clutter free living (part two)

As promised, I have captured a few of the ways that I keep clutter to a minimum in my living room and kitchen. Though my apartment is not large, the tricks below help things seem intentional and decorative when they are mostly just clever ways to store items I need and use on a daily basis.

And in case you haven’t caught the tips from my bedroom, be sure to check them out too.

These books help to distract from the ugly electronics. Stacking books among the Tivo and router makes them seem ever so slightly less utilitarian.

Instead of wasting space in my kitchen storing glassware I used a tray from CB2 to display them alongside the adorable chevron decanter I received from Cathy.

The black blanket in the basket doubles as a clever distraction from the board games stored underneath inside the basket.

The wine crate on the bottom shelf (free from Binny’s) holds my linens. The pillow on top keeps things looking more organized than they really are.

All catalogs and reading material get put on this stack. (Chevron tray from Tilly Maison.) I love trays – they make objects instantly look more important and intentional.

This is the lowest shelf on a bookshelf in the entryway. The ceramic boots (a gift from Michelle) are perfect for umbrellas and pashminas.

The middle shelf in the entry has another Tilly Maison tray perfect for keys and wallets. Coupons sit in a vintage goblet.

For those who aren’t super organized, trays are perfect. Trays like this used for stashing stuff effectively contain the mess and leave surfaces clutter-free.

At the top of the bookcase my daily purses sit ready to go.

My kitchen table also doubles as my kitchen’s island. I like having these two hard placemats side by side as a runner during the day. Then come meal time they are easy to pull apart for individual use.

Here are three great tips:

  1. A cake stand doubles as a pretty fruit and veggie tray.
  2. A vintage coffee tin with a glass jar inside stores my silverware — saving drawer storage for knives.
  3. A vintage pitcher holds cooking utensils right were I need them – next to the oven and stove.

Coffee and noodles double as accessories alongside some pretty snack bowls. The seals on the glass canisters keep the coffee grounds fresh and easy to access each morning.

Here is a link to the entire living room and studio tour.

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  1. Cathy

    Ooh! I haven’t seen the decanter in your apartment yet. Thanks for sharing! And is that gold porthole-looking mirror new?

  2. Jess

    @ Cathy: Yep! The mirror is from a great shop on Halsted, Berry Hill. 🙂 I found it a few months ago with Mr. Lively.

  3. CB

    Amazing. You are just chock-full of advice on how to make everyday, utilitarian objects decorative. I truly think you are gifted when it comes to interior decorating, and I mean that! Along with “thinking with intention” posts, these posts where you describe your thoughts on decorating your apartment, along with the pictures, are some of my favorite posts! Thank you for doing it! 🙂

  4. jillian

    Your apartment is beautiful. how do you organize paperwork? mail, bills, etc? we somehow always end up with papers everywhere cluttering up our space. thanks for you recommendations.

  5. alli

    Love both of these posts! thanks for sharing…a little jealous of your tray collection now : )

  6. Jess

    @ CB: I hope your house is coming along nicely! I can’t wait to visit this summer and see it first-hand. 🙂

    @ Jillian: I wish I had a great system, but my major rule which keeps things clean is to get rid of paper as much as possible! Since I sell online, the paper is generally kept to a minimum. I find I have a harder time keeping up with catalogs that come in the mail than office work. Invoices, receipts and so forth have binders or folders, but nothing very unique.

    @ Alli: Hah, I have to say it’s a good collection to have. Containing things with trays brings joy to me for some odd reason :).

  7. Kelley

    This is great. I can honestly say I’ve never before heard of this approach to decluttering – turning clutter into decor. It’s really clever! I’m inspired to renew my makeunder efforts and start rearranging things around the house.

    After finals, anyway.

  8. janie

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE your home! It is so beautiful. LOVE the chevron print everywhere. You inspire me to clutter free my home more!

    I saw a photo of your a file, paper organizer that you had envelopes(?) sticking out of it from but can’t seem to locate the photos on your blog and was wondering where you got it from. do you think you can share? I greatly appreciate it!

  9. Jess

    @ Kelley: Great! I’m happy to hear that the clutter as decor is helpful for you too!

    @ Janie: I’m so happy you like my home :). The paper organizers are from The Container Store!

  10. Wow! Your place looks amazing – so well organized and relaxing 🙂

    I really like the ideas of trays, I think I will try to incorporate them into my life.

    PS. Your home is beautiful.

  11. Ingrid

    Hi Jess,
    I’m new to your website, what a fantastic job you’ve done. I’ll definitely be buying some posters!

    Would you be able to tell me how much you paid for the built-ins in your living room? I noticed in the Nate Show that the apt came w/out them. I was wondering if they’re prefab (from where) or custom made & how much they cost……an estimate would be fine. I don’t want to pry into your finances :), I want to do the same & would like to compare w/ the estimates I’ve been given.

    BTW, congrats on your engagement. Marriage is a toughie even for those “fairy tale” weddings that you see online. I send a prayer your way, that your marriage will be blessed!


  12. Jess

    Ingrid, Thank you so much for reaching out! The bookshelves are from Ikea, actually! They are two big LACK bookshelves with two narrow LACK shelves on their sides on top of one another. I believe the big ones were about $80 and the small were about $60 each. I’m not sure if they still make them, but that is what they are : ).

    And thank you so much for the kind words on the marriage!

  13. I like the idea of using books to hide other creepy things, that’s simply amazing. Keep inspiring us 🙂

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