House Lifestyle

Coziness comes from life


[C]oziness comes not from what you *put* in your space, but [how] you *live* in your space…

Coziness is about intimacy, but we don’t often think about intimacy when decorating our homes. Truly cozy spaces in a family home are ones where we feel drawn to be together, to be so close that we can feel the warmth of each others’ bodies.

I’ve been annoyed that even over the past ten years of living here, my living room does not feel cozy or inviting, no matter how many throw pillows and blankets I add. And I think she’s onto something here with her description of “rhythms of coziness”: using the space makes it become cozy. We spend almost no time in our living room, so we don’t really have memories or rituals in the space, and the accessories of life and comfort don’t make their way there.

Scale is another tricky element — with only two people, we’re floating around in too much space, and the raised ceiling looks pretty but feels less human scale.

House Lifestyle Mental Health

Home organization is often a quest for control

Liked Perfectionism and the Performance of Organizing by Virginia Sole-Smith (Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith)

Organizing is a complicated drug. It’s about instant gratification and control… But it’s also an illusion of control…

My husband calls it Nesting Mode when I get super into making the house better.

I’m not sure there is a more peak White Lady moment than texting your friends photos of your newly organized Tupperware drawer…

Lol I just reorganized my snack shelf this weekend and sent a photo to my mom and sister 😂

But lots of people, particularly straight women in cis het partnerships, play the role of the Noticer in their household, which tends to translate to also being the Organizer and resetting that balance requires the less organized partner to start valuing that there is now a place to put the permission slips and library books…

I’m working on letting go of more things / caring less — although I am extremely attuned to Noticing shit that “needs” to happen. I’m also trying to give my partner more opportunities to take ownership of how our house is organized, like having him help me figure out where to store our salad fixings after I removed them from the snack shelf where I’d been keeping them with the other nuts and dried fruit.

See also: The Mental Load


Read The Organized Home

Read The Organized Home by Remodelista

The Organized Home: Simple, Stylish Storage Ideas for All Over the House

Buy fewer (and better) things. Store like with like. Get rid of the plastic. Display—don’t stash—your belongings. Let go of your inner perfectionist and remember that rooms are for living. These are a few of the central principles behind Remodelista: The Organized Home, the new book from the team behind the inspirational design site

Whether you’re a minimalist or someone who takes pleasure in her collections, we all yearn for an unencumbered life in a home that makes us happy. This compact tome shows us how, with more than 100 simple and stylish tips, each clearly presented and accompanied by full-color photographs that are sure to inspire. Readers will learn strategies for conquering their homes’ problem zones (from the medicine cabinet to the bedroom closet) and organizing tricks and tools that can be deployed in every room (embrace trays; hunt for unused spaces overhead; decant everything). Interviews with experts, ranging from kindergarten teachers to hoteliers, offer even more ingenious ideas to steal. It all adds up to the ultimate home organizing manual.

Got lots of great prompts from this. Sure, there were some goofy things like decanting your laundry detergent 🧐 and hiding the aspirin in a pretty tin. But I appreciated that they offered multiple storage suggestion for each tricky item, and different versions of each room so there will probably be a solution that works for your space. I also liked the resources list of specific items and suggestions for what they’re useful for. I can have a hard time thinking of alternative uses for things, or alternatives to buying a specialty storage item sometimes, so I liked that they highlighted both buy-it and shop-your-house ideas.

It would be expensive to start this from scratch and buy everything new, but being creative with what you already own and shopping secondhand would probably make it more doable (if you have the time and patience 😉).

Yeah, it’s kinda bougie, but I’m kinda a bougie gal with expensive taste (even if I don’t always indulge it) 🤷‍♀️ I go into books like this knowing they’re aspirational and to some extent advertising for lovely products – they’re selling you the idea of organization, the promise of domestic tidiness and less stress.

And, I always need a reminder to dump shit and cull back to essentials and favorites.

I’m rethinking how I’ve organized some things in my kitchen and closet – anything I need to frequently grab and carry over elsewhere should be rethought. Anything I use on a daily basis that’s annoying should be improved.


Living Over the City

Bookmarked The penthouse of Seattle’s historic Smith Tower is up for rent by Callie Craighead (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

The pyramid-shaped penthouse atop Seattle’s oldest skyscraper is officially on the market for the first time ever. Built in 1914, Smith Tower was originally the first skyscraper in the city and tallest building west of the Mississippi River at the time. The glass globe that sits on the very top of the structure is also accessible through a spiral staircase if you truly want to reach the highest point of the building.

I like the idea of this better than the reality of the apartment. The thought of a secret sanctuary, overlooking the whole city, is a cool worldbuilding element.

Lifestyle Mental Health

Confronting Sources of Guilt and Overwhelm in the House

Bookmarked How to cleanse your home of negative emotions – The Aesthetics of Joy by Ingrid Fetell Lee by Ingrid Fetell Lee (The Aesthetics of Joy by Ingrid Fetell Lee)

If you’re looking for a clean slate for the new year, go beyond decluttering to purge your home of regret, guilt, shame, and overwhelm and create more space for joy in the year to come.

Guilt, shame, anxiety, regret: these emotions can take up residence in our homes without us realizing. And while all emotions have a purpose, dwelling on (or with) them when we’re not actively processing them can weigh us down. This is because when triggers for difficult emotions are present in our space, it’s impossible to escape their influence.

Guilt arises out of things that we feel we should do, but haven’t done for one reason or another. I have a tendency to leave things out to remind myself to do them… Guilt can also come from self-betrayal: when you violate your commitments to yourself.

Where to look for guilt in your home:

  • Unfinished projects
  • Items related to hobbies or habits you haven’t made time for
  • Things you bought but never used
  • The pile of books to read that you’ve lost interest in
  • Gifts you feel like you should keep, but don’t actually like

A major source of regret is spending. If you’ve spent money on something you don’t use, or you’ve overspent, the item can feel like a reminder of lack of self-control or foolishness.

Where to look for regret in your home:

  • Things you overspent on, but no longer love
  • Things that remind you of choices or hurts that you’re struggling to leave behind

Anywhere where our true selves rub up against the judgments of others, be they family or society, can be a place where shame might creep in. The closet, the bathroom, or the kitchen — places related to the body — are especially prone to being sources of shame.

Where to look for shame in your home:

  • “Skinny clothes”
  • Clothes you don’t like but feel you need to wear to look “presentable”
  • Books, music, or other media that you feel you should like but don’t actually enjoy

If you look around your home and feel overwhelmed, it may be because you have a lot of things in your home that are demanding your attention… each of these is a reminder of an action you need to take… Overwhelm can also come from broken systems.

Where to look for overwhelm in your home:

  • Piles that need to be sorted
  • Broken things
  • Things in need of maintenance
  • Places where you repeatedly notice a sense of frustration or friction
  • Organizational systems that aren’t working well

Anything that makes you feel on your guard can aggravate anxiety.

Where to look for anxiety in your home:

  • Things that are uneven or wobbly
  • Awkward things that don’t quite fit or feel uncomfortable to use
  • Things that jangle your senses with unpleasant noises or textures
  • Sharp edges that you have to be careful around
  • Fragile things you’re always worried about breaking
  • Formal decor that you worry about messing up

I’m a very mise en place / out of sight is out of mind person, and I do tend to leave things out as reminders for myself. But that’s not in keeping with the kanban method I also try to practice of picking your next work and keeping all my to-do’s in one spot. I used to have a “project shelf” in the garage but stopped putting stuff in there after we had some water and mouse problems — but I think I need to reinstate it, perhaps in a new home.

Right now I’m trying to address the overwhelm factor – and also the equity of housework – by not doing all the little stuff that needs doing myself, but instead making a list that DH and I each spend ten minutes twice a week knocking out. This is in contrast to Gretchen Rubin’s rule that if it takes less than two minutes you should just do it right away — because I can easily blow half an hour doing these little tasks and then feel resentful that I did extra housework when I already do the lion’s share, even discounting cooking time. I still deal with a lot of things immediately to prevent task buildup, but hold off on things like refilling the olive oil ewer and hand soap when it’s low.