Category Archives: Shelf

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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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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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.

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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.

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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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Framed Wedding Program

While cleaning a closet I stumbled upon a bit of wedding paraphernalia. What to do with it? I loved our programs, and invitations that G1 designed and wanted to see them everyday. I pulled my go-to decor move and framed three pieces in a double glass frame. And now they are floating on our shelfs dedicated to us. Don’t worry – the shelves are in our room so our friends aren’t nauseated when they come over.

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DIY Wall Paper { Yes, it’s paper on the wall}

Butterfly Wall Paper I am a renter and I am blessed with a wonderful landlord who allows me to paint. I am so lucky in the renters world. The other day I decided to paint the bathroom and after I had bumped the toilet and caused it to leak, I called my landlord when she reminded me that the bathroom was the ONLY room in the house that she would like left as is. SHOOT! I felt awful and now I am a bit wary for tackling any painting projects. It’s not that she won’t allow me to; she wrote me a nice email saying that I could paint any other room that I wanted and to enjoy it. But as I tackle my remorse, I am creating more ways to change my surroundings in a way that is easily reverted back to normal.

At work, I stumbled upon paper place-mats. They were beautiful with colors and different designs. Intended to be used at the table and then thrown away, I saw a different use. Wallpaper! And when they were marked down and put on the sale table, I immediately snagged up the butterflies,  and owls, and knives, and spoons and forks! I went a bit overboard. I had the perfect place for them – I found them a landing headed upstairs to our loft bedroom.

I didn’t take a before shot, but I do have a few somewhat questionable photos of my pets on the stairs:

Archer Stairs Before

Black Cat to Grey Cat: "Show me how you walk seductively"

Black Cat to Grey Cat: “Show me how you walk seductively”

"I'll try to walk seductively, as well."

“I’ll try to walk seductively, as well.”

 

I had my pad of Kitchen Papers in Butterfly, double-sided tape, a pencil, scissors, and a ruler. WARNING: you may not be able to stop taping paper to your walls. ADDICTING.

I started at the top and taped my first one on and then began to tape the others on side by side.

Kitchen Paper Butterflys

 

And I kept moving down from there.

Second RowAnd when I got to the corners where I couldn’t lay down an entire sheet, I left a blank space. I saved these spaces for the end so that I could tape up all the full sheets and then use the remaining pieces to fill in the holes.

Butterfly Wall Papers

Wall Papers with G1

 

To make the pieces fit into the empty spaces, I lined up the piece with the others and then placed it where it went, and when I reached the area that needed to be cut off, I grabbed my ruler and pencil and drew a line. I then cut the remainder off, and then taped down my new piece. I filled in all the empty spaces that ran along the hand-rail and then cut pieces to fit around the shelf.
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Butterfly Wall Paper

 

The entire process took maybe 40 minutes and it really packs a punch. I feel great that I can take it down when we move and that we have a beautiful stairway.

Again:

BEFORE

"This hallway needs more character if I am going to shine!"

“This hallway needs more character if I am going to shine!”

AFTER

Butterfly Wall Paper

 

 

 

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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.

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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