Tag Archives: Before and After

Step 3 of My Tidyness Project: Papers

Do you have a few minutes? That’s really all the time you will need to spare to read this post.

Paper sorting is the least glamourous  section of the KnonMarie method.

She only has one rule: Discard everything.

“The basic principles for sorting papers is to throw them all away.” – Marie Kondo

Easy enough, right? If you have a few papers that you’re unsure if you can toss, she does go into further detail.

Dispose of them if the papers do not fall into one of these categories:

1. Papers currently in use.

2. Papers that you  need to keep for a short period of time.

3. Must be kept indefinitely. This doesn’t include sentimental letters.

 

Of the papers you must keep, she goes into how to file them:

1. Papers that need to be saved. Sort by frequency of use and store them in a clear plastic file.

2. Papers that need to be attended to. This would include letters that require replies, forms that should be submitted, etc.

3. Attend to #2! Get on your replies, people! If these papers need attended to, do so quickly then discard them.

 

She makes it clear that you need to discard of any manuals, used checkbooks, pay-stubs and greeting cards (unless they are sentimental, then you’ll deal with those later).

That’s it.

I have no pictures to show you because it was that uneventful. This took me 30 minutes to complete (and a week to post about but that’s another story).

I cleared out our file cabinet without looking back. This step was the easiest for me and I loved it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to toss my husbands papers per our agreement, but I hope he is able to breeze through this step as effortlessly as I was able to.

 

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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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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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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.
image (5)

image (1)

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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Oak Table Gone Dark {Refinishing an Oak Table}

TableRemodelCoverNow that the rain is lightening up, I have had an opportunity to tackle refinishing  our dining table.  I love a round table, it seems a bit more communal. Since there is usually only two of us eating at the table (when we can pull ourselves away from the TV and couch), it’s a bit stiff sitting across from each other. The round table is awesome – only as close as you care to be.

Oak Table

This is the first time we have had room for a table since moving to Washington, so we have been putting a lot of thought into what we wanted.  I knew a solid Oak table was expensive but I also knew you can get them quite frequently for free on Craigslists. The only problem was (and I have this problem quite often) that I wanted it at that very moment. So, when we found an oak table to Goodwillys for $65 and talked them down to $50… SOLD. I had done quite a bit of research on how to sand and stain/paint an oak table and learned that Oak tables love to absorb stain. So I made sure I had enough stain and and all my supplies before I began my project. I knew I wanted the top to be sanded a dark walnut and the bottom to be white.

Oak Table Before

I rolled the table top outside and brought the leaf  along to refinish at the same time. The table had a bit of marker on it and general nastiness that I was glad to bid ado.  I used my rotary sander and my drexel tool to get into the crevices. After the entire top surface and the lip had been sanded, I wiped of the excess sanding dust and let it dry in the sun.

Table Before Sanding

A bit of marker about to meet it’s enemy the sander.

TableAfterSanding

Ready for some conditioning.

TableAfterSanding2

The worst part was over! Now onto the coloring magic. BUT WAIT! I wanted this to be a quality piece which meant I needed to condition the wood first! I knew I wanted to get down to the fun part, but I also knew I didn’t want to do this entire process again.

I applied the wood conditioning treatment just like you do stain. It didn’t smell like something I should have been breathing in, so I was happy I only needed to apply one coat.

TableRemodelAfterWoodConditioning

After letting the conditioning soak in and dry, I excitedly jumped into staining. I had chosen Dark Walnut for this project and I threw on the first coat.

TableOneCoat

It seemed so light! I knew after the first coat that I would need to apply nearly 6 coats to achieve the dark nuttyness I wanted. I threw on the second coat after the first had dried.

First coat on the Left and second coat on the Right

First coat on the Left and second coat on the Right

And after the second coat, I threw on the third coat…

Table3CoatsThe table was becoming darker, but it wasn’t absorbing the rich dark brown I had hoped for. And like any professional painter, I decided now was a great time to mix my stains. I gathered a can of Kona stain from the basement and mixed it with the Dark Walnut and without looking back, I put on a coat.

TableRemodelKonaAnd hope slowly resurfaced in my mixture of Kona and Dark Walnut which we will now call Dr. Walona. I wasn’t so sure that I needed two coats of Dr. Walona, so I let the first coat dry and then headed onto another round of Dark Walnut. It was getting late and I wasn’t sure how dark it would dry, so after 4 coats of Dark Walnut and one coat of Dr. Walona, I went to bed and anxiously awoke to this:

TableRemodelMorninganad I was OK with it! It had dried very evenly and I loved the wood grain. The color was on par. I knew I wanted it a bit darker, so I did one more coat of Dr. Walona and then moved onto the sealant. The wood sealant was all it needed. It was finally the perfect shade of Dr. Walona.

TableFinished2

TableFinished4

TableFinished5

TableComplete

TableArch

“It’s not rich mahogany, but it will do.”

TableFinished

It was finally done! Well…..Almost done:

TableNOTFinishedI still have to finish the bottom. And yes, if you’re thinking that sanding into the angles of the beautifully articulate base is hindering me, than yes, you are exactly correct. I’m thinking I may just prime it and paint it white… someday. For now, we are enjoying our table top and sitting however far or close to each other we like.

Just a reminder:

A BEFORE

Oak Table And AFTER

TableFinished5

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DIY Hutch From a Bookshelf (Welcome 2013)

Guess who’s back????
I’ve taken a much needed social media break beginning early November and have had time to collect myself, re-connect with my offline social life, and gather direction for the new year!

My holiday season was wonderful, spent with those dearest to me. I dropped a rather large DIY-bomb on my family for Christmas in the form of their Christmas presents! It involved quite a few  profile pictures, and fabric paint and sewing! That blog post coming….. soon.

My NYE was spent with my BFF in Montana and my birthday (all too close to the holidays) was spent back in Seattle with my farm family and husband. What a great start to the New Year!

I ended up starting to gather my supplies for a project before Christmas, but had to put it on hold to make time to finish my DIY-bomb that I before mentioned. I had been pining for a hutch-something colorful, rustic, and with a vintage flare and I knew it must have chicken-wire doors! After many searches online, I thought I could make one. If  you’ve heard of Anna White, or visited her amazing site, you would be feeling just as empowered as I was. I decided to take a reality check and start with a smaller project. I decided to find a decent shelf, add the doors and then paint it to my liking.

I found this really simple shelf on Craigslist. I’m almost positive someone else made it by hand, re-using the wood, as a lot of the pieces have nail holes. Either way, it fit the bill; a little rustic, a shelf, an vintage -er- used flare.

photo

My husband ( I need to think of a code-name for him) and his BFF from high school who was visiting from San Diego, made simple door frames.

photo (1)

After the door frames were attached, we sanded away until they fit together with less friction. I didn’t sand them down to a perfect fit, but after staining them, they miraculously fit together perfectly. My guess? The wood absorbed the stain and shrunk a bit. After the doors were stained, I attached the chicken wire with a staple gun and then stained the shelf exterior.


photo (2)

We attached the doors and stood back to admire! We are only half way done with this project and have plans to paint the interior, except…. we can’t decide on a color. I think a glossy white and my husband agrees, but suggested we paint the back of the shelf a pop color! Baby steps…

photo (3)Until we make a decision… it will remain with the original interior, that I actually sort of like. It definitely fits the rustic theme.

Any suggestions on interior colors? Pantone color of the year?

~cg

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