Self-Serve Closet

My friend posted on Facebook that she was going to do a closet purge last weekend. She was inspired by a post from, see

I thought, “I don’t need to do that…I have a self-serve closet!”

A “Self-Serve Closet” is one where everything matches and you choose an outfit based on the temperature outside. When you put clean clothes away, you put them in the back of their section, i.e. short-sleeved shirts, turtlenecks, etc. Each day you wear the shirt at the front of the section based on sleeve length. (I actually have all four season in one closet.)

But I am not posting a picture of that closet.


Because, I got bored with my clothes and started buying different colors and patterns. It was a huge mistake. There are so many items in my closet that I am overwhelmed!

It’s time for me to do a closet purge again.

Luckily, my daughter recently moved out and I have an empty closet. I think I will use it to help me weed out my clothes. I have several items that do not match everything else. Sure, I can wear them with jeans or black pants, but I cannot layer them.

Sometimes, it’s hard letting go of clothes. I plan on moving them to that closet and sending them to Goodwill at a later date. If they are there at the end of the summer, I know I am ready to let them go.

How do I know I will be successful?

Because I only have four pair of shoes: black athletic, white athletic, red boots, and black pumps. The dress code for the band I play in is: jeans, sneakers and a casual shirt. I rarely wear the pumps or a dress.

I actually have a work outfit: jeans, sneakers, tee-shirt or button down blouse, and a sweater or blazer. That outfit is who I am: a writer who works from home.

Once again I need to remind myself that less is more.

The closet in the guest room.

The closet in the guest room.

Do You Know Which Way the Wind Blows?

It was 3 am and I was up, moving allergy screens from the upper windows on one side of the house to the lower windows and doing just the opposite on the other side of the house. I was moving fans and changing their directions also.


I want to avoid using the air conditioner as long as possible. It may be pleasant outside, but hot inside.

I check the direction of the wind 2 or 3 times a day. When it is from the south, I open the lower windows on the south side of the house and the upper windows on the north side of the house. The cool air comes in with the breeze and the warm air goes out the other side of the house. I help the air flow with fans.

Unfortunately, the wind direction changes throughout the day and night. If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night, I check the wind direction. I really want to pull in the cool, night air. Those allergy screens do not let a lot of air through!

My home is slightly angled to the south-east. I do not have any east facing windows. When the wind is coming from the east, I stick a fan in the front door and try to pull it in that way.

I also use curtains to block the heat of the sun, see

Let the wind cool your house for you.

Pulling in the east wind with a fan in my southeast facing door.

Pulling in the east wind with a fan in my southeast facing door.

A Tale of Two Purses

My first job was working in a waterbed store next to a shoe repair shop. It was a family business and the son would help us out after work setting up waterbeds for our customers.

Normally, you do not get fashion advice from a shoe repair shop, but they told me if I bought a leather purse, that had a cloth lining, I could use it for years. They said they could repair any part of it that broke.

I thought of their advice when I bought a purse a few weeks ago…and ignored it. Yes, it was man-made materials, but the color was perfect and it was so cute!

It broke 11 days after I bought it.

I chose it because it was the backpack style and I had one of that style several years ago. After a few shopping trips, coming home with a sore shoulder, I decided I needed to go back to that style.

The plastic zipper on my purse doesn’t always close and I knew it was just a matter of time before it broke completely. Besides, I don’t have the best posture and I believe it will help in that area, too.

After the rivet broke, I dug out my old backpack purse. It still looked fine. No wonder…it’s leather with a cloth lining! It has to be 15 years old! I am not even sure why I stopped using it.

This weekend, we went to University of Iowa Hospital to visit a man injured in a motorcycle accident. I remembered when my dad was in the same unit. I rolled up a tee-shirt, undies, a few toiletries, and that purse doubled as an overnight bag.

We went shopping at the mall and ran into some old friends. As we stood and talked for an hour, my shoulders didn’t complain at all. The weight of my purse was evenly distributed between them. We returned the new purse.

Frugal people do not make a purchase, they make an investment. Cheap items are neither an investment or frugal.

My 15 year old leather purse and my 15 day old man made material purse...with a broken rivet.

My 15-year-old leather purse and my 15 day old man-made material purse…with a broken rivet.

Your Buried Treasure

The words “Buried Treasure” make you think of precious metals underground, but sometimes they are just buried. Treasure can be defined as: wealth, rich materials or valuable things.

Last week I found a treasure that was not made of rich materials or expensive. In fact, it was free…it came with the item it was designed with which to be used.

That is what made it so valuable. I could not purchase another one. What I was using as a substitute did not do the job completely.

Where did I find this treasure?

In my storage room.

I was actually looking for a curtain rod, when I picked up a basket and saw it inside. The funny thing is I had been looking for it for months. I don’t know how I possibly overlooked it!

During my many years of being housebound, I spent fifteen minutes a day doing what refers to as decluttering. I went through every room, closet, shelf, and drawer pulling out items to give away and throw away. When I finished the final room, I thought that was it. I no longer needed to declutter.

Unfortunately, life is in a constant change. Our granddaughter was born and I accumulated many items just for her use. Those items and toys were taken to the storage room and stacked.

She has outgrown the bouncy chair, pack and play, high chair, and baby gates. At the ripe old age of four the only item she still needs is a car seat.

When we purchased the car seat, it came with a plastic zip on cover. I folded it up and put it in a basket in the storage room.

When we bought a new van, my husband brought the car seat in the house. I set it in the entry way and looked vainly for the plastic cover to protect it from dust. I used an extra-large space bag, but it only partially covered it.

Yes, my buried treasure was the plastic, car seat cover. I have to protect that car seat because I plan on using it for many more grandchildren.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the store, picked up an item and found I already had one. I’m looking at a scarf right now that I should return because I found an identical one in my closet!

The point is, we waste so much money because we let things pile up and things get buried. Decluttering is a job that is never finished. I need to put it back in my daily routine.

Only this cover fits the car seat.

Only this cover fits the car seat.

Senior Picture Gallery

We have three children and after they graduated, I wanted to display all of their senior pictures. (I do have a large portrait of each child in my living room.)

When we first moved into our 640 square foot home, I displayed family pictures in the big room in the basement. But the humidity got to some of them and they stuck to the glass in the frames, destroying the photos. I did not want that to happen to the senior pictures.

I decided to give each of them one wall in the hall. There is no furniture in the way to keep you from getting close to the smaller photos.

But by the time I had that idea, our oldest married and had a baby! I included an engagement photo, wedding photo, and one of the first pictures of their baby on his wall.

I didn’t pay the expense of purchasing matching frames. I think the variety of frames adds to the uniqueness of the display.


My photo gallery of senior pictures.

My photo gallery of senior pictures.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

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This Is Not A Shot Glass

Part of my eye wash system.

Part of my eye wash system.











It’s that time of year again…tree pollen triggers watery, itchy eyes.

I’ve already woke up with one eye that suspiciously looked like pink eye. Yet, when I rinsed it out, used Patanol eye drops, and popped two Benadryl, the redness faded.

The last time I was at the eye doctor’s we had a discussion about pollen affecting the eyes. We talked about using an eye wash system. I could buy one and use purified water, but I explained to him my more frugal method.

First I boiled water, that I had run through my PUR water filter pitcher, in a tea kettle.

Boil purified water in a tea kettle until it whistles.

Boil purified water in a tea kettle until it whistles.

After I let it cool, I poured an 8-ounce glass and sprinkled a dash of salt in it. I stirred the water to dissolve the salt. I poured the water in my clean hand and blinked a few times in the water. I repeated the procedure in my other eye.

The salt and water rinse the pollen from your eyeball! According to the eye doctor, there is more salt in my tears than the amount I put in the glass.

While away for the weekend with my sister-in-law, I told her about my eye wash system and that I was looking for a shot glass to use. I thought it would be safer than using my hand. She inherited a collection from her fiance’s grandmother and gave this one to me.

Now it is not a shot glass…it is a neti pot for my eyes!

©2009-2015 All rights reserved.

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On the Fringes

Last weekend we went shopping for work jeans for my husband. It is like a treasure hunt because he is 6′ 2″ and over 200 pounds. The regular sizes are too small and the “Big & Tall” are too big!

We struck out.

But he started his new job on Tuesday and he had to have something to wear to work. I checked 2 pair of his work jeans and there were no holes; they just were frayed at the leg openings.

I cut the white “fringes” off and they looked presentable. They will have to do until he can find a pair somewhere.

The pair on the left still has the "fringe" on the leg openings. The pair on the right had the white "fringe" removed.

The pair on the left still has the “fringe” on the leg openings. The pair on the right had the white “fringe” removed.








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Logo Contest!

Last week I was reading a post from “blogging101” and realized I have never made a logo for my blog. I am not artistic and I decided to have a contest and let the artists in the blogging community help me out.

I want a fish, facing left, with the word “frugal” inside. Or the word “frugal” in the shape of a fish.

Any takers?

Oh…the prize?

I will give you credit under the logo.

I doubt I will have many responses because we want money, not credit!

Yet, that is exactly what many stores do. When you return an item, they give you credit to be used only at their store. They are keeping our money and we let them get away with it!

Sometimes, they just say you cannot return an item…even when that is not the store policy!

My point is…we need to check the return policy at any store before we make a purchase.

After all, it’s our money!


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College Boy is Catching On

It is one of the proudest moments in a parent’s life when they see their child get it. All of the teaching, or preaching, finally sinks in and they respond in a manner you have been pushing for years.

Last night was one of those moments. We stopped for milkshakes on the way home, but didn’t pick one up for college boy.

When we brought them in, he tried to hide mine and accidentally hid my husband’s. (I keep a close eye on my treats!)

He didn’t get the same reaction from my husband as he would have from me! That took the fun out of it and the wind out of his sails.

He decided he wanted a milkshake. In the past, he would have grabbed the truck keys and headed out for one. Last night he went to the kitchen and made his own.

I was so happy!

This is not the first time he has shown the frugality gene. You can read a few examples below.

“Substitute Guitar Picks”
“Refinished Drums”

It was also not his first time in the kitchen!

“College Boy Makes a Pumpkin Pie”
“Pie Crust So Simple Your Son Could Make It”

I was even happier when I saw him run the clean cycle on the blender!

I asked for his recipe, and after he listed the ingredients, he said, “Are you going to blog about it? I didn’t give you a copyright to that!”

College boy drinking the chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake he made last night.

College boy drinking the “chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake” he made last night.



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