How I organized a small wardrobe

Now, for those of you that read along with me and my posts, you will have picked up that Pete and I are slowly renovating and redecorating our 1960s cedar and block home. This is a long process, so far it has been 5 years. There is a lot to do, both inside and out. There are areas of the house that are somewhat outdated and not really fit for purpose and we have to make do until they are renovated. Point in question is our bedroom wardrobe. This wardrobe is actually in our ensuite...yes that is right, our ensuite, and it is all original and I mean 1960 original which is when the house was built. 

We are making do with this area as it will be renovated at the end of the year. In the meantime I have had to work hard on the wardrobe to get it usable, one because it's in a bathroom and two because it is so small for two people. 

Before and After

Before and After

The wardrobe space is still very tight however now at least I have made the most of all space available and access to the clothes is a lot easier. So I thought I would share with you what I have done, so if you have a very small wardrobe and want to get more space, this post may be worth a read. 

The goal

In short there were two things we needed to achieve;

  1. We needed to be able to house all our clothes (except for jackets and Pete's work shoes). 
  2. We had to reduce the amount of moisture that was getting in. I mean who does that!!!! put a wardrobe into a bathroom space!!!!

The plan

Yes, you know me there needs to be a plan. This one was pretty simple, just do some research, get the equipment needed, sort it and refit it out. However there were some challenges.

The biggest challenge was how get a lot of drawer space at the same time as increasing the hanging capacity. The wardrobe had one metal rail with a wooden shelf above it. It also had wasted and difficult space in the middle of the wardrobe because of the sliding doors.

I got my google fingers going and came across an number ideas in YouTube and good old Pinterest. I found this great tutorial from Engineer your Space which gave me the idea to replace the sliding doors with curtains and create another hanging rod by moving up the existing rod and shelf.

However I still needed more storage space and thought about how I can effectively use all the space within the wardrobe.

One particularly good idea came to me was to use an old duchess that was in my daughters room (she has left home and didn't need it). A wee fact, the duchess was my original one from when I was a child, which is kind of special.  

I also brought two hanging shelves and reused a 4tier cube shelf that was no longer being used from my son's room.

The coat hangers were an important part of the plan as I needed to replace them all with the space saver coat hangers, these velvet ones from Briscoes are the best and the clothes do not slip off.

 

The Design

Firstly I cleared out everything from the wardrobe and did a full purge, both my clothes and Pete's. I am getting pretty good at decluttering and do not hang onto items that I do not use much. I have actually discovered over the years that you wear probably about 20% of your clothes 90% of the time. I am now down to that 20% and it does feel great because trying to figure out what to wear is so easy.

I am lucky with Pete, he is a Tradie so only has his work gear and pretty much just jeans, t's and shirts so his clothes don't take up a lot of space.

The next step was to map out how to set up all the rails and storage. You do need to measure each area and work out what will fit best and it took me a few goes to get this right.  It is very helpful to do this first as it really helps when you put it all together.

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Putting it all together

Pete moved the clothes rod and shelf up for me, just as shown in the Engineer your Space video, link above. I purchased a piece of aluminium tubing and chain to create another rail. This allowed me to hang two tiers of clothes where before I could only hang one. 

 

I placed a 4 tier cube shelf on its side on the top shelf. This not only provided more "drawers" but also provided a space to put my shoes.

With my duchess, I did give it a bit of spruce up. As it was already a bit knocked around I just distressed it a little more by sanding it on the edges and the handles. I did a quick once over with the sander on the top and front, then just used a sealant spray which I got from the local hardware store. I have to say I was actually really pleased with how it came up. It was also really cool to be able to use my old duchess again.

I got an old cushion cover, put a little bit of padding in it and placed on the top of the duchess. This is where I put my everyday jewellery, it's perfect and easy to get to.

 

I placed the duchess in the middle of the wardrobe and put the hanging shelves above it, this was an excellent way to fill dead vertical space. 

All the longer clothes are hung to the left of the duchess and Pete's shirts and trousers.

To house his work clothes I got a basket and this sits on the floor under his hanging clothes. It works well as its stores his work trousers and tops.

A wee added bonus was the area to hang my scarf collection. I used the chain that held the second rail to wrap my scarves around and worked perfectly as a scarf hanger.

The last thing I did was to hang the curtains. I had a brain wave and came up with the idea to use shower curtains to help keep the moisture out of the wardrobe. So I got two shower curtains and essentially hung them up as you would in the shower. I did make sure that I hung them on the inside of the frame so there was full cover over the clothes. As the curtains were not actually long enough I just sewed on a piece of cotton material onto the bottom, matching colour of course. I am amazed at how well this works. It's really easy to access the clothes and they do hold out the moisture which is really great.

So there you have it, a "make do" wardrobe which houses all our clothes. It works really well and does stop me from buying clothes as there is really no room. If I want something new I have to let something go.

I am however very excited to plan my new big wall to wall wardrobe when we do the renovation and this "make do" one has given me some great learnings and ideas for the new one.

Are you happy with your wardrobe? Do you want to make some changes? Have you already got your dream wardrobe?

Love to hear from you on any wardrobes stories.

Have a great week everyone, and see you at the next post. 

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meal planning for beginners

How many times have you heard "what's for dinner"? either from your nagging kids or your inner voice reminding you that you have to sort dinner out! If I told you that there was a way to make that stupid question go away would you believe me?  Well actually there is and it's called meal planning. I initially started meal planning when the kids were little, Pete and I both working full time. It made such a huge difference to our week and to this day, even though the kids have grown and flown, we still meal plan. Meal planning is really simple, easy, it saves heaps of time and your week feels a lot less crazy. And as a bonus it will actually save you money. It's a great way to manage the food budget. In this post I take you through all the steps to make this easy for you. I also have FREE printable for you and some great tips to get you on your way.

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Meal Planning is actually very easy, just plan in advance what meals you are going to cook each night over a week, fortnight or month. Easy eh!!!! For me I follow these simple steps;

  • Decide the planning cycle

  • Check my planner for upcoming activities & events

  • Choose my meals to cook

  • Shop

  • Cook

The first step you want to do, is to work out how often you want to meal plan, I call this the planning cycle.

WOrk out your Planning Cycle

From my experience the best way to work this out is to line it up with your shopping routine. I plan our meals from Monday to Sunday as we shop on Sundays. When we shopped fortnightly, I planned fortnightly.

Just a quick tip, I find weekly planning  a lot easier, as you normally know what you will be doing during that week and able to plan the meals around that. However another week out there are likely to be things that come up that you have not planned for. So you do need to have flexibility in planning the longer your cycle is.

Check your upcoming events and activities

The first thing I do is to check  my planner, checking for what's on that week, evening activities and so on. I note which nights we can cook and which nights we will be really busy. Therefore planning out the best options for dinner to fit around our activities.

Let's take this weeks meal planning. This week we have extra visitors at the end of the week and I am travelling in the early part of the week. So for us this week, I know that for Friday night we will have more people to cook for and Saturday night we are hosting our party, so we need a quick gab dinner. Sunday will be late so we will have to do something quick and easy. 

So this week we need a variety of quick and easy meals and some pre made meals, like slow cooker meals.  

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Now that you have sorted what the week looks like and which nights you need to plan the meals for then, it's just a matter of choosing the meals.

Choosing the meals to cook

For me the meals need to be quick, easy, healthy and budget friendly. I also have to balance our different food tastes. Pete likes meaty, spicy and really hot food, more spicy hot Asian style, where as I like less spice and chillies and more vegetarian. The biggest challenge for meal planning is finding inspiration for meal ideas.

So how do I find meal ideas? 

There are great online food bloggers and pretty much any food genre you want. I would suggest using Pinterest for this, just set up your own recipe board, search for meal ideas and pin the recipes to your board. As you can see I have done that on my Pinterest page. Also check out some of your favourite chiefs and they are likely to have a website, sign up for their weekly newsletter and you can get meal inspiration to your inbox every week.

Also local supermarkets have great websites with food and meal inspiration and your can have the added bonus of shopping online.  Countdown is a good example and there is a great app that you can use as well. I also have one favourite cookbook on the go which I will refer to as well. Tip,  just as an idea you could have a monthly cookbook theme.

My favourite cookbook when the kids where at home and we were pressed for time was Jamie Olivers 15 min meals. I would go through his book every week and pick out yummy meals.

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It does make it easier and quicker if you have a good stock of recipes or meal ideas that you can refer to when planning them out. A good tip is to make up your own home recipe folder

Another tip, try and have meals that use seasonal ingredients as they are cheaper and fresher, like a cabbage and carrots in winter for slaw versus a lettuce variety salad. Also try to share ingredients across meals - mince 1kg - split in half over two meals.  Veges, like spinach, half bag for one meal, half for another. This really helps to reduce your food waste and is a cheaper way to shop.

Prepare your shopping list 

Once I have decided which meals to cook for the week , I then work out which ingredients we will need to buy. On my meal planning page I note beside the meal what I need to buy then just transfer that onto my catch all shopping list. The other thing that is really handy is that I note the reference, i.e where the recipe is from. E.g if it's from the cookbook I would just have the page number as the reference. As I have variety of sources of meal ideas this referencing is really helpful.

To make this easier for you I have a created a FREE weekly meal planner printable for you to use.  As you plan out your meals just note down the side what you need from the supermarket. It's really handy to have on you when doing the shopping. To receive this FREE weekly meal planner download just sign up below;

FREE Meal planner

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Display your Meal Menu

This may seem a bit strange to display your meals for the week, but trust me it's worth it!. Firstly everyone can see the meals, so no need to ask what's for tea...."it's on the board" secondly if someone else has to cook they know which meal to make. And lastly it makes you accountable to actually cook the meals!  Once you have written them down and got them up for all to see if does commit you to making them. As in the end meal planning will not really be of any use if you just end up not cooking and getting takeaways instead!! (tempting as that may be sometimes)

My menu display board is just a photo frame with a piece of card stock behind and I use a whiteboard maker. I just wipe it down each week and write up the new menu....easy as that. 

Hints and Tips to help with meal planning

  • Try and maintain a pantry with the staple items, so all you need to do is to buy the meat and vegetables.

  • Collect recipes from magazines, cooking shows, subscribe to food blogs.

  • Use your family's favourites meals, when our kids were younger Shepherds Pie, Lasagne, Bolognase, Sausage Casserole and Homemade burgers were our high rotate.

Summary of steps

I hope this post has given you some useful information to help you get started with meal planning. Meal planning is such a simple and easy thing to do and does make such a difference to your life. Remember the 5 simple steps;

  1. Choose your planning cycle

  2. Check my planner for upcoming activities & events

  3. Choose my meals to cook

  4. Shop

  5. Cook

Get inspiration on a weekly basis on my facebook page, 7nightsaweek , it's dedicated to my weekly meal planning and so each week I share my meal plans, provide links to recipes and share any meal ideas and tips that I have come across.

Happy meal planning my friends!

Love to have you join the Tidying Tribe, join us on Instagram , Facebook and Pinterest , just click below.

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My 31Days2GetOrganized challenge

I had a brain wave at the start of the year and thought that it would be a good idea to do a declutter/organising challenge. There was method to my madness as I wanted to experience what it is like to actually complete one of these organising challenges, especially as I plan to run these challenges as my audience grows. So how did I go and what did I learn?

 

No More "Later"

Pete Walsh set the new year off with his 31Days2GetOrganized challenge and so I jumped right in, thinking it's only for a month and hey I am already pretty organised.

Each day Peter would post a link on his Facebook page with a short intro and the challenge of the day. 

I loved his videos, short and funny and ended with the challenge of the day.  In his very first video he used the phrase "no more later", explained that to maintain an organised and tidy home you have to stop saying "I`ll put that away later, I`ll do that later..." so his first challenge was to stop saying "Later"  I actually found that advise, up front, really helpful and I did reflect and realised that I would often put things down with the intention to put away later. I realised that I was wasting time by not putting things away straight away, it's actually a lot less work to put away immediately.  So learnings #1 you need a mission mantra to make the mind shift. So I now find that I actually put things away first time. And yes the house is tidier more of the time now. Can`t say the same for my son's room though!!!! That is a challenge for another day, well actually just wait until he moves out, it's probably a lot easier.

The Challenges

Over the 31 days we tidied and decluttered most areas of the house. Started off with a small and "ease us into' challenge, clearing the dining table of any unwanted papers and items that have collected on the table, followed by 30 more daily challenges as below;

  • Set up two bins by the door for Hospice  (donations) and Recycle
  • Decluttering the Christmas papers and bags
  • Purging the freezer 
  • Sorting out under the Laundry sink
  • Declutter the paperwork in the study
  • Purge your Shoes
  • Sorting the electronic cords 
  • Purging the underwear draw
  • Declutter and sort Luggage storage
  • Taking time out to chat with someone
  • Clear and sort the utensil drawer 
  • Manage the snail mail
  • Clear out cleaning products 
  • Clear out under beds
  • Purge magazines
  • Pens and pencils
  • Brooms and mops
  • Recipes n Cookbooks
  • Clothes closet
  • Tackling the hidden messy place
  • Clearing Kitchen bench tops
  • The Pantry 
  • The Linen Closet
  • The car
  • Managing receipts
  • Cups and Mugs
  • Sort boxes in the garage
  • Medicine Cabinet
  • Books 
  • Kitchen Containers

It was really good to be part of the challenge, sharing your efforts and challenges with others, in fact to share was a good motivation to keep on task.

Generally most of the challenges were not time consuming for me because I already have an organised home and systems in place to keep on top of "stuff" that accumulates in the house.  There were a couple that I did really enjoy, simply because they have been a "I must sort that out" problem, but I never took the time to actually do it. It was very satisfying to finally kick those to the curb. One in particular was the boxes in the garage. We have two boxes that had been following us around through 5 house moves......ridiculous really. Boy did it feel good to finally sort and get rid of those boxes. Most of the content we donated to the hospice and I actually found the lid of one of my favourite tea tins which I lost about a year ago.

 

The Challenging Challenges

Sorting the electronics cords turned out to be a mission, only because I had to involve my son and husband.  On the day of the challenge, I wanted to just get it all sorted and done, however Pete was 1) not ready 2) not keen and 3) "could use them one day".  So there was no way that I was going to achieve that challenge that day. However it did need to be done, so Pete was happy to sort them out another time. This actually meant in his world .....never!...but in my mind that was actually a step forward. I continue to mention that we should sort them out and then on a certain weekend (which I had planned in my head) I just said hey babe lets sort out the cords. So we did, and guess what it only took about about 30 mins and we were done. Most of the gear going to technical recycling and some to donation as they still worked and are useful. 

 

The Pantry was the other challenging challenge mainly because how we were using it had changed slightly and I needed to make some changes to the storage. See my video explaining the issues. Again it was not something that I could quickly do on the day, had to plan out another weekend to tackle that one, which by the way has now been done!

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What I Learnt

This challenge was a really great experience and it gave me a lot of things to ensure that I consider and incorporate into any challenges that I what to lead with my audience, the main learnings for me were;

  • You can`t rush it- may take several goes - little steps at a time
  • Motivation and accountability is very helpful and works
  • Sharing ideas and inspiration helps with motivation
  • It's a continuous process, needs and use change over time  
  • Change of habits - identify things that distract you from your goal and eliminate, like saying "Later"
  • Celebrate wins - always give yourself a little reward after each accomplishment
  • Be realistic with challenge - it can take time and you should only take little bites at a time.

If you do have an area that you do want to tackle it's a good idea to break the job into steps to help you complete the task. I have a previous post on how I tackle my secret messy space, here, which will give you helpful steps to get you on your way...

Have you done an organising challenge?, would love to hear from you, how did you find it?, what worked for you?

Until next time my friends


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My First blog

 

Kia Ora everyone, I can’t actually believe that I am really doing this. It’s my very first blog on my lovely new website

Firstly let me tell you a bit about myself.

My Mountain, my place

I am a Kiwi gal, more really a Kiwi woman, age and all that. I live in Auckland with my husband and two children. My mountain (this is how we describe where our family roots come from in New Zealand) is Mt Aoraki, otherwise know as Mt Cook

My home town of Timaru is on the coast and I got to see Mt Aoraki every morning from my bedroom window. Most of my childhood was spent in the McKenzie country, which essentially Mt Aoraki reigns over. I truly believe I was blessed to have grown up in such a breathtakingly, beautiful environment.

Following my dreams

Well at the age of 47, my journey to become a Professional Organizer and become my own boss lady has just begun.

I have always loved organizing and planning.  I love making my house a home and have a lot of experience and ideas on home organization and management.

Gardening is a real passion of mine, especially  vegetable gardening. Over the years I have built up a bit of knowledge on how to produce a great crop.

My goal is to be able to share as much of my skills and knowledge about organizing and planning to help people to overcome the noise in their head, the clutter in the home and the mess in the garden.

The other experience I want to share, is of raising a family while working full time in the Corporate world. I have a lot to share, not only about working full time and raising a family, but also about being a woman and having a career and the struggle and juggle that comes with that. I have learnt a lot about being really – freakingly organized – to cope with what is really, chaos sometimes.

And finally, you would have guessed, I am a planner addict. I have been using them even before they become so popular.

Stay in touch...Please!

So, if you are interested in reading and seeing more about my ideas and learnings on home organization, life planning, garden planning and care, home management , home renovations, how to multi task, please subscribe to my blog below.

I’d love any feedback, as I am just starting out on this journey and have sooooo much to learn. I really look forward to hanging out with you all on my blog!

Hugs and smiles

Tania