Now that your place is fully clean and rearranged in a way that makes you feel better about your space, it’s time to redecorate! As I mentioned at the beginning of this series, I decided to stay in my current apartment and completely redo the layout and look rather than move to another apartment building. By making this decision, I was able to save money and buy new decorations to update my apartment.
Let’s Save Money
By choosing to stay in my current apartment, I was able to save money. How you may ask? Well, as most people know moving is not only a hassle, but also is very costly. If you choose to stay in your current apartment, you can save money on funds that would have gone toward a UHaul, safety deposit and application fee. Not to mention, there seems to be hidden fees when signing a new lease that you never see before you decide that will be your new home.
I’ve also noticed that no matter how many items you bring with you from place to place, there always seems to be more furniture or artwork that you need to buy for the new place. Therefore, by staying in your current living space you will save money and that money you save can be reallocated to new decorations that reflect more of who you are as a person and the newly arranged apartment that you’ve created for yourself.
Not only will you save money from not having to spend it on moving expenses, but sometimes you end up finding money where you least expect it. In my experience during this project, I found that by de-cluttering my living space I ended up finding money that I wasn’t aware of in my apartment. Most people may find upwards of $50.00 laying around their place, but somehow I hit the jackpot and found over $1,000.00! I have to admit, that made me more aware that I need to actually go through my mail more thoroughly that I have in the past; but that’s beside the point.
Since now you are saving money on moving expenses and may even find more money than what you expected in your apartment, it’s time to go shopping!
Home Decor Guidelines
Since you spent all of this time deciding that you would be saving money by not moving to a new home, my suggestion is not to blow your budget on home decor items you don’t really need. Remember, you just de-cluttered your entire place. It’s not the time to get more “stuff” to clutter it back up. Here are a few guidelines that I used when redecorating my place.
- Rearrange decorations in different spaces for a new look.
- Spend less than half of your projected moving costs.
- Always, always, always use 3M hooks for wall decor.
Rearrange decorations in different spaces for a new look
You’ve already taken inventory of all of your decorations and items within your living space because of the de-cluttering process. More than likely, you’ve been able to find hidden gems that you forgot you once bought. These are great decorations you can put on display throughout your home to bring a new, brighter feel to the space.
When you redecorate your furniture with existing pieces or even just candles in new places, the vibe of the space already becomes more positive. For example, in my bedroom I decided to put the tall green grass vase I had behind my white nightstand and put a vanilla coffee candle on the nightstand.
Spend less than half of your projected moving costs
Since you decided to save money by not moving to another apartment, make sure to spend less than half of your money on new decorations. How to do that? Well, set a budget. Determine what it would have cost you to move and then set a limit on how much you can spend.
Once you have your budget, I would suggest visiting places that are relatively cost effective. I decided to shop Goodwill, TJ Maxx, Bed Bath and Beyond and Target for my decor. Goodwill was convenient because I was dropping off donations so to quickly run through the store was easy to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything that I was looking for, but it was good to check it out anyway.
Bonus tip: Do not buy things just to buy them. You must visualize a place for it in your home and know it would be a value add to your living space.
Before shopping, have a plan of what look you are going for in your home. For example, I had felt that my apartment had darker tones than what I had wanted and realized that I wanted to reflect a lighter or brighter home than what I currently had. I had an idea to spray paint my entertainment center white, but instead of taking the time to do that project, I found small pieces that I could place inside of the cubbies to brighten it up.
Another decision I had already made was that I wanted more of a beach tone within my space. I already had some the travel and adventure photos hung up in my apartment, but I wanted to bring in more turquoise as it’s my favorite color. A great way to bring in that color are lighter beach house decorations. That way I can also feel like I’m on a vacation wherever I turn within my apartment. One section, I look like I’m in Cabo and in another section I’m in France or Italy.
One are of my apartment that I lacked in decor for three years was wall decor. I’ll admit, even now I think I need to add a few pieces of artwork or photos. That said, my main purchases were chic wall decor to bring more life into my apartment.
Always, always, always use 3M hooks for wall decor
Okay, so once you buy the wall decor, you obviously have to hang it. Yes, as a woman in my mid-20’s I should own a hammer and nails, but of course I don’t. Therefore, one Saturday morning I went to Ace Hardware to pick up my supplies. A young guy, it was probably his first job in high school, came up to help me. As we were looking and the nail wall he was asking what I was going to hang. Well, unfortunately for this young guy I don’t think he had much experience in hanging wall decor because he sells me a 10 pt 2 3/4″ set of nails.
I come home and decide to hang my cheap Target mirror in my bedroom first, you know, as practice. I start hammering the nail straight into the wall to hang my mirror from the top. Everything looked great, but the mirror started to jet out a bit from the wall on the bottom, so I decided to nail in the bottom part of the mirror to the wall to make it stay.
Feeling pretty good about myself, I decided to walk into my living room for a second. That’s when I saw it. A massive chunk of wall on the floor and a hole where my top nail was on the other side of the wall! I had completely not taken into account that my apartment walls are plaster and that would make a difference. Not to mention, the 2 3/4″ nails the guy sold me at Ace Hardware were too long for my wall.
From that moment, I decided I would hang the rest of my wall decor by 3M hooks. No mess, no fuss. Thankfully 3M carries an array of hook options for all your wall decor needs and therefore I was able to finish hanging all of my photos I had purchased, with the exception of a large mirror I bought, but that will need to be professionally hung. I do not want to take that project on myself.
My apartment is finally done with the renovations. I have de-cluttered, rearranged and redecorated my apartment to make it feel new without having to move to a new home. This journey has taught me a few practical lessons:
- Live like a minimalist
- Check your mail–you may have $1,000.00 waiting for you
- Use 3M stripes for wall decor
Once the decluttering is complete and all the piled bags are either thrown away or donated, it’s time to roll up your sleeves to move furniture. In the clean space, your living area is a blank canvas for your mind to think differently about your furniture layout. This is when I thought again about the definition of feng shui.
Feng Shui: a Chinese system for positioning a building and the objects within a building in a way that is thought to agree with spiritual forces and to bring health and happiness.
The entire project, for me, was to recreate a living space that felt new and reflected more of who I am as a person without having to move into a new apartment. Therefore, I started working in confined areas like I had learned in the decluttering process.
I started with my bedroom. In the bedroom, the most important piece of furniture is the bed. That’s not difficult to figure out, so I decided to move my bed to it’s new place first and then the other pieces would naturally fit. All of my life I’ve had my bed positioned very similarly, so I thought this is the time to change it. Yes, I moved my queen-sized bed all by myself. As long as you have motivation for something, I believe you can make it a reality.
The night stand and lamps were simple to determine where they would be placed along with the other decorations. The difficult part of my room was the half closest to the door because I couldn’t determine how I wanted to fill the space. Later, I decided to put one of the grey chairs that once lived in my living room into my bedroom to make a little reading nook.
This change made the bedroom space appear larger than before by rounding out the room with a grouping a small furniture grouping. Please note that If you’re going to put furniture in front of closet doors, ensure you can easily open them. If not, it will make getting ready in the morning extremely difficult.
My next challenge was to determine a jewelry solution so I didn’t have so many bracelets, necklaces and earrings cluttered on top of my tiny dresser. To fix the issue, I went to TJ Maxx and Target to purchase a few cute jewelry organizers that look chic enough to be on a dresser and display your jewelry as decoration.
The white panel with clear crystal knobs is actually a 3M strip holder. Whenever possible, use 3M hooks or other products to hang photos or wall art when in apartments because it will leave less of a mess to worry about when you move out.
When rearranging your space think about your functionality within the space. For example, in my bedroom I can now accessorize in one spot then turn around and be able to see myself in the mirror to determine if I want to wear the piece of jewelry or scarf.
Once I climbed into my newly arranged bed that night, my body ached from all of the heavily lifting, but I already was starting to feel that my space was taking on a new energy.
The next day, I decided to work on rearranging my living room since I had already felt like by the layout change in my bedroom had such an impact on the space, I couldn’t wait to see what it would be like once I rearranged my living room.
Living rooms have more versatility on furniture layout arrangements, which can make projects like these exciting. That said, I have a large piece of artwork on one of my walls that I need to work around, which gave me less to work with although I knew I could still make my apartment feel new by rearranging most of the items. Let’s take a look.
First I decided to move my desk across to the other side of the room near my grouping of Italy photos from a few years ago. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have my desk on the other side of the apartment, so I decided that now is the time to make the change.
After rearranging my desk area, I played around with a few different couch and chair layouts, but found that my favorite placement for my couch and one accent chair was my original layout. Sometimes when you are changing your living space, you find that part of the original layout can stay the same. Remember, you do not need to rearrange everything to get the Feng Shui feel.
Now, the only area of the living room that needed work was a small space where my desk once lived. I needed a solution to put my scarves I knit into a place where kitty hair won’t get to them, but also looks cute. At TJ Maxx, I found a bamboo storage container for an affordable price. The best part is by putting the container in my living room, I’m able to pull in the bamboo from my bamboo tree and wicker baskets within the entertainment center.
I then remembered that I had two large white cubes I’ve not been able to get rid of since freshman year of college because of their versatility. Some pieces you’ve had for years and can continue to be utilized within your living space, but in new ways.
I decided to put the pieces together with a few new decorations to brighten up the small nook to fill out the space. This may be one of my favorite little places within my apartment now because of how much brightness it brings into my place. Later I will hang a mirror I bought to fill out the section and bring more depth to the apartment.
Once all the furniture was arranged the way I felt brought a new energy into the room. I plopped myself on my couch to enjoy my work product. Turning to the clock, I realized it was past 12:00 a.m. and had been working for about 6 hours. Again, my body ached from the physical activity, but I could feel the newness in my apartment from the layout change and I felt extremely happy for what I accomplished in the past 72 hours.
Now motivated to make my apartment truly a new space and reflect more of who I am as person, my first job was to declutter the entire place. Before going home, I stopped at the gas station across the street to buy a box of the kitchen trash bags since I had a feeling I would need more than a few grocery and recycled Target bags for my project ahead of me. Decluttering a 750 square foot apartment may not seem like a big job, but after living somewhere for three years, it turns out even the neatest of people can become pack rats.
As embarrassing as it is, below are a few photos of my apartment before I dove into any of the project. As you can see it doesn’t look too cluttered compared to other homes or home-makeover TV shows, but for someone with limited space in an urban area, it was bad. Somehow I hid most of my junk in “organized piles” throughout my apartment so the typical house guest may not notice. That said, after taking these photos, I’m not sure how more people didn’t comment on the messiness of my home! Let’s take a look, shall we?
The mess doesn’t stop there, but instead somehow gets worse when I opened my closets. The piles of junk and stuff accumulated over time went to the ceiling and because my closets have doors, I hardly noticed because I would just shut out the clutter.
After surveying all of the work ahead of me, I decided to come up with a few principles for myself.
- Set manageable goals
- Think like a minimalist
- Organize all kept items
Set Manageable Goals
If you think of a project such as renewing your space by decluttering and redecorating, it can be overwhelming to think of the whole picture. For me, when I think of the whole project I tend to not accomplish anything because I can tend to get lost in where to start.
When you set manageable goals for yourself that you can accomplish, it’s easier to see how the full picture of the project can come together. For example, my first night of decluttering was a lofty goal, but I knew I was motivated enough to accomplish it. The goal was to go through the box by bed, both closets in my bedroom and declutter then reorganize the things I had decided to keep. My goal the following night was to declutter my linen closet and coat closet near my entry way. The third goal for my decluttering process was to organize my living room cabinets that housed incredibly old papers from college classes and other types of junk.
Think Like a Minimalist
A lot of people tend to collect things, whether you realize it or not. Before long, you’ve collected clothes, bags, shoes, mail, etc. The key to thinking like a minimalist is to realize that your things do not define who you are and that you can live just as happily on less. This mindset also allows for less “piles of stuff” hidden around your apartment. Let’s be honest here, that in urban living you need to maximize the amount of space you’re given and useless junk cannot be taking up precious square footage.
The minimalist mindset leads to being able to throw away several bags of garbage and donate gently used items to charity. During my three days of decluttering I threw away 10 bags of trash and donated 12 bags to Goodwill. Since the donate section was so large, I needed to take two trips to the local Goodwill. I also took a large box that once held my old Xcel Energy, Comcast, and utilities bills to Half Price Books filled with unwanted books and college textbooks.
Organize All Kept Items
As your pile of clutter lays in front of you on the floor, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what to throw, donate or keep. For me I decided that any paper products such as mail, notebooks or books should be either donated or thrown away if it was older or not used for more than 6 months. That allowed for my mini bookshelf to reduce to 1/3 the size. In terms of hand bags or shoes, or bedding I decided that if it was one of the items that I continue to carry around from place to place, but never use I was going to either throw or donate it this round of cleaning. I truly dug through every inch of my apartment to find any place where I could throw or donate something to truly say “out with the old and in with the new.”
Now that I got rid of the majority of junk within my apartment, I know exactly where everything is in my apartment and tried to put it all in a place that made sense for it to go, or at least in my own head. It’s easier to keep track of my things now because there is actual space around what is organized and therefore is easier to know where everything is placed within my apartment.
I didn’t realize that decluttering a 750 square apartment would be so much work and would actually tire you out physically. Each night I my head hit the pillow and my feet were raised my body screamed at me, but my mind was at ease with the accomplishments of truly taking ahold of my space and making it my own again. Yes, this was the beginning of my feng shui, renew my living space project and it felt amazing.
I would challenge anyone to use the three principles I followed to create their own safe haven within their existing space. Message me with your thoughts!
Feng Shui: a Chinese system for positioning a building and the objects within a building in a way that is thought to agree with spiritual forces and to bring health and happiness.
This Memorial Day weekend, while most of my friends are out of town at their lake cabins or going home, I am going to stay in Minneapolis to de-clutter, rearrange and feng shui my apartment. The need for something new and different in my life has bubbled up in my spirit to the point where I cannot deny it anymore. Therefore, I am going to tackle the art of de-cluttering, rearranging and decorating my place to better reflect who I am as a person.
This project was birthed from a lease renewal notice from my apartment a couple weeks ago. I’ve lived in this same apartment for three years, which is the longest place I’ve lived; with the exception of growing up at my parent’s place. Once I received the lease renewal form, I realized that I have been yearning for something new for awhile. Therefore, I started looking around the city to determine if my need for something new meant a new apartment.
I found several places that were identical to my current apartment at a higher cost and one apartment with a lot of character, but didn’t fit two of my main requirements. As I realized that my current apartment is the best value for what I get, I decided to stay in the apartment. That said, my need for a new space didn’t escape me. So my new project is to rip apart my apartment to minimize my possessions and to rearrange my space in a way that brings me happiness and reflects the change I’ve had internally over the past three years.
Renew Your Living Space
As a single woman living in Minneapolis who has an active lifestyle and love for traveling, my ideal living arrangement is to be in an apartment. Apartment living is low maintenance, highly flexible and great for urban areas. If you’re anything like me, you’ve lived in apartments for a few years and may be looking for a change.
There are a few options you can take:
- Move to another apartment
- Buy a house, townhouse or condo
- Renew your current living space
In my situation, I decided to stay in my place and figure out a way to make my three year old apartment layout into something updated. There is hope for the person who doesn’t want the hassle of moving, yet wants an updated living space! Another great perk of staying in your place if you were going to move is to use the money you would have spent on a U-Haul, security deposit, application fee, etc. on updated home decor.
Updating your living space doesn’t just apply to people in apartments, but to all people. Sometimes it’s jut a good idea to switch around the furniture and update the throw pillows to give your home a new feel. This can make a world of difference in your mood and feelings toward your home. I know it’s changing my outlook on my home.
Over the next few posts, I’ll be walking through my experiences of renovating my apartment and the little tips and tricks I find along the way. I’m very excited about this project and cannot wait to see how my apartment transforms!
Cinderella Goes to the Ball
Friday night at 5:15 p.m., one of my friends asked if I wanted to go to the Brewer’s Ball that night. It started at 6:00 p.m. and went until 10:00 p.m. I was at the gym and just decided to be spontaneous and go, even though I had no idea what I was signing up for. All I knew was that it was a formal affair. I quickly scanned my closet in my mind, like most girls do in that type of situation trying to decide what I would wear. Then it hit me. I would be able to debut a sample from Target’s exclusive line, a J.O.A. Clothing dress.
This dress is a nude caged sequence dress that gives just enough shine. The back is sleek satin not to take away from the sparkle of the front. This season, sequence is in people, giving you just enough shine to glow throughout room. I then quickly accessorized the dress, hopped in the shower and got ready for the ball. Yes, it does sound like a Disney princess story.
Once I slide out of my “pumpkin”, or uber, I walked into the Metropolitan. There were several different rooms I could explore as I looked for my friend. Finally, I found her at one of the vendor tables in the main hall.
This ball was slightly different than a typical ball that most people think of. This Brewers Ball featured several breweries and wineries around different parts of Minnesota. As a girl who goes to several trade shows, it seemed a little more like that, but nonetheless had a positive energy.
The Brewers Ball was intended as a fundraiser to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. In all transparency, before I went to this event, I had only heard the term, but did not know what the disease is.
Cause for Cure
For those of you who don’t know, Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs and the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine. The long term issues a person will have is difficulty breathing, they say it’s like breathing through a cocktail straw 24/7. Another issue is coughing up mucus several times a day per a machine that is strapped to their chest and has a face mask due to frequent lung infections.
This disease is solely reliant on donations as the government will not give any money to the research for a cure due to Cystic Fibrosis being an “orphan” disease. This means that there are too few lives impacted to have a financial significance. Currently, there are 30,000 people living with Cystic Fibrosis. This may not seem like a large amount of the population, but I’ll tell you that if one of those people was your child, family member or you this would matter.
The life expectancy of a child born with this defect is shocking. Only four years ago, the life expectancy was 4 1/2 years old and now it is 18! This is due to the funds raised for pharmaceutical studies and new drugs to market. Currently, there is treatment for 60% of the population. The Brewers Ball was intended to help raise additional funds to help find a cure for the remaining 40%. During the event, there was a live auction, bidder’s table and additional avenues for donating.
Clock Strikes Midnight
After the speeches, music and auction, it was time to wrap up the event. As we tore down the vendor table, I thought back to the video testimonials and live speaker’s story. These people who live with Cystic Fibrosis do not have an easy life, but the life they live is to their fullest. People who don’t let a daily disease break their spirits are the true heroes in this life.
Thank you to all of those who donate to various foundations as those funds are put to good use. If after reading this post, you are moved to help raise funds for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, please click on the link below and follow the prompts.
Spring has sprung, which means we are cleaning out our closets and dusting off our summer clothes as we welcome Summer into existence. This is one of my favorite times of year because it gives me the opportunity to not only donate my old, unwanted clothes to a shelter, local consignment store or friend, but also reminds me of the clothes I have in my closet.
Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to forget what clothes I have and just go out and buy a new shirt, dress or pair of pants for any new occasion. I’m here to tell you, there are so many more cute looks in your closet than what you realize! And those clothes that are just “not for you” anymore? Organize a clothes swap with your girlfriends!
Let’s get started.
While Spring cleaning, there are a few best practices I’ve found:
- Pieces you wear all of the time
- Clothes that fit you well
- Anything in your hamper
- Professional pieces that work well for business trips or an interview
- Clothes you easily remember
- Clothes that do not fit
- Ripped and torn (Point of clarification: not distressed, like actually torn in the bad way)
- Pieces you forgot you had an cringe at the sight of
- Clothes you have forgotten you had
- Anything you wore 10 years ago and haven’t worn since
- Clothes you always decide to not wear while getting dressed
Once you have your piles spread across your bed or some sort of surface, it’s time to get your friends together for a clothes swap! During these evenings, get your closest girlfriends together at a house, bring wine and apps and see how your trash becomes someone else’s treasure!
This look was birthed from a pseudo clothes swap where I gained the Banana Republic sweater.
Once you’ve come home from the clothes swap, or just from a local consignment store, it’s time to start throwing different looks together for your Spring wardrobe. You may dust off your white jeans again and pair them with a colorful top you remembered you had. It’s fun to just experiment with the different looks with your same pieces. It’s amazing to realize how many looks you can get from what is currently in your closet.
During these Spring cleaning sessions is a time when your favorite Summer pieces can come out to play as the weather gets warmer and days get longer. For me, those pieces are my crop tops and loose fitting shawls are highlighted best. These are the clothes that make you feel like it’s truly Summer and that you’re ready to soak in the sun at some music festival…well at least that’s how it goes in my world!
Now your clothes have been sorted, swapped and styled. Your closet is finally organized, probably the first time all year, and the options of outfits are endless with your best pieces. You are ready for Summer and all of the adventures it has to offer. Always, while looking your best!
What is your favorite part of Spring cleaning when it comes to your style?
As you may have noticed, my Spring Cleaning was dedicated to more than just sending a few bags of clothes to Goodwill and scrubbing my kitchen floor. Spring, I’ve launched the rebranding of My Life Caffeinated. The look and feel of this site was in desperate need of a facelift to better reflect my brand and topics that I write about. This Spring, I encourage you to take an inventory of your life and decide what other than your closet can you clean out this season to bring in the new season a better, brighter person?