In part two of this weekly series, Deliberately Small asks three small space dwellers to share their tips and tricks on living a clutter-free life. One stop-shop I have an environmental bag hanging behind my… More
Scarves are one of my favourite accessories. They are inexpensive and have a way of adding style to any outfit.
Organizing scarves can cause a headache when you don’t have a lot of space.
Before writing this post, I owned 60 different scarves. I kept them rolled up in a decorative box from IKEA and buried the box at the bottom of my closet. I rarely wore any of my scarves because I forgot I all about them. The saying “out of sight, out of mind,” is very true. If things are not accessible or in not visible, I usually forget they exist.
I tried moving my scarves into a dresser drawer when the box idea wasn’t working for me. My scarves were more accessible, but they took up too much room. Plus, I only have four dresser drawers and I wanted to use the space for more day-to-day items.
I recently purchased the Umbra Pendant Brass Scarf Organizer and so far I love it!
Organizing scarves 101
If you’re looking for a way to organize your scarves, here’s how to get started:
- Organize your scarves into different piles: similar colours, similar patterns, and the scarves you no longer want.
- If you own several of the same colour or pattern, pick one-two you want to keep. Ask yourself: “Do I really need four blue scarves?”
- Loop them over the geometric openings. If you want to be super organized, hang them according to the colours of the rainbow. Trust me. This little tip will be a life changer! (use the acronym ROYGBIV — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).
- Hang the organizer in your closet and enjoy! Your scarves are now accessible, free from clutter and organized in a way that will inspire you to wear them often.
How do you organize your scarves? Leave a comment below.
Earth Day is April 22. One of the best ways you can honour planet Earth is to avoid clutter.
But let’s face it, we all have items that we’ve outgrown, overused, broken, or simply don’t want anymore.
Too much garbage
There are ways to properly get rid of your clutter so that they don’t end up in landfills. Each year, the province of Ontario produces nearly one tonne of waste per person. Three-quarters of this waste ends up in landfills!
Letting go of book clutter was very hard for me. As an English/Journalism major, I had a large book collection. I felt proud displaying all of my books. I also felt horrible getting rid of them because of how much money I spent growing my collection. Consider donating your books to a library, school or nursing home. The Toronto Public Library Foundation accepts books, CDs, LPs, DVDs, magazines, computer books, textbooks and encyclopedias.
Value Village, churches and shelters are usually top of mind when I want to get rid of clothing. You can also try to offload your items to family and friends. I recently came across a women’s Facebook group that organizes monthly clothes swapping events which I thought was super creative!
Check with your municipality for electronic waste collection and disposal. The City of Toronto, for example, collects several electronic items on garbage pickup days. You can also bring your old electronics to one of many drop-off depots across the city or to a community environment day.
Before you get rid of your magazines, remember to remove any personal information like your name and address. Consider donating your old magazines to churches, schools or medical offices. If you have children, you can use magazine images for arts and crafts. Swapping magazines with friends and family members is another good way to share new ideas and information with someone else.
Do you have any tips or suggestions? What do you do with items you no longer need or want? Leave a comment.
One of the misconceptions of living in a smaller space is that it takes less time to clean. Not true! I’m always cleaning!
In smaller spaces, clutter is very noticeable. So is every inch of dust, every fingerprint, and every item that’s out of place.
I spend at least an hour a day cleaning or tidying up and three hours every weekend. I might be a little obsessive, but I like a clean space!
I’m also very picky about the cleaning products I use. The things I look for:
New eco-friendly cleaning product
The Home Cleaning Starter Kit includes three bottles – multi clean, glistening glass, and bathroom bright– in a cute recyclable cardboard caddy. The products are plant-based, eco-friendly, and don’t contain synthetics.
Multi Clean is an all-purpose cleaner to freshen and deodorize kitchen counters, sinks, cupboards and more.
Test area: stove top, microwave, kitchen cupboards and kitchen counter
- Subtle scent of peppermint
- Removed stubborn grease / oil build up
- Ideal for removing dust / splashes of food on kitchen cupboards
- Too many streak marks left on my black stove top
- I used 4-5 spritzes (the instructions on the bottle recommends 2-3)
- Left behind most of the dust / debris on my granite kitchen counter
Glistening Glass is a citrus surface and glass cleaner to remove dirt and finger prints.
Test area: glass tabletop, sink fixtures and mirrors
- Fresh scent of grapefruit and lemon
- Amazing shine on my sink fixtures
- Streak free results on all of my mirrors
- Had to apply the product multiple times to remove fingerprints on my glass tabletop
- Fingerprints were still visible after multiple applications
Bathroom Bright is a renewing tub and tile cleaner that is also suitable for the sink and shower.
Test area: bathroom sink, shower, bathtub
- Powerful enough to remove soap scum
- Only used one application to get desired results
- Made my white ceramic sink sparkle!
Do you want to try these products? I purchased an extra kit ($29.95 value) and I would love to give one away. Leave a comment with your favourite cleaning tip. I’ll randomly select a response. Please note: Saje Wellness did not sponsor, endorse or administer this post. Since I am personally incurring the costs for the product and the shipping, this contest is only open to Canadian residents.
I have a confession to make.
I’m a serial killer.
It’s not what you’re thinking.
I kill plants. They have zero chances of surviving under my care.
All killing, I mean kidding, aside, I’ve avoided bringing plants into my condo because I don’t want them to overwhelm my small space. I barely have enough room for my essentials!
Ngoc is a fellow blogger and owner of Modern Plant Life. She’s a self-proclaimed serial plant killer turned “crazy plant lady” who creates plant-inspired items to encourage people (like me) to embrace the plant life.
I came across her work on Instagram where she regularly posts her latest creations and plant-spiration. I was immediately drawn to the objects and colours she uses to create unique platters suitable for smaller spaces.
After receiving her amazing tips, I am hopeful that I can coexist with plants.
And why shouldn’t I!? Plants are pretty and add freshness to any space. They reduce stress and help purify the air. And as Ngoc explains, they don’t require a lot of space either!
Deliberately Small: You’re a former serial plant killer. How did that change?
Modern Plant Life: When a friend went away on vacation, she asked me to water her plants for her. She left me little Post-it Notes with different water schedules for all the plants. I started paying attention to how they were looking and started reading about the different needs of the different plants. Once I realized that they each had their own “personalities” and requirements, my whole mindset towards them changed. Before, I just grouped all plants into one category and just watered them when I felt like it. I started giving names to each of my plants and started to really pay attention to how they were looking, trying to notice any growth and changes, and tried to give them care based on their needs.
DS: Which five plants would you say are ideal for people who live in a small space?
- In terms of more tolerant and easy to care for plants, I really love all snake plants. There are so many different varieties and you can find them at most plant stores.
- Spider plants are also a great easy to care for plant. They are super common and can be grown easily from clippings so if you know someone who has a spider plant, ask if they are willing to give you a baby from theirs.
- Pothos and Philodendrons are great for hanging baskets and you can really notice new leaves growing which is always rewarding to actually see your plant change and grow.
- ZZ plants are another one of my favourites.
DS: What type of planters or accessories would you recommend for small spaces?
MPL: It depends on the plant you have. For succulents and cacti, if you’re fairly new to plants and find that you typically kill them, using a terra cotta pot with a drainage hole is a pretty safe bet. The terra cotta helps soak up any extra water if you’re over watering your plants. Another strategy is to keep the plant inside of it’s nursery pot (the plastic one that you get when you buy your plant) and just pop it into a nicer planter.
If you’re pretty good with plants and understand their watering needs, you can pick prettier planters but ones with drainage holes really work best so that any excess water can drain out.
I’ve run out of space near windows so I find hanging planters work really well. For my bigger planters that sit on the ground, I find putting them on a plant stand helps make it more of a decorative statement piece in your home.
DS: Where in a small space would you recommend are the best places to display plants?
MPL: It really depends on the plant and the light coming through your windows. You want to try to mimic the plants natural habitat. I like to keep some tropical plants in my washroom as it gets pretty humid in there. I get nice indirect sunlight through my windows so my succulents and air plants are really happy right up against my window.
DS: You sell some very creative planters. Do you create them yourself? Do you basically look for items you can “recycle or transform” into planters? If so, where do you find your inspiration?
I scroll through Pinterest and watch Youtube DIYs a lot. I saw a tutorial by the Sorry Girls on Youtube for the dinosaur planter so I wanted to try making one for my air plants. For my cement planters, I used to make cement lamps so I had a big bag of cement left over. I tried making one just from old containers and was in love with how it turned out. In terms of the painting and finishing on them, I’m just always experimenting with different colours and styles. Some work out, some don’t. It’s all part of the creative process.
DS: What do you look for in a planter?
MPL: When I’m buying planters, I like to try to repurpose other items as much as I can. I visit thrift stores and love vintage looking items. I also like to pick colours that would look nice with the plant that I want to put in it.
DS: For someone who’s trying to avoid buying more “stuff” for their small space, are there any items one could creatively turn into a planter?
MPL: I’ve used mugs, tin cans, pencil holders, old tin containers. You may want to try to drill a hole through whatever container you are using, or keep your plant in its nursery container if it’s a plant that is prone to root rot.
Home ownership is supposed to be a happy time. For me, it was bittersweet.
I was excited to leave my parents’ place, but the thought of sorting through and packing 30 plus years of my life made me a little anxious.
While living at home, I had the luxury of unlimited space to store all of my belongings. I had multiple closets, my own office, and wall-to-wall book shelves to display all of my knick knacks and books.
What was I thinking leaving my parents’ modest bungalow, the home I grew up in, for a one-bedroom, 580 sq. ft. condo, without a storage locker!
Confessions of a shopaholic
I’m not a hoarder by any means, but I like stuff – shoes, accessories, purses, clothing, books, you name it! My collection of treasures spans from my years working as a journalist where cool travel destinations took me to unique shops for, you guessed it, more stuff to buy.
I’m also sentimental. I’ve kept every journal since I was seven-years-old, every birthday card I’ve ever received, notes from crushes, concert ticket stubs … the list goes on.
It took me seven months to organize my belongings before I moved into my new space. I used my parents’ basement as a sorting facility. I lined up empty cardboard boxes across the basement and gave each box a name: “Pack,” “Donate,” “Waste” and “Digitalize.”
I’m not going to lie. The purging process took me on an emotional roller coaster. I was angry with myself for accumulating so much stuff. I was sad when I came across tokens and cards given to me by my grandparents (who are no longer here with us). I was happy when I found items I had misplaced for years. I was excited when I needed more empty boxes for donation items.
Once everything was organized, I felt like I had dropped 20 pounds. My life was finally in order and I was ready to embark on a new chapter, with less baggage!
The art of purging
I learned some valuable lessons during the purging process:
- It’s only stuff: Material items are replaceable. Just ask anyone who has ever lost personal possessions due to a fire or a flood. You can always replace stuff; you can’t replace people!
- Memories and experiences are more important: These things don’t take up physical space and the joy you’ll receive from adventures can last a lifetime!
- A clean space = a clear mind: There’s something very therapeutic about getting rid of clutter. I felt much “lighter” after purging unwanted items and organizing my possessions. This process also conditioned me to make smarter buying and storing choices when I moved into my own place.
- Take your time: It’s an exhausting process. I made the mistake of spending an entire day decluttering. By the eight hour, I wanted to toss everything in the garbage. Set aside 2-3 hours a day. Your sanity will thank you.
- Keep your family away: I caught a family member pulling out items from a box that I wanted to donate. I felt like I was in front of a jury, explaining why certain items no longer served a purpose in my life.