Welcome to the Cottage.

The Tiny Canal Cottage® is a 1920's Craftsman-style house by the Venice Beach Canals in Southern California. This <400 sqft home/office is the full-time residence of Creative Director Whitney Leigh Morris, her husband, their son, and two rescue beagles.

Healthy Home, Healthy Planet

Healthy Home, Healthy Planet

This post was sponsored by Grove Collaborative. All opinions and photos are my own. All photos including our son and/or the pups were taken as they happily interacted in their own, natural ways. 

Dedicated URL for free gift set: www.grove.co/tinycanalcottage
(See full details at the end of this post.)

PART I - Paring Down Small Space Cleaning
One of the joys of cleaning a small house or apartment is that it takes a fraction of the time and requires a smaller portion of the products than cleaning a larger space. But, unlike items in many other categories, home care products rarely come in compact sizes. So what do you do when you need all of the essentials, but only have a sliver of square-footage? 


There’s so much advice out there for how to save money, time, and be eco-friendly when it comes to cleaning your home. But practices that work for one family might not work effectively for the neighbors. For example, buying in bulk can save time, money, and in numerous instances, be helpful for the environment. But buying large quantities of anything is challenging when you’re living little. (It can be tough to fit a roll of paper towels under your sink, let alone a dozen rolls.) Similarly, making your own cleaning solutions from scratch gives you control over what goes into your products, but those ingredients require space themselves, as well as containers for the cleaning process. And what if you feel like you don’t have the patience or the time to DIY?

Recently I opened our under-the-sink cabinet at the Cottage and did a double-take. I receive a strange satisfaction from keeping our tiny home pared down and simplified, but somehow this section of our kitchen was overflowing with pell-mell bottles, things we never used and don’t need, and our clever storage hacks had collapsed under the weight of it all. I’d broken my own psudo-minimalist rules. 

So the search was on. I wanted to get our cleaning products down to one box, and make the switch to non-disposable goods when doable. And, as always, I wanted to keep everything cruelty-free, organic, natural, and as transparent (in terms of the the ingredients supply process) as possible. 


I discovered Grove Collaborative— a Certified B Corp— via a GOOP event I attended in LA, and was interested in their story. I took a deep-dive to discover more, and I’m genuinely glad I did. They ended up being the answer to our household product clutter issues. 


Their site is carefully curated with brands that are good for homes, families and the planet. Their offerings are delivered every month, and you can swap out items in your bundle as needed. I selected their Cleaning Concentrates pack (all-purpose + glass + tile formulas), their reusable glass bottles, some absorbent cleaning cloths (no more paper towels here), and a few other items that we happened to be out of here at home. 


Thanks to this clever bundle (plus a metal Grove caddy in which to put everything), I was able to hand off our numerous unused bottles to a neighboring Airbnb that’s always in need of supplies, and then organize our simplified setup.  


Since nearly everything in a small home is on display at some point or another, it’s wise to chose products that you don’t mind seeing out in the open. The Grove bottles and accessories are well designed and understated, and their concentrated cleaners take up less space than a tube of toothpaste. 


We try to upcycle as much as possible here. We ended up using packaging from the Grove shipment to create some tabletop organizers for West, and he put the cardboard packaging to creative use on his own within minutes.


PART II - The Cottage vs The Summer Mosquitoes
One of the reasons we focus so much on cleaning is that we live a very indoor/outdoor lifestyle here at the cottage. With 2 pups (who shed a lot) and an extremely active toddler, the garden and the house get delightfully wrecked on the daily. 

Unfortunately, for the second summer in a row, the dogs and our son have repeatedly been attacked by mosquitoes after the sun goes down, since we keep our doors and windows open all day long. Rather than holing up the house with screens, we decided to try some other ways to ward off the pests. 

Left: West the day before we started using the bite balm, incense and wipes. Right: West last summer under a mosquito net we had to drape over our shared bed.

Left: West the day before we started using the bite balm, incense and wipes. Right: West last summer under a mosquito net we had to drape over our shared bed.

First, I got this all natural bug bite balm for West from Grove. It was apparently effective— he indicated to us that he wanted us to reapply it the following days while his welts subsided. 


Next, we started using these mosquito repellent incense sticks out in the garden, and these handy wipes, which are deet-free and safe for sensitive skin. 


Lastly, we placed some plotted lavender and rosemary around the garden, which I hear helps, too. (Fingers crossed!) So far, we’ve only seen one mosquito (in the shower) during weeks since introducing these new products, compared to the numerous bugs we were seeing nightly.

SO! Here’s to making our homes and bodies more comfortable, saving some space, simplifying our shopping habits and engaging in thoughtful decision making that helps us improve our day-to-day lives while also ensuring a healthier future for generations to come.

Want to try Grove Collaborative for yourself? We’ve partnered with them to give you a free Cleaning Essentials gift set when you try out Grove and spend $20 or more on your first order. Use this dedicated URL www.grove.co/tinycanalcottage to claim the following introductory products for free:

  • Grove Collaborative Cleaning Concentrates (3-pack)
  • Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle
  • Grove Collaborative Microfiber (3-pack)
  • Free Shipping & VIP Trial

As always, thanks for reading!

Market Friday 7.20.18

Market Friday 7.20.18

Some Items You Can Probably Go Without (Part 1)

Some Items You Can Probably Go Without (Part 1)