Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Laundry Zone

Balancing aesthetics and practicality is always tricky. I realized recently that I was going to need to give up my dining room nook in order to gain room to do our laundry. The laundry took over the dining room, anyway. It was time to face the inevitable … bye-bye shelf I keep meaning to put something decorative on. Helllooo laundry zone.

I had to say goodbye to this mess, as well:

Yes, those are Christmas ornaments you see there, and some packaging, as well. Yes, they’ve been there since just before Christmas, when I wrapped the last minute gifts. And yes, I cringe to be posting this incriminating image, but it is all in the name of transformation and my quest for truly functional organization.

Once again, I looked for the following things as I decluttered:

  • Items to be tossed
  • Items to be transferred to another location
  • Items to be sold or given away
  • Items to be kept

We had a large cookbook collection that I decided to pare down to just the essentials.  The books that we are most likely to use I kept downstairs. Right now they’re on the shelving in the nook, but I might need that shelf while I’m folding, so I’m still thinking about that. We’ll see how things go while we adapt to our new zone.

I threw out our phone books. It was a matter of some debate in the Brame household. It just seems like one of those things you SHOULD have, you know? Let your fingers do the walking, and all that. But it was taking up space and, as Daniel pointed out, we never look in it anyway. We always use Google. So out they went, saving me the trouble of figuring out a logical spot to put them.

Then, I collected the Christmas items and put them in one spot, threw out some junk mail, and rethought my storage of fragile items on the top shelf.

I ended up with this:

I’ll need a place for my pre-wash stain removers, and I’m trying to think of what else would be useful to keep in the new laundry station. Detergent I keep above the washer. Dryer sheets (if any–those darn fragrance allergies) and our small steam cleaner I keep above the dryer. I don’t have room to put an ironing board in between, but that would be ideal.

At any rate, now we have a laundry zone! It might not be so pretty now, but I have big plans for it. The aesthetics will come along soon. Hint: it has something to do with color and pattern and those paint chips I’ve had up.

{Photos: Andrea B of Behind Closed Drawers}

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Filed under Dining Room, Laundry

Stop Animated Bookshelf

It’s Sunday! Last day of the weekend … hope you’re taking the time to enjoy it with someone you love. Monday is coming tomorrow (but we won’t think about that now), so live it up!

If you have A LOT of time on your hands, why not organize your bookshelves by color and film an animation that brings them to charmingly anthropomorphic life? These guys did.


I just had to share this film by Sean Ohlenkamp and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp I found via Apartment Therapy. It makes me happy, even though I could never organize our bookshelf by color, no matter how aesthetically pleasing that would be. The librarian in me would never let that happen! How would I find a book on a particular topic and I forget what color it is? That would be a looooong search. That being said; it is pretty.

At any rate, I hope this brought a smile to your face!

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Surrounded by Love

February is drawing to a close, and I’m feeling very introspective today. As I look over at the mantle above my fireplace, I see the cards I’ve saved from people recognizing Daniel’s and my first anniversary, side-by-side with the Valentine’s Day cards we gave each other (his to me was sweet, mine to him was silly). Zoe is sitting at my feet, lazing in the sunshine coming through the living room window. Scattered throughout the room are pictures of friends and family. In the bookcase to my right is the carefully curated, ever-changing collection of books that represent the many interests that we have, many of which Daniel and I share and discuss regularly together.

In short, I am surrounded by love. Sitting in, in this spot at this time, I am content. It’s a good place to be.

I hope you have a place like this … a spot where, for if only a moment in time, everything is quiet and calm and full of potential. When you find the spot, nurture it; bring out the beauty in it. Enjoy it. Share it.

I know I will.

{Image: rknds}

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Filed under Balance, Living Room, Ponderings

The Power of Focus

As I type this blog post (on Thursday night), Daniel and I are sitting in our neighborhood Starbucks, enjoying the music and atmosphere. Most importantly, we’re enjoying the non-ability to work on anything but what we brought with us in our laptop bags. We eliminated a houseful of distractions, including our television and unlimited Netflix. Trust me. An endless supply of Law & Order: SVU is not good for my concentration levels.

Daniel is working on our 2010 taxes. I’m working on plans for the year ahead. We have a lot of big events coming up, and I want to be ready for them. It also dawned on me that I haven’t been to the dentist in over a year. Uh oh. Guess I should pencil that in, huh?

Hmmm. That means I need to find a dentist. I’m on it …

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The Five-Minute Tidy

5:36. Five minutes and thirty-six seconds. That’s what the online stopwatch timer read when I finished my quick tidying blitz through my living room last night. I had been curious to see how long it really took me to tidy up, so I timed myself.

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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

So, I organized my under-the-sink area and promised myself I’d not go out and buy any more cleaners after finding all those duplicate kinds of cleaners. What would be the most obvious choice for a follow-up story the next day?

Why, new kitchen cleaners to buy, of course! (I know, right?!)

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Filed under Kitchen, Products, Shopping

Sorting Out Below the Kitchen Cabinet

I’m finally attacking the mess that is my kitchen cabinets and the crazy amount of cleaning products I have amassed. (Note to self: don’t buy anymore until you’ve either thrown out the current stash or used it all up.)

See those cabinet doors above? Behind them is … dun dun dah

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Shopping With Polyvore

Sunday night I decided to watch some television and just relax. I ended up at a site called Polyvore that lets you sift through the world of fashion and add items to your collection. Such fun! I found shoes, shirts, dresses, jewelry, and bags that I never could afford without giving up a year of chocolate, and yet I didn’t spend a dime.

I tried my hand at some home styling, too. Though I couldn’t find a ready supply of items to purchase from their regular list, playing with what they call “sets” allowed me to browse through items and create a living room just for the fun of it. Here’s what I came up with:

Spool Accent Table
$199 –

Clearance home decor | Coldwater Creek
$40 –

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Filed under Home, Living Room, Shopping

I Was Right; Greige Would Look Terrible in the Kitchen


Looks like I’m going to have to figure this out. That color isn’t working with the counter top.

Oh, and by the way? It’s Sherwin Williams “6073 Perfect Greige.”

I just found that they have a nifty site where you can upload your pictures and then apply color to areas you mask off. In this case, greige.

Back to the coloring board.


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Picking Paints: Or, In Search of the Perfect Greige

We have swatches up all over our house. I got the idea from the ever-amazing dynamic duo behind Young House Love, but I admit I got a little carried away. From the dining room to the bedroom, I had them taped up by the dozens for easy viewing in all kinds of lighting. At one point, it looked like we had decorated the wall behind our bed in some kind of abstract multi-colored pixel painting. There were that many colors up there!

We whipped out a trusty extra-fine point Sharpie and starred the ones we like at different points of the day. If a color was obviously wrong for the space, we pulled it off the wall. One by one, the swatches came down, and now just a few are competing for space.

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Filed under Dining Room, Kitchen, Living Room, Painting