Weekend Goal: Clean Out My Closet

Tips for cleaning out your closet Sometimes I just feel like I'm in a clothing rut, you know? Here's how it usually happens. I realize I'm wearing basically the same thing everyday. I simultaneously realize my closet is basically full. My closet isn't massive like Cher Horowitz's. As if. But I still feel like if my closet is full, then I have enough clothes. So then I start to feel really guilty for owning plenty of clothes but wearing the same thing all the time. And I feel like I shouldn't buy anything new since I already have tons of stuff... I just don't wear all of it. 


This is how I know it's time to clean out my closet. Cleaning out my closet accomplishes two main goals. First, I can get rid of anything ill-fitting or that I just don't feel confident in. Second, it forces me to go through all my clothes, which reminds me of what I already have (and love!) and need to wear more. 

Here are four steps I usually go through when I clean out my closet (usually twice a year).

Tips for cleaning out your closet1. Remove Clutter.

This is tough as it involves getting rid of stuff. The cheap gal inside me wants to keep everything. I feel like I'm throwing money away if I get rid of something that I didn't wear very many times. More guilt! But the truth is, if I keep lots of clothes that I don't wear, then I'll never have room to store clothes that I do wear. It's that simple. So I try to keep this in mind while I go through everything. 

I love these seven questions to ask yourself while you clean out your closet. I could not agree more. I try to go through all my clothes, shoes, purses, tights, swimsuits, and jewelry asking these types of questions. One thing I learned this time around was that I got rid of quite a few items I had thrifted but never wore. This bummed me out because I LOVE thrift store shopping. I've been addicted since high school. But I need to make sure that items I buy are either the perfect fit or I need to learn to alter clothing. I had a lot of items with cool patterns or that were really interesting garments that didn't quite fit, but they were so inexpensive I just couldn't pass them up. But then I never wore them. So, I need to pay attention to this more next time I'm thrifting. I did keep a really amazing black velvet dress I thrifted but haven't worn yet simply because it's long sleeve and kind of fancy. So I plan to wear it to our company holiday party this year. 

The other thing I learned... I don't need to buy any more tights this winter. I think they get buried and I forget I have them, but I have plenty in lots of different colors (and about five different black pairs too). So next time I see some cute tights, I'll remember this and skip it. I don't need anymore right now.

2. Evaluate Where Clutter Should Go.

I very rarely throw an item away. Usually it has to be really stained or just generally trashed before I'll throw it in the garbage. I usually sort items to give to friends or take to the thrift store (and then go shopping, circle of life!). Another great option is to sell items.

Random story: We actually had grand plans to host an IG sale (for charity) from donated items from our staff at ABM. Everyone at the office brought their items in, but we've just never found the time to take all the photos, post them, run the sale, and then we'll have to ship stuff. So, it's kind of turned into an ongoing clothing exchange, which has been pretty fun. I guess my point is, get creative with donating clothes, and when all else fails, take it to a thrift store.

3. Organize What's Leftover.

I feel like most people stop here. Or at least I have before. I clean out the closet, donate those items I don't need, and then I'm done. I've learned over the last few years that it's best, for me, if I take the extra time to organize my closet. I've tried different things, but this time around I organized everything by what the item was. So all my dresses are hanging together, all jackets together, all tops together, and all skirts together. I also have a dresser for underwear, pajamas, and sweaters that I don't want to hang because they will get stretched out. 

You could also organize by occasion (all office wear items together, etc.), by color, or whatever method makes the most sense to you and will help you find your clothes quickly. I don't like standing in front of my closet for ten minutes in the morning before work wondering where my X is. Make everything easy to find, accessible, and (if possible) visible.

4. Make Some Goals.

Here I go again talking about goals. Sorry guys, it's just how I understand the world. Maybe you're wondering what the heck kind of goals I might need to make at the end of cleaning and organizing my closet. I mean, that was just a goal we finished, right? Let me tell you the two goals I made this time around and maybe that will help. 

First off, I decided that sometime this week I'm going to spend a couple hours one nigh to make up a bunch of outfits, and then take cell phone pictures of me in them. Lots of ugly, dimly lit selfies are in my future this week. :) The idea is, I have lots of clothes I love, but sometimes I pick out a skirt in the morning and feel totally stumped on what to wear it with. My brain just doesn't work well until I have coffee. But when this happens, I can just review my library of dim selfies and find something that works. No brain power needed. 

Second, I identified a need in my closet. I need to purchase a pair of tall black boots that will last me multiple winters. Last year I wore the same pair of black boots over and over again. I wore them with jeans, leggings, and over tights with dresses. They kept my feet warm and dry while also matching almost everything I like to wear. The only problem was, I bought a pretty inexpensive pair last year (around $50), and they did not hold up to all the wear I put them through. They were coming apart and some of the faux leather was flaking off. I still feel like I got my money out of them since I wore them so much, but this year I think I'll save up a little more and try to invest in a pair of black boots that I can wear for lots of winters to come (provided I care for them).

Ok, that's about it. Thanks for letting me ramble on about cleaning out my closet. If you have any closet cleaning experiences or tips you want to share, feel free. xo. Emma

Credits// Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

32 Favorite Hair Tutorials

Bohemian festival knot braidYou know those days when you're having a good hair day and it makes your day extra awesome? Yeah, us too. We looked through our archives and compiled a list of our favorite hair tutorials for you to try! Most of our tutorials are done by our friend Katie. Katie, we love you. :) Let's go ahead and get started! First off is this pretty bohemian festival knot braid. It's great for medium length hair.

Crisscross ponytailMake a basic ponytail fancier with this crisscross ponytail tutorial.

Tucked braid updoWe love this tucked braid updo.

How to get awesome festival hairLearn how to get awesome festival hair (and how to make your own sea salt spray!)

Fabric maiden braids tutorialIncorporate fabric into maiden braids for a fun look.

How to style a bow braidTry something a little more advanced like this bow braid. We included a video tutorial, too!

How to style a low bunA low bun is simple and classic. We love the volume and elegance that you get with this style.

How to style flat iron curlsIf your hair doesn't hold curl, or you're just looking for a different way to curl your hair,  you'll love this flat iron curls tutorial.

How to style a braided crownThis cute braided crown is one of Emma's favorites!

How to style pinned back bangsLearn how to style pinned back bangs

How to style a classic french braidYou can't go wrong with a classic french braid.

Dolly inspired hair tutorialGet some major volume and curls with this Dolly-inspired hair tutorial.

How to style a simple dutch braidStyle a simple dutch braid

How to style long hair shortWant to make your long hair shorter for a day? Try styling long hair short.

How to style a (double) waterfall twistThis (double) waterfall twist would be perfect for a special occasion.

How to create beachy waves (with a flat iron)Create those beachy waves we all love – with a flat iron. This tutorial is great if you have short hair, too!

How to style a knot hairstyleInstead of a braid, try styling your hair in knots for more texture.

How to style a braided chignonA braided chignon (video tutorial included!)  is a cute way to wear your hair up, and it's super easy to do.

A simple, pretty updoStyle a simple, pretty updo for a wedding or a date night.

How to style a side braidStyle a side braid and wear your hair either up or down. It's cute either way!

How to rag roll your hair (video!!)Katie's hair is pretty amazing, isn't it? Learn how to rag roll your hair the same way with this video tutorial.

How to style a chain braidA chain braid is a great way to wear your hair back when you want to try something a little different.

How to style a beehiveAll the Mad Men fans out there: create a 60's beehive! This technique is super fun and really simple.

Textured summer braidTry a textured braid tied with fabric.

How to style mega wavesLaura shows us how to style her amazing mega waves.

How to style a twisted bunThis twisted bun is a unique way to style your hair for an event.

How to style a simple knot braidTry a fancy knot braid. It's super easy to style. Perfect!

How to style a top knotWe love the top knot! It can be styled for a casual daytime look, or with added volume for something dressier. 

How to style braided bangsBraid your bangs into a cute side ponytail.

Maiden twists hairstyle DIYWe love this spin on traditional maiden braids.

Five-minute braided bunNeed a quick morning hairdo? Try this five-minute braided bun.

Fishtail braid video tutorialCreate the perfect fishtail braid with this video tutorial.

Are there any hair tutorials that you would like to see on the blog? Let us know in the comments! :) Have a great weekend!  -The ABM team

Two Easy Party Cocktails

 Gin + GrapefruitParty cocktails are an art form all their own. They need to be easy to make in bulk (especially when you host more than 15-20 people!), they need to be easygoing flavors (something that won't intimidate your guests who are new to cocktail-land), and being pretty never hurts! Pretty cocktails are easier to make. 

In the past, I've done a lot of punch bowls for parties (here + here + here), but there's something about mixing drinks together that is a really fun party activity. For this reason, I normally plan a couple of quick cocktails we can make throughout the night. These are perfect for your non-drinking friends too because you can easily modify them into mocktails! 

If you're letting guests mix their own drinks, set a couple shot glasses out for them to use to measure the liquor. The biggest mistake that people make when mixing cocktails at home is using way (wayyyy) too much liquor, making it undrinkable for most people. One shot will do it! 

Here are two easy drinks I made for our recent housewarming party. 

Gin + Grapefruit  Gin + Grapefruit    Gin and Grapefruit, serves one

Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit Wedges
Rosemary sprigs 

Mix 1 ounce gin with grapefruit juice and garnish with a grapefruit wedge and rosemary sprig. To modify this drink into a mocktail, substitute tonic water or ginger beer for the gin.

Super simple and refreshing! 

Whiskey LemonadeWhiskey Lemonade Whiskey Lemonade, serves one

Honey sticks 
Lemon slices

Mix 1 ounce whiskey with lemonade and garnish with a lemon slice and honey stick. Cut the honey stick open at the bottom, so that as you stir, honey will sweeten the drink! 

To modify this drink into a mocktail, replace the whiskey with tonic water, ginger beer, or tea. 

Sweet and tart! 

Whiskey Lemonade  Whiskey Lemonade  I like to float the whiskey on top of the lemonade for a subtle ombre effect. 

Gin + Grapefruit      Easy party cocktailsHere are a couple photos from our housewarming party! We had fun mixing our own drinks and showing our friends around our studio house. Easy cocktails for the win! xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Sarah Rhodes and Janae Hardy.

Modern Wooden Earrings

modern wooden earringsLately I've been feeling my personal style shift to simpler, more modern pieces. I'm not sure where my wardrobe is going to end up after I settle into my new look, but in the meantime, I've been experimenting with minimally styled accessories. I had an idea for a set of earrings and was so delighted with how easy they were to make! That's the whole point of my style evolution after all. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

modern wooden earringsSupplies:
-square dowel
-2 tiny eyelet screws (I found mine in the wood crafts section of a craft store.)
-2 dangle earring hooks
-wood stain + rag/paper towel to apply
-white oil-based primer + paint
-varnish (optional)
-painter's tape (optional for brushing on paint, but necessary if using spray paint)

-saw (any kind of saw will work, but a miter saw will give you the cleanest cut)
-sandpaper (around 180 grit will work)
-jewelry-making pliers
-paint brush (unless you are using spray paint)

modern wooden earringsStep One: Cut the square dowels to size. Mine are about 2" long. I used a miter saw but am showing a small craft blade here as a suggested tool that could also work on a soft wood.

Step Two: Sand down the edges of the cut dowels.

modern wooden earringsStep Three: Stain the wood dowels with the desired color. I used Minwax's Golden Oak stain.

Step Four: Paint the tips of the wooden dowels with primer and then your paint color of choice. You must use primer or the paint will soak into the wood and the finish will crack and peel away. Using masking tape as a guide is optional for brush painting but obviously necessary for spray painting.

modern wooden earringsStep Five: Screw the eyelet hooks into the top of the wooden dowel. You can do this by hand or use pliers to help twist it in place.

Step Six: Use small pliers to pull open the earring hooks. Loop the hook onto the eyelets and close the hook to join the pieces.

IMG_4954modern wooden earringsI love the modern, crafty look of these earrings. There are so many possibilities, too! Change the length or width of the dowels, paint patterns on the wood, or use any colors you wish.

I might use my leftover materials and masking tape to make some patterned earrings to give to friends. What kind would you make? -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella of the Signature Collection.

Casual Friday Vol. 16

Casual Friday at A Beautiful MessHey, guys! Good morning! It's Casual Friday! The above photo is one of my favorites ever of our dear Gummergal (Laura) being funny during a shoot. She keeps us laughing all day!

Behind the scenes of A Beautiful Mess videosBehind the scenes of photographing bottlesBehind the Scenes of photographing AlbumsJust a little behind the scenes visual trickery. Photo albums are really hard to stack. A little patience and a few spools of thread, and, baby, you got a stew goin'.

Casual Friday with Trey and JeremyDon't eat that!Cool guy TreyBehind the scenes of playing with smoke bombsThis week we had a really fun shoot that you'll see pretty soon – it left quite an interesting taste in our mouths. Who knew smoke bombs were so smelly!?

Smoke bombs can be intenseSmoke bombs can be really smellyJust a quick little romantic photo that Emma took of Josh and me. It's basically just like The Notebook. It tells a love story for the ages if you look closely. :)

Cutest baby ever!And then since I (Sarah) am writing this, naturally I have to throw in a photo of my favorite baby ever! Say hi to IQ. We brought her up to the office to inspect Elsie's new office loveseat from Joybird. She loves it!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and a restful and happy weekend. :) xo! -Sarah

Credits// Author: Sarah Rhodes. Photos: Emma Chapman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Petal from The Fresh Collection.

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