Declutteringgggg! (can you tell that I love it?)
Last spring we created a 6 bags in 6 weeks decluttering challenge for you, complete with videos and cute checklists! If you'd like to play the #6in6, you can start the game HERE. If you played last year, you can certainly play again!
We here at Tidy Fairy, along with Marie Kondo, Francine Jay, and a myriad of other home organization professionals and enthusiasts agree: *The* place to start when reorganizing your home is with decluttering.
Yes, that means purging. An easier way to think of it is that you are going to pick the BEST stuff out of what you already have. You are shopping your own closet. You are treasure hunting in your own home. As Francine Jay puts it "...think of it as deciding what to keep, rather than what to throw away."
Marie Kondo advises that you work one catagory at a time, staring with clothes. While we love the Konmari method and agree that this method is the most thorough and likely to prevent relapse, it can be quite time intensive. And sometimes, you just really need to be able to park your car in the crowded garage, or be able to see and reach all of your clothes in an overstuffed closet, or to rearrange your bathroom products so you can see what you have and stop buying duplicates. Sometimes one particular area of your house has become, for you, an emergency clutter situation that needs to be solved ASAP. We get that. Plus, it can be great motivation to continue if you get to see the immediate rewards of totally decluttering and reorganizing one specific space.
Whichever way you choose to start your tidy journey this spring, here are a few decluttering tips!
Let us know how it goes! You can tag us on instagram (@tidyfairyla), or #6in6, or leave a comment here! And if you need help, schedule a consultation with us here!
Bobby had his kitchen renovated and needed the final step - organization! What is the point, after all, of spending precious resources to refinish your kitchen only to struggle with space allocation? We were so excited to make it easy to use and picture perfect.
Bobby's culling in the kitchen mostly had to do with glassware. We are fine with and even encourage breaking up sets. If you don't need all 10 glasses, don't keep them! Space is precious.
We believe in grouping like items for best storage, with the exception of items you would especially like to display. So for example, those plates should be with the other plates! We also like for display areas like shelves to be arranged particularly for viewing!
We believe in grouping like items for best storage, with the exception of items you would especially like to display.
After decluttering all the dishes, kitchen implements, pantry items and under the sink, we were able to rearrange everything in a way that is both best use and most attractive!
Drawers and Cabinets
The insides of the cabinets and drawers were spacious, but not efficiently assigned.
The new drawers were luckily spacious enough for vertical storage, but still needed some rearranging.
After sorting the drawers, my favorite part is rearranging the counters! In general, lower counters are for food preparation, not display. Best use is always our focus. See below, Bobby's counters are not overly cluttered, but could be more efficient and attractively arranged.
Best use is always our focus.
Tips and Tricks
A few of our little tricks!
A note on "tupperware"
Big secret/no secret I hate the stuff lol. There is something about plastic that is just unwieldy and disobedient. It's always falling and flying around when least wanted! Now I understand the convenience, especially with children, but if you really want to step up your kitchen organization, losing the plastic can go a long way. I recommend stainless steel and silicone as replacements, along with good solid glass Pyrex style containers.
Making a change like this not only gets rid of the plastic, which in many cases is not food safe for as long as you think (your mother's Tupperware needs to be thrown. away. by. the. way.) BUT taking the time to do it means you will be thinking hard about what you REALLY need.
I also like simple mason jars as food storage alternatives, and they are cheap. If you want to learn more about getting rid of plastic in the kitchen check out this other post on it!
What to do with "tupperware" then?
Sorry bout it, can't be donated! In most cases it can be recycled, but there are many Tidy Fairy approved ways to keep it! See below a couple of ways we have used old tupperware to organize the kitchen.
Kitchen Tidy Complete!
In one afternoon we transformed Bobby's frustrating kitchen to one that is beautiful and easy to use. Do some of these solutions work for you too? We'd love to hear about it! Comment here or check us out on Facebook and Instagram!
Or give us a call! Text or leave a message with 323-736-2594!
We can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ;)
Moving to a new apartment, especially when you're combining households for the first time, is a great opportunity and motivation to tidy! Emily and Scott are both fairly minimalist in every way but one: books! They had a lot, and only one bookshelf. The bookshelf was overflowing and looked as uncomfortable as if it had eaten too much for Thanksgiving! (Like that fall flavored analogy?! It's the second day of Fall!)
Go through everything as a couple
It's not totally necessary, but when partners tidy together successfully, they share a sense of accomplishment and get to see firsthand the sacrifices that they make for one another. This is one of the times that having a tidy coach like us (!) can make a big difference, because it keeps everyone on track and on their best behavior :)
To answer his question, yes, people buy books. But they don't pay a great deal for used books, so it's up to you whether you want to spend your time and energy trying to sell them. My recommendation, short of having collectibles or signed copies, is to put the books in the apartment lobby with a "Free Books" sign. Then take the remainders to a donation spot. This will save you having to lug ALL of the books.
Tips for Discarding Books
Here are a few easy discards:
Consider Each Shelf a Display Case
As their tidy coach, I reconstructed the newly decluttered bookshelf with display in mind. I separated their collections so each shelf is now grouped by category of book: Scott's books are on one shelf with his memorabilia, and since Emily had more books, I grouped them by topic. Political books, plays, and biographies are grouped accordingly. I also left breathing room on each shelf for memorabilia and photos.
Use Books as Bookends
To create variety and more easily separate topics, I used stacked books as bookends. This can also be done as a temporary measure until you have bookends you like, so there is no need to buy something as a quick fix.
Remove Dust Covers When Possible
When Emily saw her Renoir book displayed, she said:
"Oh! Did we have another Renoir book?"
Nope, I just removed the dust jacket!
"That book has been under there the whole time?!"
Often books have a beautiful hardcover. See what you think! The only book I have ever regretted removing the dustcover was a white, cloth art book. That book DOES collect dust. But most books are fine without the cover and are much more attractive.
This kind of stand-up display is a good solution for lightweight books that are wider than the bookshelf.
In the end, there was plenty of room for the books AND memorabilia AND space to grow their collection. A win all around!
Tell us about your books!
Are books your particular bugaboo? Do they feel like old friends or finger-wagging teachers? Which are the ones that are most difficult to part with?
Comment below on our open comment section, or talk to us on our Facebook page, or on Instagram (tag @TidyFairyLA)!
As I've mentioned previously, the changing of seasons is a great reason to do a tidy! Tidying is not only about decluttering and simplyfing your home - it's a journey toward yourself. As you discard the old and the excess, who you are today emerges. How fun is that?! So as the leaves fall and the pumpkin-spiced-everything's grow, I encourage you to go on a tidying mission to build your ideal hygee season! Here are a couple of ideas to get you going!
Do you have any pieces of fall-specific decor that you just don't feel like putting out this year? When you actually get the things out and touch them, do they spark joy? Or do they look sad or leave you feeling guilty or uninspired? It is time for those things to depart from your home! Give them to friends, donate them, what have you. But they are evicted!
I hope these handful of ideas have got you inspired to shed the past and welcome this brand new fall! Share your fall tidies with us on our Facebook page, or on Instagram (tag #TidyFairy)! And if you need help, just reach out to us! We're here to help on your journey to a clutter free and supportive home!
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!
Talk to us!
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 ;)
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!
Vacation season is in full swing!
And that can be a great opportunity to quickly asses your relationship with your "summer specific" items, and let go of those things that aren't helping you live the summer life of your dreams!
Here are five quick things to scan this week to help keep summer tidy:
Also also, because I can't resist, not everything has to be gear! For most of your summer adventures, the clothes you have in your closet will do just fine. Try to avoid accumulating special activity clothes that you don't actually need. Work with the lovely stuff you've already got first!
Okay, I'm really done.
Back to summer loving and having a blast and all that jazz.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by your summer gear, or can't make it through your closet to pack for that dream trip, let us help! Email us at email@example.com, message us on Facebook, or shoot us a text at (323) 736 - 2594!
Less stuff; more summer!
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!
I have been obsessing over the best way to fill a suitcase since I was a freshman in college. After traveling overseas with two large suitcases that I could barely get on the Tube (that's some fancy London speak for you), I knew there had to be another way. While my favorite method of folding clothes vertically helps quite a bit, knowing how to streamline the items is essential.
Here's what I took with me on a recent trip home for one week!
Wear On the Plane
Tips here are to wear your bulkiest items, especially shoes, and your most comfortable items! I like to ball up my jacket once I am on the plane to use as a pillow. I also like to take a lightweight scarf that can be spread out into a mini blanket.
Wear on the Plane
1 long blouse
1 pair leggings
1 pair boots
1 denim jacket
1 grey hoodie
1 light cotton scarf
In Your Personal Item
One of the best things about getting to know yourself is that you can carry less on a plane! What are you really going to do for those three hours? Be honest now! Are you going to sleep, watch a movie, or are you really going to get allllll that work done? I have found that once I admitted to myself that I will not get work done - that the best I can expect is to read a memoir or journal - I streamlined what I need beneath my feet. I take my Kindle, journal, and my Chromebook (to protect it), but those are all super lightweight. And that's it!
The purse I carry is usually one that is soft (not rigid), durable, and can hold quite a bit when filled.
Have in Purse
Passport (just in case!)
Kindle (with books loaded!)
Snack (usually a Larabar and chocolate!)
On this week long trip I was attending three special moments - a baby’s birth, a Mother’s Day lunch, and a Graduation! It was a summer trip, but there was PLENTY of room left in my suitcase had the clothing been bulkier.
First we have one suitcase, blue, bought the night before. As a newly minted minimalist, I rock the carry-on only. (It is not in excess of the American Airlines standard of 22 x 14 x 9 in.) This saves time at the airport AND money!
So what's in the suitcase?
Here's the goods, in all the gory details!
I believe in taking one of everything. I bet you didn't expect that! This is mostly because I have a mental block when it comes to imagining other weather, but also because as a small young woman I am ALWAYS cold. At the same time? I HATE to be hot! Taking one of each type of clothing (within reason) means I always have SOMETHING to wear when I encounter an adverse temperature. Layering is my friend! It also helps for unexpected activities. ("You want to walk by the river? Sure just let me grab my casual sneaks!)
I also believe in the accessories rule of packing. Usually with accessories it's "get dressed and then take one accessory off." With packing I decide how many outfits I need and then remove one. I also like to wear separates for events rather than dresses. This way you can re-purpose them into new outfits during the trip!
Finally, ask yourself a few questions about your destination. Can you do laundry? If so, that should cut your packing in half. Also, will there be a hair dryer? It's worth the time to call ahead and find out! This also goes for things I use as toiletries, like apple cider vinegar and baking soda, which can be easily purchased and left behind.
1 coral pink accordion pleated skirt
1 pair pajama pants
1 pair jeans
2 neutral off the collarbone tops
2 pair shorts (one fun, one neutral)
2 graphic t-shirts
2 neutral tank tops
5 pair underwear
1 pair sandals
1 pair keds-style casual sneakers
2 gold necklaces for layering
1 pair gold heart earrings
1 baby gift (picked something from the registry that was lightweight and foldable!)
1 Mother’s Day card (purchased a lunch as a gift)
1 Graduation Day card (purchased a gift once I arrived)
Jojoba Oil (multi-use)
Vitamins and Supplements
Notes for traveling with a full carry-on through security:
Bars of soap and razors will get flagged, as well as jars even if they don't have liquid. You will save time by putting those items in bins going through the scanner rather than having them packed in your suitcase.