Decluttering My Life

While putting away laundry a few weeks ago, I could barely close the linen closet door, it was just that full. I stood there, looking at the sheets, towels, blankets, extra pillows... There were even a few Space Bags suctioned full of unused blankets, old drapes, shower curtains. How did it get this bad?

I was completely embarrassed of what I had become! I typically pride myself with not holding on to things that I don't need or want, being super organized and knowing what I have and where it all goes. But over the last few years of moving across the country, getting married, having two kids, my organized nature has apparently gone down the drain.

And so I stood there, looking into the closet, in complete shock that I couldn't even close the door without breaking a sweat. And to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg is an understatement. Have you seen our garage??!! I like to blame that one on my husband, but I know the accumulation of "stuff" and disorganization lies on my shoulders, too.

I decided that something needed to be done. As it just so happened, I had heard of a little "miracle" book on a few different websites and thought I should get it. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Deculttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo, is amazing! It's the shortest, quickest read and breaks down all of your accumulated stuff into two categories, 1. Does it bring me joy? Yes! Keep it, or 2. Nope, get rid of it. It really is as simple as that. The major shift in why Kondo's method works while others don't is in the process. She has a very strict order in which you should go through each category of "stuff" (see the above picture, I'm not kidding!), not the typical room-by-room approach.

The KonMari method has a particular way to fold shirts, socks, how to hang clothes in your closet, the list goes on. All of it is to make sure that you can see and know everything you have.

This is my first foray into folding socks the KonMari way. I've been folding my socks into a ball for years, thinking it was the best space-saving way to store them. But, of course, I can't see or access all of the balled socks and never wear half of them. Time to clean up and out! The above socks met the "sweet spot" standard of standing up on their end, meaning they're folded appropriately. Yea!

I found a video by Lavendaire on YouTube that is absolutely perfect for a shirt-folding demo.It put me into a trance it was so awesome!

And since I haven't tackled my closet yet, I thought I'd share a great picture of how it should end up. I'll have to let you know when mine eventually gets like this!

Beautifully organized, right?!  Source

Beautifully organized, right?! Source

While I haven't used this method outside of the linen closet as yet (right there I broke the rules by not starting with clothing), I am so excited to get it going! I do have to remind myself that the process won't be completed overnight, it takes time to go through every item you own. I'm super impatient when I want to get something done, but at least I've started.

Succulent Update

And now for a quick update on my succulents. They're doing great! I couldn't be happier with their happiness, so to speak. They're loving being re-potted into bigger pots and there is tons of new growth. I only water them about once every week and a half - just the kind of watering schedule I love! Hopefully this isn't just luck and they keep hanging in there.

Winter Reading List - Design Edition

I love reading about design, looking at pictures of beautiful rooms and before-and-afters, seeing what other designers are doing and what the current trends are.

I'm also a design magazine fanatic, subscribing to at least 4 different ones at any given time - right now my favorites are Architectural Digest (who doesn't love this one?),  Elle DecorHouse Beautiful, and Traditional Home. They all have something different to say and come from different perspectives. 

What I've recently become is a design book hoarder. Since starting my blog I've wanted to make sure I was "in the know" about what was out there, design-wise. So I started picking up books online, in design stores, everywhere. The good thing is, I'm actually reading them!

So just in time for the holidays and gift-giving for the design lover in your life, I've put together a book review of the last 3 books I've read: The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith; Design Bloggers at Home, by Ellie Tennant; and Flea Market Fabulous, by Lara Spencer.

Image Source:  Amazon.com

Image Source: Amazon.com

The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith

A tremendously enjoyable read. Having two small children, I hardly get a chance to read anymore, but I finished this book in 3 days - I couldn't put it down! I didn't believe a design book could make me laugh, cry, and be utterly inspired, but The Nesting Place did just that. Myquillyn Smith made me rethink my home, appreciate what I have, not what I "should" have. She perfectly describes how design is shaped by life and our own mindset, with touching personal stories that can relate to everyone's situation. The photos are beautiful, with perfectly organized "staged" photos along side "reality", the same space in daily use - a wonderful contrast that drives home the point that design does not have to be perfect to make you feel at home. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in design!

Image Source:  SF Girl By Bay

Image Source: SF Girl By Bay

Design Bloggers at Home, by Ellie Tennant

Ellie Tennant has put in a tremendous amount of effort traveling the globe to visit 12 design bloggers in their homes and photograph their spaces. She's cleverly come up with five different design categories and grouped the like-design bloggers together, which lends a very nice flow to the book. Ellie has given each designer a concise run-down of their styling, what their backgrounds are, where they've gotten inspiration from. There is a plethora of pictures for each home, each picture having a description either directly quoted from the blogger him/herself or an informative description that Ellie has written. At the end of each blogger's section there is a list of their favorite websites and shops, even their top blogging tips. The last chapter of the book is dedicated to how to create your own blog, which is really useful to me at this stage in the game. My favorite blogger in the book is Jonathan Lo of happymundane.com - great use of color, a mid-century vibe, with an eclectic mix of accessories and amazing DIY projects that look like a million bucks! This is a very quick and easy read that has great style and blogging tips from the top bloggers across the globe! A definite must-read for any aspiring blogger out there.

Image Source:  Amazon.com

Image Source: Amazon.com

Flea Market Fabulous, by Lara Spencer

This book is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, and clearly it's because Lara Spencer has a show on HGTV. While the pictures are colorful and there are some beautiful before-and-afters (particularly her own NYC studio make-over), this was the hardest book to finish. I kept starting it and putting it down for weeks - and that's saying something of a book that is mostly pictures.
The book reads very much like an HGTV show, some stunning flea market transformations, great visuals with the pictures, but there was a lack of substance. There were a handful of interesting tips about various flea markets in the North East (NY, CT, and MA) and what to look for in your own flea market search, but not enough to really guide the everyday hunter to find that diamond in the rough. And with each room transformation, Lara has a team of people working with/for her. If you were to attempt any number of the projects she describes it would take a tremendous amount of effort and time that may or may not be worth it, if you're trying to save money by going the flea market route. On the whole it was visually pleasing, but I'm somewhat sorry I spent the money to buy the book. I could have spent my time reading the other books I've got on my own to-read list. Oh well, better luck next time.

I hope these reviews are helpful in your own design book search. As I get through the rest of the books I've been collecting I'll have another book review for you all. In the mean time, Happy Reading!