At Your Fingertips Organizing

At Your Fingertips Organizing
Downsizing. Productivity. Speaker.
Picture of me and my Compassion Through Fashion model

Do you have items tucked away in your home/office that could probably be purged but you haven’t dealt with yet? I know I do. As a Certified Professional Organizer®, I probably shouldn’t admit to it, but I cannot tell a lie. But some of my “stuff” recently came in handy. Not only did I utilize some of my possessions, but some items belonging to clients as well (with their permission, of course). How? For the past several months, I have been planning to participate in a fundraising event for one of my favorite Myrtle Beach nonprofits called New Directions which helps people recover from the crises of homelessness, poverty, and addiction. The event is an annual fashion show called Compassion Through Fashion, and it took place on February 3, 2024. “Designers” are tasked with creating outfits that are made of at least 90% repurposed or recyclable materials. As someone who is a firm practitioner of reducing, recycling, repurposing, and re-using everything, this was right up my alley!

Together with my friend and model Pam Wright, we designed an outfit called “Let It Go!” and she strutted her stuff down the runway to the Frozen movie song by the same name. Our design, sponsored by At Your Fingertips Organizing (of course), represented many of the physical items that my clients (and I) no longer love, use, or need yet find it difficult to let go of. How did we use them? Read on to find out! 

The Top/Shirt:

I’m proud of my model for so many reasons—one of which is the fact that several years ago she lost 110 pounds and has kept it off all these years. The top/shirt represented an article of clothing that used to fit her but no longer does because it’s too big. This pertains in theory to almost all of my clients, but truth be told, they usually hang onto clothing that is too small with the hope of someday squeezing into it again.

The Skirt:

We started with a basic long, black skirt purchased from Goodwill. Onto it, we added layered black tulle (from a recent sewing project) to create dimension and fullness. Onto the tulle, we secured several panels of unique items. Each panel represented items that people hang on to:

  • Photos: We used my parents’ classic black-and-white photos taken back in the 1950s. 
  • Paperwork: This is the most common item among my residential and business clients. The reason is this—most people are afraid they may erroneously toss paperwork they may need in the future. To avoid making the wrong decision, they do not decide and keep it all!
  • Greeting cards: My sentimental clients tend to hang onto every greeting card they’ve ever received whether it has significance or not.
  • Music CDs: This is a common item even though many people no longer have the technology they need to listen to their favorite tunes from back in the day.
  • Receipts: If you have receipts loitering in your home and/or office, you’re not alone. I typically don’t, but the timing of this event in early February worked out perfectly with the purge of my 2023 receipts I no longer needed, so I was able to “donate” them to this project.

The Jewelry:

Many people hang onto items associated with hobbies they loved in the past but haven’t done in years. For our design, we used a variety of sewing notions from a favorite hobby of mine both as a child and as a mom when I loved to sew. The bad news is that I hadn’t sewn in years, but the good news is that I took it up again last year so I still had many sewing notions that we were able to incorporate into our design. 

  • Necklace/Bracelet: Made from a combination of thread spools and sewing machine bobbins. 
  • Earrings: Each was made from the red strawberry-shaped pin cushion attached to a larger tomato-shaped pin cushion from back in the day.

The Hat:

  • The base: A couple of my clients collect hats and have more than they know what to do with, so we used a hat as a base. 
  • Secured to the top of it was a vinyl album we intentionally warped in the oven so it would take on the form of the hat’s crown. 
  • Glued to the top of the warped album was a bone china cup & saucer. I don’t know about you, but my Mom collected them over the years. This was a representation of the many family heirlooms that my clients hang onto—not because they love them, but out of guilt.

The band around the hat was created from residual glitter ribbon from a former hobby.

The Pocketbook:

  • Many of my clients accumulate books. Our pocketbook was created from a black hardcover Max Lucado book in which I carved out the pages and then created a lining sewn from excess black fabric.
  • Shoulder strap: Created by crocheting plarn (a merging of the words “plastic” and “yarn”.) Our plarn was made from black plastic shopping bags.
  • Accessories: Created using velcro and a gorgeous diamond-like vintage button from my Mom’s 60+-year-old button collection that yes, I still have. It took 60 years but it finally came in handy LOL! 

The Boa:

Created from ribbon and leftover tulle (from recent sewing project)

All in all, the event was a huge success from so many perspectives, but here are a few of the winners:

  • $$$: First of all, New Directions raised $130,000—blowing their fundraising goal of $120,000 out of the water!
  • Education: My co-designer and model Pam got to put her education in Fashion Design to use once again.
  • Space: I allowed myself the time and space to get my creative juices flowing for the first time in years. Out of it came a major decision and action. We are turning our guest bedroom (used for that purpose only a few weeks out of the year) into my primary home office space/recording studio for future recorded classes/videos, etc. The traditional bed is being replaced with a Murphy bed which then creates space for a table when not in use. I never realized how many times I wanted to work on a project in the past only to allow myself to immediately shut the idea down by the thought of having to pull everything out, set it up, etc. By having a table easily accessible in this room, I found myself tackling all kinds of projects I had put off in the past!
  • Self-Confidence: Although our design didn’t win any official trophies, Pam and I both were winners from the huge boosts to our self-confidence from creating a fun fashion and walking the runway! In fact, I can’t wait to do it again next year!
  • A friendship deepened: Pam and I took our bond to a higher and deeper level as the result of all the hours we spent together brainstorming our design, creating it, and practicing her runway walk.

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small

And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free

Lyrics from the “Let it Go” Disney movie

ARE YOU A CREATIVE? Have you repurposed, recycled, or upcycled any of your treasures creatively? I’d love to hear how, and better yet, I’d love to see pics. So please share to help get our creative juices flowing!