Saturday, March 30, 2013

Window Shopping: Closet Holes & Wish List

Today has been one of those great lazy days for me... hanging around the house in my pajamas, painting my toenails, watching The Big Bang Theory on DVD.  Nothing on the agenda, no where to go, and lots of time to recharge and just do whatever I want.  In addition to adding a lovely shade of bright orange to my previously sad, naked winter toes (via Essie's Braziliant), I've spent the day window shopping for some wardrobe pieces that I consider to be holes in my closet.  Since I'm too lazy to actually go out shopping (and probably don't need to spend any more money until my tax refund comes back), I thought I would just share the holes in my closet that I need to fill and some of the items I'm drooling over online.

Closet Holes:
This is kind of a new term for me, so if you haven't already heard it, it refers to basic pieces that are missing from your wardrobe.  It's those pieces that make you think, "I could make so many more outfits if I only had a ____________."

1. 3/4 length or longsleeve white button down
While I do have a short sleeve white button down, 3/4 length is versatile for me year round.  I wear button downs to work and play and white would go with pretty much everything else in my wardrobe.

Option 1: Kohl's, on sale $21.60

Option 2: Kohl's, on sale $17.99
Option 3: Kohls, on sale $21.60

Option 1 is my favorite, mostly because the buttons and eyelet fabric add a little interest to what might otherwise be a very boring piece.  I'll probably swing by Kohl's next week and check it out, since I'm off on Friday but it will probably come down to what they have in stock and what fits the best.  I think options 1 and 2 would be the best for wearing on the weekends, since they have a more casual vibe with the tab sleeves and front pockets.

2. knee length shorts
I don't know how this happened, but I currently only have two pairs of shorts that fit me.  One is a pair of gray cargo shorts I bought last year and the other is the black Bermuda shorts I just wrote about here.  With summer temperatures not long from arriving here in Florida, I could really use one more pair of shorts.  I can't wear them to work but I will spend a lot of time in shorts this summer.  One pair of khaki or navy would be great.  I don't know why, but I've never been a fan of denim shorts.  They just seem hotter and stickier to me in the Florida summer heat and humidity.  (On me, even petite shorts are usually knee length so I usually can ignore the length shown in fit model pictures unless they are super short.)

Option 1: Old Navy, $26.94 (comes in navy or khaki)
Option 2: JCP, $20 (comes in khaki or navy)

I probably won't be buying any more shorts at least for a few more weeks.  I just don't need them right now, but I know I will soon!

3. colored or patterned button downs
As much as I wear button downs, I could really use a few more in some different patterns or colors than what I have.  Something in red or navy would be fun as well as some neutral toned patterns.

Colored Option 1: Kohl's, on sale $21.60
Colored Option 2: Old Navy, $24.94

Colored Option 3: Gap, $49.95

Patterned Option 1: JCP, $28

Patterned Option 2: (Cat Print!) Gap, sale $46.99
I'm not all that crazy about any of these, except the top one from Kohl's.  I'll probably check out a few stores that carry petite sizes at the outlet mall and see if they have anything.  Usually the prices at the outlet are much less than the regular stores.  They also have great sales and clearance and carry items other than what you see online.

And on to the more fun stuff!!
Wish List:
1. Leopard print pumps
I really have no use for these, as I rarely ever wear heels but I just love my leopard flats so much that I think a pair of pumps would be fun too.

Option 1: Target, $29.99
Option 2: DSW, $24.94

2. cognac handbag
I already have one cognac colored handbag and it's probably the one I use the most.  I love it and still use it but I would love to have another one that's maybe a little more of a grown up shape than my current one.

Option 1: Target, $32.99

I saw this at my local Target stores several weeks ago and drooled over how perfect it is for what I want.  However, I don't actually need a new bag, since I have tons already.  I haven't been able to get it out of my mind ever since so if I find it, I might just have to snatch it up anyway.  I'm going to justify it by saying that it's more professional than pretty much all of the bags that I have now. 

Option 2: Target, $49.99

3. utility vest
I love all the looks that Audrey comes up with using her utility vest.  I would love to own one too but I'm just afraid that it's a bit of a style risk for me.  I could either end up loving it or I could end up not feeling comfortable in it and never wearing it.  I've found some fairly inexpensive ones but I'm just still not sure if I'm willing to spend money on something I'm not sure that I will love.

Option 1: Papaya, $18.99

I love the shape, length, and color of this one.  I think it's my favorite, although the other colors are probably more versatile.  This would again come down to fit in real life.

Option 2: Papaya, $18.99

I kind of like that this one is almost like a sleeveless blazer lapel but more casual.  However I don't like the studs on this one and the one at the bottom.  Studs on a vest come off a little too teeny bopper for me.

Option 3: Forever 21, $27.80

Option 4: Papaya, $25.99

So that's pretty much what I did today!  I didn't spend a penny but I had fun dreaming of all the pretty things that could be mine.  Am I the only one that enjoys online window shopping?  I could surf virtual stores all day long!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Empties: Makeup, Hair, & Skin Products

These empties have been accumulating since November and I just kept forgetting to take the photographs to write this post.  I've finally gotten around to it and there's lots to share!  Let's start with the makeup.

Column 1:
- Two tubes of Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Mascara in Glam Black (my all time favorite mascara)
- Wet N Wild Clinical Mascara
- Too Faced Shadow Insurance
- Maybelline Line Exact Bright Highlight (white eyeliner)
- Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Single in Brulee

Column 2:
- EOS Lipbalm in Summer Fruit
- Carmex Lip Balm
- Viva La Juicy Perfume Sample

Column 3:
- Three compacts of Physician's Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation (my all time favorite foundation and powder.  Available in limited locations, still available at Ulta and

Left to Right:
- Suave Leave In Conditioner (A favorite.  I use this every day to prevent split ends.)
- Tresemme Thermal Creations Mousse (Another favorite, used everyday at the roots)
- Garnier Fructis Style Flexible Hold Hairspray (Another favorite, used daily for flexible hold in the dry months here in Florida)
- Garnier Fructis Style Full Control Hairspray (Something I was trying out.  Okay but not my favorite for summer months, as it doesn't have enough hold for Florida's summer humidity.)
- Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner (Yet another favorite.  I use this once or twice a week to prevent split ends.)
- John Frieda Frizz Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme (Again, a hair product favorite.  Add a small amount to damp hair to prevent frizz, add shine, and help your hair to get extra straight when using a flat iron.)
- It's a 10 Miracle Leave In Spray (Used to be a favorite but replaced by the much less expensive Straight Fixation.  Will not repurchase.)

Left to Right:
- Dollar General Body Revive Eye Serum (Loved this!  Would definitely repurchase it!)
- pHisoderm Daily Moisturizer (Bought at Big Lots.  Hard to find but very moisturizing.)
- Garnier Nutritionist Daily Eye Cream with SPF (Bought at Big Lots.  Would not repurchase.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Braces Update, OOTD, Blazer Alterations

Lots of stuff to talk about today!  Today I spent about two and a half hours at the orthodontist/dentist office.  Afterwards, Brian and I grabbed some lunch and went shopping at Stein Mart.  Finally, I did a little sewing!  Long, crazy day.  Let's start with what I wore.

The spotted blouse underneath was thrifted from Goodwill and is Banana Republic brand.  It's 30% silk and sooooo soft and comfortable!  The camel cardigan is from Target.  Bootcut jeans from Loft Outlet and brown flats from Rack Room shoes finish off this low maintenance outfit.  I didn't wear any accessories because I knew I'd be getting X-rays at the dentist and orthodontist appointments and they always ask me to remove earrings and necklaces.  On to that barrel of fun...

I think it's been kind of a long time since I've talked about my braces on the blog.  I'm pretty sure the last time I wrote about it was here, where I was about to get the screw microimplant in the roof of my mouth to try to move my right canine into place.  Well it's been several months since then and two full years of me in braces.  After all this work, the X-rays confirmed it today: my right canine is anklyosed (fused to the jaw bone) and is not going anywhere.  EVER.  I was referred to the oral surgeon again and need to have the tooth removed.  Then I have a pretty big decision to make.  I have to decide if I want to pay (at the very least) $5,000 out of pocket for a canine implant that is completely cosmetic and therefore not covered by insurance, or if I want to just use the braces to close the gap between my remaining teeth.  Either way means having braces for about another year at least, possibly longer.  I am absolutely frustrated by this.  Of course, my desire is to go with the more aesthetic implant but I don't have that kind of money to spend on anything, certainly not something that is purely for vanity's sake.  There are a lot of pros and cons and I won't officially decide what I'm doing until my consultation with the oral surgeon, but right now I'm leaning towards the far more cost efficient closing of the gap and just leaving the braces on for longer.

I came home to Brian completely dejected and defeated today, on the verge of tears.  We had planned to go to Tijuana Flats and Stein Mart when I got home because we had a gift card to Stein Mart and Tijuana Flats was running a special today where if you were a teacher with valid ID, you could buy one entree and get the second free.  For some crazy reason, Brian thought after my crummy news at the ortho/dentist, that I would not want to go shopping.  Silly man, that's called retail therapy!

So after some burrito binging, we stopped on over to Stein Mart.  I've had some specific things on my clothing wish list lately and found both of the items I was looking for!  There are basic and a little boring, but I thought I would share them anyway.  And yes, I did feel much more optimistic after finding exactly what I wanted!

Petite size 3/4 scoop neck T-shirt, $14.99

Petite size black Bermuda shorts, $12.49
And after all that, I did some quick sewing.  I talked in this post and this post about how I really wasn't 100% happy with the way this black blazer looked with just one button.  So I did a little reading up here and after a little practice, I figured out how to add a second buttonhole to my blazer with my sewing machine!  It was actually really easy and quick and after I added a new button, I think the blazer looks great!  I really like it so much more now and I'm thinking of all the other blazers I might change from one to two buttons tomorrow.  I'm also considering adding a hook and eye closure at the top to raise the stance of this blazer a bit... I tend to feel like the girls are trying to escape out the top, if you know what I mean!  Awkward!  And now my hubby has plans for me to add a buttonhole to one of his dress shirts to change it to a French cuff too so lots of sewing happening again tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes!

Before: One Button
After: Two Buttons

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


For quite some time now, I've been pretty tired of my long hair.  I have fine, straight hair but I have a lot of it and it takes forever to dry, whether air drying or blow drying.  Also, my hair was so long that it seemed like I spent more time pushing my hair behind me and trying to get it out of the way than enjoying it.  So I was ready for a change!  I kind of just wanted the same haircut (layered all over and face framing layers) but a lot shorter so I searched the Internet and found this photo that I really liked.

I took the photo to my stylist and was on my way to a new look!  Below are some photos that I took just yesterday of my hair before getting it cut.  Looooong!

And then we have the photos from today, after getting my hair cut.  I absolutely love it!  I think it's a little shorter than my inspiration photo but my hair grows so fast that before you know it, it will be that length anyway.  What do you think?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Defining My Style

To me, this post is kind of the crescendo of my entire Fashion Adventure.  I started this whole process because I realized that I had a closet full of clothes I bought on clearance that didn't fit me and which I didn't like at all.  My goal was to find pieces which I loved, that fit well and made mixing and matching outfits easy.  I think like I've done a good job of that and other than a few wardrobe holes, I'm quite happy with my wardrobe now and feel that it's fairly complete.

A big part of this learning process was defining my style.  I would say that three to four months ago I couldn't have told you a thing about my style.  Maybe I would have defined my style as jeans and a T-shirt?  But it that wasn't how I wanted to dress, it was more like the easy default outfit because it didn't require any real thinking.  I couldn't have even told you what my favorite shirt was, because I pretty much hated them all, which is a little sad.

Now I can pick out about three to four shirts, pants, skirts, and accessories that are all favorites.  I believe that because I love my work clothes now, it's easy to transition to weekend by wearing the same thing with jeans or leaving an extra button or two open.  I find myself wanting to get dressed in the morning because I know I'm going to feel good in what I'm wearing and that also makes me feel better about my body and myself.

I thought it would be fun to share the items that I love now and which define my style.  These are the items that I would choose to wear on the weekend or for work.  (I know that I wear trousers to work a lot and they may define my work style, but they are not something that I would personally choose to wear on the weekend.  Therefore, I will not be including them.)

Button Down Shirts
I think I used to be kind of embarrassed about liking button down shirts.  Like maybe I felt that they were too stuffy or boring or something and therefore I shouldn't like them?  I don't know.  But now I don't care and I know that I totally love them.  Button down shirts are versatile.  You can wear them to work and look put together and polished.  You can roll up the sleeves for a more casual look or when the weather heats up.  They are great to layer, both over or under other items.  They come in every color, print, sleeve length and fabric imaginable.  And button downs are usually very flattering, since they are made out of fabrics that often have structure if they are form fitting, or are loose without looking over-sized.  Button down shirts of all types are definitely one of my closet staples and pieces that define my style.

Now I've been well aware of my obsession with cardigans ever since I moved to Florida.  These button down layering pieces are perfect for the Florida weather because you can throw them on over your outfit in the morning when it's chilly and if the weather warms up, you can easily take them off.  At one point, my entire work wardrobe consisted of tons of cardigans in different colors, lengths, and thicknesses.  However, at that same time, I also had about 8 different white shirts that I rotated and wore under the cardigans.  How boring!  Now I've pared my cardigan collection down to a few key ones.  Neutral colors go with everything and can easily be added to any outfit without changing the feel of it.  A cropped cardigan can work amazingly with a dress or a tank top in summer.  And I still keep a few fun colored ones to spice things up.

Since I like cardigans so much, it was an easy transition to blazers.  You may laugh at this, but I actually had a cognac brown corduroy blazer in high school (bought at Goodwill, of course) that I loved.  I wore it all the time in the fall, with turtlenecks or long sleeved shirts and jeans.  I don't even remember what happened to that blazer but my memory was jogged back to it earlier this year.  I was nominated for Teacher of the Year at my school and all of the nominees had to do an interview with a panel of teachers, administrators, and parents from our school.  This was before the closet rehaul, so I had nothing to wear.  The whole time I was sitting in that awkward interview, I kept wishing I had a blazer to wear.  So after my next paycheck, I went out and bought one.  Then I was hooked and many more had to be added to my wardrobe.  Funny, my favorite one I own now was also purchased at Goodwill!  (The army green one shown above!)

Skirts With Pockets
It's so funny to think how much I love skirts these days.  In January, I owned only one skirt and I had only worn it once!  There was a time when I was younger that I loved skirts.  When I went on the insulin pump in 2007, I found that the easiest place to hook it was onto the outside of my pants pocket.  Since many skirts don't have pockets, I just kind of stopped wearing skirts because there wasn't any where to put my pump.  Enter skirts with pockets, and I love wearing skirts again!  And as a Florida resident, skirts are comfortable year round, especially on those super hot days when I can't wear shorts to work.  I also find that skirts are more versatile for me than dresses.  As a super petite person, dresses don't always fit me correctly.  The waist is in the wrong place, sleeves are too far apart, and the hem is too long.  With skirts, I can usually alter the hemline to be the perfect length for me and I can mix and match the other parts of the outfit to dress the look up or down.

I especially love the Merona Doubleweave Pencil Skirts from Target.  The entire top row of the collage above are that type of skirt.  They are fully lined, have pockets, and come in a wide range of colors and patterns, from classic to fun.  I buy them at Target (not petite size) and full priced they are only $23.  I think that this is very affordable for a fully lined pencil skirt, but they are almost always on sale.  I just picked up the navy blue polka dot skirt for $18 and I bought the bright orange one on clearance.  I have to hem both the skirt and the liner, but it's nothing that I don't already know how to do and I hem them myself, so it doesn't add anything to my cost.  If you are petite and don't want to hem them, petite sizes are sold at but shipping is usually additional.

The next row are from various stores but I love that they all are slightly more casual so I can dress them up for work or wear them with a T-shirt and sandals on the weekend.  The bright green one in the middle is this skirt from Target.  I've actually used the shape of it as sort of a pattern to create lots of different colors and patterns of skirts for myself for summer, except that my pockets are hidden on the inside of the skirt.  I posted some pictures of the ones I'm working on yesterday on Facebook.

I've found that having a versatile collection of belts can not only help make your clothes appear to fit differently, but can also change the whole feeling that an outfit portrays.  A belt with a bow adds something sweet and one with patent leather or buckles can be more edgy.  Belts can add color, shape, and interest to an outfit.  They are generally inexpensive and easy to find.  Above a just a few that I like.

Statement Necklaces
Oddly enough, pretty necklaces were something that I've always had in my wardrobe but before January I didn't ever wear them.  I didn't know how to work them into outfits and had a hard time deciding which necklaces would work with which outfits.  Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, using Go Chic Or Go Home has helped me to be able to utilize the necklaces that I already had and which were versatile.  It also helped me to see which ones I needed to donate because they just didn't seem to go with anything I already had.  Now I have a collection of necklaces that I like and wear often because all of the ones that I have go with other items in my wardrobe.  And just to throw this in, I hardly ever wear fun earrings.  I used to have tons of pretty earrings but I have very sensitive earlobes that get sore and painful from cheap earrings.  I tend to pretty much stick with my high quality, small diamond studs that my husband bought for me several years ago.  They go with everything and they never irritate my skin.

When I was student teaching back in 2006, the only shoes I ever wore to teach in were these beautiful high heel wedge penny loafers (very similar to these).  They were super cute and professional enough but when I got a real teaching job in Florida, I quickly realized that heels were not going to cut it for 40+ hours a week on my feet.  When I was twenty-two and student teaching, I was embarrassed about my height.  As I've mentioned before, I'm only 4'11" inches tall (150 cm, for my metric friends) and even in heels, people were always mistaking me for students.  Now, at nearly thirty years old, I've grown very comfortable with my height and I'm not upset at all when people think I'm years younger than I am.  I think everyone should embrace the way they look.  I am short and adorable and why should I feel like I have to be something or someone that I'm not?  Just like tall girls shouldn't have to always wear flats just because they are tall, short girls shouldn't always have to wear heels.  To be honest, I am more confident and myself in flats.  Sure, there are times when a great pair of heels makes me feel sexy and confident but for the most part, I feel clumsy and awkward in heels.  And they hurt my feet!  So I have a few pairs of heels for special occasions but I have lots of flats.  I wear them to work, shopping, date nights and everywhere in between.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How I Plan My Outfits: GCOGH

I've mentioned several times that I use the website Go Chic Or Go Home to help me plan out my outfits.  Style is not something that comes all that easy to me and I feel like it takes a bit of planning on my part to come out looking the way I want to for the rest of the world.  Is that just me?  So when I read on Audrey's blog, Putting Me Together and saw that she uses Go Chic Or Go Home (from here on out referred to as GCOGH) to help her plan her outfits and more, I was all about it cause heaven knows I need all the help I can get.  It's free to sign up and you can actually earn rewards buy using it.  All you do is request an invitation and you're on your way.  And I just want to add in here again, that GCOGH is not sponsoring me or paying me or giving me any free stuff.  I am sharing it purely because I love it and I think others would too.


In the home section, you have a wall sort of like on Facebook, where you get updates on what the people you follow are up to.  It posts when someone you are following comments to someone or when they create an outfit.  Under the Home tab, you have several options on the side that can take you to some new places.
Home Options
Under the Boards section, you can go to your personalized boards, kind of like Pinterest boards.  Comments allows you to see anything you have commented on or anything people have commented to you about.  My Uploaded Photos will take you to all of your clothing that you have uploaded or linked to.  More on that later.  Ensembles will take you to every outfit you've created.  I think the rest are pretty self-explanatory so let's move on.

Explore Tab

Under the Explore tab, you again have lots of different options along the left hand side.  Here you can explore in a Pinterest like setting.  You can look at outfit inspiration from other members and from all over the Internet all in one place.  If you find an outfit you like, you can "repin" it to one of your boards or just scroll through the different sections for inspiration.  I tend to like this better than Pinterest, for the simple reason that most of the photos you'll find are real life outfits that people would wear, with less high fashion stuff that's neat but not feasible for every day life.

This tab is pretty simple.  Here, you can upload photos either from the web or from your computer.  I took pictures (or found links on the Internet from websites) of all of the clothes that I own.  Then this is the place to upload them to your account so you can start the real fun - creating ensembles.  Remember earlier, when I said I would come back to the My Uploaded Photos option under the Home tab?  Well now's the time!  In this section, you can see every photo you've added.  You can click each individual photo to edit it.

My Uploaded Photos
Also, if you click a photo, it will show you every ensemble you have created using that piece.  The great thing about that is you can really get a good idea of how versatile a piece will be.  For example, I recently purchased this navy blue polka dot pencil skirt from Target.  But I wasn't sure if it would be versatile enough to be a key addition to my wardrobe.  So before I bought it, I uploaded the photo from the Target website and built outfits using it to try to get an idea of whether I thought the piece would be a good addition to my collection.

Polka Dot Skirt Ensembles
After some playing, I was able to create 12 different outfits, both casual and work appropriate styles and to me, if I can make 10-12 different outfits with a piece, then that's a good sign that it's a pretty versatile addition to my wardrobe.  The heat thing about GCOGH is that you don't have to buy the piece in order to see if it will work with your other clothes.  It's all there in your virtual closet, whether you actually own it or not.

Create Ensemble
And now we are coming back to the ensembles discussion.  The Create tab is where you can see all of the items in your closet, laid out flat.  You can drag and drop items into the box at the bottom to create your ensemble.  If you don't like a piece, you can just click to delete it from the outfit.  Then once you've created the outfit, if you wear it and find that maybe you like one belt instead of the another,  you can go back and edit the outfit later without having to recreate the whole thing.  I know I've done that on more than one occasion.  Or you can add notes to it like "tuck in shirt" or whatever you want to remember.

This is my absolutely favorite part of GCOGH.  I have always planned my outfits for the week on Saturday or Sunday.  I used to stand in my closet, staring at a sea of garments, trying to decide what to wear.  It was hard to see everything I had because it was all crammed in to a small space.  Now I plan my outfits on the couch and I know what I'm looking for when I got to the closet.  I pull out all of my skirts, pants, shirts, necklaces, belts and whatever else I need for the week.  I hang them in a row, hooking belts or necklaces onto the top of the hangers.  (I just pull whatever shoes I'm wearing that day out the night before.)   And I'm all ready to go!  I'd say about ninety percent of the time, I'm really excited about the outfits I've selected too.

Once you're finished and you've created and named your ensemble, you can now find it by clicking the Home tab and then Ensembles.

So that's pretty much it!  And now I kind of really like the outfit I just made while playing around to get the screen shots for you.  I think we have a winner!

The downside of GCOGH is that you have to photograph and upload all of your clothes.  I'm not even going to pretend that it's not a huge task but I do have some tips.  If it's something you've purchased recently, you can just go to the website and upload the photo from the website, which is faster than taking them yourself.  Or I know some people just tackle four or five pieces a day of things they are trying to get more use out of.  I pretty much just photographed everything in one weekend and now when I get something new, I either photograph it right away or upload the photo from the website.  To me, the reward is worth it when you have outfits that you are truly excited to wear.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Closet Storage Solutions

My half of our tiny closet

When you're living in a home with a limited amount of closet space (and who isn't these days) you really have to maximize every bit of storage that you have.  My husband and I live in a two bedroom townhouse, which is plenty big enough for the two of us and our three kitties, except for the extremely lacking amount of closet space.  I would estimate our shared "walk-in" closet is about 4 feet by 6 feet.  (The OCD in me required that I measure after typing that.  The official dimensions are 4'2" by 6'10".  I'm so good!)  In addition, I have one chest of drawers in our bedroom, which mostly holds socks, tights, under shirts, and gym/lounging around the house clothes.  After five years of living in this house and no signs of the housing market in this part of Florida improving any time soon, I've gotten quite good at finding creative ways to use every bit of space in our closet and our bedroom.  (Side note: I know that I could store clothes and accessories in our second bedroom.  However, since we live 900 miles away from our family, they come to visit fairly often and stay in that bedroom.  It's not an ideal situation to keep my wardrobe staples or hubby's wardrobe staples in a room where someone else might be sleeping.  That may be an easier, more eye appealing option for other people but I'm just sharing what works for me.)

Since I'm just sitting around in my pajamas today on Spring Break (YEEEA!), I thought instead of sharing an outfit that I could share some of my inexpensive ideas for storing some of my clothes and accessories in a small space.

My Problem: No skirt hangers
My Solution: binder clips, $2.49

I like to hang my skirts because a lot of them are fabrics that wrinkle easily and I don't have the time or energy to spend ironing folds out of my clothes.  I have a few skirt hangers from stores and a few of these left over from college when all my clothes were on hangers.  But these soft touch clips can be fairly expensive when you have to buy a lot of them (think, two per skirt) so I wanted a really affordable alternative.  After talking to my one of my smart friends, we came up with a solution that's super affordable.  She told me that when she was younger, her parents used to use clothespins pinned onto wire hangers to hold skirts.  I didn't have any wire hangers and clothespins were too small for my cheapo plastic hangers, but as teachers, we brainstormed in my classroom and decided that medium size binder clips would work just the same!

I bought a few boxes of these 1 1/4" binder clips from Walgreens for $2.49 for a pack of twelve.  Each pack is enough to hold six skirts.  Then I just clipped two binder clips onto a plastic hanger that I already had.  Instant skirt hanger!  Just leave the metal clip at the top and pinch together to put the skirt on or take it off the hanger.  Now all of my skirts can be hung up in my closet without breaking the bank.

Wide Belts
My Problem: not enough room to store big, wide belts
My Solution: shoe organizer, $14.99

Remember my I Heart Belts post?  Well I was not kidding when I said I love belts!  And after seeing what they can do to totally transform an outfit, I went out and bought even more.  I may have gone a little overboard when wide belts were on sale at two different stores (Rue21 and Body Central) for $1, $2, or $4 a few weeks ago.  So then I had a ton of belts and not enough room to store them.  With my closet already full, I needed an alternative.  Then I randomly had a stroke of brilliance when searching the Bed Bath and Beyond website the other day.  Why couldn't I use this amazing over the door clear shoe rack for my belts?  At only $14.99, this was right in my price range.  And I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be the perfect size for wide belts and you would still allow you to easily see each one.  I could hang it on the back of my bedroom door (or closet door if I didn't already have stuff there) without taking up any precious hanging or drawer space.  And they're kind of like my own happy door art!  I just like looking at them.

In this photo, I actually have my skinny belts in there too but I've since moved them so that I still have room to grow.  The BB&B website says this has twenty-four pockets but in actuality there are two horizontal pockets at the top too so you get twenty-six pockets!  I put a belt in the top right horizontal pocket so you could see what I mean.

Skinny Belts
My Problem: Not enough room to store belts
My Solution: Switch up where items are stored ($0 for me, other similar items $5-$15)

As I said, I ended up moving my skinny belts back to where all of the belts started out, which is on a hanger like this one from Target.  (I got mine for about $5 at Ross a few years ago so you might want to check there too!)

I felt like with the skinnier belts rolled up, it was hard to see which was which in the shoe rack so I went back to the hanger, which displays these belts nicely.  Again, not having a full rack means I have room to grow if I decide I want to eventually add more to my collection.  These are hanging in a corner of the room next to my necklaces and my makeup area. 

My Problem: too many necklaces, not enough room
My Solution: tie and belt rack, around $8

And before the belts were on that little hanger, guess who used to live there?  My necklaces!  That is, until they also outgrew the small hanger and needed a larger home.  So I ordered this tie and belt rack from  I believe it has twenty-seven pegs but honestly, it's another item where I still have room to grow.  It holds all of my necklaces and displays them so I can actually see each one.  And at around $8, it's kind of tempting me to buy a few more.  I'm sure I could find a use for some more to organize hubby's tie collection (which puts my accessory collection to shame).

My Problem: too many shoes, not enough space
My Solution: rearrange the shoes, $0!

All shoes facing front: fits 19-20 pairs of shoes
I've owned this shoe rack since Brian and I got our first apartment almost seven years ago. The original construction was pretty shoddy but Brian got all crazy and glued the whole thing together so now it holds pretty well.  It's nice because it fits in my closet underneath of my clothes (see top photo) but I outgrew this shoe rack after about one year of having "real job" paychecks.  But I can't fit anything much bigger in my tiny closet so I have to make do.  One way that I was trying to utilize the space was by turning each pair of shoes in a different direction.  When all of the shoes are not facing front, you can fit more on.  This is because shoes are larger in the front than the back.

Turn each pair of shoes a different direction:
Fits 20-21 pairs of shoes
But this really only made room for about one or two more pairs of shoes.  While every bit of space counts, I still really wanted more room for more shoes without having to take up more precious closet space or get rid of any of my shoe loves.  Then I saw this pin - OH. MY. GOD.  Genius!  Why didn't I ever think of this?

Turn each shoe a different direction:
Fits 22-23 pairs of shoes

Now this may not look as pretty as having all your shoes facing front, but I'd rather have my feet pretty in different shoes than have my closet pretty!  It's really not ideal for heels, which are a little harder to remove from the rack when turned, but as a teacher, I wear my heels so seldom that it doesn't really matter to me if they are turned.  And now I have room to expand without having to get rid of any shoes or move any to an alternate location.  And it didn't cost me a dime!  If you're wondering, I store my boots and tennis shoes somewhere else.  Boots don't fit on this rack and I wear my tennis shoes very rarely.

Do you have any inexpensive secrets to keep your closet and accessories organized?  I'd love to hear your ideas too!