With daylight savings going into effect in a couple of days, it would make sense that spring is on our minds. A new season is fast approaching and, with another year over, I am sure we all have accumulated a whole slew of unnecessary items. And what better time to purge and really clean than now and start this new season off on the right foot. It might take a little extra effort, but you will feel so much lighter after you have cleansed your home of useless and redundant things. We all know the basics of cleaning, but here are some parts that often go overlooked. Some tips to make your next year that much easier when you have to tackle this again. So let’s get out those rubber gloves and start this yearly ritual.
Image from http://www.dille-kamille.com
1) Switch out your winter clothes for your summer clothes.
But not all of them. There will still be cold nights. What I am talking about is putting away all of your sweaters and heavy coats if you need to do this. If not, look through all of your clothes and analyze what you have and haven’t worn all winter, and won’t wear in the spring or summer. Did those boots get a hole in them? Should you fix them or just toss them? Was that coat a little too tight, and you never wore it? Is that dress you loved last summer not your style anymore? It is time to PURGE!!!! Donate clothes that have little or no value and either take the ones that do to a consignment shop or put them on eBay. It is a lot easier than it looks. Just take some shots of these pieces on a white wall and list them. This way you can make a pretty good return on what you once spent your money on.
Image from http://www.todayshousewife.net
2) Take small steps.
Clean out a new cabinet everyday. Sort a new shelf. Know that this doesn’t all have to be done at once. Give yourself two weeks of doing something small everyday. This way it isn’t a giant chore that you are going to put off until you have to take the whole weekend to conquer it, assuming you even actually end up doing it. If your mind is anything like mine, the easier something is, the easier it is to wrap my mind around doing it. Large time investments get passed from To-Do list to To-Do list and nothing is ever accomplished.
3) The pantry and the freezer need some attention too.
Let’s be honest, most people with a family or who are cooking for more than one, go to costco and buy a giant case of refried beans or a giant freezer bag of chicken. We don’t realize that we don’t need this amount. Ya, it is cost effective, but is it really?? Is it?? My mother is the perfect example of this. She buys frosting on sale because it is on sale. Then it sits there, and she doesn’t make the right cake for the frosting, and after a year or so, it goes bad. Everything has an expiration date. After that can of corn has been sitting in your pantry for 10 years, is it really still good? Do you really want to be eating that? I surely don’t. But this mentality will never change so here is the way to make sure your pantry doesn’t turn into a cemetery for old food.
Move older ingredients to the front and look at their expiration dates. If something is expiring soon and you probably won’t use it, or if you just know you won’t use it, DONATE IT. Homeless shelters and many food drives need this canned stuff. Don’t hoard foods you probably won’t ever use. Stuff in the freezer as well. Real Simple did a great article about food in the freezer and how long it lasts. Read it here and look at what you have. If you are smart, you will in sharpie write the date you put the item in the freezer. That way there is no confusion later on. Don’t be afraid to purge your food stash. The market will always be just down the road, stocked and ready to sell you what you need. For more advice, check out this article on pantry organizing.
Image from http://www.womansday.com
4) Flip your mattress.
Even if you only do this once a year, do this now. This way you don’t have to be sleeping on the giant hole you created by sleeping in the same spot every night. Give the dented side some time to breathe some life back in it.
5) If something is bothering you, face it and change it.
I don’t think people really take the time to change things that go wrong with the fluidity of the home, or an eyesore. I know so many people that see a spot on the wall everyday and think “Ugh gross. I should clean that.” Or see a painting on the ground leaning against the wall and think “I should hang that.” DO IT AND DO IT NOW!!!! It is the time to take all of these eyesores or problems and make them right. Always stub your toe on the same chair leg? Maybe you should move the chair. It is a novel idea, right? Just because something has always been in the same spot, doesn’t mean it always has to be! Change it and move on!
6) Attack your bed.
Throw your down pills in the washer and then dry them. Take off your mattress pad and wash that as well. Wash your comforter, vacuum your mattress. Then, let your bed air out for a day. We all need to do this more often than we do. So now let’s be mindful of this so we can start these warmer months off in a clean bed.
Image from http://www.pinterest.com
7) Go through old beauty products, makeup and other bathroom items.
If a lotion smells funny, get rid of it. You have a face cream you never use, give it to a friend. I am sure you have a friend who is a product junkie and would gladly try out a crazy sample of collagen cream that Sephora gave you 2 months ago. Also makeup has expiration dates as well. Check out this article for their shelf lives. You don’t need to be putting expired products on your skin! Also, take inventory of what you have too much of. This way you know that you don’t need to buy any more body butter when you are out because you already have three jars to go through. I am a woman and very guilty of hoarding products, so I know what it mean to have 8 bottles of lotion and another in my shopping cart at Trader Joe’s.
Another thing, now might be a good time to look at what you are putting on your body. Check out this article on the ten ingredients to avoid in beauty products. If your products are culprits, consider ditching them and getting a new skincare regime.
Image from http://www.lovethispic.com
8) Look at your hardware drawer with random crap from DIY products.
We all buy paint, lightbulbs, nails, etc, etc. Most people keep these things in their garage. Some of us put it in a random drawer or on a tucked away shelf. Most of us RARELY look at the stuff, but when we need it, these things come in handy. So what about those old paints, the rusted nails, a random handle to an Ikea cabinet that you never installed, but you somehow still have even though you don’t have the Ikea cabinet anymore. These are the things to get rid of. Take the paint to a hardware store to dispose of it, and with the rest, find the best places to either donate or get rid of it. Short pieces of old rope, get rid of. Tangled wires from some random DIY project five years ago, bye bye. An organized hardware shelf makes the necessary stuff easier to find as well!
9) Go through old books, magazines and newspapers.
All throughout the year magazines come in the mail, or friends give us books to read. Life gets in the way, and we never even read the first page. Usually these things end up in stacks on the coffee table or in our office. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we aren’t going to read the books, and we aren’t going to read the articles. So give yourself two hours to go through the magazines. Pull out what you want to look at later and recycle the rest. Then skim the backs of the books and decide if you think you will ever read them. If not, give them back to your friends. If so, give yourself a month to start it. If you don’t, then give it back. Let’s not lie to ourselves anymore. It just creates useless clutter.
Image from http://www.pinterest.com
10) Above all, make this fun.
Put on silly tunes and crack a bottle of wine. Whatever you need to do to get yourself in the mood, do it! This way, it is not a chore and rather a date with your home. Turn off your TV, and turn on Miles Davis. Stop thinking and just make a start. You will be so happy when it is done. And then next year, when you have to do this all over again, it won’t be a chore, but a fun time of rediscovery and potential profit making. This scene from American Hustle is how it should be done. Rubber gloves and a dance party.
Image from http://www.pinterest.com
For the usual ritual list, check out this very useful list from http://www.blissfullyeverafter.net.
Image from http://www.pinterest.com
Lately, I find myself obsessing over bar carts. Since these gems are usually too large to purchase online (Shipping costs would be astronomical), I have been searching in person. Every antique store I go into seems to have one used as a display shelf. Yesterday, I stumbled upon this beautiful Mid Century round one. Unfortunately it was too large for my space because this would have gone home with me right then. The price was fairly reasonable. It was $275 and on sale 20% off so it wasn’t too expensive. About $225 after tax.
What I would do with this car isn’t just fill it with liquor. Yes, it would put bottles of booze in fancy decanters on the top shelf along with all of my other bar accoutrements. The bottom shelf would be a great place to put boxed games and puzzles or stacks of vintage books and old magazines. This cart would make an ideal side table in a living room or dining area. So if you are in the area and looking for a bar cart, check this one out! The store has other cute pieces as well.
Brenda Sue’s Consignment
248 Morro Bay Blvd
Morro Bay, CA 93442
Last year, I was lucky enough to take a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Being a virgin to the area, I was shocked at how much I loved the free lifestyle, the lively music everywhere, and the beauty of the architecture. The enchanting thing about New Orleans was the old buildings. These plantation style homes with hanging plants draping over the ornate rails and pretty columns, have a history and look like they have lived a life. You feel like you are in some etherial Disney movie and the Tramp is going to walk around the corner at any second and ask you to join him for a plate of spaghetti. That is the type of magic New Orleans has, and while I was there, I was enchanted. Fortunate enough to stay with friends in a giant loft building in the Bywater called the Rice Mill Lofts, I was able to walk everyday over to the French Quarter and really immerse myself in the city. The Rice Mill Building was an enormous old mill with tall ceilings, original graffiti and brand new fixtures and appliances. Each loft was beyond luxurious and quite different from the usual New Orleans feel. The French Quarter with its narrow streets and French influence was where I spent most of my time. Enough about my trip though. I could spend a week talking about my love for New Orleans. Let’s talk about the architecture.
The French influence in the New Orleans architecture is classic and for someone who is from the west coast and lived in New York City, it is quite different from anything I have ever seen before. The amalgamation of the Southern plantation style and the French architecture, is unique and charming. Mix that with the steamy weather and lush vegetation, and you have an area that is haunting and ethereal, some place where black magic does exist. The overflowing balconies of plants remind me of swamps with hanging willow trees and dripping mosses. The thriving ferns and lush greenery cascades over every balcony like a waterfall, adding a look of mystery, history and voodoo to every tiny street.
The question is: can this look work outside of New Orleans on a normal balcony without looking sloppy or dirty? Well that black magic look can’t be recreated entirely, but yes, that haunting, lush waterfall of plants can work. Instead of using messy swampy looking ferns, stick to simple plants. Include flowers. Morning Glories are great climbers and are beautiful when wrapped around a balcony railing. Instead of having the entire balcony dripping with foliage, stick a couple along the edges of the terrace. This way the look is symmetrical and quite contained, neat and still pretty. For those of us in California, succulents are great desert plants and will add another level of depth to your terrace terrain. Just make sure you have enough room on your balcony for a chair. If the plants take over, there won’t be any room for you to enjoy your small outdoor space. Slowly building your balcony greenery will allow you to pick and choose what you like. Don’t start with too much too soon. Give small plants and vines time to grow and adapt to their new environment. If you have a courtyard balcony, make sure there is enough light for the greenery you want, if not, adapt accordingly. As with every home improvement project, it is about the journey. Give your flora time to grow, and enjoy the process as your own New Orleans lush, cascading balcony takes effect.
My photo from the trip.
Are you drawn to pages that have gold leaf? I know I am! It adds a subtle glamour. So I decided to try it with my own business cards. I grabbed a stack of them and squished them as uniformly together as I could. Using a Sharpie gold paint pen, I painted all 4 sides of the stack. I would recommend painting about 15 cards at a time. Then I waited for them to dry and pulled the cards apart! Now my business cards have a touch of style! You could also do this to anything with pages or edges. Take a vintage book from the dollar store and add a gold leaf to it. Because why not!
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”
Audrey Hepburn spent the last 30 years of her life living in Switzerland. Her home, La Paisible, was a gorgeous farmhouse surrounded by the Swiss Alps. With a name that meant “the place of peace”, this home provided her with an anonymous solitude that Hollywood had deprived her of. I have always had a fascination with this beautiful woman and after reading her biography, I realized why I liked her so much. Her grace came from an ability to laugh and enjoy laughter, and from a humility that prevented her from living on a pedestal.
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
Through her life she battled depression and other anxieties, showing that she was just a normal human trying to live a normal life. Her ego never got the best of her. She knew she was an introvert and needed time away from the public. Her home in Switzerland proved to be just that. Here are some photographs that I collected of the exterior and interior, proving that Miss Hepburn’s elegance wasn’t contrived but innate and a part of everything she touched.
“I’m an introvert… I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.”
“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
“If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy-tales and I like them best of all.”
“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.”
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”
You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.”
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”