07 March 2014

tips for keeping tiny spaces tidy

one of the challenges of living in a small space -- or, let's face it, any space -- is striking the balance between a home that feels lived in...and one that's tidy enough you can actually live in it. we are by no means minimalists, or authorities on pristine living. but cultivating a home that feels both inspiring, and neat is so important to us-- the spaces we inhabit really do shape our minds and spirits, affect our moods, and impact our relationships.

here are some tips + tricks we've developed over the years to keep our home tidy + happy!



1 // pick your battles. find out what kind of clutter bugs you the most & clean accordingly. this'll be different for everyone. the truth is if you have hobbies...you'll have some stuff that just can't be eliminated. bikes, books, cameras, camping gear, dog stuff, art supplies -- are some things we deal with in our home. personally, we're fine with a little clutter -- but our goal is to consolidate it. we can handle a jam-packed bookshelf or a stuffed closet...but we hate when our living spaces feel crowded, or things piling up on tables & counters.




2 // speed cleaning. this is my favorite! intense purging is great, but i need to feel my home is generally clean first. pick a section (e.g., your bedroom, kitchen, etc.) & set your timer for 10 minutes. do this in intervals until your entire home feels put together. and then, if you're up for it, you can really dive into deep cleaning.


3 // finish projects. nothing feels better than being 100% done with a project -- especially one that's been taking up vital living space in your home...and therefore in your mind. right?


4 // but first, put things back. things happen -- you're running out the door, your kid gets into something -- that prevent you from doing this immediately, 100% of the time. but if, as a general rule, you put things back as soon as you're done with them -- dishes in the wash, towels in the hamper, fresh laundry in drawers-- your home will always feel a bit more peaceful + manageable. this one was instilled in me from a young age, growing up with 5 siblings. it was so easy for messes to get out of hand, so we really learned to finish one thing before starting another. 


5 // make a checklist. honestly, sometimes i'll start cleaning...and then i'll stop, sit down, and write a checklist -- one that includes things i've already done, just so i can check them off. it's so motivating to check things off a list, one by one! 


6// get rid of 100 things. this is a game i came up with in high school -- and apparently it's something a lot of people do, because i've seen it on some friends' blogs, too. it sounds daunting to get rid of a whole hundred things...but it's so easy, kids. just go through your home & pick up 100 things you don't want/need/use and toss or donate them. this might be a few pieces of tupperware, an old camera, some pencils, a few books -- even food that's gone bad, things from your bathroom, old socks, anything. and you'll feel so pumped after your first 100, the next 100 will be a cake walk. 


7 // eliminate the "maybe" pile. i do not believe in "maybe" piles. i believe in "yes" piles and "no" piles. if you only maybe want to keep something...then you shouldn't. it's cutthroat, but it works. remember you can always get something again, down the road, if you really, really miss it. but the truth is, 99% of the time, you won't. and freed-up space is a blessing, too! 


8 // ...and invest in your "yes" pile.  it's not always possible to just buy your dream couch -- we're well aware! things like budgets, space, pets, and a million other things often get in the way. but do, whenever possible, set aside a bit of money here + there to save up for things you really want. and investing isn't just about money -- invest creativity and time into projects! scour craigslist & thrift stores to find pieces you love that just need a little work. we found these chairs at a thrift shop for $25 apiece, and did some DIY upholstery cleaning to make 'em sparkle. and the rifle paper co. banner is so quintessentially us, we've no need to put anything else on the wall. we love knowing these things are in our "yes" pile --that no matter where we move to in the future, they're coming along.


where we got it: butterfly poster -- similar, one + two // banner: rifle paper co. // record player: here + even cuter one.


happy cleaning! 
what are some of your cleaning tips + tricks?

21 comments:

  1. I've only just started reading your blog and I'm already so in love! :)

    www.faithfullymarissa.blogspot.com

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    1. thanks for stopping by, marissa. : )

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  2. Such great tips- and just in time for spring cleaning too! Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. these are really great tips! I definitely want to do a massive purge of my closet. I need to get rid of all my "maybes." and I love your exposed brick wall so much!
    Rebecca @ tr[i]b[e]cca

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    1. like i said, it's cutthroat. but it works! i should do a bit of that myself today, actually. ; )

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  4. your place is absolutely purrrrfect. love it.

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    1. oh, thanks, you! your CITY is perfect. can i come hang out with you in SF?! please! i'll never leave though.

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  5. Thanks for the great tips! You are truly a wise woman!

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    1. oh, you don't need any tips from ME, i'm sure! : )

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  6. I often tend to organize my room but fail when it comes to the cleaning... Plenty of dust everywhere.
    And you're right, getting rid of things is a radical yet good idea.

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    1. haha! robbie + i are always joking about how good a "macro" cleaner he is, and how good a "micro" cleaner i am. i get tiny corners lookin' ship-shape + spotless...but i usually fail when it comes to the whole room. we make a good team though, he & i.

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  7. These are great tips! Especially living in a dorm room, space is limited. I especially like speed cleaning- my roommate and I have certain songs that motivate us to sing together and so the speed cleaning doesn't seem so painful.

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    1. major kudos to you + your roommate if you can keep your dorm room even decently clean! that's a serious feat, though!

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  8. I really loved these tips, especially the 10 minute timer one. I love it b/c it's something I can still do when I get home from a 10 hour work day.

    Also, the pictures of your place are really pretty.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  9. These are fantastic tips! I have SO many unfinished projects lying around our apartment... And it's true, they end up bugging me so much! It's time to finish :)

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    1. make such a difference! that one is probably our biggest challenge to be honest...we'll start something and then realize we need different paint/nails/etc. but we try to give ourselves a *reasonable* amount of time for little disasters. haha!

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  10. I really like the 10 min speed cleaning thing. This may solve my problem...

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    1. give it a try! it's pretty darn fun, too, racing against the clock. ; )

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  11. i love this. i do the exact same things that you do! because we have such a small living space, it's so easy for things to get cluttered, and then i go insane. i'm a firm believer in getting rid of things, speed cleaning, & cleaning up right after you do something. this is fantastic! pinning it :)

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  12. I found this post to be amazingly helpful! I'm definitely one to "purge" when it comes to cleaning, but I love your 100 things and 10-minute cleaning tips. Hopefully they'll make the thought of day-to-day cleaning a bit less overwhelming! Love your blog! xx

    http://b-lissfully.blogspot.com/

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