15 Best New Coffee Products at the Boston Specialty Coffee Expo 2022

Mike and I had the privilege of attending the 2022 Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston a few weekends ago. We booked flights the day we learned that volunteers gain entrance to the event for only $5. Mind you, tickets typically cost $395 per non-member. We of course flew for FREE using our Southwest Companion Pass (Find out how you can travel the world for FREE here). At the event, we got to check out innovative, up-and-coming brands and products in the coffee industry. Call it caffeine, but we were buzzing with excitement over some of the coffee gadgets we discovered. In this post, I share with you the top 15 best new coffee products from the 2022 Boston Specialty Coffee Expo that we are very excited about! If you are a coffee nerd, you’ve got to check these out.

Top 15 Best New Coffee Products from the Boston Specialty Coffee Expo 2022

At-Home Essentials

Drink Morning Espresso Machine

I not only got the opportunity to try the Drink Morning Machine, I also got to take it home! When I won a raffle with Eight Ounce Coffee, I chose the Drink Morning Machine over four other available prizes. Most of the available options actually made this list, but I still chose Drink Morning to lug back home on an airplane with me. That’s how much I like it!

This is a sleek and minimalist espresso machine that is easy to use for non-geeky coffee lovers. It also makes a mean ‘spro. It is a capsule coffee machine, so it is surprising that it can compete with other coffee makers short of the big guys.

For example, the La Marzocco Linea Mini still outperforms this machine, but you really have to know what your doing. An inexperienced person cannot pull a good shot from a Linea Mini and that’s the truth. Not even on their luckiest day. Drink Morning has bridged the gap and allows one to make great espresso without the background.

This is a great option for many people. Small offices and businesses who want to offer their workers great coffee should be getting this machine. Someone who loves coffee but wants to save money on their coffee bill can also invest in this affordable espresso machine. Busy folk and parents would also like it. I mean, even a young child can make a decent espresso for their parent using the Drink Morning app! It has been my go-to machine since getting it, and I highly recommend it.

I will surely be writing a more thorough review of this machine soon.

Flair Neo Espresso Maker

Another impressive espresso maker was Flair’s Neo Espresso Maker. It’s a manual espresso maker, that requires neither electricity nor pods. It is a great option for beginners. The machine controls the water flow, leaving all the hard work to the technology. Whether you use a high-end grinder or a cheaper one to grind your beans, it does not matter. It will still result in a good espresso shot.

DUOMO The Eight Distribution Tool

I guess we can talk about the DUOMO distribution tool next. This tool was at multiple booths. Every one was raving about it. The tool optimizes an espresso shot by distributing coffee grounds without a tamper. This tool prevents the coffee from being compacted into a dense mass. In fact, pins and needles on the tool work to create air pockets for water to flow through easily. At $225 a pop, I had to question efficiency. Interestingly, multiple sources confirmed that the shot comes together into one stream five seconds sooner than if the distribution tool was not used! Super sexy stuff right here. #Iykyk.

Ratio Six Coffee Maker

Imagine a drip coffee machine engineered to produce a cup with similar quality to a pour-over that a barista prepares for you, but without the work. Well, I introduce to you the Ratio Six. I first heard of Ratio back in 2021. The machine features a shower head that evenly disperses water over the coffee. This should distribute water in a similar way that a barista would in a cafe, pouring in a circular motion over a funnel, meanwhile maintaining ideal temps. Ratio Six has precision and simplicity, an invention of ‘convenience without compromise.’

Time More Black Mirror Nano Scale

Mikey fell in LOVE with Time More’s white nano scale. So much so that we went back to the Eight Ounce Coffee booth on the last day to see if we could buy their model off of them. Unfortunately, they couldn’t sell it to us because this product has not hit the market yet! But we’ve definitely got our eyes on it.

Time More has a larger scale already on the market, but this tinier counter-part is perfect for our small space and travel lifestyle. It is compatible with all Chemex sizes, and is cute and minimalist. We cannot wait until it goes live! If you’re looking for a scale option now, check out Time More’s larger scale. It is selling for an impressively frugal fee compared to other coffee scales.

Ikawa Coffee Roaster

The speech that Morgan gave during the final competition of the National Barista Championship really spoke to a new wave of coffee makers – the ones at home. As coffee moves from a commercial space into our home spaces, we will find that the most innovative ideas and experimental recipes may come from individuals, not coffee companies. As we connect with each other more through digital media, we will be able to share our ideas and grow exponentially, thus advancing coffee into a new generation made up of at home brewers and roasters.

When it comes to micro coffee roasters, Ikawa’s booth was one of the ones that stood out. I have seen Ikawa online before and was immediately attracted to its minimalist and sleek packaging.

Best for Travel

Time More 123 Go (Grind and Brew)

While we are talking about Time More, I should mention the Time More 123 Go. It is a grind-and-brew option for people on-the-go. Perfect for those who want to carry their coffee machine with them, wherever they are. It is an all-in-one solution. Equipped with the high-precision burrs found in Time More hand grinders, a precision, 13-hole water dripper and fine mesh cone filter, the 123 GO enables consistent, flavorful extraction in approximately three minutes. Just don’t leave your favorite coffee vessel behind.

Wacaco Nanopresso

Wacaco’s Nanopress has been around a while, but it was recently reinvented into a Picopress. A small, capsule, manual espresso maker, many trampers feature this nanopress in their travels. After comparing the previous model and the new version, I have decided I like the previous model more for a few reasons. The new version, called Picopress, is heavier by 14grams, which is a big faux pas for hikers and travelers. It also does not include a vessel, meaning you need to carry a second item to put your coffee in. This adds to the total weight of your pack or bag. Alternatively, the older Nanopress came with everything you need. After checking out both of these in person, I can appreciate the Nanopress for its utility, even if the Picopress arguably makes pro espresso.

Orphan Espresso Flatpack

I am going to finish off this travel series with what was possibly my favorite invention at the convention. It’s a pour-over funnel from Orphan Espresso. A married elderly couple invented this because the wife never travels without her coffee tech. They got tired of packing a heavy, awkward, funnel-shaped dripper whenever they went anywhere. So they invented the flatpack.

A flat, portable device no thicker than an Iphone, the flatpack folds into a funnel with two flow rates. Differently spaced ridges allow for both quick or slow coffee extraction. It is unbelievably light in weight, with the base made from carbon fiber. It comes packaged in a neat little pouch, which fits in my hiking pant pocket. Any multi-day hiker can appreciate this invention. I would have to say this was the top, best new coffee product I saw.

Gadgets and Tools

Melodrip Stainless

In the brewing competition, one of the contestants was using this water dispersing tool from Melodrip to make the judges their coffee. It was the first time I heard of it but another user of the tool swears by it. It’s supposed to minimize overextraction and amplify the clarity of the cup. I am very interested to try it for myself.

Origami Dripper

Not that I need another dripper option, but the Origami dripper is too pretty not to mention. A colorful, stackable dripper that has two base options (resin or wood), this multi-fluted cone has small and large options. The 20 flutes improve airflow, allowing for a faster brew. It is versatile, as it is compatible with flat filters, as well as conical or wave style filters. The dripper is made of minoware clay, a traditional technique from the Gifu region of Japan that only a few dozen artisans know. It is definitely a piece of functional art.

Pallo Coffee Tool

We don’t own a brush to clean our group head but this tool is so essential. All the national competitions were using this tool to clean their espresso machine’s group head after every contestant. I would highly recommend!

Supergood Counter Brush

This brush might seem frivolous, but how many times do you find coffee grounds scattered all over the counter? If you grind whole beans at all, this brush will keep the counter clean.

Kruve Propel Glasses

Elegant double-walled espresso cups that are as cute as a button.

Umeshiso Rainbow Little Spoon

I fell in LOVE with this rainbow spoon. Even though it seem superfluous to add this to the list, it is one of the best new coffee products that I am excited about. This spoon is perfect for mixing espressos from my Drink Morning Machine. I would love to see this with a Pink Not Neutral Vero Cortado cup.

If you like this list, check out these other popular coffee-related blog posts:

And make sure to save this on your Pinterest if you liked this post.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

A majority of the products here can be found at Eight Ounce Coffee, a Canadian based specialty coffee equipment company that luckily ships to the US. We discovered their booth at the Expo and fell in love with what they were selling. A lot of our newly discovered favorites were from their booth. And they carry some of my already-favorite brands such as Kinto and Hario. They are going to be our new one-stop shop favorite for specialty coffee products and goods!

Spring Refresh with White Cotton Sheets

Spring is my favorite season to spruce up the home. In this season, I embrace traditional Spring cleaning rituals, a decluttering frenzy, and a refresh of my home’s aesthetics. On the latter point, I set about renewing the home in minimal and simple ways. This entails throwing open the windows, putting flowers in a vase, and clearing the counter space. For a long time, I dreamed of doing more grand gestures to welcome Spring. Like changing couch throw pillows, hanging a different front door wreath, or buying seeds to plant. But that just wasn’t the frugalist and minimalist way. Somewhere in those dreams lay the hope of a Spring refresh in the form of white cotton sheets. Finally, Mildly Home has made that one dream come true, without comprising my values.

Mildly Home is a textile company producing goods that impact lives and well-being in positive ways. They create products that are made well and with intention, without breaking the bank. In essence, they want to make high quality goods affordable for everyone. They are priced much lower than competitor textile companies such as Parachute Home, Cuyana and Coyuchi. For example, Mildly Home is selling their duvet cover sets for under $100! It’s the perfect option for a refresh.

They have proven that a higher price point does not necessarily equate to a superior good. We have the reversible cotton duvet set on our bed right now and the cotton is as soft as a cloud! I am currently writing this post in bed, because it is just so comfortable! (I promise I am not making this up.)

Like I said before, I have dreamed of having hotel-white sheets, especially in the Spring and Summer seasons. It makes the space feel clean and calm. White sheets also have a timeless and classic look for me. I love the way they look when the bed is made. White cotton is simple, no-nonsense, and fully minimalist. It imbues that prairie-like humility and angelic innocence.

The reason I never bought white sheets was because bedding is typically so expensive. I could not rationalize buying sheets that could get ruined by dirty feet and spilled coffee. That’s what happens when you have expensive things. Interlaced within that price tag is anxiety. But thanks to Mildly, I don’t have to worry about that. I am so grateful to have been gifted the bedding of my dreams. Even if I had made the purchase, the lower price point is friendly to my psyche. As in, I can handle spilled coffee.

The duvet cover set was ready to use right out of the box. The fabric feels luxe and is not itchy or scratchy. It is what I would expect from a company that is OEKO-TEX certified. This makes Mildly Home a brand with one of the most influential eco-labels in the world.

In comparison the Parachute Home’s reversible brushed cotton duvet that our bed used to don, Mildly Home has achieved a more relaxed California look. The sheets appear like a linen set, but with the lightness and softness of cotton. Never you mind the wrinkle, as it adds to that popular laid-back look. The lightness of the fabric is welcomed especially during our desert summer heat, a heat that has already started to show itself during these Spring months. It is much cooler than it’s Parachute reversible duvet counter-part, and has a cozier feel too (less heavy).

The duvet set comes with the duvet cover and two pillowcase covers which are also reversible. The duvet cover has a zipper closure which I prefer over Parachute’s button closure. However, the pillows come with two wood button closures, which I find odd since they don’t match the duvet. On the bright side, the added detail does look better on the pillows. And on the website, you can also purchase a matching white fitted sheet for under $50.

Mildly Home’s mantra of “Think Less, Feel More” really summarizes the values of their company. Their desire is to create products that bring betterness to people’s everyday lives. They are making products that don’t cost too much of our hard-earned dollars, that are simple in design, and that really bring us joy. As I write this post, I think about the way this brand made me feel. This morning, I brought our coffees over to bed – a taboo especially when it comes to white sheets. Plus, we never eat or drink in our bedroom. And yet, my desire was to drink coffee in bed. In the afternoon, I jumped back in to read. And even now in the late afternoon, I am sitting here writing my thoughts with the cat by my side.

I tried to shoo him away in order to photograph the bed but he came back meowling. As I was turning the top sheet, the cat jumped up without a care in the world. As if to say, ‘This is equally mine as it is yours.’ He proceeded to do his own cat things, putting an end to the photo shoot, but he has a point. He should have equal enjoyment.

Honestly, when they reached out to partner, I immediately felt the rightness of the relationship. Perhaps it was their motto “Think Less, Feel More”. Certainly, Mildly Home is not one of those trendy, highly expensive, uber chic companies that you see on LA billboards. They don’t sell colors in stone hues or desert tones. But they are one of those companies creating high quality products under an OEKO TEX certification. Their products have sensibility and affordability. There’s a simplicity to the sheets – one that gives me a pang of nostalgia for childhood days. Perhaps because it has that same feel of well-loved sheets we used to make forts with.

It makes me want to curl in bed and take life slowly. To relish in the moments before rising, and to truly relax. I don’t feel worried about the possibility of ruining them. At the same time, I am not concerned with the way it looks. If we can save our dollars to buy what we need and still get the same amount of joy, why wouldn’t we? Perhaps we could use the money saved to work less, and live more. When it comes to partnerships, this was a no-brainer. As always, the opinions are my own.

Currently, Mildly Home is holding a sale with Free Shipping on their website. The duvet cover we own is the Reversible Cotton Duvet in Gray and White. Our duvet cover is a King size on a California King bed. The links are affiliate links and this space will earn a small commission shall you choose to try Mildly Home in your space. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this space.

Spring Cleaning: 100+ Things to Declutter

Spring is in full swing in the Golden State. Gloomy rainy days intermittently sprinkle their way between days that mimic summer weather, coaxing us poolside a few months earlier than expected. I guess that means it’s time to spring clean. Thanks to our ultimate cleaning list, we don’t need to spend time cleaning our home any more than we already do. Rather, Spring cleaning takes on a larger focus. Now is a great time to cleanse not just our homes, but our bodies, minds, and souls that which does not serve us. This may seem like a large task, but we can take it a step at a time. I have found that the best and easiest place to start is in our physical space. Let’s start Spring cleaning with 100 things to declutter.

Related Posts:

Decluterring changed my life. I became a minimalist after getting rid of the stuff that did not add value to my life. Today, I live a life of gratitude for the few things I own. I spend less time worrying about my things. I have to do less cleaning around the house. And I spend less money, avoiding adding more clutter to my home.

All of these things (saving money, saving time, and worrying less) improved my life significantly. I would consider decluttering as one of the highest forms of self-care. It’s a practice in evaluating life to the fullest, in the hopes of improving it and taking it one step closer to the life I want it to be.

Things I Have Learned During My Decluttering Journey

The art of decluttering is a personal act.

Not everything I declutter needs be decluttered by you. Do not have guilt for wanting to hold on to something that I don’t value. Do not use others as your measuring stick. The goal is to go through the mindful process of being honest with yourself and asking yourself what these items do for your life. Do they give you joy? Add stress? Make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Support your lifestyle and goals? Do what feels right!

Decluttering one category at a time is essential.

In order to have a clear idea as to what does not belong, you need to assess each category fully. You should not jump from room to room and declutter a little bit in each one. As I wrote in the post How to Get Things Done, we need to focus on the ONE thing in order to get great results. In the case of decluttering, focus on each section of this post and you will be more effective at the job!

This is a sequential process for a reason.

Some things are easier to let go of than others. Start with the closet. These items are easier to let go of because it is the area in most homes where we have excess. The closet also contains items that are typically easy to replace, and therefore easier to let go. And usually, people aren’t that attached to their clothes, unless your a fashionista! I would reserve the most difficult categories (such as paper, digital clutter and memorabilia) for last. They will be the hardest, as they can contain personal information that requires a bit of decluttering resolve.

Decluttering is a practice.

Decluttering is surprisingly not easy. Many people feel anguish, guilt, and overwhelm. It’s totally normal and okay to feel that way. I did, too! Decluttering is a practice. If you start to feel these things, stop. Revisit another day. I would recommend taking all of April to finish this decluttering list. It doesn’t have to be done in one day. And just let go of what feels right to you.

You can always declutter again on your birthday as a sign of rebirth. Or before the holidays, in order to prepare yourself for a busy season. Or in the New Year, to start new habits. There will be plenty of other opportunities, and it takes time to build what I call the decluttering muscle! You are doing great just by starting today.

Without further ado, here are more than 100 things you can declutter this Spring, plus a few tips.

100+ Things to Declutter

The Closet

  1. Clothes that still have tags on them. There is a reason those paper tags are still hanging loosely from the labels. You will likely never wear them if you haven’t already. I don’t know about you, but when I get an article of clothing that I am excited about, I rip off the tags and wear it right away. And I wear it every week! Wouldn’t it be nice to feel that much joy and excitement about everything in your closet?
  2. Clothes that don’t fit. Stop saying you will wear it when you lose ‘X’ pounds. Embrace where you are right now and love your body as it is. By holding yourself against a possible future self, you are hurting the present you. How do you expect to get to a goal in the future when you are not supporting the present?
  3. Clothes that you are keeping just because they were a gift. Let go of the guilt you feel. It isn’t worth hanging onto the clothes. Your true friends and family will understand. To be completely honest, it actually helps them choose more intentional gifts for you in the future that you can actually cherish.
  4. Clothes that you have only worn once. Most likely, there is a reason. Whether it is because it doesn’t fit, isn’t your style, or bothers you in some way, take it as your intuitive self telling you to let it go.
  5. Clothes that don’t go with your style or lifestyle. I like to live with a capsule wardrobe that supports what I do throughout the day. You can read How A Capsule Wardrobe For Work Saves Me Money AND Time. You can also see my current capsule wardrobe here.
  6. Clothes that are at the end of their life cycle. I know you love that T-shirt or sweater with a hole on it, but honestly, you can’t wear that outside of the home and does wearing worn down clothing make you feel good? Probably not. You can thank it for its service, and then let it go.
  7. Clothes that are occasion specific. Think graduation robes, bridesmaid dresses, wedding gown and Halloween costumes. Maybe these held some significance at some point, but the memory doesn’t lie in the hanging on to things.
  8. Excess coats. How many people have multiple coats but only wear a handful? How many sweaters do you have? I usually grab for the same puffer jacket and rain slicker. I rotate through a few sweaters when I stay indoors or need to layer. And I keep one fancy wool coat that I absolutely love and is easy to throw on during those cold winter mornings. That’s it!
  9. Multiple swimsuits. I only have one and it is a classic, black one-piece from Summersalt. My advice for curating swimsuits right this way. It has been two years of using my swimsuit almost every other week, and it’s stretching a bit on the sides. I have my eyes on this new release from Vuori, and I am thinking of bravely adding a pop of color in my life.
  10. Multiple sunglasses. I only own this pair from Warby Parker, and it fits every bill.
  11. Excess hangars. After you’ve decluttered the clothes, you should have a bunch of excess hangars.
  12. Socks and underwear with holes in them.
  13. Shoes that are uncomfortable. Our feet do a whole lot of work. They need to have ample support and love from us, and the best way to do that is to wear comfortable shoes.
  14. Shoes that are worn. They have supported you for long enough, and they need to move on too.
  15. Accessories that you never use or only used once.
  16. Accessories that are unnecessary. For example, scarves?
  17. Repeat accessories. How many scrunchies/hats/beanies do you have? Perhaps pick a one or two favorites.
  18. Tarnished jewelry. This goes into a similar category as holey T-shirts. They served their purpose, but these things don’t make you feel good, whether you are aware of it or not.
  19. Broken jewelry and accessories. You will never fix them like you say you will.
  20. Jewelry you never wear. Sometimes we hang onto things because they are pretty, even when they are not useful. Try to remember that even pretty things hold mental space, and that clutter can have negative effects on your body.
  21. Out of style or costume jewelry. I try to avoid trends, for the sole reason that they go out of style. I pay a pretty penny to buy less things that are iconic and last me many years. The jewelry brand J. Hannah is making waves with millennials who wish to buy high-quality, simple, versatile and timeless jewelry at significantly lower price points. It is where I buy my jewelry. My daily jewelry set includes these hoop earrings, this locket necklace, and a discontinued pearl demi ring which has replaced my wedding ring. All are in silver for simplicity and because it is my everyday set, I never even have to think about what jewelry to wear that day.
  22. Multiple purses. I like to keep one main purse with me. This versatile OG2 purse from Lo and Sons functions as my work purse, travel purse, and gym bag. I do hang on to tinier versions such as a mini pouch and a belt bag from Lululemon when I go on errands or simple adventures. A simple trick I use is to put my essentials in a mini pouch that fits in my OG2 purse. Whenever I want to go with less, I just grab the pouch itself without having to repack a single thing.
  23. Worn out hair ties and bobby pins.

Bathroom Products

  1. Make up you never used.
  2. Makeup that doesn’t really go with your style.
  3. Make up that is unnecessary. (I don’t use foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, highlighters, fake eyelashes, etc…). In my honest opinion, this Everyday Set is the only make-up a gal needs. If you are like me, however, and dislike ingesting lip color, I would personally opt for the Sunday Edit and call it a day. I prefer to use lip balm only on my lips, and carry around a more au naturel look than most.
  4. Old and expired make up. The shelf-life of these things are not as long as most people think.
  5. Nail polish that’s dried up.
  6. Nail polish colors you never use.
  7. Deodorant that’s dried up.
  8. Doubles of certain bath products. Do you horde shampoo bottles? Toothpaste? Lotions from Bed Bath and Beyond?
  9. Extras of bath essentials. Get in the habit of buying only one at a time to decrease clutter. People are always surprised when we tell them we buy toilet paper rolls individually wrapped.
  10. Travel sized toiletries that you collected from your travels.
  11. Old sunscreen.
  12. Expired medicine. I am constantly checking supplement and pain medicine bottles and making sure they are up to date.

Kitchen Items

  1. Kitchen tools that only serve one purpose and can be replaced by another tool. You really only need a set of iconic kitchen tools, like this one from Material Kitchen.
  2. Multiple sets of knives. You only need a set of basic knives. This trio knife set from Material Kitchen is my favorite for minimalists.
  3. Multiple cutlery or tableware sets. One set is all you need. I prefer to go with white tableware and silver cutlery, both dishwasher safe to simplify my life.
  4. Extra mis-matched mugs. I love coffee vessels! But I usually only drink from one or two pieces each season. My advice is to find a mug that you LOVE and make it an everyday mug. You will cherish the routine of drinking coffee more and imbue significance in that one mug when you tie the ritual to an item.
  5. Seasonal tableware. My parents keep Christmas plates to pull out only once a year. I find it to be a shame because their plate set is so beautiful, but hardly used. It must have cost a fortune back in the day too, because it includes a place setting for 12 people!
  6. Repeat items (two wine openers is one too many). People’s homes are riddled with doubles of things, for the just-in-case. Just get rid of doubles and your life will be simpler!
  7. Gadgets that are finnicky, difficult to maintain, or promise ease of use but instead, clutter the space. My mom has an electric juicer, but I opt for a handheld lemon squeezer and that’s it.
  8. Expired foods in the pantry or fridge. Declutter (and deep clean) the fridge every two weeks.
  9. One-time use ingredients and spices that you’ll never use again. The trick is to avoid those complicated recipes that ask for incredibly unique ingredients that you never use!
  10. Organizational tools that, in reality, add clutter (for example, bins and pantry organizers). Recognize them for what they are – just more stuff.
  11. Paper towels and one-time use napkins. Opt for dish rags, bar mops and linen napkins.
  12. Old rags or hand towels. Thin out your collection.
  13. Placemats. I got rid of a set of 12 placemats and replaced it for one oatmeal-colored linen tablecloth. Less to store and clean.
  14. A plethora of serveware. I like multi-functional things and use cutting boards as cheese boards. I don’t have multiple trays, place mats, or serveware. Typically, when we host, I place the bake pan, pot, or roasting tray directly on a few potholders and call it a day. I will admit, I have a few cake stands, which double as appetizer stands when I can help it.
  15. Excess sauce packets and free napkins from your to-go orders.
  16. Excess pots and pans.
  17. Tupperware with missing lids. I have actually been guilty of this one!
  18. Multiple water bottles and travel mugs. I have one water bottle and one travel tumbler, both from an amazing Japanese company called Kinto.
  19. Broken Appliances.
  20. Fridge magnets.
  21. Chip bag clips.
  22. Junk drawers. The name says it all.

Textiles

  1. Spare bedding. I only keep one for each bed.
  2. Excess throw blankets and decorative pillows. Having too many can create the feeling of clutter. A recommendation I have is to keep neutral colors in the same hue. It’s less exhausting to look at than patterns and plenty of color.
  3. Spare towels. Keep only enough for a few guests that you can host. Keep only one set for your family.
  4. Seasonal textiles, such as sheets, pillows, tablecloths and blankets that can only be used during the holidays or special occasions. Opt for a neutral design that fits all occasions and the every day.
  5. Single use table cloths and napkins.

Home Decor

  1. Seasonal home decor that you only use a part of the year.
  2. Figurines or vases that you no longer like.
  3. Picture frames that aren’t really being used.
  4. Artwork that may be cluttering the walls.
  5. Throw pillows that get in the way or are stored in closets.
  6. Multiple candles or old candles. Alternatively, gifted candles with scents you don’t like and would never use.
  7. Collectibles. My mom really loves her collectibles and I would never force anyone to part with something that means a lot to them. But if you once collected beanie babies as a child and they are sitting in a dusty box in the garage, at least ask yourself the question, “Do I really love these as I once did?”

Travel Items

  1. Additional suitcases. We were gifted matching large check-in bags for our honeymoon and we have only used them once – during our honeymoon! It has been more than five years, and as minimalists, we usually need nothing more than an overhead bag, even when we travel for weeks at a time internationally. See my minimalist travel packing tips in this post!
  2. Neck pillows. Toss ’em.
  3. Multiple backpacks. We each have one that we use for everything.

Office

  1. Books that you’ve already read.
  2. That box of 100 pens or 100 pencils that you bought in bulk to ‘save money’. Change your mindset to ‘Save Space’.
  3. Old pens or stationary.
  4. Unused craft items.
  5. Old batteries.
  6. CDs and DVDs.
  7. Organizational items like bins, manila folders, paper trays, etc.
  8. Office supplies that you hardly use, like stapler, hole puncher, and paper clips. We don’t even have a printer at home.
  9. Excess pads of paper, box of envelopes, or empty notebooks. I like to stick to one notebook at a time. When I finish it, I go back through and decide which information is still needed and I either save that on my laptop or transfer it to my new notebook. Usually, it fills maybe one page.
  10. Gift cards and coupons. I have a habit of using gift cards right away. That might sound silly but I just don’t like to hold onto them. So I spend them once I receive them and let them go. If I have nothing I wish to buy at the time, I use them to buy someone else a present.

Miscellaneous/Garage

  1. Wrapping paper saved for Christmas or birthdays. I like to choose brown paper or something simple that fits every occasion. I tie with jute string and decorate with leaves or flowers from the park outside. You can also check out how I wrapped presents one Christmas using the art of Furoshiki.
  2. Cords with no purpose.
  3. Musical instruments or music devices that you never use.
  4. Old toys.
  5. Rusty plant pots.
  6. Unused paints.
  7. Outside equipment.
  8. Unused or broken tools.
  9. Pet items. Yes, even our pet is minimalist! He has one food and water bowl that’s big enough to fit one serving of food. He has one carrier, one bed from Tuft and Paw, and a litter box with litter mat. And a handful of toys. No pet clothes and certainly no fancy cat tree. Get rid of the half-chewed up toys. And definitely declutter any extra accessories.
  10. Board games that your family never plays. We have a huge collection of boardgames, but if I am being honest, there are a few we never reach for. Perhaps regift it to a friend who also loves boardgames, or to a school in need.
  11. Puzzles with missing pieces or ones that you are never going to use again.
  12. Video games and systems that you don’t use anymore. Try re-selling them online, as my husband has always had success in that.
  13. Freebies and giveaways. You probably only took those items home because they were free. But are they really? Remember that everything takes up mental space and cost you energy.
  14. Loose change. I don’t even carry around cash anymore. Everything can be done online.

Paper Clutter

  1. Old letters you hang on to.
  2. Birthday cards or holiday cards from years prior.
  3. Receipts that you really don’t need.
  4. Bank statements or other records which you can get online.
  5. Notebooks and notes from the past.
  6. Class notes from college days. How many times do you really look at them?
  7. Mail. Open them once you receive them, and then throw them out. Secret – 90% of mail is junk. A tactic I use to really keep mail to a minimum is to unsubscribe to everything. It initially takes work as you need to contact businesses and ask them to take you off their mailing lists, but it is SO worth it.
  8. Magazines that you’ve already read or don’t plan on reading. In line with my previous note, I would get rid of magazine subscriptions altogether.
  9. Photographs that don’t hold meaning for you.

Digital Clutter

  1. Email. I have had the same email since I was in elementary school. One day, frustrated by all the junk and clutter in my digital space, I just hit ‘Delete All’. I never missed a single email and I haven’t turned back since.
  2. Photos on your phone, cameras, desktop, or USB drives. It takes a decent amount of emotional distancing from material goods to be able to let go of memorabilia. This is not for the soft-hearted decluterrer. Be advised, proceed with caution. Me? I am totally fine with clearing my life of photos, and do so regularly. I keep a few, but never more than one USB drive.
  3. Documents. Depending on your line of work, do you really need all your documents? I am a writer and I don’t keep many. I write, I publish, and I delete.
  4. Receipts. As we progress into the digital age, there are very few receipts you need to keep. Most likely, if you have a digital version of it, you can find it somewhere.

Because I started decluttering, I am able to live a more frugal and intentional life. One that allows me to pay back my student loan debt of $575,000! I am able to live in a smaller home and pay less for housing. I love all the things I own. They are beautiful and functional. I look at my items as comrades who help me get through this thing we call life. There is a relationship with my things, for which I have gratitude.

I hope that this year’s Spring cleaning brings you something more than a clean home. A new outlook, perhaps. Or extra breathing room. Either way, share your thoughts and ideas around this post below!

Photo by Mathieu Perrier on Unsplash

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Sort Joy In The Linens Drawer

It’s no secret that I love to sort things around my home. I’ve written tirelessly about organizing my space so as to keep sane and increase productivity. In some respects, it’s a way for me to feel like I have some control over this thing we call life. I know we can’t always control our environment, but these little organizational measures I take helps me cope when life gets difficult. It puts my mind at ease and calms me down. It is a form of self-care, as it prepares me to face the world with my best foot forward. Today, I’ll blather on about how we sort the linens drawer in the kitchen, in case it’s helpful to others, too.

The Way I Organize

I like bins and baskets. You can see that in some of my posts above. I like catch-all solutions to messes, frankly, because it is simple. In my opinion, tossing items into a cubby is a great out-of-sight, out-of-mind solution. It isn’t perfectly pretty, but it works. Organizing items by likeness (whether it be function or appearance) is quick and easy to do. This is why we sort our linens drawer in the kitchen into bins.

We don’t use paper towels. It’s part of our avoidance of created waste. Instead, we opt for linen napkins at meal times, and bar mops for clean up. We have about twelve of each type, and they sit folded in a kitchen drawer. Each one is separated into their own bin. Ours are gifted from Sort Joy, a company making earth-friendly organizational products. They are wonderful!

About Sort Joy

Sort Joy creates all sorts of machine-washable bins that are as versatile as they are functional. I own a set of 3 small flex bins. The felt bins have adjustable heights since they are foldable. Despite the soft nature of the felt, there is structure to these bins. They stand up on their own, making them easily displayed on a counter, shelf, or entryway table.

On laundry day, I simple pull out each bin from the drawer and bring them to the table where I am folding laundry. I stack the bar mops and linen napkins Marie-Kondo-style into the bins. This way, I can see throughout the week how many clean ones are left. It indicates to me how soon I need to do laundry. Folding items this way works well for me because I am a visual person and I need easy-to-see cues.

The material of these bins are so soft to the touch. And they are beautiful to look at. The two colors (a light stone color and a dark carbon gray color) are minimalist, yet warm. I love the way they look. I keep a petite version in our living room to hold all of Theo’s toys.

Sort Joy makes an effort to keep everything eco-friendly. These bins fold up nicely, which means more of them can be shipped within the same box. They arrived at my front door without any plastic packaging or paper labels. I simply had to unfold them from the box and could use them right away.

I got to try Sort Joy in this collaboration project. I was gifted the bins, but as always, the thoughts and opinion are my own. In Sort Joy, I find a sense of kindred spirit. Kindly, I thank you for supporting the companies that support this blog space. Sort Joy would like to extend 20% to all of TheDebtist readers who wish to practice minimalism and sort their precious items. Simply use code: THEDEBTIST to get 20% off.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

My Samsung Frame TV Review + FAQ

We just purchased our very first TV upon buying our second home. We spent a chilly November weekend perusing Best Buy during their pre-Black-Friday sale. I can’t believe Black Friday is now happening a month before Black Friday? But the timing worked out for us, having moved the first weekend of November. After staring at bright digital screens, some of which were so clear they looked fake, we decided to go with Samsung’s 65″ Frame TV. I am so happy we did! Today I share with you my Samsung Frame TV Review.

Our first five years of marriage were spent without ever owning a TV. Even in my youth, I hardly used one. My sister hogged the programs and loved the telly more than I. Of course, I acquiesced, preferring the privacy of my room and the company of books over a tussle.

I find myself now, at the age of 32 years old, unable to use a remote, let alone navigate today’s insane amount of options. After two months of owning a TV, I have relegated all control over to my husband, who better navigates digital devices anyway. But, I have found myself sitting down to relax and watch more often with the new TV around. While a problem for some, it’s actually a relief for me, as I need to spend more time relaxing in the New Year. Currently, I am obsessed with Ted Lasso, and will likely be devastated when season 2 ends.

I really love our TV, and thought I would answer a few FAQs in this Samsung Frame TV Review.

Why the Samsung Frame TV?

I actually had my sights on the Samsung Frame TV for a while. We have the same model hanging in the waiting room of my dental office, and the framed imagery really makes a statement when the TV is not in use. It’s a truly beautiful digital device, an approval that’s difficult to garner from me.

Additionally, in comparison to some of the QLED models, I find that the Samsung Frame TV is more similar to the screens I grew up with. Perhaps it’s my lack of exposure to screens, but the new QLED models have contrasts so high that the images appear ‘doctored’. It’s like the difference between a hyper-edited photograph and an original. Quite off-putting, if you ask me.

Is the picture quality good?

It’s great! Like I mentioned above, the QLED models have higher resolution and contrasts. A friend who happens to be a CG modeler prefers the QLED options, because you can see his line of work more clearly. However, the Samsung Frame TV has that clarity without being overdone. Meaning, it doesn’t look fake. I don’t know about you, but I prefer reality in my life. The imagery is a middle ground between better technology, and what I am familiar with. I much prefer it.

Does it actually look like a framed piece of artwork?

Yes. The TV adjusts based on the lighting in the room. The bezel really does look like a frame. And the art work can be surrounded by a mat that looks matte enough to appear paper-like from far away. Of course, it IS still a screen. Despite the matte appearance, observing the Samsung Frame TV at a close distance couldn’t fool anyone.

How do you choose your art?

There are many display options for the Samsung Frame TV. You can choose from a handful of complimentary art works in the Samsung Art Store. You can also reinvent your space when you subscribe to their Art Gallery, which features over 1,400 art pieces! Lastly, you can upload your own photographs using their App. You can display multiple photographs at a time, just like you would in a family photo frame.

How do you manage the wires?

The Frame TV comes with a single ‘invisible wire’. Essentially, it’s a thin, clear cable that blends in really well with the wall. You can hardly see it running down the TV in the store, but it is there. Silver linings in the fact that there is only one. For us, the invisible wire is hidden in the wall behind the TV. We were fortunate enough to move into a home where everything was pre-prepped for internal wiring. A blessing for me, since I find cables maddening. But even if it was exposed and running down to the media console, it would not be very noticeable. Samsung did a great job with emphasizing esthetics in the design of this model. For that, I am grateful.

Where do you plug in other wires?

There is a one connect box for the Samsung TV. We plug all other wires to that. We have video games and Sonos 5 speakers. You can also plug in a roku, apple TV, or whatever else you use. We hide our one connect box in our media console.

Can you tell us more about the bezel?

The Samsung Frame TV is just as the name implies: a framed TV. The frame is called a bezel. There are multiple bezel options, in both traditional and modern styles. My two favorites are the Modern White and the Modern Teak bezels. However, the TV does not come with a free bezel. It is an additional purchase.

Is the Bezel necessary?

Absolutely not! We actually did not buy the Frame TV bezel. Costing an additional $200, we decided to save our money at the time. I mean, we did just purchase a house! Without the bezel, there is a black thin edge around the TV. It looks as if there was a a Modern Black bezel around it. I think it functions just fine and looks equally great without the bezel. In my personal opinion, the bezel is a flimsy piece that adds little to the edges of the TV. I think it would be great to change the edges to a different color choice, but at $200, I am not sure the price is justifiable.

What is the correct size for my living room?

For many years, we have used a projector for our movie nights. We chose a projector because of its great price point and large image. The image via the projector was equivalent to a 110″ screen TV. Alas, we’ve sized down to a smaller home which also meant we sized down our TV too.

The width of our living room wall is a mere 8 feet wide so there is no way our projected images would fit. We purchased a 65″ Samsung Frame TV and it sits perfectly above our Ikea Bestia Media Console. Our Bemz-Upholstered Restoration Hardware Cloud Look-Alike (see the project here) sits about 10 feet away from the TV. At such a distance, the TV feels like the perfect size.

Do you recommend professional installation?

I always recommend professional installation. We bought our TV at Best Buy and spent the $200 we saved on the Bezel paying for their Total Tech Membership. The membership includes delivery and installation of all Best Buy products for ‘free’. The membership paid for the installation itself, and Best Buy has a Geek Squad or uses a third party for all services. We were able to deliver and install the TV in two days!

The membership lasts for a year, and includes discounts on Best Buy items as well. We figured, with a new home, we could spend the next year buying the tech we want and have it installed without hassle. I would highly recommend the Total Tech Membership if you plan to do a lot of home upgrades!

What are some downsides to the TV?

This wouldn’t Samsung Frame TV review if I did not address the downsides. My dad gets irked that the screen is non-tiltable, but that doesn’t bother me. It is mounted flush on the wall, which isolates our viewing time to the living room only. However, I think that separation of television from other activities (such as eating and sleeping) is part of a healthy lifestyle. I try to follow the basic rules of feng shui as best I can.

Some folks also have a gripe with the Frame aspect of the TV. The argument is that it would use up more electricity. A majority of the time, we have our TV off. The artwork is only up when guests are around or when I photograph my space. There is also a function that turns off the TV when it doesn’t sense motion in the room. Once motion is sensed in the room, the artwork appears on the screen again. You can always choose that setting if you wish to see artwork when you are in the room.

Does it ever go on sale?

It does! Like I said at the beginning of this post, we bought ours from Best Buy during a Black Friday sale. We got it at $500 off. That means we got it at 25% off, reducing the price from $2,000 to $1,500.

Is it worth it?

I do think that the Samsung Frame TV was a great purchase. This is coming from someone who didn’t watch a lot of TV before. I find myself enjoying TV shows a bit more. With it around, I find myself spending more time relaxing with my husband and cat.

Plus, I think it looks great in our space. Aesthetics is very important to me. I love how this TV fits in our space without over-powering it or making it look messy. The optional artwork is also great for when guests are around, and the lack of cables are a real game-changer.

One can always look at it this way: instead of having to pay for artwork as home decor and a TV, you get both at one price. And let me tell you, artwork is pricey!

I hope this Samsung Frame TV review has been helpful for you. If you have other questions, feel free to ask!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

The Ultimate Luxury Bath Mat Is Diatomite

There is a new bath mat in town, and it is dynamite! I can barely keep the words in as I am swooning over this special bath mat that has, in all honesty, revolutionized my showers. The ultimate luxury bath mat that I am talking about is made of diatomite and is from Misona. It is not only perfect in its function, but also sleek to look at, inexpensive, eco-conscious, and good for our health. It is such a treasured piece in my bathroom. My days are seriously improved because of it. Everyone needs to try the diatomite bath mat at least once. As for me, never again will I search for another bath mat. This is the one.

What is Diatomite?

Diatomite is actually a soft, sedimentary rock. The material is known to be super efficient at absorbing water. Perfect for sopping, wet feet! I love that it is actually a piece of nature present in the bathroom. The mat brings a sense of je ne sais quois that is calming and grounding. Plus, it is made of a 100% naturally occurring material – diatomaceous earth!

Does the diatomite bath mat actually absorb water?

I have heard about this mystery earthstone for months before having the chance to try out Misona’s bath mat. To be honest, I had my doubts. But now I am converted forever, fully convinced that this is the way to go. As soon as I step onto the mat, I can feel my foot drying in an instant. A literal second is all it takes to be ready to step off the mat and onto the rest of my day.

The quick drying feature makes this mat ideal for kids, too! Little tiny feet that don’t know quite yet how to dry themselves can simply step onto the mat and be toweled off directly on there. Say goodbye to tiny tracks leading you around the home. Because the mat absorbs water instantly, it is actually non-slip as well. The stone is heavy enough not to shift around on the floor and thick enough to be sturdy. Therefore, it is also a great option for elderly folk who are worried about slipping!

The entire mat itself dries in one minute. It’s quite enjoyable to see the magic happening before my eyes. The water mark dissipates into the air, the wonders of nature at work. Traditional bath mats only semi-dry my feet. And as a person who loathes walking around with wet feet, bath mats have always been a love-hate relationship for me. Gone are those days. Getting out of the shower have never been a more enjoyable occurrence!

It’s a beautiful mat.

Coming from a minimalist, the mat is drop-dead gorgeous. Many interior designers fawn over color options (the earthstone mat has those too!), weave patterns, and tassly frills. I, however, am drooling over the sleek look of the diatomite bath mat. The rounded edges add a gentle quality to the cool, flat surface. The off-white color looks great with my marble bath tiles. As an experiment, I placed it in the guest bathroom where I have blue tile and it is just as beautiful. It exudes an understated luxurious feel despite it’s simplicity – one which only high-quality materials can. In other words, it steals the show AND speaks for itself.

The bath mat has a great price point.

This inexpensive bath mat is priced at 40 Euros, which equates to about $45. A price comparison with other name brands that I like put this mat at the lower eschelon. It makes me feel like I’ve hit a jackpot with this one, as the price point does not reflect the value this mat gives me. Just to give you an idea, Parachute makes very popular bath mats, which range from $44 to $99. Another eco-conscious, high-quality brand, Coyuchi, sells bath rugs up to $198. And my ever-favorite brand, The Citizenry, sells wooden bath mats and runners from $155 to $298. While I find all of these products to be beautifully made, the bottom line is that I still believe the Misona bath mat is the best one.

Diatomite is eco-conscious.

I already mentioned how the material is 100% naturally occurring. But there are other ways in which this mat is eco-friendly. The best part about a self-drying stone for a bath mat is that it reduces the amount of washing I have to do. Before Misona, I washed my previous bath rug once every two weeks. Even then, I felt like I was reaching it’s limit.

As I mentioned in this post about lowering the electricity bill, the dryer makes up 30% of an average household’s energy use. Trying to hang our bath mat didn’t work too well. After letting it air dry for a day and a half, it felt starchy and stiff as a board. I had no confidence it was clean, which is quite terrible as it is the first point of contact after a cleansing shower. The diatomite mat solves all of these problems.

Also, the mat arrives in minimal packaging. Tightly sealed in bubble wrap, the stone is otherwise packaged in cardboard only. Despite the slim packaging, it arrived to me in one piece! That says a lot as it ships from Europe. (As a side note, the mat did take a few days longer because of how far it was shipping. I still received it within two weeks, though.) The company is aware of, and addresses, the issue of the bubble wrap, but to be honest, when I received the mat at my doorstep, I immediately was shocked at how eco-consciously it was packed – considering.

Lastly, this mat is great for our health.

A quick drying mat ensures that no mildew grows. Sometimes, I wonder why anyone ever thought placing a rug would be the best solution to bathrooms. I just never understood it. The thought of bacteria and fungi thriving in a moist atmosphere such as a bathroom really gives me goosebumps. Bathrooms are supposed to be the place in which we cleanse. A safe-haven. Yet most bathrooms are breeding grounds for microbes. By eliminating the traditional bath rug, we could reduce that and improve our bathroom hygiene.

All of this to say that the ultimate luxury bath mat for me is Misona’s Diatomite Earthstone. I love it so much and I hope this mini FAQ and review helped. I would be happy to answer all the questions if you leave me a comment below. For those who wish to try it, here is TheDebtist discount code: 92B1E79A897 to receive 5% off!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. Misona gifted me the diatomite bath mat, but all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this space.

10 Minimalist Humidifiers for Winter 2021

In this space, I talk a lot about skin care routines and hydration. If you’ve been here long enough, you would know that both qualify as forms of intentional living and self-care in my book. However, as the winter season approaches, we must consider the air quality in our homes, too. I have written before about improving air quality with Molekule’s Air Purifier, but I have yet to address humidifiers. Well, today’s the day I reveal 10 minimalist humidifiers for this winter!

Related Posts:

Why Get A Humidifier?

In general, I have trouble justifying the need for home appliances. My upbringing has always been of the minimalist variety, in a bear-it, tough-skin kind of way. The AC was never on. The heater was an even worse contraption. Put on a sweater and socks if you must. Dry noses and cracked lips meant I wasn’t drinking enough water. And sniffly noses were a sure-fire sign that we weren’t taking care of our health. But never was it the environment’s fault.

Perhaps as I’ve aged, I’ve become a bit weak. I find myself less resistant to summer’s heat. I find my hair starting to fray in the Fall. Regardless, I have also become more aware and knowledgeable. I know that air humidity plays a big role in the health and well-being of our skin as well as our airways. I know that we have the means to create the correct environment that allows us to thrive. And I’ve become more accepting of appliances.

The turn of Fall and our recent move to the mountainside has really had a negative effect on my skin. I decided to round-up minimalist humidifiers that would work with any home. Since I would want my humidifier to run all season long, I am requiring that the humidifier be esthetically pleasing and not an eye-sore. In my case, this requires that it also be white. Call me a Scandinavian-styled-snob, but the white color will allow my appliance to blend into my space. Even my Balmuda toaster and kettle are white! This list includes a fairly wide range of prices, and shapes. Never did I realize before how many shape options we had to choose from. Alas, there’s got to be one for you here somewhere.

Ten Options for A Minimalist Humidifier

  • FridaBaby – I’ve personally used the FridaBaby humidifier years ago and it worked fairly well for small spaces. I wasn’t completely in love with the shape but it was quiet! It also has a nightlight function which would work well in a kid’s or baby’s room. Mothers seem to love this and you can find it in major stores such as Target, BuyBuyBaby, and Pottery Barn Kids.
  • Stadler – This is one of the more expensive options but it is also the most practical looking. I love the square shape and stand. I can see this positioned on the floor next to my desk or living room couch. This one in particular has received many positive reviews. I heard that it sees less build-up compared to other humidifiers! To avoid build-up, I use only distilled water, but for those who just don’t have it on hand, this is a great option.
  • Vava – This is a very affordable option. Online, reviewers say that this one is silent. My favorite feature of the Vava is that you fill it with water from the top. Most humidifiers require you to fill a giant tub, and then somehow invert it onto a platform without spilling any water. Well-known secret: I always spill water. It isn’t the biggest deal, but I love the ease of this one! Plus, I love that it looks as clean as a modern speaker or Molekule Air Purifier.
  • InnoGear – This humidifier is a great option for the frugal, as it is the cheapest on this list. It isn’t very big, but I can see it sitting on a work desk. It will certainly add to your work-from-home space. I can also see this on a nightstand next to the bed. It’s small size makes it ideal for portable use. What a perfect little travel companion!
  • Roolen – Roolen is an eco-friendly operating system that automatically adjusts output based on the current environment. It senses what the air humidity is and maintains the air at the ideal 40-60% range. Roolen is a smart humidifier, and if you’re a techy one, this might be the answer for you. It does lie on the pricier side of the spectrum.
  • Objecto – I added this Objecto humidifier for it’s unique shape. Although it isn’t necessarily my style, a lot of home decor stores really favor this one. Its glossy appearance makes it look more like a work of art than a humidifier.
  • Crane – Crane was the humidifier with the most reviews. It seems everyone chooses Crane. It is nice to look at, but the orange decal really bothers me. I just want something less … obviously branded? If that doesn’t bother you, then this may be a decent option as many people have purchased and liked it.
  • Canopy – I like to look for options that speak to millennials and the younger generation. Canopy really fits the bill for college students. It has a cute look to it, and a fairly large tank. My favorite part is the dish-washer feature of its components. I mean, who knows what lies in a dorm room? Who has the time to clean a humidifier? The solution: Live free of mold by dishwashing this beauty once a week. Just a great invention!

Of course, this wouldn’t be a complete round-up without opening the door for your recommendations. If you have a humidifier you absolutely enjoy, please leave it in the comments below!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Pushcarts: A Small Space WFH Desk Solution

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Small Space Living: Tip #17: Find Versatility in Carts

I am starting to like how my work-from-home space is coming together. It’s looking so good that I can almost call it official. For a year I’ve just been a migratory worker, finding space on the dining table, on the couch, in a corner of our living room, and occasionally, escaping on the tiny balcony. It’s nice to reclaim a dedicated work-from-home space and decorate it more permanently, the way I have always wanted.

I have decided to keep my Herman Miller Aeron Chair (affiliate link) because it is such a classic and have recently upgraded my desk to String Furniture’s Work Desk (affiliate link) in Beige/White. I wrote about my excitable desk upgrade here. However, in making the transition, I did lose drawer space, exchanging it for less clutter and a slimmer desk profile. I debated about buying a minimalist filing cabinet (this one from Branch furniture was my favorite) but decided against it when my frugal side won over my need to be esthetically pleasing.

Instead, I opted for a pushcart from Ikea that was equally pleasing to me, extremely affordable ($28!), and insanely more versatile. Hence, the tip for this post. To be fair, I am partial to pushcarts, having worked as a librarian at USC while going to dental school. While my classmates were studying or relaxing at home, I spent evenings after school in the dark aisles of my favorite, Harry-Potter-esque library on campus, organizing books and tidying shelves. I was left to my own, listening to podcasts whilst I pushed my push cart around. Some nights, the library would be so deserted that I would scare myself in the silence, especially when the vents turned on or the lights of the old building flickered. To say that pushcarts lend a bit of nostalgia would be an understatement for this bookworm, who also spent 200+ volunteer hours at the local library in high-school.

The idea of using a shopping cart in lieu of a filing cabinet for a WFH space actually first came to me when I was perusing Yamazaki Home’s website. Yamazaki Home is my favorite source for all minimalist household products. They mix a Japanese esthetic with modern minimalism and use materials such as ceramic, wood, and metals. I saw this rolling kitchen island cart (affiliate link) and the rest was history! They actually have a number of cart options, all of which can be viewable here (affiliate link).

The reason why the cart was a great solution for me was because of our tiny space. There is only approximately 14 inches between the wall and the desk where I needed to squeeze a filing cabinet through. The Nissafors cart from Ikea is less than a foot wide. It has three levels, with the bottom shelf being deeper. I use an organizer that I talked about in this post to keep my camera and unsightly chargers and cords hidden on the deeper shelf. I use the top shelf to hold a candle, a jug of water, a water glass, my phone, plus other things that I am currently using for that workday. The middle shelf holds paperwork, my planner, my TBC Eyewear Blue Light blockers, and other things that I may not be using for the day but I would like to use in the near future.

I love the wheels on the cart, which took me only fifteen minutes to assemble. I sometimes push the cart to the living room when I want to collect other desk supplies that are hidden in our media console. I sometimes push the cart to the kitchen, when I want to refill my jug of water, or pick up a cup of tea or coffee. When working at my desk, I can slide the cart out slightly so that it is right next to me, like an open drawer. At the end of the day, I tuck the cart back into the nook by the wall.

Apart from being a comrade for my work station, the Nissafors cart can double as a planter stand. I can place multiple plants on its three shelves and trolley them over to the sunniest of windows. If a plant is wanting of sunlight, this cart can easily bring them there for the afternoon, and then bring them home to their resting places in the evening.

The cart also doubles as a serving tray for gloomy weekend mornings at home, when scones and coffee need to be transported to the bed or by the couch. And on days when we host dinners at home, the cart can double as a bar cart, holding bottles of wine on the bottom shelf, stocking cans on the middle tier, and serving cocktails up top. I told you this girl has a penchant for pushcarts.

Anywho, chalk this post up to a simple desk solution for small spaces. Or an absolute nerd talking up storage carts. Whatever the case may be, this is a way for me to be more frugal, minimalist, and creative in making my WFH space a bit more me. Take it or leave it, but please do leave your own solutions to small spaces, in case other readers need ideas.