Nov 23, 2016
Tips on Having a More Minimalistic Home
It's late afternoon and I am looking around the living room, and through the archway into the kitchen, and I say out loud "why do we have so much stuff!" The boys have been slowly bringing toys from their room into the living room to play all day, and shedding clothes and costumes onto the floor. Crayons and paper also litter the floor as well as throw pillows and blankets. A box from an opened package and a dozen baby toys and four baby "stations" and maybe a few rogue fruit loops too. This may not seem like a huge amount but in our tiny home, it feels like it! I know there are those who love having a lot of possessions, and a cart full of products, but I crave minimalism in our home. I wasn't always this way, as I am a very sentimental person, keeping middle school notes and concert tickets, and I am still that way, just more selective and organized in storing them. It's weird but I love imagining that if we ever move, it would be the easiest thing, because we wouldn't have a ton of clutter to move. No attic full of boxes or basements full of storage, knowing that alone makes me sleep better at night for some reason. I love knowing where every item is in our home, and opening its drawer to find it with more negative space than full, and see it there, in its home. I love opening the boys closets to see uncrowded clothes rack, full of our favorites, our go to outfits. I love looking into the bottom of their closets and seeing nothing but the old wood flooring, and looking at the top and seeing just a few uncrowded items. I love opening the fridge and seeing it clean, organized, and up to date. I like knowing that if you open any drawer or closet in our house, it will be sparse and organized. All year I have been minimizing our possessions and trying to purchase smarter and less. I always have a box in the mudroom were donations go, and get a kind of rush when I'm cleaning a room and find something we can get rid of, instead of piling it a toy box or something. I said that I have been doing this a year and I didn't think it would take that long, but now I realize it takes a few steps. For example. the first time I "purged" my kitchen I got rid of obvious things, like broken or chipped dishes and Tupperware, and left what I thought I needed. After a few months I purged again and got rid of half of what I had left before. Finally I did it again recently and really realized what I needed to keep, which wasn't much at all. My counters looked uncluttered and pretty, and functional, because all that was left was what we actually use and I got rid of any extras. I kept the high quality items, and the things that brought me joy, and let go of everything else. I did the same three step process with our clothes, and you get pickier with what you are keeping each stage. I promise, it won't work if you only do it once, you will keep way more than you need! But before this turns into a "how too" which I may be unqualified to give (I haven't even finished reading "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up" for goodness sakes) I will tell you how I am going to handle this mess. I am going to look around make the boys pick up the high quality or favorite items on the floor and put them back in their place, and when they do that, I will take the happy meal toys or random broken pieces of toys, and but them in the donate box. I will throw away the trash and put the baby stuff in its basket that stays in the living room, and consider if we could donate a throw pillow or two (they mostly get used as toys somehow) and when tomorrow comes and the boys do this again, everything I see on the floor will be only ones that bring us joy, that we would miss if they were gone, ones that we remember why we brought them into our home and what their purpose is for. This has been my way all year and still mystery items make their way into the house and need to be shown the door, because I truly believe in only owning what brings you joy or that you would miss. As Christmas approaches, we find ourselves adding so much more heaviness to our homes, even if we try our best not too, so here are some tips to lighten up the weight of your home before the holidays, and even some ideas you can consider down the road.
1. "HAVE NOTHING IN OUR HOUSE THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW TO BE USEFUL, OR BELIEVE TO BE BEAUTIFUL." -William Morris
2. If you are having trouble making up your mind on keeping something or not, hold it to your chest, close your eyes. Does it bring you joy? If no, say goodbye.
3. Purge in steps, if you can space it out three times a year, try that. You will be surprised what doesn't make the cut at the end that did at the beginning.
4. Do mini purges everyday as you clean. If something comes across your path that you don't see use for, put it in a designated box, and at the end of the week, donate it.
5. Buy LESS! Buy BETTER! Instead of going to Ross or Forever 21 and spend $70 on a trendy pair of pants and a few cheaply made tops that caught your eye, invest in a few quality items each season as you need them while staying in your clothes budget. Do it with intention, and read reviews. By next season you will probably still be reaching for those same quality and worn in pieces. Also, hold out for something unique that catches your eye that you truly truly love, and you don't already have one of. Even at the thrift store, be extremely picky with what you bring back to live with you, even if its a dollar. Imagine looking in to your closet and seeing only your favorites, your go to's, your staples. I notice that women who I truly find to be stylish typically will re wear the same pieces over and over, just in different ways and it always inspires me.
6. Get rid of duplicates, keep the better quality one, and put it in a place where you will always know where to find it.
7. Don't go to the store and leave with things you didn't go for just because they are on sale, always have a list of items you need and when you happen to see they go on sale, buy them then. I have a list on my phone of things to always look out for, that we need, but am waiting to find them at a good price! Cameron knows all about my list haha.
8. Sort through mail everyday, shred what you don't need to archive, keep monthly bills together and discard them as soon as they are paid.
9. Unsubscribe to magazines and to emails you don't want to receive any more, so we are not waisting paper and space and time.
10. Clean out your fridge once a week and take inventory of what you have and need restocked.
11. If clothing is stained or fits poorly or you haven't worn it in a year, say goodbye. Have a space for a few sentimental clothing pieces that you don't wear on rotation, for example, the dress I wore in my engagement photos, my mom's vintage work suit, a too small concert tee Cameron bought me 6 years ago, I have a place for these special pieces in the storage closet.
12. have only one set of extra linens for each bed (I have one winter set and one summer set for each)
13. The less toys your kids have the less time you all will spend cleaning up. Just keep their favorites, and the less plastic, the better. Don't purchase toys that come with many pieces, and get rid of things as they break or games that are missing pieces. Purchase LESS toys and especially less plastic toys to reduce waste and clutter. Instead consider giving them gifts like annual passes to the kids science museum or zoo, book subscriptions, or gift cards to their favorite place to eat!
14. If you wouldn't buy it now, don't keep it. You probably won't use it again. Learn from your mistakes and buy smarter!
15. Don't crowd your home with furniture, give it space to breath, it will make your home feel bigger and cleaner. Bed frames that don't need box springs look so simplistic and pretty and you won't have four or five huge boxsprings in your home you do not need. Buy furniture that fits the size of your space so it does look so crowded. Arrange electrical cords so that you can't see them peaking out from under the tv stand and hide them behind the wall if you can. Don't have anything that you don't find to be useful or beautiful to you! Look around you and if something is bugging you, take care of it. Your home is your sanctuary and you want to look around and see what you love, and be able to find what you own when you are in need of it!
There are so many inspirational blogs and books about minimizing, so if you are feeling a little inspired from this a quick pinterest search will give you even more wonderful ideas! I know I am the happiest when our home is relieved of a bunch of junk, when we buy less and bring in less, and take pride in what we do have!
Gosh I am such a messy writer, thank you for stopping by and reading. I am going to spend the rest of the day cooking for Thanksgiving tomorrow and getting the house in order, I love starting off a holiday with a clean home, other than the work I have to get done Cohen is home this week and we are really enjoying these slow cozy days. I am so excited to visit with our family tomorrow, and plan on wearing the most unflattering pants imaginable and eating whatever I want (peace sign emoji, turkey emoji)
Happy Thanksgiving Back! (laughing emoji) #youvegotmail #okimdone