Get Your Sh*t Together

It’s that time of year folks. The birds start to chirp earlier,  the sun tries to warm us up and our schedules start to go in fast forward. I used to think it was just me who started to lose it this time of year but a quick sampling of my friends and family proves I’m not alone.  One friend who I consider one of those people who always has her act together (successful career, cute kids and family, great style) recently drove away with the gas pump still attached to her car. Twice. In the past 6 months. My sister was at my house yesterday for dinner and to have the kids play. We had a nice time while we vented to each other about how overwhelming our lives felt recently. When it was time to go she gathered her kids and was on her way. A little while later my husband came home. “What’s she doing here?” he said. “Who?” I said. He pointed at my sister’s beloved dog who she had brought over to run around in our  yard. Hmmm…I thought. I guess she needs that. I should call her. Despite the fact that I even I didn’t notice we had gained a pet  it could have been worse. It could have been one of her children she left behind.

Get Your Shit Together,

I often waste time wondering what exactly I am doing wrong.  A friend of mine recently had baby number 6. And you know what? She handles life like a boss. I know inside she probably feels she is failing at something. But here is her son’s school project.

image (7)
image via suziegaffney.com

And here is my son’s.

image
image via suziegaffney.com

I did it when he was in the shower because I couldn’t bear to fight through the process with him. Yes we have had 2 weeks to do it and yes of course I am just getting to it tonight, after his baseball game. Oh and by the way it’s supposed to be a polar bear habitat. Can’t you tell?? Just look closely at the polar bear stickers I used. That should help.

Down With the Science Fair
image via Pinterest

I keep a small clutch inside my daily tote so I can pull it out when I am running errands during the day. For this reason I like to keep my smaller clutches easily visible. If I can’t see it I won’t use it. If I’m not using it then it is a complete waste of money. Being that I am visual in nature and I need to see things I also need to see them in an orderly fashion. It sounds a little OCD but it makes me feel better. But here’s the thing, most clutches don’t stand on their own. It’s like trying to prop up dead Bernie on Weekend at Bernie’s. They just keep falling down.  Some people may think I sound like a total princess to get annoyed by clutches not standing up. Don’t be mistaken. I am aware this is a minor problem.  However, when there are bigger issues of stress going on in my life I strive to keep order of what I can control of  the little things that I can control.

Weekend at Bernie's II funny then dog shit
Did anyone realize they made a number 2?? Wasn’t he like really, really, dead by then? Like smelly dead?? Ewwww.

When they all fall down the really stubborn  part of my brain fights this. I will keep trying to prop up the offending clutch that just won’t sit  up, getting more and more pissed off at a poor handbag. This is when the little things that are supposed to bring me order and calm actually make me want to go outside and beat the offending clutch. Kind of like the scene in the movie Office Space, played out along to “Damn it feel good to be a gangsta” by the Geto Boys. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsBB93IqJkE   The solution? It’s found in the kitchen supply isle of any home store. For just under $8.00 I lid rack will help me conquer the  battle of the limp clutch.

THIS

image (6)
image via suziegaffney.com

 

PLUS THIS

image (5)
image via suziegaffney.com

 

 EQUALS THIS

image (4)
image via suziegaffney.com

 

Which in turn leads to me feeling like this:

 

an iconic spa treatment: cucumber-on-eyes provide hydration to your eyes as well as relaxation!
image via Pinterest

It’s money well spent.

 *Insider Tip – Sometimes it is okay to sweat the small stuff.

Take a good look at your closet and decide what drives you the most nuts. Do you share a closet with your husband? Does he have a lot of dry cleaning? I know many a marriages that have been saved at the simple act of placing a small trashcan inside the closet to corral the trash that accompanies a freshly dry cleaned item.  Finding little pins, papers, tags and plastic bags on the floor of your closet can piss off the perkiest of a morning person.  You may never get your husband to detach said trash in an orderly fashion, and transport it out of the closet trashcan. In fact, you may have better luck potty training your dog. So stop complaining about the small things that drive you nuts and find a simple solution. Are you strangling in scarves? This little $10 beauty may just be a life saver.

College Closet Scarf Hanger Dorm Room Products Fun Items College Closet Organization Dorms
from Dormco.com

I am also bin obsessed. Bins come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Your sh*t just looks good when it is hidden inside a pretty bin.

Circo™ Linen Striped Tote - Set of 2 - Gray Birch
Circo™ Linen Striped Tote from Target

 *Insider Tip – Make it convenient.

I used to have the same battle with my son every morning before school. He would get himself dressed, brush his teeth and come downstairs for breakfast. He would be ready to go out to the bus stop as soon as he put on his socks and shoes. But he never brought his socks downstairs. For some reason he just could not complete that step when he was getting dressed. Sending him back upstairs for his socks was like moving a mountain. You think I was asking him to climb up the stairs of the Washington Monument they way he whined and complained. It finally dawned on me to take his socks out of sock drawer and put them in a bin in our downstairs coat closet, right near his shoes. When I am doing laundry all the socks just get tossed into the bin rather than taking an unnecessary trip upstairs. Plus now I have more drawer space in his dresser for his 6,000 t-shirts he can’t bear to part with. I choose to pick my battles one at a time.   So what are waiting for? Listen to Annie as she motivates Carol in one of the scenes from Bridesmaids

. Get your shit together Carol!! There are not words for how much I love this movie. -Bridesmaids-

Thanks for reading!

Suzie

 

P.S. Need a Laugh?

Want more examples of how parents slack off at the end of the school year? Make sure to check out Buzz Feed’s

Parents At The Beginning Of The School Year Vs. The End .

 

Summer Sale

Summer Sale

There are sooo many good sales out there right now. It is THE perfect time to get a jump-start on your fall wardrobe, even though it is STILL July.  Getting organized NOW will save you TIME AND MONEY later. A pre-fall wardrobe consult will get your summer stuff in order to put away and get you on track for an organized autumn.

Need more motivation???

I am offering a sale! If you schedule a session with me before the end of July for the month of August or September you will get $50 off a 3 hour session, so for $150 (normally $200) I can:

Take your closet from this…

IMG_0161 IMG_0163

to this…

IMG_0272IMG_0271

or your child’s closet from this:

IMG_0015 IMG_0014

to this…

IMG_1469IMG_1468

Not sure if you need the full 3 hours? My hourly rate is $15 off! $60 instead of $75!

In 1 hour I can…

organize your jewelry and accessories…

IMG_1460 IMG_1459  IMG_0128IMG_0265

IMG_0288 IMG_0286

IMG_0276 IMG_0277

help you move into a new space…

IMG_0136 IMG_0283

convert all your hangers…

IMG_1463 IMG_0079

organize your drawers…

IMG_0260IMG_0310

pack for a trip!

IMG_6089 IMG_0010

Every consult I do is unique and personal. There is no “one size fits all” type of service. YOU are unique. YOUR life is unique, so YOUR needs will be customized to you.  Every service starts with a phone call so I can make sure you get exactly what you need.

Don’t forget I can help you find money in your closet! I work with many local consignment shops and I will do the work for you. I will go through and tell you what you can get money for and what you can donate. And I take it all with me when I leave so you can clear the clutter.

IMG_1471 IMG_1470

My clients have ranged from 8 years old to 80, and include women and men. You cannot believe how many men really appreciate having a clean and organized closet space. It makes a great birthday or anniversary gift.

IMG_0312 IMG_0304

IMG_0084IMG_0083

Personal shopping and styling services are also available in a package or by the hour. Sometimes it just takes a fresh set of eyes to shop your own closet and put together your existing pieces in a whole new way, without ever having to purchase anything new. If you do need to add to your wardrobe I work to shop within your budget to find what you need.

I found this Kate Spade bag for a client at a designer consignment shop for a steal! It was brand new and still had the original price tag.

IMG_0016

I can also help with finding the right details to make your closet perfect for YOU.

This ottoman is the perfect piece for inside a closet. It doubles as a seat and a step stool, and adds some fashion to your decor.

IMG_0125

Anxious about going through all your STUFF? I can bring coffee, wine, or snacks. Whatever  you need to relax and make it fun! I absolutely love my job and can’t wait to help you get excited about your wardrobe too! Email me today at suzannegaffney@msn.com or call my cell at 610.517.2983 to set up your appointment!

real style is being yourself

Multitasking…

Multitasking…

A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, I used to be good at multitasking. Now I just have multiple tasks lying around that were started and stopped. I use the excuse that I had children so they took my brain power.

When it comes to my clothing there are no excuses. I  am not a gazillionaire, nor do I have room for a 4,000 square foot closet. Even if I did it would be exhausting to have that many options in my wardrobe. When I buy an item it HAS to multi-task. What exactly does that mean? I have a couple of guidelines.

1. Can I wear the item for day and night?

Obviously I am not talking about my items like running shorts. But the fundamental pieces should be able to transition to fit multiple occasions. Below is a recent outfit I put together for a client. She travels extensively. When she gets a chance to go to her vacation home she wants it to be easy and relaxing. She also likes to make it simple by packing light. Her clothing choices need to be able to take her from daytime shopping errands and also work for a dinner out with friends.

IMG_0355 IMG_0356

This classic stripe cotton dress works for multiple occasions.

2. Does it match at least 3 things I already own?

There was an amazing pair of printed silk pants that I thought I had to have. They were different colors for me, browns, maroon, golds. But I bought them home and realized in order to wear them I would have to go out and track down more tops to try to match the pants. At that point, they began to feel like more of a hassle.  I tend to gravitate toward jewel tone colors, and of course black. But brown? I don’t even have one brown top in my wardrobe. It just blends in too much with my hair and I look like a giant raisin. Not good. It is good to try pieces that are different, but it is a waste of your time and money if you the item limits you to only one outfit. In the end I returned the pants and ended up finding a pair of orange shorts that look great with all of my navy and white pieces I alreay own for summer.

IMG_0348

This client’s closet, pictured above, would not benefit by buying anything that needs to match to brown.  It’s addition to her already established color palette would cause more harm than good, as it would hang around like a loner and not play nice with her other items.

3. Can I wear it at least 3 out of 4 seasons?

Here in Pennsylvania we have 4 distinct seasons. I would even argue to say there is almost 6 depending on what kind of spring and fall we have. I know it is what I do for a living but I truly dread the schlepping of bins for seasonally stored items.  I only allow myself to have a few pieces that are truly meant for 1 season only. A strapless shorter sundress in a bright color? It is really only good for summer, maybe early spring if I pair it with a denim jacket. A faux fur vest? It is a fall/winter item. When purchasing these 1-2 season items try to limit your spending amount. A 2 season item is not worth investing a ton of money in. On the other hand a cashmere sweater is a quite an investment. Normally thought of for fall and winter, it is hard to justify spending the money. To get more mileage out of an item pick a color that will work for more seasons. A black cashmere sweater is a classic. A pink cashmere sweater may seem more trendy but in reality it can be worn all year. I love a simple lightweight cashmere crew neck with shorts on a cool summer night at the beach. In the winter the jolt of pink is a refreshing way to break up my black and gray and otherwise bleak wardrobe.

Toothpick jean in ecru

Collection toulouse floral short

Midrise toothpick jean in carbon

Pixie pant

The pink sweater works 4 seasons. With white jeans for spring, printed shorts on a cool summer night, denim for fall, and black pants in winter, it actually proves to be more versatile than basic black.  (All images above via jcrew.com)

*Insider Tip –

You really and truly should love everything you have. If that means having less, so be it. Have you ever gone on vacation and the weather or plans changed? You have to make do with what you packed. The plain blue sweatshirt that you thought you would wear for exercising? It may end up working perfectly with white jeans and a cute necklace for a chillier than expected night out.  The maxi dress meant for a night out? Paired with flat sandals it could make the perfect day dress for a casual impromptu brunch. The point is clothing is not inexpensive. Your purchases are meant to be worn and enjoyed.  Buy the best quality that you can afford and don’t save items for only for special occasions or specific situations.  Some of the best outfits come from unexpected combinations.

Pinned Image

Thanks for reading!

Suzie

Au Revoir

One of the best things about my job is spending time with my clients. Yes, I realize how fake that sounds, but it is true. One of the worst parts? If I meet the goals of the client, eventually they won’t need me anymore.

Whether it is a closet clean out, or a styling session, I like to spew out a whole bunch of “Insider Tips” while we work. With a recent client the goal was to update her look, so that she could feel more put together, both at work and when she was on mom time. One of the biggest ways to feel put together quickly is accessories. This client had an amazing array of jewelry and belts, but they were all tucked away in her drawers inside of the boxes she brought them home in.  I adore the cute little boxes that jewelry comes in when we first buy it. But trust me on this. Throw it away. You will never again need that box, unless you are planning on regifting an item, (I’m not judging).   I suggested she would be more apt to wear her accessories if she could see them. Her closet space had beautiful built-ins, but it left little room for displaying the bulk of her jewelry collection.  I felt like a proud momma when I went back for our second session.

20130228-062058.jpg 20130228-062045.jpg

While we were editing her clothes, we got rid of some sweaters she was not wearing anymore, freeing up some prime real estate in the form of an empty dresser drawer. What was once hidden away in boxes was now on full display at the simple pull of a drawer. We were able to free up some hooks right inside her closet when we got rid of some unused bags. The client made this into the perfect spot for her everyday go-to belts and necklaces, and/or current favorites.

20130228-062132.jpg

We had also discussed a designated hanger bin. It sounds silly, but having a spot for your empty hangers is key to staying organized. Plus when they are in a bin you can easily carry them into your laundry room or coat closets. This way you will have them at the ready when you need to convert your clothes from the dry cleaner’s hangers onto your own. Because I know you are NOT keeping them in the bags and on those wire hangers right?? Read my previous post here for why this is so terrible. This client had a mix of hangers.  It including, baby hangers. That’s right.  This was a first for me. Her children were no longer babies, far from it, but she had held onto all those hangers. I should tell you that she is really tiny, so this wasn’t a real problem for her clothes, but it was an assault on the eyes.  We actually had a good laugh about it because it was one of those things she hardly noticed, she had just been using them forever. We gave the baby hangers a new home in a big black trash bag that went to good use at a donation center, where they can be used for children’s clothes, again.

20130228-062149.jpg

By the end of our second session, we had bags of clothes going to donations and 2 big bins going to consignment. I’m pushing the client to put the money she makes from consignment towards new hangers 😉

IMG_1471 IMG_1470

My client said she has been wearing things that she has had in her closet for years, accessorizing them to make them modern and fit her lifestyle. She said she feels great and is getting compliments. It is bittersweet, because I know she doesn’t need me right now.

It was this same client who suggested I place some testimonials on my website. I was only too quick to take her up on her offer…

“In short, Suzie was amazing! She is a girls’ girl and has your best fashionista at heart, regardless of your age.  She came into my home and graciously helped me part with years of clothes that I couldn’t bring myself to let go of.  At the same time, Suzie, with her amazing style and eye for color combinations, retrofitted my wardrobe using my existing classic pieces and tailoring them to meet today’s style trends.  She gave me back my old wardrobe with a new and exciting flair. It was a wonderful experience that I recommend to everyone who has a closet full of clothes and cannot seem to find a thing to wear!  Since she “Suzied” me and my closet, it takes me so much less time to pull together outfits and feel great about what I am wearing everyday.”

Laura (Hockessin, DE)

It is a very good thing no one is writing testimonials about my cooking or it would be something like this…

“Suzie thinks that fro-yo and wine is a delicious dinner. She can even ruin a frozen pizza by forgetting to take the cardboard off of the bottom. She has also tried the crock pot and failed, forgetting to take that weird piece of plastic paper out from underneath the roast when she dumped it into the crock pot. A blind monkey could do better in the kitchen. Her family may starve if someone doesn’t help her soon.”

Suzie’s family (Kennett Square, PA)

*Insider Tip – Shop at Sears

Laura had set out the very next day after our initial consultation on her quest for the organizer trays I had told her about. Her first stop didn’t have the bins. Determined to complete her mission she sent me a text.  I sent her right over to our local Sears Harware store. The best place to buy these is from a hardware store that also sells tool chests, as these are the organizers that are made  to go inside those chests. They also sell the nubby rubber no-slip padding that you can place in the drawer underneath the bins. It also works if you just want to lay the jewelry out inside a drawer but don’t want it to slip and slide around.  Yes, of course you can find other organizational bins at Target or wherever, I just prefer the size and scale, not to mention the price, of these basic black organizers. You can read more about my love for hardware store finds here.

*Insider Tip – Let your bags go naked

If you bought an expensive hand bag chances are it came with a dust cover. I think the dust covers are great for off-season storage or for traveling,  but I find that most people don’t use their bags if they are hidden underneath their covers. My suggestion is to take clean plastic bags from a recent grocery or shopping trip, put them inside the dust bag, and put the dust bag inside the hand bag. This will help your handbag to retain its shape and stand up straight. You don’t really need to worry about dust because chances are you will be using the bag more now because you can see it.  Due to limited space, and my husband’s inability to cave to my desire to turn our guest bedroom into my own dream closet,  I like to keep only what I am using right now in the closet in my bedroom. The rest of the pieces are fighting for room with these imaginary guests that never actually stay in that room. So big bags go up high, clutches below, and oversize droopy bags I hang.

Someday, that guest bedroom will be mine…someday.  I’m wondering if we can fit a staircase in there.

Pinned Image
image via Pinterest

Less is More

I really wanted to avoid writing the cliché of “It’s a new year! Time to shed all of your stuff!” type post just because I feel like you have heard it all before. But then fate stepped in and I was forced to do a purge of a different kind.

The Thursday before Christmas I had not one gift wrapped and not one Christmas card addressed. I had a lot going on the week before both with work and with family and made the mistake of planning to pack all of my prep work into the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas Eve. On my side of the family Christmas Eve is our big main event, with my sister and I swapping back and forth over who hosts. I like the idea of hosting in theory but in practice it makes me break out into a cold sweat. Cooking and setting a sit-down table for nearly 20 is way far out of my comfort zone.

The impressive table set for the holiday on display at the lovely Longwood Gardens.
image via generousgardners.info

After a very long work day Thursday I decided to delve into my hidden shame (aka my basement) to go unpack the essentials I bring out only every other year to host dinner. Our basement is not finished but basically every square inch was covered with STUFF. So much STUFF I had started to basically open the door and toss stuff down there. As much as I can tackle a closet I did not and could not ever bring myself to tackle our basement. And just like Lindsay Lohan’s reputation, the problem was getting worse.

image via perezhilton.com

I bribed my kids to help me bring some things up. My son was the first one down to the basement and promptly came back up.

THERE’S WATER! MOOOOOMMMMM!! THERE’S LOTS OF WATER!

Did I mention my husband had just left for a well-deserved and planned way in advance night out with some of my uncles?

I went downstairs. There was water, all over. Then we all saw something rather large scurry up the side of the far wall. and into the insulation.

image via smh.com.au

WTF????????

We all screamed and ran upstairs as fast as we could. My kids hurled themselves on the kitchen island screaming and crying in fear.

“HE’S GONNA EAT US!!!!!” cried my kids.

I definitely did not have enough wine in the house to handle this was my first thought. My second was that there was water pouring in and I had to figure it out, despite the fact that I feared there was a rabid ferret loose in my basement. Long story short I went back down armed with my husband on the phone but could not figure out what was leaking or why. My husband had to turn around and come back home. We had to call a plumber. We had to call the exterminator. We had to get out the wet vac. Yet again I got more use out of my Hunter boots.

Pinned Image
image via pinterest

The next day we ordered a 15 yard dumpster. I debated hanging a wreath on it. White trash Christmas here we come!

image via feetmeetstreet.blogspot.com

I had to be up and out of the house early to volunteer for both of my kids holiday events at their school. I held my breath in my daughter’s class during morning meeting share time where they go around the room and ask for any new news the kids want to share with the class. Thankfully my daughter didn’t offer up that we had a leak and a furry something in our basement. I held my cell phone close to me while reading The Polar Express to my son’s class, waiting for the call from the exterminator. When I did meet the exterminator at my house he had good news. What we saw climbing up the wall was actually more like this.

image via batguys.com

I can’t believe I actually just wrote that was the good news. We live very close to a very large designated open space field and the exterminator said they had happily moved into our insulation under our sun room. YUCK. Who wants to come over for dinner??? I didn’t tell anyone in my family for fear they would not show. This is harder than it sounds because, according to my husband, I have a tendency to OVERshare with my family. Especially the bad stuff, it’s like a disease where I HAVE to tell someone.

 We got the plumbing issue fixed. And spent Saturday and Sunday basically throwing out the entire contents of our basement. If it wasn’t in a bin, on a shelf, with a lid on it we tossed it. The inventory included a loveseat, futon, two large playhouses, about 5 tons of toys, and just so much extra stuff. What the heck was I keeping random baskets for anyway? We filled the dumpster to the brim. That’s a lot of STUFF.

But here’s the thing. I had been looking at this stuff for years. I could never bring myself to go through it. It was hard and I didn’t want to do it. Looking at the kids baby toys made me sad. Looking at toys we spent a lot of money on made me mad. But once we started tossing it felt so good. Like someone lifted an anvil off of my shoulders. I was so worried the kids would be sad to see all their stuff go but they helped us haul it right up the stairs and into the dumpster. By Christmas Eve morning the basement was practically empty.

And then the best thing ever happened. They took their bikes, their scooters, even the hockey net down into the basement and they played. They played and played and played. With less they enjoyed the basement so much more. We have also talked about finishing it but I saw how much fun they had with just an empty room. They had ROOM to enjoy what they did already have. Yes of course somebody promptly fell on the concrete and I panicked and threatened to make them were helmets indoors but after that they were all good. They were happy. I was happy. And I know I NEVER would have been able to part with all that stuff if it wasn’t ruined and I became forced to.

Pinned Image

*Insider Tip – Hire an outside party to help you shed your stuff.

One of my favorite consults was a very emotional visit. My client had called me because she had a rather large closet and it was packed to the brim. It wasn’t disorganized or messy she just knew she had hit the point of having too many clothes. A good portion of this client’s clothes were connected to her mother who had passed away a couple of years back. They were very close, like best friends. And shopping was a bonding thing for them. My client had also then inherited all of her mother’s clothes. They were the same size. And even after her mother passed she had extended family members who would buy her things that they thought her and her mother would have liked. These items were loaded with sentiment and strong ties emotionally. She called me when she knew she was ready but she knew she needed help.

We worked slowly and carefully. Some items we decided to re-work into her current wardrobe and other items we took a photo and respectfully let them go. I offer options of donating items to women in need as well as taking things to consignment so she knew these clothes were moving on. We talked about her mom, about happy memories, about the shopping tales and stories. She had those in her heart, she didn’t need to keep them all in her closet anymore.

After I left she sent me this message.

It was great working with you! When you left, I ran upstairs to my closet and shouted, “Thank you Suzie” as I can finally breathe without being burdened by my mothers clothing and the multitude of well wishing gifts from my family and friend. Thanks for helping me purge. Knowing that my discarded clothing is going somewhere is a good feeling. I continued to organize by taking my summer shirts out and putting them in an empty closet, so now, I can move my hangers to and fro and push my clothing from one side of the rack to another. Woohool! Life’s simple pleasures, thanks to you!

*Insider Tip Take stuff out of your closet.

Just because you take it out doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it. I try to keep anything I am not loving right now, whether due to style, fit (hello 5 plus pounds of Christmas cookies!), or climate changes in a guest room closet. Some will make it back in to my main closet and some I will find I am better off without. Snag an extra closet in a guest bedroom, fold and store summer clothes in an under the bed storage bin, anything to have less options in your closet. The less that is in there the more you will wear what you have. It actually forces you to come up with different combinations, to see what you really have. Kind of like those iron chef competitions where they have random ingredients to use to make a meal. Except it’s not like someone gave you polka-dot pants and a plaid flannel and is demanding a runway worthy outfit. These are things you love. Wear them!

Pinned Image
image via pinterest