Little Workhorses Around our Home

May 23, 2016

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

read more

What we're                   right now


browse the shop

Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

browse all

browse all

browse all




Popular Posts




Top Categories

Over the past couple months, as the larger areas of our home have finally taken shape and we really start using them as we have only dreamed of in the years since moving in, I have been especially mindful of the tiny little workhorses that help each room function, or have made our lives easier, or maybe just do their job so well while looking very good–that’s all we want, right? Here are several of our favorite small task masters around our home.

Chris’s Spice Drawer is not seen very much except by him, but man it makes him happy and it just works so well. He has tried a lot of different spice jars before landing on these 3oz Aluminum tin ones. Chris really prefers a screw-on lid for spices (so there’s no popping off the lid and there goes all the spices inside, too!) and the window on top works for this shallow drawer in our Ikea kitchen. While he can identify the spices pretty easily just by looking in the window, he labeled them with clear labeling tape and it’s the cherry on top.
Little Workhorses Around our Home | Chris Loves Julia


Our Butter Bell is not something I ever thought would make it to the blog, but here I am professing my love to this tiny container that keeps our butter soft and fresh. We have this one, but I love this marble one (under $20!) and a cute one under $10. Trying to spread hard butter is useless. I grew always keeping the butter tray in the fridge, while Chris grew up keeping it in an upper cabinet. And now, we keep it in a cute container on the counter and we’re both really happy with that. Also, that over the counter butcher block from Ikea is another one of our favorite little workhorses and it’s under $10! We use it all day long.

Little Workhorses Around our Home | Chris Loves Julia


The Valet Hook in our laundry room was a last minute addition and it has improved the functionality of the space 100 fold. It’s perfect for those things that I like to hang dry or while we have a nice counter space to fold, a lot of our tops get hung and to have a spot to hang them right away is nice. The bar folds into the wall when not in use, but you’ll almost always see something there if you come over.

Little Workhorses Around our Home | Chris Loves Julia


Mail Sorter–You could say my whole desk is a small workhorse, but this rhino letter sorter has actually saved my sanity. Anytime a bill, invoice or letter comes in that needs my attention, I (or whoever gets the mail) put it in my rhino and it’s basically my physical inbox. The farther to the left, the more immediate the attention is and when I’ve completed the task, I put it in the small white letter box on the top shelf to be filed. It’s the heart of my little desk and it’s ridiculously cute, too.

Little Workhorses Around our Home | Chris Loves Julia

desk | chair | letter sorter | gold stapler

Junk Mail Catch All–In the same room, under the coffee table, I put this wicker tray to serve as a catch all for all the mail that isn’t urgent, i.e. all the magazines and catalogs that end up in our mailbox that I love to wind down with. Maybe this shallow basket doesn’t have a huge function in our household, but I have found if everything has a place–even the “junk mail”–our whole house runs better and stays cleaner.

Little Workhorses Around our Home | Chris Loves Julia

coffee table | cowhide | black leather chair | fish tank

Toilet Paper Holder–The silliest and most important job in the hall bath goes to this small bamboo canister. I tried a couple different storage options to keep extra t.p. handy. I used to keep a wire basket on top that fit 3 rolls, but it just looked unattractive to me. This canister holds and hides a single roll fits perfectly–which is exactly the number of spare rolls needed at any given time. Three cheers for attractive toilet paper storage!

Little Workhorses Around our Home | Chris Loves Julia

A Sturdy Step Stool–The last mighty helper in our house goes to this simple step stool from Ikea. We originally got it thinking it would be provide easy access to the sink for our girls to wash their hands before dinner, etc.. But I’m so surprised how often we all use it to reach high shelves in the pantry, to change out a lightbulb in a pinch. Greta has started unloading the dishwasher as a part of her chores and she can easily move it around to put plates and glasses away on the open shelving.

Little Workhorses Around our Home | Chris Loves Julia

So while there are a lot of BIG things we wouldn’t want to live without in our home, these small things seem to keep our house humming. Are there little work horses in your place, too?

ps. If you missed this morning’s post, this week’s podcast is live and it’s a good one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What do you think?

  1. Jeanne says:

    What tile is that in your kitchen. I need it!

  2. Stephanie McKinley says:

    Hello, i really am going to get the sawyer desk and just windered if you have any ideas for a lamp like yours or different that would fit the space?

  3. Katy says:

    I have that adorable rhino letter sorter as well, and wanted to mention that if you troll the clearance aisles at Target, you’re likely to snag him for 2 bucks! Who doesn’t want a rhino for two dollars?

  4. bonnie says:

    First off, I’ve never heard of a butter bell but now I’m obsessed with the idea. Ripping fresh bread with hard butter is one of my biggest peeves! Also, where are those spice containers from? The link isn’t working for me and keeps timing out.

    Thank you!

  5. Tracy says:

    Love this!!! …sidenote: Where did you get your toaster? Does it work well?

  6. Victoria says:

    I’m gettin’ that lil’ butter bell :)
    Also, I have a stylish basket for the mail that saves my sanity every day. Cheers to those pretty junk mail baskets…

  7. Ale says:

    Such a good post! It’s the little things that can make a big difference :)

  8. wilma says:

    love this post. we also have two of those stools–they’re great for extra kid seating, side tables, etc etc.

    our workhorses: laundry lines in the basement (we hang a LOT of stuff to dry), our expedit (storage for the majority of the kids’ toys), and a silly one is a plastic flat container that we keep the toaster in. i dislike having things on the counter, so we store our toaster in a cupboard. to keep the crumbs from getting everywhere, i put it in a shallow plastic container–i just take it out and plug it in when we need it. all the crumbs stay contained–not on the counter or in the cupboard. i love it :)

    outside, we have a very strong, long hose (that gets coiled in a deep window well when not in use. my dad suggested we buy a high end hose, and i have to say, i love it. it almost never kinks, the quality is amazing, and it reaches to all corners of our backyard.

    also, i would be lost without a washer and dryer, especially when viruses hit. hand washing would SUCK. we are so lucky :)

  9. Lucy says:

    I really love these posts that tells us how the little things are working out for your household! I also love all the “Would we buy this again?” posts. I’m always wondering how a piece of furniture is working out or how comfortable a chair really is. Thank you for sharing! Also, I love your new podcast! You guys have great chemistry and seem to be having such a great time!

  10. Abby says:

    Okay…I have to ask: you can keep butter outside of the fridge?? Like permanently/regularly? Maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t know this, but I thought butter HAD to be stored in the fridge. Ha!

    • Julia says:

      Ha! No worries. These butter bells keep it fresh for up to 30 days, but we usually go through it faster than that anyway. We keep our extra butter in the fridge and just use this butter for spreading generally. :)

    • Jasmine says:

      This is so weird to me. The reason that salted butter exists is to keep it from going rancid at room temperature. Unsalted butter will last a day or two at room temperature before it’s bad, and you’ll know. Salted butter, though, is fine on the counter (ours lasts no more than a week) and we just use a butter dish – no bell.

      • Julia says:

        That works too! We don’t use salted butter (only because Chris likes to control the amount of salt in his food).

      • Jasmine says:

        Hey hey, shout out on the blog for this random conversation. So the takeaway is, salted butter in whatever dish you want on the counter, or butter bell for unsalted (or salted, I suppose)?? Everyone can have spreadable butter!

      • Jasmine says:

        Gah, I meant podcast, not blog :)

  11. Ingrid says:

    I love that stool! We bought it to help #1 Son reach the taps and we now use it as his dining chair, as it’s higher than a normal chair, and as a desk for him (sitting on the lower step).

  12. Julianne says:

    I would love my spices to be so clean and accessible but I’m stuck with a small cupboard. Any suggestions for organizing it?

  13. Sarah says:

    I love this post! It’s the little things in life that keep things rolling smoothly. Thanks for the tips.

    I’ve followed your blog for a long time, but have never commented. Your style is so clean and refreshing. Keep it coming!

  14. Molly W says:

    Do you only buy spices in 3 oz quantities or do you store the bottles with the left over spices somewhere else? If you store the left overs, does it bother you that you have spices in two different places? Our current spice drawer is just a bunch of random bottles/packages jammed in a drawer and it drives me crazy, but I don’t know what we would do with the left overs if we did something like this because storage is at a premium.

all the latest

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 


looking for inspiration? 

I recently got an email from someone that asked, “Where do you go for new design inspiration?” She went on to say, “I use Houzz and lots of popular sites, but I feel like I’m stuck in an algorithm and keep seeing the same things.” I know the feeling — it’s so easy to get […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations