"So, what... you're like a 'minimalist' now?"
Frannie here! Nichole and I are both working toward the same goal here, and I'm sure she will share her journey soon, but for now- I felt compelled to share what I'm doing and why. Mostly because the quote above is one that I have heard verbatim from 3 people now! My answer is this, "Working on it!" I tease and call myself a "Minimalish" which just makes me sound a little less extreme. The truth is, I'm just still half way there. When I started down this path just a couple of months ago, I didn't talk much about it. But as I started giving things away, and posting sale listings on Facebook, my family started to notice. I think that they just wanted to make sure I was okay- as I'll be honest, this is completely out of character for me. I've gotten so many reactions from people- and sometimes they don't seem as positive as I would expect. Hey man, you do you! It's definitely NOT for everyone; but it is just what we needed, and maybe this can inspire someone else to give it a go. I know that not everyone will understand, but I actually welcome the criticism because if I can't defend my practices, then maybe I shouldn't be committing to them.
Chris and I have always been pretty tidy and clean people. I was so surprised that even in our home that I didn't feel was too overflowing with clutter was able to get rid of SO MUCH. We have a 1900sq. ft. patio home. 3 bedrooms, 1 bonus room, and a tiny garage that can just barely fit both cars (I've lost a couple of car mirrors to it.) Not much storage, but just the right size for us. Last year, I had to move Crew, our 3 year old into our 8 yr. old Carter's room so that I could have my office back and I was convinced that we needed a bigger home. "If only this house had an office and a bigger garage!" I would always say, as endlessly searching on Zillow for the perfect abode. One time, we actually put in an offer-- above full price offer I might add... on a home that was like 5 bedrooms on a HUGE yard with beautiful fruit trees, mature landscaping, a breathtaking view... and a laundry list of updates that we wanted to do to it. The night before our offer was going to be accepted, I had my first ever REAL-LIFE panic attack. Sweating, crying, hyperventilating, followed by spurts of laughter because I was embarrassed at how I was acting. I called our Real Estate agent (my sweet mother) and begged her to rescind the offer. The thing is, my intuition knew that buying that home was the wrong decision. I knew deep down, that the home we live in is more than enough space. It's more than perfect for us, and when I slowed down and realized that there is no joy in always wanting more- I was not only content, I was in love with what we have, I was thankful. I became determined to make this space the most efficient I could make it. I wanted to make it a beautiful, happy place, that was ours, and that my kids can grow up in until we send them off to college. And now, if I were to ever change homes it would be for an even smaller one.
A few months later, someone recommended the documentary on Netflix, "MINIMALISM." Chris and I took a break from our 'Scandal' marathon to watch it and we both were nodding and "Praise-hands" the whole time. The next day, as my British 8 year old would say-- I went mental.
THE MASTER CLOSET
I used to be the one who was so concerned about people seeing me in the same outfit more than once. If there was a photo of me wearing something on social media, it was pretty much ruined. Who did I think I was, Paris Hilton? I know- totally lame and pathetic. Nobody freaking cares! I enjoy new things, but from now on- something new in, means something old out. I won't hold myself to an exact number of items in my closet because that's what a "True Minimalist" has. I will however, continue to assess every item in my home until I feel like every single thing has a purpose, and for the record- I do believe that intentional decor has purpose.
I started with my closet. I took 4 different trips to Uptown Cheapskate. I figured out that they're more likely to buy more clothes if you take them in smaller batches! I made over $700 from those clothes. But I still had over a thousand items in my closet even after that. The stuff that made the cut sat there for another 3 weeks before it would get cut into another fraction... until soon, for the first time EVER, Chris had way more clothes than me. I was on my way to my first capsule wardrobe and the funny thing is that I survived. With the capsule closet method, which I'll write another post about later-- I only will be replacing staple items with better quality ones-- and adding a few new pieces every 90 days as the seasons change. I also absolutely love LeTote. I get to pick out clothes that get sent to me every week. I wear it once, and send it back. It makes having a capsule wardrobe a lot easier- and I don't have to buy new clothes to wear to shoot weddings, they always have great professional options that I can get for that. And the last few times I've wandered into my favorite stores, I leave empty handed because I don't find anything that I will really love and use all the time.
THE PLAY ROOM
Then- I went to the kids toys. I was so tired of constantly picking up toys. We had an IKEA expedit unit with 12x12 canvas bins in each cubby. Do you know how many trains and matchbox cars and legos, and army men, and Happy Meal toys, and Pokemon cards, and Skylanders, and bouncy balls, and abandoned socks, and pop-tart wrappers can fit in just ONE of those canvas boxes? LITERALLY HUNDREDS. IN. ONE. BOX! And what do they do with it? Do they pick through and find the toys they want to play with and set up a cute little race track? Nope, they dump the whole thing out. A sound that I can accurately identify from the opposite end of the house. Then off to the next thing. Then guess who's sitting there sorting out trains from cars from nerf bullets... yea, mom and dad do that. After watching the documentary, we started talking to our kids about pairing down, and they were more than eager to start purging. We made a donate box and started sorting. They added tons of toys to the donate box, and even picked some of their friends that they thought would really enjoy the toys that they were done with. We threw away all the cheap, plastic cars, the broken trains, and pretty much all of the action figures. We got rid of the canvas bins, and we were left with 4 categories of toys: Trains, Cars, Legos, and Remote Control Cars - they each have 1 that they decided to keep. Now the toy room has so much room for them to run around, do flips onto the couch, build forts, have dance parties, make art, and set up their "movie theater." No more dumping out toys because we got those super heavy wooden toy boxes that stack and display the toys. Un-Dumpable. Brilliant.
MY HOME OFFICE
During our de-cluttering, for weeks this room was the Catch-All for unwanted, and undecided things. It was like a graveyard for all of the belongings that just didn't belong. I needed to bring in a professional for this job. Enter Carley Rowley with Epitome House. She's a real life functioning minimalist, and she has made it her business to help others do the same. We moved every single thing out of the office and put things back in one at a time until it only had intentional things inside. Everything else went buh-bye. It only took us 3 hours of hard focused work, and it put me in such a happy head space, I can't even describe it. Good, good stuff, guys!
We've tackled pretty much every room, drawer, cupboard, closet, and even the garage. It's addicting, I'm telling you!
I realize I am lucky to have a partner and teammate that is on board.
As we moved things out that didn't quite fit, I was able to take the money that we earned from selling everything to put it towards new things. Many of our furniture pieces moved into this home with us and were not purchased for this space. Things have been accumulating for 5 years, and there were conflicting styles of design in furniture and decor. I found out that my style is a mixture of mid-century modern and boho. I'm loving the current design trends with the macrame, greenery, scandinavian furniture, and pretty much anything West Elm with a little Free People twist. So, I have had SO MUCH fun turning my home into an intentional sanctuary with pieces that fit and are functional. Our new bedroom makes me feel like I'm waking up in a beautiful beach resort, and my office has extra room for yoga sessions, meditation, and possibly someday- a massage table! (hint hint husband!)
I could talk about this for hours- in fact, I keep deleting entire paragraphs because I'm getting off topic and writing the longest post ever that no one will want to read! But trust me, when you get rid of all that crap-- it will be so much easier to see what makes you happy. It's so light and freeing. I am still on the road to living my most minimal life, but for now- life is amazing.
Here are a few of my favorite resources if you're interested in de-cluttering:
www.Un-Fancy.com | Learn about how to make a capsule wardrobe
www.theminimalists.com | I haven't dug ddeep into this blog, but I love their podcast on iTunes
functioningminimalist.com | Nichole introduced me to Sara the functioning minimalist. It is a fun podcast that is well.. minimal. Each episode is only 5 minutes long
jesslively.com/livelyshow/ | Jess Lively is a minimalist lives out of a suitcase, travels the world, and who talks about lots of self development stuff. Warning: She's super into woo-woo, and it can become a little much sometimes- but her podcast has changed the way I look at so many things, and her perspective is so refreshing and it's triggered a few big Ah-Ha moments for me.