Digest 7.27.18

Friday, July 27, 2018

Happy Friday! Here's a list of 10 things that have caught my eye recently, including the sweetest little 19th century house (above) and some thoughts about living a sustainable life. Enjoy!

This little house has me wanting to plan a trip to Beaufort, SC.

Alison and her adorable family on Cup of Jo!

A directory for the "ultimate cabin stays."

These are some ideas to steal in this studio renovated for a couple (though I would have kept the Murphy bed!)

The Tiffin Project. I wish my employer would do something like this in our cafeteria!

A zero-waste quilt kit.

Cast-iron care from one of my favorite bloggers.

This gorgeous (not small!) apartment is just down the street from me in Jackson Heights.

Love this air-drying rebellion.

And speaking of undies: Lingerie recycling.

One more thing: If you're looking for a way to help reunite families that have been separated at the border, you can donate here, to help cover travel costs for parents and children.

Entryway Details in Our Small Space

Friday, July 20, 2018

"The details are not the details. They make the design."
—Charles Eames

After a super-satisfying round of decluttering and finally getting the stroller out of our entryway (our son rarely uses it anymore), I realized our foyer needed some attention. A few purchases and a couple of tweaks have made things feel so much nicer, so I thought I'd share them here:

A designated landing spot for mail. I'm usually a straight-to-the-recycling bin person, but there are days when you've got arms full of groceries, so it's nice to have a spot to dump the stack and deal with it later.
Acrylic tray, $45; amazon.com

A place for shoes. We have proper shoe storage in our clothes closets, and we're not a shoes-off-at-all-times family, but still shoes seemed to gather here. Having an attractive, open-top bin for them neatens up the space.
Market basket, $59; rejuvenation.com

A home for keys—but only those used daily. We had a bowlful of every spare key in our lives. Pairing back to store only my and my husband's keys on the console was a major step towards streamlining.
Handmade Stoneware Farmhouse Bowl, $46; food52.com

A proper charger. We had a too-short cord that was always falling down behind the sideboard. Replacing it with a handsome, extra-long one with its own marble base was a major style and life upgrade.
Night Cable, $40; lennoxandharvey.com
A wonderful smell. I recently reread Deborah Needleman's The Perfectly Imperfect Home (so good, by the way!) and she writes about the joy of opening your door to a scent you love. Like me, Needleman loves Santa Maria Novella's potpourri, and it has the advantage of smelling great 24-hours a day unlike a candle that must be lit and can't greet you at the door.
Pot Pourri Box, $35; smnovella.com

Small, But Not Minimal

Friday, June 29, 2018

Back in 2014, I came across this tiny apartment on Refinery29. I loved it right away because it shows that small-space living doesn't have to be minimalistic or impersonal. Today, I saw that the very same apartment is now for sale (for more than half a million dollars!) Of course, like any apartment for sale, the place has been staged with fewer belongings for an airier look. I thought I'd repost it here as a reminder that small does not have to mean minimalist. This apartment, which was also featured on Curbed.com at the time, really feels like someone's personal home—filled with antiques, collections, and art.

Check out the difference between the staged and unstaged living space below, and my original notes on the design below that:

The "bedroom" and "dining room" both fold away. This view of the living room shows the apartment with the Murphy bed and the dining table both folded away. It looks a lot like any New York City apartment's living room to me, which I like.

See the Murphy bed unfolded below.

Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

Monday, April 16, 2018

I love a good decluttering. Getting rid of unwanted and unloved things gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. And the funny thing is, no matter how vigilant you are about keeping clutter out of your life, it has a sneaky way of returning: magazines pile up,  party favors creep in, socks go missing and their mates hang around, pens migrate home from the office, your collection of glass jars and tupperware containers gets out of control. If like me, you are craving a good spring clean out. Here are a few creative ways to start the decluttering process:
Timer Method Set a timer for a period of time in which you go through a room looking for items to throw away/recycle/donate, as well as items to be returned to their proper homes. Set it for 25 minutes, and it's officially the Pomodoro Technique.

 • One-Item-A-Day Commit to getting rid of an item a day for a month (or longer!).

 • Gone Box  Place a box in every room that needs decluttering and every time you find something you’re ready to part with, place it in the box. At the end of the month, take them all to the Goodwill or other charity.

 • The 20-20-20 Challenge Locate 20 items to throw away, 20 items to donate, and 20 items to be returned to their proper homes.

 • Photographic Evidence  Take photos of your home to gain a fresh perspective on where clutter lurks. This is a tip that Celerie Kemble shared with me long ago in an interview about decorating. But I found it surprisingly effective for decluttering! Don't believe me? Take a look at what this room above (our old living room) and what it looked like in a photo before we staged it for sale, as it is shown above. At the time, I didn't realize how cluttered our place had gotten!

 • Snowball Method  Get rid of one thing on Day 1, two things on Day 2, and so on until you are getting rid of 30 things on Day 30. This sounds like a lot, but it is possible. I've gotten into the 20s and quit, but one day, I'm going to make it to 30.

 •  Buddy System One of the most effective ways to declutter, choose one of the methods above and agree on a plan with a friend. Then text each other pictures of what you’re throwing away/donating each day. My friend and I have done this with the Snowball Method and it is a magic bullet of motivation.

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