Saturday, February 25, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Nostalgic Summerhouse

This week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature is a summerhouse in Denmark.

Welcome to the ninety-fourth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

From the inviting, vine-covered front porch to the steps of the back door, this little cottage is a quaint and unassuming haven.

The front door opens into one room that encompasses living, dining and kitchen. Thanks to white walls and ceiling, as well as plenty of windows, the small space is bright and airy.

Shelves tucked close to the open beam ceiling hold books and collectibles, saving valuable floor space. The unpretentious furnishings give the impression that this cottage has been here for generations, and that each piece has been lovingly collected over time.

An antique stove heats the cottage. 

The hanging punched tin candelabra embellished with handmade flowers and crystal drops adds a whimsical touch.

Interior walls were removed to open up the space and allow room for a dining area. I love the wood floor.

Color is subtly introduced to the cottage in the form of textiles and artwork, as well as pottery and books. And, of course, those beautiful fresh flowers! 

The overall feel of the cottage is serene, and seems to invite napping and reading. Perfect for a summer respite.

An alcove serves as additional sleeping space. (Don't ask me how one gets to the top bunk or keeps from rolling over the edge.)

A simple white cutwork tablecloth and flowers dress the little table.

The back door has so much character.

Outdoor "rooms" encourage relaxed living.

I imagine lazy summer days spent here. 


Join me next Saturday for another post 
in the special series

Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cottage Life - The Decluttering Continues

A few weeks ago I took my first step toward seriously decluttering our cottage. I wrote about the closet purging and living intentionally here, and shared Mandi Ehman's quote:

"Living intentionally means defining your values 
and making choices that reflect those values."

The wardrobe purge inspired me to get rid of more stuff, and that's when I ordered Marie Kondo's book from the library. (I wrote about that here.)

I've now finished the book, and I have to say there are some things she advocates that make sense to me. There are also some things that just seem plain silly, such as her insistence that we fold our clothes a certain way so that they will be happy (as if cotton and wool have feelings), and thanking them outloud for meeting our needs (which builds up their self-esteem). She repeats herself frequently, which made me want to chastise her editor. And at times I felt a serious case of OCD was the impetus for her career. (Actually, as I think about it, OCD is probably a plus for a consultant that helps people organize their homes and offices.) There's more, but let's get to what I found helpful.

1. Tidy by category and not  by location. 
      Don't tidy by room, tidy by categories:
         Clothes first, then books, papers, miscellany, and lastly
       This means gathering all items from a category from all the rooms and closets into one spot before deciding what to keep and what to discard. Using this method nothing gets overlooked and it's a do-it-once and it's done approach.

She leaves mementos for last because by the time you plow through all the other more practical categories, your decision-making skills will have been perfected and it'll be easier to make decisions about sentimental items.

2. Take each item in your hand and ask yourself "Does this spark joy?" If it does, keep it. If it doesn't, dispose of it.

At first I thought her claim that one must actually touch the item and not simply look at it and decide its fate seemed odd. But then I tried it with my books. I was sure I could tell just by looking at my bookcase which books I wanted to keep, and that's what I did a couple of months ago. But yesterday when I actually took one of my remaining books off the shelf and held it (not read it! She is sure to say not to do that!), I realized I could let it go because it didn't "spark joy". After doing this with all my other books I ended up with 3 additional boxes of books to give away. 

If I find later I want to read a particular title again, I can get it from the library or discount bookseller. In the meantime, I've cleared off three shelves, and that makes me feel really good.

3. What to do when you can't throw something away.
    Think carefully about its true purpose in your life and ask if  it has fulfilled its role. Kondo believes there are only two reasons why we can't let something go: an attachment to the past or a fear of the future (desire for stability in the 
"To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose." -- Marie Kondo

I'm still in the decluttering stage. Next is magazines and then miscellany and so on. When I get through the final category of mementos, then I'll start the organization process.

I won't bore you with more details from the book. (There are some good reviews of the book on Goodreads here.) You can go to Youtube and do a "marie kondo declutter" search and find lots of information about her technique. If you're interested in reading the book, I suggest borrowing it from the library.

Before I go I want to relate a funny conversation I had with my hair stylist last week:

Lisa: So what have you been up to?

Me: Oh, I've been decluttering. I'm on a mission to get rid of stuff.

Lisa: No! No! Nancy, you already live like a minimalist. You've downsized to that darling little house. Stop! Just stop! You don't need to get rid of anything else.

Me: (Laughing) Lisa, it's okay. I just want to simplify and keep only those things that really bring me joy.

Lisa: But. . .but. . .I'm just worried about you.

Me: Don't worry. Really. It'll be fine.

I don't think she bought it. That's not going to stop me, though. 

Stay tuned for more.