Treasure Hunt: Goodwill Shopping Haul

I went to find three skirts and two pairs of jeans; four hours later, I almost left with Kenneth Cole shoes and a chandelier. And I did leave with $342.96 in estimated savings. 
This was my most epic Goodwill trip yet. You might remember my other posts about Goodwill shopping when we lived in an apartment with a Goodwill just down the street. I was really sad when we moved away, but last November, a brand-new Goodwill opened just down the street from our house! Saturday was the first time I’d had a chance to check it out. 
I was looking for three skirts in denim or khaki to wear on the missions trip to Mexico I’m planning to go on in March. They have a dress code, and my only denim skirt isn’t long enough, and skinny jeans aren’t allowed, hence the two pairs of jeans. 

Once I filled my cart with skirts, I headed to the dressing room. On the way, a few shirts and shoes caught my eye, so I took them along with me.

None of the skirts really worked for me, unfortunately. But check out these nude heels!

I looked online, and Kenneth Cole leather heels range around $178 new. These were in excellent condition, no scuffs or scratches, but used, and were $5. Unfortunately, they didn’t fit me. So I put them back. 

These actually did fit me, and they were very comfortable. They looked unworn, and I recognized the brand, ecco, but I didn’t know how much they were worth. I kinda wish I’d bought them, because I looked them up online, and ecco tennis shoes are around $120 new. 

On my way back to the skirt aisle, I spotted the chandelier. It was metal, no crystals, but a beautiful elegant leaf design. It just needed a coat of white paint and some distressing, and it would be good to go. For $12, I almost bought it. But, I decided that since we live in a rental house with no where to put it, it probably wasn’t the best idea. Brian agreed.

But enough about what I didn’t buy. After I filled my cart for the second time, I was more successful. Here’s what I did get:

This scarf first caught my attention because it felt higher quality than many of the others. Then I noticed the signature.
I hadn’t heard of “Ralfeaux” before, but a little sticker left on the scarf from a garage sale said “Designer.” 

For 99 cents, it was definitely worth it. I looked up Ralfeaux, and found out that this scarf is probably a vintage designer scarf worth around $15. 

I finally found a skirt! I looked it up and found an identical one at Target for $24.99. I paid $4.99.

If you know me, you might have notice how much I love stripes. I caught a glimpse of this tee in passing, and when I saw it was my size and since yellow tags were half off, it was in my cart before you could blink.
Similar Old Navy Tee, $14. Price for this Old Navy tee, $2.50
At first I thought these would make good work jeans for our projects during the mission trip. But now I’m not so sure. 
These army green pants were SO comfortable, they’re flared and a little loose fitting. And, they are New York and Company brand, and while I couldn’t find any similar pants online, New York and Company sale jeans go for around $30. These were half off, so I paid about $3.50.
Ok, here’s the REALLY exciting part. Speaking of New York and Company, I also bought this blazer.

 It’s in excellent condition, and fit me well. I’ve been looking for a well-fitting blazer for quite some time.

It is a New York and Company blazer, and I actually found the identical one online, for $69.95. I paid $7.99!

I couldn’t decide between that blazer and this one, so I bought them both. It’s a little wrinkled in this picture.

I first noticed the unique stitching and buttons, and then I noticed that the sizes were in European and American. I knew that was a good sign.

And then I saw the brand. It’s a Zara blazer. I was first introduced to this brand by Wendy’s Lookbook fashion blog, and when I looked online, Zara’s black blazers cost between $89 and $99. This one had a yellow tag, so it was half off. I got it for $4.

I also scored a pair of GAP 1969 “Essential” jeans. I looked them up online too, and they sell for $69.99. I paid $7.99. 

And then, THEN. I spotted this little basket!

Blogger still likes to randomly put my pictures sideways

 So cute! I knew it would be perfect for my friend’s wedding next summer. She liked the idea of a little suitcase type box for the wedding cards.

It’s a picnic basket!
The dishes are white plastic, and they’re cute too. I found a similar one on Etsy, with green plaid inside, for $65.95.  I paid $10 for this one.
So let’s summarize all this goodness. 
Vintage Designer Scarf, paid $0.99                Valued: $15
Denim Skirt from Target, paid $4.99              Valued at $24.99
Old Navy Tee, paid $2.50                             Valued at $14
New York and Company pants, paid $3.50   Valued at $30
New York and Company blazer, paid $7.99  Valued at $69.99
Zara blazer, paid $4.00                                  Valued at $95
GAP jeans, paid $7.99                                   Valued at $69.99
Picnic basket, paid $10.00                              Valued at $65.95
Total spent: $41.96     Total value: $384.92

Now, that’s what I call epic!!! 

I told Brian after I finally checked out, “I think I could make a nice income finding designer and high quality items at Goodwill and selling them for more on ebay.”

“Well, why don’t you then?” He asked.

What do you think? If I sold the Zara blazer for even half of a comparable Zara blazer, for maybe $50, I’d still make quite a bit from it, considering that I bought it for $4. What do you think? Should I go into business? If anything, maybe it could fund my penchant for shoe collecting!

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To Keep, or Not to Keep

Happy Monday everyone! Today on my other blog I’m talking about dealing with well intentioned gifts that you don’t want to keep. I’m specifically talking about wedding gifts, but it all applies to Christmas gifts as well, and I think it’s also very applicable to the Organized Simplicity 10 Day Cleaning I’m talking about this month. How do you decide what to keep in your home? What do you do with gifts from your aunt that are more clutter than decor? Or the third set of the same dishes? Or the family heirloom that you just don’t have the space for? How do you balance risking hurting the giver’s feelings and not being able to use or appreciate the gift?

Read the post here and share your thoughts!

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Decluttering and Organizing the Bathrooms

 This picture is  almost my dream bathroom. I’m not a fan of the windows, haha. But, tub-check, especially if it’s a clawfoot one. Glass shower -check. Dark wood-looking floors -check. Light blue and white colorscheme- check.

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

 But, until we own our own house and have enough money for a bathroom makeover, here’s what we’ve got:

Not bad, eh? We painted the walls brown, and our light blue towels and sea shell stuff matches really well. It matches especially well with the light blue bedroom it’s attached too.

For the Organized Simplicity 10 Day challenge, I started in the hall bathroom. We haven’t done any remodeling in here. 

Tsh Oxenreider suggests writing down a few words you’d like to describe your bathroom when you’re finished. For the master bathroom, I wanted a beach-spa-retreat feeling. Since our hall bathroom is used mainly by guests, I wanted it to be clean first and foremost, and functional, meaning it had everything in it a guest might need. 

As Tsh says in the book, the bathroom can be a clutter magnet, all those hotel bottles, cosmetics, and products. When I first did this deep clean last fall, I had a little basket filled with lotions, hotel shampoo and conditioner, extra soap, and bubble bath on top of the shelf that holds towels. I narrowed my extra toiletries down to the ones shown in this picture:
Try #1
But after several months and a few overnight visitors, I realized that no one was using them, and I would really rather have the bubble bath in our bathroom, where I actually take bubble baths. I only needed one bottle in there, so I put the rest of the items in the linen closet with the other extra toiletries. 
Upon further reflection, I think I’ll actually get rid of those hotel samples. I can’t really add them to my yard sale basket, but homeless shelters always need them, so I should add them to my “give” box. 
Do you have a lot of cosmetics and toiletries cluttering up your bathroom? Try one of the following: 
  • Consolidate partly used items into one bottle
  • If it’s expired, toss it
  • If it’s unopened, donate it
  • If there’s a reason you haven’t used it, like it doesn’t work well, you don’t like the smell, etc., just get rid of it! Reclaim your bathroom space. 

Next I tackled the towels. We have a lot of towels, the shelf in the bathroom was always bulging and overflowing with them. I had them folded and stacked, but they were too big to fit well on the shelf. Last fall I decided to try rolling them up to see if they would fit better. 
Try #1
It was still too crowded for my taste. I could get rid of some, but towels are expensive, and when we have people over, we really do use them. And since I usually run a load of towels every two weeks, we need at least two sets available. After I organized the linen closet, which I’ll discuss in an upcoming post, I found I had lots of room for some extra towels. 
After all the decluttering, I was ready to clean the countertop, mirror, toilet, floor, and put some elbow grease into getting the tub nice and shiny. 
Since “clean” was one of the outcomes I wanted for this bathroom, I decided I’d make it easier to spruce it up before guests came by keeping the bathroom cleaning products under the sink. 
I realized that I’d been using my seashell shaped soap dish in the master bathroom just because it matched the tooth brush holder, but we used liquid soap in there, and bar soap in the hall bathroom. 
That’s more logical. 
Next, I tackled the master bathroom. The de-cluttering stage was much more intense in this bathroom. 
That’s just the stuff from the countertop, floor, and tub. When I added my makeup drawer and the cupboards underneath to the mix, I was impressed that we somehow managed to fit all that stuff in there. 
While I sorted my cosmetics and products, I washed my make up brushes and tools in hot water with a little dishsoap, and laid them out to dry. 
Do you know how long to keep make up products? I used Tsh’s list on page 161 to narrow down mine: 
  • mascara, 3-4 months
  • liquid foundation- 1 year
  • powder foundation- 2 years
  • powder eyeshadow -2 years
  • cream eyeshadow – 1 year
  • liquid eyeliner -6 months
  • pencil eyeliner -2 years
  • liquid blush -1 year
  • powder blush -2 years
  • lipstick -2 years
  • nail polish -2 years
I threw out tubes of lipstick from high school, old mascara, liquid eyeliner, and several eyeshadows. I had so much more room in my makeup drawer afterwards!

Now, onto the disaster below the sink.
I did throw out some products, but most of items just needed to be organized. I bought two white plastic bins, and problem solved!
My side:

Yes, I labeled the bins with sticky notes, and yes, they came off in a couple days. Next time I’ll use real labels!Keeping the microfiber cloths under the sink makes it easier to do a quick wipe down of the bathroom. 
There was one drawer that went untouched: Brian’s stuff. The only things of Brian’s I missed with were three mostly empty bottles of AXE body spray, and he gave me permission to throw them away since he hadn’t worn the stuff since back in the day when he “was trying to pick up chicks.” 
I used the recipe for homemade cleaning products from the back of the book to clean the bathroom. Basically, a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and water will clean almost anything. The nice thing about the all-purpose cleaner I used in the bathroom was that the combination of vinegar and baking soda made still made it foam! Foaming bathroom cleaners are my favorite. And carpet cleaners too. Gotta love it. 

Before this point, my shell collection was displayed on the counter in a plastic ziplock bag. I used an empty glass jar from the pantry to hold the shells. Much better!
One final touch remained to complete the bathroom. Hanging something on that blank wall above the towel bars. I traced the objects I wanted to hang onto newspaper and taped the newspaper cutouts to the wall to mess with the arrangement. 

When I finally got it right, I had Brian hang up the pictures. I can’t hang a picture straight to save my life. Here’s the finished result:
And there you have it! Our bathroom purge is complete. 
What “feel” would you like your bathroom to have? What’s keeping it from being the way you’d like it to be?

Organizing and Simplifying Series

I read and reviewed the book Organized Simplicity a few months ago and began sharing the details of my 10 Day whole house purge. After a few posts, I decided to stop and wait until January to finish, because I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for a fresh start in January, and I’ve got an overdose of optimism and I-can-do it attitude- the perfect conditions for rampage of organizing and de-cluttering.

In case you missed it, here are the posts from November:

And here’s what’s coming up:

  • De-cluttering and organizing the Bathrooms
  • Redecorating and Organizing the Bedrooms
  • Redecorating and De-cluttering the Master Bedroom
  • Organizing the Linen Closet

I hope you’ll join me and be inspired by my efforts to tackle your household challenges, and share your advice!

What time of year do you deep clean your house?

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“Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I read “A Story to Live By” by Ann Wells, first published in the Los Angeles Times, in Fresh-Brewed Life: A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul by Nicole Johnson about celebrating life. The author was helping her brother-in-law pick out clothes to take to the mortician after her sister’s unexpected death. Her brother-in-law pulled out a beautiful handmade silk slip. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 nine years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He admonished the author, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

This story struck me deeply since my aunt Joy so recently passed away at the age of 43. Did she ever save things for a special occasion that never came? I don’t know, but I doubt it. She was the kind of person who lived fully alive, who celebrated events large and small. At the visitation I flipped through her scrapbooks. She documented new puppies, ladybugs, and loosing teeth right along with birthdays, Christmases, awards, and travels.

Last year I based my resolutions on Proverbs 31. This year, I want to carry the idea of every day being a special occasion, a day to celebrate being alive.

New Year’s Resolutions {So Far}

Others Goals:

  • Eat out less, have people over more
  • Reach out the the community regularly with the youth group (hopefully once a month)
  • Go to Mexico on the church mission trip (taking place in March)
  • Take time to celebrate my friendships and let people know how much I appreciate them. In several of my aunt’s scrapbooks, she had saved all the Christmas cards and letters from that year. I think she treasured her friendships and relationships, and people knew it. 

Personal Goals:

  • Make my wedding scrapbook, preferably before our two year anniversary in June
  • Make more art and crafts (this will happen this semester since I’m taking a drawing class)
  • Keep blogging 🙂
  • Grow as a writer and designer by learning new skills in school and seeking to get published
  • Get published in something
  • Graduate college (this will happen in May!)

Physical Goals:

  • Do Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred (time to be determined, probably Jan-Feb.)
  • Exercising all year, keeping the goal of 3 times a week
  • Take care of my health by seeking to eat balanced meals and going to the doctor/dentist/dermatologist regularly (and get Brian to go too)

That’s what I’ve got so far; it’s still a work in progress. I think it will be until 2013! So much changed over the course of last year, who knows what lies ahead?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

What are a few of your goals for the new year?

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