Three Tips On Achieving Your Minimalist, Organized Home Fantasy

I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, but I’ve heard enough people say “If it doesn’t bring you joy, throw it out” to pretend that I have. I desperately need to tidy up, but her approach worries me—if only because my mood changes! An example: My mom was sweet enough to buy me this silk Barneys Co-Op shirtdress when my high school boyfriend broke up with me (a long, long time ago), and for obvious reasons, I sort of hated it for awhile. First real heartbreak? Try and fix it with some clothing! Anyway, I didn’t wear it for six years, but now I love it. I wore it twice last week—once on the weekend so work people wouldn’t notice. Had I Marie Kondo’d in college, I’d have had to buy myself a new shirtdress at some point. That’s what I call money down the drain.

I’m also a bit distrustful of the situational joy that happens at places like the Container Store or Bed Bath & Beyond. Sure, the Elfa Shelving System seems perfect under the gleam of fluorescent lights and stacked with a rash of monochrome display books. But at home, it always feels decidedly unchic. You could say that true organization isn’t meant to be stylish, that it’s all about functionality. But if you did, I would assume you hadn’t met Jill Wenger, CEO of Totokaelo (pronounce TO-to-KYE-yoh, according to their email signature). Her newest store in New York is conveniently five minutes away from Glossier HQ and its minimalist, airy, clean aesthetic makes for a great place to display the newest Margiela boots I can’t get out of my head. If there was a woman I would want to instruct me on how to have a better-looking home, Jill would be that woman.

Of course, her approach isn’t that much different from how everyone else is feeling. I ask her, “So, how much stuff do I actually need?” and she responds “As little as possible!” I guess it doesn’t matter when all that stuff is Acne, Rachel Comey, etc.

Buy More To Keep Less

Jill’s rule of thumb for when to know if you’ve accumulated too much stuff: “My personal gauge is when I haven’t used or noticed something for a full season.” You want to keep things out (visible) but not cluttered. Jill uses “unique ceramics, bowls and containers collected over years of thrifting, antiquing and collecting. I use an assortment of miss-matched containers to store cutlery, writing utensils, everything one needs. My bathroom has a wooden-slab countertop that’s filled with perfume bottles and a mix of found objects and bowls for jewelry and cosmetics. I love using small sculptures to hang my necklaces on and vintage dishes for rings.” She recommends things like the Nousaku Black Clip Holder, Haley Anne Robinson’s Geometric Ring Holder, Kati Von Lehman’s Stoneware Mug, and Helen Levi’s Gilded Eye Bowl, all of which Totokaelo conveniently stocks. They’re all a bit heritage and definitely not a matching set, but the thing about taste is that everything goes together if you like each piece on its own. Look for things that could serve several purposes—like the Bedside Carafe Set. Use it to hydrate, or use it as a vase in a pinch. And for drawers, the usefulness of organizers can not be overestimated.

Go Digital

Eliminate stray notes and papers by going digital. “I’m fully digital regarding tasks and appointments,” Jill says. In your closet, get some inspiration from Cher Horowitz’s digitized closet: “My shoes in boxes with images of what’s in the box, on the outside and my clothes arranged by style and color. Books alphabetized by author and title. Super nerdy.”

Get Everything Out Of Your Bedroom

“My bedroom is super minimalist,” Jill says. Not surprising. “Only a bed, pillows and white sheets and one built in shelf with my favorite 30 books. The walls are white and empty and there’s one blue and white oversize african basket in the corner for laundry.” Make any space sparse but inviting with something like this herringbone throw (OK, it’s a towel, but I give it the seal of multipurpose approval) and a super large, pastel tie-dye pillow. Set up shop with a book on Yamamoto & Yohji and a candle to reach peak chic-tude. Well done.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.

From the living room to the powder room: more organization tips care of the ITG beauty closet, right this way.

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I have to admit, I sometimes prefer buying home ware over clothes and makeup. I know, is that really bad of me?! However, when you have your own place where you spend the majority of your time (I work from home so I’m here a good 90% of the time), it’s important it looks nice, right? I love nothing more than buying new nick nacks for my flat and making it look all pretty. I can’t way to buy a house this year so I can go on huge shopping sprees to Ikea and make my Pinterest boards a reality.  Ahhh, the dream! I’m having to hold back on home ware purchases at the moment as I’m restricted in what I can add to my flat because it’s rented. That means I have to add personality to it with accessories – cushions, candles, flowers – you know the drill! 
I’ve bought or been bought some cute home ware bits and pieces recently so I thought I’d throw them all together and do a post in case you like the look of any of them for yourself! As you can see from the images, there’s a bit of a Copper theme going on and that’s because I LOVE all things Copper, especially home ware. I’m trying to build a little collection of stuff as I already know it’s the colour I want to accessorise with when my boyfriend and I get our first house together!! 
So starting off with said Copper bits and pieces – I was recently in New Look when I spotted this cute copper lantern and thought it would be perfect with a tea light in it on my TV unit. New Look actually have such a lovely range of home wear bits and bobs at the moment – I’d definitely check it out! I then bought another copper item to go on the other side of my TV unit (I’m very picky about things looking equal haha) and this time I got this super cute tea light holder from Urban Outfitters – I’m not sure how to describe it but it’s very pretty!

The tea, coffee and sugar set is from Next and was a gift from my lovely boyfriend for Christmas. Most of you’re probably thinking ‘what a random gift’ and while I agree it isn’t the most glamorous of presents, he knew it was something I wanted so got me it as an extra alongside some other lovely gifts. He’s very thoughtful! As I said, I want to have Copper accessories when we get our house and we already have a Copper kettle and toaster so this set was the perfect finishing touch to bring everything together. They also look amazing against the White kitchen in our flat. I also spotted a Copper salt and pepper set in NEXT so I’m thinking that will be my next (sorry, no pun intended) purchase! Another item my boyfriend very kindly bought me for Christmas was this tumblr from Urban Outfitters – it’s a lovely frosted glass with a gold ombre effect and a cute striped straw. He knows how much I love things like this and I’ve been drinking water out of it non-stop since I got it.
Another item from Next I picked up just before Christmas is their ‘Sandalwood and Amber’ room spray which smells absolutely incredible. I don’t know if this was part of their Christmas range or not (I can’t find it on their website) but I’m hoping it isn’t as it makes my flat smell devine! Also, the packaging is Copper so I was immediately drawn to it. I also bought the match reed diffuser but totally forgot to include it in this post. Oops! I was probably stood in Next for a good ten minutes sniffing all their candles, room sprays and reed diffusers – they’ve got such a great selection. Then again, pretty much everything in Next Home is amazing – I’d decorate my whole place with all things Next if I could! Definitely my favourite place for home ware shopping!
The Weekly Planner pad is something I bought a while ago from Not On The Highstreet and I bought it to go on my desk so I can keep my weeks organised and know what I need to do on each day. If you’re a blogger, this comes in very handy as you can jot down which blog posts you want to go live on which day, important deadlines, meetings and events. I keep this on my desk at all times so if I ever need to jot anything down, it’s right there. Not to mention it’s ridiculously cute too!! Another item which is now sitting on my desk is a light up letter K my boyfriend bought me. He was out shopping at Fenwicks in Newcastle and had to buy me it as soon as he saw it as he knew how long I’d wanted one! I think they’re so cute! Unfortunately you can’t buy from Fenwicks online so I haven’t got a link to it but I did find this website that sells virtually identical ones.
Finally, I just had to include these beautiful The White Company products. I was very kindly sent a candle and reed diffuser from their new ‘Lime & Bay’ range and they are incredible. They have a very sexy scent – it almost reminds me of mens aftershave and I LOVE mens fragrances so that’s a winner for me. I can’t wait to have these in my flat – The White company is such a beautiful and luxurious brand so it’s a real treat to have their products making my place smell all lovely! I’d highly recommend you check out their products if you haven’t already!
So there we have all the new home ware bits & pieces that I’ve recently added to my flat. I hope you enjoyed this post – home ware and interior design is something I’m really passionate about so I loved writing it! Do let me know if you’d like to see more home posts from me – maybe a flat tour?!

Things That Smell Nice But Won’t Burn Down Your Apartment

It’s hard to admit, but some of us just aren’t responsible enough for candles. Perhaps you’re prone to leaving the house in a rush. Or you unwittingly fall sleep at inopportune times. Maybe more simply, you’re risk averse and open flames make you nervous.

No matter you’re experience with flames, a candle adds ambiance, sets the mood and, of course, usually smells nice. While a record player, ambient lighting, and plush fabrics solve the first two problems, how do you mask the subtle smell of day-old exercise clothes in a tiny apartment with poor ventilation? Meet Un Air de Diptyque, or, An Air of Diptyque for us Anglophones. Described as being “an exceptional object, both sophisticated in its design and technique, simple yet innovative…it will blend in easily in any setting, suburban, Bohemian, or contemporary, enhancing the ambient fragrance to the maximum.” I can corroborate the wonderfully flowery copy because after five minutes, a small matchbox size conference room smelled like the brand’s shop on Bleecker Street. At $350 for the machine and $38 for the refillable capsule, it’s best for those who already have a questionable Diptyque addiction. Or, as a wedding gift.

Also a diffuser, but lower tech, is Fornasetti’s Diffusing Sphere. A beautiful ceramic orb, it comes with a vat of perfume oil. Empty the vat, close the top, and stick in the black reeds and delicate scent (there are three options: a floral, an oud, and one with the brand’s signature Otto fragrance) will work its way into every crevice of your household. Once it’s all used up, keep the sphere forever.

For Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Papier Encens, there’s only one instruction: always keep out of reach of children. Contained in an elongated rectangular matchbox, the paper incense are perfect for a particularly beautiful vessel you’d like to see smoke smolder out of. Or, enjoy the spectacle of watching paper burn, shrivel and turn ashen. So, yes, there’s fire involved in this one—but the flame goes out so quickly that it’s safe enough for even the most distracted of home fragrance users.

Similarly, there’s sage, best suited for cleansing the aura of any new space. Briefly light one end of Juniper Ridge’s gargantuan bundle that retails for only $12, swish it around door frames and windows and you should be good to go, spirit-wise. Make sure to leave the still-smoking bundle near the sink while it’s still warm, and don’t just walk away.

Cire Trudon Room Spray will shade all other home sprays. Housed in a heavy antique container, it smells initially like basil, but fades nicely into something less herbal. But the real impact here is less fragrance and more heft when left on a desk.

Also a nice end table piece is the Rituals Luxury Fragrance Sticks Holder, at a nice $36. The actual fragrance sticks come separately (I’d recommend the Hammam scent), giving some latitude in which varietal you’d like to pair with the white wood.

Then there’s Astier de Villatte Incense. Recommended by Brianna Lance, they come in a robin’s egg blue box with white label and gold border. Ultra thin, only a whisper of smoke rises above it for a subtle scent that burns slowly. Think the bohemian life by way of YSL’s Marrakesh instead of Haight Street.

—Alexis Cheung

Photographed by Tom Newton.

For more flameless room scenting, read this.

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Cup Of Jo’s 6 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests

Being a good party host is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally. Now multiply that skill by 1000 and maybe you’ve got the chops to have a friend stay with you for a weekend. In the interest in learning new things, we polled Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo, consummate host if ever there was one, about having guests make your casa their casa. Follow along:

When I was 22 years old, fresh out of the University of Michigan, I moved into a tiny apartment in Manhattan. Because New York is on everyone’s destination list, I immediately had a steady stream of visitors, even though my apartment was so small I slept on the living-room sofa. Now—one wedding, two babies, and a move to Brooklyn later—I still love having guests come stay. Hosting out-of-towners can be tricky, though. Where do they sleep? Do you leave a chocolate on their pillow? Or just…let them do their thing? After a decade of trial and error, I think we’ve finally figured it out. Here are six tricks we’ve learned over the years:

1. Before anyone arrives, sleep in your guest bedroom (or on your couch) to try it out. Then you can fix the frustrations you never knew existed, like buying a sound machine to block out noisy early-morning garbage trucks.

2. Avoid awkward conversations by keeping each bathroom stocked with extra toilet paper and a plunger, just in case. Because CAN YOU IMAGINE?

3. Cooking dinners are a big enough deal, so make lunchtime easy. Fill the fridge with deli meats, cheeses, mustard, mayo, and tomatoes, plus crusty bread and potato chips.

4. Make a spare house key so guests can come and go as they please. No one wants to feel like they have a curfew on vacation.

5. Putting a carafe of water, a magazine, and a note with the WiFi password on the bedside table will make your place feel welcoming. (This cute carafe is only $5.)

6. Last but not least, keep the drinks flowing. Open a bottle of chilled rosé (or iced tea) when guests arrive to take the traveling edge off. Nothing’s better than being met at the door by a friend with a glass in hand.

What are your tips for hosting guests? Anything you’ve learned the hard way?

—Joanna Goddard

Photos courtesy of the author.

For more on the topic, check out Emily Schuman’s guide to entertaining at home.

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Cire Trudon Scented Matches

When was the last time you thought about your matches? Probably not until the moment when you actually needed one—and then maybe at that point, you just resorted to your trusty Bic and moved on with your life. Cire Trudon’s Matches can probably change that.

At 22 centimeters, these matches are exaggeratedly proportioned but also simple enough in that they’re matches. The shelf life of one lasts only a couple of seconds before it’s literally burned up, making you prioritize if this is a Cire Trudon moment or bar-cum-hotel matchbook occasion. These are matches you think about, maybe even daydream about on the ride home from work, wishing you bought them for your last dinner party when “candlelit dinner” suddenly has the potential to be even more special.

The real selling point, though, is that the sticks themselves are heavily fragranced, releasing the much-loved Cire Trudon scents like the beachy, antique Bartolomé or the cologned and luxe Odalisque. Keep these matches in their box, half-opened for subtle room fragrance or perched atop a fireplace that doesn’t even work. Environmentally friendly habit encouraging without sacrificing luxury—what more can you ask for in a match…besides, you know, lighting things…but that’s extra here.

Photographed by Tom Newton.

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