This week’s blog is intended as a bit of a shopping breather, as well as an opportunity to share some of the recently learned life-hacks that are making the daily grind easier for me. My friend Charlotte used to call me 411 because it wasn’t just fashion advice that I was good at doling out, it was a little bit of everything. Now that I’m a working mother, living in the land of no time, I hope I have even more useful advice to share with my readers and friends!
1. Clean Out Your Closet
Yes, I said this was a shopping breather, but not an all out fashion break. Having an edited, organized closet, and maintaining it every season, will save you an unimaginable amount of time. Even Laura Vanderkam, my time management hero, agrees! She recently published a podcast entitled Clean Out Your Closet. I was beyond excited when I saw the title flash onto my screen, and even happier when I listened to it. I hope her millions of listeners take it to heart. Here are my 5 steps to cleaning out your closet:
- Evaluate: Take out all of the clothing, shoes and handbags that are worn out, stained, don’t fit, need repair, you don’t like, or have never worked.
- Donate: Recycle the worn and stained clothes at your local H&M. Repair or recycle the clothing that needs repair. If you don’t like it or it has never worked, admit defeat and donate it to someone who can use it while the item still has life left in it.
- Divide: Move all of the clothes that are not in the current season to a different closet or the least accessible section of your closet. Do the same with out-of-season shoes and bags.
- Beautify: Put all of your hanging clothes onto matching black velvet hangers to save space and create a uniform look.
- Organize: Arrange your hanging clothes by category, sleeve length and color, hanging from sleeveless to long sleeve and light to dark.
If you need more help or accountability, check out the RLS 4-week Wear Your Power E-Course , beginning January 27th, 2020.
2. Static Nails
Yes, I was very into my Dip manicures. It was quite a self-esteem boost to finally have nice nails after 40-some years, without having to polish them every other day. However, I could never deal with the hour and a half I’d be at the salon each time I needed to redo my nails. I know this should not be a big deal, but it was unnaturally difficult for me.
Add to that the anxiety of worrying about how long my nails would last and when I could possibly fit the appointment into my schedule around their expiration date and my nail technician’s schedule, and I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the process. I also didn’t like the “fake” look of the dip powder versus regular nail polish. Unfortunately regular nail polish only lasts a day or so on me, so that was a no-go. Enter Static Nails. My nails had been polish-free for over a month post wrist-surgery, when in a moment of weakness I believed an Instagram ad advertising “healthy” nail polish which lasted 10 days. I don’t even need 10 days. If I can do it myself at home while working at the computer, I’ll take 5-7 days and run!
My Perfect Nudes Palette was waiting for me when I got back from holiday travel. Kyle and I both tried different colors, using the designated primer and topcoat, and both ordered multiple full size bottles when our nails still looked good a week later. Yes, there were some chips on my part because my nails are still my naturally sucky nails, but that is why I ordered the light colors! Still, this was the best any previous polish has performed. On top of it lasting so long, it is actually 8-free and vegan so as healthy as you can get and still be nail polish. For the record, the polish did last the full 10 days on Kyle’s beautiful nails. We are hooked!
3. The Perfect Lunch Container
I’m going to preface this section by stating that this product is not just good for kids but also adults trying to pack their own lunches for work to save money or eat healthier.
Do you make your children’s’ lunches or have them purchase lunch at school? One of my kids buys lunch a lot of the time and the other insists on my packing his lunch every day. I actually don’t mind packing lunches as long as the kid tells me what he wants and doesn’t demand too much variety. You can guess that my kid who demands daily variety is the one forced to buy his lunch more often, he he. At one point I realized we all needed a framework to keep the lunch making machine (me) under control. Enter the Ziploc Divided Lunch Container. One main and two sides to fill. Easy peasy. Plus, instead of the many tiny containers I used to have to wash and would get lost in the back of the fridge, these stack beautifully in the fridge and cabinet, and go into the dishwasher in one step. Yes, I could have bought the expensive but long-lasting steel bento box version of this lunch container, but this way I can pack 2 or 3 at a time, enabling me to batch my lunch making time into a few sessions a week. They are also lightweight and I don’t have to cry if a kid loses one since they were $2.50, not $40.
4. T3 Hair Straightening Iron
I do not have time to blow dry my hair. With this amazingly effective hair straightener, I can wash it at night and iron it straight from the horror of frizz that I awake to in the morning. Even with a Keratin treatment, I still needed to use a straightener to really get my hair straight. The T3 straightener does such a good job I don’t even bother with Keratin anymore. FYI, Amazon seems to always have last season’s fashion color on sale. My T3 is lavender of course! For the record, my mother-in-law uses this straightener, and I thought it was just as good as the T3 when I borrowed it over the holidays.
5. Four Strategies for Food Delivery
Ok readers, my new method of no-shopping grocery shopping is ridiculous I know, but there are 3 hungry boys in my house to feed and they are all particular. The truth is we are eating more fruits and veggies than ever with this method and our budget has only gone up slightly. I still run across the street to Giant for a few things I can only get there or need at the last minute, but I never have to wait in a long line with a whole week’s worth of groceries or a cranky kid.
- Saturday morning around 8am we receive a box of produce and eggs from Hungry Harvest. I chose the organic rescue box, so we are getting organic produce that would have otherwise been thrown out. I also add 2 dozen farm fresh eggs to my standing order so we always have eggs for breakfast Saturday morning. If I have time I like to go into their marketplace and add additional fruits and veggies and other items that may be available that week.
- Saturday night or Sunday morning I assess what has come in the box, what is left in the fridge and cabinets, and what the kids are requesting for lunch that week, before placing a Whole Foods order online through Amazon. Although they do have a list of things you’ve recently purchased, I’ve yet to figure out how to reproduce a previous list easily, which would make the process smoother. It is true though, you spend less money when you don’t go through the aisles of the grocery store, which more than offsets the tip or any other fees. It is also helpful to be standing in front of the fridge while you are putting in the order. You don’t have to guess if you are running low on something.
- Just in case at this point you are like, “Wholly tomatoes, you must have so much food in your house,” know that I’m not done yet. Sunday night or Monday morning I pick up Territory Whole 30 approved meals for Mr. Real Life Style, which are delivered to our gym. This way if I’m out late for work or caught up with the kids, I have zero anxiety about meeting his food needs. Also, the meals are so much more exciting than what I have time to cook these days!
- But wait, what about paper towels and toilet paper and such, you ask? Well maybe you didn’t ask but I’m going to tell you anyway. We gave up our Costco membership years ago because we couldn’t handle shopping there with the boys. Boxed is an online alternative that does not require a membership fee. Delivery is usually within 2 days and my kids love playing in the giant boxes. Another plus is that they are always offering fun free gifts and samples, like Rainbow hologram Stainless steel straws, which I guiltily kept for like a week before handing them over to Kyle, whom I knew would love them even more than me. I also order cereal, snacks, drinks, baking goods, etc. from Boxed. Have I mentioned how much my kids love playing in the boxes? Stay tuned to Instagram for cute pictures…
What life hacks are getting you through these days? Share with us on Instagram!
Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and serve clients across the country. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.
You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.