Category Archives: Organize

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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Step 1 of My Tidyness Project: CLOTHES


Here’s what Marie Kondo says about tidying your clothes:

1. Start with your clothes and gain momentum. Clothes are much easier to sort than mementos. You will gain momentum and confidence, as well as hone in on your decision making ability before moving on to more challenging areas.

2. In this order: Tops, bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events, and shoes.

3.Gather all your clothes onto the floor and touch each individual pieces. Check your laundry, other closets, and your car. If you miss any item of clothing, it automatically goes into the discard pile. Cut throat, right!? She reasons that if you have already forgotten about it than it must not bring you too much joy.

Rule of thumb: While going through your clothes, items you can’t part with (old t shirts for example) shouldn’t automatically be delegated as loungewear.

“Precisely because no one is there to see you, it makes far more sense to reinforce a positive self image by wearing clothes you love.”

Great advice. Self confidence comes from inside when no one is watching.

I got started on this one right away! Many times in the past I have gone through my closet and discarded quite a few items, but not at this level. It was so exhilarating.

Standing Closet Before

Closet #1 before I discarded.

 

Since I am all about being true to myself and my mission of self-discovery, I must admit that I didn’t pile everything on the floor in front of me. Nor did I start with off-season clothes. Nor did I follow her order. I did gather all my clothes from every corner of the house. I started in one of my three closets, pulled every item out and put them on the bed and sorted them into either a discard or keep pile. Then I re-hung all the items back up. Then I moved on to the next closet and then my drawers. So I hit every clothing storage area, just not in the order she suggested. Sorry Marie Kondo.

Tall Closet After

After: breathing room for the items that bring me joy.

After I finished my tall closet (my other 2 closets belong in a hobbit home) I was feeling good and ready to conquer the other two closets.

Short Closet Before

Closet #2 Before

Short Closet 3 Before

Closet #2 and #3 Before

 

This is when I started to utilize the floor. I was so confident tossing items into the discard pile. I think I had always wanted to get rid of them but somehow felt responsible for them. Somewhere along the line I paid money for these clothes so discarding them felt like throwing money away. Those items that I received as gifts were even harder to push aside. Marie Kondo says they have already served the purpose of being a gift and the act of receiving that gift had given you joy. It’s ok to pass them along. The giver wouldn’t want you to be burdened by holding onto something that doesn’t bring you joy. Most items I effortlessly tossed away. I began to feel confident, empowered, lighter and even happy!

BeforePile

That’s a lot of clothes to be carrying around on your back. Since I was feeling confident and tossing clothes left and right I felt that I could deviate from Marie Kondo’s order a bit. After I was done with the hanging clothes in the closets, I moved onto my drawers, starting with the top drawer and visiting every drawer on the way down.

hangingafter3

Closet #2 After the purge!

Once I had finished my drawers, I moved onto shoes and everything else left in my closets: accessories, scarves, bags, swimsuits, belts, hats. Wow, I had a lot of stuff!

When you’re done discarding it’s time to put it all away. Marie Kondo has a few pointers:

1. Either fold or hang your clothes.

2. Fold items into rectangles and stand them upright so you are able to see every item of clothing.

3. “Arrange your clothes so that they rise to the right.”

3. Lay socks folded and roll tights.

Everything that was hung before, I re-hung and then arranged my closet so that my clothes were able to rise to the right. Imagine drawing an arrow from left to right. On the left is your dark, long and heavy clothes and on the right your lighter and shorter clothes. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be color coded or not, but mine ended that way. Within each color section I had all my cardigans and long tunics/tanks and heavier sweatshirts and moving to the right I would put the lighter materials and shorter blouses. Voila. Closets are done.

Folding my clothes was more of a hassle because of the time it takes. But in Marie Kondo’s defense this gives you an opportunity to touch each piece, pouring energy into each item. So I folded all my socks into little rectangles, rolled my tights, and moved through the rest of my drawers quite quickly.  After I had folded every item into a rectangle, I was able to stand them on edge and see each shirt. I was surprised to see I hadn’t used up my entire drawer!

Folded Socks

Folded Drawer

 

I felt liberated after finishing with my clothes. I surprised myself with my ability to pick and choose with such confidence. Once I started rolling, I didn’t want to stop until I looked over at the giant pile of clothes I had to physically discard. As I looked at that pile, all I could see was money. Layers and layers of cash that was about to be stuffed into garbage bags to be hauled off to a new destination. Ugh.

I decided to look through it and sell what I thought might go quickly on Ebay. That ended up being 3 items. Not a huge dent but a start. I went through again and gathered all my “trendy” items in an attempt to sell them at Plato’s Closet. That ended in a deduction of 20 items and my wallet gaining $60. Progress!

I posted an ad on our local chapter of “Buy Nothing”, a community Facebook page where you can get and give for free. Turns out a lot of ladies were interested and someone picked up the bags the next afternoon. The recipient took what she wanted and passed it on, even adding from her own closet. The bag quickly became the “sisterhood of the traveling bag”. I felt amazing! I had done it. All of my extra clothes were gone. Liberated, confident, excited.

The first time I chose an outfit post-declutter, it took me very little time because I loved everything in my closet. By choosing to keep only the things that bring me joy, I was left with items that all worked together or if you will, my style! It is actually fun to get dressed, now.

Now that I have completed the first phase of decluttering, I am ready and motivated to move onto the next phase: books.

 

See Part 1 of my Tidyness Project.

 

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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 Re-freshing an Apartment {Dylan and Kim}

Two of my favorite people in the world bought a house and it’s the cutest house on the block! In March, G1 and I traveled to San Diego to visit our old friends, Kim and Dylan, and their new house. Since moving in, they have been making  a lot of changes but since they knew I was coming, they left a few projects for me. Talk about good friends!

Let’s take a tour. If it’s not apparent to you, then NO, these are not Iphone photos… and if it is apparent, I’m guilty.

A view from the living room looking back at the entrance. Neither Kim or Dylan were smitten with the plastic vertical blinds that came with the house, so they had ordered new shades that had just been delivered and were waiting to be installed.

 

BeforeLivingRoom

This is an odd nook in the dining area. To the left is the table and to the right is the living room. This space is difficult to work with as furniture didn’t quite make sense; who needs a table next to the dining room table? So we had some brainstorming to do.
BeforeQuiltWall

Now you are looking at the kitchen bar window. I don’t think it was intended for bar-stool seating, but more of a means for opening the kitchen into the living room. To the left of this picture is the front door, behind the window is the kitchen, and left of the kitchen is the office area.
BeoforeKitchenWindow

This lonely lamp is in the corner next to the chair in the above picture.
BeforeGalleryWallYou can see the front door in the left of this photo. Kim and Dylan turned this room which used to be the dining room into an informal office/entryway. Behind the shelf in the corner is a drop through mail box. They were clever and placed the shelf there so the mail would have a landing spot.

 

BeforeOfficerWe got busy and changed out all the vertical blinds for horizontal wicker blinds. The blinds were an essential improvement! They transformed the room from immediately, making it feeling cozy and comfortable.

 

AfterLivingRoomRemember the odd nook next to the window in the dining area?

 

BeforeQuiltWall

Kim and I decided to hang her beautiful hand-made wedding quilt. For their wedding, they asked every guest to send a square of fabric with their RSVP and each piece was quilted into this beautiful heirloom. They used the quilt at their wedding during the ceremony.

We took a standard curtain rod and hung it on the wall and draped the quilt over it turning the quilt into a piece of art. It softened the dining room up and added color to the white wall.

 

 

AfterQuilt

I spy my square: two rows down and 7 squares from the left.

 

 

Remember the lonely lamp?

 

BeforeGalleryWall

We decided to dress up it’s equally lonely wall with a gallery arrangement.

All of the items featured on the wall were shopped from their home. This was a great project as all of her pieces were cohesive and she had a variety of items to chose from, including photos, canvases, coordinates to their wedding location (!), and the bow-tie their adorable pup Gus wore at their wedding. Swoon.

 

AfterGalleryWall2

We shifted the chair that was previously under the kitchen window into the corner, creating a cozy nook.

 

AfterGalleryWall

AfterGalleryWall3

The office/entryway used to look like this:

 

BeforeOfficer

We organized and decorated until we had a welcoming corner. The 4-square white wall unit is actually a shoe cabinet from Ikea. These are great if you don’t have a closet as they hide the shoes and can be used as an entry table.

 

AfterOffice

Ideally the shoes live in the cabinet. That is unless you are having a wild weekend with your friends from Seattle.

 

The bench against the other wall was also a piece from their wedding. They placed it at their reception and asked everyone to sign it – what a great idea! Everyone needs somewhere to sit down and put their shoes on, especially if you ask Mindy Kalling, AKA Kelly from The Office:

“There’s a certain meticulousness that I notice with all guys when they put their shoes on. First of all, they sit down. I mean, they need to sit down to do it. Right there, it signals, ‘I’m going to be here for awhile. Let’s get settled in.’ I can put on a pair of hiking boots that have not even been laced yet while talking on my cell phone, without even leaning on a wall.”

Dylan can appreciate the bench placement.

Since we removed their shelf from the corner where it was collecting mail and made room for the bench, we placed a small basket beside the bench to catch the mail. In addition to that, we hung a two-tier metal basket on the wall to further sort the mail.

 

AfterOfficer2

Welcome Home!

 

Acting as an entry table, the shoe cabinet hosts a phew photos and dried flowers.Kim found the mirror at a garage sale and it quickly found a home above the cabinet where both Kim and Dylan can quickly check themselves before they leave the house. Next to the mirror, Kim hung a twig that her and Dylan repurposed as a key-holder.

 

Thanks for letting me play in your home!

 






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Reorganize, Rearrange, and Refresh {Our Office}

 

I have been lusting after a magazine worthy office for quite some time. But let’s be honest. I didn’t want to spend the money on buying all new furniture and wanted to make what we had work! So when we decided to move all of our “office” stuff from our larger bedroom into our cozy bedroom, we really needed to be realistic about the furniture we wanted in there.

I love to shop my own house. It saves a lot of money and it’s exciting to find new uses and homes for things you already have – keeping it fresh! That’s exactly what we did. And would you believe we had an entire office set-up, matching to-boot, in our home already?

 

G2 Desk After

Here are a few before shots for dramas sake. Looking into our expected new office from our living room. With the glass paned windows, we were constantly looking into the room which provided extra motivation to get this place cleaned up.

Office Door Before

 

After we moved everything over from the larger room, we realized we had quite a bit of stuff in there. We were using the other room (with a large closet) for both office and sewing/crafting.

OfficeBefore

This is G1’s corner of the room.

I shopped the two wicker chairs from our dining room table. Matchy matchy is the name of the game. Office Before 2
Office Before 3

Office Before 4

And my corner. Here you can see that we had shopped 2 laptop desks and one shelving unit from Ikea from other areas of our home. They were a great choice for this room for a few reasons: 1. I needed 2 surfaces for our computers 2. They are shallow, taking up minimal space. 

Office Before 6After a few hours of cleaning and putting items in new homes, we ended up with a room that we actually like!

 

Office After Door

 

Office After 1

Office After 2

 

You can see how I made the paint card sample art here and the animal string art in the window,  here.

Office After 3

And for all our other items that needed a home, I ended up adding shelves tiny closet. I’ll post more about that later.

 

 

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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.

20140205-183216.jpg

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.

20140205-183252.jpg

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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Combing Jars

I wanted to share a quick update of how we store our dog food. How exciting!

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Our dog is fed twice a day, so we were looking for a convenient location for his food. We quickly discovered that we didn’t have room for the bag of kibble (Taste of the Wild) and the box of dehydrated dog food (from The Honest Kitchen) on the counter and I definitely dislike reaching my hand to the bottom of the bag of food . So, we decided to put the food in jars and place it in an easily accessible location: the counter.

20140205-182724.jpg

I’m not entirely sure why I did this in the first place, as I do not like counter clutter, but it was incredibly easy to feed the dog this way. After realizing I would rather have a clean counter, I made room for the jars on the built-in shelf in our kitchen, conveniently under the rest of the jars! We had already placed a jar of treats there and figured adding two additional food jars made sense.

20140205-182745.jpg

 

I gathered two more similar jars and filled one with dry kibble and the other with dehydrated dog food and placed them in their new home next to the treats.20140205-182806.jpg

There you have it, a quick clean up of counter clutter and an all-in-one dog feeding station. 20140205-182833.jpg

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