Category Archives: organization

The Big Bedroom Makeover!

I’ve been itching for change lately, and now that I have all this spare time on my hands I’ve been working on some “projects” that I’ve wanted to do for a while.

My most recently completed one was the bedroom makeover!

My old room was awesome, but it was cluttered, busy and not very relaxing. I had my computer desk in there and basically did everything in that room. It wasn’t a very peaceful environment to fall asleep in, or just relax in general. I have issues with sleep as it is, so I decided that I’d make a big change and move the desk out and do the room over in an effort to make it more serene.

I moved the desk into my media room/spare room (Photos to come!) and set to work.

Working With What I Had

The biggest challenge was trying to get all my disparate elements to come together, with little money. I really didn’t have a budget at all.

Everything in my room is second-hand. I don’t think there is a single piece of furniture in there that is new! That certainly posed a unique challenge. I also fell in love with the purple bed set on vacation and had to work a new colour into my palette that wasn’t there before. Originally I was aiming for whites & pinks since I had a white bedspread and pink pillows & curtains to work with. Then I remembered I wanted to bring my big black chaise into the room for a reading nook. *sigh* there’s another colour to work with!

So now I had 4 main colour accents: Purple, pinks, white & black.


The goals for this room makeover were:

  • Create more space both physically and optically
  • Declutter & organize
  • Use the furniture and stuff I already had and find a way to unify it better
  • Make the room more functional with separate spaces for makeup, jewellery/accessories, sleeping and reading
  • Make a more relaxing and calm space

My main inspiration for this room is the pink & cream bird curtains. I made them when I moved in and I still love them! In the photos below, see if you can pick out all the little bird elements I used to tie everything together!

Since I was starting with the curtains, I decided to go with a lighter wall colour to brighten & enlarge the room. I picked a very light, creamy bone shade that closely matched the cream in the curtains. It’s a neutral enough shade to achieve all my goals and provide a nice backdrop for the splashes of colour in the art & accessories.

The final product

With the desk gone from my room there was tons of space for a new vanity and reading area. I got the black chaise off of Craigslist last year and the “vanity” that you see is actually a sewing table from my late aunt. I think she’d be happy with how I arranged it! I also had an old chair sitting around the apartment, so I painted it and upholstered the seat in a shiny black to match the chaise. My mom thought it came with the table! Score!

Vanity & Reading Corner


Close up on the vanity. I reupholstered & painted the chair to match!

I also took this as an opportunity to go through all my accessories and prune them down. After that I had to find a creative way to keep most of them in sight so I could remember what I had! (I couldn’t keep them all out, I have an insane amount of stuff, so just the faves are on display)

I found an old cork board hiding in a storage space and my problem was solved! (Everyone knows the cork board trick for jewellery now, right?) I painted it the same colour as the walls so it would blend in and provide a good backdrop for my pretties. Not bad! Again, just working with what I had on hand, folks!

Part 1 of the "jewellery bar"

I also finally found a way to display some of my floral hair fascinators creatively, while finding a home for my tiered tray (that thing is impossible to store!!!!)

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May I offer you a rose for your hair?

All said and done, I think I did a pretty swell job of pulling everything together, and I was able to achieve each of the goals I set out for this project.

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The "Other Side"

The funny thing about this room is that I really didn’t set out to have it bird-themed. It just sort of worked out that way. I went with the motif from the curtains and tried to have little details throughout to provide continuity. I may not have chosen this myself, but I think it worked out well! Sometimes you just have to let your project choose¬† YOU.


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Curtains - The Inspiration
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More bird details

If you also like the bird theme, I got the hooks and white wall-birds from Umbra. I buy from the concept store downtown, but there are lots of other retailers that carry them as well. As for the spunky wall decal, I got it at the dollar store for $2!!! Amazeballs. I bought it months ago because it was pretty and it sat around until I finally realized I could use it in this project. Win!

Royal-Tiger approves this room makeover!

Roommate-free Since 2011

It’s true! My roommate has moved out! Rejoice!

Lucky for me it was a somewhat-mutual decision, and also fairly amicable. There was only limited stealing of stuff this time, so I consider it a success.

Assuming everything goes well with my new job, I will be able to manage the $1300/mo rent by myself now.

To help create some extra income (I’ve already cut my costs down quite a bit) I’ve decided to continue renting out my extra spaces on Airbnb.

It’s really awesome, I’ve had great experiences so far (err, except for my drunk guest) with the service, and the potential to make lots of money is there!

So I have begun not only The Great Spring Cleanup, but also Operation Makeover.

I’m slowly going through my place cleaning, organizing, purging and redecorating in anticipation of my “new” life here and also for future Airbnb business.

Just this week I was told that Airbnb is sending a professional photographer to take shots of my spaces…for free! I’ll be able to use these photos to promote my listing and get way more business! I’ll finally be up to par with some of the other listings on there :)


This is fantastic news and I’m totally stoked…BUT it means that I really have to whip this place into shape!

Now, don’t get me wrong… my apartment is usually neat and tidy, but there is always room for improvement! I really want to cut down on clutter, open up the spaces and lighten them up.

Here’s what I’ve got planned:

  • De-clutter kitchen, find a new home for random plastic bag collection
  • Redecorate bathroom, warm it up
  • Paint dining room, declutter & organize pantry
  • Declutter my room by shifting random crap into my new storage closet downstairs, move bookshelf out
  • Move bookshelf into guest/TV room, organize space (not much needs to be done here)
  • Makeover entire second bedroom into deluxe guest room and library! woohoo!
  • Thoroughly clean every. single. room. as I go

Is it weird that I get excited about this kind of stuff?

I’ll admit, I’m a little afraid I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I’ve been having dreams about cleaning and organizing, and I feel a little overwhelmed at times. But I’m mostly ok. I’ve got my trusty monster-sized list of things to do and am starting with the easier things and working my way up.

I’m also focusing on things that will directly impact the photoshoot, since it’s coming up on March 13th! Ack it’s so soon! So things like cleaning out the fridge and reorganizing storage spaces will have to wait until after while I focus on the big stuff.

I’ve actually made excellent headway. The bathroom makeover is almost complete (post to come) as well as the kitchen; and I’ve finally gotten a bunch of crap out of my room and the dining room.

Piece by little piece this will all come together!

Time for the reader input now; have you ever challenged yourself with a makeover task of this magnitude? How did you fare?

DIY: Magnetic “spice rack” for the fridge

My "spice rack"!

Lately I’ve been trying to learn how to cook more at home. What I’ve come to discover is that proper application of herbs and spices can make all the difference in a good meal!

As my cooking skill grows, my spice drawer has also grown exponentially. It’s so full that when I went to buy some oregano, I didn’t have anywhere to put it!

A crafty and creative storage solution was needed!

I have been lusting after those adorable spice containers with magnets on the bottoms that stick to your fridge. This weekend I grabbed a few on clearance and went nuts stocking up on essential spices from the bulk food store.

But what about the spices I already had?

I had several of those little orange tins of spice from Club House. Seeing the magnetic tins from the store got me thinking…why couldn’t I get the orange tins to stick to the fridge, as well?

How to make your existing spices magnetic:

If you’ve got a bunch of the little spice tins like I do, or something similar you can give this a shot!

You will need the following items:

  • spice tin
  • scissors
  • magnetic tape with sticky backing

Cut two strips of magnetic tape to the width of your spice tin.

Adhere to the tin, like so:

Plonk it on the fridge and PRESTO CHANGE-O you have a cute new way to display your spices!

This method worked out great for me because the side of my fridge is part of my kitchen workspace. The spices are now easily within reach when I’m prepping and I can quickly see how much is left of my commonly-used spices.

Plus, making my existing tins magnetic cost loads less than buying those little tins from the store! This cost me about $6 for the magnetic tape, and 10 minutes of time to assemble. I’m rather proud of myself! LOL

Do you have any other crafty kitchen hacks to share?

Moving Day!

Well, today’s the big day!

My old, financially-unreliable roommate is moving out, and the new one is moving in!

What’s funny is that it seems everyone else had the same idea for this weekend! My street is positively filled with moving vans, giant garbage heaps of old furniture and people milling about with boxes!

It’s as if everyone decided that May 1st is the best date to move in. Really, I can’t blame them! I myself moved in here on May 1st 3 years ago. OMG that makes today my 3rd anniversary of moving to Toronto and becoming a big city girl. Yay!

I am celebrating by cleaning & purging. Some of the floors and walls have not been visible for over 2 years. Now that the furniture and rugs are gone, I can finally tackle them and give them a good once-over!

I even cleaned the inside of the fridge! No more funny smells for me! Underneath the sinks where the garbage cans are is all clean, too. And of course the bathroom is spotless. But it’s usually in a near-state of cleanliness.

I think the biggest project is my bedroom. I have a lot of crap, people. I have a big room, but more than enough stuff to fill it!

I could never be a minimalist, but sometimes I wish I had less stuff! The thing is, I actually like all of my items. I only keep things that have sentimental value, or that bring me joy when I look at them. However that is still a lot of stuff! I would love to be able to move some of my more decorative items out of my room and into the general apartment space, then others can enjoy them as well. Maybe this new girl will be open to using personal items to decorate?

I also have about 100lbs of laundry to do :( I am NOT happy about that. My kitty has been having some issues using her litter box lately and she seems to think it’s ok to pee on my bed. My BED. It’s awful. Anytime I see a new spot where she’s gone I have to strip the bed and start cleaning the mattress–there is NO WAY that I am going to let that cat pee smell set into my mattress!

So while I’ve been able to successfully clean the mattress, I have a few pillows, several sheet sets, blankets and even a bedspread that are awaiting a good wash! Ugh what I would give for a washing machine in my apartment! Instead I have to haul them around the corner and down the hill (then back up!) to the local laundromat. I hate it.

So I guess that’s the next major project of the day or weekend. But I really don’t want to do it, that’s 2 hours of my day gone doing nothing. I may just procrastinate until next weekend and get someone to pick me up and take me to my parents’ where I can wash in comfort.

The Purge Project: Bath & Body Products

This weekend while I was waiting for a friend to come over I took a moment to organize one of my drawers by my desk. It holds a myriad of items, including hand and face creams, prescription lotions and pills, dental stuff like floss and picks and a bunch of other random crap.

As you can see, it was pretty darn messy:

I began by taking everything out of the drawer and sorting it into categories on my desk. This gave me a good idea of what I have, and of any duplicates or expired items.

I washed out the drawer itself and also the basket inside, then went through all my crap and tossed things that needed tossing, and relocated things that didn’t belong there.

It really only took me a few minutes–much less than I thought it would!

I scooped another basket from somewhere else in my apartment and used it to hold all my elongated creams and lipbalms. I was able to stack almost all the other products rightside up in the larger basket.


I still have a ton of stuff, but oddly enough I use all of it fairly frequently. I find using those little baskets to organize my drawers is the best solution I’ve come across so far. They’re 3 for a dollar at the dollar store and come in several different shapes and sizes. The trick is just discovering the best configuration to use in your drawer. It’s kind of like a puzzle!

The baskets are great but not the best… does anyone else have some cheap or free organization tips for small spaces such as drawers and under the sink? I’d love to hear them!

The Purge Project: Makeup Drawer

This is the next installment in what I hope will be an ongoing series of decluttering, paring down and organizing my life and belongings.

Earlier this week I decluttered my purse (which was very much needed!) and took a load off my shoulders.

This time around I went to work on my makeup drawer *shudder*

I didn’t remember to take a before photo… but it was getting pretty bad. At one point I tried to organize it a little by placing baskets in the drawer in an effort to wrangle in all my products… but at the time I didn’t really make much effort in going through everything or thinking out the most effective way to organize.

Not so, this time! My drawer went from mountains of makeup products and tools haphazardly strewn about to neat, clean and organized. I went through my collection of stuff and organized it into the three classic piles: Keep, Toss and Donate.

Obviously all the old opened stuff hit the circular file, but anything that was only gently used (still safe to use) or unopened is going to go to the Need Table at one of my monthly Pagan pub moots (it’s a table where you can place donations of anything and folks have the opportunity to take what they need for themselves or others) and also to one of my friends who is going through a tough financial time right now but loves makeup.

Knowing that all my lovely products may be going to someone who would appreciate them really helped me get through it all. I am loathe to throw things out, but with this goal in my mind I was able to be ruthless.

I still have quite a bit of stuff, but now I have it organized into 6 baskets: stuff I use everyday, lip products, eyeliners, loose eyeshadows and other miscellaneous pots and finally a basket in the back for random stuff that needs a home. I use MAC eyeshadows almost exclusively so I keep the majority of them in a professional palette which sits on the side of the drawer. As for all my brushes and other tools, I have a pro roll-up case for them I keep elsewhere. The brushes I use regularly are in a cup on top of my desk for easy access.

It’s been a week since I organized this and so far its working really well for me. Before the basket for everyday stuff was too small, so things overflowed. Now that I’ve upgraded it to a large basket everything stays in its proper place.

Now I just need to stop collecting makeup!

Bonus makeup tip: Did you know that you are allowed to request up to 2 samples of any product at MAC to take home with you? It’s a great way to try out their pigment collection–I’ve got about half of the colours now! LOL

The Purge Project

My good friend T came down and spent the weekend with me, in which we did all manner of girly things including home spa treatments, trying out new hairstyles, and of course, shopping!

During one of our down times at my place we were lying on my bed when T noticed my giant copy of Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. T is like me, we’re both a bit OCD when it comes to cleaning and organizing. What started out as chilling in my room quickly morphed into a discussion on cleaning techniques and the order in which you should tidy your home weekly, with excerpts from Martha’s book.

We went through the book, taking out unique and interesting cleaning tips and discussing as if we were in a class on the subject. This book could seriously be a textbook for an entire course. And it would be a tough course to pass, there’s loads of info in there! I love it :)

Anyway, after spending several hours perusing this giant tome we both agreed that we were incredibly inspired to clean our already pretty clean apartments once our weekend was over. She is currently on the drive home, but I just spent about an hour or two going through two simple areas of my life that could use some decluttering:

My purse and makeup drawer.

Baby steps, people! I’ll get to vacuuming the back of the fridge some other time!

First up I went through my purse. Even though I have a Purse Pleaser to organize it all, it was becoming unwieldy. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the nature of large purses: no matter how hard you will try not to, you will still accumulate all manner of junk in your bag.

It was time for a big dump.

Here is what I found in my purse (you can see how much my crap levels have increased since I did a “what’s in her purse” article back in May 2008) :

A view from the top

All spread out

As you can see there is quite a lot of crap there. I’ll save us all the pain of listing the exact contents simply because there are too many! I have duplicates of lots of stuff like lipgloss, USB drives, hand sanitizers, etc. It was quite silly to think I had been carting all that around with me! It was actually making my shoulders hurt at the end of the day!

So in I went and tried my best to cut back on all the duplicates and items that I didn’t really *OMG* need to carry with me on a day to day basis. I cut out a lot of lip products (why do I have so many? Sheesh!) and other cosmetics stuff. I also got rid of the purple case that was holding it all and grouped it all in a ziploc baggie to save on space.

I consolidated all my “health” stuff like advil, eyedrops, Tums, bandaids, etc. into another small baggie and stashed that in the inner zipper pocket of my purse. My current purse is awesome because it has a lot of pockets, but not all my other purses do, so I wanted to pare things down so that I could easily transfer ALL items into another purse without having to spend 30mins organizing everything again.

That’s one of the reasons I bought the Purse Pleaser. I’m still testing it out to see if I like it, but so far it seems to be ok. The real test will come when I decide to change purses. I’ll report back when I do so.

Anyway, this is what I was able to pare down to in the end (minus the “health” baggie which I had already stashed):

I’m quite happy with this accomplishment. My purse now has everything I need tidily stored away, and finally weighs less! No more shoulder aches for me! And now if I want to change my purse I can do so easily and quickly *happy sigh*.

I’ll have a post on my makeup drawer cleanout up shortly.

So, have you cleaned out your purse lately? If not, hop to it! Write up a post about it and share it here in the comments! :)