Swept Under

If it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, don’t worry I can assure you that I haven’t.  But, it does sort of feel that way.  I’m at the point in the semester where things start to move faster and the first big assignment is due.  My students dread it and so do I!  It kind of feels like getting swept off your feet by a big wave.  You can see it way out there and as it gets closer you try to prepare yourself for it, but sometimes you just can’t jump high enough and you get swept under.  That’s how I’ve been feeling this past week.

Some how, some way I’ve been slowly getting behind on things– prepping lectures, making quizzes, getting the next big speech assignment packet sent to the printers, blogging, etc.  And it’s not even like I don’t have time– it’s that I don’t have motivation!  I seriously spent like 5 hours catching up on the Fall premieres of Dancing with the Stars, Castle, Criminal Minds, and a few other shows.  I know in a sense that I probably needed that time to just sort of veg out– I can’t shake that nagging feeling that I should be doing something more productive–laundry, dishes, practicing for the upcoming flair competition.  I’m just feeling so repressed by all of items on my iCalendar.  Everyday it’s something.  Tuesday nights I teach, Wednesday nights I close down the bar, Thursday nights I teach, Friday morning I teach and then work at the bar that night, Saturday morning I usually do chores and work at the bar, Sunday morning I open the bar, Monday night I close the bar and then we start all over.

After I get home from work (teaching or the bar) I try to spend a few moments of quality time with my BF.  Usually I have a day off from the bar in there somewhere– mostly Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and that becomes “date night” with the BF.  But, everyday it is something.  And on top of my work schedule there’s always extra meetings at school to attend.

In order to catch back up, you are going to get a two for one post!  This week has really started to feel like Fall and to me that means layering.  When I leave for school in the afternoons the sun is out and the weather can feel mild, but I know when the sun goes down that the temps are going to fall and when I come out of the building at 9pm its going to be a bit chilly-willy.

Black blazer: (thrifted.) Flowered print shirt: Wal-Mart. Coral earrings: (thrifted.) Red belt: (thrifted.) Black shorts: Target. Silver watch: Fossil. Button ring: self-made. Black booties: Dillard’s.

I have an entire Pinterest board filled with “Winter Shorts.”  I don’t know why, but I love the look of wearing shorts with tights and booties.  So, I thought that it was time that I re-created this look (again.)  I wore these shorts last Spring in an off-season way, but I wasn’t entirely in love with the look.  This time, I wore sheer black pantyhose instead of opaque tights and I think that it turned out a lot better.

When I got home from class my BF said, “You’re wearing shorts?!”  To which I responded, yes.  But if you think about it, wearing shorts is sort of just like wearing a skirt in the Fall.  And nobody thinks twice about a woman wearing a skirt.  Class that night is sort of a blur at this point.  I remember that we talked about evaluating speeches and watched some video’s, but that is about all.

Thursday is a little bit more memorable in my mind. Again, it was a day with Fall weather and layers were in order. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to wear, but I knew that I wanted to wear a dress and “Fall-erize” it. I tried on a few of my dresses and added layers underneath or over, and in the end I ended up with this purple maxi-dress. Underneath of it, I have a long-sleeved light purple shirt. This is to give a little more coverage in the bust, and some additional warmth. Then, I added the brown jacket and the scarf that I tied to make it an infinity scarf. I was o.k. with the outfit, but I can’t say that I really loved it. I just sort of ran out of time and had a heaping mound of clothes piling up on the bed. Oops.

Purple maxi-dress: gift. Light purple scoop neck t-shirt: Old Navy. Purple scarf: Wal-Mart. Brown jacket: unknown. Bronze hoops: Charlotte Russe. Gold Watch: Wal-Mart. Brown boots: Old Navy.

Thursday night was not the best night of the semester.  Apparently, there were two questions in the online activity that the computer marked wrong, even though the students gave the right answer.  I had one student e-mail me to tell me about it, and then another.  I looked in to it and discovered that these two students were correct.  I responded to them both via e-mail and asked them not to mention it to the other students– I was curious to see how many of them were really paying attention and caught the mistake.

But, neither of the students had read my response e-mail and one of them came into the class blabbering to everyone about the mistake.  This got other students in on the bandwagon and had everyone whipped up into a frenzy before class even started.  And, they were all worked up to the tune of a total of one point.  The questions are worth 1/2 a point each.  Now, in the course there are a total of 1,775 points on the table.  So, 1 point is .08%.  It’s not even one percent of their overall grade!  Anyway, all they wanted to do was to focus on this and not on the lecture material.  They finally forced my hand and I had to address it at the beginning of class, rather than during the lecture when we covered the material that the questions were over.  I was thoroughly annoyed.  And, I didn’t hide my annoyance very well.

I also had an activity planned for them to practice impromptu speaking.  I come up with random questions like, What did you want to be when you were little and why?  The students go up to the front of the classroom and pick a question at random and then take a few minutes to answer the question.  All the questions are pretty silly and funny.  Mostly, it’s designed to give the students some practice with impromptu speaking and get them a little bit used to speaking in front of the class before their first speech on Tuesday.

But, they were all in a complain-y mood over the two questions on the online activity, so they were being sourpusses and didn’t want to play the funny question game.  One student in particular who went up there got a question about dressing up for Halloween and he gave every excuse as to why he couldn’t answer the question.  I mean, he totally could have just made something up, described a friends costume, a costume that he would really like to do, etc.  But, instead he wanted to be a stick in the mud and take all the fun out of the game.

It was just one of those nights that takes all the wind out of your sails.  I have them every once in a while.  What do you do on days like that?  Are you good at hiding your annoyance?  I can’t imaging what teachers of crazy hormonal teenagers do in situations like this!

-Carla

(Fall)

Although I have been tagging pictures and posts “Fall” for quite some time now, it’s not actually Fall!  According to the calendar Fall doesn’t begin for another two days.  But, nonetheless in my mind Fall is synonymous with back-to-school.  Plus, everyone is always pushing ahead and talking about what’s coming next and not focusing on the here and now.  Look at Fashion week– they are debuting clothing lines for the Spring!  We haven’t even had Fall and Winter yet.  And not to mention my Pinterest was flooded with pins of outfits comprised of leggings, boots, and comfy cozy sweaters captioned I LOVE Fall two months ago.  So, please don’t fault me for the erroneous tagging!

Printed cowl neck shirt: Target. Red earrings: unknown. Magenta skinny belt: Target. Khaki pencil skirt: Target. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown heeled boots: unknown.

And, since we’re only two days away, I’ll go ahead and say this.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Fall.  This week we have had some near record lows.  The cool crisp air is very Fall-esque and therefore, I have started wearing some Fall-like layers.  First up, this shirt which with the mustard yellow and burgundy tones just screams “fall pile of leaves” to me.  And the khaki pencil skirt.  And the brown knee-high heeled boots.  I’m no mathmetician, but Boots=Fall.  I told you in my last post that my outfit consisted of different elements from my creative closet play session, and here it is.  First, the printed cowl neck shirt from all of the outfits.  Second, the skinny magenta belt which gives this top the illusion of being a peplum top– which are SO on-trend right now (but not in my closet.)  Third, the brown boots from another outfit.  Switch out the denim colored pencil skirt for a khaki one, add in thick nude colored tights, and a brown jacket and we’re good to go!

I really like the way that I created the peplum top illusion by tucking under some of the excess length on this top and adding the belt.  But, the one thing that I didn’t like is that my skirt was all wrinkly by the end of the night.  I think that a good coating of spray starch will take care of that.

In class we finished up the lecture over outlining and then talked about organizational strategies for main points.  I have tried to stress to my students the importance of their outlines.  I have walked them through the process step by step.  In week 3 I required them to turn in their topic for approval, their general purpose and specific purpose.  A few of them were off course and had selected a topic that would work better for a process or persuasive speech.  Some of them had a good topic, but had written a specific purpose that treated the topic as a how-to or persuasive speech.  And some of them didn’t write the specific purpose according to the guidelines.

After they turned in their topics, I told them that they should be out there researching their topics and gathering support material for their outlines.  This coincided with the two chapters on finding resources and evaluating and using supporting material.  I constantly reminded them that they should be starting the process of piecing together their outlines.  Last week we began discussing outlining.  We finished that up on Tuesday and their outlines are due today.

I’m always a little worried for some of my students– especially the ones who don’t heed my warnings and get behind.  I had a student approach me at the end of class on Tuesday and ask me if she could change her topic.  I tried to conceal the look of horror on my face as I explained to her that she should be on the outlining stage and not at the selecting a topic stage.  Selecting a topic stage was so 3 weeks ago!  I asked her if she realized how behind she was, but I don’t think that she grasped the severity of the situation.  But, there is a silver lining to this situation.  She expressed concern to me about how to study for the quizzes.

I took a few minutes to sit down with her and show her a few tips and tricks for figuring out which information is most important in a textbook chapter and which information is least important.  I also explained to her about the cues that a teacher gives to the students.  For instance, if something is not covered in class that means that it is less important than other information.  Idea’s that a teacher repeats is something that they want you to write down in your notes and remember.  The same thing with PowerPoint slides.  The information written on a PowerPoint slide is usually written in short key word phrases with the intent that a student will copy that information down in their notes and then elaborate with the other information that an instructor provides orally.

I’m choosing to focus on the positive aspect of the student reaching out to me for help on study habits rather than focusing on the fact that she is so far behind where she needs to be on the first big assignment.

What do you think?  Are there any other basic study tips that you give to students to help them figure out what to study?  Do you reach out to students whose quiz scores are lower than the rest of the class or do you wait until they come to you?  Please let me know your tips and tricks– I love learning from others.

-Carla

Versatility

I’m just going to throw this out there and say that I shop too much.  I know that I will regret saying that at some point, but it is true.  Now, I am not as bad as some people out there in the world, but I can admit that I own more things than I really need.  But, it’s hard to resist that siren song of new clothes and trends.

So, I try very, very hard to be mindful of the items that I purchase.  And, I certainly make sure that I am not breaking the bank with my spending habits.  But, truth be told, I often buy new things and I am so excited to wear them as soon as I bring them home.  And then I look in my closet and I see all these other wonderful items of clothing that I haven’t even worn yet!  I’m not one of those people who looks in my closet and thinks, I have nothing to wear!  I look into my closet and I think, Ahhh, I have so many things to wear and so little time to wear them all!  Which, could explain why I often change so many times throughout the day.

I also really like the challenge of coming up with different ways to style a piece of clothing.  Sure, some items are easier than others, but that just makes it fun.  And not all of my styling idea’s come from my own mind– many of them are idea’s that I get from fashion magazines, television, Pinterest, other bloggers, etc.  Here are the recent additions from my closet on my last shopping trip.  (I can justify each and every one of these purchases, y’all!)

(Clockwise from Top) Printed Cowl Neck Top: Target on-sale $9, Denim Colored Pencil Skirt: Target clearance $12, Printed Ruffled Tank (magenta/black): Target on-sale $12, Purple and Black Dress: (thrifted) $4

As you can see, I went on a min-shopping trip to Target and the thrift store. The printed cowl neck top has been in stores for a few weeks now, but they just went on-sale for $9.  There were two color options and I chose the magenta, mustard yellow, and cream because I knew it would fit into my closet well.  I could think of a few different ways to wear this top for Fall and for Spring.  I could pair this with my mustard cardigan or a cream-colored cardigan and jeans or khaki pants for Fall.  For a more Spring time outfit, I could play off of the white/cream and wear it with white pants or a khaki skirt.  I could even see layering it under a sweater or a button-down for a Winter-y version.

The second item, a denim colored pencil skirt, has been on my wish list for some time now.  I love the pencil skirts from Target.  I have one in black and khaki and they fit very well and are staples of my closet.  I have a denim colored pair of trouser pants from Target that I get a lot of use out of, and I knew that a skirt in the same color/fabrication would work well in my closet.  Basically, any outfit that I’ve worn with those pants can be worn with this skirt.  Plus, this girl fueled my desire for a denim-colored pencil skirt.  And, it was on clearance. And my size.  That’s like a fashion rule that you have to buy it.

This third item won its way into my cart because it is the same cut and style as this tank top, albeit a different print.  Again, my brain immediately started counting the outfits that I could create with this top.  I could wear it with black dress pants/black skinny pants/black pencil skirt, jeans/denim shorts/denim skirt, or blue pants/gray pants/white pants.  And those are just the bottom choices.  There are a number of toppers that I could wear over the tank top: black cardigan, royal blue cardigan, mustard cardigan, white cardigan, black blazer, blue blazer, magenta button up, white button up, or a black button up.  And, not to mention that I could layer a black tissue turtleneck under it for a Fall option, and a cardigan or blazer over it with the turtleneck for a Winter option.  I mean, that’s worth $12, right?  I knew you’d agree.  This is why we’re friends.

The last new item may have the least amount of remix possibilities, but I have been on the search for dresses.  I mean, with a dress there is barely any thinking involved.  You just pull it over your head and you’re good to go.  I mean, you may want to put on some shoes, too.  I could see this dress as is, with a black cardigan or black blazer, and maybe a black or purple sweater over it, so just the print shows on the skirt.  I could also layer under it with a black v-neck t-shirt or turtleneck.  I can see this with black tights and booties for Fall, or black tights, over the knee socks, and knee-high boots for Winter, or with an open-toed sandal or black wedges for Spring.  I could even wear my purple peep toed pumps with this dress!  The only downfall of this dress is that I don’t currently have a cardigan or sweater that is the same shade of purple, but I don’t think that would necessarily stop me from wearing this purple cardigan with the dress.

In case you weren’t convinced, here are some outfits that I created with the printed cowl neck top.  These first two are casual outfits.  And, the one on the left I have actually already worn.

(L to R) Mustard cardigan: Target. Printed cowl neck top: Target. Skinny Khaki’s: J.C. Penney. Brown boots: Old Navy.
Printed cowl neck top: Target. White jeans: (thrifted.) Brown penny-loafers: Old Navy.

I originally purchased this top with my everyday wardrobe in mind, but after getting it home I felt that the cowl neck top took this t-shirt up a notch and I was curious to see if I could make this piece work for my professional wardrobe as well.  Here are the results: 3 professional outfits with this printed cowl neck top.

(L to R) Printed cowl neck top: Target. Light khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Magenta belt: Target. Brown pointy toed shoes: (thrifted.) Burgundy open toed pumps: (thrifted.)
Printed cowl neck top: Target. Cream colored cardigan: Old Navy. Brown dress pants: Bitten (Steve n’ Barry’s). Brown round toe pumps: (thrifted.) Burgundy open toed pumps: (thrifted.)
Magenta button up: J.C. Penney. Printed cowl neck top: target. Denim colored skirt: Target. Brown heeled boots: unknown. Brown round toe pumps: (thrifted.)

So there you have it!  Self-imposed challenge, complete.  Oh, and elements from these three dressy items made up my outfit that I wore to class on Tuesday night.  So, stay tuned for that– it’s coming up shortly.

What do you think?  Do you ever play this game when you are buying clothes?  Or do you just go all willy-nilly and buy whatever happens to strike your fancy at that particular moment whether it fits in your closet or not?  Do you make purchases based on how you actually dress, or how you wish you dressed?  Sound off below– I love reading your comments.  And, I wouldn’t mind if you pinned my outfits, either!

-Carla

 

Mid-Week Exhaustion

Thursday was exhausting! I assigned my students a quiz on this online lab and every one of them was having one problem or another. (Multiplied by two, since both of my classes had to complete an assignment on there!) It started out with students showing up on my roster for the course, but not showing up in the grade book on this website. I was desperately trying to figure out why some students were and others were not. The students said that they didn’t do anything differently or additional to the directions that I provided.

The online help system of this website was nowhere near helpful. I could not locate the information that I needed. Eventually, I opened a help ticket but the person who was helping me seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. And I couldn’t find a phone number for the life of me to call and talk with an actual person.

So, all day long I was fielding e-mails from students saying that they did everything right and they had no idea why they weren’t there. Some of them found and completed the quiz without any issues, but most of them did not. I got so tired of typing the same directions to the students. Then, I come to find out that a handful of them were looking on their school website for the activity and not on this outside website. Ugghhh. It was so mentally draining. They expect me to be able to diagnose their problem and explain to them why its’ not working, but that is very difficulty to do remotely. I have no idea if they are in the right place, or not, or why they are getting one error or another.

Technology is supposed to make things easier. And it does, when it works. When it doesn’t it just makes things ten times more difficult.  So, I kind of copped out with my outfit.  Not entirely, it’s just that I can’t take credit for coming up with this concept– I browsed my Pinterest boards (again) for inspiration.  And I came across this photo:

Image via Pinterest

And I thought to myself, I could replicate this outfit pretty easily.  I may not have the exact denim jacket that this woman has, or that specific white shirt, or a leopard print pencil skirt.  But!  I do have a denim jacket in my closet (two, actually), a white t-shirt, and a similar colored pencil skirt.  So, I rounded all these items up and here is my take on this simple outfit:

Jean jacket: Wal-Mart. Gold Link necklace: Wal-Mart. Gold Hoop earrings: J.C. Penney. White boatneck t-shirt: Old Navy. Black and Gold pencil skirt: J.C. Penney. Gold Watch: Wal-Mart. Black Pumps: Payless.

That’s the thing about fashion and style.  It’s not always about having a specific item, but it’s about seeing the potential in the items that you do have.  I bet half of you have a white shirt, denim jacket, and fancy skirt hanging up in your closet right now.  Did it ever occur to you to put those items together for a simple but polished look?  I have to say that this outfit reminds me very much of another outfit that I wore with a similar theme: a basic everyday top and a fancy skirt.

Plus, it’s nice to see pieces in a different light.  Just because this skirt look fancy that doesn’t mean that it should only be worn for fancy or evening events.  By being more open and not resigning your clothes to only certain uses it really helps you open up possibilities.

Here are some other ways that I have also worn this skirt: with a black turtleneck and a white button-up.  What do you think?  Are there other possibilities that you see for this skirt?  I love finding new ways to wear clothes in my closet.
-Carla

 

Week 2: Day 1

 

Although Monday was a holiday and many people have off, I did not have the day off from my second job.  So, Sunday was really my holiday.  To me, Monday was just a regular ol’ day, except with more traffic from all those people who didn’t have to work!  Tuesday morning I did get to sleep in and recover from a somewhat busy weekend.  I also did some straightening up around my apartment.

That meant putting away all the clothes that I drug out over the past week.  While doing that, I also worked on a few outfit idea’s for the upcoming work week.  I do still have two outfits that I submitted as possible first day outfits, but I also have an entire closet full of clothes to mix and match.

I spent some time on Pinterest looking over my inspiration boards and seeing which outfits I could duplicate.  In the end, I staged two outfits for this week.  One that I wore to class on Tuesday, and one that I am most likely planning to wear on Friday.

First things, first.  I haven’t gotten to wear this new striped racerback tank, yet.  I had originally paired it with black dress pants and a 3/4 sleeved black cardigan, but the outfit felt a little safe.  Since the tank had white, dark khaki, and black stripes I knew that I didn’t need to just limit myself to pairing it with black.  So, I tried it with a few different pants options, and in the end I chose a pair of pants that don’t necessarily match, but they go.

Black blazer: (Ann Taylor, thrifted.) silver rope chain: gift from grandma. Striped tank: Target. Silver watch: Fossil. Blush pants: (thrifted.) Black pointy-toed pumps: Shoe Carnival.

I knew that I wanted to wear pants yesterday; I wore skirts and dresses all last week.  I had a few other outfit idea’s for these pants, but I also wanted to wear this shirt!  I kept the jewelry to a minimum by just adding a necklace and wearing a watch. This also happens to be the blog debut of this Ann Taylor blazer that I thrifted a while back.

I started out class by giving the students a quiz over the material that we covered on Thursday.  I didn’t take the time to go over it and grade it during class because we had two chapters to cover, but just by glancing through some of the students responses, I can see that they didn’t do as well as I would have liked them to.  I also lectured over the chapter on listening.  It took a little longer than I had planned for, and that meant that we didn’t get all the way through the second chapter for the evening on selecting a topic.  That’s o.k., though.  We just have one more concept to go over and we can cover it on Thursday.  Plus, they don’t have to turn their topics in until Tuesday, so it’s not going to effect them too terribly much.  I just have to get my timing down better.

I am having all sorts of difficulty with this online tool that I use for my students.  Several of them are showing up on the roster, but not in the grade book.  This means that they didn’t complete the registration process.  However, I don’t know exactly which step they missed and the online help services are not helping!  It’s been sort of a frustrating morning.  I am fielding e-mails left and right from my students saying that they can’t see the content and are having trouble completing their homework.  Aggggh. Technology is great when it works, but sometimes getting it all set up to do what you want it to do is more of a pain in the butt than it’s worth.

I hope that it all gets sorted out so that my students can complete their homework.  The beginning of the semester is always so stressful.

By the way, I know that I sometimes mention my second job, but I am usually a little vague about what it is.  Well, I wanted to share the good news with all of you, that I won my store’s annual 2012 Bartender Championships!  I had to take a test on our menu, a test over our 25 most popular drinks, a pour test (where they measure the accuracy of my free pours), a speed round (where I have to make 5 drinks as fast and accurately as possible), and the flair show.  This youtube video is the final step in the process: the flair show.  We invite guests, friends, and family to come out and watch our performances.  After we are done with our 6 minute routine, we auction off the 3 drinks for charity.  This year, the proceeds went to Feed America.  Last year was the first year that I participated and I took 3rd place.  I will be moving on the next level where I compete against the winner’s at the other stores in our district.  This will be sometime in early October.  However, if it interferes with my class or my vacation I will not be able to attend.

-Carla

 

Mustard

As the temperatures slowly start to drop and I see and hear advertisements for school uniforms, jeans, and inexpensive dorm items I start to get excited for the upcoming Fall semester.  Wednesday I submitted my syllabus to my mentor for approval, got my nails done, and went to Target.  I have been slowly collecting Fall outfit idea’s on Pinterest, much like everyone else!

I bought three items at Target; a long-sleeve boyfriend style mustard-colored cardigan, a pair of grey trouser style pants, and a silky horizontal striped tank top.  The cardigan and pants are new items for Fall, but the tank top is more of a summer-time item.  (Although, it would make a wonderful layering piece, I bought it mostly to take on vacation to Florida this Fall.)  All 3 items were on sale, too!

I do not own anything in mustard yellow which made it that much more of a surprising buy.  But, two of my recent pins on Pinterest involved Fall colored cardigans.  Plus, I think it will add more depth and interest to my wardrobe.  And it was $15.  Immediately after I got home I searched Pinterest for “mustard cardigan” and created this board.  And then I re-created several of the looks that I pinned with my new mustard cardigan and items that I already had in my closet.

Check it out:

Yes, I am wearing two different shoes in both of the bottom pictures, your eyes are not deceiving you.  I couldn’t decide between the brown studded pumps and the burgundy peep-toe pumps with the plaid linen dress.  I think that both of them look good.  In the right hand picture I liked both the round toe pumps and the pointy-toed pumps, so I wanted to show the outfit with both options.

I know that not everyone thinks that Fashion and clothes are fun and enjoy looking at magazines and Pinterest and spending the time and effort looking for alternate ways to wear clothing items– but I certainly do!  And, it’s not that hard or time consuming to come up with interesting ways to wear items.  Could I have shown you a photograph of an outfit comprised of a white button-up, khaki pants and brown pumps–yes, but I think that it is the type of outfit that everyone can come up with on their own– you don’t need me to show you pictures of no-brainer outfits like that!

Stay tuned for more photo collages– at least one with my new striped tank top!

Closet Makeover

I have been warning you that I was planning an overhaul on my closet.  This project was less about cleaning out my closet and more about re-organizing.  I cleaned out my clothes closet pretty severely back in March, so this time around I didn’t need to spend much time purging items.  I do, however, plan on going through my clothes closet after Fall/Winter and purging items.  As I was starting to re-organize there were several pieces that I felt iffy about.  But, I’ll allow myself the opportunity to wear them this Fall.  (The clothes hanging in the closet are mostly my professional wardrobe: dresses, skirts, dress pants, button up shirts, blouses, cardigans, and blazers.  Tank tops, cami’s, t-shirts, shorts, jeans, and workout gear/sleepwear are housed in my dresser in the bedroom.) A few things were not working for me in my closet.

#1. Belts and Scarves.  I was corralling them in an over the door shoe organizer with clear plastic pouches, but it wasn’t designed to hang on a closet rod.  Therefore, it wanted to turn perpendicular to the way that I wanted it to hang.  Also, it hung the length from the closet rod to the floor.  The problem with this was that the shoe organizer was in the way.  Lastly, it blocked easy access to the items in the left hand side of the closet and because it’s dark inside the closet it was difficult to tell black belts from brown from navy.

#2 Purses and Bags.  I did not create a designated space for my purses and bags like I had wanted to the last time I cleaned out the closet.  Therefore, my bags and purses were shoved under the bed.  I wanted a solution that was a little more bag-friendly and kept them out in the open where I can easily see and select them.

#3 Lighting.  There is no internal lighting in my closet.  I added some touch lights, but they were super inexpensive ($1, maybe?) and didn’t work as well as I would have liked.

#4 Wasted Space.  There was a lot of space above the closet rod that wasn’t being utilized to its fullest potential.

You can see many of these pitfalls in the BEFORE pictures, below.


I purchased a few items to help facilitate my re-organization project. First, some tiered skirt hangers. These will hold up to 6 skirts on a single hanger. I purchased two of these at Wal-Mart. (They were pretty cheap, maybe like $6.) I also purchased two pants organizer hangers that hold 4 pairs of pants each. (These were about $5-$6, too.)  I also purchased a Clostmaid stackable organizer at Target for $20.  Lastly, I purchased some different (hopefully better) push-on lights.

Now, I was ready to begin.  First, I pulled everything out of the closet.  This wasn’t entirely necessary, but I knew that I wanted to switch out some hangers and re-organize the location of types of clothing, so taking everything out just made it a lot easier.  Now I had a blank slate.

I replaced the old push-on lights with the new ones and left the double-hung rod in the same place in the left-hand side of the closet. I did re-arrange the shoe organizer in the bottom to be narrower and flush to the right wall. I also flipped it upside down to create more of a gap between the floor and the bottom rung to house flip-flops.

Next, I sorted my clothing into piles by type: dresses, skirts, pants, button up shirts, blouses, cardigans, blazers/jackets, and cardigans. I took the skirts off their original hangers and grouped them in categories by color, and then re-hung them on their new hangers.

The maxi-skirts I hung from the top set of clips, but had it behind the other skirts so that you could still see all of them, and it wouldn’t touch the ground. You can see this better from the back. I repeated the same process with my dress pants.

Third, I started loading my clothes back in. I started with the dresses all the way to the right, and then the skirts next. I discovered that with the tiered hangers, they were longer than before. They touch the top of the shoe organizer, but that doesn’t bother me. Next, came pants.  (Although, I moved them to the other side in the end.) Cardigans were next and then blouses. In the left hand side, I hung my button-up shirts and dress pants on the top and my blazers and jackets on the bottom rod.

Fourth, I assembled the shelf organizer and turned it horizontally.  I looked at several different organization options for the top of my closet, including Itso blocks, Yaffa blocks, and many other cube storage systems.  But, given the dimensions of my closet and my budget, this ClosetMaid item was the best option.  One note, I had planned all along to use this item horizontally.  What I didn’t count on was that the shelves sit on plastic clips and rely on gravity to keep them in their place!   While they still work for separating the space and helping the purses stay upright, the “shelves” fall over when I remove the purses.  (I think that I can remedy this problem by purchasing some additional plastic clips and putting them on the other side of the shelves to hold them in place from both the right and left side.)

Lastly, I re-arranged the items that were previously stored in the top of the closet.  The two plastic shopping bags were relocated into the rectangular plastic bin sitting on top of the purse organizer.  The cardboard box of table linens are also sitting on top of the purse organizer.  This makes much better use of the space–almost to the very top of the closet.  In the top of the left hand side I loaded back in our suitcases and travel bags and extra pillows.

This re-organization has addressed 3 out of 4 of my concerns: purses and bags, lighting, and wasted space.  The last and final hurdle for me to overcome is a suitable storage option for scarves and belts.  I am still surveying the products out there to find the best solution for me.  I like the idea of a hanger type item for the scarves.  But, that type won’t work for my belts because I don’t have a lot of vertical space.  Also, I don’t have usable space on the back of the closet door because this hall closet has a bi-fold door.  That leaves me with the small amount of space between the double-hung rod in the left hand side and where my clothes begin on the right hand side.  (I currently have my sun hats occupying this space.)  Any suggestions for belt storage would be greatly appreciated!!