Monthly Archives: March 2017

Muti-function and Multi-tasking

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When I got inspired to start downsizing our possessions, I started looking at each item and trying to be realistic with how much I use them.   At one point my husband and I both had desks with tons of clutter ON them, IN them, and the reality was we just used them as a kind of “drop off zone”.  We looked at how much space could be opened up if we decided to get rid of his oversized desk, and kept mine which was much lower profile and only had one drawer-meaning less clutter could accumulate on it or in it.  Because I’m home with my kiddos, the reality was that I never sat at a desk.  If I tried to get planning done or had to use the laptop for anything, I usually brought it on the floor with me so that I could play or help my kids while I was taking care of my business –that or sat at the kitchen table.  So with that conclusion we got rid of his desk, and he now uses my previous desk when he needs to get paperwork done.  We used this type of thinking with everything and leaned on the Kon Mari method when it came to what we were keeping.  If it didn’t have a purpose and/or didn’t bring joy, it was gone.  We are a family of four and live in a space that’s just under 1500sf.  To some that sounds tiny and unlivable, but I love that it really challenges us to not accumulate clutter or store possessions that no one really needs anymore.  The items that we do have are loved, and/or have a definite purpose.

I love also getting creative with what we  do have instead of trying to go out and buy something on a whim for a one-time use.  This morning I needed to get myself organized and sit down with my planner to get my next week straight.  I set up shop on the floor with a cozy blanket and this amazing multi-functional basket as my “portable desk”.  It’s currently holding my workout clothes, sneakers, and flip flops, and with the top on it it’s a perfectly great desk for me! I found this basket on a buy/sell/trade Facebook group for $5.  The best things are not always the expensive things 😉 I’ll also be using it this weekend for my daughter’s birthday party to transport then hold goody bags for the little ones!  so many uses!  I find that planning and thinking about what uses an item will have BEFORE purchasing (or keeping) is the best way to save money AND keep your possessions to a minimum.

What kinds of items have multiple uses in your home?  I’d love to know–leave your comments and suggestions down below!

Thanks for reading, and happy St. Patty’s day!!

-Jana

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Personal Style and Capsule Planning 


Daylight savings happened this past weekend, and It’s hitting us hard at the Ullrich home.  Today’s been one of those days that I just can’t seem to get anything to go smoothly, and the running around doesn’t seem to be slowing down. It’s on days like today that COMFORT and UTILITY are both total necessities when it comes to clothing.  

As a momma I’ve come to the realization that heels and delicate clothing just isn’t conducive to my lifestyle right now, and that’s ok.  I’m all about COMFORT, but still want to be PRESENTABLE and feminine—  I’ve come to call that style “comfy chic”.  Knowing this has helped me SO MUCH in planning my capsule wardrobe… when figuring out what pieces to keep or replace, everything is filtered through a ” COMFORT” and then ” utility” lense.  It literally makes my life so much easier!! I used to buy clothing ALL THE TIME that I thought were so cute and thought I’d wear all the time. The reality was if it didn’t work with my daily life, it never got worn. I may have worn it once or twice, but I always reached for what would be the most comfortable and would be functional for bending over and picking up children all day.  

Finding your personal style is absolutely essential to enjoying a capsule wardrobe in my opinion. Without it, you’ll have a mish mosh of items that STILL don’t really go together, and you’ll still be feeling like there’s nothing to wear. 

Pinterest (also known as the adult babysitter) is an amazing place to find inspiration for creative ways to use your pieces that you already have, and find your personal style.  I refer here all the time especially if I start to get “bored” of the same outfits.  There’s always some creative new pairing that sparks my interest.

Let me know if finding your personal style helped you enjoy your capsule wardrobe more 🙂 

follow me on instagram for daily “comfy chic” outfit ideas from my capsule! @jana.ullrich

Thanks for reading!

-Jana 

The Spring Capsule Wardrobe Has Sprung!

Spring is just around the corner and that means transitioning into the warmer weather clothing. I get so excited for spring– I love getting in touch with my super feminine side by sporting skirts and dresses- they’re so easy to style and so comfy!!  I usually go about planning my wardrobe about a month in advance… that way it gives me time to purchase the items I want to add or replace.  

    So far I’m pretty happy with my wardrobe, with a few changes I plan on making.  I’ll be replacing the boots with white sneakers (converse I think?), and the vintage statement ring with a set of stackable silver/gold dainty rings. I’d also like to add a super small link dainty bracelet. As much as I love a statement piece, I’ve come to realize that I never wear them because they usually just get in the way.  Low profile jewelry is the way to go for momma life, and for anyone else that leads a very active life. SO that is my spring wardrobe! I’ll be posting how I pair these pieces together on my instagram: @jana.ullrich

    Let me know if you’re planning a capsule wardrobe!

    Thanks so much for reading! 

    -Jana 

    5 Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe


    A capsule wardrobe can be defined as a minimal collection of clothing ( usually about 30 items including shoes and accessories) that contains interchangable and versatile pieces.  I originally came across the idea from Caroline’s blog Unfancy– and when I did, my wardrobe world was turned upside down. It has changed my nights, my mornings, my days! I don’t have trouble picking out what I’m going to wear, and I always feel good and presentable.  So here are a few reasons why I think downsizing to a capsule wardrobe would benefit pretty much anyone: 
    1.  Less stress

    I used to look into full drawers and full closet thinking I had nothing to wear– STRESSFUL when you want to look put together on the fly.  I would dread parties or events because I didn’t know what I was going to wear and then think I had to go out and buy something new.  To reduce my overall stress, I set everyone’s clothes out at night– having a minimized wardrobe literally reduces the time it takes to prep at night DRASTICALLY .  I can pretty much just pick any bottom and top and they will go together, then just pick the shoes by function for that day. On dressier days I can pick a little chunky heel, and on days I’ll be running around I choose sneakers- simple as that! 

    2. Money saved

    At first, planning the capsule wardrobe may pose you to purchase a few items. For instance, this summer I need to purchase some sneakers and a few clothing items.  Once that wardrobe is in place though, you have everything you’ll need for the rest of the season. This means no need to use shopping as a hobby, and no need to spend money on fast fashion clothing or that doesn’t even go with anything you have.  Having this kind of deliberate wardrobe really helps to curb that shopping urge.  When that impulse to buy more clothing arises, try to substitute shopping with a different endorphin releasing activity.  Try listening to upbeat mysic, taking a walk in nature, doing a hobby you enjoy, or reading a book ( even reading a blog post on minimalism to help redirect yourself to your ultimate goal). 

    3.  You always like what you’re wearing (and how you look!)

    I’ve been guilty of buying clothing impulsively for an event- spending money I didn’t have and then I’ll see pictures of me wearing that outfit and UGH didn’t quite look the way I had envisioned.  The beautiful thing about putting together the capsule wardrobe is that everything is loved.  When I put mine together, I made sure to only keep clothing that I felt great in.  Anything that I even remotely felt inconfortable physically or wasn’t living how it looked on got eliminated from the wardrobe.  If you don’t live it, you won’t reach to wear it.  If you don’t wear it, it doesn’t need to be in your closet. 

    4.  Creativity:  

    I love having such versital and interchangable pieces.  Having fewer pieces means that I’ve been able to pair pieces that I wouldn’t have thought to do, just for the sake of wanting a “new” outfit.  I love giving feminine pieces like eyelet shorts or denim skirts with more tomboy pieces like sneakers and a graphic tshirt or racer back top then add a functional cross body bag, sprinkled with some simple delicate jewelry. Effortless and totally functional as a mom of toddlers.  

    5. More room: 

    This one’s a given. There’s so much more room now that I don’t have so many clothes!! My closet actually fits my husband’s clothing AND mine. I use my dresser now as storage for pictures and some of my childhood memories that were tucked away in boxes not being appreciated. I got rid of what wasn’t needed, and made room for what I love and cherish.  

    I’ll be posting how I put the pieces of my capsule wardrobe together on my instagram @jana.ullrich 

    Thanks for reading!

    -Jana 

    5 Areas I Still Spend Money on as a “Minimalist”

    First off I must explain that I put minimalist in quotations because some people take minimalism very seriously, and I don’t think our family is AS extreme as some.  We are trying, though, to really downsize our possessions all together and put our money towards bigger goals like becoming debt free and experiences rather than material items.  In trying to simplify life for our family and get out of debt, I stopped buying cheap clothing that was on sale, I stopped buying skin and hair products constantly, I stopped spending money on little things that I thought were cute but in actuality had no purpose, and I just tried to stop spending money on things that weren’t useful or loved by our family.  There are a few areas though, that I find such a huge benefit from and I still think are worth the money.

    1.  Quality Groceries and Supplements

    I absolutely believe that you are what you eat, and treating your body right from the inside out can actually help save money in the long run by keeping your body in tip top shape.  I also think quality groceries tend to TASTE better (maybe it’s psychological?), and that helps me personally not crave restaurant food so badly…I know that what I’m cooking is going to taste good to me and I won’t need to go searching for something filled with MSG to satisfy my cravings.  Likewise, quality supplements are usually more potent and more pure-so you are actually getting the benefit you’re looking for out of them.  As an example fish oil is amazing in so many ways for you, from brain health to heart health to SKIN and intestinal health, but quality fish oil is essential to avoid the excessive mercury content.

    2.  Education

    This is one that I believe is always something everyone should invest in.  Furthering your education is so essential to growing and developing as a human being.  By education I don’t just mean college education-although I think it’s fabulous if you have a goal and a degree that you’d going after.  Books can teach you so much about anything and everything, and learning is something that should never stop.  Some examples of what I consider amazing education are:

    • seminars/webinars (sometimes these are even free)
    • books/audio books
    •  memberships to online support groups
    • apps that make life easier and/or teach

    3.  Networking

    We’ve all heard the expression “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and there’s a lot of truth to that.  Who you know can open doors that you had no idea existed, and likewise you could do the same for someone else.  A lot of times there are networking parties (sometimes free even) that can help acquire new relationships and connections.  If the opportunity is there and I am able to work on my computer, I like to just spend the $2 on a coffee out somewhere.  It puts me in the position to open up dialogue with different people and expand my network, and sometimes even knowledge base by talking to others!

    4.  Vacations

    Everyone needs a break at some point.  “Work hard, play hard” and I believe in that.  I personally can get really burnt out if I go hard for too long without taking a breather.  It’s something that I’ve learned is a necessity in my life and my family’s life.  We’re all much happier and refreshed when we take regular breaks and just get out of town.  There are many less expensive options like trying out AirBNB, renting a condo for a week (or a long weekend) and cooking your own food.  Sometimes it’s refreshing just to be in a different scenery altogether.

    5.  Photos

    To me, photos are SOO important.  With all the hustle and bustle of life, it’s so easy to literally FORGET pieces of our history, and if you have children like i do they grow up almost overnight.  I literally found myself looking through pictures of my kids in the infant stage–the pictures were almost unrecognizable.  I had forgotten what they looked like!!! thank goodness for pictures…they capture moments that our minds just cannot remember.  Nowadays pictures are saved on the cloud which is great, but if anything were to happen to technology, computers, the CLOUD, we would lose all of our history! I spend about $10 every few months just printing my favorite pictures of my kids and our family, and that is TOTALLY worth it to me.

    My Minimalist Bag Collection

    When I was younger, I LOVED accessories. I loved purses, shoes, jewelry, and anything else I could compliment an outfit with. Since becoming a mom and making the decision to de-clutter and simplify, I now find that as long as I have something that matches.. I’m happy that I don’t have to make another decision ( like what I’m going to pair today’s outfit with).  It’s so freeing to only have a few choices, and usually it’s a no brained to choose.  I have three cross body bags( all I use because they are hands free and so light) and one satchel/book bag type bag for long days/ overnight stays. 

    1.  Black leather cross body bag with detachable straps:

    This one I use so much, paired with my black shoes. ( usually, I pair the bag to what shoes I’m wearing with the outfit) If it’s a fancier night out, I just detach the straps and use it as a clutch. 

    2.  Olive leather cross body bag:

    My go to, it literally matches everything I own and light weight. 

    3.  Cognac leather cross body tassel bag: this matches my cognac gladiator sandals and my heels. No brain-er when pairing it with either shoes. Yet another easy decision to make 🙂 

    4.  Olive canvas and leather bag: this bag is perfect for over night trips, long days that I need to bring activities for the kids or even lunches for the three of us. I’ve also used it as a diaper bag and even a computer bag. So many uses, and so many outfits I can sport it with!

    So that is my minimalist purse/bag collection that is part of my capsule wardrobe. Hope you enjoyed reading, and give it a ” like” if you did 🙂 

    -Jana 

    4 Ways to Worry Less

    Life is such a beautiful thing.  It’s something that I personally take for granted most days.  I stress over what I have to do the next day instead of appreciating the honor of GETTING a next day.  Stress and worry are two creatures that really sneak into my mind, and I’m trying to start simplifying my life. Being more intentional with my time and my energy allows for me to cut out so much worrying because I’m already prepared for what is to come.

    #1:   Have a Savings Account for Emergencies

    This is one out of Dave Ramsey’s book.  Start by creating a savings account with at least $500-$1000 in case of an emergency.  This allows for you to have some peace of mind if say, a child gets injured and you have to run to the ER.  Although most have health insurance, there is usually a co-pay due.  Likewise if you need to replace a tire (or two), this amount SHOULD cover that.  If saving that amount seems impossible to do in a descent amount of time with your income, try selling some items that you might not really need anymore.  Selling clothing, furniture, or electronics are simple ways to earn some money-and you’d probably be surprised at how much you can put away once you’ve earned that extra cash.  If you have a skill or a trade that you know, try even doing that on the side to earn some extra money (i.e. if you play an instrument you can teach lessons, cut someone’s lawn, refinish some old furniture–just as ideas).

    #2: Exercise/Physical Movement (in a quiet place for those introverts out there)

    Getting the body moving releases endorphins, which makes you feel better and gives a clearer mind to sort out information and get life in perspective.  Not everyone has the time (or money) to pay for a gym membership and work out 5 days a week, but everyone has access to malls, parks, neighborhoods, and 30 minutes to build into their schedule.  If this means that you must wake up 30 minutes earlier, then so be it.  Allowing your body to move and release those endorphins is all around better for your physical and mental health.  If anyone is an introvert (like I am), this physical activity can be done in a quiet area (like park trails, the mall before stores open, or a neighborhood).  Introverts need quiet alone time to sort their thoughts out, and seeking out peaceful places to perform their physical activity gives them a double benefit.

    #3: Decrease the amount of SUGAR and/or CAFFEIN in Your Diet

    Caffein is something that most (including me) cannot live without in the mornings.  It helps give us a jump start in the morning to get our day going and be productive.  However, I find that when I’ve had a cup or two of coffee, AND I have a pretty sugary diet in the same day–my worrying skyrockets.  This means having a chocolate chip muffin along with my coffee topped off with a sweet creamer.  I feel great for that time, and then as I begin to crash my body starts feeling nervous that I’m crashing (now I won’t have the energy to get everything on my to do list completed)so my body copes by actually making me angry and filled with anxiety.  I start to get snappy, and then that is followed with worry and remorse because I KNOW that I’m acting snappy towards my kids or my husband.   I’m not saying that sugar and caffein have to be totally eliminated from your diet (although there are many studies and theories of how beneficial it is for your body), but for ME limiting my caffein intake to 2 cups of coffee MAX per day, and always decreasing the sugar in any area I can is beneficial to my overall attitude.

    #4:  Plan Ahead of Time–Outfits, Calendar, Meals, Vacations, Me-Time

    This is one that I find makes the BIGGEST difference for me as a stay at home mother and a wife.  I would stress so hard on what I was making for dinner, then stress about dragging the kids to the grocery store for the one ingredient I didn’t have to make my dinner.  Likewise rummaging through dressers and hampers to find that shirt that went to these pants, and then stressing because I was at the end of my patience because I hadn’t planned any time for ME to decompress.  These things are usually pretty easy to remedy and plan on the spot, but the decision fatigue would just DRAIN me and by the end of the day I didn’t know what way was up.  Taking out exactly what we are all four going to wear (my husband does his own clothes), helps make the morning SO much smoother.  It literally creates a mechanical routine to go through so that by the time we all sit down for breakfast it’s been only about 10 minutes to get dressed and get hair and teeth brushed (not bad for 2 toddlers).  On Sundays I make the breakfasts for everyone to eat through the week.  Even vacations need to be planned ahead of time, or they will not happen-especially when you are a parent.  The days of the spontaneous trip to the beach are no longer!

    These are my ways to stop worrying and stressing. What kinds of ways have YOU found to stop worrying?

    Jana