Home Organization Magic

2 Apr photo 2
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Game changer!

Take most of what you know about the home organizing process and toss it out with your huge pile of donations. Marie Kondo has arrived on the Western front and her book has completely blown my mind.  “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” will do just that.  Change. Your. Life. By focusing on keeping only the things in our lives that “spark joy”, Marie Kondo has streamlined the organization process and taken guilt and the what if’s out of the equation. Life is too short to be burdened with clutter that we hold onto “just because”.  Here are a few of the major take-aways from the KonMari method:

1) Storage space is NOT the issue. Stuff is.

Get rid of anything that does not spark joy when you pick it up. Using this question as your only evaluation criteria truly does make the process go more quickly. I was surprised at how much I was able to let go of that I had been hanging onto for “someday”.  And it felt REALLY good. You probably do have enough space, you just aren’t using it efficiently and you have too much stuff. Folding things properly and turning things to be stored vertically is a game changer according to Kondo. I have found this to be true as well.

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2) Purge by category, not by room.

This was a totally new perspective for me. I have always thought of any organizing or re-arranging project by room. Marie Kondo encourages one to start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, miscellaneous, and finally, mementos. In her method, you collect every item from that category, in one place, before starting the purge. Imagine having all your clothes in piles on your bed from tops, pants,  and sweaters to winter coats and swimwear. Once I pulled out all of my clothes from very corner of my house, I was surprised by how much I actually had, and I am not a clothes-horse. I got rid of 13 bags of clothing. I did the same with books and magazines, keeping only the ones I truly love or enjoy.

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I had two tubs and a suitcase full of clothes in the basement.


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The contents of the dresser, closet, storage tubs and suitcase.

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Sayonara, unjoyful clothes! Thank you for your service. May you make someone else happy now!


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Two boxes of magazines for recycling! (I did hang onto a few old Domino and Cottage Living issues because they still make me happy.)

3) You don’t need fancy custom storage solutions.

This was also new for me.  Whenever I tackled an organizing project in the past,  “shop” was my second to last step before putting things where they belonged. I would run out and grab more plastic tubs or baskets or bins. Marie Kondo insists that even shoe boxes and product packaging can be put into service corralling your belongings.  In my case, I already have lots of boxes and bins that, once I am done with this sorting process, will be empty and can either be re-used, or added to the donation pile.

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So, as I mentioned, I have conquered my clothing and books, and the next step is paper. Kondo says that we can and should get rid of almost all papers that we think we need to hold onto. For me, tackling this category is going to feel really good. I have spent lots of hours and money on filing systems and organizing solutions for the papers in my life. I am so looking forward to shredding them.

Practicing Marie Kondo’s method does take time, since it will only truly work if you go through the entire house, by category and subcategory: every junk drawer, every closet, every storage tub. The thing is, once you get started it’s sort of hard to stop. I’m already feeling a sense of weightlessness in my home, and its addicting. I just wish I had an entire week to myself to work on this without interruption. In reality, the process is going to take a while, but I’m motivated, so I’m confident that it will get done!


Dresser Makeover

31 Mar IMG_1655

The dresser that I’m using as a changing table was in a sad state when I spotted it at Goodwill.  The finish was yellowed and worn and some of the veneer was chipped. I loved its clean lined, mid-century style and could see that it was a solid, well-built piece.  Plus, it was only $14.99!!! Who could say no to that? I knew that I could uncover its true potential with just a bit of sanding and paint.

I had seen a painted/raw wood piece in West Elm that I loved, and used that for my inspiration. Sanding was the first step. Then I primed the body and painted it Behr’s Ultra Pure White in high gloss. The drawers got Minwax’s Pickled Oak stain, to give it a weathered, beachy vibe. The brass drawer pulls were beyond needing just a polish, so I spray painted them with Rusteolum’s Gloss White.

The final result is just the look I was after. It’s also the perfect size for all of Lucy’s baby changing needs, clothes, swaddling blankets, burp rags and crib sheets.

Nursery Reveal!

12 Mar IMG_1667

Well, this took long enough to write about!!! Baby Lucy was born on February 19th, healthy and happy.  Now that we are settling into our new normal, I have every intention of getting back into the blogging habit.  I figured I’d start it off with a bang!  Here are photos of Lucy’s nursery.

I left the pale aqua paint color on the walls and accented with hits of happy coral pink and various shades of soft peachy-pink. I’ll soon post more details of the specific projects, like the letters above the crib, the dresser revamp and the little side table project. I’ve also got a few more decor projects I want to tackle: a fabric flag garland, and crib bedding. Mainly, I just wanted to share this cheerful space, and the good news of Lucy’s arrival. Happy Spring everyone!

Simple Advent Wreath

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As a kid, every Christmas, my parents lit the candles on the Advent wreath each Sunday in December. I always thought it was so special and it left a lasting impression on me as an important part of our many Christmas rituals. Last year, I waited until the last minute to try and find a pre-made Advent wreath. As it turns out, they are almost impossible to find. This year, I thought ahead just a bit, and made one myself and the only thing I needed to purchase were the candles.

1. THE MATERIALS: I collected the following materials: four mismatched brass candlesticks (found at a second had store long ago), a glass pillar candle holder, a brass tray that I got at the Bainbridge Rotary Auction this summer, greens from the yard, a white pillar candle, crafting supplies for the tags, and purchased four white taper candles.


2. THE ASSEMBLY: So easy! The four brass candlesticks surround the glass pillar candle holder. Pop the candles in and arrange the greens artfully around the candle holders. I chose to make tags, naming the themes, using leftover card stock from the Advent Calendar project, but you could just as easily skip the tags. I went with the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, but there are lots of interpretations to personalize the way you want to celebrate Advent.

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3. THE RITUAL: We are choosing to light the candle of the week each night, and read a corresponding Bible passage, but this can also be done just once a week on a Sunday. I found this website to be very helpful in leading me in the right direction.

Taking part in this tradition is helping me to focus on the real reason for the season, reminding me to be grateful, count my blessings and that Christmas is truly a miraculous time of year! I hope this makes a similar, strong impression on my son, as it did on me so many years ago.

DIY Advent Calendar

4 Dec IMG_1134

I wanted to make counting down the days until Christmas special for my four-year-old son this year. I also wanted him to be involved in the crafting process somehow. There were lots of great ideas on Pinterest, and this is how we made our version of an advent calendar. This was assembled primarily with supplies I already had on hand.

1. THE CONCEPT: I knew I wanted to make numbered tags, and preferably hang them from a tree branch or cuttings from the yard, collected in a pot. I also wanted to do a mix of candies and activities on the back of each tag.

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2. THE CRAFTING: I used small white shipping tags, number stamps and a teal-colored chalk ink stamp pad for the numbers. Thomas did all the stamping, and it turned out to be a great counting activity for him. I cut slightly larger cards out of red, white and light turquoise card stock, rounded the corners, punched holes at the top and threaded twine to make the hang tags. On the back of each one, I taped either a Christmas chocolate or a fun Christmas activity like, “Write a letter to Santa”.

3. THE ASSEMBLY: I tried using cut laurel and small fir branches in a cache pot, but it looked awkward. Then a big wind storm came, and delivered the perfect sized Alder branch on my front lawn.  It has a sort of Dr. Seuss appeal, and I stuffed it into the cache pot with newspaper to steady it, and a bunch of Douglas fir cuttings. I hung the tags in a random order, so the tree won’t look naked as we pull off the tags.

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We love the way it turned out.  My goal was to make something we could use again every year, and while we will ditch the branches, at least we can recycle the tags. Next year, I’ll add a string of tiny white lights to the branch, to make it even more festive!


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