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New Year Clutter Clearing Tips

The new year feels like a natural time to make a fresh start: and what better way than by finally letting go of some of the clutter that has been building up in your home over the past year? Read on for 5 ways to begin a new year’s purge. Out with the old, and in with the new!

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Photo: Beth Kirby of Local Milk for Remodelista

1. Create a peaceful bedroom haven. The bedroom is where we go to rest and recharge, so I find that this is the best place to begin. Remove everything here that distracts from the primary purpose of deep, restful sleep, and especially anything work-related! Get back to the basics with a nice set of bedding, a cozy rug underfoot, a good lamp, and perhaps a scented candle and vase of flowers at your bedside. Donate tired old bedding, and store the rest neatly by tucking each set of sheets inside one of the pillow cases.

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Photo: Beth Kirby of Local Milk for Remodelista

2. Simplify the bath for a spa-like feel. A jumble of half-used products (most of which you don’t really like) makes the bathroom feel cramped, and makes it harder to keep things neat and clean. Toss (recycling if possible) any bath or beauty products you do not use or like, and give the space a thorough cleaning before placing only your favorite products back. In the long run, it’s actually less expensive (and far more pleasurable!) to treat yourself to a few high quality products you love, rather than a host of less expensive lotions and potions that don’t live up to their promise.

Reading my Tea Leaves
Photo: Reading My Tea Leaves

3. Reduce paper. Of all the pieces of the clutter clearing puzzle, handling paper tends to be our least favorite task, so brew yourself a big cup of coffee or a strong mug of tea, and put on some encouraging music as you tackle that paper pile! Take yourself off of catalog mailing lists, shred and recycle old documents you no longer need, and set up a simple system to keep up with incoming paper. And when it comes to bills and other paperwork, opt for the digital option whenever possible to cut down on physical papers to file.

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Photo: MMM Architects via Houzz

4. Edit your book collection. As a major book lover, I have come to the realization that the act of choosing and reading a new book is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I’ve also come to realize that I do not need to keep every book I buy forever! Instead, I aim to keep up a personally curated library of favorites by regularly editing my book collection. If you are a big reader, doing a big book clear-out is a great way to start the new year. Take your boxes of no-longer wanted books to your local used bookshop to sell, or donate them to a local charity.

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Photo: Beth Kirby of Local Milk for Remodelista

5. Clear out the kitchen. As one of the most often used spaces in the home, it is important to keep the kitchen well organized and running smoothly. Unfortunately, because it’s one of the most-used spaces, that also tends to mean it gets out of hand the quickest! Open up all of those cupboards, and pare back to the essentials (whatever that word means for you and your family), removing the obvious junk (freebie plastic cups, Tupperware without lids) and bizarre kitchen tools you never use. If you like to have lots of extras on hand for entertaining, consider storing them neatly in a single bin, somewhere other than the kitchen. We keep a box of extra wine glasses and silverware (the things we always seem to run short on at parties) in the upstairs hall closet.

Once you’ve finished clearing clutter, you may feel the urge to bring in something new to refresh your space – but instead of getting something that will only re-clutter your home, aim to choose something that is beautiful, but also practical. After clearing your bedroom, for example, if you notice that your old bedside rug has seen better days, you might want to replace it with a new version (which won’t add to your home’s clutter as long as you remove the old rug first).

I have my eye on these beauties, made from sari silk, any of which would feel luxurious in a bedroom:Sari silk rugs
Rug shopping guide (Clockwise from top left): 1. Loloi Rugs Giselle in Fiesta 2. Feizy Rugs Sattika in Crimson 3. Feizy Rugs Sattika in Meadow 4. Feizy Rugs Arushi in Purple.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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Home Resolutions for a New Year

With the New Year’s Day coming right around the corner, this seems like the perfect time to consider a few resolutions for making a fresh start around the house in the new year. Read on for my top 5 home resolution ideas for 2017…

SFGirlByBay
Sfgirlbybay

1. Create a cozy reading nook. I love nothing more than to curl up with a good book, but all too often, I don’t make the time to do this. A solution? Creating a lovely, cozy, soft spot to curl up with a great read. Positioning an overstuffed armchair or chaise beside a sunny window, with shelves of books within reach, should make taking that reading break utterly irresistible.

Urban OutfittersUrban Outfitters via Apartment 34

2. Declutter + simplify wardrobe. There has been a lot written online lately about capsule and minimalist wardrobes. I say, it doesn’t matter so much what you call it (or how ‘minimalist’ you are); what really matters is winnowing down your wardrobe until you only have pieces in your closet that fit your body, your lifestyle, and make you feel filled with joy when you wear them.

Life CapturedLife: Captured

3. Organize and print digital photos. This is such a big one, and I’m committing to make it happen in 2017! With so many of us using digital photos these days, it can be really easy to let precious photographs languish on the laptop. Use an online service to make creating + ordering photo books a breeze, and get caught up. It will feel so good when you’re done! Tip: order all of your albums or photo books from one source, so they look cohesive on your shelf.

BlissBlisshaus

4. Reorganize the pantry. Toss out old, expired, and unloved products, and organize what’s left with matching containers and neat labels. This year, I’m making it a goal to bake with my son after school more often, so a set of nice jars to store ingredients close at hand would make a lovely (and helpful) addition to our kitchen.

Gillian StevensGillian Stevens via Anne Sage

5. Update household linens. Swapping out old, threadbare, and faded towels for fresh versions is a quick and easy way to make your whole house feel a bit fresher and updated. I love the thin (yet very absorbent) Turkish fouta towels in various sizes for all different purposes – we use smaller ones as tea towels in the kitchen and hand towels in the bath, and larger ones as guest bath towels. The largest ones can even stand in for a tablecloth or beach blanket in a pinch! And of course, classic, fluffy white bath towels are a perennial favorite – who doesn’t love wrapping up in one after a bath?

Rugs Direct Rugs

Rug shopping guide (clockwise from top left): Capel Genevieve Gorder Elsinore in Blueberry; Capel Genevieve Gorder Jagges Stripe in Steel Grey; Capel Genevieve Gorder Elsinore Mandala in Blueberry; Jaipur Rugs Luli Sanchez Chalay in Whitecap Gray and Blue.

 

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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Savoring the Seasons: Winter

There is a quiet beauty to winter – when snow falls, the world outside seems hushed and magical, while indoors we stay cozy with hot drinks and crackling fires. I didn’t always love winter, but I have come to appreciate the deep rest that winter provides. It’s natural to gravitate to the hearth and home at this time of year, and focus on the simple pleasures that make living worthwhile.

Most of my winter inspiration I gather from the Scandinavian countries, where they have made this whole cozy-winter-living thing an art form. There is even a word for it in Danish, hygge (pronounced hue-gah), which, roughly translated, means enjoying a warm and cozy time with family and friends, often with cake and a hot drink. Sounds delightful!

This winter, bring more of the Scandinavian sense of coziness and hygge to your home by embracing simple decorations like fresh greenery, small trees, paper stars, soft throws in warm neutral hues, cozy rugs and faux-sheepskins, and lots (and lots!) of candles.

There’s a reason the color white is so popular in Scandinavian interiors: it brightens homes during those long, cold, dark winters. And when paired with warm, textural accents in natural materials, fresh greenery pulled from outdoors, and the twinkle of fairy lights and the soft glow of candles, the effect is nothing short of magical.

Here’s wishing you a cozy, magical, and very hygge holiday season!

Super-cute rugs for a Scandinavian-inspired winter home (clockwise from top left): Surya Nestle rug in cream; Artistic Weavers Hilda rug in white and black; Capel Genevieve Gorder Scandinavian Stripe in natural and blue; Artistic Weavers Sheep in beige.

Photos: Carina Olander photography for Lantliv via My Scandinavian Home

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

 

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3 Chic Plant Projects to Make + Give

The holidays are coming around the corner, and I am on a mission to make them as stress-free and simply beautiful this year as possible. One of my favorite ways to keep the holidays feeling less hectic and more harmonious is by choosing to forgo the big shopping malls in favor of thoughtfully handmade gifts for my loved ones, and simple decorations inspired by nature. These 3 beautiful plant projects are at the very top of my to-make-and-give list this year.

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Gardenista

1. Potted amaryllis bulb. My sweet mother in-law plants about a dozen amaryllis bulbs in little pots each winter, so she always has something on hand to bring as a hostess gift to parties. This is so simple, and makes a wonderfully heartfelt gift for literally anyone on your list. When you’re ready to gift one, tuck a few sprigs of greenery inside the pot, wrap it in ribbon or garden twine, and affix a simple gift tag.

2. Simple fresh cedar branch wreath. I love that this project uses an embroidery hoop (widely available at craft stores) as a base instead of the more expected wreath form. And the side-swooped greenery and ultra-fine wire of lights makes this wreath look fresh and modern. Hang one on your wall above the bar cart, suspend in front of a mirror, or, of course, place one on the door.

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3. DIY jasmine kokedama. Kokedama is a planting technique that hails from Japan, and is simply a plant with the root ball covered in moss…which allows you to forgo a pot! This DIY kokedama project is gorgeous, and thanks to the fragrant jasmine, smells delicious, to boot.

Bonus idea: botanical art. And while I wouldn’t say that a green thumb is required for any of these projects (really!), if gardening is not your cup of tea, why not pick up a few botanical art prints, instead? Botanical art can please even those with fussy tastes, and it brings a welcome dose of greenery to the winter home.

botanical art
Art shopping guide: (clockwise from top left) Audubon’s Vireo; Woodland Ferns VI; Woodland Ferns VII; Crimson Botanical IV.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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