Hacks and how-to guides to make life easier.
Struggling to make more room in your closet? Learn how to better organize your closet space with our tips, below.
We’ve all seen those Pinterest-worthy images of neatly organized closets with racks upon racks of crisp, clean shirts and folded sweaters, all properly arranged by color or item. Meanwhile, our own closets appear much less impressive, with piles of mismatched clothes that make it tough to sort through. Fear not—you can make your closet dreams a reality by using these must-have closet organizers to properly store your clothes.
Hanging closet organizer
Use the extra vertical space in your closet and maximize the storage potential by hanging a closet organizer made of sturdy cotton or canvas. The organizer’s compartments create more shelving in your closet; they’re ideal for storing shoes and folded T-shirts, sweaters and pants.
A sneaky and smart way to store your clothes, the storage ottoman is not only functional but also super stylish when placed at the foot of your bed. You can use it for extra linens or next season’s clothing—with the latter safely tucked away, you won’t have to worry about preparing new seasonally appropriate outfits once the weather changes.
Keep your drawers neat and tidy by using drawer organizers to compartmentalize small folded items like socks, bras and underwear. The KonMari folding technique will help you take greater advantage of the limited space.
It can get pretty annoying when you’re rummaging through your closet for your favorite scarf or belt, only to come up empty. Use an accessories hanger, which has hooks or loops, to weave your scarves, belts and ties through. For jewelry, an accessories hanger with clear pockets will make it easy for you to store and see all your bracelets, necklaces, earrings or watches.
Clear modular storage bins
If you have extra overhead shelving in your closet, clear modular storage bins are a great way to store and display hats, handbags or special occasion shoes. They can be stacked and fitted together in different permutations, making them a versatile organization method for your items.
Keep your everyday shoes tidy by stacking them on a shoe rack inside your closet. If closet space is limited, consider an over-the-door hanging shoe rack, which fits over your closet door with individual compartments large enough to store all the shoes in your prized collection.
Collapsible laundry basket
Savvy closet organization involves making a clear distinction between clean and dirty clothes. A collapsible laundry basket can be quickly folded and tucked inside a closet when not in use. What’s even better is a laundry basket with divided compartments that you can use to sort light and dark laundry items. Maximize the storage capabilities in your closet by using these closet organization must-haves. Your clothes will be neatly stored and most importantly, easy to find so you can put together a stylish outfit without having to dig for your favorite jacket or scarf.
Photos: All About Space / Shutterstock.com, Local studio / Shutterstock.com, Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com, Iulian Valentin / Shutterstock.com
Following care labels and properly caring for your clothes has long-term benefits. Learn how dry cleaning can actually save you money.
People are often reluctant to dry clean their clothing because it is more expensive than traditional laundry, but a professional cleaning service can be a great investment for your lifestyle and closet that saves you money in the long run. Consider these three cost-effective conveniences the next time you're headed to the laundromat.
It helps your polished pieces last longer
While there are items that you can take care of at home, certain upscale pieces such as your silk dress or structured wool blazer are best left in the care of a professional dry cleaner. Pieces that aren’t properly cleaned before being put away can carry undetectable odors that attract insects and moths. These pests can eat certain fabrics, including wool, cashmere, silk and cotton, gradually ruining your favourite items. Sensitive fabrics may also fade in color or stretch in shape in a washing machine or dryer. By using a professional cleaning service, your pieces will last much longer so you won't have to replace them as often, ultimately saving you money.
Care tip: Familiarize yourself with different fabrics and the appropriate treatment for each material. For instance, cashmere can often be hand washed with a gentle laundry soap. Before doing so, it's always good to double check the clothing label to see if hand washing is appropriate. Other fabrics like silk require professional dry cleaning. Our guide on which pieces can be dry cleaned provides an in-depth breakdown.
It can treat stubborn stains
Besides helping your pieces maintain their color and shape, dry cleaning can help treat stubborn stains like grass, which you might not be able to remove using traditional laundry means. A professional service might be able to salvage your favorite sweater or slacks so you don't waste money on different detergents or DIY treatments just to end up with a slightly faded but still visible mark. Furthermore, if you don't pre-treat stains or if you use the wrong cleaning agent, you might actually cause further damage to your clothing. Either way you can be left having to replace these pieces altogether, and wasting money on your wardrobe.
Care tip: Food stains can affect fabrics differently than sweat residue. In some cases, you might be able to apply a DIY treatment. Know when to treat the stain yourself and when to visit a dry cleaner with our summer stains guide.
It adds professionalism to your workplace attire
First impressions are extremely important. Being smartly dressed will help you make your mark at a job interview or client meeting—which can lead to financial gain down the road. An inexpensive way to elevate your office style is to ensure that your pieces are always freshly pressed. You don't need to spend a lot to create a chic ensemble: well tailored and maintained pieces create a professional look that will help you get ahead in the workplace. To keep your business attire looking top notch, leave your suit or dress shirt with the dry cleaners. Even if you work in a creative or casual environment, a creased shirt can make you look sloppy. Unsightly wrinkles, stains or smells on worn clothing detract from your professionalism. A trusted service will help you take care of these smaller details so you can focus on the big picture and impress your boss or client.
Care tip: Besides taking care of your basic clothing maintenance needs, most modern dry cleaners provide additional options such as alterations or repairs. Take advantage of their services to ensure your office outfit is always as impressive as your portfolio.
While you save on short-term costs doing laundry at home, your finest attire requires professional care to keep them looking as fresh as the day you bought them. And that's a worthwhile investment.
Photos: DeVaul / Shutterstock.com, Chelsea Francis, Nico Beard, Benjamin Child
Donating clothes helps those in need and can help reduce waste. Learn when it is the right time to donate your clothes.
Some clothes are cherished items, like that sweater you got from your mother or that classic watch your spouse gave you as an anniversary gift. Those are the pieces you keep without question. But other times, there are garments that you may need to say goodbye to.
Here are some tips on when to consider letting go of your closet clutter, along with a helpful guideline for clothing donation.
Your personal style has evolved
While past trends sometimes make a comeback—think the silk and beads of '20s glamor or the flannel shirts of grunge re-imagined—there comes a point when you realize that your personal style has evolved. There's a difference between holding on to a vintage piece (is it truly vintage?) and an outfit that you never wear anymore. One is a timeless investment, while the other is wardrobe clutter. Create some closet space by getting rid of items that don't suit your current aesthetic.
If you haven't worn a piece of clothing for more than a year, it's time for it to go. Consignment stores are a great place to offload pieces that you don't need anymore.
You've physically outgrown your old clothing
Fit is everything. No matter how great an item of clothing is, if it doesn't fit right, it doesn't belong in your closet. If you're holding onto it for sentimental value, ask yourself if you really need that sportswear from high school or your old ballet uniform from your childhood. Or, if something has a particular sentimental value to you, think about ways that you can repurpose it to extend its use—like creating a purse or pillowcase.
If you can't bear to part with a certain piece of clothing, try this intermediary trick: place the item(s) in a garment bag and put it aside for three to four months. If the item doesn't cross your mind during that time, donate it by the end of the season.
You're moving to a new city, or entering a new life stage
Whether you're moving to a new city or starting a new job, these changes will be reflected in your wardrobe. It's not practical to bring every single piece of clothing you own, so make use of this opportunity to declutter. Furthermore, if you're moving from a colder to warmer climate, it's the right time to donate those coats hanging in your closet—Arizona and thick winter jackets don't mix!
Sometimes the transition can be more subtle and it takes a discerning eye to decide what to keep and what to donate. Perhaps you're moving from a corporate culture to a more creative work environment or vice versa. In other cases, you might be switching coasts. Each city has its own distinctive sense of style; rely on your inner circle for a second opinion, or browse through magazines and style blogs to get a sense of what to keep and what to give away to help put your best foot forward as an acclimatized New Yorker or L.A. resident.
Clothing donation etiquette guide
Things to consider:
- Try to clean out your closet at least once a year, or ideally, at the end of every season. Most consignment stores won't accept clothing that's more than two years old, so keep that timeline in mind when selecting pieces to donate.
- While it might be tempting to donate stained clothing you can't seem to get clean, take your garments to a professional dry cleaning service first. They may be able to take care of any persistent stains as well as smells—they might even have clothing donation programs to help you out.
- Consult donation program guidelines when giving your clothing to charity: check for stains, rips or any defects that might make the attire unsuitable for second-hand use.
- If you have more expensive or professional pieces you're looking to donate, such as old suits or dresses, look for donation companies that specifically help outfit people for job interviews.
- As a rule, consider gently used pieces when sending your clothes to charity. You want the new owner to feel good wearing your previously loved items!
Cleaning out your closet doesn't have to be a chore. Make a party out of it and invite your best friends over to help you out. This way, you'll have a streamlined closet with only the best pieces—and someone else will be able to enjoy your unique finds.
Photos: SunKids / Shutterstock.com, Kasia Serbin, Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com, photobyphotoboy / Shutterstock.com, Hannah Morgan
If you need extra time in your day check out our list of subscription services that can help you reclaim your day.
It seems like there are never enough hours in the day (because, frankly, there are not). That's why it's important to take advantage of the crazy age we live in with a subscription for everything and select the ones that actually make a difference.
As far as we know, no one ever looked back on their life and wished they spent more time folding laundry or walking up and down the isles of the grocery store. Life is what you make of it, and it takes discipline and planning to make room for the things that are important–spending time with loved ones, pursuing a passion that feeds your soul, and making a difference in this world for others.
That might seem like an overly heartfelt intro to a blog post about timesaving subscriptions, but when it comes down to it, that's what these are; They are a means to give you time back in your day so you can spend it on what matters!
1. Amazon Prime
First things first, Amazon Prime. If you don't already have it. Get it. If you do, you can skip ahead or read on to learn what a great decision-maker you are :)
For $12.99 per month, you can have literally anything delivered to your home within two days, for free. Depending on the item and your zip code, sometimes you have it delivered within a matter of hours via PrimePantry and PrimeNow. If you estimate about two deliveries per month, that comes to a value of about $300 per year. For $12.99 per month or $119 when you pay annually, that is a great deal, before you even consider the included streaming service, free monthly kindle download, free unlimited photo storage, free music streaming and member-only perks like access to Prime Day and discounts on things like diapers.
That’s the flat dollar value of Amazon Prime. The real reason we’ve included it on this list is that it will save you a lot of legwork taking care of errands and shopping. That time you spend searching through Bestbuy for the right cable adaptor or getting to and from the drugstore to pick up the vitamins you like is time you now have back in your day.
The Department of Labor’s most recent American Time Use Survey shows that people still spend over two and a half hours per week, on average, shopping for items they need. Three hours is the same amount of time that the Department of Health and Human Services recommends an individual exercise per week. Yes, wandering around a Target does increase your step count, but the time you’ll have for dedicated exercise will help even more.
2. Stitch Fix/Trunk Club
Unless you love to shop for clothes – in fairness, a number of us do – maintaining your wardrobe can be a true chore. Fashions change, clothes wear out, and let's be honest, body shapes fluctuate. Looking presentable and polished is a requirement of daily life, professionally and otherwise.
For keeping your wardrobe fresh, home delivery personal styling services like StitchFix and TrunkClub are lifesavers. Just fill out a questionnaire about your style, clothing requirements, and size information, and a professional stylist puts together a box of clothes for you each month – so easy! (You can often adjust the timing of how often you receive a box, if needed).
The cost of service is deducted from any purchase you make from the items sent, so if you’re finding items that you like, then the service is free. For the items that you don’t love, just send them back.
Bonus tip: For special occasions, we recommend Rent the Runway (Sorry men, currently they only provide clothes for women). You can quickly search through hundreds for dresses for the perfect outfit. Search by occasion, color, fit, and body shape and read reviews with pictures from women with your similar body type, height, and weight so you get a really clear idea of how the dress will look. You “rent” the dress, meaning they send it to you for the special occasion and then you send it back when you’re done with it. No need to worry about dry cleaning or dropping a couple hundred dollars on an outfit you’ll wear once. In terms of time and financial value, Rent The Runway is a great option.
You may be thinking, I’m a grown adult and I’m not completely fashion-blind. I can go to the store and figure this out.
No doubt! But aside from the time you spend tracking down items you like in a size that fits, you’re also spending energy and making choices. Decision fatigue is a psychological concept that explains that we have a finite amount of metal energy to devote to making decisions within a given amount of time, and as we spend that mental energy, the quality of our decision making deteriorates. It’s the reason that it's so difficult to decide where to eat after a long day at work, or why criminals get harsher sentences later in the day. It’s also the reason you shouldn’t spend your time trying to figure out what to wear. That is, if it’s not something you enjoy.
3. Rinse Repeat
Rinse is a dry cleaning and laundry delivery service that picks up, cleans, and hand delivers your clothes to your door, 7 days a week. They offer dry cleaning, wash & fold, hang dry, leather cleaning, repair services, and even donation pickup, but the service that is the best value for time and money is Rinse Repeat–an all-inclusive laundry service.
The average American household spends up to 3 hours per week dealing with laundry: Sorting, washing, folding and putting away. With Rinse Repeat, you just put your clothes in your Rinse Repeat bag, which holds 40lbs or about 4 loads of laundry, and they come and pick it up once a week. They return everything clean and neatly folded 3 days later. They do have a next-day rush option for an additional $5 fee.
The Rinse Repeat bag is what sets this service apart from others and makes it an incredible value when considering the time and money you save. You may have used Wash & Fold (sometimes called Fluff & Fold) services in the past, and know that the service can be extremely expensive. With Rinse Repeat, you just pay a flat fee each month for the bag and Rinse will wash all of the clothes that you can fit into it, rather than charging by weight as most services do. When compared to their a-la-cart Wash & Fold service (which is comparable in price to similar services), you can save up to 44% on laundry with Rinse Repeat!
You just choose your schedule – weekly or every other week – and the day of the week you’d like them to pick up your clothes and they are there. Rinse Repeat is a true time-saver! The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week to stay healthy and feeling good. With 3 hours back in your week, you’re 80% there!
4. Exercise Subscriptions
The classic gym membership is, of course, a subscription. You may be thinking -- how will that save me time? Well, technically it won’t, but according to every doctor that ever lived, exercise extends life span and quality of life, so it’s making the list!
We did the research and depending on what your interests and your favorite way to break a sweat, there is an exercise option for you.
If you prefer to work out at home, then we highly recommend a workout streaming subscription. Usually, classes are prerecorded, but if you sign up for a service like Daily Burn, you can join live classes as well. Membership is usually between $10 and $30 per month, which is about what you would pay for a drop-in yoga class.
Insider tip: If you’re not sure if you’ll like exercising at home, both Amazon and Netflix have workout content for yoga and cardio. Their selection is limited, but it’s a great way to get your feet wet if you are hesitant to dive into a full exercise subscription membership.
Another option for an in-home workout is an equipment-focused membership like Peloton for cycling or running (NordicTrack also offers similar equipment connected to classes and accessible through membership), or the Concept 2 for rowing.
If you’re someone that needs to get outdoors, the classic choice is Strava, an app for runners and cyclists. Strava tracks your exercise and helps you analyze your progress, connects you to a community, and gives you trails and challenges to complete!
We like Strava and apps like it because when exercise is tracked, you do more of it. Studies have shown that just by giving someone a pedometer they walked 27% further than without it.
Give yourself a way to access and track your favorite form of exercise and you will exercise more, and in turn, feel better. That’s an investment well worth the time and money.
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So you’ve got a baby shower coming up but there’s no registry, or you’ve waited too long and all of the good items are gone, huh? Not to worry - we’ve got you covered with gift ideas that are sure to be a hit!
1. Meal Delivery Service or Prepaid Grubhub/Doordash/Postmates account
This is first on our list because it’s an option that isn’t immediately obvious but can make all the difference to a new parent. This baby shower is probably the last time you’re going to see the happy couple well rested for a while. Even for those without newborns, preparing dinner can be overwhelming, so you can imagine how helpful it will be to have food almost magically appear at their front door – a true gift!
There are two ways to go for this gift option; You can find a prepared meal delivery service through Yelp or you can set up food delivery service apps like Grubhub, Postmates, or Doordash with a prepaid credit card. Visa has several options so you can bestow your generous gift with a preset limit that you’re comfortable with.
2. Laundry subscription or prepaid gift card
Another daunting chore that you can help new parents avoid is laundry. The average person spends 2+ hours per week washing, folding and putting away their clothes. With a new baby in the house, your new parents will need that time for other important things, like sleep!
Rinse picks up, professionally cleans, folds, and delivers laundry to the new parent’s door. Rinse offers Rinse Repeat - a subscription laundry service with plans starting at just $50 per month as well as gift cards if you want to give the new family a flat amount that they can use on Wash & Fold, Hang Dry, and Dry Cleaning services. Give the soon-to-be parents the gift of never needing to fold a baby blanket or finding and pairing those tiny little socks!
Rinse is currently available in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and Boston. If the new parents live elsewhere, often local cleaners also offer laundry pickup and delivery services, which will make a huge difference for the expecting family.
3. Date night gift certificates
Another non-baby baby shower gift that will make your loved one’s lives easier are gift certificates for a date night. This means you arrange the sitter (if you’re comfortable taking care of the baby, it’s great to offer your own services) and an activity – it can be a gift basket for a date night in, or an activity out of the house like a dinner and a movie. The important part is to give the new parents space to be together as a couple and recharge during this new and exciting chapter of their lives!
4. Gifts just for Mom
Speaking of recharging, another great gift option is to make sure that the mom-to-be is taken care after the baby comes. Her life is going to all-baby, all-day so making sure she has something fun that’s just for her may mean more than you know in the coming months. Gift boxes like FitFabFun or beauty boxes like Ipsy will be a great reminder that she is a valuable and beautiful adult between naps, diaper changes, and feedings.
You may be thinking, these suggestions don’t seem very baby-related. Well, that’s because these gifts are meant to take care of the parents so they can take care of their new bundle of joy. But, if you are looking for baby-focused gifts, (we can’t blame you, they are the cutest) then the next six ideas on this list may be just the thing!
5. Handcrafted gifts
If you are at all creative, now is your time to shine! There is no cuter project than baby-related crafts and here are a handful of our favorites.
If you’re no Martha Steward, that’s fine. Meet Etsy, a magical marketplace of artists where you can pick out the sweetest handmade gifts without having to bust out your own hot glue gun.
6. Helpful baby gifts (with a gift receipt)
Maybe you just want some classic baby gifts for the new little angel. If so, here are the favorites from parents and friends in our office.
- Wubbanubs - the cutest pacifiers out there. Once the baby is past the age of a pacifier, you just cut the little creature from the binky and you have a little stuffed animal that they can hang onto.
- DockATots - the well-named DocATot is basically a docking station for a baby. It’s a portable cozy place for the baby to rest, play, and bond with loved ones.
- Blooming Bath Lotus - This baby bath makes sink baths easy, safe and comfortable for little one. Plus it’s almost impossibly adorable.
- Sleepsack Swaddle - This wearable blanket allows babies to feel contained like when they are swaddled but have a bit more mobility
- Baby Shusher - A nearly magical product to help babies fall asleep and stay asleep
7. Diaper subscription
This may be the most helpful baby gift of them all. You can give the gift of disposable or reusable diapers so it’s worth asking your mom-to-be if she has a preference before you pull the trigger. A baby will go through 6-10 diapers in a day, so helping parents with their diaper needs will be a highly appreciated gift.
8. Cute diaper bag
9. Gifts to create memories
10. Newborn photography session
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