How to De-Clutter Your Wardrobe (Minus the Um’s and Ah’s)

If you’re anything like me and tried to spring clean your wardrobe, this is a pretty familiar scene, no?

You’re frazzled, surrounded by piles of clothes tentatively separated into a giant Keep pile, a significantly smaller Chuck Out pile and the inevitable I-Haven’t-Worn-This-Hideous-Neon-Turtleneck-With-The-Tags-Still-On-Since-I-Bought-It-On-A-Psychotic-Whim-But-It-Might-Come-In-Handy-One-Day pile.

Sound familiar?

I am, admittedly, an organisation junkie. However, I’m also a bit of a hoarder. Which makes it extremely difficult when I go into organisation frenzy mode but then end up successfully justifying why I should keep those itsy bitsy pink pyjamas from when I was 7 years old because they have Pocahontas on them and aren’t they just so cute with the little tassels!?

Alas, I think I have stumbled upon a solution. All you need is some coat hangers and some willpower (I’m sure I can pick some of that up somewhere). I can’t for the life of me remember where I discovered this genius idea, but I think it’s a beauty.

I recently cleaned out my wardrobe and, instead of getting distracted by trying on the metallic blue lycra leggings I was given for a dress up party two years ago (I was so close to posting a photo but thought I’d leave it to your imagination), I decided to try out my new tactic.

Organisation Tips

Coat Hangers!

All I did was hang up all my clothes (minus some trackies and tshirts that I had already scoured through) with the coat hanger facing backwards.

That’s it. 

Now, every time that I take an item of clothing off a hanger and hang it up again after wearing it, I’ll re-hang it with the coat hanger facing the right way. In six months (to be fair to cold and hot seasons) I’ll look through my wardrobe at the items that haven’t been taken off the hanger in that time and get rid of them because, chances are, if I haven’t worn it in six months – it’s not an item I need to hang onto.

Brilliant isn’t it? Now, go, hurry to your wardrobe and turn everything around!

Eleanor x

My Baking Secrets

Baking – like all forms of cookery – is a food science. If you get the ingredients or the proportions wrong, you can spoil the outcome. That is why it is important to always follow a recipe and only improvise if you know the food science behind any substitutions or additions you choose to make. Throughout my years of baking I have encountered every problem you could come across – from burning everything and cakes failing to rise to finding uncooked mixture in the middle of a cake and (worst of all) finding a whole cooked egg inside a cake. Below are a few of the little secrets that I have found to fix my baking blunders – and greatly enhance the flavour, texture and looks of my final products. I will add more hints to this list as I come across them.

Butter

Make sure butter is softened before using to bake. Especially when creaming with sugar. It is best to keep the butter that you use for baking in the cupboard, not the fridge. Or if you insist on storing it in the fridge due to weather, be sure to leave it out on the kitchen bench for about an hour to soften before cooking with it.

Always use full fat butter, none of this “lite” business.

Unsalted Butter is best for sweet baking, as in butter cakes etc

Lightly Salted or Regular Butter is best for savoury baking and recipes with chocolate or caramel as it enhances the flavour

Milk

Milk, like butter, is best used at room temperature when baking. If you use cold milk (and I’m sure you have in the past) you’ll notice that as soon as it comes into contact with the creamed butter and sugar – it will turn lumpy. Of course, it’s not reasonable to leave milk in the cupboard, so I suggest you measure the amount the recipe calls for and leaving out for 30 minutes or so before using it in your baking.

Again, full fat, full cream milk. Not skim!

Eggs

Once again, room temperature is best. Most recipes are written for large eggs, too, so keep that in mind when shopping for ingredients.

Flour

If possible, use good quality flour.

Always sift your flour when the recipe calls for it (hell, even if it doesn’t). You’ll avoid yucky little clumps of flour in the final product and it will make your mixture lighter and smoother.

Sugar

In baking, caster sugar is the most commonly used as the size of the sugar crystals dissolve well and allow for light and fluffy cakes. If a recipe specifies caster sugar, don’t be cheeky and use normal white sugar instead – it won’t work.

Vanilla

Most recipes out there with vanilla in them will usually call for vanilla essence. If you can afford it, using vanilla extract will improve the taste. It’s all I use now, I refuse to use essence – it’s just not the same. I bought a 200mL bottle in August and still have about a quarter of it left – and I’ve been baking a lot.

Oven

If you can find one, it’s a great idea to grab a thermometer and test out your oven’s temperature. People often blame their ovens for ruining their baking – but it could just be that the temperature you’re setting on the dial isn’t actually right. Test out the temperature and mark your oven dial for future reference.

 

I hope this helps! Please leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy baking!

Eleanor x