Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting?

How many of you are watching the new Marie Kondo show on Netflix? All of you? I suspected. Me too. And while I’m frantically trying to teach myself the Konmari folding method and I’m definitely motivated to purge every room in the house – I’m also curious, is all this minimizing going to kill the art of collecting?

Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34

While I’m all for minimalism, there is something so compelling about a well curated collection. Now as a kid, I collected cows and anything in a sunflower motif. I’m thrilled I was able to let those collections go by the wayside a long time ago. But ceramics. Glassware. Vases. When artfully collected and displayed a mass of like objects can add such personality to a home.

While I fully agree we should consume less, buy less, what about pursuing personal passions? Sometimes blue glass just speaks to you and you need every piece you see.There’s also something to be said for simply indulging an irrational love. Be it vintage French porcelain. Or all things black. Charcoal drawings. Antique books. Whatever your vice might be, I would argue that there isn’t harm and actually amazing design value in hoarding with abandon. Ok, maybe not hoarding but you know what I mean.

So if you have a a type of objet that sparks joy no matter if you have one, or 1,000 I say keep going. Collect those things that make you smile every time you look at them – and be sure to share that love with everyone who walks in your house.

Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34

For more examples of amazing collections, check out my Display & Storage Pinterest board HERE.

For more design ideas, CLICK HERE.

And I’m curious – do you collect and display things? If so, what??

images 1, 2, 4, 10 nicole franzen / 3 tess neustadt / 5 apt34 / 6 pinterest / 7 tumblr / 8 sfgirlbybay / 9 architectural digest / 11 pinterest



A Picture Perfect Space in NYC

Life is typically far from perfect. The milk gets spilled. The kids throw up. The dog has to go to the emergency vet at 4am. You may have forgotten the last time you showered (all of this might have happened to me in the last 72 hours). I think that’s why amazingly beautiful spaces has such appeal. They offer the dream that maybe, one day, your life will look just as put together.

The cold truth is that’s highly unlikely, but we all need a goal for which to strive. My current design goal is attempting to mimic this stunning NYC apartment designed by Sissy & Marley.

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34 A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34 A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

This space oozes order, structure and luxurious comfort thanks to its uniform black & white color palette (my fave), repeated use of geometric patterns, and strong architectural lines throughout – and I’m here for it all.

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34 A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

Obsessed with the variety of textures in this entryway vignette. Marble, wood, sheepskin, leather, steel and glass all mix to keep a monochromatic color palette from becoming too one note. Also squiggly branches in a vase have never looked so good. Perfect mid-winter decorating idea.

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

And then there’s this sumptuous kitchen! It’s ditching the white kitchen trend – woot. And I spy more graphic patterns with that throw rug. But I’m really swooning over the details – all black spoons and cutting boards. The counter balance of a white marble island and honed black marble counters. Brass, black and stainless steel mix and match. All kinds of contrasts are at play in this space and it really really works.

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

I don’t know what I love more – the Sawkille Co bench or that amazing steel mesh curiosity cabinet!

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

The eat-in kitchen nook (if you can call a full-sized dining table a nook) is all kinds of gorgeous. Loving the oversized art in this space. Going to hunt down those sconces – anyone know the brand off hand?

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

Although the formal dining area is equally as stunning as the breakfast nook. It’s a light and airy juxtaposition to the moodiness of the kitchen.

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

The beautiful attention to detail, the use of standout statement making pieces and the uniform color palette continue into the sophisticated master bedroom.

A Picture Perfect Space in NYC on apartment 34

This little mini work area is pure genius.

Subtle textures and luxe materials continue straight into the bathroom. Really loving the heft of that sink.

And if all that weren’t enough, the kids’ bedroom and play area is next level cool.

Now let’s be real. This home features many a high end piece. Everything from Apparatus Studio lighting and accessories to classic Carl Hansen dining chairs, case pieces by BBDW, one-of-kind vintage scores down to Hermes throw blankets. A resource list like that certainly makes it much easier to make a space look ultra pulled together.

But if you look beyond the high priced items, this home is also a lesson in continuity. In doing more with few things – making sure every piece of furniture, light fixture and accessory is there to be noticed. Only bring home things that are the highest quality you can afford.

When our lives get chaotic it can be really easy to get mired in the mess. But just remember, this too shall pass and you can bring back order and calm again.

Or just come back and stare at this home tour. I know I will be.

For our entire archive of gorgeous homes, CLICK HERE.



14 Items You Should Never Put Down the Drain

No one wants to worry about their toilet overflowing or their sink refusing to drain. Luckily there are ways to avoid the build-up that leads to these unfortunate scenarios. We have 14 items you should never put down the drain. These things will either clog up the pipes in your home or leak chemicals into our marine environment. Regardless, they should be avoided whenever possible.

graphic of a household cleaning productgraphic of a household cleaning product

1. Household cleaners

Many household cleaners contain chemicals like bleach that mix with the water and leak into the waterways. These chemicals can be deadly for marine life and cause erosion in your pipes.

How to dispose of household cleaners

Read the label on the cleaner to find the correct way to dispose of the product. Be sure to recycle the container if it’s recyclable.

Eco tip

Purchase all-natural cleaning products that are water-soluble and designed to safely go down the drain.

graphic of medicationgraphic of medication

2. Medication

If you are getting rid of unused, unwanted or expired pills, it’s important that you don’t flush them. The city waste treatment isn’t able to filter these medications, so they end up in the ocean. These pills leak chemicals that can impact aquatic animals by interfering with growth and reproduction.

How to dispose of medication

The FDA suggests discarding your unwanted medicines by mixing them with an unappealing substance like dirt, cat litter or coffee grounds in a sealed plastic bag. Then dispose of this in the garbage can. Be sure to remove your name and information from any prescription bottles before tossing them.

Eco tip

Rather than tossing these medications, bring them to a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day or controlled substance public disposal location. These programs have a secure process that disposes of them in a way that protects the environment.

graphic that shows paintgraphic that shows paint

3. Paint

Whether you’ve just repainted your home or are working on an art project, don’t pour your leftover paint down the drain. Paint is flammable, releases dangerous fumes and will stick to your pipes. The chemicals in the paint also can get into the waterways and be deadly to marine life.

How to dispose of paint

When done painting, be sure any excess paint is off the brush by scraping it against the edge of the can. If you have a large amount of paint you need to dispose of, find a household hazardous waste facility in your area that will take care of it.

Eco tip

Plan for your project. Use a decorating app to envision the color on the wall to make sure it’s the right one and then calculate the exact amount you’ll need. If you have too much paint and don’t want to take it to a disposal facility, try listing it for free on a selling app.

graphic that shows microplastics in a facial cleansergraphic that shows microplastics in a facial cleanser

4. Microplastics

Microplastics or microbeads are little bits of plastic that are used as filler in many health and beauty products. These plastics get into the oceans and are harmful to marine life. Not only is it bad for fish to consume these plastics, but humans can end up eating the fish that have this dangerous plastic in them.

How to dispose of microplastics

It’s impossible to catch these microplastics from going down the drain. Instead, you have to actively avoid products that have these plastics.

Eco tip

Avoid products that have colorful beads or list polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) as an ingredient.

graphic that shows coffee groundsgraphic that shows coffee grounds

5. Coffee grounds

A highly debated topic is if it’s okay to dispose of coffee grounds in the sink. While many foods can be put down the garbage disposal, coffee grounds pose a problem. They tend to clump up in water and create a build-up in your pipes.

How to dispose of coffee grounds

These coffee grounds should be disposed of in a trash can, added to your compost pile or repurposed into a coffee ground DIY project.

Eco tip

Use the coffee grounds as fertilizer in your garden. If you don’t have a yard, add them to the plants on your balcony or windowsill.

graphic that shows plant growing in an egg shellgraphic that shows plant growing in an egg shell

6. Eggshells

While some garbage disposals can handle eggshells, most sinks can not. To err on the side of caution, resist putting the remnants of your breakfast down the drain. The shells break up into small, sticky pieces that attach to the inside of your pipes, causing a clog.

How to dispose of eggshells

You can throw these shells in the garbage or add them to your compost pile.

Eco tip

Try repurposing the shells by using them as containers to grow an herb garden in. You can even keep the herb plants in the original egg carton.

graphic that shows pastagraphic that shows pasta

7. Pasta

Another food that can cause a sticky situation is pasta. The noodles grow in size when they absorb water so if you put them in a wet drain, they will become enlarged and block the passageway.

How to dispose of pasta

Be sure to scrape any leftovers into a garbage bin.

Eco tip

It’s easy to cook too much pasta and be left with a feast. Instead, read the packaging to see how many servings of pasta it makes. This way you won’t have too much left over.

graphic that shows a flour baggraphic that shows a flour bag

8. Flour

You’ve probably experienced the thick paste that combining flour and water creates. Avoid producing this paste in your pipes whenever possible.

How to dispose of flour

If you’ve spilled a large amount when baking, use a vacuum to clean up the mess. For smaller counter spills, wipe the extra flour into a garbage can.

Eco tip

Transfer your flour to a reusable container that’s easy to use. This will keep the flour fresh for a long period of time and prevent spills.

graphic that shows oil in a mason jargraphic that shows oil in a mason jar

9. Grease, fat and oils

Grease, fat and oil should never be disposed of down the drain. These liquids, hot or cold, will dry and easily cling to the sides of the pipes. This plumbing backup will prevent water from coming through and can cause issues for your whole apartment complex or even neighborhood.

How to dispose of grease, fat and oils

Grease, fat and oils should be disposed of in a trash can. Let them cool and then spoon the solid leftovers into a container that can be thrown away. We suggest putting this container in a plastic bag that can be zipped or tied closed so animals won’t get into your trash.

Eco tip

It’s not advised to compost this leftover grease. The smell will attract all kinds of unwanted animals. However, you can reuse the grease and fat. After cooking, let it cool and strain the room temperature liquid into a mason jar to use for another recipe. You can store the mason jar in the fridge until you need it.

graphic that shows cotton ballsgraphic that shows cotton balls

10. Cotton balls

Cotton balls and Q-tips are commonly used in the bathroom, so it can be tempting to dispose of them in the toilet. This is a sure way to cause a clog. Cotton absorbs water and gets caught in pipe corners.

How to dispose of cotton balls

These should be disposed of in the trash can.

Eco tip

Try using reusable materials like a washcloth whenever possible. If you do use cotton balls or cotton swabs, be sure they are made of cotton rather than synthetic materials. Cotton can be composted.

graphic that shows collecting produce stickersgraphic that shows collecting produce stickers

11. Produce stickers

When you wash your produce in the kitchen sink, it’s likely that a produce sticker comes off. While this little paper might seem harmless, it doesn’t dissolve in water and can block screens, filters or pumps at the water treatment plant.

This has also become an issue for those who compost. They peel the fruit with the sticker and all the waste goes into their compost bin. Unfortunately, these stickers won’t decompose because they are made from vinyl or plastic.

How to dispose of produce stickers

Remove any stickers you find on produce and throw them in the garbage. Most produce stickers are not recyclable.

Eco tip

While there is a push for creating more sustainable PLU sticker alternatives, nothing has stuck. Rather than throwing them in the garbage, you can try collecting the stickers and have your kids create sticker art. Check out Stickerman Produce Art for some inspiration.

graphic that shows hair in a hair brushgraphic that shows hair in a hair brush

12. Hair

Have you ever had to deal with a clogged shower drain full of hair? It’s not a pretty sight. The same clog can happen if you flush hair down the toilet or bathroom sink. Whenever possible, try to prevent hair from going down the drain.

How to dispose of hair

Get a sink hair catcher and dispose of it in the trash.

Eco tip

Brush your hair (with an eco-friendly bamboo hairbrush) before you shower to prevent any loose hairs from going down the drain.

graphic that shows paper towelsgraphic that shows paper towels

13. Paper towels

While paper towels might seem interchangeable with toilet paper, the material is very different. They are thicker and not able to dissolve in water. This means paper towels should not be flushed because they will get stuck in the pipes and create a clog.

How to dispose of paper towels

Paper towels are usually made from recycled paper, so the fibers are too short to be recycled again. They also can’t usually be recycled because they contain dirt, food and chemicals that aren’t able to break down. This means to dispose of paper towels, you’ll have to throw them in the trash.

Eco tip

Try removing paper towels from your life. Replace them with cloth napkins and dish towels. If you have a large spill, use a sponge to clean it up.

graphic of kitty littergraphic of kitty litter

14. Kitty litter

Some brands of cat litter claim to be flushable, but it can still have a negative impact on your pipes and the ocean. Cat litter is designed to be absorbent, so when it’s flushed it absorbs the water and grows in size. This may cause a clog. In addition, the chemicals from the cat litter and the toxins in the feces can get in the local waterways and harm marine life.

How to dispose of kitty litter properly

Instead of flushing kitty litter, throw it away in a trash can. Be sure the trash can has a lid, or else other neighborhood animals might get into it, making a mess.

Eco tip

Look for more “green” litter that is made from recycled newspaper, wood shavings or other more natural recycled elements. This will be safer to dispose of because it doesn’t produce dust that clay litter does.

How to unclog your drain the natural way

Even if you’ve avoided putting these items down the drain, there can still be build-up that causes a clog in your drain. Rather than pouring another chemical down the drain or waiting for a plumber to arrive, try unclogging it with baking soda and vinegar.

  • Step 1: Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  • Step 2: Add 1 cup of baking soda down the drain and then pour in 1 cup water and 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Step 3: Wait about 10 minutes for the solution to mix in the drain.
  • Step 4: Pour another pot of boiling water down the drain to clear the pipes.

If this natural cleaning method doesn’t work, you should contact your landlord or property management with a maintenance request. Professionals will have a better idea of what the issue is.

infographic of items to never put down the draininfographic of items to never put down the drain


The Nest | mnn | Independent




How to Plan the Ultimate Staycation [+ Free Printables]

When you mention taking a vacation, some people imagine long, luxurious trips to faraway, foreign places, eating local cuisine and embracing a new place. Others picture road trips to familiar places just a couple of hours away—be it a beach, a lakeside cabin, or a mountain house. No matter what you picture, we can all agree on one thing: vacations are a time to relax, unplug, and unwind from all the daily stressors going on in our lives.

As lovely and relaxing as vacations can be, they add up quickly. The average vacation costs almost $1,500 a person—or $4,500 for a family of four, and in the U.S., over $1.1 trillion was spent on travel in one year alone. Keeping those numbers in mind, it’s clear that not everyone can afford the bucket-list vacation of their dreams.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to take a vacation, you might just need to take it a little closer to home. “Staycations” are just that—a budget stay-at-home vacation, visiting local attractions and turning your usual surroundings into something to explore.

Staycations are a great option for homebodies, those who don’t like flying, or just those who are curious about learning more about their hometowns. These following tips will help you plan a memorable staycation that’s just as relaxing as going to an all-inclusive resort and are much more wallet-friendly to boot.

Set Your Budget

Just because you aren’t going on a cruise doesn’t mean you can throw your budget out the window on a staycation. Sit down with the family or your significant other and decide what your budget is going to be for your non-trip, and what your limitations are. Decide on a few big-ticket items worth splurging in, like a couple’s trip to a local spa, a day trip to an amusement park, or a fancy dinner out.

From there, structure your budget around how much you want to spend on the rest of the trip. Don’t limit yourself too much (this is a vacation, after all!) but create a budget that you can reasonably stick to. Use this printable budget planner to have an easy place to track your expenses for the staycation, as well as see what your spending looks like.

Plan Your Stay

Once the budget is agreed upon, now comes the fun part—planning the itinerary! No matter if you like having every second of every day planned, or are more of a “go-with-the-flow” type of person, you can agree that having some sort of structure for a vacation is a good idea. Make sure everyone participating in the staycation is able to plan at least one thing they want to do, so they’re getting to take the staycation that they want.

Look into local free or cheap things to do for inspiration, and check online for local deals or coupons for group activities. This could be:

  • Going to a fair a few towns over
  • Exploring a new farmer’s market
  • Hitting up a vineyard tour
  • Taking a cooking class
  • Hiking a new trail for a day
  • Doing a museum tour

Staycations don’t have to just be in your house, so use this opportunity to explore! Don’t be afraid to plan some downtime, too. Half the fun of vacations is simply relaxing with your loved ones, so make sure you’re planning some time to just hang out with those you love.

Stay Somewhere New

The beauty of a staycation is experiencing where you live in a whole new light, almost as if you were a tourist in your own town. If your budget allows, really lean into being a tourist and stay somewhere new for part (or all!) of your staycation. This could be renting a hotel room in the heart of a nearby city for a night, using a home share app to find a cozy home for a few days, or staying with a friend for a night or two.

This way, you’re getting out of your home and treating your staycation like a real vacation. Make sure you’re making the most of your staycation by exploring all of the options your hometown has to offer, and you may find a new favorite spot or neighborhood.

Prep Your Meals

Just because you aren’t going on an exotic vacation with tons of local cuisine doesn’t mean you should stick to the same things you eat on a regular day. Splurge at the grocery store and switch up your staycation meals by planning different themed meal days: a Greek buffet one day with pita and falafel, or a South of the Border day with tacos and salsa. Use these culinary trips to “vacation” there for a day and learn what you can about their cultures—maybe that could be your next real vacation!

A vacation should be special, after all, and one of the most-loved parts of a trip is room service. If you want the little ones in your family to feel like they’re on a real trip, offer up “room service” and let them fill out a custom menu of their desired choices for the next morning. Considering that Americans spend an average of $33 on food a day during a vacation, you’re saving money while still offering up a treat saved for vacations and other special occasions.

Ditch Your Routine

Staying in the same place during a vacation that you live can tempt some people to stick to the same routine as they do daily. Switch up your daily routine by turning off your alarms, and embrace a week full of only doing things because you want to do them, not because you have to. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of your time off by mixing up what you do on a day-to-day basis—including cleaning.

Take care of any necessary chores before the start of your staycation so you don’t disrupt your relaxation by cleaning the tub when you’re supposed to be relaxing. A few days before, do your laundry, clean up, stock up on groceries, and ensure that you’re all set to forget about some of your responsibilities. If you want a true hotel feeling, consider hiring a housekeeper a day or two before your staycation. This way, you’re still getting a fresh and clean space without having to lift a finger, and for a fraction of the cost.

Put it on Hold

One of the best parts about taking some time off is just that—having time off. Even though you aren’t putting an ocean between you and your work, you should still take a break from all the stressors in your daily life. This means muting your email and other work communication (and deleting the apps!), putting your phone on Do Not Disturb, and letting yourself actually relax. You are on vacation, after all! Use the following template to craft your own automated vacation reminder for all email communication, so you can enjoy every second of your time off:


Thank you for your email! I will be out of the office from DATE to DATE and will not have access to email. If this is urgent, please contact NAME at EMAIL and PHONE NUMBER. I will do my best to respond promptly when I return on DATE.

Once your work has been silenced, relish in the ability to do what you please, uninterrupted, for the next couple days. If little ones or roommates tend to interrupt you, treat your home like a real hotel with a printable Do Not Disturb door hanger. Not only does this give everyone involved in the staycation a chance to relax alone, but it also transforms your bedroom into your very own hotel suite—the only thing missing is room service!

Decorate to Relax

If staycation HQ is your house, try switching up your surroundings to match your vacation state of mind. Getting away on a trip means getting to experience a new place with new things, and you shouldn’t give up that sense of newness just because you’re staying at home. Put all your at-home stressors, like the calendar or answering machine, away and focus on taking a well-deserved break from the real world. Here are some easy ways to upgrade your home to be the ultimate staycation relaxation zone:

  • Hang a hammock
  • Turn your bathroom into a spa
  • Assemble an indoor oasis
  • Invest in soothing candles
  • Break out fuzzy blankets
  • Create a garden getaway

With a little elbow grease, your home will be the perfect paradise to host the staycation of your dreams. Maybe these small changes will find a way to be integrated into your day-to-day life, so you can always have a little piece of paradise in your home—and a reminder of your blissful days off during your staycation.

Make Memories

Vacations and staycations alike involve making memories with the people you love most. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you go—it matters what you do, and who you do it with. Long after the staycation is over, you’ll be reminiscing on your adventures and all that you did to explore your local surroundings.

What better way to reminisce than with a scrapbook or photo album to look through with your staycation pals? Though everything is digital now, there’s nothing better than flipping through an album as a family or group of friends and revisiting all of your adventures—and this is much cheaper than a snowglobe from a museum. Be sure to take lots of photos to put in your album, and use these printable labels to note where you went and what you did. For years to come, this will serve as a tangible reminder of how much fun you can have by staying close to home.

No matter how you choose to spend your staycation, remember to enjoy it! When you look back on it, you want to remember the wonderful time you had exploring your surroundings with your loved ones. Vacations don’t have to be extravagant to be memorable and fun, and nothing proves that more than a budget-friendly staycation.

Sources: EveryDollar | Real Simple | Forbes | MoneyCrashers | U.S. Travel | Credit Donkey | ValuePenguin | Better Home and Gardens |

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