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Declutter Your Cookbooks

Don’t get me wrong, I love cookbooks! Growing up we always made great meals and desserts using my family’s cookbooks. I used to page carefully through our cookbooks looking for the perfect recipe for my Mom to cook for us. One of my current favourite’s is Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook, although I must admit it usually takes me longer than fifteen minutes to prepare his recipes! My family had one cookbook for every type of food from cookies to seasonal home cooking. As I grew up, I noticed that an increasing number of cookbooks would find their way into our home. Eventually the internet took over and the frequency with which we used our recipe books began to decrease. For many people, this is becoming the ‘norm’ for home cooking. This post will discuss why it is beneficial to declutter your cookbooks. I also share with you in more detail why I presently own only a handful of cookbooks.

Online Recipes

These days I gravitate towards online recipes rather than my cookbooks. Browsing the infinite food blogs online has replaced my previous love of paging through cookbooks. I am often inspired to cook or bake after viewing something I have seen on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook. Using the vast database of recipes online allows me to search for recipes specific to my dietary restrictions of which I have many. While cookbooks are a great reference point, I personally find it more convenient to use online recipes. I like to save my favourite recipe links to a document rather than searching for them in a cookbook. I organize the recipes by category within the document making them easy to find. For example, last Christmas I saved a dairy free gingerbread recipe in the dessert section of my recipe document. Fast forward to December 2018, I had no trouble at all finding the link to the recipe. While this is my personal preference and allows me to be organized with my favourite recipes, don’t let this stop you from turning the pages of the beautiful, food filled books that line your kitchen shelves. 

Decluttering & Organizing

Unfortunately, clutter is a common occurrence when it comes to saving recipes and building up the ‘ultimate’ collection of cookbooks. Fear not! Decluttering your cookbooks is easier than you think. I recommend taking out all of the recipe books and paper recipes that you own to really get an idea of how many you have. Sort through and select the ones that you enjoy using the most. Remove the cookbooks that you no longer see yourself using in the near future. Choose to sell them online, give them to a friend or donate them to local thrift store where someone else can find better use for them. 


Store the cookbooks that you have chosen to keep vertically on your shelf so that it is easy to view the title of each recipe book. For paper recipes, there are two organizational systems you could use. Use a binder or folder to store all your paper recipes which likely includes hand written family recipes that have been passed on to you and some recipes that have been collected from food magazines or printed from the internet. The other option is to scan all the paper recipes onto your computer and organize by category (i.e. family recipes, dessert recipe folder, instant pot recipes, etc.). Storage is an important part of decluttering your cookbooks. Be sure to set up an organizational system that allows all users to access the cookbooks easily and give everything a place to return to after being used.

Creating Space

You will likely find that the extra space you have created on your shelves will make it more enjoyable and less stressful to spend time in your kitchen. Actively deciding which cookbooks and recipes are your favourites will help you move closer to your goal of achieving a clutter free home. Without the clutter of excess, the cookbooks you use most will become much easier to access when you want to make a meal for your friends, family and other guests.

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Three Ways to Celebrate Christmas More Sustainably

Having trouble getting everything done before Christmas next week? Feeling guilty that all the wrapping paper will just get thrown away and end up in a landfill after all the gifts are unwrapped? Well guess what? It isn’t as hard as you think to celebrate Christmas and even give presents in a way that has a lower impact on the environment. This post is all about putting an eco-friendly spin on Christmas 2018.

Wrapping Presents

Wrap your presents differently this year! Choose alternative materials such as:

Old newspapers – Keep some of your newspapers leading up to the holidays and try wrapping gifts with them. Perhaps refrain from wrapping clothing in newspaper to prevent any ink transfer!

Old maps – Perhaps you took a trip together with the gift recipient and still have the map you used to help you navigate while travelling! Why not wrap their gift using this map rather than keeping it in a box where it is no longer of use!! This will be a great conversation starter and will bring back great memories for both of you.

Kitchen towels – This could be a great add on for a gift and is a great zero waste alternative to gift wrap which just ends up in the trash.

Jars – Use jars for homemade baked goods; this is not only a great way to keep costs down for gift giving but the jar can easily be used for food storage within the kitchen of the gift recipient.


Homemade Gifts

Baked Goods – Everyone loves baked goods! Try making some homemade items for family and friends this year. Check in with your loved ones to find out who has allergies or dietary restrictions and try to make your baked goods as allergy friendly as possible! Attach a little recipe card to the box or jar that holds your home baked gift to ensure everyone is aware of the ingredients.

DIY gifts – Sick of waiting for an hour to pay for your Christmas presents at the local mall? Looking to save money and experiment with homemade products? This year create some DIY gifts for your family and friends; from homemade beauty products to handmade cutting boards there is so many options for creating the perfect DIY gift! Check out Youtube or Pinterest to get inspired!

Crafts – If you have kids make some homemade ornaments as gifts for teachers, aunts, uncles and grandparents! Perhaps you really enjoy oil painting and decide to paint a different winter scene for each friend or family member. Again this is a great way to save money while still giving a very special gift to the people that you care about in your life!


Buy Gifts for Your VIP’s

My grandma used to call my sister and myself her VIPs which stands for Very Important Person. I am sure lots of people helped you out this year and did something nice for you. However, I highly recommend making a very short list of the people who truly matter most to you (your VIPs) and ONLY buy gifts for them. Give gifts to the people that made the biggest difference in your life in 2018. Maybe instead of a gift exchange ask if your family members would like to pool money together to make a donation to your favourite charity or volunteer with you during the holidays (i.e. contact your local soup kitchen, church, or food bank to sort, package and even distribute food).

Perhaps as I mentioned earlier have your kids decorate simple ornaments from the dollar store for each of their teachers at school and for your extended family members. Write really nice cards, send an e-card, or take your closest family friends to dinner to spend quality time with them during the holidays. Use less time searching for the perfect gift, instead make something homemade or give the gift of a great evening out. Practical gifts are another great option – find out what your sister’s family needs for their new house and purchase a few items to help them create the perfect kitchen, living room, or dining space. All of these are heartfelt gifts that will be appreciated immensely and perhaps remembered better than an expensive box of chocolates.

I hope my suggestions for celebrating Christmas more sustainably will allow you more time to spend with the VIPs in your life while also showing how much you care about them and maybe even leave you with more money in your wallet after the holidays are finished.

If you would like to begin simplifying and decluttering your life in 2019, contact Melissa at Let There Be Space using via the following email address –


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Kick-Start Your Clutter Free Journey!

I recently read an article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly from 2015 which discusses the research of psychology professor Sabine Kastner. Her 20 years of research on attention found that visual clutter contends with our brain’s ability to stay focused. It also causes a decline in our cognitive function over time. This study also found that our brain really isn’t very good at ignoring clutter. We tend to use all of the available space within our home to ‘temporarily’ store clutter until we find a permanent home for it. Unfortunately, the rate at which stuff comes in is faster than it goes out. As a result our free space often becomes a storage place for items that provide no real value to our lives.

Physical clutter restricts our ability to focus and inhibits our productivity. Our home should be a clutter free space where we can relax, entertain, and even do work if necessary. This post highlights a few key action items to kick-start the journey of decluttering your space. It also discusses some of the benefits this process can provide to other areas of your life.

Core Values

My first piece of advice is to get in touch with your values. Write down your top five values (e.g. exercise, health, organization, family, etc.). Be specific! For example, “I want to exercise at home four days a week in my basement. In order to achieve this I need to clear the designated space of all clutter and remove all items that are unrelated to my fitness routine.” Redefining your values is a great way to begin decluttering your mind before you start organizing. Making decisions about what to keep, donate or throw away will simply be guided by your core principles. Defining your current priorities will create a solid foundation for change to occur with greater ease in your life. 

Managing Your Clutter Regularly

As you may already know, clutter within the home causes stress. Why? If the items we use every day are in disarray, we cannot function properly and often struggle to focus on achieving our goals. It is important to prioritize the items on your to do list. This will help you to manage household tasks and chores in a timely manner. By consistently taking action to prevent the build-up of clutter within your home, you will be able to function better within your space. Less mess generally results in less stress and more time to enjoy life.

Focus on Yourself

This is an incredibly important aspect of keeping your space organized. Start by identifying what you need to change. Ask yourself:

  • How do I need to change my mindset in order to achieve a clutter free home?
  • What habits do I need to change to achieve my goals? (I.e. this could include your shopping habits, maintenance habits, etc.)
  • How can I incorporate my core values into this space to better reflect my ideal home and lifestyle?
  • Am I focusing on my goal of becoming clutter free?

Remember that it is okay to be NOT OKAY with other people’s clutter. You can encourage others and teach them some strategies to deal with clutter, but in the end stay focused on your own organizing journey. This will enable you to influence others to make change in their own lives.

Final Words

When stressed by the clutter in your home, first identify your core values. Then set up a plan for how you will regularly eliminate clutter. Finally, focus on yourself as you declutter and organize. You never know who you will influence along the way. Apply these three strategies to your life, then message @lettherebespacebymel on Instagram or send us an email at to share how this helped you begin your decluttering journey!

Have we help kick-start your clutter free journey? Use the tag #lettherebespacebymel on instagram to show us your decluttering and organizing pictures.


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Organizing Your Spices!

Storing spices can be difficult. With no organizational system, it is so easy to lose the many plastic bags containing spices among the many other pantry items in your kitchen. It is even harder to keep track of these bags if they are left unlabeled. How can one possibly go from complete disorganization to a beautiful and fully functional, even Instagram worthy spice cupboard? Don’t worry it’s easier than you might think! This post outlines some simple ways to properly store and organize your spices. A few months ago I organized all my spices so here is a step by step plan of how to organize your spice cupboard.


Pull out your spices from every location in your kitchen. Throw away any that are past their due date… and yes spices have a best before date! Basically if a spice has lost its scent, then it is probably best to throw it away. If you can identify the unlabeled spices easily, then immediately make note of this. If not, then it is probably best to remove this item from your pantry to ensure it is not mistakenly added to a recipe in which it does not belong. You may want to complete this step (i.e. sorting) before you go to the store to buy containers so you know how many containers to buy.

Purchase Your Containers

Purchase some storage jars that best suit your needs or reuse jars that you may already have. I used 4 oz. glass mason jars which you can purchase from Walmart, Canadian Tire or online. There are so many awesome spice storage containers to choose from; magnetic spice racks, drawer inserts, stackable tins and more! Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for different types of containers and spice racks.

Spice List

Make a list of all your spices and post this list inside the cupboard so that you always know which ones you have. This is also helpful to family members searching for an item and will prevent anyone from buying multiple bags. This may also be a good time to check which staple spices/ herbs are missing from your pantry and immediately add these items to your grocery list.

Transferring Your Spices

Start with 3-4 spices at a time to stay organized and ensure that each spice is labelled properly. Transfer the first few spices and label them as you go. Be sure to keep the packaging out to ensure accurate labeling. Throw away the packaging and start transferring the next few spices into their assigned jars.  Once all your spices have been transferred, put them away in their proper storage space.

Location, Location, Location!

Make sure the spot in which you choose to store your spices is away from any heat source. This will ensure that the quality of your spices is maintained over time. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to put all your spices into containers. You could pick out the spices that you use the most to keep in jars and store the rest elsewhere. Personally, I like everything to have a designated place so all my spices are in 4 oz. jars. I store my spice jars in a cupboard altogether on a tiered spice rack which is easily accessible to make cooking a breeze! All my extra spices that don’t fit in the jars are sealed tightly within their original packaging and stored in a basket.


This is definitely one of the most important parts! As mentioned earlier, label the jars as you transfer spices. You can use chalkboard labels, a label maker, or order custom labels! Be sure to decide ahead of time what labelling method you will use so that you can have all the necessary tools for when you are ready to complete this project.

Need help with this project? Perhaps you interested in decluttering your whole kitchen? We can help with all of your decluttering, simplifying and organizing needs! Contact us via email –

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Reducing Mental Clutter with Mental Dumping

Every day is filled with tasks, projects, assignments, and endless chores. Unfortunately we tend to allow this never ending list of ‘to do’ items to swirl around aimlessly in our minds throughout the day. I wanted to find a strategy to manage my mental clutter that was quick and also very simple. This week’s post focuses on reducing mental clutter by completing a daily ‘mental dump’. I first read about mentally dumping in a book called Behind the Clutter written by June Saruwatari, a professional life coach and professional organizer. This was a fabulous book with so many great mechanisms for getting to the root of the mental and physical clutter in your life. Mentally dumping stood out as one of the simplest way to clear my mind of daily action items and activities that I wish to do.

Messy Yet Simple

June Saruwatari starts off the mental dumping process by creating a lists of all of the tasks that needs to be done. Sometimes my lists are messy! But that’s okay because they serve me well, allowing me to check off items that I have completed and to see which tasks I have yet to finish. By mentally dumping, I don’t have to worry about how organized my list is. The goal of this technique is to help relieve your brain of the weight of remembering all the tasks you need or want to do during the day. Jot down every item swirling around in your head as you think of it, you can prioritize later!


After you mentally dump everything from your mind, you can organize the information. Prioritize the tasks that need to be completed right away and schedule in the tasks that are not as urgent.


I typically do my mental dump just after my morning workout. Choose the time of day that best works for you. Maybe you prefer to prepare for the following day by doing your mental dump before bedtime. Perhaps you could use this strategy prior to eating breakfast to help clear your mind setting you up for a successful day. It can also be used as a coping strategy for when you feel stressed or overwhelmed during the day. Use mental dumping however it best serves your life!

Dump your Clutter

Mental dumping is a sometimes messy, but simple strategy for dealing with mental clutter. Prioritizing is a great way to organize all your disorganized thoughts and tasks. It can help you decide which tasks are necessary to complete first and which can be scheduled in for a later time. Mentally dumping helps manage a mind full of clutter and can help you to focus on the activities of your day.

Need some help deciding which projects to keep and which ones to eliminate? Professional organizer to the rescue! This is definitely something we can assist you with. To get started on your home organizing journey right away, contact us via email at! Or visit our contact page.

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Why work with an Organizer?

I frequently get asked “why is it beneficial to work with a professional organizer?” There are many reasons to work with an expert organizer especially when you consider how hard it can be to tackle the task of decluttering and organizing your home alone. This post focuses on a few of the most significant reasons why it is beneficial to ask for help from a professional organizing consultant.

Organizing systems

Professional organizers can help identify your biggest organizing challenges. Home organizers will collaborate with you to create organizational systems that are specific to your household needs and personal preferences.

Eliminate Clutter

An organizer can teach you about asking the right questions to eliminate clutter within the home. For example, first ask yourself “what are my personal values?” and then for each item ask, “does this align with my values?” This will make the decision making process easier as you sort through your stuff.

Increased productivity

The presence of an organizer will help you to harness your undivided attention to complete the task of decluttering and organizing your home. With greater focus, comes increased productivity and thus will speed up the process of decluttering and organizing. Their knowledge of decluttering strategies and organizational systems will help you set a strong foundation for an organized home. They can also help you make a plan to stay organized in the long term.


Organizers can teach you how to properly store items that are more vulnerable to mold, temperature changes, rodents, etc. They can advise you on the best storage options for each of your household items from photos to tools, or simply your extra set of linens for when guests visit.

Teach Organizing Habits

An organizer can help you decide on the best strategies for you to implement in order to stay clutter free. They can even help you formulate a plan for household organizing and maintenance. By adopting strategies specific to your needs you will be able to establish strong organizational habits and prevent the build-up of clutter in your home.

Working with an organizer can help you to reduce clutter in your life and organize your belongings as well as implement an organizational strategy that is best for your home. Are you ready to begin the journey of decluttering and organizing your home? We would be happy to help! Contact Let There Be Space via email at

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Home Organizing – Managing Unfinished Projects

Starting a new project should be a great feeling! Initially we tend to feel excited as we begin new projects, but too often other responsibilities and activities get in the way of completing said projects. This results in a constantly growing pile of incomplete projects sitting in the hallway, living room, kitchen, garage, etc. causing unnecessary physical and mental clutter. Don’t fret! This kind of clutter can be managed and even prevented. This post discusses the importance of prioritizing, planning realistically, and considering your current values as you decide which projects truly fit into your life.

Strategies for Managing Incomplete Projects at Home


Which tasks are most important for your home to function safely and smoothly on a daily basis? Which tasks will improve your life if completed? Figure out which tasks need to be prioritized, and consider starting with tasks that have potential consequences if left unfinished for much longer.


Realistically, which of the projects I started fit into my current schedule? Is there anything urgent that needs doing that means I need to change my schedule? Is this project worth my time or could someone else complete this project for me in less time? If necessary, hire someone else to complete an unfinished job or project in your home. Thus, your free time can then be spent on task or projects that align with your current priorities and interests.

Try scheduling in the time on your weekly planner to complete household projects. For example, on Monday I will work one hour prior to dinner to finish organizing my taxes for 2017. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I will work on my DIY kitchen shelving project for two hours each night. Wednesday and Friday evenings I have plans to attend fitness classes with a friend, therefore I will not have enough time to work on anything extra at home.

Planning realistically helps you to be more efficient with the use of your free time.  It also helps prevent feelings of failure that can often result from trying to complete an unreasonable list of tasks in a short amount of time.


Which projects have I truly committed to? Which ones have I spent a lot of time, resources, and/or labour on? Perhaps you spent five very dedicated hours on the project to begin with, but now you couldn’t imagine even spending one hour on it. You might conclude that this project is not one that you will continue. Instead, find a friend or charity that could make better use of the materials from this project. It’s okay to let go of something that is not adding value to your life and is wasting your time, energy and/ or resources.

Passion/ Interest

What kind of project is this? Does this project align with my current values or interests? When I work on this project, do I look forward to spending time on it? Perhaps if you dread spending time on it and it does not fit in with your current values then it is not worth trying to complete it.

To conclude, do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by feelings of failure and guilt for having too many unfinished projects. Instead, use the strategies discussed in this post to eliminate projects that are cluttering your space and your mind. Actively choose to pursue only projects that are of high priority, as well as those which align with your current lifestyle and values.

Need some help deciding which projects to keep and which ones to eliminate? Professional organizer to the rescue! This is definitely something we can assist you with. To get started on your home organizing journey right away, contact us via email at!

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Decluttering & Organizing – Where to begin?

How to start decluttering

I’m so overwhelmed!

Feeling overwhelmed by clutter? Maybe you have tried to begin organizing your home, but between all of your chores and all the emotions that flood your mind as you even consider getting started, you decide to leave the clutter for another day when you have less to do. Unfortunately, this cycle repeats itself over and over.  So, how do you break the cycle and start your decluttering journey?

First off, let me start by saying that becoming organized takes time – it doesn’t happen overnight. By embracing this idea, you can help reduce the overwhelming feelings that arise when you think about all of the disorganized, cluttered areas of your home. 

How to Start Decluttering: Shift Your Mindset

Start by adjusting your mindset towards clutter. Ask yourself questions to realize the reasons why you want to declutter and reignite your motivation to achieve an organized home. Ask yourself:

  • Q: Why is an organized space important to me? You may want to declutter your desk and filing cabinets so that you can start using your home office to do work instead of using it to hold your paper clutter.
  • Q: What is my goal for this space? Perhaps you want to entertain guests more often or have a clear floor space in the living room to play games with your family.
  • Q: What has my cluttered space preventing me from doing in my life? Working from home, starting a new business, taking charge of my finances, etc.

Small successes

Begin with spaces that hold a lot of storage; this includes basements, garages, linen closets, junk drawers, utility closets, etc. Organizing storage spaces in the home is easier because these areas generally hold less personal items (versus clothing closets, bedrooms, etc.). We have less sentimental attachment to tools and out of season items thus making it easier to let them go. Start small by tackling one zone at a time, one corner of your basement at a time. Small successes will help motivate you to continue decluttering!

Schedule Your Sessions

From chores to weekend meet ups to work meetings, there is ALWAYS going to be an excuse as to why there isn’t any time to declutter and organize your home. First of all, no one is going to start decluttering for you. Take the lead! You can do it! Scheduling in regular decluttering sessions is the perfect way to overcome your excuses. 15 minutes a day in your home office can be a great way to start! Or maybe if you have more time, schedule in a few hours every weekend to make a more significant dent in your clutter! Decide where you will begin and be sure to write this session into your weekly planner to guarantee that you complete your scheduled home decluttering session. If anything truly urgent arises, reschedule for another day and hold yourself to completing it no matter what.

Decluttering/ Organizing Services

It’s okay to ask for help. There are so many resources to help you get started and assist you in the decluttering process. Professional organizers such as myself are happy to assist you on your organizing journey! Visit our Contacts page to get started right away or email us at