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Room By Room – Getting Organized

I’ve been following the Apartment Therapy social media account for quite some time and was thrilled to find out they have some really fantastic books published. I thought it would be great to feature a section from the book Apartment Therapy – Complete & Happy Home called Getting Organized.

Organizing your space isn’t just about bins and shoe racks and drawer liners. It really is about creating areas of high functionality that will actually increase happiness and peace of mind.

I’ve pulled some information from the book and added some of my own tips that I have utilized in my home.

– Let function dictate storage. Coffee near the coffeemaker. Dishtowels near the sink. Spices near the stove. You get the idea. When you can, buy sets of dinnerware, glasses and storage containers. Of course mix and matching is trendy but sets will stack neatly and make the best use of your shelf space. Put all your dry goods in matching airtight containers. It will look cohesive and keep everything fresher longer. Here are some amazing mason jar containers a friend made for me. Not only do they look adorable but I can cut down on plastic by taking these containers to places like Bulk Barn to buy my dry goods in bulk!

– Temporary landing space, not a permanent dumping area. Keep only regularly used coats, shoes and accessories in this space. Move anything else to a spare closet or storage. Seasonal organization will keep this area decluttered and high functioning.

– Keep only your daily essentials out and easily accessible. A small tray or container will keep your products from taking over the entire countertop and limits spills. Make sure items that guests will need (toilet paper, bathroom spray, soap and lotion) are visible to avoid an awkward situation. Nobody wants to have to rifle through other people’s cupboards (okay maybe some of you will do that anyways).

– The top of your desk is for items you use EVERYDAY ONLY! Everything else should be out of sight. Invest in wireless technology whenever possible. Tangled cords = chaos. Don’t forget visual inspiration. A vision board will keep your dreams where they belong – in clear focus.

– This is a great place to get cozy. But don’t let your throw blankets and pillows take over. Consider storing them by season in a trunk that can double as your coffee table. Opt for all-in-one gadgets to limit the number of console and remotes. Keep it simple. Consider double-duty furniture that acts as storage and seating when you have more than a few friends over.

– My number one tip: separate by seasons. Take a couple days every season and rotate to a spare closet. It will make your wardrobe selection less time consuming and will free up tons of space. Grab a few baskets to organize worn clothing – one for dark laundry, one for light, one for the drycleaners and one for anything that needs to be repaired. Find a storage system for your shoes that works best for you – whether it be a shoe rack or individual plastic bins.

The most important thing to remember when getting organized is that it needs to be personalized! A organizing system that works for someone else might not work for you. Switch it up if you need to but always stick with it, you’ll feel the difference quickly I promise!

Decor · Home

Making A Rental Feel Permanent…Without Pissing Off Your Landlord

I moved into my apartment about 5 months ago and it has been a super inspiring challenge creating my own space that truly feels like home. Unfortunately, when people think of a rental property they often think of something very temporary. But really, just because you are renting doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a personalized space that feels consistent and “permanent”.

Here are 5 of the ways I created a home in my rental:

1. Painting
Now before you get too excited and run off to buy the trendiest colour you can find at Farrow & Ball make sure to check in with your landlord. When I got the keys to my apartment I could tell my landlord preferred a light and airy palette which is definitely up my alley. I later learned he also liked to keep the paint colours consistent in all his properties to make it easier to touch up in between tenants. While I didn’t “mind” the colour choices I felt that if I could get him to agree on my paint choices it would easily help to personalize my space. I chose Unicorn White by Behr for my bedroom, and Kitten White by Behr for the livingroom. I reviewed the swatches with my landlord and luckily for me he approved them right away.


2. Plants
Adding greenery to your apartment either with live plants or faux is a fantastic way to create comfort and a “homey” vibe. Finding a florist or botanist that you trust will definitely help you choose the right plants for your space and save you tons of money and frustration in the end. Don’t forget your patio or deck if you have one. Hanging baskets and railing planters are the perfect way to create a sense of green space when you don’t have any to begin with. The great thing about plants is that everything can be moved to your new space when your lease is over.



3. Pictures
Including wall pictures in a rental apartment can be a bit tricky! First of all, you should again check with your landlord first to see what their thoughts are on traditional ways of hanging picture frames –  you don’t want to leave them with walls full of holes at the end of your lease if they don’t patch and paint before the next tenant. Command Hanging Strips will likely become your best friend as they did with me. Just remember to always check the weight capacity of the strips and the frame you are looking to hang. Measure twice – hang once!


4. Lighting
Using different light sources can help make your space feel more comfortable, it makes colours deepen and shine and adds a glowing energy to all of your rooms. According to the book Apartment Therapy – Complete & Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban there are three types of lighting sources to consider : ambient lighting which provides overall illumination, work lighting is bright light in areas you will read/cook/get ready for work and then accent lighting which creates visual interest and puts the focus on parts of your home you want to highlight. Always remember that the most interesting spaces will include multiple points of light!


5. Textiles
Curtains, rugs, throw blankets, and pillows are just a few ways that you can use textiles to personalize a generic apartment rental. When working with window treatments consider extending the curtain rods past the width of the window frame to create the illusion of larger windows and in turn, larger spaces. Area rugs that all your furniture can sit on will create a beautifully cohesive room, don’t be afraid of patterns and different textures. Mixing up throw pillows help to give couches and beds added depth without taking away space in a room. When choosing your throw blankets remember that heavy knits and furs can sometimes make a small room feel even smaller!

Above all, the most important way to turn your rental into a home is to truly give it the time and attention it deserves. Your apartment holds just as much value as your friend’s brick tudor or your boss’ mid-century ranch. Incorporate the art and accessories you love the most and try not to take yourself too seriously, style is ever-evolving.



Decor · Home

Calling All Plant Killers

I grew up with parents who are very talented Green Thumbs. Both our family homes boasted beautiful gardens and manicured lawns. You would think I would have inherited their knowledge and skill HOWEVER I am a self-proclaimed plant killer in recovery. I know there must be a few of us out there so I decided to have a chat with Plant Queen Meg Gizuk of Oliver and Rust for some tips and tricks to turn us into full-fledged Green Thumbs.

Shop owner Meg in her happy place! Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Oliver and Rust is an upscale lifestyle and plant specialty shop located in the heart of the growing Fonthill core in Ontario. The retail store has been open since April 2015 with a wide array of vintage items, pillows, home décor, planters and a large unique selection of plants.

Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Oliver and Rust began as the brainchild of owner Meaghan (Meg) Gizuk when she started a blog under the same name to chronicle the renovations of the home she shares with her husband Trevor. What started as an idea from watching Julie and Julia blossomed into a home décor blog having their home featured in numerous national magazines and online lifestyle blogs. The business of selling pillows and vintage items began in their garage with twice a year shows to a blossoming crowd. Eight years later, Meg left an 11 year career in dental hygiene behind to sew thousands of pillows, and indulge her love of all things plant!

Indoor Plants for Beginners

The first plant Meg suggested for beginners is actually one that I started with myself – the Snake Plant. Snake Plants can live in low to high light and really only need watering every 2-3 weeks depending on the light you put them in. They thrive on under-mothering (PERFECT) and neglect (BINGO) and don’t require any extras like fertilizer or misting.

Meg’s gorgeous Snake Plant (center). Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

The second indoor plant Meg suggested is the ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia). This plant is glossy and fabulous! The ZZ Plant is a quick grower and they can get large fairly fast for their low maintenance properties. This plant is also works well in low to bright light and requires water approximately every 2 weeks. Just remember to allow your plant to dry fully before watering again!

Let’s Take This Outside

The Boston Fern is Meg’s suggestion for a great outdoor plant for us beginners. This super friendly plant can handle sun AND shade and is a great option for making your planters look lush and full. You can even go one step further as most indoor plants can go outside when you know your light requirements. Make sure to ask when you are buying your plants if they are able to transition to the outdoors. However – if you are grabbing plants off the shelf at the grocery store, the staff may not have the information you need so Pinterest, Google, or Instagram are good fill ins for all your burning questions.

Meg’s lush Boston Fern (top left corner). Photo courtesy of Oliver and Rust.

Tools of the Trade

Now that we have the plants we need to have the right tools to keep them happy! Meg suggests a good watering can and a mister  – whether it be a simple plastic bottle from the dollar store or a lovely leave out glass or metal version. Plants LOVE humidity and this can be difficult to provide especially when we get into winter months and our furnaces are sucking all the humidity out of the air trying to keep us warm.

Metal Plant Mister $35.00 available at Oliver and Rust

Advice From Meg

Live and learn! Try to not get too wrapped up in the fact that you are or aren’t a Green Thumb. The process is all about learning and adjusting. The great thing about plants is that they don’t have to be a lifetime commitment and if you remember that they can be a lot of fun! Obviously no one wants to throw their money away but in the same breath a lot of us tend to forget how much we spend on lattes, entertainment, clothing etc. That plant you invested in made your space pretty, gave you some fresh air and made you smile when you looked at it. Remember that having a plant die or fail doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t keep plants alive, it just means that maybe the plant didn’t love its spot. So dust yourself off and get excited about another planting adventure!

Decor · Home I have to lay in it..

I have spent the last year or so really fine tuning the look and feel of my bedroom. Since I am living with my parents I felt that it was super important for me to have a space that was completely mine and that I was extremely comfortable in.

Pillows by HomeSense. Duvet Cover by IKEA

I’m sure that I will continue to find bits and pieces to add to it but for the most part my bedroom is complete. For that reason I thought it would be a great time to talk about my favourite feature and the most important part of anyone’s bedroom : THE BED! Snickering aside (this isn’t that kind of blog post) according to Mental Health Canada a good night’s sleep is vital for our nervous systems, our immune system and plays a huge role in the person we are during our waking hours. I am a firm believer that in order to get the most restful and successful sleep possible, your bed really needs to be exactly the way you want it. Be a Goldilocks it is more than okay!!

Neutral tones and an underlying “nature” theme

Bed-frames and Mattresses:
I can’t stress enough how important the selection of your bed and mattress is. No matter how tempting it is to purchase your bed and/or mattress online if you are someone that struggles with sleep or physical limitations I HIGHLY suggest shopping in person. I chose a simple low to the floor, white, Queen-sized bed frame from Ikea with a removable rattan headboard. At the time I didn’t realize how important having a removable headboard is but for someone who likes to redecorate often it gives you the option of styling your bed with or without the headboard attached. Also, being able to remove the headboard makes it so much easier to clean it. Currently I have styled my bed without the headboard but have been contemplating painting it white and reattaching it (another blog post). I have a spring and active -response coil mattress also from Ikea and it is an absolute dream!

Custom “Shhhh” keepsake by Shawne of Embroiderwee

When I painted my bedroom I went with a grey hue from Behr called Thundercloud. I wanted a neutral grey that would allow me to accent with white decorative pieces (my favourite) and would coordinate with the natural hardwood floors, molding and doors.
For a tranquil space soft neutrals and cool greys and blues work well in a bedroom. However, pastels like lavenders and pale yellow can help make a smaller room appear bigger. I found a great article online by HGTV that can show you how to pick a perfect colour for your personal oasis.

Paint colour by Behr “Thundercloud”

Bedding and Textiles:
I am absolutely obsessed with bedding. Sheets, pillows, blankets, you name it! There is  nothing I enjoy more than slipping into fresh sheets and blankets.  It can be a bit of a pain in the morning but spending those 5 minutes to make your bed will really make a difference when you come back to it at the end of the day. And don’t skimp out on those hospital corners!

Decorating a bed can be broken down into the following sections: sheets, blankets, comforter/duvet, pillows, accent pillows and throw blankets. When choosing your bedding make sure you keep things in mind like your body’s natural temperature (flannels are notoriously warm compared to cooler materials like bamboo or cotton), and how important it is that your bedding look freshly pressed all the time (100% cotton will ALWAYS wrinkle more), and finally how often you will be laundering your bedding (comforters will start to clump if you are washing them very often whereas a duvet gives you the option of just washing the cover). Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and materials. Remember as with fashion – things don’t have to match – they just need to go!

Textures add depth and visual interest

A few final tips :

  1. Gather tons of inspiration. Pinterest is a great way to start and you can conveniently shop with your inspiration stored on your smart phone or tablet!
  2. Measure! Make sure to keep up to date measurements of your bedroom (or any room) to keep your trips at a minimum.
  3. If you don’t like it bring it back. No matter how much we think we love something sometimes it just doesn’t work in real life. Keep your receipts and ask the return policy when making your purchases.
  4. Create your colour scheme and work from there! Pick your vibe and stick to it to avoid making your space visually confusing.
  5. Mix rather than match your textiles! The look you want is coordinated yet effortless.

As always please feel free to post any questions or comments you have!

Happy Decorating –

Home · Uncategorized

Product Review: bare. cleaning products

There is nothing I enjoy more than supporting amazing local business ladies in Niagara. I met Rachel of Miss’es Clean about a year ago when I became her “personal shopper” at The Post Office. She is an amazing lady and we have so much fun spending her money ha ha ha.

Anyways, she has developed a new line of all natural cleaning products called bare. When I say developed – I mean literally developed. This girl is mixing each product herself at home! She knows EXACTLY what goes into each and every bottle.

We held her product launch this past week week at the store and I decided to give a couple of her products a try. I bought the Multi-Purpose Cleaner (made of water, castile soap, coconut oil, and certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils: lemon, lime, wild orange, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, tangerine, clementine, and vanilla absolute) and the Window & Glass Cleaner (water, distilled vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils: peppermint). Both products smell fresh and work flawlessly. The packaging is carefully thought out and purposeful.

If you’d like to try the full range of bare. products for yourself you can visit Rachel’s website or come down to visit me at The Post Office in Thorold.