Hello! Today is the first in a new series of monthly blog posts I will be sharing, along with some friends of mine! The Simply Home Series will be on the 3rd Thursday of each month, and a group of 6 bloggers will be sharing a different topic always relating to home.
I love these friends of mine, their style is elegant, inspiring but also approachable:
Deb from Seeking Lavender Lane,
Jaime from So Much Better with Age,
Karianne from Thistlewood Farms, and
To kick off the series we are sharing about organization! We each are sharing something a bit different with our own tips. Just a note: each of us are in different stages of our lives, with different home sizes and different family needs, so I think you will find it interesting to check out each of the posts linked at the end of my blog post– I guarantee you will find something applicable for your home and life!
Just like most of you, January has me opening closets, drawers, and bins to sort through, purge, and organize. When going through things I realized most of the home decor that I was keeping in our large closet in the basement I hadn’t used in over a year– maybe 2! So I created a huge ‘sell and/or donate’ pile and organized the rest. I’m so happy to share with you what I’ve kept and how I have it organized.
The first area I want to share is this cabinet in our dining room. In the picture it is that corner one just to the left of the opening into the living room.
It serves as a china cabinet of sorts, with 2 top doors and 2 larger doors. It holds EVERYTHING I could possibly need to set a table and entertain, plus extra smaller things. Let’s see inside the 2 larger doors first shall we?
At the top I have this beautiful wooden caddy that I found antiquing a few years ago. Doesn’t it have great patina? It shows that your organization doesn’t have to be all plastic lidded containers… those vintage crates and boxes can make the prettiest additions to your organization!
Inside the wooden caddy, I have various size candles and a few battery-operated twinkle lights. Underneath all the candles I have a handful of vintage lace doilies that I sometimes will use on a table runner.
Behind the candle box are some extra vintage brass candlestick holders, and next to them I have my mercury glass votive holders. These lighting options are versatile I always use when in creating ambiance for a table.
On the same tray that holds all the votive holders, I have this little metal caddy I picked up a couple years ago in the Target Dollar Spot. I love using a caddy to separate and store extra flatware and napkin rings because if I need extras, they are easily accessible and I can pull out the whole caddy.
In the top part of the cabinet above these large two doors I have extra serving trays (which also double as coffee table trays), my box of antique silverware, name plaques and all my antique china sets on the top shelf.
Here is an example of how I have used the name plaques in the past:
Just below all the candles and flatware in the bigger part of the cabinet, is a basket with all my napkins. I have set MANY tables over the years and I’ve narrowed down all my holidays and gatherings to the napkins that fit in this basket. I have 11 sets of napkins in this basket!! The trick to making them all fit and fold them small! The pattern ones are on top:
Below the patterned ones, are the solids sets of napkins. I got almost all of these solid-color ones at World Market. I used to have white ones but I hated how easily they stained and I couldn’t get them looking perfect again. I highly recommend ditching white napkins!
Folded next to the basket of napkins are my tablecloths (I only have 3– the denim blue one sitting on top, a light blue linen one, and a white one), runners (I also only have 3- a macrame one, a teal one, and an off-white linen one), and table throws. Table throws are great because they can be used for any table size, so I tend to get ones that can be used for at least two occasions/seasons.
The key to minimal table linens is:
-Keep only 3-4 versatile colors in each
-Make sure they are durable and will stand up to regular use/washing
The next shelf down holds chargers (I only have seagrass and wood ones), some additional candlestick holders (I firmly believe you can never have too many vintage brass candlestick holders ;)), and a wooden tray/bowl that I used as a centerpiece (example here).
The last pull-out shelf is full of all my smaller footed vessels and vases for centerpieces. Whether I’m making a flower arrangement or putting pillar candles in them, I like having all my options visible at once so I can easily select what I need.
When creating fancier flower arrangements, you only need medium-size footed compotes, so get rid of those larger vases if you are hanging on to them. Keep one or two clear or white small vases for a simple bunch of flowers or just use a pitcher!
A home decor item I used to have a vast array of, is throw pillows! I love switching up throw pillows to change the feel of a room, but over the years I have learned to keep colors and patterns that work for multiple seasons. I talked about this concept here.
However, I do get bored with the exact same pillow combo, so I like having a small variety of quality fabric pillow covers. I was storing them in my basement closet, but I emptied out this storage bench in our living room and I’m now keeping them in here!
Besides what is currently on the furniture in my home, I have these extras to switch out when I’m wanting a change. All of them have either great texture (like velvet), great pattern, or both.
Things to look for when buying pillow colors:
-A zipper! Throw out or donate anything that doesn’t have a zipper. You want to be able to wash them.
-Thicker material (this means it will stand up to lots of fluffing and washing)
-Texture– even the solid-color ones you want to have some sort of soft or interesting texture
-Colors that are repeated in your home naturally– you want to be able to seamlessly use the pillows in more than one room in your home, during more than one season
For pillow inserts, I only keep down inserts. Poly-fill pillow inserts break down over time and are hard to fluff over and over without looking sad. Down inserts are pretty affordable at HomeGoods and Ikea.
If you are unsure of how many pillow inserts to keep, I keep the same number of pillows on my furniture and just switch out the covers.
Here are good rules of thumb for pillows-to-furniture ratio:
Sofa- 4 square pillows and 1 lumbar
Loveseat- 2 square and 1 lumbar
Armchair- 1 square
Queen or King Beds: 2-3 square and 1 lumbar
Twin Beds- 1-2 throw pillows (but those don’t usually get changed out or leave their room)
In storage (in case you want extra on a bench or something)- 2 large (26″) square, 2 smaller (22″) square, and 1 lumbar.
Always size up from the size of your pillow cover on the insert so the pillow will look extra fluffy and luxe.
Here is how I store the extras:
Two to three pillows per large vacuum-seal storage bag. Then I slide those bags in a large suitcase that we store in our basement closet.
You could also store them under a bed! I really wish someone would invent a vacuum seal bag that has hooks attached so I could hang them. Until then… a suitcase does the trick! 🙂
This is where I keep the rest of my home decor items that don’t fit upstairs: on these shelves. Large glass vases or cloches are on the top shelf so they don’t get knocked over or bumped. Softer items like bins of throw blankets are on the bottom.
I used to keep all my Christmas and Halloween decor in here but I wanted to be able to use the space better, so I donated things I don’t use year-after-year and kept 5 bins total– and put them in my attic! If you have an attic, I highly recommend utilizing it. Just lay out some plywood across the beams and put some bins up there!
Well, that is it! That is how I keep all of my revolving home decor and accessories stored in my small home. I have more than most people I imagine, so I hope there was some tip or idea from this post that you found helpful!
Now check out my friends’ posts!
Maison de Cinq: My Five Favorite Organizing Tips
Seeking Lavender Lane: Organizing the Spice Drawer
Shades of Blue: How I Organize & Store My Home Decor
So Much Better with Age: Seasonal Decor Capsules
Thistlewood Farms: Nine Simple Organizing Tips
Tidbits: Three Tips for Organizing Your Days
Awesome ideas! Was wondering where u buy most of your pillow covers? If u buy at homegoods then your stuck with another pillow too, but I do love their selection for the price!
Great question! I have a couple from HomeGoods but the majority of the keepers I have now are from Tonic Living and Pottery Barn. Both sell just the covers and I feel the quality is a step up from most HomeGoods pillows.
If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can make your own pillow covers. There are styles without a zipper.
I love this post!
Oh my gosh, I love this post Rachel! Love the way you store your pillow covers – brilliant!!
Thanks again for joining us – I’m so looking forward to our group and our monthly posts!
Deb Foglia says
Rachel, I absolutely love how to you have all your decor organized. I’ve been planning a closet to organize all my home decor items and this post has been so helpful. Pinning!
Amazing organization, Rachel! I love how you’ve capitalized on lots of different corners in your home. Your vintage storage bins are gorgeous. So fun being in this series with you!
Thank you so much for this! We’re in the processing of sorting out our attic, plus I’m moving craft rooms which means I’m getting a big (for a 1920’s house anyway) closet! Very helpful.
KariAnne Wood says
Great tips friend! Love the details on storage and exactly how you put it all together! It was super helpful!
Amber Swensen says
Wow awesome tips Rachel. Thanks for sharing! It’s a chore to organize all that stuff and you did it beautifully and simply.
FYI – thought you may want to know – Ziplock does make vacuum bags with hangers now!