Laundry Hampers for Small Spaces

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Leave it to me to worry incessantly about finding the right laundry hamper. In the name of transparency, I will admit to having a small break-down over my own laundry bag conundrum. The most mundane thing has caused me to cry as we walked away from Ikea with a solution that was perfectly functional, but definitely not eco-conscious or beautiful.

I have owned the same hamper since I moved out of my parent’s home at the age of 22 years old. I have never upgraded, even after moving four times since. Even after getting married. Even after getting a job and earning a decent living. Because when you are indebted to a system, you have no time to hone in on hampers.

But with the recent events turning my focus inward on where I spend most of my days (home), I can’t help but notice these little details. How the old rattan basket that I proudly bought at Walmart as a symbol of my grown-up-ness is fraying at one end. How twigs have unraveled and fallen off, leaving a little opening at the right-most edge. How it has sat patiently in the middle of the bathroom floor, in between the toilet and the tub, underneath the old towel rod that’s no longer there, waiting for its turn to be noticed. Silently, it endured the slamming of its rickety lid, the careless tossing of dirty clothes into the deep abyss, the merciless plop of its entire being in front of the washing machine. It has weathered weekly abuse, without so much as a peep.

Finally, it was noticed. And thanked for its services. Its time to retire has come.

It’s replacement, however, is no easy find. With its retirement came a long list of expectations for the one that would take it’s place. A few of my requirements, I share below:

I no longer wished to have something wedged between the toilet and tub.
I no longer wanted the laundry to be in plain sight. Which meant it had to somehow fit in the narrow corner next to the washer hidden by a barn door. This narrow space happened to be only 9″ wide.
I didn’t want a hamper that would attract used (but still reusable) clothing until laundry day.
I didn’t want something pricey.
But it had to be eco-conscious and beautiful to look at.
Let alone functional.

I strike hard bargains. I can attest to the fact that, for me, curation is emotionally draining work. Anything that falls short of perfect is painfully inadequate.

What’s the big deal?, you say. It’s just a hamper.

However, nothing in my life is “just” anything. Belittling decisions such as these reduce their importance, which then reduces the end product of our dwellings. In order to avoid ending up with “less-than”, I need to do the work now. Assuming these things to be trivial would be a mistake. Perhaps that’s a personality thing, but to me, everything is embedded with meaning and purpose, so no, it’s not just a hamper.

The hamper is a symbol holding all hope that I can have my dream home with nothing more than a few pennies to my name. Every item I own is imbued with relentless reserve, discipline and hard work. A reward for my penny-pinching. A sign that it’ll all be okay.

So, yes, I had a break-down at Ikea. After much research, I felt my heart sink when I realized the one I didn’t want but had come to terms with and was able to accept was sold out. I watched as a customer took away the floor model, having reached it mere seconds before I did. I walked around for thirty minutes debating on buying the same laundry hamper in black, instead of white. I bought it, resisting the alternative which was to purchase the hamper of my dreams for five times the price. Silent tears fell as I walked to my car.

Which isn’t saying that we should care so much about first world problems such as these. But I hope this post draws attention to the fact that we are human. There will be moments where we will be sad about laundry hampers. Where small space living limitations make life a little harder to live. When decisions have to be made and you need to make do with the one you don’t want. I go through it, too. Like all things, it ends up being okay.

Silver linings still reside in the daydreams.

Below are some of my favorite laundry hampers for small spaces, including the Ikea one that ended up making the cut and entering our home.

  1. Canvas Laundry Bin on Wheels.
  2. A Hanging Linen Laundry Bag.
  3. A Japanese Foldable Hamper.
  4. A Washable Paper Laundry Bag.
  5. A Narrow Ikea Hamper.
  6. A Laundry Station and Hamper.

Slow Hosting

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On the heels of my previous post about simple recipes made for slow gatherings, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite tips when hosting a get-together or party. Slow hosting, if I may term it as such, takes upfront planning and work. Intentionality is key when deciding what to do in preparation. You could fall down rabbit holes and never dig your way out when considering what details need attending.

Surely, there are sources out there overwhelmingly filled with styling and decor, recipes of feasts fit for kings, as well as libation ideas invented by only the best bartenders. Perhaps I am alone in this, but I’ve fallen privy to over-thinking, and certainly over-doing, a few of my past parties. It’s easy to fall into that trap. However, it’s just as easy to avoid it, as long as I pay attention to a few details.

There are a few things about myself and hosting that I’ve learned to be true.

  • I would rather be a guest to my own party than a server and maid.
  • I would rather participate in deep conversations, delving into original ideas or passionate opinions, than skim the superficial waters of, “hi, how are you?”.
  • I would rather have a good, relaxing evening rather than stress and worry.
  • I want to care about the important things in life, like friends and family.
  • And lastly but most importantly, I want to have a good time with my husband rather than begrudgingly nitpick over details regarding some preformed, overly high expectation. I’ve found that if I set the bar too high for a gathering, I set the success rate extremely low for us as a couple.

So I’ve gathered a few tricks that keep me grounded when it comes to throwing parties. I hope it preps you for the future, where we will surely make up for lost time, gathering in safety and in peace.

  • Opt for a table cloth to immediately dress up any table. Seriously, after this, I feel like the decor is done.
  • Put down the table setting prior to your guests arriving to reduce work once the party starts.
  • Add simple stems in amber bottles or stick tall candlesticks in candle holders, rather than investing in expensive bouquets.
  • Forgo the place cards. Let guests sit where they like and mingle as they please.
  • Forget hanging up banners and buying party balloons, or other disposable item that will only add to the landfill. Trust that your home is good enough to celebrate in, without the temporary frills.
  • Place a linen napkin out for each guest, to reduce the amount of times you need to get up from the table to grab the paper towels.
  • Opt for glassware that can hold water, wine, beer or cocktail, in order to reduce the dishes you need to set out (and later wash).
  • Limit the amount of food types or drinks available. Sometimes, I have a theme or a set menu so as not to overwhelm the guests, or myself.
  • Choose recipes that can be made ahead of time. I am not only talking about side dishes and salads. I also include desserts and appetizers.I try to keep the main entree fresh.
  • Instead of mixing cocktails (which should really be fresh), opt for sangria or table wine. Also, beer or mimosas. Simple things that get the job done.
  • Clear the table at the very end, but toss all the dishes in the dishwasher (my favorite) or the sink. Do not wash them while the guests are here. There is time for that later. No space? A fellow small-home-dweller actually stashes them in the bathtub, to address after the guests have left, which I thought was genius.
  • Don’t be afraid of ordering food. You’d be surprised how many people favor pizza or Chinese take-out. You’re not a 1950’s housewife who has to prove your worth in the form of housewivery. You’re feeding a group of people who already love you for who you are. It’ll be fine.
  • Avoid white noise. That includes music. I suppose depending on the party. I dislike pausing conversation to lift up the needle on the record player. I also dislike when a playlist stops suddenly and someone has to fumble with a phone. My opinion is that, unless your gathering is focused on music listening, music is a distraction.
  • Don’t plan an itinerary. Trust that as the night progresses, things will naturally fall into place.
  • Ensure that there’s a hand towel and toilet paper rolls in the bathroom. Light a candle and set out hand soap.
  • Avoid the goodie bags and give-aways. It requires too much extra work and creates too much extra trash. If you really want to have the guests take home something, opt for consumables. One year for Thanksgiving, we gave away a jar of our favorite enchilada sauce, which we cooked and packaged the evening before. Another year, we baked everyone pastries for the following morning.
  • Finally, let go. Let go of all your expectations. Let go of the pretty Instagram pictures. Let go of your guarded nature. Just be a guest, really.

How to Fall In Love with a Kitchen

When we first moved in, I used to hate our kitchen. I never said it out loud because I didn’t want it to be true. I took feeling this way to be a sign of failure. Oh goodness, I chose a home with a kitchen I didn’t love. Woe is me. It was as if the kitchen negated all the other good decisions we made about buying a home. For months, I couldn’t separate myself from the idea of wanting to replace everything in that space. “One day”, I kept telling myself.

If you told me to make a list of all the things I disliked about the kitchen, I’d tell you “Easy.”

  • The kitchen faced the alleyway where the garages went, an alleyway leading up to a community trash bin followed by a weekend club called La Santa, from whence loud music always came.
  • The location of the kitchen was tucked away from direct sunlight during most of the day, with a small glimmer of hope shining through a lone window in the wee hours of the morning. If you happened to miss waking up early enough to catch it, then all you get for the day is indirect sun.
  • The counter-tops were of the v. cheap variety (with a capital V.). You know the kind, made of chipboard material covered by a plastic stickered surface in this dark gray speckled color. I disliked it’s darkness, plus the undeniable evidences where the counters have gotten wet (especially around the sink area). Pieces of soaked chipboard are, well, chipping away.
  • The cheap, peeling (also stickered) cabinet fronts with their secondary handles. The previous handles had different screw hole locations, which are accentuated by the white plaster material that the previous owners tried to hide them with.
  • The leak underneath the sink every time we ran the dishwasher, which caused flooding in our cabinets creating soaked cabinets floors. My constant worry over mold growth and wood rot. Oh the joy when we finally solved the issue, after having three handimen look at it.
  • The appliances which are black and silver in color. They looked bulky, outdated, and old. The stove and oven were of the cheaper variety, and the fridge jutted past the counter’s edge.
  • Lastly, the previous owner left a kitchen island that was obviously from Ikea, along with two Ikea stools.

I could have rattled this list out in seconds. But sometime between then and now, I have come to love this kitchen. I love it so much that when my friend offered to have her dad renovate the counter-tops that I “hated” for us this week, I started to fear losing them. Which got me to thinking, when did that transition happen? And I realized that sometime between then and now, I simply stopped focusing on all the bad things and started letting the kitchen be what it was meant to be.

After all, I operated an entire bakery in that kitchen. It was where I spent my days for an entire year. I woke up early every morning to mix bread and that’s when I learned of that precious morning light. I put away dishes from a dishwasher that finally worked and as the dough soaked up the water, I made myself a cup of coffee every day. If I set up the pour over to the right of the sink, the light hits the coffee just right to make it look ruby red. I slaved away over that oven, even in the summer’s heat, trusting it to always make my bread rise. I stood around the island, where I shaped thousands of loaves of dough. I settled into those Ikea stools waiting for the next bread turn, sipping hot coffee and writing on this blog. The kitchen and I became best friends, and now I could spew a list of all the things I love, such as:

  • The little corner specifically for our espresso machine, coffee pour over options, mugs, and coffee grinder. Essentially, a shrine for my coffee making rituals.
  • The way the light enters through that lone window and hits the fronts of the cabinets, giving them a soft dayglow.
  • The reliability of our oven and the largeness of our fridge, both of which have helped me to host gatherings for twelve or more people throughout the year.
  • The cement floors and their coolness on the feet, plus the ease with which I can clean them.
  • The island, which we all use as a common space to meal prep together. And the fact that it’s mobile and contains plenty of storage space.
  • The stove, with enough burners to allow three of us roomies to cook in the kitchen space at the same time.
  • The corner for toasting our sourdough, and the corner for milling our grain.
  • The sink made of steel, which has saved me from shattering my porcelain wares many times over.
  • The fact that the kitchen now exudes Japanese style elements, as well as vintage vibes. Seems silly to put those two in the same sentence, but from some angles, it looks like it’s made from all bamboo wood. And from other angles, it reminds me of a 1950’s progressive Eichler.
  • The fact that the gloominess in the space actually lends a romantic mood all year long. I just want to make coffee or tea and write all day in a sweater.
  • Lastly, the open layout which makes the kitchen center-stage in our home.

With small spaces, I mean, yeah, there are shortcomings. It’s part of the territory. But if we focus on only the bad parts of our lives and homes, then we tend to miss all the good things that, when considered, could lead to love. Because now, I love the kitchen dearly. It is my favorite part of my home.

Finding joy in small spaces requires embracing what you have to work with. Actively searching for beauty in what you already have is more promising than passively pining for what you don’t have. Where will the latter lead you? Most likely, excess consumption of things that give you brief moments of happiness and eventually leave you back at square one.

Once I realized that the kitchen was “good enough”, I stopped saying to myself, “One day.” I started looking forward to saying “Today”. I started to finally live my life.

Today we decided to buy Mike’s dream espresso machine. Since he got rid of his daily work commute, he sold his motorcycle and de-cluttered a few things in order to make up 85% of the machine’s costs. We hadn’t pulled the trigger prior because we kept saying, “Well, if we are getting an espresso machine then we need nicer counter-tops and if we’re getting new counter-tops we might as well address the cabinets and if we’re sizing cabinets then why don’t we make sure we get appliances that lie flush with the new measurements?” After learning to love the kitchen for all its imperfections (wabi sabi and all that), we were able to move on. We’ll just put the espresso machine in our existing coffee corner. It fits just so with the current counter top actually, even though the white will contrast with the gray. I know we will love it either way.

Small Space Living

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Tip 14: Forgo the coffee table.

We have yet to corral a coffee table into our living room. Erm, what we designated in our minds as the living room. In reality, I’m referring to a corner of our small space that our neighbors decided would better fit as a bedroom for them. Regardless of the designation, the room where we have a couch and a projector has yet to hold a coffee table.

I just haven’t  come into agreement with one.

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I used to own a coffee table. It was a big and bulky thing that I came across at a consignment store when I was first (and finally!) moving out of my parents home – at the ripe age of twenty-three. I rationalized to myself its bulkiness, saying that the solid wood meant that it would last. “Heavy-duty” was the word I used, when explaining the table to Mike that evening. I convinced him to accompany me the next day to “look at it”, but really I meant “pick it up and take it home”.

It had drawers (two in fact) for storing things. The upper drawer was topped with glass, so that you could look in on the display. It always felt cluttered though, so all it did was collect dust. The bottom drawer was worse. It collected junk. If things disappeared, that would be the first place I would look.

What’s more, when we moved into our small space, a 900-square-foot loft without any doors, the coffee table we owned took up what felt like half of the living room. Since it was a solid wood table, without legs or airiness beneath, it made our space seem divided and small(er). Plus the dark colored wood – an almost black-grey kind of brown – absorbed much of the natural light.

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We ended up donating it to a family in need, which was its only saving grace. But I’ve been hesitant to add a coffee table again since the trauma of criss-crossing between the guilt I felt for getting rid of it and the hatred I felt for its unbecoming qualities.

I suppose today’s post about forgoing a coffee table originates from negative experiences with mine. We have been making do with a tiny side-table, which I also have half a mind to donate. At least it’s easily movable to the corner of the room, allowing both of us to lay out a yoga mat in front of the couch.

I do prefer the flexibility of a side table. In fact, I’ve considered multiple flexible options in lieu of a coffee table, such as ottomans and foot stools in the form of tree stumps.

Below are a few contenders, in case you are also searching.

+ A camp stool – for the sole purpose of putting tired feet up onto something. I love this stool because you can fold it up and stash it against the wall or behind a console, for a less cluttered look.

+ Maple nesting tables, of the stackable variety, to reduce real estate when not in use.

+ A mushroom tree stump, for holding a drink or two. Bringing natural elements in, without buying more houseplants.

+ A step stool, which has dual-use for shorties such as myself.

+ Actual ottomans, in a rich sienna leather. Extra seating when gatherings resume post-COVID.

The Pursuit of Doing Nothing

This post is sponsored by Territory Design. By curating a collection of items centered around crafting a life well-lived, Territory inspires the pause needed for grounding us in our everyday living. 

The pursuit of doing nothing is a dying art. Hardly do I ever encounter a human being capable of nothingness. We Americans, especially, are never not doing. We have a bad habit of seeking activity rather than pleasure. We are always looking ahead to the next thing. We are constantly in search of distraction. How many times do you automatically take a moment of stillness and use it to pull out your phone and subconsciously hit that social media icon. BOOM! Time spent, action checked off.

But are you well?

Does it behoove you, the things you cram into your schedule?

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We leave the art of doing nothing to the monks, as if it is an occupation that is not worth our time. Or we make up some excuse, saying we were born this way – our personality is just not meant to sit still.

There’s a reason the monks call meditation a practice. Because even monks were not born to be doing nothing. They are human, after all, with human minds that wish to plan ahead and human hearts that wish to conquer dreams. The practice part of it is required in order to master the art of stillness. It is, even for them, a pursuit.

Many of us get uncomfortable sitting with ourselves for too long, constantly on edge should a negative thought fleet across our minds or a scary imagination flicker behind our closed eyelids. We seem to always be waiting for bad news. Why waste time thinking and worrying? Best we get up and go do something about it. DO, ACT, GO. Or so the consensus goes. There is a certain courage required to pause in the face of discomfort and keep going as if nothing was shaking you to the core. There is growth in being able to take a short-coming and process it in ways that transform you.

The pursuit of doing nothing is a challenge worthwhile. It’s not going to be easy, and certainly the world isn’t making it easier. There will be temptations thrown your way, low-hanging fruit dangling inches from your brow, but don’t be fooled. Everyone else will also be holding on to low-hanging fruit. It’s hardly special, and will always be around. You’ve got a job to do.

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Look at nothingness as an opportunity. Have you ever found yourself saying, “I don’t have the time”? Doing nothing is required to create space for something new. Therefore, the pursuit of doing nothing is preemptive to moving forward. It is old-age culture that is lacking in new-age thinking. No one else around you is doing that. Everyone else is too busy to take on the opportunities, and losing them too, all at the same time.

The pursuit of doing nothing is a dying art, and we, a backwards culture. Since when did we value filling our time with useless action items that are essentially repetitive loop cycles? Get up, go to work, come home tired, eat dinner and barely see the kids, binge watch TV, go to sleep, repeat five times a week, fifty-two weeks a year, forty-five years of our life. Is this what you want to call a living?

I don’t know about you, but I am committed to pursuing doing nothing.

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Territory Design’s Flecha Pillow in Cream is the perfect muse for reflection and thought, growth and discovery. For a limited time, TheDebtist readers can receive 15% OFF using the code debtist15

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Home: A Good Night’s Sleep with Leesa Mattress Topper

This post is sponsored by Leesa, a mattress company devoted to helping others get good sleep.

It seems as if immediately after the passing of my thirtieth trip around the sun, my body began to show signs of wear. It’s true what they say, although any twenty-nine year old will disagree. When you enter your thirties, you start to notice aches and pains in parts of your body that you didn’t even know had feelings. A crick in the neck becomes a resounding pop with a slight turn of the head, resulting in a moment of starry-eyed dizziness. A stressful day at work leads to a soreness in the jaw due to a severe teeth-grinding habit. A simple exercise leads to a sharp painful complaint from the heel of your foot every time you hyper-extend. But worst of all is the start of a new day, waking up to a slew of back and joint aches.

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I am a dentist, so that doesn’t exactly help. Static postures similar to anyone who has ever had a desk job and scrunching to contort myself into tiny mouth spaces are both daily occurrences that feed the fire. Bad ergonomics on my end lead to a stiffness in the neck. Some days, I come home with such severe lower back pain that I can’t even sit down. Just recently, I spent an entire Saturday crying because my upper back was spasming between the shoulder blades so that getting up took great effort. I spent the afternoon on my back lying on our living room couch.

It was this particular afternoon that I said, “No more.” For many years, I had known that part of the problem compounding the situation was an ill-fitting mattress. We were twenty-seven and just moving in together when we went mattress shopping for our first space. I had just graduated from dental school and was currently living at my parent’s house. The queen sized mattress that my parent’s handed down to me was pawned off for free after learning that my previous rental space had a termite problem. My 6’3″ husband was ready to give up his double bed, where his feet would hang off unless he chose to slept diagonally across the entire mattress.  Personally, I was happy to sleep anywhere that we can call our own space.

Perhaps that is why, on the hot summer day that we traipsed around and visited three mattress stores, I was very passive about which mattress I wanted. My husband preferred hard mattresses (“the stiffer the better”), and I preferred softer ones. But when the sales person said that it doesn’t matter so much what type of mattress I got because I weighed so little, a comment I now begrudgingly look back on and find appalling, I gave way to whatever mattress my husband decided on. Which inevitably, was hard as a rock.

It has been almost four years since that fateful day but I did notice a worsening of symptoms on most mornings. The problem is that I am a side-sleeper and he is a back-sleeper. I am half his weight and therefore do not make any indentation in the mattress, whereas he sinks in. Imagine sleeping on a hardwood floor on your side, with your back collapsed and your hips and shoulder taking the brunt of the force. I’ve been complaining about it for what seems like forever. The symptoms were getting worse. Unless I want to be completely useless by my mid-thirties, I know that it was time to address it.

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Leesa immediately came to the rescue! As a frugalist who did not want to pay for a brand new mattress in wasteful fashion (ours had originally cost $1,200 on sale and is barely three and a half years old), I thought perhaps the better solution would be to add a mattress topper on our existing mattress. Not only would it be more cost-effective, there would be no mattress lying unwanted by the trash bin in our alley way. I mean, it is, still, usable, albeit uncomfortable. The best part about choosing a mattress topper instead of a brand new mattress altogether is that there can be compromise. If the mattress topper is too unbearably soft for my husband, we can alternate between using it and not using it. Of course, I’m hoping we won’t have to for the next few years.

The Leesa mattress topper arrived on our doorstep in millennial fashion – that is, rolled up like a log in a fairly miniature, minimalist box. It does come in plastic, a minor drawback for any anti-plastic nerd, but a quick slice of it leads to an unfurling of the 2 -inch foam topper. It comes with a removable cover that protects it and is easy to wash cold and hang dry. Suffice to say that set-up was simple and flawless.

After a night’s rest, we noticed that we slept cooler than if we were sleeping atop our mattress directly. We also noted that it did not move around, despite not being tied down. Our Parachute sheets comfortably covered the topper so it was a good thing it wasn’t too thick. I like that it didn’t add much height to our existing bed since we like to sleep low to the floor. I woke up the next day after a peaceful sleep (without waking up once!) feeling rejuvenated. For the first time in a while, my back did not hurt.

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We also paired the mattress topper with a pair of Leesa foam pillows. Prior to Leesa, we had these two king pillows that we found in the sale bin of a Bed, Bath and Beyond. You know, the ones that sit in the center of the aisle so that you have no choice but to practically run into them? They were $15 each. At the time, we were fatigued from all the purchases we were making for our first home together, so we figured it wasn’t a big deal. After sleeping on Leesa’s foam pillows, I realized that we were wrong.

As a person who is invested in preserving the ability to work in my profession, I now realize that proper ergonomic support during sleep is one of the best things I can do to prolong my career and maintain good health. I realize that choosing unsupportive pillows have aged me, even though I couldn’t see it at the time. The rusty joints and heavy limbs have been aggravated by my poor choice in bedding. I can tell because after a night’s sleep, I already feel the difference.

Equally as important as my own personal backstory is Leesa’s dedication to having a good backstory of their own. A company that seems to know I toss and turn at night over the environmental impact that the human species extols on this planet, Leesa is doing all the right things on that front.

For example, their mattresses are CertiPUR-US certified, free of the long list of chemicals that goes into the typical mattress, including flame retardant. You can easily smell this difference after opening a box. There was no chemical scent! And every mattress is made in the USA.

Leesa also helps me to rest easy knowing that I am supporting a company trying to make a social impact. They are working v. hard to help the homeless by donating one mattress for every ten they sell. So far, 37,000 beds have been donated. They have another initiative where a tree is planted for every mattress sold (called The One Earth Program). Their goal is to plant 1 million trees by 2025. This B Corporation really is trying to do good by all.

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I know we are all spending extra time at home these days. Sometimes, that’s what it takes to realize what needs attention. For me, it was this mattress. If you are wanting to improve your health or simply upgrade your bedding situation, give Leesa a try.  In case you worry that the mattress will be incompatible, it helps to know that there is a 100-night risk-free trial. Shall you love your new Leesa product like we do, there is a 10 year warranty.

This post was sponsored by Leesa. All thoughts are my own. As always, thank you for supporting brands that support this space. 

Small Space Living

Tip 13: Mason Jar and Ceramic Pitcher Vases

The one thing about living in a tiny home is that there is not much storage room. It isn’t such a problem when there’s not much to store, and for some people, therein lies the rub. I have friends who are affronted by the suggestion of living life without simple “essentials”. Case in point: vases. On the flip side, I have other friends who roll their eyes at such frivolity. Both sides get along just fine with each other and that’s the whole point. It doesn’t matter much which camp you sit in as long as whatever lifestyle you have matches your space. Well, rather, whatever space you have matches your lifestyle.

If I am being completely honest, I own one vase. It’s a tall, cylindrical, long-stemmed glass vase that was given to me by a friend from dental school years ago. I’ve tried to de-clutter it a handful of times, but to no avail. It holds no more than 6 tulips, and funny enough, I have never used it. I suppose this means de-cluttering it definitely requires a revisit…

Which, in my opinion, puts me in the latter camp. When flowers find themselves in our home, I am more likely to grab a mason jar or a ceramic pitcher that we bought during our honeymoon in New Zealand than that darn vase. I have an affinity for assigning twenty functions to household items, if possible, so both solutions actually make me appreciate the bouquet more. There’s something gleeful about re-purposing stuff. Maybe THAT’s why I never use my actual vase. It’s too singular in purpose thus making it unattractive.

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Either way, look. It doesn’t matter whether you like a lot of stuff or a little stuff. It matters more that you love what you do have and use them often and well. It’s important that your things are beautiful in your eyes, even if it’s “just” a mason jar in other people’s eyes. To you, it could be a storage for bulk items, a container for a new candle, a get-together-party-favor holding your famous enchilada sauce, a jar holding homemade jam, a refreshing water glass (or lemonade or wine), or a vase. Maybe I’ve spent too long making do with what I’ve got. It sure as hell isn’t a bad way to live.

Nothing gives me more joy making something out of nothing – vases included.

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Thank you to Sonia for the lovely flowers. 

If you happen to be a vase person, East Fork Pottery is releasing a new bud vase today at 12pm EST. Hand-thrown in their beautiful soapstone glaze, they are a perfect addition to a ‘minimalist’ home.

Frugality: Paint Thine Walls

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: There’s nothing a can of white paint can’t fix. I love white walls, and I’ve fervently written about them, that’s for certain. While there isn’t a foolproof recipe for how a minimalist home shall look, I’ve found that having a clean canvas sure helps me. Any decor is left in the details – minuscule additions that help with frugality, but also, accounts for frequent mood swings. To me, white walls are the basis of a fresh, clean home. In order to avoid sounding redundant, let’s jump right to the topic of this post which is, if you’ve got a hankering to turn your walls white, I would suggest painting thine own.

In our house, there was one room that hasn’t been painted white. Our bathroom, the smallest, most closed off space in the loft, has always been a charcoal gray. It made the space feel cramped, dark, and dingy. All emotions you don’t want in the room that’s meant to be restorative. It didn’t help that there were no windows to let light in. We decided to (finally) paint it to match the rest of the home.

I did consider hiring a painter to do the job in order to save us time and effort, but I am so glad I didn’t. The total cost of the project was $90. We went to Sherman Williams to match the Egret White walls that we already had in a semi-gloss finish. We also bought a single paint roller, some foam, and a few brushes. We had the paper to lay on the ground and blue painters tape already sitting in the garage. My parents brought over the extension rod for the roller and a ladder. It was a whole birthday affair. Having a painter do the job would have probably run us another $300+.

The amount of time it took was 6 hours – including taping the edges, painting the corners, and applying two coats of paint. Mike and I did the majority of the taping the night before. We also prepped by painting the trimmings. My mom and dad swung by the next day and did the majority of the painting. It took them about two and a half hours, while leisurely conversing and taking breaks. It definitely is no more than a two person job. It was a situation of having too many chefs in the kitchen, so Mike and I were pretty much kicked out left to cheer on the sidelines. To be fair, my parents were professionals. Having moved ten times before high school and growing up with a mom who was very into design, I would say that they’ve had their fair share of practice. It may take a newcomer another hour to figure things out.

Regardless, it was surprisingly very easy to do. We had enough time to clean up, put the bathroom together, and have a lovely dinner and cake.

I think that for a room or two, painting thine walls isn’t bad advice. It saves you a decent amount of money, and it’s a fun event when you invite others to join. All you have to do is play live music on the speakers and call it a party.

Now that the bathroom is finally white, there’s more to be considered. For today, it’s enough of a miracle, but I’ve definitely got a wishlist going…