep all of it. Styles change, your tastes change, your body shape changes so chances are good that when you get back to that size you’re going to want new stuff anyway.

6. If you absolutely love a shirt but never wear it because you have nothing to wear it with, well guess what, a mate isn’t going to magically appear in the night. Follow the one year rule.

7. Sentimental clothes that you aren’t wearing shouldn’t reside in your closet. Either take a picture of it and preserve the memory or limit yourself to one tote of “clothes to show my kids so they can laugh their heads off at me someday”.

8. Don’t hang onto something that is “just alright” because you don’t have something better yet to replace it. Let it go now unless it means you go naked, that wouldn’t be right.

9. You don’t have to do it all at once. Like I did try it in stages and be motivated by your success. One day you could do shirts, the next day shorts, etc..

10. Try everything on. This one I can’t stress enough. Do not hold something up and say oh this is so beautiful I’m going to keep it. That’s too easy and what you might not remember is that, although it’s beautiful, the buttons gape at the front showing off your woman parts. Nope we don’t want that now do we. Get rid of it.

11. You only have the space that you do. Jamming your clothes into the closet and fighting with them every single day to find what you need won’t make your closet grow in the night. It will only make you grumpy…every single day. It’s not worth it.


Hi, it’s me again, Iris. Wasn’t that great?! I just love her! Seriously, if you haven’t slurped that lady’s Kool-Aid yet, you need to get on it!

I was so inspired by her clothes purging manifesto that I finally tackled the overflowing “Mend” bucket in my bedroom:

I just love how she said:

“If it’s waiting to be mended and it’s been waiting for a long time then enough is enough already.”

That spoke to my soul.

I spilled out the contents of that bucket and discovered a torn t-shirt and a pair of shorts that my daughter had already outgrown (they had been in the bucket THAT long). Those went right into the trash. How freeing! Next up, a very dated fire-engine red full length London Fog raincoat that I bought in 1989. It was really expensive and I thought I would update it by shortening it and changing the buttons. Shoulder pads might come back into style someday, right?

Maybe, but I’d rather have some more empty space in my room. That rain coat had been sitting in that bucket for well over a year. And upon closer inspection, it had some signs of wear and tear that made it not worth the time and effort if would take me to update it. Enough is enough already. Maybe it will make someone at the thrift shop very happy.

Now I only have a couple of things to mend instead of a huge bucket! Much more doable.

And speaking of those buckets…I have one more tip for you today. Those $5.00 buckets also make great impromptu Ninja Turtle costumes…

Whoo-hooo! Just add your own enthusiasm! The camouflage underwear hat is optional. (Gosh I hope those were clean.)

yours truly,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

On a recent two-week trip away from home, I found myself jonesin’ to organize something! I guess that’s a side effect from being this far into the 52 Weeks of Organizing Project. Or maybe I was suffering from Org Junkie withdrawal symptoms.

I was at my Mom’s very neat and orderly house, and craving an organizing fix, I had no choice but to focus on what I brought with me.

First thing I did was unpack.

Done! Let’s hit the beach, y’all!

My anal tidy husband didn’t like that at all. “But honey, I’m on vacation!” (I whined.) “So am I!” said Mr. Bossy Pants. Oh snap. The man had a point there. Poor thing deserves a vacation away from our cluttered home.

So I put my Mojito down, folded my clothes in a semi-neatly fashion, and put them away in the guest room drawers and closet.

I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl! I never unpack when I’m on vacation. But I decided to give it a whirl and you know what, it was nice. I knew where everything was. It wasn’t (too) wrinkled. And the room was so pretty and peaceful without my piles everywhere. I think I may have actually slept better in that room than I do at home…and not just because of the ocean air or the extra night cap(s).

Feeling the high of my unpacking success, I decided to tackle something else…my makeup bag!

Check it out… I couldn’t even zip that sucker shut, it was so full of junk.


Using Org Junkie’s PROCESS (Plan, Remove, Organize, Containerize, Evaluate, Simplify, Smile), I was able to clean my bag out in a matter of minutes!

1.) Plan: my plan was to clean out the makeup bag, toss the junk and ancient stuff, organize what I keep. {Der.} The planning step always confounds me. But maybe that’s why I live in a constant state of chaos. Hmmm.

2.) Remove: just dumped it out, easy peasy.

Hey, who put that big fishbowl of wine there? Gah!

3.) Organize: make piles, like with like…


Right off the bat, I tossed two old mascaras. I need an eye infection like I need another signed Ohio State football “decorating” my living room bookshelf.

In the photo above you may notice a pile in the middle of things that don’t belong in a makeup bag… a pen, a rubber band, a marble, a flosser, a sweater defuzzer (that I swear to God I do not use on my face, even though I probably could.) All that crap went either right into the trash or into a plastic baggie to take home.

4.) Containerize:


5.) Evaluate: 


Ohmigosh, I don’t think this picture does it justice. Here it is again in relation to a stick of lip stuff so you can see how truly tiny it is:

Seriously. How cheap and lazy can one woman be? I can’t even put the cap on this eyebrow pencil or the whole nub will get stuck in the cap. As a result, the cap-less nub gets lost in the bottom of the bag every dang day and the tip breaks off and discolors the makeup bag. In addition, the tiny pencil nub in my ginormous hand is really difficult to use, and thus, more days than not, I walk past mirrors and am always startled to see this looking back at me:

image credit: www.theluxuryspot.com

And with all that money in my hand, why don’t I just plunk some down and buy a new eyebrow pencil that I can actually use???

My evaluation: time for a new eyebrow pencil, dumbass.

6.) Simplify: I also removed two different drug store eyeshadows that I bought during an extreme couponing phase that made me look (even more) like a hooker. I didn’t throw them out though; I gave them to my 8 year old daughter so she can look like an underage hooker. That’s how I roll. I don’t care if she experiments with frosty eyeshadow, as long as she does it in the safety of our home, under my watchful eye and tutelage.


7.) Smile: my makeup bag is streamlined and organized! I can close it now! I get to buy some new stuff! So hell yeah I’m smiling. Not bad work for a vacation day.

Only one problem…

I’m not on vacation anymore.

Back to reality,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

The KEY to staying organized…

It’s week # 12 in Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing challenge. This week Org Junkie’s topic is “Daily Maintenance.

Finally, something I apparently rock at! (Just don’t tell my bikini line… that Mama Bear thinks it’s hybernating until Memorial Day.)

With the exception of my dining room which I am using as a staging/work area while I declutter the rest of the house, I have successfully maintained all the other spots on my project list thus far.

Just ask my awesome Facebook friend Regan.

The other day I posted a picture of myself looking quite fetching in my very messy kitchen. Later that day, she wrote on my FB wall:

I notice that you’re keeping that window sill in good order. 😉

How awesome is that? I am so tickled that she noticed my neatly maintained window sill and that she would take the time mention it. Thanks Regan!

You know why I’m soooo good at maintaining these areas? Because I am sooooo lazy.

Maintaining is much much easier and less painful than the initial work it takes to get a space looking that good. It’s just like going to the dentist. If you floss everyday (which I do!), those bi-annual dentist visits are much easier, right? Same thing with your house. It’s just that sometimes we need a big ol’ painful scraping session to get to the point where we can easily maintain it on our own. That’s what led me to Org Junkie… I had gone too long without “flossing” my house. But now I’m back on track and things are definitely starting to look bright and shiny around here.

This week I’ve been scraping away at the hidden plaque in my kitchen. Ooooh-weeee, what a frickin’ mess.

Remember that built-in desk area of my kitchen? You know, the one that will be the ideal Command Center one day?

Well, I’m slowly working on it, piece by piece.

The first thing I did was clear that sucker off!

Check out my constant companion Gracie… she loves to just hang out with me while I declutter. I guess she’s an organizing junkie too!

Here’s what the top drawer looked like earlier this week:

Here’s me attempting to follow Org Junkie’s PROCESS… removing everything, organizing like with like, and purging as much as I can:

And here’s what it looks like after containerizing:

Much better, eh? Now I’m evaluating and simplifying. And soon I predict I’ll be doing lots of smiling about it.

I only had one minor hiccup on this project.

Have I ever told you about the time I hired the world’s worst professional organizer four years ago? It was, hands down, the worst money I’ve ever spent. (Even worse than that case of Fat Burning Soap I purchased from QVC in 1997.)

I’ll spare you the details because I’m a good Christian woman who subscribes to the Golden Rule. But let me just summarize by saying that bitch flat out sucked. Bless her heart. I pray that she’ll find her true calling one day… perhaps as a toll booth operator or inspector #42 at the Fruit of the Loom factory.

One of the projects she made me do was to organize that same kitchen drawer I worked on this week. She stood over me like a Catholic school nun with a wooden ruler and made me decide on the spot whether or not to keep or purge every little thing in that drawer. It was so awful, I still have nightmares about it.

But I will tell you this. Even though working with her was like having a drug-free root canal, she did know a trick or two (tops).

And one of those two tricks I learned from her would be really handy for a normal person (i.e., not me). I’d like to share it with you now.

In that junk drawer 4 years ago was a bunch of random keys. I didn’t want to throw any of them out because I wasn’t sure what they went to or whether or not I’d need them in the future. Plus, I have a major phobia of losing keys based on a childhood incident in which I lost the key to our beach house rental and my Uncle and Grandpa scarred me for life with their angry display. Seriously… to this day, I clip my keys to my purse or my beltloop or my nipple ring. Kidding, I don’t have a nipple ring, but if I did, my keys would surely be clipped to it (and dragging on the floor behind me.)

But here’s the solution that evil organizer came up with:

Bag of random keys, labeled “Trash 5-15-08.”

Her intention was that I could keep the bag of random keys for one more year, and if I hadn’t used any of them by then, I was supposed to throw the whole bag away on 5-15-08.

Pretty brilliant idea, I have to say.

Of course, here we are almost three years past that scheduled dumping date, and have I done it? Nooooooooo.

They are keys! KEYS!!! You know the minute I throw those out I will find a magic box or trunk in my attic or basement that contains treasures beyond the wildest imagination!

I. Simply. Cannot. Throw. Away. Keys.

So here’s what I’m a-gonna do. I’m just going to move the baggie somewhere less prominent… perhaps to the bottom of my file cabinet. It’s just a little baggie. It doesn’t take up that much space! Right?

Forgive me, Org Junkie. I know it’s the wrong thing to do. I just can’t throw away keys. I can’t.

Okay, in all fairness, I’m starting to think maybe that professional organizer wasn’t so bad afterall. She just had one bitch of a difficult client. Bless her heart.

apologetically yours,


PS – to see the rest of the 52 Weeks projects I’ve tackled so far, click here.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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