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854 North Central Street
Knoxville, TN, 37917
United States

(865) 245-9080

Help You Dwell is a home and workspace organizing service based in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Blog

managing your home office

taryn mcLean

Your home office or workspace can easily get out of control : bills, calendars, mail, files, etc. Tip: set aside time weekly to maintain order in your home office:  gathering papers to recycle, checking on your office supply needs, clearing out your inbox, checking off your to-do lists. Here are a few ways to bring some order to this area.

PURGE

Every good organizing endeavor involves letting go of some extraneous and unnecessary items. Home office areas are no exception. Begin by emptying out all drawers, bins, cabinets, etc. Pull everything off of shelves and clear your desk top surface. This may (most likely) feel overwhelming, but you can do it! The act of handling each separate item is key while making decisions on what to keep, how many of the same thing you need, and if the item is useful to you or not. 

FILE

You need a system that works for you. If you visually like everything to be uniform - choose one color of file folders and neatly label each tab of what is inside. If you like the ease of each category having a color, try: all medical files are in red, all finances in green, all home documents in blue, etc. The important thing is clear labeling so when you go to search for an important document, it is obvious where it would be. Don't pack your file folders too full - consider splitting large folders into two: A & B or 1 & 2. Here's a helpful tool when considering which documents you need to hold onto and for how long. 

 
Resource from Home Simply Organized. 

Resource from Home Simply Organized

 

SET UP YOUR SPACE + CREATE A WORK FLOW  

Designated areas for incoming mail, outgoing mail, bills to be paid, lists you're dealing with currently, and a calendar - are so important. When these things get mixed and scattered, no wonder we miss appointments, pay bills late and can't locate our mail. Stacking trays or standing file organizers can be great tools for keeping these papers tidy. Urban Outfitters, multi-device charging dock is a neat way to keep devices together and charged! 

 

ADD YOUR PERSONAL STYLE

We've put together a few fun ideas to inspire you. Find pieces you love at thrift stores, other rooms in your home and your favorite local shops. Intentionally placing items that inspire your creativity and productivity are great ways to get stuff done!  A clean and orderly workspace can enable you to efficiently tackle your to-do lists and complete projects. Another fun option is this Photo Clip Set from Urban Outfitters- hang photos of loved ones, inspirational quotes and reminders. 

[Props and decor provided by The Hive.]

Would you like to win a free home office/workspace refresh? Check out our Instagram today for details & a chance to win. Yay! 

books, books & more books

taryn mcLean

DECIDING WHICH BOOKS TO KEEP

Photo via bookriot.com 

Photo via bookriot.com 

Consider these questions when sorting through which books you'll keep and which you are willing to part with: 

  • When was the last time I read this book?
  • Will I read it again?
  • If it's a cookbook, do I use it? Hint: the presence of food stains indicates a keeper.
  • Is the book a classic?
  • Does the book have specific value — is it a signed copy, first or collectible edition?
  • Is the book out-of-print or hard to replace?
  • Do you have mulitple copies? (Just keep one)
  • Do you have an electronic version of this book? (Let the paper version go)
  • Is this a book I've borrowed and need to return?

WHAT TO DO WITH BOOKS YOU'RE LETTING GO OF

  • Donate to: Friends of the Knox County Library, KARM, The Salvation Army, local churches
  • Specifically gift relevant books to: family members, neighbors, co-workers, or friends.
  • Recycle: if a book is beyond repair & has seen better days
  • Consign: your books at McKay's Books
 
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WHAT'S ON OUR BOOKSHELVES

STYLED BOOKSHELVES

Photo via designsponge.com 

Photo via designsponge.com 

Photo via designsponge.com

Photo via designsponge.com

Here's a fun video showing a few different ways to style your own bookshelf. And a cute infographic drawing of the different styles! 

It's all in the details: A downtown home tour

taryn mcLean

After having lived in their awesome apartment for about 2 years, Crista and Liam have hit the sweet spot--settling into a space that feels uniquely "them" and easy to enjoy. After living in South Knoxville while in grad school, they made the switch to downtown dwelling and haven't looked back. Crista loves the excitement of downtown living where you can walk or ride your bike to endless shops and restaurants, walk or ride the trolley to work, and can always find something to do in close proximity. After a year and a half living in the Firestreet Lofts, they moved to The JFG building which was home to a former coffee roasting business and feel like it's the perfect fit. Initially, it seemed that not having a yard was the only downside to living downtown but Crista and Liam now have a plot in the Old City Gardens where they are part of an awesome community of downtown dwellers and business owners that grow their own produce and herbs just down the street. Crista and Liam have been very intentional and thoughtful about the purchases they have made over the years and have learned that when you live downtown in a smaller space, you have to get serious about what you love and what is just taking up space. "We've found that buying things for the person you want to become,if you are not in the process of becoming that person, just leads to regretted purchases." Purchasing items that you love and that serve a practical purpose in your current space and life will keep you from the spontaneous buys that clutter up your home.

Crista and Liam's home & style philosophy is based on the quote below:

The details are not the details, they make the design.
— Charles Eames

In reference to the quote, they add that it's honestly a sentiment you can apply across your whole life. Whether in reference to work, attire, or home decor, in each area the details make up the whole. Paying attention to the small things makes the big picture so much better!

Living Room

Living Room

Dining area

Dining area

How would you describe your style of decorating?
I wouldn't necessarily put my style into a category— it's more of an approach. I’ve always been interested in interior decorating. Even as a child I loved looking at decor magazines and always had a file of clippings pulled from various places. I was always dreaming about ideas and re configurations. Functionality of space is really important in decorating— it has to drive how you fill a space. It can be a big challenge living down town with little closet space and small kitchens etc. We are slow to buy things and always take into account the quality of an item. We like to mix and match lots of different styles and era’s of furniture for a more unique look. We want to buy things that are not disposable— things we intend to keep for a long time. One of the things we really pay attention to in order to make sure things stay cohesive is color— we gravitate towards blues and grays with pops of red. We try to buy used or antique furniture and decor except for big investment pieces like our bed. We are always willing to wait longer to save up for items we really love and cherish. A few of Crista and Liams favorite local treasure troves are Mid Mod Collective and Willow Creek Antiques.

Master Bath

Master Bath

You have some really amazing pieces in your home, what is your relationship to your belongings?
Neither of us are super sentimental. The only things that we couldn't part with are family heirlooms. We have tried to do a good job with not attaching too many memories with “stuff”. Everything in our home has a function or a significance and we love it all but we aren’t tied to it in a way that allows it to have control or ownership over us. That being said, we have a few favorite items that would be hard to let go of. When Liam was born he was gifted a set of Silver ware from his grandparents with a really unique "H" monogram. (Liam's last name is Hysjulien) It's a beautiful set that we only use on special occasions. We try and form traditions around the items we love most. Another of our favorite possessions is our marriage certificate. We had everyone in attendance sign it saying that they would support our union and observed our marriage. It's a constant reminder that we have a wonderful community supporting us along the way.

Painting by Earnest Lee

Painting by Earnest Lee

Liam and Crista's marriage certificate

Liam and Crista's marriage certificate

Purchased at Lox at a First Friday Art Sale

Purchased at Lox at a First Friday Art Sale

Do you have any collections?
Baskets, dishes, and trays. We are very into corralling things to so that our surfaces remain clutter free. We definitely aren't minimialists which can sometimes feel sterile but we've found that clutter can be physically and emotionally overwhelming so we try to keep things simple. We love that our home feels lived in and representative of who we are.

Do you have a favorite piece in your home? Does our cat;Panda count? Favorite Room? Our bedroom. We have these amazing giant windows that make our room feel like an urban tree house.

Panda the cat in the master bedroom

Panda the cat in the master bedroom

Crista and Liam in front of the avocado tree that they grew from a sprouted pit 11 years ago when they first started dating.

Crista and Liam in front of the avocado tree that they grew from a sprouted pit 11 years ago when they first started dating.

What is your favorite thing about your home/why do you love your home?
 Truely--Who we share it with! Aside from that, It feels like the right space for our needs. The windows and the natural light are pretty incredible as well. We also love the high ceilings and the openness of the floor plan.

Guest Room

Guest Room

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

What does home mean to you?
We are home bodies so we spend a lot of time here. It has always been important to us that our home feels comfortable and happy to be in.

When people come into your home, what do you hope they feel?
I hope they feel how we feel— relaxed, cozy, and calm. We want the space to be used and enjoyed; comfortable. We love that our space is easy to rearrange and make conducive for all kinds of events.

Entryway

Entryway

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How is your home an extension of yourself or of your family?
Our home is definitely a collaborative outcome. We’ve thought about everything that occupies space here and both have really enjoyed the process of curating an apartment that feels true to us. A lot of our belongings are representative of specific trips and memories. It’s a space that we genuinely feel satisfied with.

Floor plan: 1100sq ft (2bd/2bth) Source

Floor plan: 1100sq ft (2bd/2bth) Source

Interested in where certain items are from? See the purchase list below. A big thank you to Crista and Liam for opening up their home and sharing their journey!

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom

  • Chicken Art by Ernest Lee, folk artist in Columbia, SC

Spare Bedroom/Bike Room

Iron Bed: Goodwill (modified for structural support at Ironwood Studios)

  • Lamps: Rivermill Antique Mall in Townsend (rewired and shades from Calloway’s)

  • Square Table: Also from Rivermill Antique Mall

  • Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet: Blair House Antiques

  • Blue Pillow: Citizen Supply in Atlanta, GA

  • Wooden Shelf: Salvaged, as in literally picked up from the side of the road

  • Black and White Photo: Kudzu Antiques in Decatur, GA

  • Dolly Parton Print: Haypeep (was part of the SGC International printmaking conference held in Knoxville in 2015)

Entryway

  • Metal Cabinet: Salvaged

  • Yellow Dresser: IKEA

  • Bookshelves: IKEA

  • Rug: Antique Hand-Me-Down

  • Chicken Art by Ernest Lee, folk artist in Columbia, SC

Living Room/Kitchen

  • Couch: Room and Board

  • Record Holder: Mid Mod Collective

  • Rug: IKEA (similar here)

  • Coffee Table: Abode (used to be on Market Square)

  • Side Table and Long-Armed Lamp: Design By Conran Line at JC Penney

  • Lamp with Beige Shade: Etsy

  • Red Book Shelf: Antique

  • Bar Cart: Friends Antiques

  • Cat house: Amazon

  • Table and Chairs: West Elm

  • Beige Chair: West Elm (similar here)

  • Basket: Max Studio

  • Navy Floral Chair: Retrospective Vintage Store

  • Black and White Print: UT Print Sale, Allegedly by Jack Neely

  • Bergen Print: Antique

  • Hutch: Antique Hand-Me-Down

  • Kitchen Side Shelf: West Elm

  • Kitchen Island: Coldstream Market

  • Tablecloth: Etsy

  • Semi-Circle Wooden Cabinet: Uptown Market Antiques, Wilmington, NC