Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Ask Anything

Image: www.faceyourmanga.com
I thought it would be fun to have you ask me anything you like.

How about it? Curious about my shoe size? (Hint; I have fairly big feet) Wanna know what I have for breakfast? Favorite candy? Or perhaps you have a question on organizing or DIY?

Leave your question in the comment section and I'll (try to) answer it. Being in a different time zone from some of you may mean that the answer won't be up until tomorrow so please check back if you don't get your answer right away.

Have a great weekend!
~B.

Ps. I made our family portrait over here.

EDIT: I'm keeping the comments open so feel free to still add your questions.

169 Comments

  • Our Lives says:

    Will you or do you have plan moving to New York to live?

  • Dee says:

    Do you ever feel “oppressed” or possesed by organizing? I have found having two young boys has forced me to change (read: lower) my standards and tastes a great deal, has chaos ever reigned in any part of your world and if so how did you cope with it?. While I aspire to be like you in many ways I am resigned to more disorganization that I am comfortable with and this gives me a fair degree of angst. That and feeling too uncomfortable to invite most folks into our home.

  • Oooh, if there weren’t any immigration issues and if there was a possibilty to support us and somewhere to live, I’d love to! I doubt that Martin would want to though… I know Wille would love it, he’s hooked on NYC! So while there are no plans, there are dreams for sure!

  • Not really when it comes to organizing because it’s something I love doing so I make it a priority, like treat myself to a bit of organizing. My cleaning routine isn’t as rigourous as it used to be though. I still want my counter tops and surfaces to be clean but I look the other way when it comes to floors. I’d go nuts if I cleaned the floors everytime I felt the need to so I only do it once a week (today’s the day!) eventhough I already felt the need to on Tuesday. With Mini and Bonus hopping in an out of the kitty door rain or shine the floor gets quite dirty…

  • Lisbeth says:

    This is fun!
    What was your dream job when you were growing up – and do you have your current dream job now?
    Okay, so that was technically two questions, I guess, so I will throw another one in the pot: What is your favorite place (in Stockholm/Sweden/anywhere) and why?
    Opps – two again .. 🙂

  • Sofia says:

    I have been wondering about the little plastic do-dads in your post ( http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/2009/10/male-craft-corner.html ) What do you use them for? Are they only for paint jobs or do the serve for other purposes to? After reading that post I have started my own collectin to see if they are useful and they really do the trick while I do paint small objects.

  • Accordning to Martin and Wille they are to be saved for two future projects. 1) A robot (!?) 2) Pixel art. The pixel art I get, the robot I don’t really see how it’s going to come together.
    Larger lids, like off bigger jars, are used as trays in the garage. You know for corralling nails or screws on projects so they don’t get lost.

  • I wanted to become a flight attendant and later a police officer. Then I came to my senses and decided I wanted to do something creative such as work in the field of interior design which I later did at IKEA. My dream job would be to work from home so I can’t say I have that now but I’m pretty happy on my current job because I have a fair bit of freedom to manage my own time and get to be creative too.
    I have a number of favorite places. I love Aix-en-Provence in France where I spent four months in my 20s is awesome. I love the US for all the options there. I love the area where I live now, Norra Ängby. I love an area in Stockholm called Johannes which is where I went to school. It’s dead in the center of the city but like a little oasis around Johannes Church. If I ever live in the city center again I want to live on Johannesplan or Kammakargatan

  • Mumin Mamma says:

    Hej Benita!
    I really enjoy your blog! We live in a little house in Sweden(Västerås)which nees some renovation and organization. My husband works full time, and I work 75%. I do all the cleaning and organizing. I do not mind, because I like to live in a neat house. But sometimes, I am tired of doing so, because my husbands clothes are all over the places. His gray “Inter sport” socks are my biggest enemy!!! There are 20 pairs of gray socks, and I pick them up almost everydag, but sometimes I find 2 or 3 pairs on the floor or under the bed.
    Do Martin and Wille leave thier socks where the take off? (I do not think so….but I wanted to ask)
    Do they clean the house, too?
    What do you guys do on the weekends? Do you go out with your girlfriends? or do you spend time with your family?
    Have a nice weekend!

  • Franziska says:

    thanks for that opportunity. I have many many questions. But I think it will be too much 😉 I like your organizing tips and try to use them here. But being a little inconsequent you cannot help me with that. 😉

  • Both Martin and Wille drop their clothes on the floor or if I’m lucky on a chair. I constantly pick stuff up and put it in the hamper… If I didn’t I’d be wading through worn garments. I know I should keep asking them to do it but sometimes it’s just quicker to do it myself, since I’m obviously the only one who cares about this.
    Martin and Wille never clean house. Martin does do the breakfast dishes and he does most of the grocery shoppping and cooking so we kind of divided those chores up. Wille likes to cook too and helps Martin and I feel it’s better to have him help out on something he enjoys and thus will learn from rather than forcing him to clean which I actually prefer to do myself.
    We hardly ever go out. Martin does sometimes see friends on the town but I’m so not into going out, I much prefer having friends over for dinner. Weekends are usually spent doing stuff around the house, projects, watching TV.

  • Montse says:

    Hi Benita,
    Considering you just showed your upstairs tool kit I’m curious about how you hang a picture/painting. How about a DIY? If you have already donde it sorry for asking.
    Love your blog and regards from Barcelona,
    Montse

  • I actually answered a similar question yesterday so I’ll do a little cutting and pasting here:
    I wrote a post on hanging art about six months ago. You can read it here http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/2009/06/hanging-pictures.html
    Hammer and nail is a good start :). For a stretched canvas on a wooden frame you can attach a string on either side of the frame (knotting the string at both ends and using a staple gun to attach it) and hang the canvas off the string onto the nail. Another option is to hammer in two nails a bit apart and hanging the (top of the) frame straight off them. They have to be perfectly straight though so you need a level for that.

  • Sara says:

    Could you show us your handwriting? I do calligraphy and I love handwriting, and I’ll bet yours is really pretty being as creative as you are… Thanks!
    p.s. It’s too funny that you’re doing this today, as I was thinking about asking you this yesterday.

  • I made my own font last April http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/2009/04/my-own-font.html so you can check it out there. I do have a scribble version of it too… I wrote you all a note which I posted on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/chezlarsson/4294548285/

  • Anna says:

    My questions are around your blog (which I adore – and have my breakfast in front of every morning!) What made you start the blog? What is your blogging ‘routine’? Do you have a plan of future posts or do you just decide each day…? Nosy aren’t I?

  • Very nosy 🙂 Haha!
    Here’s the story: In October 07 I bought a new camera, just a simple point and shoot Canon. To try it out I started taking photos around the house and having heard of Flickr I thought it would be fun to upload some there. After a few days I started getting comments and my photos were being blogged by some major bloggers. I was amazed and because it was so much fun took more and more photos. I started getting requests for interviews and AT asked me to contribute my top ten organizing tips and afterwards suggested I start blogging too. I got prompted by several other bloggers too and in the end (in May 08) decided to go for it and here I am 🙂
     
    My routine is that I usually start preparing my next post right after I get home from work (around 5 pm). Depending on what it’s about it can take an hour or several hours (eating dinner in between). I usually schedule it to be published at 7 am the next day. That way I can make any little changes in the morning if I need to.
    I have a bunch of post ideas in photo folders on my lap top. Sometimes a project drags on and isn’t publishable right away and sometimes I just don’t feel like posting a project then and there. A lot of times I do write and take photos the day before though but during the dark months I tend to take my photos during the weekends in daylight.

  • Robyn says:

    Hi Benita!
    I’d like to know if you have more than 24 hours in a day in Stockholm? Where do you find the time to do all the things you do at home and still work full-time 4 days a week?

  • kt says:

    Hey Benita,
    Nice portrait! Just wondering if Martin got to decide on all the interior decor of your house. what would your house look like?!
    KT

  • I’ll have to ask him, he’s out on an errand. Will get back to you a little later! 🙂

  • Nope, I wish we did! There are so not enough hours in a day and for the most they are really dark this time of year.
    I honestly don’t know how to answer that. It’s just who I am I guess. Everybody is different and we prioritise differently. I skip a lot of things others do I suppose, don’t go out, don’t work out, don’t shop, don’t put on make up, don’t get manis or pedis, don’t cook, don’t wash windows etc. All that time I use on the stuff that matters to me like organizing, doing projects, taking photos, blogging and so on.
    Also, I probably don’t sleep enough.

  • Sara Gomes says:

    Hello,i’m Sara from Portugal. Love your blog.
    I’m curious in what you do to minimize cat fur from your home and stuff. I have 3 cats, and find it very difficult sometimes.
    Tx

  • Shayla says:

    I’d like to know how much money it costs to completely organize your house? You have a ton of containers, boxes, etc..

  • Michelle says:

    Hi Benita,
    I have a question that I’ve been curious about. How do you store your movie DVD’s/videos and also your music CD’s? I know alot of people now just use their iPods and computers for music storage, but I’ve been collecting movies for 20 years and my husband has an extensive CD collection (we’re old;) I’ve never found a system that is attractive, but also functional and easily accessible. Any thoughts?
    Thanks,
    Michelle

  • Catiepie says:

    Hello. Do you use dishrags and/or sponges (or something else) to clean your dishes and countertops? What do you do with them when not in use? I like to use microfiver rags to wipe the counters but I hate looking at them draped over the faucet to dry when not in use. Do you or your readers have any suggestions?

  • I have no idea. All the storage has been accumulated over a number of years and I’ve always kept to the same style to make it cohesive. I’ll do a quick count of the white IKEA boxes. Hold on a sec.
    Back. There are 23 white Ikea kassett boxes and some other white storage boxes and a rough estimate is that I spent around $250 on all of them. A lot of the smaller storage we have is repurposed and didn’t really cost a whole lot. Most of the storage furniture we built ourselves and the cost has been some MDF board and some paint.

  • I vacuum the sofa and armchairs every week with the upholstery attachment (just did it this morning actually). A great tip is to put on rubber gloves and stroke the pet hair off. Works amazingly well! I also sometimes use a clothes brush if there’s a lot in one spot.

  • Leslie says:

    Hi Benita!
    Your avatar looks a little like Twiggy 🙂 My questions are: (OK if you would rather not answer for “privacy” or “security” reasons)–
    Where do you work and explain briefly what you do.
    Where does Martin work and what does he do?
    Does Wille have a girlfriend?
    Love your new blog look.

  • I use cellulose dish rags, called Wettex. From what I hear they aren’t widely available outside of Sweden unfortunately. I use them and wash them in the laundry machine and then reuse them. They don’t last super long and after they get too worn for the kitchen I use them in the garage and then toss them. I like them because you can really wring them out and they dry quickly keeping their shape.

  • We keep all DVDs in Wille’s rom because they are essentially his eventhough we all watch them. I wrote a couple of posts on his Expedit book case a while a go and there you can see them. http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/2008/08/organizing-expe.html http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/2009/01/reorganizing-willes-expedit-i.html
    Our CDs are also in there but we have very few. Check out these posts on CD storage though. http://makingitlovely.com/2009/07/31/cd-storage/ http://makingitlovely.com/2009/08/10/our-possible-cddvd-storage-solution/ If I remember correctly there are some great links in there.

  • Here goes:
    What is your pet peeve ?
    What is your organising/decorating pet peeve ?
    What’s the best thing about living in Sweden ? The worst thing ?
    You know you’ve been cleaning too much when…
    Tips for keeping the house in shape for a family with toddlers ?
    Tips for getting husband to put dirty socks in the hamper… or anywhere except on the floor…
    If your house wasn’t white, it would be…
    Your favourite thing about the winter ?

  • I work for a chain of jewelers where I’m the visual merchandiser. That means I’m in charge of the window displays, the marketing campaign themes, the promotional items, the gift wrapping, shopping bags etc. It’s all VERY commercial and usually not to my personal taste at all…
    Unfortunately Martin is unemployed at he moment but he’s in the printing and packaging industry when he does work. Wille show no interest in girls so far. He has a bunch of friends who are girls at school but (as far as we know…) no GF 🙂

  • Ok, here goes, off the top of my head!
    Pet peeve: Ego centered people who don’t realise how ego centered they are.
    Pet organizing/decorating peeve: Hanging art too high.
    Best thing about Sweden: A year off paid maternity leave.
    Worst thing about Sweden: The dark winters.
    I know I’ve been cleaning too much when my rag is in shreds. It happens!
    Toddler tips: Invest in storage for toys and keep a basket in the livingroom to corrall all toys at day’s end.
    Tip for sock dispensing husband: None. I need a tip!
    If my house wasn’t white it’d be pale grey. I know, such a bore.
    Favorite thing about winter: Being cozy inside with tea and a throw.

  • kt says:

    Ta!
    Looking forward to it 🙂

  • Annie Rasmussen says:

    This is so neat! I hope you have some good ideas for me – I am looking for ideas of things to display on top of the kitchen cabinets in our apartment. There’s such a void there!

  • Luisa says:

    Hi Benita, great idea for a post.
    What do you usually eat during the day? Are you a picky eater? Favorite food?

  • carolk says:

    All time favorite band?
    Person, or persons, you most admire?
    Favorite room or interior you fell in love with?
    I know, I know, I asked more than one. What can I say? I’m greedy.
    Love to all of you.
    P.S. We share the same pet peeve.

  • Norma says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m loving it! So much to explore still. I am highly motivated by you to tidy up and organize. My question: When I try to keep decor simple and clean, it seems lacking & looks like it’s missing something. When I try to decorate and make a little vignette, it looks cluttered and messy. How do you acheive a balance? Is there a formula or process…like your sweet mantel with picture, plant and lighted house. Simple but oh so lovely!!!

  • Ok, the mister is back and here’s his answer:
    He’s pretty content with the overall look but would add chunkier frames (we have some old gold ones that I refuse to have up in their current sorry state), more colorful accessories out (read; more clutter) and would switch out some lamps (wants to build his own). He would also like to strew more clothes on the floor he claims. Oh, and the now black front door would go back to being fire engine red. Other than that the white walls, furnishings etc have his full approval.

  • Pauline says:

    Love this question and answer idea; always thought that you worked for IKEA I don’t know why ?
    – Do you have a dishwasher ?
    – Are you a strict parent ? Do you ever shout at your son ?
    – What would be the WORST deco thing that could happen to your house.
    – What would you save from a house fire (other then your 2 men and the cat ?)
    – If budget allowed what sort of house would you have ?
    – Do you have any plans for moving house in the near future ,

  • Lisa Z says:

    Oh yes, I hate walking into someone’s nice house and seeing all their art hung near the ceiling!!!

  • Lisa Z says:

    Okay, I’ve been wanting to ask you a particular question for a long time but figured maybe I should just read back through your blog archives and figure it out for myself. But now you’ve given me the perfect opportunity to just ask:
    How do you speak and write so well in English?
    I mean, you even use our idioms so well it astounds me. I am jealous of your ability to use the English language when it is not your first language. Here in the USA we are mostly so bad at foreign languages!

  • Food is tricky with me because I have IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome). On my work days I don’t eat much during the day because I get totally gassy and bloated. I have two pieces of carrot bread with cheese and tea in the morning and a yogurt at around noon. The rest of the day I snack on rice cakes. When I get home I’m super hungry and lucky for me Martin cooks. Due to my IBS I can’t eat much fibres so I skip fresh fruit and veg almost altoghether and beans, peas etc are a total no go. I also can’t eat a lot of the things that are “good for you” such as whole grain bread etc. I've had this all my life but it's gotten worse these past five years or so… Oh, and my favorite food is probably pasta.

  • Malena says:

    Benita, thanks to you I’m on a mission to get rid of stuff. Just stuff. I’m trying… But, my real aspiration is to have clean floors. All the time. I’ve tried the shoes off at the door thing, and it works for a while. But my question is, do you keep slippers or clogs at both the back door and the front door? It seems like so many pairs of shoes out at any given time. We use both doors equally and we may be lazy, but it’s a pain to go to the front door to get your shoes if you want to go out the back door. And vice versa. How do you deal with it?

  • Leslie says:

    I figured Martin was in a creative field too, judging by the illustrations he’s done for your blog (not to mention the woodworking projects).
    If I was 45 years younger–and lived in Sweden–I’d be after Wille 😉 He seems like such a nice young man.

  • Have you tried shopping your own cabinets? I bet there are displayable things there! How about a collection of nesting bows or some vintage cookie tins?
     
    Using that space for storage can work out great too if you get some all matching boxes that fit the space or pretty baskets depending on your style preferences. In there you can store things you want in your kitchen but don't need easy access to like the pasta machine (unless you make fresh pasta on a daily basis of course), holiday cookie cutters or other seasonal items like your easter decorations or party balloons.

  • Hello greedy,
    My all time favorite band is easy: Simon & Garfunkel. Love!!!!!!!!
    Persons I admire: Martha Stewart for building an empire on homekeeping and Kate Spade for her awesome style.
    Favorite room: I was (and still am but have ventured away a bit from the country feel) a huge fan of Jane Cumberbatch and love her books on Pure Style where she shows her (then?) Georgian home in Spitalfields in London.

  • Heather says:

    You said that you don’t own a car. Is this common in Sweden? How do you and your husband get around?

  • I don’t know if you have read this post http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/2008/09/the-art-of-display.html but there are some display techniques which might be helpful.
    White and “clean” interiors can look stark if you don’t mix materials and textures. Try putting something a bit more rugged with something sleek and mix a flat weave with a knit. Also don’t be afraid to display items that were not meant for display like a toy or a ball of yarn, that little out of place, whimsical item makes your home less precious and more lived in.

  • April says:

    Please feel free to skip any questions that are too personal. I’m too nosy for my own good. 😛
    – If you had to start over with a new blog, what would you do with it?
    – What is your favorite family activity?
    – What if your favorite activity to do only by yourself (never with others)?
    – Do you prefer to watch movies or read books? What is your favorite of each?
    – Favorite type of music?
    – Favorite food? Drink?
    – Do you ever have bouts of un-motivation when it comes to doing something that normally you like (cleaning, organizing, building, etc.)? If so, how do you overcome it?
    – When you’re really really happy, what do you inevitably do?
    – When you’re really really angry, what do you inevitably do?
    – When you’re really really sad, what do you inevitably do?
    – If you could change any one thing about your life, but nothing else could change forever, what would it be?
    – If you could only keep one thing about your life the same, and everything else had to change, what would it be?
    – Do you wish / Have you ever wished you had more children?
    – What do you and Martin fight about most often?
    – What do you and Willie fight about most often?
    – What do Willie and Martin fight about most often?
    – Do you regret letting everyone ask you a zillion questions? 😉

  • We do have a dish washer. Me! We don’t have a machine though 🙂
    We are not strict parents but then we don’t feel we need to, Wille is an awesome kid. I don’t think I’ve ever shouted at him.
    The worst deco thing that could happen would be for us to be selected by one of those home improvent shows where they just take over and not consider the owners style.
    I’d probably grab photo albums and extrernal harddrive if there was a fire.
    Id love either a mid century modern home or a New England shingled beach house…
    I would love to move and start over renovating another house. We have talked about it but with Wille still in school we can´’t really move away from the area and can’t afford to move within the area either. The idea would be to change lifestyles completely, move to another (cheaper than the Stockhom suburbs) part of Sweden, set up a small business. Just dreams at this point but in a few years time they might become reality.

  • Jennifer S. says:

    I am curious about your commute to work. I gather you ride a bike, but how far? Is it dark when you leave in the morning, and if so, are there lighted bike paths or do you ride in the street? Thanks!

  • Thank you for saying that!
    I’ve always had a love of languages (I also speak French and German but probably not as fluent as English). I read a lot of books and magazines in English and part of my day job is in English too because I buy from the Far East and all communication is in English. Also I’m constantly on the Internet 🙂 I guess I pick stuff up everywhere. I’m one of those weird people who translate back to English when I read an English book in Swedish…

  • We keep clogs at the back door during the warmer months. One pair each. We don’t keep any shoes out at the front door usually. They are in the shoe cubbies next to the door. I have to admit to being the one who puts them in there though, Martin and Wille couldn’t care less if there were shoes everywhere…

  • Our neighbors are probably still wondering if our car is being repaired (after eleven years) because when living in a house it’s not common to not have a car. There are at least one or two cars for each family in our neighborhood. The reasons for us not having one is simple; Martin doesn’t have a drivers licence (weird, I know!) and I don’t like to drive. I have super bad sense of direction and used to get lost (, white knuckles and a headache) whenever I drove so I just stopped. We take the subway or the bus and sometimes a cab. Also you’d be amazed how many companies deliver. You have to pay for delivery of course but then again the few times we get something delivered, it’s cheaper than owning a car 🙂

  • OMG! Well here we go. Put your seat belt on!
    If I had to start over with a new blog, what would I do with it? I’d probably do something similar to this one.
    What is our favorite family activity? Probably watch TV while snacking.
    What is my favorite activity to do only by myself (never with others)? I crave alone time. Cleaning is one thing I want to do alone if I can.
    Do I prefer to watch movies or read books? Probably read a book.
    Favorite movie? I rarely watch movies, do love TV…
    Favorite books? British crime novels.
    Favorite food? Pasta.
    Favorite drink? Australian cheapo Chardonnay.
    Do I ever have bouts of un-motivation when it comes to doing something that normally you like (cleaning, organizing, building, etc.)? Yes
    If so, how do I overcome it? I cleaned today even though I didn’t really feel like it (come to think of it the bathroom’s not done yet…). I guess I just do it regardless. I always feel good after which is a carrot!
    When I’m really really happy I get all blabber mouthed and my voice gets shrill.
    When I’m really really angry I swear. A lot.
    When I’m really really sad I clam up.
    If I could change any one thing about my life, but nothing else could change forever I’d be taller with a super flat stomach.
    If I could only keep one thing about my life the same, and everything else had to change I’d keep my family.
    Do I wish / Have I ever wished I had more children? Nope.
    What do Martin and I fight about most often? Money and clutter.
    What do Wille and I fight about most often? We never fight.
    What do Wille and Martin fight about most often? They don’t fight either.
    Do I regret letting everyone ask me a zillion questions? No, this is fun!

  • Actually I don’t ride my bike during the darkest months. I stop riding it after the leaves start falling because the roads get really slippery downhill. I;d say I go by bike from end of March until end of September. It can still be a bit dark in the mornings but I have good lights. The rest of the year I go by subway to work and then it’s really dark in the morning AND in the evening.There are some hard core bike riders who ride to work every single day all year around but until I get a better bike (mine’s a no gear Kronan) I won’t. Also it’s kind of a nice break to read on the subway. I’m getting eager to start riding again because of the free exersize… The distance I ride on my bike is 8 km (about 5 miles) x2 a day.

  • Jacqueline says:

    Hi Benita, This is such fun! I read through this post about an hour and half ago and got so excited but I couldn’t decide on just one question, so I hope you don’t mind more than one. Then, by the time I came to the comments I could no longer see them!!
    I have closed and opened my browser many times, and shut down the computer but I still can’t see them. So I am submitting this question but do not know if you will get it.
    I have read your encouragement to all us readers that one of the major keys, to your clean open space living, is in the editing of possessions-so that is my question. But more specifically, how did you edit your clothing. We are also living in a climate that gets snow,very cold days and then what feels like many micro seasons all year long. I have turtleneck sweaters, thin sweaters, cotton sweaters and tees and dresses.Not too many of each but I would like to own few clothes that can be used year round with minor switches. It seems you can do that. But how do you do that given your climate? I do not wear polo shirts but do wear tee shirts and jeans and some skirts/dresses. So how do you edit down to a uniform and what would you do for different “occasions”?
    If I can get to see the comments, perhaps I will try another question. For now, many thanks!

  • I think I figured out the problem. It has to do with my answering the comments via e-mail. When I check the comments there’s weird scrip in there. I removed it all and now it works again! Wohoo!
    I think I have the most basic (and boring) closets of all times. I totally dress in a uniform with very little changes from summer to winter. The seasonal clothes I own are a few patterned shirts, some shorts, some light colored pants and some wolly jumpers and cardigans. The rest is all year around which probably explains it. I simpy tuck whatever I don’t wear right now at the bottom of the stacks or on top shelves or at the back of the rod. Also I’m really stumped when it comes to “nicer” things. For instance I was invited to the Swedish blog awards on Wednesday (I was part of the hundred bloggers nominating) and briefly considered going until I started thinking of what to wear. I can honestly say I have NOTHING to wear to a gala event like that! Nothing at all. And I’m not about to buy anything either so for that reason (and the fact that gala’s not my thing) I’m not going 🙂

  • I replied to your question but it’s sepatared from your original comment. Just so you know 🙂

  • JILL says:

    Benita,
    Hello from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I love the blog. It is good to know that I am not alone with the love of organizing. Quick question, where did you get your cat’s bed that looks like a cat head? It is too stinking cute!
    Thanks
    Jill

  • Jacqueline says:

    Hi Benita, I posted this before but I think it got lost in the disappearing comments.
    As a devoted reader I keep your mantra in mind to edit, edit, edit! Like many others here I am trying to achieve the same sense of clean open space your home has. I think that in addition to editing it is your sense of consistency that stands out. Maybe the word is un-complicatedness (!!) So, my first question is about your clothes closet.
    It snows here and we have four distinct seasons, so I own turtleneck sweaters, wool sweaters, cotton v-neck, tanks, tees, and some dresses. Not too many of each and all within the same blue/grey/white/colors- but I would like a much more simple uniform and am wondering how you do it with your varying seasons? I don’t wear polo shirts but I do wear tees and jeans. But what happens when it gets so cold? Do you just layer up. What about ‘occasions’? I (of course) caught your recent post on clearing out your closet but I guess I am asking more of what are the basic thoughts you start with to achieve such consistency and ease in really every aspect. I remember your older posts on accessories-also so simple and easy. Maybe we need a what do you carry in your purse/tote post – or,how to forgo carrying a purse and where to put the reading glasses post?

  • It’s probably one of my FAQ’s 🙂
    I saw it in a home in an interior design mag and showed it to Wille. We agreed we had to have it and searched the internet for it. We found it on sale on Ebay in the end and won the auction. It’s actually a promotional item by Whiskas (hence the design. Try an Ebay search for “whiskas, cat, bed”. There doesn’t seem to be a current listing but they do pop up once in a while. It took a few years (!) for our cats to get used to it but now it’s one of Bonus’ favorite spots.

  • I had some problems with the posts but I managed to answer it a little further up 🙂
    Great idea btw, I’ll do one of those “what’s in your purse” posts next week! 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Oooh I have a better question now. How do you arrange your day/week? Does it have a lot of structure? What kind of meals are typical (i.e. do you have a light breakfast at home with the family in the morning, do you go out and pick up breakfast at a bakery)? Do you pack lunches? Do you do your cooking in the evenings or on the weekends? Do you clean a little each day or a deep clean one day a week?

  • I’ve answered the breakfast and lunch question a bit further up but after all the comings and goings of comments today I totally understand that you haven’t seen it 🙂
    In the evenings Martin does all the cooking and it’s all from scratch.
    I do all the cleaning and I usually do it on my Fridays “off” in the morning. I like to to it once a week but I do wipe counters and other surfaces and sweep when needed during the week.

  • Lori says:

    I hope I’m not being redundant in my question, but it’s the one thing I want to know from all busy moms…How do you organize your laundry? And by organize I mean:
    -Where do you put dirty clothes? one place, in your room, each have a hamper, etc.
    -Do you always do laundry on a particular day or in a particular order?
    -Do you fold right away or are wrinkles a non-issue?
    -Does your laundry ever pile up like mine does???
    Thanks, Benita! I just love your blog!!
    Lori

  • Andrea says:

    Are there any good site to buy European goods available in the U.S. (without the hefty shipping charges)?
    I know about Cath Kidston, but that’s about it.

  • Vicki K. says:

    Benita, you are so inspiring with your fresh decorating and clean organizing! I looked up your handwriting font – your writing would make such great labels.
    How did you and Martin meet? How long before you got married? And what attracted you and him to each other?

  • We have an upstairs hamper that’s sitting in the closet behind the sliding doors. I bring it downstairs every other day or so and fill the three hampers in the basement next to the washing machine. One is for white, one for color one for black/dark. I do a load a day and if I don’t I run behind. I don’t have a dryer and have limited space to hang so to keep things flowing a load a day is the trick. I fold off the hanger so it’s different from folding straight out of the dryer but I don’t iron much, only pillow cases and shirts basically.

  • Sorry, aside from IKEA I’m not sure… Any one else know?

  • Caroline says:

    Huh. This is interesting because the only person I know w/ IBS is also the only person I know who is very similar to you personality-wise (she is super organized, crafty, and cleans constantly). She also can’t eat “good for you” foods and doesn’t eat much until dinner. I wonder if there’s any connection? Its probably just a coincidence, but it was interesting to me, so I thought I’d share… 🙂

  • Martin and I met on New Years Eve 1987 and started dating early 1988. We met through a mutual friend in Älmhult (birthplace of IKEA)and my first impression wasn’t all that great. Actually I couldn’t stand him… He was very heroic though in the wee hours when our gay frind was assaulted in the local square and that totally melted my heart 🙂

  • Barb says:

    I have a question. Your son’s name…is it pronounced Will/ie or Will?

  • How weird is that?! Say Hi to her from her belly twin!

  • Neither actually. The W is pronounced V and it’s not ie at the end it’s just an e which isn’t silent. I’ve tried before to find something it will rhyme with but I’m stumped. It’s not an English speaking sound…

  • Ok, it’s bed time over here 🙂 You can still ask questions but they’ll be answered tomorrow. Nighti night!

  • jja says:

    Do you still have some really big dreams? Besides small home business…more like visiting some place, learning something particular, being able to feel on a certian way most of the time (happy, calm, energized…)

  • jessica says:

    Wow, I’m so incredibly jealous that you get a YEAR paid of maternity leave! I’m in the states and a teacher; my friend (also a teacher) just had her first baby. She used her sick days to get paid, and then she gets like 2 or 3 months unpaid but they won’t drop her health insurance. It’s ridiculous. You guys have the right idea over there!

  • Oh, oh, me me!!!
    Do you make a Daily To Do list and, if so, where do you do that? On the computer, in a notebook? I’d love details!

  • Lori says:

    Thanks for the fun Q & A!
    Here are a few:
    – Do you “stage” your photos, or are we seeing what is really there at the moment?
    – Is English your first language, or are all Swedes so fluent? (I know you all study English extensively, but I am often surprised by your easy use of idioms.)
    – Do your men really never clean? Even something like the Empire State sugar cube project?

  • Brandy says:

    Hi Benita – fun idea! I’ve been meaning to ask you about cycling and this seems to be the perfect opportunity!
    We don’t have a car either and I cycle pretty much everywhere. It seems like you get by without much cycling gear – maybe you have drier weather than we do here in Victoria, BC Canada?
    – Can you tell me more about your daily commute?
    – How do you arrive at work clean & dry?
    – How do you keep your bike gear organized & ready to go?
    – Aside from your baskets do you use anything else (like bags or a trailer) to transport things on your bike?
    – Did you ever commute with Wille by bike?
    Thanks!
    I love your blog and all the organizational inspiration! (I’ve even started to collect my own stash stash ; )
    PS LOVE the new Search button!!!

  • I would love to drive (or rather be driven…) down the east coast of the US. I’d love to learn a skill such as furniture upholstery. I want to learn proper Photoshoping. There are so many things I still want to do and learn.

  • I contstantly make lists. Usually on slim pieces of paper which I can toss after the items have been ticked off. I don’t like using note books because I don’t like to save my lists after I’m done with them. I’m planning to try Evernotes on the computer. I’ve registered but still haven’t started, have to check out the tutorials first. Maybe this weekend!

  • I don’t stage my photos, meaning I don’t add things that weren’t there before. I do however move things out of the view finder if they are distracting, such as a bag of groceries in the background or a TV remote on the coffee table or a cell phone charger cable.
    English is not my first language but we start learning it in school early over here, I was ten when I started having English lessons and Wille was just eight. He speaks really well too. Not all Swedes might be as fluent but everyone has the opportunity to learn decent English with good grammar.
    My men don’t really ever “clean”. They do help out in many other ways though, such as cooking and grocery shopping. I guess I’m at fault not really letting Martin clean because I don’t think he does a good enough job. He does put the tools back after doing projects in the garage but I just have a different standard of how well I want things done. Like I want the dust on the power tools to be brushed off before putting them back and when sweeping the floor I want all the wood shavings to be swept up, not just the ones in the center of the floor. So instead of going in after him and cleaning again I just tell him I’ll do it. I know I shouldn’t but the half done thing bothers me too much.

  • carla says:

    ok, got one! is it really common in northern europe for families to rent rather than own their homes? i don’t want this to sound like i am criticizing your economic successes or anything – it is more just that it seems your rental is much like a home, and you invest so much time, care and love into renovating it and have lived there so long…is homeownership not an accessible option? or is this more of a personal choice you and your husband have made? just curius. btw, i am a renter in very expensive san francisco, where owning is a real luxury. but few renters would or could invest in the improvements you have made, so that is why i ask.
    : )

  • I cycle 8 km (5 miles) to and from work about three or four days a week from end of March to end of September. I have a bike with no gears but with a basket at the front and at the back.
    At the beginning of the season I wear my regular work clothes (jeans and a polo shirt usually) and a fleece sweater under a Goretex jacket. Later in the season I skip the fleece and during summer I just go in my regular clothes without the jacket.
    If it rains I have a pair of waterproof pants to go over my jeans. I just wear my regular shoes, like my Stan Smith trainers.
    The most important item of clothing are my ear bags http://www.earbags.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=200121&lang=en because it’s usually pretty windy and I easily get ear aches. They are perfect beause they go over the ear only which works really well with the bike helmet. Oh, I also wear fleece gloves if it’s cold and reflector strips around my ankles and sun glasses. I kind of look like a black insect with my gear on.
    I keep a bag in my back basket and in it I keep a map (I get lost easily), pump, the rain pants and gloves when I don’t need them. After I reach work I just peel the bike stuff off and put it in the bag.
    I take it fairly easy on my way to work so I don’t need to shower when I get there. It takes me about 30 minutes and luckily there’s a fair bit of downhill. On the way home I don’t care if I work up a sweat (which I do because downhill to work means uphill going home…)so I just go for it as fast and hard as I can 🙂
    When I get home I park the bike in the garage and leave all the gear there too so it’s all ready when I go the next morning.
    Wille’s school is nearby and we don’t have the same hours so we rarely go together but he likes to cykle too. When Wille was four and we moved here from the city he still went to day care in the city and Martin rode his bike with a trailer behind it and dropped and picked Wille up every single day 🙂

  • In Stockholm it’s VERY difficult to find a rental home! Especially in the city. You put yourself on a government regulated waiting list and it can take many, many years to get anything. I’m always amazed that there are places to rent in other large cities, it’s almost impossible here unless you’ve been on that list for ages or have applied to private waiting lists which usually also take a loooooong time. There are ways to rent if you have previously owned a home and you trade that home with a renter. I know it’s very odd. It’s all very strictly regulated.
    We owned a small apartment in the city which we were able to trade with a large private rental apartment in the same area. We were then lucky to have the previous owners of our house wanting a rental apartment and were able to again switch (paying for the house though of course but getting a better price for it because they really wanted a/the rental apartment). It’s such a weird system.
    Oh, so in case it wasn’t obvious before, we don’t rent, we own our house. We probably wouldn’t spend as much time and effort on a rental. Our three years in a rental apartement wasn’t really our thing because we weren’t able to do everything we wanted.

  • I know. You can even prolong it if you choose to take fewer paid days per week. I stayed home for 14 months with Wille.

  • Martin says:

    Vad vill du ha till middag?

  • Haha, very funny. For those of you who don’t speak Swedish, that’s Martin asking what I want for dinner.
    We should maybe have that salmon? Fresh pasta? Spinach?! And a shrimp starter.

  • Sara says:

    I just KNEW it was going to be good! 🙂

  • Bridget says:

    One of my favorite things about Sweden was the almond buns you make in February (I visited during Midsommar, and my cousin saved some in the freezer special just for us!). So–what’s your favorite traditional Swedish food? Princess cake? Korv? (I always mixed up asking for sill or sylta instead of sylt. Vastly different things to put on toast). (=herring or head cheese instead of jam).

  • Oooh! Semla IS tasty. I haven’t had one yet this year but soon, soon…
    I think my favorite dish is probably Janssons Temptation. It’s a potato dish with tinned sprats cured in brine (thats how they translate it online, we call it anchovis). Kind of weirdly sweet but also very salty. I’m thirsty for three days after I’ve had it which is why I don’t very often.

  • Cecilia says:

    How weird… I’ve got IBS too and I am also crafty, clean constantly and try to be super organized!
    Maybe it is not a coincidence after all…

  • Aqeela says:

    Oooh i have 3 questions for u as some of my others hav already been answered.
    1/ do u hav any plans to start a new blog?
    2/ at home do u all speak swedish? Do m and w speak it as well as you do?
    3/ are u religious or do u believe in god?
    Thanks for all the time and effort your spending on us!

  • 1/ No, but I’m curious as to what kind of blog you were thinking of.
    2/ Yes, we do. It’s Martin’s and Wille’s first language.
    3/ I’m not and I don’t but respect people who are and do.

  • Caroline says:

    Not sure if you are still answering questions, but if so, here’s something I’m curious about:
    Do your friends, family, and coworkers know that you have a blog w/ such a large (and international) following? Are some of your friends or family completely unaware of your blogging?
    PS: I’m a fairly new reader of your blog, so please excuse me if you have answered this question in an earlier post.
    PPS: Your “belly twin” (from the earlier IBS comment) said hi back. 🙂

  • Tuesday says:

    I know for myself, part of why I like to clean and organize is that it helps relieve my anxiety. I’m an anxious person, and I don’t like feeling “out of control” with life. Do you think that you have any anxiety issues that play into your love of organization? Also, thank you, you’ve been very inspirational in helping me organize my house!

  • Bonnie says:

    Hello I’m Bonnie 🙂 I’ve been following your blog every day for a long time! Here’re my questions:
    1) What is your favorite computer font face? Tahoma I’m guessing? (If yes, it’s my favorite font face too!)
    2) If there is one thing in the past you can change, what would it be?
    3) I think this question somewhat follows the post above. Are you a perfectionist? Or is the meticulous organization just what you like and do instead of something deeper?
    Thanks! I can’t express how much you are an inspiration and role model to me 🙂

  • Ok, so if we all turn sloppy (or just normal) it will go away? Maybe we solved a medical mystery here!

  • I kept my blog a secret for quite some time with only Martin and Wille and a couple of good friends knowing. Then after some months Martin couldn’t keep his mouth shut and told his family and consequently I told my mom. I told my boss at work about 9 months ago (so he wouldn’t choke on his breakfast if my face suddenly turned up in a newspaper article) and late this fall my secret came out at work although some people knew because they found my blog by accident and I asked them to keep it quiet. It all has to do with the fact that while I don’t mind showing people I’ve never met my underware drawer it’s somehow awkward to show it to my coworkers. Luckily it’s an arganized drawer and my undies are clean…

  • I’ve always said that I don’t ever need to see a shrink for as long there are drawers to organize and stuff to throw out because it makes me feel so good 🙂
    Not sure I’d call myself anxious though. I’m a pretty confident person who’s not afraid to speak her mind BUT at the same time I’m quite shy. I have no problem speaking in front of two hundred people but I’m terrible at the mingling and networking afterward. I’m the worst ever small talker!

  • 1)I do like Tahoma. Simple and neat.
    2)I would have loved to have learned a handicraft and maybe made a career out of it. But then again I don’t dwell in the past, I look forward.
    3)I would’t say I’m a perfectionist. A perfectionist to me is someone who often doesn’t finish projects because everything has to be to super high standards. I’m not like that at all. I’ll keep a nail in that’s crooked if it means I’ll get the project done quicker. I’m a doer and the sooner the better. About the organizing, I just love the whole process and the end result. It’s cleansing.

  • Sam says:

    Hello! I think I am a bit late to ask a question…but I thought I would give it a go..I love how clean and tidy your house is…I just wondered how you keep on top of you house keeping jobs…cleaning up that kind of thing..I seem to be constantly battling dust bunnies in my house all the time!
    Love sam (Bath, uk)
    PS your blog is amazing xxx

  • IVANA says:

    Hi Benita!
    This is so much fun and you are so open and genuine….I read almost everything on this blogg but didn’t see when is your B-day,girl???

  • It was December 21st and I was 45.

  • I clean house “properly” once a week, I dust, vacum upholstery and floors and clean bathrooms. I don’t mop the floors every week, only every second, except for the bathrooms.
    Every night I straighten out the house, fluff pillows, remove clutter, sweep kitchen floor and wipe kitchen handles. After each meal I do the dishes, wipe the counters, the stove and back splash and the table.
    I do a load of laundry every day and fold the day’s before that’s been hanging.
    That’s about it 🙂

  • anne says:

    You know that would not work. I’m not organized in spite of my IBS stomach… but I would like to think I am fairly creative when I want to. So IBS equals creativity but not necessarily organization skills. Very scientific investigation 🙂

  • Shayla says:

    Actually I’ve started to leave my computer at the page of some of your projects for my husband to read 🙂 My idea to help him get inspired for the storage in our new house (which needs work). I have to say that I LOVE this blog for all your projects and organizational tips.

  • norma says:

    That’s my brothers birthday!!! Happy belated birthday. Thanks again for all the wonderful information. I’m off to try the triangle display lesson you answered to my question. This has been fun!!

  • Vicki K. says:

    Just in case you are still answering…one of my biggest problems is paper. Do you have any challenges with it? Who takes care of bills and paperwork in your family?

  • Giovanna says:

    Some of your ideas are so simple that they are brilliant! But your secret might be your attitude…”treat yourself to a bit of organization” – I shall have this as my mantra as I am putting up (yet again) organizations systems for my 3 teens/preteen. I am also relieved to find out that even in your house socks do not magically jump into the laundry basket by themselves.
    Can I still ask a question? Where do you keep/put away the bread in the kitchen, I hope this question does not seem trivial/stupid

  • kt says:

    cool, thats interesting to know!! thank you! x

  • Pauline says:

    1/ Now that I know that you have a ‘human’ dishwasher just like me. I would like to know how do you keep you teatowels clean ( do you wash them with bleach) how often do you chnage them .. everyday, every 2 days, when they get really yucky ?
    2/ What do you do with leftover food? Or is that what Willy is for 🙂
    3/ How does your garden cope with the hardy Swedish winters ? Do you need to replant a lot in Spring ?
    4/ Do you have legs, under arms, anything else ?

  • We freeze our sliced bread when it’s fresh and then take out slices from the freezer when we want them. They usually go straight in the toaster.

  • 1/ There are stains that won’t go away… I change then whenever they look dirty so it really depends. Sometines they just last a day or two and sometimes more.
    2/ We sometimes keep it in the fridge in a clingfilm covered container for the next day and otherwise I use freezer bags to freeze the left overs.
    3/ I depends on how harsh a winter. Some years the lawn looks fine and sometimes it looks horrible. I used to replant a lot in spring but now have enough perennials that I don’t need to replants much at all except for pots.
    4/ ? 🙂

  • Pauline says:

    Of course you have legs and under arms what an idiot I am, I missed the letter “S” so that’s SHAVE not have.. .
    I HUGE thankyou to taking the time for the Q/A I have so enjoyed it 🙂

  • Karin says:

    Hi Benita! I hope you’re still answering questions, I know I’m late to the party but here it goes.. Have you had any formal training in design or is it just natural to you? You have such a good eye for arranging things that I’ve always wondered, and that lesson in displays was genius! Oh! And one more question, where did you get the little bird-shaped sponges you have on your sink? I couldn’t find them anywhere so I made my own out of a regular Scotch-brite sponge and is now decorating my kitchen ( kind of awkward to actually wash dishes with). Thank you for sharing all your ideas and projects with us. I’ve learned so much in the past 5 days since I found your blog, I’m already measuring everything, planning and saving for my next Ikea trip. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • I don't have formal training such as design college or anything like that. I attended a trainee program at IKEA for a year and then stayed on for another couple of years. The best school! I've also attended art classes (sculpture, painting and photography).
     
    The little sponge birdies came from a Japanese home store in Hong Kong. Very cute but way too small for cleaning, They cheer my up when I see them in my broom closet though so they're not completely useless 🙂

  • Franziska says:

    *smile* I’ve got a food incompatibility, too, which also means: no flatulent food, no lök, only a few fruits and vegetable, different milk (without lactose), no sugar substitute asf. I know these rice cakes, too… I’m crafty but unfortunately not really as organized as you are. 😉 So maybe I’m a exeption from you girls 😉
    If it got worse the last five years maybe you’ll have to diet for a month or so. That means that you just eat the things you know you can eat without any problem. It helped me when I discovered I had those problems. The list of food which I was allowed to eat was really small, but it helped me and one month was soon over. Just an idea… Did you do the respiratorytest to know what you can eat or not or did you do a blood study?

  • I did it all. Refrained from eating one thing at a time for weeks (wheat, milk etc). Did the bloog tests, the colonoscopy. The works. In the end they just told me I had IBS and needed to figure out for myself what I can and cannot eat. Duh! That's what I've been doing all my life. I was hoping for a solution or at least a list of safe foods.

  • Pauline says:

    I’m VERY greedy so have one last question. I have tiled work surfaces in my kitchen just like you and the grouting in between each tiles tends to get quite dirty. What do you do to keep yours nice and clean and newish looking.
    I have lots of elbow greace, is this the only solution ?

  • It's all down to elbow grease and occasionaly a scouring sponge…

  • Sharon says:

    I’m in SC, USA. Do you have any tips on storing your plastic containers and lids (like Tupperware, Rubbermaid)?

  • B.C. says:

    How do you deal with stress in life? Or do you get stressful/grumpy at all? It seems that you deal with life with so much grace and ease…

  • I do get stressed out occasionally but it’s almost never got to do with work. At work I’m good great at saying No which helps keep my work load where I want it, meaning I can get everything done in the 30 or so hours I spend there a week.
    At home I do get stressed out sometimes simply because there are not enough hours in a day and I want to do it all at once 🙂
    I decided early on that I would take as much control of my life though as possible and not let tradition and comme-il-faut to run it for me. We simply skip the traditions that we feel are a waste of time, we don’t all three go together on all family occasions if one doesn’t want to and has better things to do(usually I’m the one who skips). I know this may sound harsh but I’d rather have a productive day than sit around and eat cake and converse and wish I were elsewhere on one of my rare days off.

  • Lisbeth says:

    Thanks Benita. I always love to hear why people like particular jobs and places 🙂

  • Holly says:

    Hello Benita,
    Love your blog! Where and how do you store your extra blankets and bed linens?
    Thank you,
    Holly

  • You can see the bedlinen in this post http://chezlarsson.com/myblog/2008/06/organizing-line.html but I don’t think I’ve showed the blankets come to think of it. Will amend that in a future post!

  • What a neat post! I have a question, too. 🙂
    How many hours a week do you spend on the internet? I have a very hard time and get sucked into it for more hours than I can admit. I choose to blame it on the many awesome blogs I come across (ahem, like yours)…

  • I probably spend 20+ hours online a week from home but many of those are working on my blog but still technically on the internet. I do read a bunch of blogs through my Bloglovin’ reader, probably 45 minutes a day. Lately I’ve been on the internet a lot more for work purposes too since I’m consulting on social media and blogs. My boss who is slightly internet illiterate found it really useful that I know a thing or two about the blogosphere :), I’d say another five hours a week, so 25 or so in total.

  • Grace says:

    Hi Benita. I’m one of your long time readers and this is my first time to write. Could you please do a feature on your fridge? There is a Flickr “Fridge Fetish Pool” where people show the inside, door and freezer of their refrigerators. I thought yours would most likely be organized and it would be great to pick up a few more ideas from you:-) Besides, I’d love to see some Swedish food/bev packaging. Thanks, thanks, thanks!

  • Grace says:

    Thank you, Benita. I love it! I’m not sure if I missed it or just forgot that you have posted about it. If you are so inclined, please do another one where the pictures can be enlarged…:)

  • Carmen says:

    Hi Benita. My name is Carmen and I have been following your blog for the last 3-4 months. I love it and look forward to your posts. I will be trying the glass etching project next….can’t wait. My question is… how do you write the date on your pictures (ex. May 19) and do the little border on your picture? Which program do you use?
    Thank you so much. Keep up the great work. Greetings from Canada.

  • Hi! First of all you need a photo editing software for your computer such as Photoshop or Photoshop elements, that’s so you can add layers to your photos.
    The dates are so called overlays that you can get from digital scrapbooking places. I’m not into digi scrapping myself but I love what Ali Edwards http://www.aliedwards.com/ does and the 365 overlays that I use for my online 365 day project are by her for Designer Digitals http://www.designerdigitals.com/digital-scrapbooking/supplies/product_info.php/products_id/8895.

  • Carmen says:

    Hi Benita, thanks again for the help and such quick response. I will check it out and thanks again.

  • fiona says:

    Hello Benita,
    You blog has been inspiring me for the last 2 years (since you started). Every time I need an idea about how to organizing or clean something in my house, I always stop by!
    I have a few burning questions and want to hear it from the horses mouth itself, rather than look in books which I can’t find. My family is about to move this year (hopefully our house sells soon) and both both my husband and I have agreen we want our next home to be a somewhat modern/contemporary with a scandinavian touch. That means, the first thing I know we are doing is painting the walls white and slowly putting together the furniture/decorating pieces etc. My questions are :- 1) Is there a specific shade of white that I see in most scandinavian home decor walls or is it just the most ultra white you can get? 2) Why is that white walls are predominant in your area – please help me understand if it is for light reasons due to long dull winter months OR if white is just believed to be the best canvas for putting together your own decor/style? I know I would love to add pops of colour with the white as colour moves me. 3) How do most families with young kids keep their white on white homes clean (I mean white floors inclusive) with spills and dirt? 4)Do Swedes generally have less messy children because they grow up in such a neat environment? I hope you can help me with these questions as I get stumbled when I try to figure out the answers.
    Lastly, any swedish home decor magazines you’d recommend for regular people? I ask this because I usually I buy only the British home decorating magazines like Homes and gardens, house beautiful etc but don’t like the super fancy decorating mags because it’s not something I am looking for. When I visit Sweden again (I didn’t think about this last time I was in Malmo) I could look for the magazines at a bookstore!
    Greetings from Philadelphia!

  • Hi,
    1) I’m not sure what others have used but I always get pure white. No tint of any kind. I don’t want a yellow hue or a blue tint, nothing. When I got my paint on Thursday I jut asked for “white” and that’s what I got, it just says WHITE on the can.
    2) I do believe it has a lot to do with light reasons. We have very dark and long winters and need to conserve as much light as possible so we tend to like a light and airy look to make the most of what little natural light there is. Also the Carl & Karin Larsson (no relations) style is kind of in our genes.
    3) Machine washable slip covers and regular cleaning and wiping is probably the answer to that. What you see in photos is probably not what you’d see up close though. There are probably chocolate stains here and there and finger/foot prints in more places than one.
    4) Oh, I honestly wouldn’t know. Actually I don’t think what you see in magazines and on blogs really represents most homes in Sweden. We have those TV show with messy and unstylish peoples homes too and they look just as awful here as they do in the UK or the US.
    As for Swedish magazines I don’t really have any favorites but I’d say the best one is probably “Elle Interiör”. “Family Living” is nice if you have young kids.

  • Christine says:

    I recognize a few of the items in your blog header from your home (green paper clip holder, Empire State building, garlic) but I was wondering about the stapler. Where did you find it? What kind is it? Also do you still love and use all the items up there? Lastly, is there a particular reason you chose each item, or did you just like how they looked together?
    o.k. not lastly but I am curious – what is your shoe size and do you have a favourite scent?

  • This is the stapler http://www.deskstore.se/epages/deskstore.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/deskstore/Products/%22EL-%20M1CN%22 Martin had it already when we met.
    I do love and use everything i my hearder. The only thing that has changed is that the milk is now lactose free 🙂
    I chose the items because they represent who I am in terms of what things and colors I like.
    My favorite scent is Shalimar by Guerlain on others. It doesn’t smell good on me though. I don’t wear scent but around the house I love Clean Cotton from Yankee Candle.

  • Sorry, forgot, shoe size 39-40 in European, 6 1/2 in chucks 🙂

  • Christine says:

    not so big says the 41-42 shoe/8 chuck.
    Wow Martin has brilliant!! (and expensive) taste in stapler’s.
    Sorry, I can’t stop… what’s in the silver lidded canister (my guess is sugar)? Also, what is the significance of the centaur mug? eek, I also want to know more about the red vase and blue bowl and everything else up there that I see every day but I might have exhausted the “reasonable # of questions that can be asked about a blog header” rule;)

  • Haha!
    Here goes all of them:
    Turquoise bowl – Gift from a friend and a fave color
    Sagittarius cup – Pretty desk storage and my zodiac sign(Dec21)
    Empire State building – I love NYC
    White house with candle – It’s a house, it’s white and it’s cozy
    White chair – Big one is on my wishlist
    Stapler – Beautiful and functional
    Orange container – Swedish glass from flea market and great color
    Garlic – Mmmm
    Lidded glass container with rock sugar – Pretty storage + I have a very sweet tooth
    Milk – Love milk!
    Porceline spoon – From a supermarket in China, used every day
    Green Pastill chair – It’s green and it’s Finnish

  • nattie says:

    You took awesome photos, just wondering what type of camera do you use?

  • Ami says:

    Hi Benita,
    I love your webpage:) And the question is..where can I find a similar blog header like yours,any idea? because I don’t want to copy that and I really like this I already search for it on the internet but nothig usable.:(

  • Benedikte says:

    Hi! I live in Bergen, Norway, where the temperature have been freeeeeezing for quite a while now – and I am getting more and more motivated to do something to keep out any draft. Then I remembered your blog and I believe I have seen some long, narrow “pillows” that you put by your doors to do just that – keep the draft out – but I was not able to find it on your blog. Whether I do remember correctly or not – could you share some ideas on how to make such a pillow and what to fill it with?
    Regards, Benedikte

  • Benedikte says:

    Thanks for a surprisingly quick answer:-) Any reason for the choice of velvet or would a cotton blanket do just as well? I’m thinking of cutting up an old, white, blanket and make a double layer so that the outer one can be pulled off (I will leave one end open for that) so that it can be washed as it will be lying on the floor.
    PS! Based on the other comments I will clear my cupboard for any old dried peas, beans, rice, etc. Lots of space and empty containers for my Christmas cookies. Hurray!

  • Any fabric will do as long as it’s not too loosely woven or your peas might escape 🙂

  • Charlene says:

    Hi Benita,
    I love the clean, uncluttered look of your house and would like something similar for my family; however, I struggle with throwing things out that have sentimental meaning for me (I have a lot of stuff which is sentimental, especially since my Mom passed away and the birth of my twin boys). Do you struggle with tossing things with sentimental value and how do you deal with it?

  • I don’t have that problem at all actually. I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to throwing stuff out. Martin was the one who liked to save stuff and I do save anything that Wille wants to hold on to but as for myself I’ve tossed out all my old diaries, most letters, books and other memorabilia. I very much live in the “now” and don’t look back much. I have saved my childhood plush bunny Molly though, so I’m not a complete ice queen :).
    If you need help there’s help to be had by my friend Aby who is a professional organizer and who teaches online classes on this topic. Check out http://simplify101.com.

  • Amycapdet says:

    Hi, Benita
    I’m sure you’ve already answered this question some time, but I been looking around for it and I give up: please, what font did you use for the months’ names in you 365 Days project? I really love it and I think it can come in handy for projects involving a personal touch other than scrapbooking, f.i. labeling, cards… Thanks so much!
    Amy

  • Allison says:

    Hej Benita – I am an American currently living in Sweden, just north of Stockholm! What a delight to find your blog. I love a lot of things about Sweden so far, but I have had a hard time finding reasonably priced craft supplies and fabrics here (apart from Ikea) – Can you share some of your favorites? Tack så mycket! Allison

  • I get most of my craft supplies at Panduro (Kungsgatan) or Kreatima (also Kungsgatan). I know, it’s expensive, but there aren’t really a lot of stores selling this stuff in Sweden. Here’s an online source that I haven’t tried but I get their catalog at work: http://www.cchobby.se/
    My favorite fabric store is Ohlsons Tyger at Sveavägen. They have quite a lot to choose from and the prices are reasonable. Åhléns city also have nice fabrics (located in the basement). Hope it helps!

  • Benedikte says:

    Hi!
    I found one of your pictures on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/chezlarsson/2111930545/in/set-72157603566821562) showing some bottles and “metal corks”. I have got one of those corks and want more of them, but I cannot remember where on earth I got the first one. Do you remember where you got yours?

  • That’s the photo of the candle drawer, but do you mean the corks with the metal spouts that you can pour through? I’m afraid I don’t know where I got them. I think Granit have them but I don’t know if you have Granit where you are?

  • Benedikte says:

    Thanks.Yes, I was thinking of the meal spouts (I do not know why the http-copying did not work…)I do not think we have Granit in here in Bergen, but I believe there is one in Oslo (I check next time I’m there).
    One more questions: Loos – you said that your brand new one was very uncomfy – do you know of a new one that is comfortable? (I have been searching high and low for one – in some stores over here you are not allowed to sit on the ones displayed???)

  • What?! So you’re supposed to just look at it? That’s as stupid as me not going to a store to even look at it… Anyway, over here the most famous brand names are usually comfortable; “Gustavsberg” and “Ifö”. They’re not the nicest looking ones though… We have a new Ifö (which the previous owners installed before putting the house on the market) which is really comfortable but very standard boring looking.

  • Another Anna says:

    I’m going to be in Stockholm in early December. Do you have any recommendations for shopping, sightseeing, or just walking around? Specific places or streets and neighborhoods. I’m an artist (trained as a designer), and I love your style.

  • I’ve had several comments and e-mails asking me the same thing so I’ll try and put a post together soon!