why​ minimalize

We all have different thresholds of clutter and for things that are around us. When I look around my small house, I can see where a die-hard minimalist may say, ‘Gee, you have a lot of Easton Press books, or that I still have my Fiesta Ware.’ Even though I have gotten rid of probably 75 % of what we did have ( grand piano and 2 couches and a futon) plus more, there is still a comfortable amount of stuff that I like.

I love my Needles and Pine Tepco dishes that are in the Heywood Wakefield. Even though I use White dishes daily, I do use the Tepco and I use the Fiesta Ware. But I have them where I can appreciate them visually and they fit on the shelves they are on.

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That’s a big minimalist thing and I do use that concept of how much ‘real estate’ or space do I have for those items. If they were boxed away, I would get rid of them. But they are out on my shelves and fit the space. If you need to start your minimalist journey, I’d recommend the container concept. There’s only so much room on a shelf or in a drawer for items. So that is your parameter. You can only put what fits and that doesn’t mean cramming things in sideways.

So why bother decluttering and minimizing your stuff. From my own personal experience, my house stays cleaner as there is less stuff to dust and overall less stuff to deal. My stress levels are quite low( mostly) when things are tidy and uncluttered. I read a great article on some blog about when we’re stressed we want to declutter and I can say that is what I did.  I found the more I released the less stressed I was. My home felt better to be in. As an introvert, I spend a lot of my time home especially since I no longer work at the library. So

  • cleaner house
  • less stuff to deal with
  • lower stress levels
  • more time for other things like reading, cooking, walking etc

 

There’s less noise in my head when I have more white space around me both literally and figuratively. I think there’s even more, I can declutter down the road but for now, it is a nice balance.

 

 

Sunday doings

It was very cold last night and there was a hard frost. We don’t really have anything planted so that’s good but some herbs did get frosted.

It looks like the whole week ahead is cold and rainy with lots of snow in the Sierras. Well, we do need it.

Today is a gym day and then just puttering around. I’ve read a couple of good books in the last week and I just got a couple of more ebooks to check out.

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I got these cute hyacinth bulbs at Trader Joes. I love the little glass vases they came in and I can use again.

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Here are a few of my plant friends in the corner. This is where I sit and drink my coffee before I head out to walk. This is to the right of our front door.

Over at the blog ‘Reading my tea leaves’( just about my favorite blog), Erin wrote a really good blog on working with the space you have. She lives in a tiny apartment in NYC and was discussing what you can do or can’t do since it’s a rental. I chimed in that that’s true even when you own. I live in a tiny house( the county lists our house at 679 sq feet) but since we have closed in 2 porches and built a sunroom it is more like 900 sq feet.  I actually have never measured. Maybe I’ll do that. We’re in Northern California and have lived in this house with my husband and 2 children for 22 1/2 years now. My son was 1 when we moved into this house.  Structurally, we’ve never had money to build or do any major renovation. We’ve just done what we could.

The more minimalist we’ve become the bigger our gets simply by removing things that just didn’t fit. ( At one time we had 2 couches and a futon and a piano in our front room along with a large oak table.)  I think we were kinda nuts.  So, I really liked her take on making the best with what you’ve got and making each space special.

Minimalism, Creating routines

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Thoreau says it all in this quote, I think.

We need to think about what we buy, what we consume and what we do with it all after we no longer need it. Plus, how many hours did you work to get that new whatever. It’s certainly food for thought.

But today in my minimalism series, I want to address routines. So you’ve decluttered, purged, donated, thrown away, and organized whats left. Now comes keeping it going by creating routines. Daily, weekly, monthly.

When I started my minimalism journey it was Flylady that helped me get going. I was starting a new chemotherapy after remission of 4 years. The chemo was fairly easy to tolerate 21 days on 7 days off. But the steroids were tough, so I found FlyLady and started implementing the 15-minute rule and followed her weekly zones.

There are 5 zones and every 5 weeks you go thru your whole house. Since decluttering and purging, tidying and housework are a breeze. My biggest zone, and by that I mean the most time consuming, is the kitchen.  I can do all the other rooms in about 10 minutes.  I also do the weekly home blessing which includes washing mirrors and dusting.

She also has an evening and morning routine.  I do the morning one based on what I need. For instance, I do 1X of laundry a day, I swish and swipe the bathroom in the morning, I make sure the counters are clean and the sink as well. Of course, I make the bed daily. I think the evening one would be especially important if you have kids going to school and need to plan lunches etc.

I think it’s important to create your own routine based on what your life looks like. If I had young children, I’m sure it would be different, working professionals will look different too. Start with the basics

  • make your bed
  • tidy the living room or any room that needs picking up
  • 1X laundry a day, done from start to finish
  • clean sink
  • wipe bathroom down
  • empty dishwasher
  • plan dinner

I plan dinner with a weekly rotation but I plan specifically in the morning what I ‘m doing for dinner.

Keep at it. It took a while to get my routine down and it will you too.  Do the most important things first and then schedule 15 minutes for the rest and see how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes.

There are tons of Pinterest ideas for routines to check as well.

 

 

 

Minimalism, now to organize!

9aff9c2e96b462ea1d37c12c64c687dcSo, you’ve decluttered, purged, and got rid of the stuff(at least for this round,)and things look pretty good.

Now comes some organizing. Let the fun begin.

In my pantry, which is a stainless steel restaurant shelving, I use Ikea jars.

Plus 1/2 gallon Ball jars.

I like them equally but the IKEA jars are almost 1/2 the price. When I’m in Ikea, I always try and pick up a few. So into these jars, I put my organic long grain white rice, organic short grain brown rice, pasta, polenta, WW flour, and organic white flour.  Also, my black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans and green lentils.

The glass jars make the pantry look more attractive. Especially since my shelves are open.

In my bathroom, I use Target’s white baskets and keep q-tips and extra stuff in.

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You can be very creative in creating organized belongings. I use vintage suitcases to store my kid’s Waldorf wood toys that I just haven’t gotten rid of yet. I did donate the Waldorf dolls as they were made of cotton and wool and would eventually degrade.

I also have 2 under bed bins to hold my vintage tablecloths and a few odds and ends. Our bedframe(homemade) is wood and low to the floor so using the area underneath it is wise and useful.

After the purge, organize in a neat and clean way.  Your home will be easier to keep tidy and to clean.

 

Minimalism, create white space

9a1fb140b9232e6ec8deba592897d9cb.jpgAhhh, to have the things out of the house. It’s very freeing and leaves open lots of possibilities.

It’s best to follow, though, the one in one out rule once you’ve done a good purge. So, if you buy a new T-shirt and the old one goes out. Same with everything, although, one caveat might be if you are buying something you need and don’t have one like it to discard. In that event, just find another item not related to donate.  Of course, I don’t follow this to the letter at all. For Christmas, we all received(from Santa) 2 Easton Press books. Since I’ve decluttered almost all my other books, I didn’t feel the need to reduce the books.  They are beautiful classics that are leather bound and gold gilded. I bought a lot on eBay before Christmas for an amazing price of 80.00 for 7 books.  Very sweet deal.

Creating white space is leaving some spaces unfilled. Perhaps a shelf only with a few items. I try and keep one open shelf or at least 1/2 of a shelf open. It’s much easier on the eyes not for it to be packed.img_0363

Also, creating white space allows you to open up to new possibilities and ideas. Rearrange your furniture or think of a creative solution to small space living(or medium, or large) but something new.   The possibilities are endless really when we have decluttered down to the essential, purged all the unnecessary things that we hold on to, white space let’s us be creative.

Plus, it’s really fun!!

Try to empty a shelf, a cabinet shelf, or a drawer.  Let it be a  space for light to come in.

 

 

Minimalism, get rid of the STUFF!!!

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I love this quote. It’s so true!!

Just yesterday we dropped a load at Goodwill Express and then the pet donation thrift store and pet bookstore. They had been in the back of my VW for at least a month. I had hemmed and hawed at dropping off my practically new Dansko shoes( I paid $110 for), and an old family book that was printed in 1850.  I had only worn the shoes 3-4 times and just didn’t fit my feet right. The book was an old book of quotations. Like I’m going to read that. So, I let them go for someone else to enjoy.

But, to backtrack here for a moment.

There are many ways to begin the minimalism journey, but number one is decluttering stuff.  There are so many approaches to this. KonMari, minimalist game, FlyLady,  Peter Walsh, and probably lots more. I actually have used all the popular ones at different times. It helps to keep getting fresh perspectives and to keep digging thru levels of stuff.

Generally, it’s a good idea to start decluttering with the easy stuff. Clothes are pretty unemotional, books are also fairly easy to discard, maybe moving on to kitchen stuff and pieces of furniture that don’t serve you anymore. Throw away broken stuff and stuff that can’t be repaired.

With each load you take to the thrift store or the dump, you will feel lighter. It is an amazing process.

You must though, do it. You have to put it in your car and take it. Best right away!!

When I was getting rid of lots and lots of stuff including many of my vintage collections, I happened to have a co-worker who loved that stuff and actually had a fairly big house so it fit in. She received an old 1900’s trunk, vintage fans, dishes, etc. It made me so happy to pass them on to someone who would enjoy them.  If you can do that, it’s great. If not, just remember once it’s out of your space, take it to the appropriate drop-off.

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This too is so true. So many of the things I let go, truly did matter to me before. And then somehow, they just didn’t and I needed the space more. The emptiness and openness was and is so healing.

So,  DECLUTTER in whatever way suits you. It may be 15 minutes a day. It may be on weekends. Just do it.

Then GET RID OF IT!

Creating a more minimalist environment will help you have more time to do things you enjoy because with less stuff there is less maintenance and upkeep.

 

 

 

Minimalism, inch by inch…

I always loved the song, ‘ Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow’…  When we were Quakers, we would often sing this song before meeting.It reminds me of what minimalism is. Doing a little at a time, inch by inch to get to that place where simplicity lives.

Minimalism is a journey into simplifying life. To get to the place of “lagom”. That’s the Swedish word for ‘just enough’, not too little, not too much.

When I started on my minimalist journey, I decluttered for many many months. Then I eased off and then started again. There have been many rounds of removing the non-essential.

Sometimes it has been a very small thing that has been decluttered or something that I’ve looked at but didn’t feel ready to let it go. So it really has been inch by inch, so to speak.

I thought I’d start a mini minimalism series, mostly, because I like talking about it.

So, today is the first.

There are many ways to begin decluttering, but I think the most important is to just start somewhere.  I liked to have a visual win for when I first started decluttering. So perhaps for you that might be a counter in the kitchen or the top of your dresser. Look around and even take pictures with your phone( I have found this enormously helpful), and then tackle the area that irritates you the most.

Gaining control over your space is partly what I love about minimalism and simplifying. Your home is your space, create the space you want.  This has been a real motivator for me.  I always wanted a white couch, and eventually, I got one. Of course, it’s an Ikea, so affordable. Plus I happen to love white as it is very easy on the eyes and I love that there are many shades of white.  Maybe you love blue or green. It doesn’t matter, what matters is you creating the space you are comfortable in. Decluttering non-essential things from your home is the first step.

Go for it. Do 15 minutes a day like FlyLady suggests. It is amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes.21317537_2008716379361964_2892595769604685335_n