This Girl is Not a Minimalist and That is Okay

July 11, 2018


I admire minimalists. I listen to The Minimalists podcast every week while I do the laundry.

However, I am not a minimalist. I am growing to be okay with this fact.

I used to want to be a minimalist. And the principals of minimalism have definitely colored my approach both to purchases and purging current household items. It has certainly shaped the way I approach my wardrobe and clothing purchases, for sure. Minimalism has taught me to be much more purposeful about the purchases I make and the way I keep our household belongings. It has taught me to value the things we keep much more purposefully.

However… we live in a relatively big house. We drive newer cars. Our boys definitely do not grasp the beauty of a minimalist outlook with regard to belongings.

So, I am stopping forcing the issue. And that fact is okay now. It is enough to respect minimalists and realize that I can be purposeful in ownership without actually minimizing what I own.


Snapping Out of It

March 19, 2018


I’m snapping out of yet another depressive run. I only slept till 10 AM this morning and got up before my “absolutely have to get up” alarm went off. That’s progress.

In these times, the house always gets out of control. I’m making yet another attempt, today, to jump start the house cleaning.

Unfortunately, I also jump to decluttering when I start the cleaning. The giant photo box that was under my desk for months is gone now and the cabinets under the sink in the living room are my new photo storage space.

I should explain that….

A little carved out space of our formal living room is made such that it is supposed to be a bar. It has a sink and a counter.

We don’t drink, so that space is useless to us. The sink goes months without being turned on.

However, the storage underneath has been home to mostly old books of mine for about a year and a half. It’s never used.

This newfound storage for my photo stuff does present the problem, though, of where to put a lot of the old stuff. Some of it is going by the wayside, and some of it I can’t get rid of. And some of it is Jared’s stuff, which means it’s never going anywhere because he never willfully gets rid of anything.

So, for now, I’ve created an even bigger mess in the formal living room.

All in the name of progress, though, right?

At least the dishes are done.


Making Home

January 28, 2018


We are taking baby steps to make this house our own.

This week, three canvases of my photographs arrived. One of them went in our foyer.

In the foyer, we also put a bench one of our good friends who’s a woodwork artist made. It doubles as a place to sit and remove shoes or a place for guests to put purses and coats or other belongings. It is awesome and I find myself sitting there more often than I expected to, just this week.

The other two canvases were photos of the dogs that I took for Oliver and Liam to have in their rooms. The canvases are hanging now in their homes and the boys are pleased.

The other step we took this week is to replace our kitchen lights. One of the fixtures was dying and the light was becoming dim (multiple bulb fixture), and we opted to replace both fixtures so that they will match. The set we picked coordinates such that we will be able to replace the dining room fixture, the fixtures in our foyer and hallway, and our stairwell fixture, over time. For now, though, the kitchen is done and I am ecstatic.

Between the foyer and the lights, it is pretty clear that our style, when left to our own devices, is pretty post-modern minimalist. It wasn’t the original style our house was designed in mind with, so the architecture presents differently from the outside of the house, but I am okay with that. It’s also a different style than the furniture we’ve inherited but I am okay with that too.

There are other steps we will be taking to get the house in order but they are more of the cleaning/organizing type than the straight up decorating type of task. We are having people over in the middle of February and I am determined that the house will be presentable and that I will do the majority of the work to get it into such state. It is high time for me to have pride in the beautiful home we have been blessed with, and to show that pride.


Slowly Making Our Home

January 13, 2018


I struggle with feeling like this house is truly ours. It is beautiful and I love the house we are in. It’s grander than I ever expected to own. But in order to be smart with our money, we have to be frugal and space out the projects we do to make it fit more with our personality as a family. We painted the family room white and my uncle painted the formal room moth gray, which I love (and eventually the whole house will be that color). But I’ve really struggled with the wood trim all over the first floor. It was definitely meant to be there and it adds to the character of the house, but it wasn’t at all what I envisioned buying when we were house-hunting. Yet, it feels like it would be sacrilege to paint over it– it is beautiful and fits with the house style. So, I look for other ways to make the house ours.

After I wrote the previous post, I got to looking at the windows. If you look closely, you can see that the dividers are fake. They are (or were, as the case is now) only held in by plastic pegs inserted in drilled holes in the wood frame of the windows. I didn’t realize they were fake until last summer, when one by the bay window in the formal living room fell out on top of my desk. It was annoying and I found it way tacky how easily they just fell out.

However, this played to my benefit. Not long ago, we were watching an HGTV show and someone decided they wanted to have windows without the divider and the host just went over and pulled it off the window in one piece.

So, Thursday morning, I took them all down.

 

 

The ones in the garage will come down too, but they are too high for me to reach, since there are several steps from the formal room into the garage. So they will have to wait until Jared can find to help me, which I hope may be this weekend sometime.

I love the effect. It’s wonderful. The windows look so much bigger than they did before and while I think the actual amount of more light we get is negligible, the effect is dramatic. We will hold onto the dividers for re-sale purposes if and when we ever sell this house, but they won’t go back up as long as we live here, as far as I am concerned.


Tackling My Elephant

January 11, 2018


So as I referenced very briefly, I am not working outside the home anymore other than photography. What that means is that I am in the process of establishing a routine and niche for myself at home.

First up: tame the house. Family came and helped me clean the house before Christmas and it is a disaster already. Instead, I’ve been tinkering with photos. or crocheting a beautiful new shrug (this latest one has a hood!) Or reading blogs. Or listening to podcasts. Or napping. Anything to avoid the elephant in the room– the laundry and the messy house.

I look at blogs and get home envy of all the people who can have stark white walls. This house though, lovely as it is, would look too sterile with its wood trim and bright white walls. It just wouldn’t have the same effect. And while the wood trim could be painted over, this house’s character, so much of it, comes from the wood trim accents all over the first floor. I am removing the panels of fake dividers over the windows. That is a project is in the process of happening now, and I love the effect. The house looks much more modern, much more like us.

 


Streamlining + Coffee

August 13, 2017


I’ve decided to do away with my paper calendar system.

Years and years ago when Jared and I first got married, I wholeheartedly admired a mom we knew who kept track of all of her family’s events and plans in a binder. I wanted to be that mom.

I’ve tried, and I’ve failed at that experiment, in various forms. Some years I kept elaborate homemade binders, some years I kept track of everything in expensive planners purchased online, some years I just went to Walmart and bought something off the shelf.

Jared tried to convince me years ago to use Google Calendars on my phone and computer.  I tried it but it always seemed so fumbley and awkward. So back to the paper solutions I always went.

More recently, I’ve been using this for the past year and a half or so. It has worked well enough, particularly in conjunction with using this for daily plan writing along with a Moleskine notebook which is about the same size for shopping lists. It’s a convoluted system but it worked well enough.

However, it was getting complicated to keep track of photo sessions along with doctor appointments and kid events. It was particularly more complicated when I needed to write extra information in that perpetual calendar, since it only has one line for each date. So, a new system it had to be.

I currently have two calendars, a photography calendar and a personal calendar, both under the same account. Those calendars are linked to my Google Keep, which allows me to still make my task lists which make me happy and will send me reminders. We’ll see how the new system works.

And because it is morning, I wanted to sing the praises of my coffee system.

A little over a year ago my old traditional 5-cup coffee maker went on the fritz. What’s more, as I unplugged it and started examining it more, I discovered there was mold growing in some of the tubing. Gross! I didn’t want to give up my morning wonderful-ness but I needed a new solution. I’d seen pour over systems but I was leery. Decided to give it a go, though, when I found this at Target. I figured I could try it. A dear friend gave us a tea pot for our wedding so I had the boiling water solution already.

The Bodum system has, for the most part, worked for me. I love that I can move my coffee maker wherever I want to as I need more room on the kitchen counter. I would not willingly go back to an electric coffee maker. The only complaint I really have is that I still find myself using paper filters. I tried it for the first few weeks without the paper filters and just using the permanent filter and I found too many of the grounds seeped through into my coffee. I will say though, that using paper filters has meant for much easier clean-up since the grounds shouldn’t go down the drain of the sink.

Organization and coffee. They make me happy.


Capsule Wardrobe Time

July 27, 2017


I decided yesterday to go ahead with the capsule wardrobe idea. I piled all my closet contents on the bed and if I didn’t love it, it’s going. For now, “going” means piled into garbage bags destined for the attic, in case this change doesn’t stick. But they are for sure going out of sight, today.

I was inspired by this post from Project 333. I ended up with closer to probably 40-45 items including jewelry, purses, and shoes. Still, the purge felt good and what I was drawn too actually coordinated, which surprised me.

I hope it sticks. I am tired of new clothes. I have plenty of serviceable items that will last for years, assuming there are no major weight changes. For my own sake, I hope there are sometime in the next couple of years…I would love to lose some weight and plan to work toward that goal. That would be an occasion for new clothing items. Otherwise, it’s time for some serious money-saving.


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