How to Host a Clothing Swap Party

Clothing swaps are a great way to clean out your closet, eliminate clutter, and upgrade your wardrobe with a few new pieces – all without spending a dime! I recently hosted my first clothing swap party and wanted to share my top tips in case you’re thinking of hosting one of your own.

Set Clear Guidelines

When you send out your invitation, in addition to basics like date, time and location, make sure to include clear guidelines for the swap itself. It’s important to limit the amount of clothing each friend can bring so that there’s variety but it’s still a reasonable volume to navigate through. I set the limit at one shopping bag or about 10 items per person and it worked well (we had a group of ten women). It’s also good to clarify that items should be washed, in good condition and without stains or holes.

Host the best clothing swap party with these wonderful tips from Shira Gill Home.

Include Options for All Sizes

Since there will certainly be guests in all shapes and sizes, make sure to include hats, jewelry, handbags, and even makeup, perfume or nail polish, so it will be easy for everyone to find goodies to take home. Since cosmetics are a harder item to donate, it’s always much better to pass on to a friend than toss into the landfill!

Merchandise Your Set Up

Make sure items are organized in clear zones so it’s easy to set up and shop. I hosted my swap at night when my girls were sleeping upstairs, so I was confined to using our living and dining rooms which are both on the smaller size. I set up the dining room table for tops and dresses, the dining room bench for skirts and pants, and placed a large basket on the floor for accessories and shoes. I printed out oversized labels for each category so guests could easily set up when they arrived and put clothing in the right zones. It’s also helpful to set up a “dressing room” which can be as simple as a full length mirror propped against the wall in a clear area. However you set up, make sure to remove any fragile or breakable items before the swap since there will be lots of action.

Clean out your closet can be made fun with a clothing swap party with friends. Use these tips from Shira Gill Home to throw the best clothing swap party.

Set the Ground Rules

To avoid total chaos, I had each guest pick a number out of a hat to determine “shopping” order. We went in order and each person had a chance to browse through the loot and pick 1-2 items they loved. Once everyone had taken their turn, we all browsed together and it was a fun free for all. However you decide to organize your swap, make sure the guidelines are clear and as fair as possible so each guest has a chance to snag a few favorites to take home.

Get Party Ready

Every party needs some good food and refreshments, music, and decor. I love offering a signature cocktail and making sure there are a few non-alcoholic drinks on hand as well. In terms of food, small light bites are best for a clothing swap so that guests can keep their hands free while they score some loot! If cooking is not your bag, a variety of nuts, cheeses, and crudités pair well with a selection of mini sweets or candies. About an hour before guests arrive I like to turn on some tunes, set out fresh flowers and light a few candles. It’s the little things!

Party food can be simple, clean, and greatly displayed in the simplest of ways.

Coordinate Donating to Your Local Charity

Inevitably, there will be unclaimed clothing at the end of your party. Do yourself a favor and connect with a non-profit or charity in advance so you can arrange a donation right after your event. If you have a big haul to giveaway, your local charity may even do a free pick up.

Looking for more closet makeover inspiration? Check out my latest collaboration with Rue Magazine: 5 Simple Steps to a Streamlined and Stylish Closet. 

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Shira Gill Home for My Domaine

Friends! I am so excited to share my recent three part collaboration with one of my favorite lifestyle blogs, My Domaine.

They picked my brain on everything from the most common home organizing mistakes to how to declutter and organize every single room in your home. That’s right. Every single room. You can read the full story {here} and hopefully find quite a few tips to apply to your own home.

Shira gill partnered with My Domaine to provide amazing tips on how to organize every room in your home this new year. From your entrance to your kitchen to your bathrooms, learn these simple tips and tricks to decluttering and organizing your home spaces.

Also, if you still have holiday decor lingering that you’re not sure how to properly store or organize, check out my tips {here} and spare yourself a headache next year.

Happy organizing, and hope your 2017 is off to a great start!

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How Do You Want Your Home to Feel?

Have you ever thought about how you want your home to feel? It’s an important question, and one that most people don’t give much attention to. Here’s why I believe it’s important to clearly define how you want all of your living and working spaces to feel.

  1. It will help you clarify your values.
  2. It will provide you with information which can help anchor design and layout decisions.
  3. It will make it exponentially easier to strip away clutter.
  4. It will help you create a home you love and feel good in.

Let me give you an example. We recently decided to invest in a new couch. I looked at magazines and design blogs for inspiration but felt stuck. The couches I admired made no sense for our lifestyle. They were made of high maintenance fabrics or overly formal for our family life. So, I sat down and thought about how I wanted our living room to feel. I quickly realized that while I loved the designer couches I had been eyeing, I really wanted our space to feel inviting and comfortable. We entertain and host a lot, so we also needed a couch which could seat as many as possible and which would be resilient in terms of wear and tear. Once I had clarified how I wanted my space to feel, and what functions it needed to provide, it was easy to pick a couch that met that criteria. We settled on this sturdy grey sectional, which can seat up to six people and hides stains well.

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Here’s another example: When I was in college, I decided I wanted my bedroom to feel like a boutique hotel. I drew inspiration from the chic, minimal interiors I admired and noted the themes I saw – minimal furniture, lots of white and neutral colors, good lighting, nice throw blankets and accent pillows. While I had a very limited budget to invest in new furniture and decor, I knew I could easily strip away clutter, rearrange the furniture and treat myself to a few accessories. Because I knew exactly how I wanted my room to feel, I could make decisions easily and had a clear roadmap for how to  move towards my ultimate goal as time and money allowed.

Fast forward to a few years ago when we bought our first home. I still wanted my bedroom to feel like a boutique hotel, and this time I was able to splurge on a an upholstered bed from Room and Board. The rest was easy since I had already stripped away the clutter and invested in simple white bedding years ago. The point is, no matter what your timeframe or budget you can take simple steps to achieve your ideal space by taking the time to think about how you want it to feel.

Room and Board Marlo bed

So, what about you? Think about one room in your home that you’re not satisfied with. How do you want that room to feel? What functions does that room need to provide? What are you doing (or not doing) to get the results you want? Make a list of three small actions you can take towards your goal. If you want your bedroom to feel like a sanctuary, start by clearing the surfaces and adding a candle or fresh flowers by your bed. Little things can make a big difference in how you feel in your space. Your home is a force that shapes your life. Even if your time or budget are limited, taking small steps towards creating your ideal home will feel deeply satisfying and well worth the investment.

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Goal Setting That Works

There is an art to goal setting and today I want to share the strategies and methods that have been working for me. If you are tired of watching yourself set goals and not honor them, read ahead for some practices that will ensure you actually meet your goals and make yourself proud.

Make Your Goals Specific and Measurable

I used to set the same goal every year to “work out more and eat healthier.” Sound familiar? Embarrassingly enough, it took years of this charade for me to notice that it wasn’t working. So, last year I made an important modification and made sure that my goal was both measurable and specific. I pledged to work out at least three times a week and eat one vegetable a day. While of course I have off weeks, this tiny shift has yielded massive results and finally I can say that I do work out more and eat healthier.

Make Your Goals Realistic

Often, when we are fired up and eager to make big changes, we make our goals unrealistic and set ourselves up for failure. When you are setting goals this year, stretch yourself, but also make sure you consider your current circumstances and constraints so you can ensure your goals are realistic and achievable. Example: I have two young children and run my own business. While I would love to work out every day, I set my work out goal for three times a week instead. Since my goal was realistic, I can now feel successful instead of beating myself up for not achieving perfection.

goal setting calendar

Define Your Motivation

Once you’ve set yourself up for success by making your goals specific and realistic ask yourself why they are important to you. Everyone knows it is much easier to make a change when you are fired up and passionate about your goals. Ask yourself why you want to make a change right now? How would making this change make you feel? Spell out why your goals are important to you and your chance of success will multiply.

Plan + Schedule Your Goals

This crucial step often gets overlooked and is actually the most important. It is imperative to plan and schedule every step of your goal including the time to do any relevant research. Say you want to work out three times a week. The first step is to decide where and when will you work out.  Do you need to join a gym or sign up for classes? Do you need to purchase workout gear or shoes? Plan out every single detail that pertains to achieving your goal and make sure to schedule every action item in your calendar.  Schedule time to shop for workout gear. Schedule time to research and sign up for classes or join a gym. Then, schedule your workouts into your calendar and honor your commitment to yourself. Trust me on this. Plan and schedule and it will be done.

stylish calendar

Set Up Support

Tell trusted friends, family and colleagues about your goals and let them know how they can help you stay on track and accountable. Hire a success coach or start your own accountability group. Find someone who has similar or overlapping goals and check in with each other once a week. It is a rare bird who can stay motivated and accountable without any support. Ask for help and you shall receive.

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What are you cooking up for 2017? If you’re stuck, take some time to reflect on each area in your life and jot down a few changes you would like to make in each area for the new year. Then pick the ones that feel the most resonant and make sure they are specific and measurable. I would love to hear what you’re working on. Please share in the comments below!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017!

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The Top 5 Habits of the Highly Organized

Want to know a secret? Most people who are highly organized don’t spend a lot of time organizing. Read on to learn five small things you can integrate into your daily life to become as effortlessly organized as the pros.

stylish baskets

Prevent Clutter from Entering in the First Place

You know those free samples you’re given when you buy cosmetics? Or the free swag, mugs and pens you’re offered at conferences and events? Being conscious and mindful about what you allow into your home will prevent the future accumulation of clutter. It’s always ok to politely decline freebies and hand-me-downs and doing so will spare you from having to store and organize things you didn’t even need in the first place.

A Place for Everything

The number one rule for every professional organizer I know is that everything you own needs to have a clearly defined home. Make sure to store items in zones by usage so it’s easy and intuitive to put things away when you’re done using them.

Limit Paper Piles

Read and address mail on a regular basis instead of letting paper pile up and get overwhelming. If you don’t have time to deal with it, have one centralized location for to-dos and papers that require your attention. The few minutes you spend dealing with incoming paper every day will save you hours later.

desk organization

Don’t Put it Down, Put it Away

Instead of dropping things on random surfaces when you walk in the door, take the time to put your belongings where they need to end up. A little energy now will spare you a massive clean-up later.  Small proactive measures like placing a bowl on your entry table for keys, or mounting a wall pocket for incoming mail and magazines will prevent you from misplacing things and keep your home tidy.

Set Limits

Staying organized requires setting clear and consistent limits. Respect the constraints of your particular space and it’s storage capacity. For example, if you have a tiny linen closet, you may need to limit the quantity of towels and linens you own in order to maintain a streamlined and organized home. Practicing the one-in, one-out rule will also ensure that you keep clutter at bay.

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The good news is that once you’ve adopted these new habits, spending a few extra minutes emptying your work bag or opening your mail won’t feel like such a drag anymore. And if you keep it up on a daily basis, there will be less to do and less to dread.

 

Closet Makeover Workshop

Introducing The Closet Makeover Workshop! Based on your requests, I’ve designed a new in-home workshop for the new year. This one will be focused on helping you clarify and refresh your personal style as well as declutter and organize your closet.

Stylish organized closet makover

 

You’ll Learn:

*  Industry tips and resources for decluttering, organizing, and styling your closet.

* How to create a personal style statement that reflects your personality and suits your lifestyle.

* How to take the stress out of shopping and buy fewer, better pieces.

* The organizing products I use in every closet makeover and where to buy them.

*Answers to all your burning questions on wardrobe styling, capsule wardrobes, and closet organization.

The Details:

Date: Sunday, January 15th 2017 10am-12pm

Investment: $125 includes two-hour workshop, printed workbook, organizing labels, mimosas and refreshments.

**This event will be booked on a first come basis and is limited to only 10 participants. Email inquiries@shiragill.com to reserve your spot.

 

Can’t wait!

xx Shira

Your Clutter-Free Gift Guide

The 2016 clutter-free gift guide is here! The holiday season is approaching and I wanted to provide a roundup of my favorite clutter-free gifting ideas. Most people have more than enough stuff, so instead of splurging on the usual suspects, try these creative and more sustainable alternatives.

For The Foodie

A Stylish and Sustainable Pantry Makeover: The Bliss Haus Baking Kit includes a collection of assorted airtight jars, labels that don’t wash off, a set of beautiful recipe cards, pantry scoops, and a shopping list. I swear by this kit and use it in my own home. The airtight jars keep your goodies fresh for months and enable you to shop from bulk bins and ditch the bulky packaging.

Gourmet Goodies: Consumables are completely clutter-free once they are gobbled up! Cheese or wine subscription, fair trade coffee and chocolate or some nice balsamic and olive oils make beautiful gifts. These chocolate bars make a beautiful gift and would delight any chocolate lover, and I am always hoping someone buys me a cheese club membership from Cowgirl Creamery.

A Cooking Class: Most major cities have cooking schools which offer classes and workshops to non-professionals. Try buying a gift certificate or a specific class and accompany the gift card with a nice linen apron or a wooden spoon. 

kitchen jars on counter top

For the Mamas

A Speciality Service: Treat your favorite hard working mama to a service they wouldn’t normally splurge on. Who wouldn’t want a few hours with a professional organizer, a wardrobe stylist or a personal trainer?

Meals Made Easy: A gift card for a meal delivery service or a restaurant make thoughtful gifts, and it’s always great to have a get out-of-cooking-dinner pass.

Movie Night: One of the best gifts I ever received was when a dear friend offered to babysit so I could go see a movie with my husband when our girls were little. You could also treat a friend to a movie night in with a classic rental, popcorn, and treat bags.

Yoga or Workout Package: Last year my husband bought me a gift of yoga classes from Core Power Yoga. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to start working out regularly and remains one of my favorite gifts!

The Five Minute Journal: One of my favorite things and favorite gifts, The Five Minute Journal offers a simple (and efficient) formula to be more intentional each day, practice gratitude and create new habits. A perfect gift to start the new year off right!

styled bed with Aesop and Kinfolk

For the Little Ones

A Custom Cooking Kit: My girls love cooking so I had the idea of getting each girl a cookbook with ingredients for a recipe we can make together. The cooking kit could be bundled together in a pretty tablecloth, or muslin cloth, tied with ribbon or twine.

Custom Plates: My girls were delighted last year with these custom plates with their name and likeness. The cutest! The same company is also making customized bowls, placemats and notecards.

Artkive Books: Not sure what to do with the piles of art your kiddos bring home each day. Use the Artkive app to archive and store it digitally and create a keepsake book for each kid. Cut the clutter and keep the art alive!

What’s on your wish list this year? Please share any clutter-free gift ideas in the comments below!

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The Best Advice I Ever Got

Are you waiting to feel inspired? To feel ready? To have clarity? Let me share the best advice I ever got:

Just start.

Prolonged wavering and ambivalence leads to decision fatigue, stress, and exhaustion. As my mentor, Brooke Castillo, always says, “free yourself from “maybe” and give yourself the gift of a clear yes or a no.”

Here’s an anecdote from my life which clearly illustrates this point. When I was in my twenties, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue pursuing theater or not. I spent endless hours, weeks, and months obsessing over what to do with my career and trying to gain clarity. In the meantime, I was waiting tables, not pursuing much of anything, and felt anxious and drained. I called my mom for advice about my career path and she said simply, “Just do something. It doesn’t matter what. Just pick something and do it.”

I was so sick of feeling mentally drained that I took her advice immediately. I opened the classifieds, saw an ad for a theater that needed an intern, and called them. Two days later I met with the artistic director. A day after that I started working for the theater five nights a week. A few months later I was cast in a main stage production with the company. And then another. And another one after that. I worked with that theater professionally for over a year. I made good friends who I still keep in touch with today. Making one tiny decision to call changed everything.

Organized, stylish office

What have you been waiting to take action on?

Want to get organized but short on free time? Set a timer for 15-minutes and organize one drawer. Have you been debating about what color to paint your bedroom for years? Pick a color and start painting. Want to do something creative but not sure what you should do? Pick a class and register. Want to work out more but not sure what to do? Put on some sneakers and walk for thirty minutes.

So, here’s my best advice for you if you’re feeling stuck: Stop thinking, make a decision, and do something. I promise, taking even the smallest of actions will make you feel better.

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Kid Closet Organization, Simplified

I’ve been asked a lot recently how to organize kids’ closets, and I wanted to share my approach and outline what’s been working for our family. Hope these tips will help you whip those overflowing dressers and closets into shape!

Edit Your Heart Out!

My theory is: Less clothing, less stress. As someone who does not enjoy doing laundry, I have streamlined my girls’ clothing down to the essentials that they truly love and wear.  They seem to do just fine with roughly 10 tops and ten bottoms if we do laundry once a week. They also each have two jackets and two pairs of school shoes and a party shoe. Creating a capsule wardrobe for your kids of mix and match items makes life so much easier. It’s also good to remember that it’s ok to politely decline other people’s well intentioned bags of hand-me-downs if you don’t actually need them. Once you accept them they are yours to clean, organize and manage. Just say no! (thank you).

organized kids closet with rose gold hangers

Organize By Type

My girls share a six drawer dresser which I have organized in the simplest way possible: The top drawer has tops and casual dresses. The middle has skirts, shorts and leggings. The bottom drawer has socks, underwear, pjs and swimsuits. Their party dresses and seasonal items are hung up in the closet. Since I have yet to meet a child who hangs things nicely on hangers, I always prefer storing daily use clothing in dressers, which enables them to get dressed easily and put away laundry themselves. If you like you can label each drawer with what should go in it or add a photo for young kids. Their clothes may not be perfectly folded, but they will be organized and easily accessible which is a big win in my book.

organized kids shirt drawer

Activity Totes

Most kids are involved in some sort of extracurricular activities that require clothing and gear. I like setting up a tote bag for each activity and hanging them in the closet or by the door for easy access. We have a swim bag stocked with sunscreen, goggles, suits and swim toys, as well as a soccer tote and a ballet bag. Out totes live on hooks in the closet and make it easy to grab and go before each activity. Bonus points if you remember to restock them after each use.

Set up a Donation Basket

You can maintain a streamlined wardrobe for your kids by setting up a simple bin, basket or bag in their closet for donations. As soon as my girls outgrow something I toss it into our donation bin. When the bin is full I donate to my local charity. Toss, donate, repeat.

organized kids closet with rose gold hangers

Set Up a Grow Into Bin

If you have great clothes in larger sizes set up a labeled bin and store it in your child’s closet. These bins often live in garages or basements and don’t get used in time. Limit the quantity you store (I have one bin per child) and make sure to check the bin before you go shopping for new clothes.

If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, try taking it one category at a time and get your kids involved in the process. Put all of their tops in a pile and have them choose their favorite 10. If you break editing and organizing into bite-sized steps, you will be done before you know it!

photo credit: vivian johnson photography for shira gill home

Minimalism: 5 Benefits of Owning Less

This country is not geared towards minimalism.  There are messages everywhere telling us that in order to feel happy, fulfilled, and successful we need to buy more stuff. But, I have actually seen the exact opposite to be true: The less stuff I have the more abundant my life feels in every way. Here are a few examples:

Community

When new clients contact me, a common lament is that they rarely entertain because their cluttered home causes them stress, or even shame. Having a clutter-free house makes it easy to fill your home with friends and family, and entertain with ease.

cheese presentation on butcher block

Freedom

Because our home is so streamlined and minimal, we are able to quickly and easily pack for trips and rent out our house on vacation rental sites. Travel is one of my greatest values.  I love that we can take our girls to see the world and even make money renting out our home while we are on vacation.

Creativity

Less stuff requires greater creativity. I love watching my girls create forts out of couch pillows and craft incredible art projects out of nothing more than tape, scissors and a cardboard box. I also enjoy the creative challenge of maximizing my wardrobe by trying different combinations, layers, and accessories.

Time

Think about how much time you spend looking for misplaced items, tidying up messes, and trying to get organized. When you declutter your house it is easy to find what you need and you will reclaim both time and energy to spend on things you care about.

clutter-free minimalist bedroom

Financial Freedom

Have you ever bought the same-ish thing multiple times because you didn’t realize you already owned something similar?  People who live a minimal lifestyle shop less and are much more intentional about what they buy.

There is a common misconception that minimalism equates to depravation and scarcity. In fact, living with all of the things you love, but nothing more, can lead to incredible abundance, creativity, and freedom.

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Need a little support kickstarting your clutter-free life? Get in touch by emailing me at inquiries@shiragill.com. I would love to help!

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