Ma Petite Madeleine

I have discovered there is no better cure for melancholia than madeleines. They are the best thing for warm cakey goodness. I make the batter the day before, put it in the fridge, then cook when I'm in need of sweet things. Perfect for coffee breaks on busy days. About 10 minutes then done, pretty much as long as it takes to make a perfect cup of coffee. I use Rachel Khoo's recipe from Little Paris Kitchen. So far I'm not bored of it, but sooner or later I'm sure I'll thing of another flavour combination I want to try.  At the moment, however, the lemon and raspberry goodness is perfect.

Lately there have been a few too many madeleine moments. They say a change is a good as a rest. A rest has certainly been needed here lately. That whole 13 bad luck thing, yeah I'm not loving it. A bit of a shake up was WELL in order. My new year list is *nearly* complete.

Small space living is an art, it really is. And especially when your hobbies include things that need stuff. If it wasn't for kindle I'd be well and truly screwed. Normally the solution would be put stuff on the walls. Great in theory but often lacking in practicality. If you rent, often you can't. Going high works. For instance I would LOVE a wine rack, but have no room. I do have a skinny space above my kitchen units thou, just perfect height to lay a bottle storage self on. The one we have is part of a larger Ikea system - but it was cheap at only £3 and who needs something fancy when its out of sight. That's the art really, finding storage solutions for those awkward nooks and crannies. That, and keeping it from looking like a junk shop. I have form for rocking the junk shop look.

Being a reader and a crafty, making type person its hard to be a minimalist. When I moved in here I had so little stuff it took me less than an afternoon to unpack. I had one set of shelves, a much less ergonomic kitchen and very little furniture. It seemed so spacious! That was 7 years ago. Now it would likely take me an afternoon just go through all the stuff stored in the attic!

It wasn't great times when I moved in. The nice bright airy flat, small as it is, brightened my mood. That window faces the beach and I can see it, just beyond the beach huts. Its a really calming space on a good day. The clutter ruins it however. and these days it always seems cluttered. a bit like life, cluttered and a wee bit dark at the moment. So it's the perfect time to de-clutter, de-stress and hopefully get back that bright and airy space.

I think a fair few of us talk the big talk on spring cleaning. We will do the ritual taking down the curtains to wash, laundering duvets and taking bags down to the charity shop. I know I've used most checklists and de-cluttering advice articles and whatnot. That's the stuff you do instinctively after a while. living small and having lots of stuff. You organize, throw away and ebay, but sometimes that isn't enough. Sometimes you have to dump everything out on the carpet and start again. Not just metaphorically speaking either. Just because you brought a bit of furniture for that space, doesn't mean it won't work much much better somewhere else. Same with what shelf for what. As you thin your collections, they might fit better in another place. Nothing in life stays static, so why should the way you organize your living space?

In total honesty the only stuff no longer in the room are three board games we no longer play and a set of drawers that were empty after the rejig. So see, just by changing the arrangement of the furniture, and where stuff is stored, its bigger and brighter. With the added extra bonus of shelf space for more books! It also smells of strawberries and elderflower, but that's another blog post. 

Our slightly oversized movie collection is in the coffee table trunk, giving more room on the bookshelf for books. My little shelves next to the sofa now have larger books and paperwork in them, and the cupboard in the corner is no longer a mess, giving me room to store vases/photos/cutting boards etc in there.

Disorganization is worse than clutter in small places. Yes, it does only take 15 minutes to declutter, but in a small space you may need to take 30 so you can optimise how you put stuff away. It might be a bit of a pain-in-the-ass to move a few boxes to get to what you want, but if you aren't getting to it everyday it might be the better solution for you.

I do it with the kitchen (which as you can see is tiny) all the time as I run out of space alot, and I will often do it with the shelves but it never seemed to connect in my head that moving the furniture might give the same results. Total doh! moment.

So my fellow small spacers, next time you're sat down with a cuppa, have a look around. Imagine your sofa somewhere else. Where would you put the telly? the bookshelf?? the coffee table??? Would it give you more space, or at least the illusion of it. It's dark and dismal out there, let some light into your house and out your windows. Maybe then we can get some spring!!

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