Category: Minimalism

Simplifying our dining space!

After we came home from the beach, I was craving even more simplicity. I feel like we had kind of hit a plateau with decluttering and although we wanted to do more, we just didn’t have any idea where to go. Going on a trip to a clean and empty condo gave us a fresh perspective on our house.

So naturally our next step was to get rid of one of the biggest pieces of furniture in our house! When we bought and moved into our house, there was a lot of furniture that was here from Kevin’s great-grandmother. I looked at this as a great thing because that allowed us to not have to buy a lot of furniture we would need. However, we did not think about the fact that most of it wasn’t our style.

This year we got rid of a matching table and china hutch. A set that we have disliked for years but weren’t sure what to do about it or whether we wanted to put forth the effort to do anything. Then in February I decided that I had enough and I put the table on Facebook marketplace. And then it was gone within a month!

Over the past year Kevin has tried different things to make the china hutch work but nothing has made us want to keep it. A few weeks ago I saw a makeover on Instagram where they installed built in cabinets for storage in their family room and I loved how it transformed the room! So for weeks I’ve been brainstorming how to incorporate that in my house. The only thing I could come up with was putting them along the wall in our dining area where we had the china hutch.

In my mind this was a perfect spot because it would get rid of the china hutch while also providing the storage for the art supplies that were currently being stored in the hutch. Then on a whim, I came up with a plan and told Kevin my thoughts. It actually came from the thought process of trying to move out piano to a different location. We talked about switching the piano and the hutch but then rejected that idea because we didn’t want the piano there. But then I couldn’t stop thinking about the hutch not being there anymore so we came up with a game plan that allowed us to move it.

When we moved the top half out, we moved the bottom part to take place of an old record player that was holding our stereo. It’s not really what we want but right now we are using what we have. I’m not interested in spending money unnecessarily so doing this switch is perfect for our situation right now. As a result of freeing up the space on that wall, it looked a little bare so Kevin moved my antique sewing cabinet to that wall which gave us an open space between the back door and the laundry room door.

I’m really in love with what we did. It’s a huge difference and a great change for our house! Now I’m brainstorming how to gain storage elsewhere so we can completely eliminate the buffet under the tv once we get a soundbar. I’m expecting to try to get one for Christmas, but I don’t know how long I can make Kevin hold out on getting one.

Wanting more of less

We are headed home from the beach and I want the feeling of lightness to continue with us to our home. Over the past year we have decluttered and minimized a lot of our house. Stuff keeps creeping in and cluttering up spaces that I have already cleared out and straightened up. Being in a clean space for a vacation is so lovely feeling has me motivated to get home and clean some more!

I love that about going on vacation. The feeling of lightness and openness that comes with the uncluttered room where we stay is what I’m after in my own home. I love being at home and I want it to feel peaceful and look around and clean surfaces.

Minimalism is a way for us to achieve this at our house and I think going on vacation was a good way to give me a little bit of motivation that I have been lacking. It’s so easy to get complacent with how things are when I am looking at it the same every day.

Adventures in decluttering!

I have decluttered around the house a lot lately. About a month ago I put the majority of the kids toys in boxes so I could do a toy rotation and at the beginning of July, I switched out my first rotation. It was such a success and I’m so proud of how it worked!

I finally got to clearing out the bathrooms, too, and I am super happy about it. I have been wanting to declutter them for several months now and one afternoon I was feeling in a weird mood and I got rid of a garbage bag of expired toiletries and hair and bath products we weren’t using. We have a lot of blankets that we don’t need right now and they are stored in the bathroom closet. I want to find a better way to organize them because right now they’re just stuffed in the top shelf and it’s basically a spot I avoid to look at. Ha ha!

I was still in a weird mood for a few days after that so I also decluttered my social medias. I try to do this from time to time because I have noticed that I tend to go on a “following spree” and start following a bunch of different accounts that are inspiring to me at the time. After a while a lot of them stop being inspiring and I find myself just scrolling past their posts to find the posts I really want to look at. I really think this is what causes me to be in a weird mood and that’s when I know it is time for me to unfollow people. I always feel much happier after I do this, too!

One night Kevin took down a shelf in the kitchen for me. This is something I’ve been asking for a while now and we finally did it! I’m hoping this will help with giving me more room for storage for cereal boxes and stuff. All of the shelves in my kitchen cabinets are too short for me to stand any boxes upright so I was storing them on their side. This is not practical in case anybody wondered. I still haven’t figured out the best way to store everything in that cabinet yet but at least I can stand all my cereal boxes up.

We went shopping last week and I got some new socks bc most of mine had holes in them like on the balls of my feet. So that spurred me to throw away all the socks and just have my new ones. And then I kind of went from there and cleaned out my dressers and I have a box of clothes to donate and a trash bag of messed up clothes and some other random trash that was in our room. I feel really good about getting that done.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that I am still trying to find different methods that work for us. Eventually I hope to get better storage and ways to organize what we have. It’s probably gonna be longer than I wish it would be but for right now what we are doing is working for us. I love that I’ve been able to use what we have and make do with what I find around the house, especially since we are paying off debt and stuff. But I still look forward to the day that I am not using diaper boxes as permanent storage for everything.

More Decluttering!!

So, oh my gosh. Oh have we decluttered this week! For several months, Kevin and I talked about redoing our dining table. Then we got really serious about what we thought we wanted to do to it and ended up deciding that we actually just wanted a different table. Of course, we wanted to make a table out of pipe and wood to go along with our industrial pipe shelves. I found several tables that I liked and that was about as far as we got. To buy a table like what we want would be super expensive. To make a table like what we want is not as expensive but still more than we can want to spend right now.

Then one day I looked around and noticed that we did in fact already own a smaller table that we could use! So I switched our big table with our smaller sewing table to try out how we liked the size. And we love it! And finally after a few months of procrastinating, I took some pictures and posted the table on Facebook and I got it sold! Yay! So we got that French provincial monstrosity out of our house.

It has only been one day that the table has been gone from the house but goodness our living room is so refreshing now. Although it didn’t feel cramped before we moved the table out, there is more space and I feel like there is more room mentally. It’s funny how I didn’t even know that’s how I felt until after the table was gone.

But that’s not all! We also “sold” our couch to Faith. Sooo that huge thing is out of our house now. At the time that I am writing this post, I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we don’t have a couch in our living room. The first year we moved into our house, we had six couches and two pianos. We were ridiculous! I have no idea what to do with this room and I have no plan for it. I don’t know what is supposed to anchor the room now that we don’t have our main piece of furniture.

Honestly, I’m probably going to let Kevin figure it out. I kind of brought in more furniture and he was a little disappointed because he was looking forward to getting more stuff out of the house and then I brought more stuff in. In a way I want more stuff out of the house, too. This morning I’ve been thinking about the extra furniture that I claimed from my parents house and I really don’t want most of it. I thought I did but now that we are trying to minimize some more, I realize just how needless it is.

Kevin isn’t here for the day and I’ve moved all the pieces that I don’t want out to the carport as a surprise for when he gets back later. I hope it makes him happy. Looking around, it’s already making me happy and it is actually helping me realize that the furniture I have chosen to keep is what I really want.

#minimalism

It’s pretty awesome because we went from several large pieces of furniture to just a few smaller pieces and we love it! I can’t believe we didn’t do this sooner. I’m looking for some before pictures of the rooms so I can show just how much of a difference getting rid of the table and couch made.

Decluttering and minimalism is pretty great. I don’t want to get too far into this subject right now but everything is automatically tidier and neater in my house. Eleanor’s birthday party is this weekend and I’m not even stressed at all even thought I haven’t started cleaning for it! Last year I had to start cleaning at least two weeks before the party so I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed by it all. Getting rid of our excess junk is one of the best things that we have started doing. And we are still not done. Will we ever be done?

Decluttering Our Closet

We decluttered our closets this past weekend! Even though this wasn’t on my list for the month to do, it is something that has been bothering me in the back of my mind. In our closets, we were basically storing things that we had already decluttered from other places. But even so, I wanted to go through what all I had and organize my stuff.

In the top of my closet is where I keep all of my craft stuff and all of my projects in progress. It looked like a huge mess because I was using a bunch of random boxes that I already had to get me by. I already decluttered and pared down my supplies to only what I needed and wanted. So the first step of decluttering for my crafts was finished. So I got a set of clear plastic drawers and consolidated all of my supplies into them.

What a difference! Oh my gosh my closet looks so great! In the drawers I have my sewing notions, my cross-stitch and needlework supplies, and my little stash of fabric that I have. I’m also in the middle of 3 projects and those are contained in their own clear plastic storage boxes.

Having the projects in their own separate boxes is convenient because if I ever feel like working on a project, all I have to do is pull out that box. Every thing that I have that goes with each project is in the box for that project! One day when I’m not doing a hundred other things I will also finish one of those projects.

I feel like the more decluttering projects I do, the more productive I am becoming. And I have to say that living this way, constantly doing, is much better than sitting around looking at things and wishing things were different. There is still a lot a lot that I have in mind to declutter and then organize. I keep making lists of what is left to go through but there are different things on each list so I should really try to find them all and consolidate them. And probably stop writing my lists on loose leaf paper.

thoughtful thursday

this isn’t as thoughtful as much as it is just a brain dump. I have so much to do, like, to straighten up and I feel like I can’t think straight until I talk about it a little bit. I am a very routine person and then things come up that mess up my routines and then I don’t keep up with things the way I normally do. So things build up and then I look around and my house has just exploded.

Right now I am looking at the kitchen. I did a major grocery shopping trip yesterday and when I got home I had major help getting it all inside and all out of the bags. Unfortunately a lot of it is still on the counters. Being gone all day long and then coming home with stuff that I need to do is so hard with three little ones who really need my attention. They’re getting more independent all the time but they still just need me. I almost always choose them, too. It’s important that they see me tidy up and do housework but it’s also important to choose them when I’ve been away all day.

Also, laundry piled up as it always does when I’m busy. I try to do laundry all in one day. It is the best way that works for me, #projectbrain, and every once in a while my laundry routine gets thrown off. Soooo annoying.

Finally, the biggest distraction of all: the floor and all the stuff that ends up on it. Because children. And an ability to just overlook a couple things on the floor until it becomes too much. I have thoughts on that last sentence but I’m still organizing them to make sense. I feel like this little post doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it has helped me get everything out of my brain and that was the point.

Ok! I’m off to do something, I’ll update later.

What Clutter Can Do

Right now I’m lounging on my couch holding a sleeping babe and listening to my other two having fun playing in their room aka making a big mess. I’m cringing with every loud noise I hear from them dumping out another box of hot wheels or little people. I’ve already put up 100 large LEGO blocks and hid the box of alphabet blocks. Those tend to just be thrown about. With every crash I think of how bad I want to go in and do another purge of toys.

I found a journal from two years ago right before Eleanor was born. Almost every time I wrote, I wrote about how much I needed to clean and it was always the same things. I never made any progress no matter how much I straightened and cleaned. The messes were still there and so was my frustration.

I am so glad to not be in that place anymore! It’s easier to keep the house straight and I’m usually more ready for people to visit. Surprisingly, I’ve realized that I love bright colors in my decor more than I thought. There was too much going on in my house, there was no room left for bright and pretty. So I found myself drawn to more neutral decor because my mind craved the calmness it provided.

I also have more room to pursue more creative projects. It was as if I couldn’t concentrate or even commit to doing something because I didn’t have the mental capacity from all the clutter in my physical space. Even if I wanted to make something for myself, I often never even got started on it.

In addition to getting rid of clutter, we got rid of a lot of what houses clutter! For instance, I had a ladder bookshelf on the wall next to my piano that had a lot of books and several knick knacks and pictures. This was actually the first thing that I decluttered back in August. I had been feeling for a while like there was too much in the house like on the walls and there was too much furniture that went all the way up to the ceiling. So when I got back from my trip to Dallas and I walked in the house and the first thing I saw was that bookshelf holding just a lot of things that I didn’t even care about, I took everything off and got rid of it. I kept about half the stuff that was on there and donated or threw away the rest.

We’ve gotten rid of several pieces of furniture since then and have had to find places for anything we wanted to keep. It’s crazy to think about how much we had in the house just to hold everything. Although we have gotten rid of so so much, it feels like we still have the same amount. But only because in addition to decluttering the small stuff, we also decluttered the big stuff that held the small stuff.

It feels like our house is still bursting at the seams with stuff. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get finished or if decluttering is going to be a lifelong process. I hope not because I am so weary of throwing so much in the trash. I am weary of feeling so wasteful and hopeful that our consumption will continue to slow to almost an end.

Kids Clothes

Having a system for sorting through clothes that the kids have outgrown and having a plan for what to do with them was not something I thought about until Finley was at least a year old. Even then my only solution was to toss anything that he wasn’t wearing anymore into a diaper box and to store it in his closet. Since then I have sorted through those boxes once. And I put size labels on the boxes so I could keep them somewhat organized.

With Eleanor’s clothes, they were mostly sorted by size, by the time I figured out I needed to store the clothes, I realized to go ahead and sort them from the beginning and I would never have to go through them again. Game. Changer. I donated 5 boxes of Eleanor’s clothes this past month and it felt so good to pass them on! And get them out of the closet and house. There are two boxes of her clothes left that didn’t get donated with the rest. I made the mistake and got caught up in looking through the clothes and got sentimental about them. I didn’t have time to go through them like I needed to that day so I closed those boxes up and put them back in the closet. I will definitely look through them later and hopefully I won’t be feeling as sentimental then as I did that day.

I haven’t given anything of Finley’s away, mainly because we have Jake now! I have to sort through the boy clothes I have. And reorganize because apparently I did not do a good job sorting the clothes the first time. Some of the boxes are going to a friend who has a little boy several months younger than Fin. I love the idea of giving to others but I always talk myself out of it by either convincing myself that they don’t need it or that they wouldn’t like anything I have to offer. I was not prepared for the insecurities that accompany motherhood and it has been hard dealing with all these feelings.

Jake has grown out of his newborn clothes and it’s time for me to pack them up. And I am so much more prepared this time around. Third time’s a charm! I have another friend who is going to have a boy this summer that I’m planning on giving these clothes to.

When talking about giving away all the boy clothes, people often question why I’m not saving them all for Jacob. It may seem wasteful to give them away when I know I’m going to have to buy more. But the main reason is we really don’t have a lot of room to continue to store everything we think we might need in the future. Also, many of those clothes are hand me downs from a friend that we desperately needed during a hard year for Kevin and me. So I would like to pass those on the same way but also half of the clothes aren’t really a style I would pick out myself. So it’s very possible they would just sit in a box while I get clothes that are more my style to put on Jake.

Keeping in mind that my goal is to keep as little clothes as I need should help keep me motivated to stay on top of the clothes situation. And as time passes I’m sure I’ll get better at my methods for sorting and organizing baby clothes whether I donate, give to a friend, or even put them in a weekend consignment sale.

Hitch Goals No. 4

Our first month with three babies has passed! I’ve had a good month with my babies and I’ve enjoyed snuggling with my precious newborn baby Jake! Since I basically took the month off from doing anything, I feel like I kind of got more done and I’m ready for this next month! I still want to ease into the month but I can’t stay cooped up and alone in my house with the kids for much longer. Life just won’t let me. Also a husband who likes to go and do stuff won’t let me either. But I’m happy as long as I’m with him!

We actually got a good bit done around the house this last month, bathroom renovation started(!!!!), I can’t wait to keep up our momentum.

  1. Focus on play-based learning. I’ve started following some Instagram accounts that have all kinds of activities for playing with the kids. I haven’t done any of them yet, but the more I get the kids to play with their blocks and color and play with puzzles and magnatiles, the more ready I get to transition to doing the more hands on activities. Confession: I really just want to sit in the couch and cuddle Jacob while I play on my phone.
  2. Spend more time reading my bible with the devotionals I got for Christmas. I got a couple of devotions and memoir type books and I started out reading them pretty good but then I slacked off and eventually stopped. I think it is hard for me because I didn’t have a consistent study time before kids and now mornings are difficult because they are so full. It’s ingrained in me to do “word before world” but in my head since I can’t sit down with my bible and study books and spend 30 minutes before taking care of kids I feel like it is useless to do it. I’m planning to do it differently in February. #juststart
  3. Declutter bookshelf and paperwork. So the bookshelf won’t take much time to do. Basically my plan is to take everything off the shelves and restyle them. I’ve been eyeing the dang thing for a few weeks now and I just haven’t put forth the effort to do it. The paperwork is a different story. At the beginning of this year there was five different spots that had random paper clutter everywhere. Before Finley’s birthday party, I cleared out two spots. A large dresser drawer in our bedroom (what? why even??) and then also the pile of paperwork that is almost always on the counter and the slots above our key rack. Clearing up these spots made a huuuge difference, the countertop looks a hundred times better and I also had another drawer to store my leggings and yoga pants in. So now it’s time to get to another part of the clutter: the china hutch and small filing cabinet.

I have a couple of other things in mind, but I am not sure I will get to them so I’ll just let those be a surprise if I get to them!

Decluttering

Ok. I have started to write a post detailing our decluttering journey at least 4 or 5 times but I just cannot find any of them. I hand write all my blog posts first, mostly on loose leaf sheets of paper. Writing things down help me keep my thoughts together and somewhat organized. And currently I have like 4 other posts about decluttering that I’m hesitating to post until I can get an intro post of how we got started published. It sounds crazy, I know.

Decluttering and minimalism have become important actions to Kevin and me in the last half of 2018 and so far we have successfully carried these ideals into 2019. We really kicked off this journey (is there anything less cliche that I can call it?) last August. I had just gotten home from Dallas and was totally inspired by my aunt’s beautiful house. The day before Kevin came home from work, I had the morning all to myself because the kids were with my mom and I was looking around my house and at alllll the stuff we had and how I wanted to just toss it all.

So I thought, why don’t I do that? Why don’t I just get rid of that whole bookcase right there that I don’t even want? I spent most of the morning clearing that piece of furniture off and I even took the bookcase out of the house as soon as I had everything taken off. After that morning I haven’t slowed down getting stuff out of my house and I haven’t looked back since.

When Kevin came home, he didn’t even notice that the bookcase was gone at first. But he did notice that there was something different and lighter about our living room. I eventually pointed it out to him because I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Another catalyst we experienced was watching the documentary, Minimalism, by the Minimalists. I have kind of been on this minimalism journey and reading about it for almost 3 years now but it wasn’t until August that I made a drastic change. When we watched the minimalism documentary I was so thrilled that Kevin was finally interested in it, too! It helps when he is wanting to do the same thing as I am because he is such a get stuff done guy and then that makes me get stuff done, too.

So we started hardcore going through our stuff and we have come a long way and still have a long way to go. As of right now I know of 3 different drawers that have paperwork and mail that is just waiting for me to sort through them. I feel like I was kind of waiting for Jake to get here before I got started on all that sorting, and now that I am sitting here, I can just hear it calling my name.

So there we go! The beginning of our minimalism journey is now written and published. Now I can publish the other posts I have written. Some of them are from before Christmas but they have important thoughts that I want to be recorded so I’m going to be publishing them anyway. I don’t know why but I felt like I couldn’t talk about decluttering until I had done this intro of sorts. And decluttering and minimizing is such a big part of our life now. We are constantly throwing things away or putting in a donate box, and I need to be able to write about the process because I have lots of thoughts and feelings about it all.