Black Friday Tips 2019

The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and we have officially entered the biggest shopping season of the year.  It is certainly the most magical time of the year.  I am a HUGE Black Friday shopper.  It is when I get the bulk of my shopping done.  I know that some of you avoid it like the plague and can’t imagine fighting the crowds.  I totally get that, but I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks that I have learned through the years, that actually make this a day that I look forward to and one that I really enjoy. I shared a similar list last year, but I wanted to share it again with a few updates.  

Study and Prepare

The key to a successful Black Friday shopping event is to be prepared.  Start by making a list of everyone you need to get a gift for.  Don’t leave anyone out.  Then brainstorm ideas of possible things that you can get for each person. Having an idea of what you need to buy for everyone on your list will save you time in the long run. Yes, I know that there are always those people on your list that are hard to buy for and that you have no idea what to get.  It is okay to have a few of those, but do not go into Black Friday without some kind of idea for a least the majority of your list. Then, start looking at all of the leaked Black Friday deals to see if you can find the best deals for each person on the list.  Looking through the ads may even give you some ideas for those hard to shop for people.  Then make sure you grab a newspaper on Thanksgiving Day.  This will be filled with all of the adds.  You can also usually find some great coupons in the paper as well.  This will help you with your list too. Check out these sights for some of the Black Friday ads that have already been released.  

Target/Walmart/Best Buy/Belk/JC Penny/Macy’s/Nordstrom/Sephora/Ulta/Amazon/Michael’s/AC Moore/Hobby Lobby/Dick’s Sporting Goods/Lowes/Black Friday

Make a Game Plan

Once you have your lists and have found where all the best deals are, you will need to make a game plan.  Decide which stores you need to go to, and then prioritize them.  If you need to get an item that you know is going to sell out, make sure you go to that store first.  This will likely be the hot ticket toys and electronics.  Other things like clothes, jewelry, and shoes can wait until later in the day.  Those things are not as likely to sell out right away. Make sure you check the ads carefully for door buster items that are only on sale for a short period of time.  You want to make sure you hit those windows at the right time.  

Set a Budget and Stick to it

This is part of the game plan I mentioned above but deserves its own tip.  Have an idea of what you want to spend on each person on your list and try to stick to it. Trust me, you will thank me later if you follow this tip.  It will help you not overspend. Make sure you plan for meals and snacks for the day too.  Also, don’t forget to include a little extra so you can pamper yourself when you see that must have pair of shoes or adorable sweater on sale. 

Go to Bed Early and Get up Early

Make sure that you go to bed early on Thursday night. Even you if plan to do some shopping on Thursday night, don’t stay out too late if you are planning to go again on Friday.   Some stores will be opening as early as 6:00 Thanksgiving night, but I typically like to wait to go on Friday so I can spend time with my family for Thanksgiving.  I can tell you from experience, the more rest you can get ahead of time, the better.  Black Friday shopping is exhausting.  If you are going to go out on Black Friday at all, you need to go early.  The best deals, including door busters, start early.  I feel like this is the best way to ensure you can get everything done and still have time to shop for yourself too! 

Shop with a Friend or Family Member

Some of my best memories have been Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister every year as adults.  It really became a tradition for us.  From the Starbucks and Chick fil a first thing in the morning to the peppermint bark at Hallmark at the end of the day when we are exhausted, we have the best time.  We laugh a lot and really just get to spend time together that we don’t get very often.  I highly recommend that you brave the crowds with a friend or family member.  It can be so much fun. Plus, one person can be a space holder in a long line while the other runs to grab items. Last year, I did not get to go with my mom and sister and went by myself.  I have to admit that I did not enjoy it nearly as much.  It was more business than fun when I did it alone, so go with a loved one and just have fun.  I do recommend that you leave your kids at home.  You will not accomplish much if your kids are in tow.  They will be tired and bored, and meltdowns will ensue. You will be miserable and so will they.  However, if your kids are adults, go for it.  

Dress Comfortable

Black Friday is not the day to look cute.  You are going to be doing a ton of walking and you need comfortable shoes.  My go to outfit is jeans and tennis shoes, or leggings and comfortable, flat boots.  Dress in layers.  It might be chilly early in the morning, but it will be so hot in some stores from the crowds that you can’t stand it. I recommend a sweater or sweatshirt over a t-shirt that you can tie around your waist. Leave the jackets in the car. Just remember that whatever layers you take off, you will have to carry around with you.  

Hydrate and Feed your Body

This is probably one of the most important tips.  Make sure you take time to eat and hydrate.  It will certainly help to have fueled your body when the end of the day rolls around.  Don’t hesitate to splurge on a few goodies as well.  A warm donut, cookie or pretzel will go a long way at lifting your spirits when you are tired.  

Choose Your Purse Carefully

This is so important because you will be lugging it around all day.  You don’t want a big heavy purse that weighs you down when you are tired.  I like to take a small crossbody purse with just the essentials.  You do not need to carry everything that you normally carry in your purse day to day.  Clean it out and only bring the things you need for that day.  Your shoulders will thank you later! I prefer crossbody purses for shopping because it is harder for someone to grab and steal it from you when it is across your body and over your head.  Plus, it seems to be a little easier on the shoulders with the weight distribution.

Don’t be Afraid of Lines

I know the long lines can be daunting, but most of them will move faster than you think.  These stores are typically prepared for the influx of shoppers and have extra people on hand to make it run as smoothly and quickly as possible. 

Have Fun

The number one rule for a successful Black Friday is to remember to have fun.  Go out there and enjoy shopping for others.  Remember why you are giving them a gift to begin with and know that it will likely put a smile on their face. Don’t forget that you can also do a little shopping for yourself too. You deserve it! I really believe that the experience is about more than just finding the best deal.  It is about making memories that will last a lifetime.  Go out there, shop till you drop, and have the best time ever!

Anchored,

Top 3 Packing Tips

Happy May Day! Can you believe that May is here already? I know that the first official day of summer is not until late June, but May has always symbolized the beginning of summer for me.  I think that is because I grew up in the south where school always got out before Memorial Day for Summer Break.  The weather here still hasn’t made up its mind on spring or winter.  We had temps in the 30’s Monday morning and then the high tomorrow is 86 degrees.  Either way, we are headed to Florida in the morning for the big cheer competition where it is certain to be H.O.T. I don’t know if I am ready to be back in the heat of Florida.  I know that it hasn’t even been a year since we lived there, but I very much enjoy not having those crazy hot days.  Since we will be cheering and visiting my favorite characters over the next few days, this will be my last post until next Tuesday.  

Today I want to talk about organization for packing since that is what I am going to be doing today.  We have traveled a lot over the last few years, and I think I have gotten packing down to a science.  They key is to be organized. Don’t wait until mere hours before you leave to start the process. Don’t be a procrastinator. Also, don’t just throw things into a suitcase. You are bound to forget something that way.  You have to think it through and plan it out ahead of time.  Here are my top 3 tips to keep you on track and put-together when packing for a trip.  

1. Packing List

The one thing that helps me most of all is a list.  Whenever we are going on a trip whether it is just a few hours down the road in the car or states away on a plane, I start making a packing list several days before we leave.  I keep this running list on my phone so that whenever I think of something that we need to bring, I have the list easily accessible to me wherever I am.  Nothing is too inconsequential to put on the list, including underwear.  I even have my list divided into family member.  Then I list every single thing  (and how many) that family member needs to bring.  This also makes it easier for when my kids are helping pack. I just cut and paste their part of the list into a text message for them, and then they can easily bring me all of the items on the list so that I can add them to the suitcase. Having a list really does make packing easier, quicker, and more organized.  

2. Zip Lock Bags

My second tip for organized packing, especially with kids, is to use gallon zip lock bags to organize each outfit for each day of the trip.  This is something that I started doing for my kids the very first time that we ever went to Disney World when they were really little, and I still do it now that they are older no matter where we go.  First, I will plan out what outfit each of us will wear each day.  Then I start making piles for each day of the trip.  I put everything we need to get dressed for that day in the pile (pants, top, underwear, socks, etc.). When my kids were younger, this even included the bow for their hair that day. Then I use gallon zip lock bags to keep all of those things together in the suitcase.  I label each bag with my daughter’s name and the day of the week she will be wearing it.  Each child will have a zip lock bag for each day of the trip. This is a little time consuming on the front end, but it saves so much time during the trip.  All they have to do is pull out the bag for that day, take it to the bathroom, and get dressed. This method also ensures that we don’t forget any essential items.  I also pack another zip lock bag with their pajamas for the trip and another one for extras (extra underwear, socks, or even an extra outfit) for those emergency situations.  If the trip involves swimming, there will be a separate bag each for bathing suits, bathing suit cover-ups, and flip flops. This not only keeps you organized, it also really helps to save space in the suitcase.  I just line up the bags in rows in the suitcase. 

3. Travel-Sized Toiletries

My third tip is to use travel-sized toiletries and keep a supply of them at your house.  You should never take full sized bottles of things like toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, shaving cream, contact solution, etc. That is just a waste of space.  I keep a plastic box in the bottom of my linen closet that I have tons of travel-sized items in so that we can replenish our travel bags at any time.  This keeps me from having to make that emergency trip to the store at the last minute to buy stuff. Each of my girls and I have a small travel cosmetic bag that pretty much is only used for travel and stores all of their travel essentials.  In each bag we keep a travel toothbrush and other travel sized toiletries.  All I have to do is tell them to bring me their travel bags and everything is already packed. I just double-check that they aren’t low on anything and replenish it from the box as needed.  Again, this just makes packing faster and easier.  Now, if you don’t want to spend the money to buy travel-sized shampoos or your favorite brand doesn’t come in travel size, you can always get the travel-sized containers and fill them up with your faves.  That is totally a personal preference.  Just don’t pack full sized bottles.  Here is a bonus tip that I read on a blog somewhere years ago that I still use now. I have a special scented body wash that I only use when traveling.  It is one from Bath and Body Works that I love, but it isn’t the one that I use everyday. The reason I do this is because that smell now reminds me of family vacations and trips.  It is like a treat every time I open the bottle while we are away. It just floods me with memories each time, and I love it.  It is forever a scent that I will associate with great memories!

Those are my top 3 tips that will help you to pack quickly and easily all while still being very organized. I am now off to get my family packed and ready to leave tomorrow.  I will see you all back here next week. Pray that I survive my first major cheer competition and the heat of Florida! I have no clue what we are in store for.  One thing is for sure, we will be making more great family memories.  

Anchored and Organized,

10 Moving Tips and Tricks

If you read my post yesterday, you know that the past few days have been a little busy and stressful.  Because of that, I have not been able to continue my purging to share with you today. Hopefully, next week I will be back on track. Instead, I thought I would give you a few tips and tricks to moving in an organized way.  As a military family, we have moved 6 times in the past 18 years. To some military families that may not seem like a lot, but we got lucky and got to do 3 tours back to back in the same location.  Anyway, the point is that I have had a lot of experience with moving. For all of our moves up to this point, the Navy has paid for a moving company to move us and pack up all of our stuff.  You would think that having someone else do all of the packing and moving would make moving easy.  That is not the case, at least for me.  Yes, it is probably the OCD in me, but I have to do a lot of prep beforehand.  Some of these tricks I learned the hard way and some I got from reading other blogs and some are just me being obsessive. Here are my biggest tips if you are preparing to move. 

  1. Zip Lock Bags (Amazon) are your new best friend when in comes to moving in an organized way.  I feel like I should own stock in Zip Lock. When it is moving time, I bag up EVERYTHING! This includes small toys, kitchen utensils, spices, undergarments (Who wants some strange men touching your underwear and bras?), socks, and anything else you can think of.  Anything that can be bagged up will be.  This just helps keep items together.  Remember my jewelry post and my junk drawer post and how I use the little containers to store stuff?  I just put the whole container into zip lock bags.  That way, all that I have to do is pull it out in the new place and put it away. I even use those huge 2.5 gallon bags (Amazon) to put larger items in like the large divider in my junk drawer. I basically go through the kitchen drawers and dresser drawers and dump everything into a bag and then put it back in the drawer for the movers to pack up.  I do the same in the playroom with toys. Trust me, this will make your life so much easier when you are unpacking and it keeps things from getting lost. 
  2. Take pictures of the backs of your electronics (TV, DVR, speakers, computers, etc) so that you know how to hook them up when you get to the new house. You can even take pictures of serial numbers on all of your electronics so that you have it in case an item gets lost or damaged.
  3. Use colored Duct Tape (Amazon). Designate a separate color for each room. After the room has been boxed up, put a strip of duct tape on all of the boxes in that room in the same color. For example, every box in the master bedroom gets blue tape, and every box in the kitchen gets red tape, and so on. This helps the movers and you easily identify boxes and the location it should go in the new house. I will even use that color duct tape to tape a note to the door of every room to easily identify which room the boxes go in.
  4. Remote controls always get lost in a move.  Before the movers come, I gather all of the remote controls and place them all in a zip lock bag and put them into one designated box.  This becomes my hardware box.  All cords, chargers, and things of that nature go in that box. 
  5. Another thing that goes in that box is all of the hardware from the furniture.  As the movers take a bed apart, I collect all of the screws and pieces needed to put it back together.  I then put them all in a Zip Lock bag and label them.  Again, this makes it so much easier when you are at the new house and are trying to put furniture together.  
  6. Keep the hardware box with you. Do not let it go on the moving truck. This way you will know where it is when you need it. 
  7. Keep out one set of clean sheets for each bed you own and a set of towels for each person in your house.  Put them in a Space Saver vacuum seal storage bag like these (Amazon).  Do not let the movers put this on the truck either.  Keep it with you. There is nothing worse than moving into a new house with boxes everywhere when you are exhausted and want to go to bed and you can’t find the sheets, or you need a shower and cannot find a towel. 
  8. I personally do not let the movers take my photo albums.  My wedding album, my daughters’ scrapbooks, and our Disney photo albums all come with me.  I do not want to take the risk of those precious memories getting lost. 
  9. Post it Notes (Amazon) are also my best friends when it comes to moving.  These come in to play when you get to the new house. When I get to the house before the movers arrive with all of my stuff, I walk through every room in the house deciding where each piece of furniture is going to go. I will then write what the piece of furniture is on the Post It Note and place that note on the wall that I want that piece of furniture put.  For example, both of my girls have a bed, a desk, and a dresser in their rooms.  I will go in their new rooms and place the Post It on the wall where I want the movers to put each of those three pieces. This makes it easier for the movers and it saves our backs from having to move them all to the correct place after the movers leave.  I also do this in the kitchen for myself. Yes, I am obsessive, but it works for me.  I will look at each cabinet and drawer and decide where I want all of my things to go. Then I will put a Post It Note on each of the cabinets and drawers labeling what goes there.  This way, no matter who is unpacking the kitchen (it’s usually me), they know where stuff goes. It makes unpacking go much faster this way.
  10. Remember you don’t have to do everything at once. Take your time and put things where you want them to go to avoid moving stuff around later. I always try to unpack one room at a time. It is easier and makes me feel more accomplished when I can complete a room.

Those are my best tips for having an organized move.  The key is Zip Lock bags, a hardware box, and Post It Notes. I am not looking forward to our move in a few weeks.  The Navy will not be moving us since we are just moving a few streets over in the same area.  That means we have to do it all ourselves.  Thankfully, we will have several weeks to do the move and can do it slowly. My plan is to move room by room. I will keep you posted on how that goes and if I can add any further moving tips. Moving is a daunting task, but if you get yourself organized beforehand, things are much easier. I promise!

Anchored,

Black Friday Tips and Tricks

Black Friday
Graphic by Krista Wallden at Creative Clips

Hello my loyal readers! I hope you all are gearing up for Thanksgiving this week with a little time off of work and out of school.  I know I am ready for it.  My Christmas decorations are for sure going up this week, and I can’t wait! I know that I normally do a style post on Mondays, but I decided that I would do something different today instead.  One of the biggest shopping days of the year is 4 days away so I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how to shop for great deals for your family and friends but also for clothing for yourself on Black Friday. For a shop-a-holic like me, this is one of the best days of the year!  How many of you go out and brave the shops? Do you start on Thursday or do you wait for Friday?  My mom, sister, and I have made it a tradition to head out early Friday morning every year and shop until we literally drop.  We always start with a quick trip to Starbucks (hot chocolate only for me), and then we hit Chick-fil-a right next door for some yummy Chicken Minis for breakfast.  Who doesn’t love Chicken Minis from Chick-fil-a? They are so good! Another big tradition that day for us is stopping by the Hallmark store to pick up some of their peppermint bark for another yummy treat.  We also like to get some warm cookies from the Great American Cookie Company.  Yes, we eat a lot on Black Friday. Hey, shopping all day in the crazy crowds is exhausting and we work up an appetite! I promise you that we walk it all off! Black Friday shopping with the two of them holds some of my favorite memories. There might be a really funny story of one of us being very pregnant while Black Friday shopping and laughing so hard that the preggo peed in her pants in the shoe department of Target. I won’t say which one of us it was, but I am sure you can guess. I’m not sure that we have ever laughed so hard. What a fun time that was! I am sad to say, though, that I won’t be able to go with them this year as we have decided not to travel down for Thanksgiving this year. I haven’ t decided yet if I will brave it alone on Black Friday here or not this year.  I don’t know if I will be in the mood to do it by myself but I probably won’t be able to resist it.  We will see.

Now, I know that most of you that head out for Black Friday shopping are focused on getting gifts for others at great deals, especially if you have kids.  Well, let me tell you that you should also take the time to focus on yourself while Black Friday shopping.  Honestly, I actually do the majority of shopping for my kids online before Black Friday. It’s just easier that way.  I find that trying to shop for toys on Black Friday is pretty chaotic.  Plus, it never fails that my youngest want THE HOT TOY of the year, and I know if I don’t purchase it early, I won’t ever et it. This is the day when I get the majority of my wardrobe.  There are so many amazing deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories on this day.  I am on the hunt for new boots this year because the majority of my boots somehow got destroyed in the move.  I don’t know what happened but all of my boots are cracking and peeling.  It’s crazy! Anyway, if you don’t want to brave the crowds, most stores also have great deals online.  Some have even started their sales already. I personally prefer to try things on in the store, but that is totally up to you.  Here are some of my tips for getting the most for your money on Black Friday.

1. Study and Prepare:

All this week before you head out on Friday, look at all of the leaked Black Friday ads online, and be sure to get a newspaper on Thursday.  That’s where all of the printed ads will be, and some stores put coupons in the paper that are good on that day.  Macy’s is one of those stores that always has coupons in the Thursday paper. Compare prices.  You want to make sure you are getting the best deal. Check out these sights for a link to all of your the Black Friday sneak peeks.

2. Make a list:

Make a list of all of the things you need to get for others first. Note what stores have the best deal on those items. Prioritize the list in order of importance. Then add to the list things that you would like to have for yourself (boots for me). Shopping without a list will cause you to buy items that you had not intended to buy.  You can’t go into the day blind.  You have to know what you are looking for.  I always make a list for each of my kids of all the things they have asked for. Then I highlight the things that I plan to or have already ordered for them, and I will pass was is left on the list to family. Then I make a list of all of the other people that I have to buy gifts for.  Make sure you have everyone on the list.  If I have an idea for that person, I will right it down. Otherwise I just have their name listed so I don’t forget to look for something.  I also know about how much I want to spend on those people so I am prepared when I am looking.

3. Make a Game Plan

From the ads, make a game plan. The ads will tell you what time the door buster specials start and end. Using your list, map out the order of what stores you are going to visit. Decide which stores have the must have items and go to those first. Checkout the door buster deals that are only available for a certain time period. Be sure to check coupons too. They are often limited to a certain time period as well.  Just prioritize! It is always better to go with a plan than the head out blindly. Otherwise, you will miss some of the items that you really want or you will end up buying things on the fly that you don’t really want.

4. Go to bed early on Thursday

Black Friday shopping is exhausting. If you can, try to go to bed early so you can get as much rest as possible.  It should be easy to fall asleep with a full belly of all the Thanksgiving goodies you have eaten all day. If you do go out shopping on Thursday, don’t stay out late if you are planning to go out on Friday too.  You need sleep.  I personally prefer to go just on Friday as I look at Thanksgiving day as time with my family that I don’t want to give up.

5. Get up Early

The earlier you can get started, the more likely you are to be able to get all of the things on your list. I personally believe that going early is the key to being able to have time to shop for yourself.  If you hit all of the stores early and get the things that you need for everyone else, you will be able to shop for yourself later in the day.

6. Shop with a friend or family member

Being with others is so much more fun.  Plus, one of you can hold a place in a very long line while the other one runs to get the things you need.  This will save you time later on.

7. Don’t bring your kids

If you have small children, do not bring them with you.  They will only slow you down and make shopping miserable for you and them. They will get tired. They will get bored. They will have meltdowns. This is not the day to go visit Santa. Leave them all at home!

8. Dress comfortably

This is not the day to dress up. This is not the day to wear heels.  This is not the day to wear a dress.  Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Jeans and tennis shoes or leggings and flat boots with a sweater are my go-tos for Black Friday.  Trust me! It is also a good idea to dress in layers.  Sometimes it is cold when you head out early in the morning but it is going to be hot in the stores.  There are so many people shopping that all of the body heat often makes the stores feel like a sauna.  Just remember that whatever layers you shed, you have to carry them with you.  I don’t recommend wearing a big bulky coat that you will have to carry.

9. Be willing to stay all day

Most stores will continue their sales all day and sometimes into Saturday.  This means that you can still shop for yourself in the evening.  You will still get amazing deals late in the day. If you really want to get the most out of Black Friday shopping, you should plan to stay all day.  My mom, sister, and I always end the day with a late dinner and then head home exhausted, but it’s always worth it.

10. Hydrate and Fuel

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day and don’t forget to stop for meals. Most places will give you water for free. Don’t forget to stop and eat lunch, and splurge on those goodies like the ones I mentioned above too.  You deserve it for all the craziness you will endure on Black Friday.

11. Set a Budget and Stick to It

If you make a game plan and have done your preparations beforehand, you will know about how much money you will need to get the items on your list.  Then add a little extra for those items that you see for yourself. I personally like to go with cash and try not to spend more than that amount. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I really like to try to stay within my budget.  Just don’t forget to budget for unexpected items, food, and things for yourself.

12. Choose your Purse Carefully

Trust me! You do NOT want to be lugging around a big heavy purse.  Using a smaller one is less weight on your shoulders. Include only the things that you need for shopping.  You don’t need all of the things that you carry in your purse on a regular basis, and you don’t need a big full, heavy wallet. Just bring the essentials.  I recommend a crossbody purse because it is harder for someone to steal your purse if it is around your body, and it prevents you from setting it down in a buggy where someone can grab it easily when you aren’t looking.

13. Hold on to your Phone

Do not put your phone down anywhere! Even if you go to the bathroom! Do not set it down anywhere! Trust me! Two years ago on Black Friday, I went to the bathroom in Toys R Us with my phone in my back pocket.  Well, when I was in the stall, I set my phone on top of the toilet paper holder so it wouldn’t fall into the toilet.  I walked out without my phone.  Less than a minute later it was gone when I went back to get it.  Yep, someone stole it and I never got it back.  That added a ton of stress to the day and really ruined my mood to keep shopping.  Don’t be dumb like me! Keep it in your purse!

14. Don’t be Afraid of Lines

Yes, I know the lines are dreadful and no one wants to stand there.  I promise you that it will be worth it in the long run. They do often run faster than you think.  These retailers have experience and know what it takes to get as many people through the lines as possible.

15. Shop for Yourself

As I said earlier, Black Friday is when I get the best deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories for myself.  There are so many great deals out there.  You just have to find them. Use some of my styles I have shown you as inspiration.  Check out my Pinterest Boards for more style inspiration. My favorite places to shop for myself on Black Friday where I get the best deals are the following:

  • Old Navy-They usually have the best deals on clothing, and I always tend to get a ton of things from here.

  • Belk-This is a great place to shop for shoes. They typically have a huge sale on shoes.  This is where a lot of my boots come from. I am so bummed that we don’t have one here so I will miss out on this one this year.

  • Target-My favorite store ever! Don’t forget Target as a great place to get clothes and accessories. Don’t just go there shopping for toys. I always find great deals on clothing here as well as accessories like scarves and jewelry. 

  • Bath and Body Works-If you love their lotion, body wash, and hand soaps like I do, Black Friday is the best time to stock up for the entire year.  I’m serious. Black Friday is the only time that I shop at this store. I can get enough items at a huge discount (sometimes free) to last me the whole year.  Look out in the mail for coupons from them too. They allow you to use the coupons on top of the already great deals!

  • Kohl’s-This is another great place to shop for yourself. Whether it is clothes, shoes, purses, or accessories, they have great deals.

  • Rack Room Shoes-This is another great place to shop for shoes that are heavily discounted. 

  • New York and Company-I don’t really shop here as much as I used to when I was working, but I think they are worth mentioning for accessories.  I have found really cute jewelry and purses here on Black Friday. 

  • Victoria’s Secret-I like to go here on Black Friday to stock up on underwear and bras.  They are so expensive normally so this is the best time to get them for a huge discount.

  • Gap, American Eagle, Loft, Banana Republic-I don’t really shop these stores much during the year do to the more expensive prices (unless it is an outlet), but they can have great deals on Black Friday that are worth checking out if you have time. I would leave these to last, though.

16. Have Fun

Above all, have a good time.  Enjoy being with whoever is shopping with you.  Black Friday shopping is just as much about the experience as it is about the great deals.

I hope these tips and tricks will help you have a successful day of shopping, and that it will remind you to shop for yourself too. Yes, Christmas is the season for giving, but you have to remember to give to yourself too.  You deserve it!  Happy shopping everyone! Come back and let me know what cute deals you score!

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Organization Hack: Closets

I know you have all see the movie Clueless with Alicia Silverstone. I love the scene where she is looking for something to wear and she just pushes a button on a remote and her clothes roll by.  Everything is all color coordinated and neat.  It’s amazing! I admit that I am obsessed with closets. I believe that I have mentioned before that I am a shop-a-holic.  I have a serious addiction to shopping.  My husband cringes whenever I mention that I want to go shopping.  I love to shop! It doesn’t matter if it is in a store or online. It doesn’t matter if it is for me or my kids or someone else (although it’s mostly for me) because I love to shop! I know people kid about needing a little retail therapy, but it actually is therapy for me. It really makes me feel better.  With my shop-a-holic tendencies come several problems. The first is obvious…money! I guess this is probably the biggest problem of them all and why my shopping is my husband’s worst nightmare.  In my defense, I do try to shop budget friendly, and I don’t go to super expensive stores.  Target is probably my favorite with Old Navy as a close second. Yes, I am aware that buying many things on sale or at a low price still adds up to the same as one expensive item.  I know! I know it’s not good, but I can’t stop! I have recently made a rule that when I buy something that goes in my closet, I have to get rid of something else in my closet. See, I’m trying!

The second problem comes with where in the world I am going to put all of this stuff that I have bought, especially all of the clothes, shoes, and accessories that I have. Enter my obsession with closets. We have been going to look at houses for sale on the weekends because we plan to buy a house in the next 9 or so months.  There are two deal breakers on a house for me. One is the location of the laundry room and the other one is the closet situation.  We have to have his and her closets.  It will not be pretty if we have to share a closet.  The very first house that we ever bought only had one closet in the master bedroom. It wasn’t even a walk-in. We somehow made it work, but it was not easy. When you opened the door, you had to be careful that nothing fell out on your head.  It was so hard to find what you were looking for because there was no organization to any of it. I couldn’t stand it. I had to pack up my clothes in totes for each season and change out the closet each time the weather changed which took me hours. My husband even had to keep part of his clothes in our daughter’s room. It was not fun.  Now I know that I sound like a spoiled brat who is a little demanding, and know that many of you are stuck in that same closet situation. I promise I am not a spoiled brat (ok, maybe a little). I just like clothes and closets a whole lot!  I would share a closet with my husband if I absolutely had to (thank goodness he doesn’t have many clothes), but if we have the option for something better, why not?

I spend a lot of time in my closet.  I really do. I sometimes go in there the think or to get away from the craziness of my life.  Some people lock themselves in the bathroom for a little break from their kids; I lock myself in my closet.  If no one can find me, it usually means that I am in my closet sitting on the floor doing something.  It is my happy place. I honestly got spoiled with the closet situation when we bought our second house.  It had a ginormous closet.  It was really like a little sitting room off of the master bath that had been converted into a closet.  You guys, it was AMAZING! It was big enough to hold all of my clothes for every season, all of my shoes, all of my accessories, my vanity with all of my hair stuff and makeup, and my crafting table and craft stuff.  I would spend an hour in there every morning getting ready.  It was that big! I practically lived in there.  It even had a window that I would open in the fall to enjoy the gorgeous weather.  I really hated to leave that closet. It was my dream closet.  The third house we bought had his and her closets.  They were walk-in closets but they weren’t huge. It was crammed and sometimes you couldn’t see the floor of mine because I had no where to put everything, but I was able to make it work. I didn’t like it, but I lived with it.  Now we are at a house that we are renting.  It has very nice sized his and her closets.  Mine is big by most people’s standards but not has big as my dream closet was.  It won’t hold my vanity (which is a little sad) like my dream closet, but it holds everything else easily.

Color Coded.jpeg

I will tell you that I spend hours upon hours setting up my closet every time we move, and I periodically spend hours in there rearranging it.  It’s like people that like to rearrange the furniture in their house every now and then.  I just do it with my closet.  It has to be just right.  I have to be able to see everything that I have, and I like for my stuff to be on display.  It’s almost like a shrine! LOL! The OCD part of me has to make it perfect.  What does the perfect closet look like in my eyes? The answer is super organized and easy to see and get to whatever I need.  First, I separate my clothes based on season. Then within each season, I separate my clothes by kind or category. Then within each category, the clothes are separated by color.  Yes, I know I am insane! Here is a chart to show you how I separate them into categories.

Summer/Spring Fall/Winter Dresses Pants
Long Cardigans Button Down Season Shorts
Plain T-Shirts Cardigans Skirts Leggings
Patterned T-Shirts Long Sleeve T-Shirts Sleeveless Capri/Cropped Pants
Stripped Shirts Stripped Shirts Strapless Shorts
Collared Shirts Turtle Necks Short Sleeves Pants
Dressier Tops Dressier Tops Long Sleeves Skinny Jeans
Stripes Cardigans Long Dresses  Bootcut Jeans
Sleeveless Jackets/Blazers Formal Colored Jeans

Shoes

Once I have all of the clothes arranged how I want them, I typically work on the shoes.  I have a lot of shoes just like I have a lot of clothes. Remember, shop-a-holic?? Again, I like to have my stuff on display so that I can see it all.  My shoes are no different.  I have expandable, stackable shoe racks (Home Depot) that I put all of my shoes on so that I can easily see them all.  My OCD comes in to play here too because I have my shoes separated out by style. All of the flats are together, the wedges are together, the heels are together, the flip-flops are together, and the boots are together.

I love boots, and I have a ton.  I even mentioned to my husband the other night that I needed a new pair of brown boots because my favorite ones got destroyed in the move and my other favorite pair is very scuffed up.  I think he almost had a heart attack! He told me that I needed another pair of boots like I needed a hole in my head! Haha! He’s so funny! I like to display them along the top rack of the closet.  Tip: To get your tall boots to stand up, cut up a pool noodle from the dollar store into pieces the same length as your boots, place them inside of your boots, and they will stand up.

Next, I have to deal with all of my pants, shorts, leggings, and jeans.  I have too many to fit into the drawers of my dresser so I got these wire shelving (Home Depot) units to add to the closet for all of them.  They are also separated out by season and style.  Having things organized like this makes it so much easier to find what you are looking for when you are trying to get dressed in the morning.  I do not keep my jeans on the wire racks, though, since I use them all of the time and they are a little heavier to go on the shelves. I don’t want everything to come crashing down. It has happened before in the middle of the night scaring us to death! I thought I would cry when I saw all of my hard work on a heap on the floor.  Back to the jeans, I keep them in square fabric boxes (Amazon) like you typically use for cube shelving.  They just sit on the floor under one of the racks of clothes for easy access.  I have those boxes divided into skinny jeans, colored jeans, and boot legged jeans.  I also have one of those boxes on the floor filled with all of my hats.

Sweaters

All of my sweaters, sweatshirts, and vests have a home on the top rack of my closet opposite of the boots.  I have them separated by wire dividers (Walmart) that are super easy to add to any wire closet shelving unit.  These dividers are the newest addition to my closet, and I love the look of them. They keep the stacks from toppling over.

Last, come all of my accessories.  My scarves are in two rectangular fabric boxes from Thirty-one but these from Walmart would work as well. I have actually been thinking that I need a better system for these so stay tuned in case I come up with something fabulous.  They are currently on the top shelf with all of my sweaters. My belts are located on the end of one of the shelving units on an over the door belt rack. I just hooked it to the end of the wire shelves that hold my pants, and it works great.  I have all of my long necklaces on a rack (similar) on the back of the closet door for easy access.

Purses

Finally, and probably my most favorite organization tip, is my purses.  Again, I like my things to be displayed so that I can easily see them. My purses are hung on a low rack using shower rings.  I love being able to see my favorite purses hanging there, and they are easily accessible whenever I want to change out my purses.  The rest of my purses/bags are located in two white totes underneath the ones that are hanging.

I know that most of you don’t have the luxury of a big walk-in closet all to yourself or the amount of clothes, shoes, and accessories that I have (I know it is obscene); but I am hoping that you can use some of my organization tips to make things easier to find. I know that searching for clothes and shoes in the mornings when you are in a hurry will make your morning hectic and will cause you unnecessary stress. Being organized will prevent you from leaving the house with two different shoes on (I have done that!), and it will make your mornings go much smoother. I’ll try to give you all an update whenever we move and I get my new closet.  Until then, happy organizing!

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