The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo? My housemate came home with this book, which is funny because she and her boyfriend have a really tidy studio apartment. My husband and I both picked it up and gave it a quick read. As we read, we kept saying things like, "Yes! This is it!" and "Wow, I never thought of it that way," and "This makes so much sense!"

Kondo's book is the real deal. If you want to change the way you interact with your home, if you want to improve your relationships with the people you live with, if you want to feel more confident about your decisions or if you want to feel more joyful about who you are and how you live, then this little book is for you. It's sort of like coconut oil - you can use it for everything.


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I love purging. As most of you know I'm in the process of re-tooling my wardrobe. This weekend, I had a closet sale and sold about half of my clothing, shoes and accessories. Then I donated another 20 percent. I have about 30 more pieces that are heading to a plus size consignment shop this week. I have successfully decreased the contents of my closet by 70 percent. How did I do this? By asking myself a really simple question: What do I really want to wear?

The most useful part of Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is this one mantra: Does it spark joy? This is the question you must ask yourself when trying to decide whether to keep or discard and item. What do I really want to wear? and Does it spark joy? are sort of the same question for me. Once I got real about which clothing items made me feel joyful, tossing stuff was easy. I still have a little work to do, but I'm feeling more confident that ever about my ability to simplify my closet.



Book Review | The Life Organizer

Remember when you made your New Year's Resolutions 6 weeks ago? Remember when you wrote, "Be more organized"? Remember when you wrote "Make time for self care"?  If you'd like a little boost to help you reconnect with your goals, this book might be for you.

I am usually a pretty organized person, but over the past few weeks, The Life Organizer: A Woman's Guide to a Mindful Year by Jennifer Lauden has helped me put some of my expectations in perspective. Unlike some of the more rigid, linear GET ORGANIZED! books I've read, this book is slower, more intuitive and ultimately more effective at putting your real needs in a priority position. There are some portions of the book that didn't necessarily apply to my situation, however, Louden's overall premise and her upbeat take on decision making and mindfulness is refreshing. Her book has lots to offer any woman seeking a clear path towards intentional living.





From the publisher: 

We all yearn to have time for personal needs and creative dreams -- after all, this is our life to make the most of. And we all know how hard it is to remember what really matters. With distractions from jobs, aging parents, and children -- not to mention women's perennial fear of being labeled “selfish” -- following our own desires and dreams can become ever more elusive. The Life Organizer aims to help you shift your focus, augmenting traditional goal setting with the ease that comes from steady inner listening and mindfulness. It will become your trusted companion -- and maybe the most important book you'll ever own.

The book's author Jennifer Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement. She is widely known as The Comfort Queen thanks to her first bestselling book The Woman's Comfort Book, has been interviewed by Oprah, and has written a total of 6 books on well-being and whole living that have inspired women all over the world. She believes self-love + world-love = wholeness for all. You can visit her online at www.jenniferlouden.com.


Art Storage Ideas

The art is piling up around here.  If any of you artists out there have ideas for me about how to store my artwork (canvases and paper), then let me know!  It's everywhere!





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Love this hall closet transformed into art shelving!


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The Art Studio of Cara Livermore

Cara Livermore is an artist who sells her beautiful wares at SewIndieShop on Etsy.  Her studio was featured a while back on the Etsy blog but I wanted to share it here as well. Her studio is located on the third floor of an old home in Rochester, NY. When asked why she needed to create a studio for herself, Cara says, "I finally decided that I needed to live my life the way I always wanted to; I needed to make art full time or I wouldn’t be happy."  Read the full article HERE.





You can also find Cara on Pinterest or at her home site, HERE.

Floor to Ceiling Art

Today I'm loving the look of art hung from floor to ceiling.  I have always been told to hang art where people can view it best.  But these days, I've got so much art I want to hang up that I'm running out of eye level spots.  I'm considering taking our gallery wall in the dining room from the floor to the ceiling. 

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Pantry Jars From IKEA

Remember this post from two weeks ago?  
Oh, and this one too.


I recently embarked on a weight loss plan that involves eating mostly plant based and raw foods.  This, as you can imagine, has completely shifted my needs in the kitchen and pantry.  Most of the meals I'm preparing call for fruits, veggies, raw seeds and nuts.  And when my pantry is in shambles, clouded with lots of processed canned food, its hard to find what I'm looking for.  Enter IKEA with their inexpensive and awesome pantry jars.




My pantry (and life) are still in transition as I shift from my normal American diet to a mostly raw eating plan, but my hope is that my pantry and kitchen will soon reflect my new diet.  Its a slow process, but getting my dry goods organized and labeled is a big first step. 



Ta da!

Reorganizing my Pantry

I have an enormous task ahead of me.  As many of you know, I started a weight loss program / journey this summer.   I'm cataloging my process on a blog called Smaller Sarah.  One of the components of my weight loss is a huge shift in my diet.  This shift has also signaled a need to re-organize and re-categorize my kitchen, Inglis refrigerator and pantry.  I've been putting it off now for over a month, using Charlie's surgery as an excuse to sit back and ignore the mounting chore of sifting through the old food and creating a healthy detoxed pantry.  So today, I'm taking the first step, which for me is to get inspired by the anal-ness of others.  Let's do a little pantry-gawking, shall we?

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A Pretty Mess

For me, organization is is usually about creating a pretty mess.  Organization demands that I take something in a state chaos and create accessibility rather than order.  If I can get at it quickly, then I consider it organized.  If it's buried and I can't lay hands on it, then its time to clean up.  Both of the spaces below are very different in style and level of organization, but I still consider them to be a pretty, well organized mess.  I think they're lovely.

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Just FYI - I've recently been browsing Reader's Digest (of all places) for home decorating ideas.  They've got all sorts of sweet organization ideas and tips for getting everyday household items to serve double duty.  It might help me out as I get my office in order.

The Home as Studio

The photo below of John Lennon and Yoko Ono quietly writing together in a communal space got me thinking about transitional rooms that provide a haven for creative pursuits.  When designing my own home, it is my goal that almost every room be at the ready for a painting project, journal entry, quiet reading or some other creative endeavour.  I love when rooms call out for creative play and thoughtful art. 


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Organizing my Closet

My mother told me to never air my dirty laundry in public.  I usually always do as my mother tells me, but now its time to fess up.  Up until now, my closet, which I share with my husband, has been a big cluttered, jumbled mess.  Although its a small walk-in closet, there is plenty of space for the two of us. We're simply not taking advantage of the real estate available.  After piling clothes and shoes around the closet for weeks, we decided to make a shift.  We needed to re-organize.  We emptied the closet, separated our clothing into "keep" and "donate" bins, purchased a few organizational tools and put it all back together again.  Here are the results!

BEFORE: My side

AFTER: Hubby's side

BEFORE: Hubby's side

AFTER: My side

Switching sides made sense.  I have more clothing and could utilize the double bars.  Hubby had shoes all over the floor and needed a second shelf on which to store them.  I also went through the mish mash of stuff on the top shelf and stored it all properly in bins from IKEA. The bins have little peek-a-boo windows that allow to see the contents: sweaters, rarely worn coats, heirloom baby clothes, hand bags and hats.

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AFTER

We also wanted to unify the storage for our center shelving unit so I grabbed a few wood boxes from the Container Store.  I needed to maximize hanging space so I also picked up some space saving hangers.  This made a HUGE difference!

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE: My side

AFTER: Hubby's side

BEFORE

AFTER

See, bohemians can be organized too!

Vintage Glass and Such

I'm a sucker for collections of vintage glass bottles, hurricanes, jars, vases and such.  I especially love the idea of using them as displays for photos as seen in these first two photos.  Such a sweet idea.  This would be a lovely way to decorate your holiday mantle.  Imagine garlands, shiny ornaments and pillar candles laced in and out of glass bottles containing family photos.  I think it would be beautiful!

Apartment Therapy
Shima Studios
Hans Blomquist
via One Day I Saw
via One Day I Saw
via Design Sprout
via Remodelista

P.S.  Don't forget about this week's giveaway from Formosa Designs! 
The contest ends on Friday, Nov. 5th 9pm EST!

André Derain's Studio

The photos below are of André Derain's studio in Chambourcy, France as he left it in 1954. I am entranced with his studio space and thought I might share it here. I find the light quality and the room's green washed walls mesmerizing. The room is chalked full of exotic and domestic objects - all beautiful to behold but somewhat lost in the scatter of a creative process. Hope you enjoy!




Above: The Artist and His Family, 1939.

Photos scanned from Artist's Houses by Gerard-Georges Lemaire