Tips

Purge Your Closet!

I am posting today on a serious issue. It is a problem that is sweeping the nation: closet obesity.

My closet before purging

Both hard-hitting and close to home, this issue has infiltrated even the savviest of shoppers’ closets, wreaking havoc on their closet goals and dreams. Does this sound familiar?

Wardrobe Bulimic – You consistently have buying binges at thrift stores and discount clothing joints. You have perhaps 10 things in your closet you’ve owned for more than 5 years. Your style changes as often as your underpants. Your most inspired outfit is the one you just bought.

-From Painfully Hip

Interesting. I think that so often, we impulsively buy crap clothing in heaps, things we don’t necessarily like or need, can’t afford and get sick of very quickly. Then it just piles up in our closets, and although we have tons of clothes we don’t feel like wearing any of it! This is unhealthy for our personal style, our closets’ waistbands (they’re fat!) and, of course, our wallets. So how to prevent, avoid and cease this vicious cycle? Careful thought.

What do you want your wardrobe to do for you?

As my style has evolved, I’ve realized that I have a preference for classic style: pieces that can be worn over and over, reinvented and go with everything. I still adore my accessories: scarves, jewelery, hats, etc, which give my outfits personality and pizazz, but I keep finding myself returning to my easy, classic pieces that never get old. My wardrobe wishes are to have pieces that make sense, make me look great, can be mixed and matched easily and are stylish and fun to wear.

My Wardrobe Wishes

  1. Non-dressy blazer which goes with jeans, skirts, dresses
  2. Simple silk shift
  3. Perfect-fit red & white striped shirt
  4. Boyfriend jeans
  5. Pretty flats and perfect brogues
  6. Trenchcoat/nice outerwear
  7. Basic white t-shirts
  8. Men’s-style dress shirts
  9. Pouffy skirt
  10. Simple sundress

So I ask you: what are your closet goals? This is the first question you must ask yourself before the big purge.  What do you want out of your wardrobe? Is it trendiness, perfect fit and good quality? Or is it comfort, longevity and affordability? Once you have decided what you want out of your clothes, it becomes much easier to get rid of the clothes that don’t fit into your ‘ideal style’. That’s where the purging comes in.

How to Successfully Purge Your Closet!

After the purge!

The trick is to target pieces that don’t really work. Chances are, you probably know which ones those are: the ones you never reach for while getting dressed, because you know they fit you badly, don’t go with anything, or are outdated. Why do you want these clothes clogging up your dream closet anyways? You don’t! So here’s what I think you should do: get rid of them. I know, it’s big and scary. It’s hard work. It’s mentally frustrating. But guess what? It’s doable! I just did it! Here are three tips I have for losing your bad clothes without losing your mind.

#1. Reflect.

Remember how earlier we decided what our closet goals were? Well, while performing this great feat of closet destruction, keep reflecting. It is easy to lose focus, lose motivation and end up right back where you started. Every time you pick up a piece of your clothing, really think about it. Ask yourself: When was the last time I wore it? Does it look good on me? Does it fit? Is it cheaply made and falling apart? or Is it a keeper? Is it good quality? Is it interchangeable with my wardrobe?  If you keep asking yourself questions and giving honest answers, you’ll be purging in no time!

#2. Be ruthless!

Don’t get all mushy-gushy on your closet. If you’re like me, you have plenty of clothes from another stage of your life: clothes you wore when you were with a boyfriend, in a certain key year of your life, etc. Don’t get sentimental! You have photos and memories of yourself during those times. Keeping the clothes in the back of your closet collecting dust will not help you! If one piece was especially important in your life, then hold onto it, by all means, but keep it separate from your wardrobe, maybe in a box of memories? And remember to give yourself a couple days before getting rid of it all, just in case you change your mind about anything. But overall the mission is: purge, purge, purge. Always remember your closet goals!

#3. Recover.

So you’ve lipo-suctioned off a large chunk of clunky, useless clothes from your poor closet’s body. Great! This is good. It will thank you later. Right now, it’s a bit sore and scraggly looking, so fix it on up. Grab some fancy Ikea hangers/boxes, arrange your dresses in a pretty way, display your shoes, etc. This will get you excited about your clothes again, and forget the pain of the slight emptiness your closet may now display. While you’re soothing your burns, look at these closets to further inspire you: Sea of Shoes, Le Fashion Image, various others..

#4. Share.

I know, you’re still licking your wounds. But now is the time to rejoice! Be strong! And see if you can pull it together enough to share. You now have stacks of unwanted (by you) clothes in your hallway, but who says that just because they don’t match your style, they won’t match someone else’s? Offer them up to your friends and siblings! Have a clothes-swap party with friends! See if anyone can re-love any of the things you no longer need. If not, donate them to the Goodwill or sell them to a consignment shop.

Then, dust off your hands, breathe a sigh of relief and relish in the fact that you’re now free to slowly re-build your closet with good quality clothes that fit you perfectly, look amazing and that you love wearing.

What do you think?

Could you bear to get rid of your clothes? Do you have closet goals you’re not reaching? Have you considered a closet purge? Let me know!

xoxo, S.


15 Productive Ways to Spend 15 Minutes

Photo Thanks to orangeacid

So, picture the scene. You’re fifteen minutes away from

a) A lunch date

b) A big meeting

c) Class starting

d) The library/store/whatever opening

It’s too short a time to start a big project. It’s too long a time to sit idly, what with the busy life you lead. You want to do something quick and ultimately productive. Something that’ll make the rest of your day a little easier, or your to-do list a little shorter. You’re always complaining about how there are too few hours in a day, so packing productivity into your stray minutes may give you more cozy time! Here are fifteen ways to be productive with little, inconvenient spurts of time.

Ways to Be Productive

  1. Write that email. You know the one. That response you were meant to have sent to your father/best friend/colleague that you just keep putting off. Just write it! Get it off your plate for good.
  2. Read a chapter of your book. Always keep a book in your purse or briefcase for this purpose. Look forward to these tiny pockets of time in which you can whip out your book and get lost for fifteen minutes (or more!)
  3. Stretch.
  4. Pay bills. A perfectly easy way to be productive. If, like me, your bills aren’t automatically paid, you can use your fifteen minutes to make sure everything is covered and paid for. That way, when you get home, you can use your time for you, not for silly little chores like that.
  5. Skim yesterday’s notes. A great way to stay on top of your work is to read over yesterday’s notes from lecture or a meeting. You’ll pick up on things you weren’t paying attention to, and save yourself from cramming later.
  6. Read the news. If you never have time over breakfast, use your quick stretch of time to consume as much news as possible from The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The National Post, or any other paper of your choosing. Keeping on your toes about current events is a great asset in conversation and forging connections.
  7. Build your brain. Do a sudoku! Do a crossword, write an article, click on anything that sounds interesting on the Wikipedia homepage, or play Set online (one of my all-time faves), philosophize, etc. Do anything that will keep you alert and awake for the rest of the day.
  8. Tidy your workspace. Such an easy way to boost productivity! If you’re anything like me, you find it distracting to work at a desk/room that is messy, disorganized, and confusing. You can’t be productive if your desk is littered with papers and you can never find anything. Well, unless you’re Einstein. :)
  9. Write a to-do list. If you’re stressed out and panicky, chances are it’s because you have at least three upcoming items on your mind that need doing. The best way that I’ve found to diminish this panic is to get it all down onto paper. Write down every niggling thing that needs doing at work/school/home, and you’ll be better equipped to take steps to finish them.
  10. Brainstorm. Have you been feeling like starting a new project? Creating something new? Or maybe you want to plan a vacation or party. Whatever ideas you’ve got marinating up there in your wee brain, expand and explore them. Mind map online or on paper, adding details as you let the ideas develop. After you’re done, you’ll have lots of new tasks and ideas to build upon.
  11. Power nap. This may not seem productive in the traditional sense, but read between the lines! Taking a quick nap or rest will re-energize you for the rest of the day and put more productivity into your time.
  12. Re-organize. Is your agenda a complete and utter mess? Your file folders, your computer’s files, your email account, your bookshelves or your drawers? Well, take these fifteen minutes to tackle on of those problems. Clean, purge, tidy, re-organize and breathe better knowing you are hereby much more in control.
  13. Get outside! Weather permitting, get yourself outdoors! Go for a little walk to get the blood flowing, or just sit and enjoy the sunlight. Exercise will wake you up and keep you present for the rest of the day.
  14. Plan meals. Assuming you don’t do this on the weekend, take the time to write down little menus for each day of the week and grocery lists for each of them. This will keep you more sane at the grocery store, diminish impulse purchases, and give you time to ensure you’re eating healthy!
  15. Relax! You don’t always have to be doing something. Sometimes the best form of productivity is to relinquish stress by doing nothing! Take a few minutes to yourself. Listen to some music, close your eyes and breathe.

In conclusion..

Productivity is the key to having more time for yourself. If you don’t waste away the precious minutes you may currently consider too short for anything useful, you might find yourself with more free time to do the things you really want to!

So, what are some things you do with spare minutes? How do you manage your time?

xoxo, S.

7 Easy Ways to Choose Your Dream School

Photo Thanks To Marco Bellucci

I wasn’t planning on writing this article so soon, but one of my best friends from back home has suddenly been caught in a whirlwhind of acceptances and a deadline! In order to try and aid her with her decision, I thought I’d share some of the tips I would have found helpful when I was making my decision last year. Enjoy!

1. Do Your Research

Flip through the Maclean’s magazine, see what they say about each of your choices. If you don’t think you’ll remember key stats like faculty-student ratio, bring a notebook and write them down. Make sure you look at everything that will affect you directly: residences, distance from home, class size. Write it all down! If you can, visit the schools. If they offer tours, take one! If not, go to the welcome center, get a map and explore all the areas that you will personally be using.

Get as much information as possible about all your options.

2. Don’t Expect to Just ‘Know’

A lot of people that I go to school with now have told me that when they first visited our campus, they knew it was the place for them. And while that’s fine and dandy for those folks, not all of us can simply feel that, and feel it confidently.  Personally, I didn’t feel that any school was the one for me upon visiting it. It wasn’t until I had put careful thought into it that I made my decision. So take the pressure off yourself! Don’t sit there going, “Well, how can I go to that school if I didn’t just feel it was right for me! There must be something wrong!” NO. If you get that feeling, great. If not, you just have more thinking to do.

Don’t worry yourself about not ‘knowing’ a school is ‘the one’.

3. Visualize

After you’ve been to a campus, toured a dorm room and seen the cafeterias and classrooms, sit alone for a while and visualize. Picture yourself using those facilities, walking through the streets. Do you like the city? Can you imagine yourself decorating that dorm room? And be honest with yourself. Again, this technique may not work for everyone, since there are so many unknowns in the picture, like new friends and classes. For now though, visualize as much as you can. Be true to who you are. Are the bathrooms too dirty for you?  If they are, make sure that you love the rest of the school more than you hate the bathrooms!

Try to picture yourself at the school, and observe your reactions.

4. Make a List

So you’ve done your research, visited the schools, and you still don’t know. That’s okay! Sometimes it takes more thought than that. It’s a huge decision and you, of course, want to make the right one. So put some energy into it. Make the most comprehensive pros and cons list you have ever made. Write down everything, even if it seems silly to you. You don’t have to show it to anyone, so don’t leave anything out for fear of judgment. Get it all down! All the stats you’ve looked at, how you felt when you were there, your visualizations, everything! If you’re making your decision over a couple days, start it and carry it around with you to add to it. Just keep listing.

Write down all the pros and cons of your options.

5. Talk It Out

So you’ve made your list. You still can’t decide. The next step is to talk it out with anyone who will listen. Parents, sisters, friends. Attack all of them with your urgent dilemma and make them listen. Explain your current thought process and dilemma to them, get their opinions. Sometimes they can surprise you by knowing more about you than you do. By talking it out, you’ll gain perspectives you didn’t have, and it might just help you to clarify what you really want.

Find someone who will listen, and get their opinion.

6. Step Back

It’s very important in this stressful time, to take a gigantic step back. You’re so caught up in all the little details about the softness of your rez bed or the kindness of new friends. And while these details are extremely important, you also need to make sure you look at the bigger picture. What are your goals in life? Why are you going to university, and how can a specific school fill that role? What is important to you? What have you always wanted and how can university help you achieve that?

I’ll give you an example: my decision. I was torn between Queen’s and McGill. Both are beautiful schools with lots of talented professors, friendly people and nice cities. I was really torn. I’d done all of the above tips, and nothing was helping. Then I thought about what I’d always wanted, all through high school: to get away! My entire high school career was focused on getting out, getting away from a few unfriendly faces. But when it came down to it, I was terrified that I would only know two people going to my new school, if I chose McGill. TWO! Versus approximately 35 at Queen’s. But then I stepped back. I realized that it was the fear that was talking. What I really wanted was to get away and make all new friends, international friends, but it was a terrifying thought. If I simply went to Queen’s, I’d have the comfort of many friendly faces. Fortunately, I remembered to look at the whole picture, swallow my fear and make the right decision. If I had gone to Queen’s, I’m sure I would have been happy, but McGill fits me like a glove. And guess what, at McGill there were tons of friendly faces, they were just new ones! :)

When you’re making your decision, stop and think about your life goals. How does a certain university fit those?

7. Take The Plunge

Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. Getting to the point when you can say, confidently, which school you’re going to is very hard work, but it’s also exhilarating. Making this decision is the most empowering one you’ve probably ever made in your life, and it will feel good to say out loud where you’ve chosen. A couple of tips for biting the bullet:

  1. Never let fear be a reason for doing or not doing something. You’ll regret it more than anything else.
  2. Once you’ve made the decision, don’t worry if you still feel nervous and uneasy. You’ve done everything in your power to choose what’s right for you, and the anxiety you feel is the fear of something brand new and scary. University is unlike anything else, and it’s terrifying! But that’s okay, because everyone is going through the same thing. :)
  3. Always make sure your reasons are your own. It’s easy for parents and friends to accidentally (or on purpose) say what they think is best for you, and it’s easy for you to feel pressured by that. Before you make your final decision, ensure that you’re 100% doing it for you, and not because of any parental pressure, etc.
  4. Say it out loud. “I go to ______ University”. How does it feel? Are you giddy with excitement when you say it? Good sign.

Conclusion

Your university years are both great and impossible. You do more growth than you ever thought was possible (yes, even in just my first year) and everything changes. Choosing where you’ll spend these years is a big deal, but just remember: you’ll be happy at any university. They’re all great! They all have something to offer, and you’ll have fun at any one you attend. The important thing is figuring out which will make you happiest. I hope my tips helped you out, good luck with your decision!

Feedback?

What else did you do to make your decision? What strategies worked best for you? I’d love to hear about them :)

xoxo, S.


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