Tag Archives: wardrobe

Update your wardrobe for free (or really cheap!)

12 May

One of my favorite thrift stores in my hometown!

If you’re a spoonie (someone with chronic illness,) you know how taxing it can be to go to a mall or big department store full of people. I personally thrift the majority of my clothing, and prefer the atmosphere of thrift stores to big chain stores. If you’re able to go on a weekday, there usually aren’t many people, the people who are there are generally friendly (it’s easy to strike up conversation when you find something fun, like a vintage embroidered mumu,) and the prices are great.  I’m fortunate that the stores in our city tend to have a large selection of good quality, vintage, and name brand and designer clothing and accessories. I occasionally enjoy hitting up local antique stores, too, where I can find really unique clothing pieces and accessories (if I can afford them!)

Lately, I’ve been on a closet revamp kick. I’ve always enjoyed wearing more “alternative” styles, and personally draw inspiration from rock and roll, punk, goth, and gypsy styles. Since I no longer live or work in a place where a certain image is expected, I’ve decided to revert back to the style I feel best suits me.  Alternative style cultures promote DIY and handmade looks, since it’s all about unique, individual expression, but you can incorporate these techniques into any style!

Why alter clothing?

1. It’s fun! Even if you don’t normally enjoy arts and crafts, there’s something really special about putting your mark on something you’re going to wear. When people compliment you, you’ll get to say that you did it yourself!

2. It can be a very inexpensive hobby. You can often find supplies like studs, embroidery thread, and patches online for much less than you find them in stores. Try searching eBay or Amazon.

3. You can use what you already have. Updating your wardrobe can be as easy as using what’s already in your closet. Cut a collar off of an existing button-up shirt, and use it as a necklace, or sew it onto another shirt. Cut an applique or image from a shirt, and sew it to a jacket or vest. Embroider a message or design on pair of jeans. Cut up t-shirts, and use the remnants to make bracelets or necklace. Draw on a pair of old tennis shoes with a Sharpie. Chances are you already have the supplies you need to start altering what you have. Just Google DIY clothing projects if you need a little inspiration.

I’ll post pictures of my personal projects to (hopefully) inspire you just as soon as the stormy spring weather decides to give me a little natural light for photos. Until then, check out my Smashin’ Fashion Pinterest board for ideas:

Old suits refashion.


Gentle hugs,



Traveling through the fog – maintaining order through illness

11 Apr

I’m not necessarily a neat freak, but I do like order. I’m a planner, a note taker, and … a forgetter.

Folks, sometimes the brain fog gets so bad that I just have to laugh. Sometimes I have to cry, too, because it can be so frustrating. There are days when I just don’t know if I have the energy to make one more trip to the other end of the apartment because I forgot one more thing. So, to make it a little easier on myself, I try to maintain some order to my routine, and to our living space.

FlyLady.net is a great resource for developing and maintaining a cleaning schedule, as well as maintaining order in other areas of your life. I have to confess that I’m not able to keep a very regular cleaning schedule with our unpredictable schedule here at the student center, but splitting up chores on different days helps me not wear myself out and end up in extra pain. We are notorious for letting the dishes pile up in the sink since we moved into the center’s intern apartment, which doesn’t have a dishwasher, but every time the dishes DO get done, I think of Fly Lady’s tip to give the sink a clean while I’m at it. It really does make a difference. The sink is already wet, and I already have the scrubber in hand.

FlyLady cartoon

I came across this next link on Pinterest this evening, and I think I’ll give it a try. There are tons of printables to use, from meal planning to important contact info, and you can pick and choose which ones you want to use. I’m especially fond of the list for contact information for different service providers. If that can keep me from searching for a bill to find a customer service phone number, I’m all for it! The theory is that if you put all of your important information in one binder, you won’t have to hunt for that info ever again. Unless you lose the binder, of course.

Obviously, if it’s helpful to organize your schedule and important information, it’s also helpful to organize the rooms in your home to keep from having to search for important items. If everything has a home, you’ll almost always know where to find what you need. A while back, I made a key rack for our entryway, because I would spend several minutes each time I needed to leave trying, frantically, to find my keys. So, now I’m in the habit of hanging them up as I walk in the door. If I forget to do it, I don’t put the keys down just anywhere – I walk back to the rack. It’s saved me a considerable amount of time and frustration. While you’re organizing, you can arrange things so that they’re more easily accessible. If you’re vertically challenged like I am, or if you have trouble crouching or bending over, you may consider using an over-the-door organizer. The plastic dollar store shoe organizers work well (you can even cut them in half to hang from smaller cabinet doors in the kitchen and bath,) or you can try any one of these genius ideas:

Take things one area at a time. Not only will it keep you from overdoing it, it will give you a satisfying sense of accomplishment once you’ve finished. Have two or three bags or boxes nearby for trash, recycling, and donations. It’ll keep you from putting anything back that you no longer need or want, and the space will appear less cluttered, which can also keep you from finding what you need.

Once you get to your closets, you may as well do a little editing. Keep those same bags or boxes nearby, but this time for trash, donations, and cleaning rags. Single socks whose mates have been lost to the dryer make great cleaning rags – just put your hand inside the sock and go. My grandmother used socks specifically for furniture polishing, and guess what I loved doing as a kid as a result? (When you’re not cleaning, the sock doubles as a puppet!) For a little help deciding what to keep and what to toss, follow the flow chart below.

Remember to take things one area at a time, and set realistic goals for yourself. It may take you a week, or it may take you a few months to organize your home. The key is to stick with it once you’ve finished! Things won’t be perfect all the time, and you’ll still forget things, but if you maintain just a little more order than you started with, you’ll maintain that much more sanity.

Gentle hugs,