Today's is a very simple post, something I shared on our Instagram Story that could be helpful for many! The scary dungeon of under the kitchen sink! Doesn't have to be scary.
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In California we don't get big temperature changes, so I have felt more compelled than ever to have my surroundings reflect the season. This is different than holiday decorating for me. It's more about feeling clean and released for Spring/Summer and cozy and comfortable for Fall/Winter. Here are some ways you can do that without breaking the bank.
Now that I have less stuff, I have more than enough space in cabinets for a seasonal item or two. One of the easiest rotations I have done this year is with my statement color dishtowels. I COULD use all of them all year round, but having a season for them has been really enjoyable! They are also super reasonable in terms of storage space when not in use.
Not all of my dishtowels suggest a season, but these are the ones that do.
Repurpose a scarf or other textile
Scarves and blankets can be repurposed during the fall/winter to drape over furniture - tables, backs of couches, arms of chairs - and give them a cozy feel. Best of all, they can easily be thrown in the wash.
We always feel tempted to fill that empty space, right? But sometimes removing one seasonal item doesn't mean you have to replace it with something else. Here, I removed this pink pillow that is very spring/summer to me, and filled the space by rearranging the remaining pillows.
Around Christmas, I may put a holiday pillow in the middle, but in the meantime no one is gonna die.
Add a Little Rug
With the exception of the sheepskin above and another tiny one for meditating, I don't have a lot of rugs in my home. I just don't like cleaning them. I even keep my bathmat slung over the tub. I don't live in a cold climate, it's fine. I made a decision pretty early on that they aren't important to me.
HOWEVER, World Market et al have very cute 2x3 rag rugs for $17 and they can easily be thrown in a cold washing machine. You can place them in about a million different ways to bring warmth and color to a room.
Consider the rest of your environment
I would feel lax as an anti-consumerist if I didn't list other ways to enjoy the seasons! These are all a part of the environment but are disposable.
What's your magic?
Tell us about your seasonal traditions on the Instagram @tidyfairyla or go to our page on Facebook to share your own tips and tricks!
A couple of years ago I read Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and it truly did change my life. She is the gold standard for these books for a reason. She makes minimalism simple and relatable. Does the item "spark joy"? If so keep it, if not get rid of it!
It is even a minimal process!
Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki takes things a step further, saying even if something DOES bring you joy, chuck it anyway lol. He is all about focusing on experiences, not items. He argues that items have outgrown their welcome.
Here are my favorite takeaways from his journey! All the quotes are from the book.
1. We don't have the mental capacity for our stuff
"I used to be a slow computer where you'd see the loading icon spinning on the screen for what seemed like an eternity...I lived in fear of my future, constantly worrying about my career and how others saw me."
I have often thought this. Our brains are 5,000 year old computers, and we can only keep track of so much. The more stuff we have, the more likely we are going to short circuit trying to manage it all. And the more fear we have about being able to manage it all in the future! What stress! Even if something sparks all the joy in the world - is it serving who you are today?
2. Your stuff owns you
"I suspect that when we're feeling lazy or unmotivated, it's either because our to-do list is too long or we're surrounded by so many menial tasks that we can't get around to doing what's important."
He mentions how the things in our space talk to us.
You see a sculpture, it says "Dust me," you see a blanket it says "Wash me," you see a fancy dress in the closet it says "Why don't you ever wear me?"
And this goes on and on, wearing us out!
3. A lot of your stuff is for other people
I am fortunate to live alone right now. So all of my stuff technically BELONGS to me. No confusion there. But how much of it is still FOR other people?
Sasaki points out :
"My feeling is that minimalists are people who know what's truly necessary for them versus what they may want for the sake of appearance, and they're not afraid to cut down on everything in the second category."
I'll say that again.
For the sake of appearance.
So much of decluttering is about being honest with yourself. What do I want for me? Am I keeping my dining room table so my house will look a certain way to others, or do I really want it??
4. Your stuff might be making you fat
"Many others have observed this effect by observing that when the things that have been stuck around you begin to move, your chi - the life force that flows through everything - will flow better and you will also slim down."
The idea that minimalism can lead to weight loss is one I have seen in more than one minimalist writing. Sasaki reports that he lost 22 lbs in his own journey from maximalist to minimalist. I can't help but notice that since I have started decluttering I HAVE found my ideal weight. And I am staying there with little to no effort.
I am going to attribute this to a few things:
But I also love his esoteric energy-centric view of it. When you (and your ancient brain) are literally holding onto things all the time, afraid to let go, it seems possible to me that we are unconsciously holding onto a lot more than things. We are locked in, holding onto bad habits as well, which could pertain to eating.
And more than that, we know that stress literally affects our metabolisms. Could it be the stress is not from your job or your family or your bad hair day, but from all the things in your way all day?
This is not something I have the answer to, but it is interesting all the same!
5. Less stuff means less fighting
"The more material possessions you have, the more energy you need to handle your everyday household chores. You become stressed, then frustrated, and you're likely to want to blame those who aren't eager to help out."
I agree with him so much! Next to money (which is often spent on things!), chores around the house can be one of the biggest sources of friction between couples. While everyone needs to be doing their fair share, what if there was less to do in general?
It's just a fact that the less you have, the more space you have for everything to have a specific home. When things have a specific home, the house doesn't get cluttered as long as everyone returns the item they just used.
Which is easier to do now because it has a real, unobstructed home!
Now all you have to do is vacuum relatively uncluttered floors and wipe down cleared countertops.
So much simpler!
Postscript: My Own Declutter!
I was inspired by the book and tried using Sasaki's idea that EVEN IF something sparks joy, what if you just don't need it? Actually?? This led to the deepest decluttering I have ever done.
I puttered around decluttering with the aim of really reducing for about a week and ended up discarding a lot! About 2-5 items from every category really adds up. Can you imagine all of this was just in the way!!!
Some of these things don't spark joy anymore, but some do. They just don't serve me as much as they could. I have started putting higher scrutiny (to borrow a term from the Supreme Court lol) on what gets to be in my living space.
Even if it sparks joy!
One example of something I discarded despite it sparking joy is this antique typewriter. It still sparks joy to see it, BUT it doesn't work, and when I bought it I thought it would. Also, it is taking up space where I could display my record player, which I would actually use if I could see it! My 5,000 year old brain cannot remember to play records if I can't see the player!
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Do you have just too much stuff to do the things you want to do? Are you willing to let go of something that sparks joy?? Let us know what you parted with on Instagram @tidyfairyla or follow our page on Facebook for scintillating conversation on tidying ;)
Dismal was exactly how my coat closet made me feel.
So one rainy day this past spring, fueled by caffeine and impulsivity, I decided not to stand for that any longer! $50-ish at Home Depot and a few hours later, I had a functional hallway coat closet that brought me much more joy!
Here's a video of that endeavor. I hope it reminds you that with a little time and elbow grease, you can improve the functionality of any part of your home!
Have you been up to any summer home improvement projects?
Share them with us on our Facebook page! And if you need a little help getting your summer tidy into gear, shoot us an email of give us a call! We'll make it a party! =)
Those who know me even marginally well (and plenty of strangers!) know that I have two cats whose welfare is never far from my mind. One of them is perfect, the other is spoiled rotten, but both of them are my angels and I'm always looking for ways to enrich their lives. As indoor only cats, they got a major upgrade when last year I moved into an apartment with a balcony I could enclose!
My goal was also to make it a space that I would be excited to use. Previous to enclosing it, I had to close the door against them in order to use the balcony. This made me feel like 1) I was not home and 2) I was not relaxed. They cried at the door constantly, and the space felt small and lonely. I ended up just filling it with stuff, never improving it, and never using it. Now that it is enclosed, I can leave the door open during the day and it has become an extension of my apartment! This is a huge win for a small space in the city!
There are a lot of designs on the internet for cat enclosures, but none that I really felt like sitting in. They all looked like cages! In designing this catio I took inspiration from aviaries, train station depots, Parisian balconies and just plain pretty, magical spaces. Below is a video walk through and also a more in-depth discussion of how it's put together. Anything like this takes a lot of imagination working with the space you have, and even more patience, but surprisingly little carpentry skill. I hope you enjoy seeing it!
The final space has a chair for me and a basket and floor scratcher for them! They also love just sitting on the rug. All the plants are non-toxic.
Watch a tour!
How. How? How!
I built most of the catio using two framed lattices, green garden wire, UV resistant cable ties, and various hardware for attaching everything to supports. There are also two support wires at the top along either side made of galvanized wire and turnbuckles that form the foundation for the little roof.
First, I bought two pre-framed lattices from Home Depot. Since they were too wide to put end to end, I allowed them to overlap a little in the middle. I attached them to the existing wooden fence. I made up for the gap behind the second one with a matching 1x1 piece of redwood that I had them cut to the right height. I used the extra piece from that post to attach to the original green post across from it that was not quite tall enough. They're not even but they're close enough. I bought cute little toppers to screw into the tops of both posts!
To build the walls, I stretched the green garden wire around the whole thing. I attached it to the black security rail with black cable ties, and to the wood post and the lattice with screw hooks, and then used cable ties to secure the wire to the screw hooks. In the places where I needed the cable ties to attach to the side of the house, I used little pieces of plastic hardware that are made for doing that with cable ties. I didn't know these things existed! This means cable ties can do ANYTHING.
To attach the curved top of the catio, I first strung two thin pieces of galvanized wire between two turn buckles on either side to act as the foundation. On the side with the lattice, the turnbuckles are attached to screw hooks to the lattice itself. On the side with the post, I attached one turnbuckle to the post, and one turnbuckle to the apartment wall.
Finally I attached the garden wire from wire to wire using cable ties. The garden wire comes in a roll, so it already has a curve to it. First, I attached it thinking that was going to be enough, but then I realized it would need to be reinforced. I got thin pieces of white vinyl (I think they're for flooring? not sure) and pushed them into place and attached them with cable ties also.
That's pretty much it! The shade pieces I made also. The larger one is nicer and I made it by stapling a piece of canvas drop cloth to a matching piece of redwood and screwing it into the lattice on one side. On the other side I used a cable tie to gather it and another cable tie to attach it to the support wire.
The smaller one I used a piece of linen and used cable ties to attach both ends to the support wires. That piece is mostly to shade a certain set of plants and I'll probably take it down in the winter.
That's all she wrote!
I love to find alternative uses for items. Here at TidyFairy we call it "shopping your house" to find the solution right at home! I wanted a place to sit down to do my makeup instead of doing it standing over the bathroom sink, but I love all the furniture (and floor space) in my bedroom. I knew I didn't want a whole new piece of furniture, but what to do?
Enter my wardrobe! I repaired and refinished this petite Victorian era wardrobe (as seen featured here on ApartmentTherapy!) and it's still one my favorite pieces of furniture.
But ever since I did my full Marie Kondo-style declutter of clothing, I had nothing in it! I had also neglected to refinish the inside, because when it was full of clothes, who cared?
A quick dry brush job with some left over white paint gave it a "no spiders in here" look in under an hour.
Then it was just a matter of outfitting the inside with the goods!
Hang a mirror with a 3-M hook and pull up a stool and we're good to go! I wrapped flowers in cotton twine and hung them to dry from the old fashioned clothes bar hooks to include every bit of the architecture in the finished product. They're also just so pretty!
I shopped my house for the organization goods, settling on two stacked milk crates and a DVD box with lid for the heavy lifting. Also re-purposed a handed down Glamour Girl planter from the 1960s, a mason jar, and tea cup to corral the makeup items. This can be a great way to put to use sentimental items. I also grabbed a small Whole Foods brown bag and folded down the edges as a used Q-tip wastebasket.
If you want to get really fancy, use a drill to secure the two crates together. You could also use a little cart or any number of "bathroom shelves" inside the wardrobe and get the same effect.
That's all she wrote! Do you have a creative place you get ready for the day? We'd love to hear about more space repurposing!
Today's post is the very first of our "House Hacks" videos, where we demonstrate little ways to make your house tidier that don't take much time!
This technique is the VERY FIRST thing I did on my tidying journey, after reading Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up." While I am not quite as precise as she is with the folding, inserting clothes into the drawers vertically has CHANGED MY LIFE. (She isn't kidding around with that title.) I like to call them my "serial killer" drawers because anyone who doesn't know the method would think I spent hours perfecting them. These drawers look beautiful and stay neat from laundry day to laundry day!
Have you tried this method? How did it go? Leave a comment here on the blog or on our Facebook page at TidyFairy!