Category Archives: Books

Step 2 of My Tidyness Project: BOOKS

Let me begin by mentioning that I don’t really have many books so this was an easy one for me. I don’t like to keep a lot of books around for a couple reasons. First, I have a kindle. Second, they are so heavy to move! Have you ever filled a Uhaul moving box full of books and then tried to lift it? Me, too. It’s smart to spread them out amongst all your moving boxes or just give them away. People are always looking for free books.

Marie  Kondo has a few guidelines:

1. All books on the floor.  Grab your cookbooks, the books/magazines out of the bathroom and all the books beside your bed.  Sure, it would be easy to look at them all on the shelf and pick and choose but you must touch each book to see if it brings you joy. Warning: things are going to be dusty!

If you have a large collection and it seems overwhelming, separate the books into the following 4 categories: 1. General (pleasure) 2. Practical (reference and cookbooks) 3. Visual (photography collections and coffee table books) 4. Magazines.

2. Touch the books to see if they bring you joy. Do not start reading the books! To decide if you are going to keep a book, touch it to see if it brings you joy. Do not keep a book just because you think you might re-read it.

3. Sometime means never. If you haven’t read a book yet, you aren’t going to. Marie Kondo believes that books are time sensitive and that the best time to read a book is when it first arrives. If you have a book that has been partially read, you most likely aren’t going to finish it and the book has already served it’s purpose of being half read. Reference books and old text books are most likely not going to be used again.

Let’s review my progress, shall we? G1 and I keep most of our books in our hutch we made a few years back. I made an attempt to keep it pretty and neat, but it did seem a little mopey.

Bookshelf Before

 

Starting this project, I promised G1 that I wouldn’t ask him to get rid of any of his belongings nor would I take it upon myself to discard of anything that we jointly owned. But, as I am working my way through my tidyness project, he has seemed to peek an interest and offered to go through the books with me. I told him it might be a challenge to start with the books as he hadn’t gained any decision making confidence by first going through his clothes. As Marie Kondo predicted, He did struggle letting go of a few books that didn’t bring him joy, especially reference books and books he hadn’t read.

StackedonFloor

Since our book collection was rather small, I separated our books into books that belonged to G1 and books that belonged to myself. This way, I was only selecting which books to keep that I actually owned and G1 had a chance to do the same. I went first and then took this picture of G1 breaking rule #2. In his defense, it’s very hard to pick up a book and not thumb through the pages! It’s such a natural instinct!

Archer over-seeing our selection

Archer over-seeing our selection

 

For me, this went quickly. The confidence I gained by deciding which clothes to keep crossed over in deciding which books to keep. I kept only a few books and all of my interior design porn. Once I had finished with my books, I separated them into colors and waited for G1’s selection. I added his into the appropriate grouping and started to place them on the shelf.

Books of Joy

DetailsRed

DetailsBlue

DetailBrown

DetailsBlack

"Do I fit in White? Brown? or Green? "

“Do I fit in White? Brown? or Green? “

The aftermath?

DonationBooks

Now that I have completed clothing and books, I must say that the hardest part of my tidyness project is the actually removing the discarded items from our home. These books sat in our mudroom for a week before I was able to donate them to the library. Remember how I mentioned people love free books? As I was taking the boxes inside of the library, two ladies walked up and asked if I was giving them away. I told them I was donating them to the library and she said that she thought they were free. It was a little awkard but I was able to get them inside the library.

With the clothes, it was more about waving goodbye to all the money I had spent. With books, it was about how heavy they were and finding time to take them to the library. This is why we didn’t have many books to begin with: they are awful to move!

Just to remind myself where I started:

Bookshelf Before

 

And where I ended up:

ShelfAfter

 

The hutch is so peaceful, now and I am that much closer to finding my true style.

Next up on my tidyness project? Sorting Papers. Check out how I worked through my clothes and why I started my tidyness project.

 

 

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My Experience With The Sleep Easy Solution

The 4th trimester has officially ended at the G house. During G3s four month check-up, we voiced concern about her sleeping habits. When she was tired, we would make sure she had a clean diaper, a full belly, and then bounce her to sleep using a yoga ball. Every single nap and every single night. She loved it! Falling asleep wasn’t the problem. She would sleep for maybe 40 minutes and wake up screaming or wake up ready to be done napping. We accepted her as the 40 minute napper.

Scarlet wearing Bandana Bib

At night, I would nurse her down and stay in bed with her until she fell asleep when I would sneak away to spend some time with G1. This was getting hard. She has the nose of a hound and could tell when I left. We knew we had to make a change.

SleepEasyBook

Our doctor recommended that we read a book titled “The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Sleep from Birth to Age 5“. I had already read (most of) “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” and was enlightened with the science and reasoning behind the importance of sleep, but I was looking for more of a tutorial. I needed someone to tell me how to get my girl to sleep, not why she needed to sleep.

We wanted to eliminate these habits: 1. Co-sleeping 2. Nursing down (feeding her until she’s asleep) 3. Bouncing her to sleep

And hoped to replace them with these habits: 1. The ability to sleep in her crib 2. The ability to fall asleep on her own 3. The ability to stay asleep longer than 40 minutes 4. The ability to fall back asleep after she had woken up.

We dug into “The Sleepeasy Solution” on a Tuesday  night. We followed the guidelines of the book (prepared her environment, enforced a routine, and grabbed a few beers to make it through the crying). That night, before I layed her down to sleep, I gave her a really emotional hug and kissed her goodnight. I layed her down and walked out of the room and quickly fell into G1’s arms crying. The baby wasn’t even crying yet, but I was emotional as I would no longer have her under my wing all night long. I was emotional because our 4th trimester had drawn to a close and G3 was beginning to gain independence. (I know I’m sooo dramatic.)

So the first night began with tears and a few beers but this is what it looked like:

6:40 Bedtime

6:51 First Check (fell asleep after and slept for 45 minutes)

7:59 Second Check

8:09 Third Check

8:26 Fourth Check

8:50 Fifth Check (We waited 20 minutes because we noticed her crying was worse after we checked in. Since then we always wait 10  minutes before fist check)

9:00 Asleep

In total, the babe cried for 1 hour and 45 minutes on the first night. It was hard. Every piece of me wanted to run in and soothe her. Thankfully, G1 and I were able to hold strong and we are so happy we did. The rest of the night was beautiful. I would go in for her scheduled feedings (every 3 hours), pick her up and put her down without any crying. We were in disbelief! Was this really working? We tried not to get too excited on the first night.

sleeping Scarlet

The book recommends beginning sleep training at night and then swinging right into your naps the next day. Based on our experience with the check ups the night before, we decided to always wait 10 minutes for the first check up.  Here’s what our naps looked like the next day.

Wednesday Day

8:10 #1 Nap (asleep by 8:20)

9:00 Awake (left in her room for one hour to encourage her to take one hour naps)

9:15 Up

10:32 #2 Nap (fell asleep at 10:43 and slept until 11:10)

11:15 Check #1

11:25 Check #2 (cried off and on with longer intervals)

11:43 Check #3 (fell asleep at 12:52)

12:45 Awake/Up

1:30 #3 Nap

2:30 Awake/Up

4:05 #4 Nap (no crying so we didn’t check on her. She fell asleep at 4:25)

4:53 Check #1

5:06 Awake/Up

Wednesday Night

7:00 Bedtime

7:05 Check #1 (asleep at 7:15 – 7:38 )

8:00 Asleep (she had a lot of crying between 7:38 and 8:00. The cries were all spaced out far enough we knew she didn’t need checked on as it only made the crying worse)

9:15 Awake (began crying from 9:30-9:40)

9:40 Asleep (began scheduled feedings at 10)
There was no crying the rest of the night.

HappyCrib

Thursday Morning

7:15 Wake/Feed

8:30 #1 Nap *NO CRYING WHEN I PUT HER DOWN AND FELL ASLEEP RIGHT AWAY

9:30 Awake and Up (I noticed that she woke up and didn’t cry. She was just happy as a clam in her crib)

10:30 #2 Nap*During this nap, she kept waking and crying. I believe she was frustrated and was trying to get back to sleep. If I was to go in during this crying, her eyes would be closed. This is also when I learned about sleep cries (read #5) which happens while the baby is asleep, are often very piercing, and can last up to 10 minutes. I know when I heard these, that she wasn’t ready to get up because when she was ready to get up, she didn’t cry at all.

12:25 Awake and Up

2:03 #3 Nap (no crying to report here)

2:45 Awake (and happy as opposed to nap #2)

3:00 Up (I left her in there an hour for her to try and learn to nap for at least an hour)

4:22 #4 Nap

5:15 Up

I considered this a successful day! I couldn’t believe she was already able to sleep in her crib by herself as well as fall asleep by herself with only two nights of sleep training. Nap #2 was the hardest as I had to let her work through her frustration and learn to fall asleep on her own. That night we had a very successful night looking like this:

Thursday Night

6:45 Crib (We are slowly moving her bedtime later night by night )

Yup, that’s it. I went in for our scheduled feedings but we didn’t have to do any checks on her.

So if you took the time to read this and look over our schedules you’ll see that we had great success with this book and could report progress in as little as two nights.

1.Sleep in her crib? CHECK

2. Fall asleep on her own? CHECK

3. Stay asleep longer than 40 minutes? (We are definitely counting 45 minute naps as victories!) CHECK

4. Fall back asleep after she had woken up? CHECK

Now that we are a week into it, I am happy to report her night sleeping is amazing! Our babe is learning to self soothe herself and fall asleep on her own without any seep associations.  Her naps are improving. She has taken a few one and 1/2 hour naps but still struggles with frustrated crying. The book warns that naps are harder than nights as it takes the babe a while to calm down from being in an alert state. So we will continue with the Sleepeasy Solution.

We went from having a baby that would cry and wake the second you put her down to having a baby who falls asleep and stays asleep on her own in a matter of a week.

IMG_3175

Keeping it cool since 2014

 

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My Tidyness Project {The Konmarie Method}

Tidying up

“Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order. “

Why am I embarking on a tidyness project?  Marie Kondo recommends that I have a goal in mind. I can’t just tidy to tidy (HA- been doing that forever!). I need to tidy with a purpose. For me, I am choosing to tidy so that I might find what my true personal style is. Last October I became a mother and just last month, I decided to stay home full time. Leaving a great job as a visual merchandiser left me without  my creative outlet. When I chose to stay home, I knew I was going to pursue interior styling. I immediately  thought about my portfolio and what I can offer to people who might want to use my services, and it wasn’t that defined. By tidying I hope to define my own style so that I might be able to share my interior style with other likeminded folks and help them create the home they desire.

Now that I have visualized a destination or a goal, I can start. Let’s go over her key principles:

1. Discard First, Store Later

She means business here. Here is the order in which she recommends you approach your home: 1. Clothes 2. Books 3. Papers 4. Miscellany (komono) 5. Sentimental Value. For instance, during one time frame you would gather all of your clothes and put them all on the floor in front of you. This means gathering all of your clothes from the spare closet, and the coat closet, and the laundry, and anywhere else you might store your clothes, so you can grasp your overall volume of items. If we leave out the prom dresses you’re storing in the guest room, it’s out of site and out of mind. It will be most effective to do all of one category at one time. The sudden change can lead to a change of heart!

MarieKondo

Take every piece of clothing you have into your hands and find out if it sparks joy. Does this piece of clothing bring you happiness? Yes? Keep it. No? Pass it on.

If things are out of date and no longer functioning (thing broken radios or old make-up), toss them.

2. Tidy A Little A Day And You’ll Be Tidying Forever

That is a threat, people! I don’t want to tidy on this level more than once. I am hoping to have a home full of the things that I love and truly represent me so I am going to do it all at once, not multiple times. She says “Aim for Perfection”.

*Disclaimer: Remember how I mentioned I have a small child born in October, making her 4 months old? Yup, I’ll be stretching this over a few days. We have to be flexible here people!

3. Organized Clutter Is Still Clutter

We all love Ikea and their storage solutions, but that doesn’t mean we should be storing things that we don’t need and that don’t bring us joy. Sometimes these storage solutions are a beautiful way to conceal clutter. I don’t want that. I do, however, plan on utilizing her storage solutions. She recommends never piling things but, instead, store items vertically. Learn to fold and don’t pass your unwanted items onto family just because you can’t quite justify keeping it nor tossing it. Especially parents! Why would you want your parents to carry your burden. Looks like I need to get my wedding dress out from underneath my husband’s bed at my In-Laws.

Here’s my plan.

Day 1. Clothes

Day 2. Books

Day 3. Papers

Day 4. Miscellany

Day 5. Sentimental Value

*Again, these days may  or may not be consecutive.

I plan to focus on what I want to keep and not think of if as choosing what to get rid of. By keeping the items that spark joy and make me happy I will be able to “reset my life and embark on a new lifestyle”. Or in my case, after discarding everything that has been cluttering my life, I am going to to discover and pinpoint my personal style.

 

 

 

 

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Re-Arranging and Refreshing an Apartment

A good friend of mine recently moved into a new town home style apartment and asked me to come help her make it cozy. Quickly I agreed!

Our challenge was to find a lay-out that worked with the hall-way layout. Unfortunately, there isn’t a wall in the living room that is bare – one has windows, the other a fireplace and the the last wall had an under-stairs storage door.

Here are a few before shots (sorry about the Iphone photos! I always forget my camera):

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She had the TV in front of the windows and the couch opposite, creating a plane and a bottle-neck for traffic, ultimately blocking the flow of the room.

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You can see here that there isn’t a true wall in the house so we had to be a bit creative. Below is evidence of the bottleneck created by the couch when it was positioned perpendicular to the wall. On a positive note, having the couch in this position sectioned off the “hall-way” and created two distinct spaces. Ultimately, flow and function beat out the separate spaces as my friend was expecting her first baby and wanted there to be room to play.

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First, we swapped the TV and the couch and moved the purple flower area rug up into the baby’s room.  Although the TV seems unconventional against the wall, it has a swivel feature that allows for a great view from the couch. The TV/Stand isn’t altering the flow of the apartment and is still functional.  The rug didn’t quite fit in with the rest of room and she loved the idea of adding it to the baby room. Win, win, win.

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In the space above the fireplace, we decided to add mirrors and use it for book storage. I am an advocate of shopping your home, so we quickly grabbed a few mirrors and used them as a backdrop. The mirrors bounced light out of the dark nook and gave a sense of a window. Since shooting this photo, we have added two frameless mirrors that fill the space and turned all the books with their spine facing the mirrors.  I love how the area turned out.

20140205-183313.jpg

 

We didn’t want to place any large permanent furniture agains the wall with the under-stair storage door as it is used frequently and the area doubles as a runway for the stroller. We knew this would be a great place for a gallery wall. She had enough prints for more than one wall, but we tried to squeeze as many as we could!  The space besides the under-stair storage door was left blank to house a chair in the future. Since taking this photo, a beautiful vintage chair has been added.

Over the gallery wall, we added a few branches she had collected and also placed more above the windows behind the couch. I need to take more photos soon with all the updates!

Enjoy!

Art Wall

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Organizing A Dump Zone After Moving

MovingInDumpZoneThe boxes that once held our home have been slashed and broken down to flat, lifeless, 2D objects yet the items they once held are still making a big impact in our life. Our goal was to unload all the boxes – no problem (except the two boxes that still sit in the office; those are a problem). All the  boxes are empty and the bonus? everything is piling up in the kitchen on a shelf that came with the house. I’m pretty sure that all of it is piled up here because it’s on it’s way downstairs, but someone didn’t have the enthusiasm to actually take it downstairs.

For some reason, and I blame it on living in tiny apartments until now, we will avoid any task that involves up going upstairs or downstairs. The laundry is downstairs and our bedroom is upstairs. We may have bought a few more laundry baskets to try and do laundry less and our room may be the only place in the house where we haven’t done any actual moving-in.

I recently read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin  where she made a ‘rule’ to do anything that doesn’t take more than a minute to do. For us, that means taking the laundry downstairs, putting our shoes in the closet, hanging our jackets instead of throwing them over the couch, and filling up the Brita pitcher with water before we put it back in the fridge. All these little things, when left undone, can create a bit of chaos so we started using the one minute roll as well. Everywhere except the shelf in the kitchen! Time for a new goal : Organize the kitchen dump zone, where everything that doesn’t have a designated home (or belongs in the basement) lands.

MessyClutterBothThe shelf in the kitchen came from the basement and belongs to the home’s owner and since we were desperate for counter space we brought it up to tie us over.  It had collected the fruit bowl, dinner plates that don’t fit in the cupboard, a box of lightbulbs, a tool box and drill, and a lovely hydrangea that is waiting to be planted.

First thing I did was take the dreaded descent into the basement. I gathered all the tools and lightbulbs and general ‘garage stuff’and took it downstairs where it belongs. I then vowed to implement the ‘one minute rule’ to make sure that this tool pile-up didn’t happen again.

And just like that, I had my shelf back.

ShelfStage1It was a breath of fresh air. And then it was a very long exhale as I realized that the shelf seemed unwarranted, and that I needed to make it useful. I had been wanting to move the coffee machine and accessories off of our counter to make more space, so I decided to make a coffee station on the shelf.

ShelfStage2

Now we’re talking. I liked that I was able to bring all of the coffee supplies together and free up some space on the kitchen counters. Was I in love with it? No, but it was much better than where it started  so I decided to move onto the built-in hutch.

MessyHutch

At least the hutch wasn’t full of tools. There were a few things that gathered that didn’t belong: two spice racks from Ikea, vases, a flashlight, and doggy-doo-doo bags. So as I did with the shelf, I took everything away that didn’t belong.

HutchFinal

The plates that used to be on the shelf fit nicely on the hutch but looked a little out of place, so I added the rest of our collection. I added the vintage radio for a splash of color and my ‘deer’ friend for a bit of decor. The jar on the bottom is the most important as it is home to a variety of dog treats and we all know that a happy dog is a happy home.

HutchDetailI bought the cracker jars at Wal-mart and found the labels at World Market. The style of labels on the right were pre-printed  and the jar on the left is a chalkboard label. Did I mention that World Market is quickly becoming my favorite store?

HutchCloseup

HutchCloseup2

HutchandShelfStage2

I was happy with my progress thus far. I had a nice organized hutch and a coffee station shelf. Buuuuuuuuuut, I didn’t really love the shelf.

So, I brought in it’s replacement:

HutchandShelfFinalThe Ikea shoe cabinet. This cabinet is amazing! The drawers pull towards you and you can slide in your shoes. We haven’t really found a great place for it in our house where we can actually use it as a shoe cabinet, so I was happy to bring it in and replace the shelf. It seemed to fit perfectly; both the white color and the size.

ShelfStage3

My sister-in-law came over and came up with the brilliant idea to put wine bottles in the cabinets.

BINGO!

Now that I was content with that corner of the kitchen, I only had one corner left: the butcher block.

MessyCart

I quickly tidied up the butcher block corner of the kitchen by hanging the knife magnet and adding a picture.

CartFinal

The cook books found a home on the bottom shelf of the kitchen cart.

BooksFinal

 

And Archer found a home right in front of my camera.

Archer

 

The entire dump-zone organization wasn’t as awful as I imagined it to be. It really consisted of taking everything that didn’t belong in the kitchen away and then re-situating what did belong until I liked what I saw.
FinalView

 

There is a list accumulating with projects that I want to complete in the kitchen including paint and add curtains.

I’ll keep you posted on any other updates!

Moving Into a New Space

ANewSpaceOver three weeks ago, we were blessed with a vacation to Hawaii and upon our return to Seattle, we were blessed with a new home. The very idea of moving into a bigger place made returning from paradise seem a little less painful.

Three weeks went by and only today did I have the enthusiasm to actually decorate.

Our first goal was to get everything into the house and wrap up with our last apartment. We finished that last wednesday.

Our second goal involved us demanding the boxes cease and desist.  We have 2 boxes left. They are in G1’s office and the truth is, they most likely aren’t disappearing anytime soon. I can only do so much in a room that I rarely use. It makes more sense for the roommaster to address the boxes full of cords.

Our last goal: moving in. This included making the space our home. For the last few days I had been in a slump and was quite unmotivated to work on moving in. I can’t believe I’m about to pseudo-complain about this, but we had so much space. As G1’s brother put it, we had “put in our time  living in cubby holes” and were finally able to graduate to a real house. All of our last few homes had required that we downsize and usually our walls were lined with our belongings, and our closets stuffed to the brim. Looking at our belongings placed so far apart and even in different rooms, was quire discouraging. Where do we start!?

I started in our main living area as we had already made it a habit of hanging out here.

P1040632

This is what it’s like when you move. Nothing is pretty and for some reason, the way it worked in your last place suddenly seems so wrong!

I knew the curtains would break up the white monotony and add a little bit of flavor to our room. Our plants had always been roommates, sharing one shelf, so naturally, I left them stay together. In our last apartment, we had the above shelf sitting directly in front of a window with the most direct sunlight and it was holding every plant in our house. Since this shelf (still) crammed full of plants wasn’t crammed into a corner, it seemed unnecessary and sparse.  A smaller shelf made sense brining all the items closer together and into a cohesive arrangement.

P1040643The black-void-of-a-speaker didn’t really have any other living arrangements lined up, so it snuggled right into the bottom shelf. By replacing the large, sparse shelf with a smaller compact shelf, the corner felt cozier.

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My favorite books found prime real estate in the living room and made all the other books (who live in the hutch in the spare bedroom) incredibly jealous.  Among my treasured books, I chose to include a small tin of cards, two lanterns, a photo from our wedding, and three plants. It’s starting to feel like home!

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It’s becoming clear to me why I was in a post-move funk.

And onto the window. I knew I wanted to hang the curtains near the ceiling to draw the eye up and create an illusion of a taller ceiling. I used the curtains and the hardware that we had purchased at Ikea for our last apartment. You can see the post here.

I placed the hardware as close to the ceiling as possible by literally fastening it to the ceiling. BINGO!

This hardware from Ikea is amazing! It allows your to attached it to either the ceiling or the wall and adjust the height of the rod. I highly recommend these.

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From the windows to the …..ceiling?

 

I strapped the curtains on and adjusted them to barely skim the ceiling and used sewings pins to pin their length to barely skim the floor. I decided not to sew the curtains for now – I am always changing my minds and it’s much easier to take out pins than to rip a seam.

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Floor to ceiling curtains – check!

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Neat and tidy shelf – check!

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Finally having  a place where your design ideas can be put to use – check!

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Well, we moved into one corner of our new place and it really does feel like home. And after accomplishing this one corner, I feel enthusiastic about the rest of the house.

Curtains: JANETTE

Curtain Hardware: BETYDLIG

Curtain Rod: RACKA

Shelf: LERBERG