Maple Alps

5 Steps to Simplifying Your Closet

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

I used to be overwhelmed with the amount of clothing I owned and I didn't even know it. When I moved away from home and found that living out of two suitcases was actually possible, it changed my life - especially when it came to my wardrobe.

Simplifying my closet has been a lifelong project for me, but for you, it doesn’t have to be. It took me years to let go of the clothing that didn’t flatter me or make me feel good (and to realize that, hey, I don’t actually need to keep it just because I bought it!). I am finally at the point where I can see every single article of clothing at any given time, and I know exactly what I own, and know that everything I have fits me well and suits me.

Today, I want to share with you a basic guide to help you begin with your clothing purging process.

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5 Steps to Simplifying Your Closet |


Step One: Prepare to Purge

It is important to prepare before starting the great purge. Gather some boxes, bins or garbage bags and label them: Sell, Donate, Throw Away (a garbage bag works well for this particular category).

Keep these things in mind as you begin, so you know exactly what bin/bag each article of clothing should go into 

  1. Sell newer (or unworn!) clothing in good condition (think ThredUP or other consignment stores in your area)

  2. Donate older clothing in good condition (Goodwill, Salvation Army, friends, etc.)

  3. Throw away anything that is beyond repair

Do not hesitate to get rid of items that you feel you might need in the future for a special event like a themed party, etc. Remember that you can always borrow from a friend when something comes up, or even get creative with what you already own or check a second hand store.

Step Two: Remove Everything From Your Closet

Yes, you read that right. Every. Last. Item. Pile them on top of your [made] bed and get ready to go through each and every single item. You must handle every single article of clothing.

Declutter Guide Download.png

Step Three: Begin

Be honest about your clothing - Get rid of everything that doesn't fit, is worn out or beyond repair, things that you don't love wearing, items that you haven't worn for a year (or years!), and most importantly, anything that does not bring you joy. Consider your current personal style (which has likely changed if you haven’t done this in a while) and decide whether your current articles of clothing reflect it. If you don’t look good in it or don’t feel good in it, do not bother keeping it.

Accessories, shoes and scarves too! - Let go of accessories that no longer fit your personal style or are no longer usable (i.e. have holes, rips, etc.). Don’t forget that handbags and wallets  fall under this category too, so avoid neglecting your collection! Make sure all zippers are working and there are no worn holes or other broken parts.

Critique your sock drawer - It's time to let go of the socks that have no partner and the underwear with, gasp, holes! Anything with worn out elastics should be purged as well. Don’t forget to think about hosiery - anything with runs or that no longer fits right needs to go! 

Remove things that shouldn't be in your closet at all! - Your closet is not a catch all for everything that doesn’t fit under your bed (not that you should have things under your bed either…). Make sure your closet is a safe home for your precious clothing and accessories.

Related: My Favorite Organizational Products

Step Four: Return Items to the Closet

After your diligent sorting, it is time to return your items to the closet. There are so many different ways to organize, but one way I like is having longer hanging items on the left and shorter to the right. It creates a nice draw for the eyes and is easy to get to what you’re looking for. I also sort by tones - dark to light. I personally do not think there is one right way to organize, but make sure that you can see every article of clothing in your closet. Out of sight, out of mind, really is applicable to wardrobes. What also helps? Using pretty hangers! I love wooden ones, like these ones from Amazon.

Step Five: Sit back and admire your work

Enjoy a tall, cold glass of lemonade or water too. You deserve it. Good job!



It's amazing what kind of relief fills your heart when you open the doors to a simplified closet. Why don't you take a chance and try it out?


The Perks of a Long Distance Relationship

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I know, I know, long distance is supposed to be horrid and painful and lame. Oh, and it never works, right? Well, I might disagree a tiny tad. Though terribly annoying and inconvenient, I personally loved being in a long distance relationship! It strengthened our relationship and allowed us to work on areas in our lives that would not have had to be refined had we been in the same place. People think I’m nuts, but it’s true.

Today, I’m sharing some of the perks of being in a long distance relationship. Because, sometimes, once in a while between the long periods of time not seeing the person you love, you need a positive outlook.

Positives of a long distance relationship |

Know Each Other Well

You will be forced to talk a LOT since you are so far away from each other. Whether you choose to talk on the phone, FaceTime, or send old school snail mail, you will learn a lot about each other!

Work on Communication Skills

Know how I said I didn’t like talking in this post? I also hate conflict. I had a lot to learn when it came to communicating effectively. A long distance relationship helped me work on and cultivate my communication skills, though, I’m still working on them!

Opportunities to See Different Places

I love traveling. And having a European boyfriend was pretty much the dream back in the day. What girl doesn’t want a surprise trip to Prague, summer in Italy and Christmas in New York City? Actually, to be honest, I never really thought about those things beforehand, but it was pretty darn awesome when it happened. I loved being able to see different places! Which brings me to...

Know How You Travel Together

Do you travel well with your significant other? We found out that we are great at road trips! And traveling together in general. We likely wouldn’t have been able to have the amount of traveling had we lived in the same place - even though we do both love traveling and exploring. Being forced to go places just to see each other paid off - though it does tend to deflate wallets!


What about you? What are some perks of a long distance relationship you’ve experienced?


Simple Green Smoothie

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps1 Comment

I’m back with some more smoothie goodness! This time we have a new color coming up to Maple Alps - green! Yes, I’m here with a green smoothie.

The first time I had a green smoothie, I was in high school. When they became more popular, I counted it as old news. ;-)

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Simple & Delicious Green Smoothie |

Some tips for green smoothies:

  1. Blend the greens in the milk before adding in the rest of your ingredients. This will help avoid bits of leafy greens you’ll end up chewing in your smoothie.

  2. If you don’t use your greens fast enough, you can freeze them so they don’t go bad! I actually like to make packets with all the smoothie ingredients for quick mornings some seasons.

  3. Spinach and kale are both great to use - kale has a stronger taste though, so you decide what you prefer!

This recipe will make enough to share with your favorite friend - or you could just enjoy it on your own, I suppose. I’ve been know to add flax/or chia seeds (chia seeds pictured below) to my smoothies for some fiber too. I know someone who even puts spinach in this smoothie! It’s optional for you, however. Just know that you can’t actually taste it if you choose to add it (chia seeds you will be able to feel the texture).

By the way, we do not add any ice to our smoothies, because we find that it takes away from the creaminess of them (that, and we never have ice on hand!). Instead, we use frozen fruit to achieve a similar effect. Feel free to use a few blocks of ice if you prefer, however.

Simple & Delicious Green Smoothie |

Simple Vegan Green Smoothie

what you need:

  • 2 cups non-dairy beverage (I use soy milk)

  • 1 large banana (use a frozen banana for a thicker smoothie)

  • 1 cup fresh spinach or kale

  • 1/2 cup cubed mango (use frozen for a thicker smoothie)

  • 1/2 cup cubed peach (use frozen for a thicker smoothie)

  • 1 tsp ground flax seed (optional)

  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional)

what to do:

1) Add all ingredients to a blender and process until everything is well mixed.

2) Serve immediately and enjoy!


Do you enjoy a good smoothie? What is your go-to? Let me know in the comments!


Teaching or Blogging?

Ask Amanda, Blog, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments
Ask Amanda: Teaching or Blogging? |


Question: Do you want to keep teaching or is your goal to make your blog a full time job?


Well, at this time, I definitely don’t see me making blogging a full-time thing. I do love teaching. I’ve always wanted to teach, so as much of a headache as it is sometimes, it really is a dream come true to be able to do so now. 

Because of my husband’s work as a pastor, however, we are prone to move around every few years. In fact, if you’ve been following along on Instagram and if you subscribe to the Good Intentions Guide, you know that we recently made a transition. I have started a new position in this fall teaching middle school math, which really excites me since I do love math!

If in the case there is no school where we move, I would definitely consider switching to blogging full-time if I could or had to. Blogging is a really fun and a great creative outlet for me and I enjoy it (which is probably why I go through the effort to keep Maple Alps running during the school year). If the opportunity arose to blog full-time, I would seriously consider it, though I wouldn’t want my fun hobby to become stressful because of the pressure to make an income... 

I have actually recently begun to extend Maple Alps. Maple and Math will be a branch of Maple Alps launching completely very soon aimed towards intentional teachers!

One thing I try to live by in my life is always making sure that everything I do glorifies God. Whether that be teaching children or serving my blog audience, I want Him to be glorified first and foremost!




Astra is Two!

BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps1 Comment

It’s been a long while since Astra made an appearance on the blog, so we might as well share about her turning two! It is hard to believe that we’ve had her for so long and how much this little creature has stolen our hearts.

Seriously, it seems that every other sentence we say to each other starts out something like,

“Look at the cat!”

She is seriously the sweetest. So an ode to Astra, our two-year-old cat (she turned 2 last month), who always wants to be near us.

Astra is Two! |

She also doesn’t mind posing for a photo every once in a while. Okay, maybe more than every once in a while because I'll admit right here that I was cleaning out my phone and I had over 400 pictures of this sweet kitty.

Astra is Two! |

You know, people write up blog posts for their kiddos who have birthdays all the time. Our firstborn just happens to be a lovable, fluffy, black cat, and that is okay too, right? And we know she’s quite lovable because everyone we’ve had watch her absolutely loves her. She’s a sassy feline indeed.

She’s still as curious as when she came and makes us laugh with all of her antics.

Astra is Two! |

I was reading an article a few months ago about how cats have the tendency to take on personality traits of their owners. I was a little skeptical about it, but after seeing what a drama queen our cat is, it’s probably not too far off from the truth. Hehe! She also loves naps, but I’m thinking that’s more of a cat thing ;-)

Fun story: Astra actually doesn’t mind driving in the car. We drove 14 hours to Maryland when we moved, and she slept on my lap the entire time.

Astra is Two! |

So there you have it: a little life update on our sweet kitty. A little bigger than when you saw her for the first time. Did you know she twisted our arm to have her own Instagram account too? Check it out!