It’s New Year’s Resolution time and this newlywed has set a big goal: reduce the extra “stuff” in our home by 25%.
Iain, Mr. Kellye the Newlywed, is ecstatic. I, however, am already daunted by the task.
Please don’t get the wrong impression – I’m most definitely not the hoarder type. And no, we will not be participating in a TLC network television special (unless it’s Toddlers and Tiaras but that’s Kellye’s future offspring's problem). The majority of our extraneous stuff (“No, not crap, Iain. Stuff!”) is a product of merging two separate lives into one 800 square foot space [author’s note: once again my suburban American relatives are shaking their heads and wondering why the heck we chose to live in a city where 800 square feet of living space is considered acceptable to comfortably house two adults and two extra-large cats. This is a frequent topic of discussion amongst my family over the holidays. To that I most reasonably add: “BECAUSE TORONTO IS AWESOME THAT’S WHY”).
Apparently the key to a successful resolution is to set small, measurable goals. I'm pretty sure I heard that from Oprah. Or maybe it was Dr. Phil. Regardless, my infallible sense of self assumes these two cultural juggernauts would totally support my hypothesis. So in the spirit of New Year's resolutions - officially endorsed by both Oprah and Dr. Phil - here is my manageable list of items you should have originally tossed when you first moved in together (but you totally didn’t. This is because you are both very busy and important adults who would rather watch marathons of House of Cards on Netflix than ever consider dealing with those mystery boxes in your basement). [Steve's note: The Urbaneer team sincerely apologizes to Oprah and Dr. Phil. We acknowledge you had nothing to do with this blog post. Please don't sue us over Kellye's delusions of grandeur.]
Without further ado, here's my list of five things you should have tossed two years ago when you first moved in together but didn't (slacker) until now:
1. Dorm Room Decor
Say your goodbyes to any poster you would have hung in your dorm room because you thought it made you look cool to your new neighbours in residence. The list includes but is not limited to: posters of Bob Marley; reproductions of either Klimt’s The Kiss, Degas’ Starry Night or Munch’s The Scream; anything related to the movie Scarface and/or The Godfather etc. etc .Before you even ask, simply framing a poster of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover does not make it acceptable wall decor.
Just because you’re a grown up now doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Pop culture is a great way to inject colour and personality on a budget. When you're on the hunt for more art to fill the newly free wall space think more sleek modern graphics and less “Can you believe Scotiabank Theatre would give this away for free?!” Toronto’s own Silkpulp-Mono Ahn Illustration creates stunning paper cut illustrations and incredible sketches that will elevate any living space. Kid Icarus and Telegramme Prints are great sources for incredible prints and lithographs that are not only aesthetically gorgeous now but will age beautifully.
I know my fellow renters are shaking their heads because they signed a lease that specifically tells them not to nail things into the wall or make drastic decorating changes. I'm a renter who owns of not one but two wall mounted televisions IDGAF. I'm lucky enough to have amazingly awesome landlords who love that we treat our place like a forever home. For those with less accommodating landlords, check out Pinterest for some amazing ways to use washi tape to beautifully “frame” your cool new grown up wall art (and follow me while you’re there!).
You are a grown up. You and your guests deserve grown up furniture. Ditch the floor-hugging futon for a piece of genuine adult furniture. Your space will instantly feel more established. Form and function marry beautifully in this cozy cream sleeper sofa from my new favourite discount design site, Joss and Main (under $1000 and they ship to Canada!).
Please consider using your upgrade as an opportunity to give back to your community. Don't toss that gently used futon out on the curb (or any other extra furniture). The Furniture Bank is a local organization that supports individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness, women and children escaping abusive situations and refugees and new comers to Canada.
3. Non-essential Books
I’m a huge book nerd. I absolutely love to read and luckily so does my partner (believe it or not he’s more than just a man with a great beard). As well, I have a consuming love for cook books. If I’m not careful my house will be overrun with books. If you also consider yourself a hoarder of books then you owe it to your space to do a purge. Take a good look at your bookshelves (So. Many. Books.) and start creating some space. Box the ones you know you'll never open again and drop them off at your local Goodwill or favourite charity. You’re not only creating some much needed extra storage but you're sharing your books with someone in need who has the urge to read.
4. Mismatched or Duplicate cookware
If you've combined two households into one then you undoubtedly have acquired some duplicate cookware. This is especially true if both of you inherited various pieces of the classic white and blue flower Corningware that every North American under the age of 40 has received from their mother (I dare you to tell me this isn't true). And while you're at it, get rid of all those chipped coffee mugs too.
It's time to get rid of the excess and reclaim your cupboards. It's simple: find the duplicates, decide what piece is better and donate the other one. Stop the blue flower pattern Corningware madness!
5. Reconsider your counter space
Counter space is at a premium in my petit kitchen. The limited room is a constant source of frustration when I’m cooking. Even though the space is limited, over time items have migrated from the cupboards to establish permanent residency on the counter. In our case it’s often because they are items we use regularly when cooking (a valid-ish reason but annoying nonetheless). So I took a good long look at our kitchen situation before the holidays and discovered one rarely used, large thing occupying valuable space: the microwave! Although we never used it, we felt strange getting rid of it. In fact, we had multiple conversations over the question: “But aren’t we supposed to have a microwave?”. When it came down to it, we couldn’t come up with a solid reason to keep it, so I moved it into the storage room for a one month trial run. This, of course, was in case there was an emergency that could only be solved by a microwave(!?). Two months later we are still without a microwave and have acquired roughly 20% more usable counter space. And guess what? I don't miss it at all. While removing your microwave may not work for your lifestyle, the principle of paring down is still relevant. Take a good look at items that have become a “permanent” fixture on your counters and consider re-homing it out of sight to give you that much needed visual “breathing room”.
It's been so successful I'm almost inspired to try the same thing in our bathroom!
…I said ALMOST inspired!
What are your tips for de-cluttering your space? Send me your tips to Kellye@bosleyrealestate.com.
I'd love to share them with our readers!
~ Kellye The Newlywed
Are you a first time buyer seeking some guidance? Contact email@example.com for more of her amazing insights.
She would love to hear from you!
Did you enjoy this? Consider reading Kellye's previous installment called "Marriage 101: Who (or What) is in Charge? (with Cat Pictures!)"
Like what you've read? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly newsletter on housing, culture and design, including our love for unique urban homes and other Toronto real estate!