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My journey to minimalism

Prior to Christmas, I had made a decision that in the new year, I wanted to move towards a more simplistic way of living. I wanted to declutter, get rid of things that I no longer use or are not functional anymore, and create my own version of minimalism.

Now, please don’t confuse my version of minimalism to actually being a minimalist. My oldest and dearest friend is a minimalist. She lives in a tiny house (when she’s actually in the U.S. and not in a field camp in the mountains of China researching snow leopards). My version of minimalism is not that.

But I have come to realize that there is no need for so much stuff. Most of it, I have no real attachment too and it’s only there to make the house look “good”. Or it’s clothes I keep, despite the fact that I never wear them. They are only there in off chance that there may be an occasion where I will want to wear that one specific thing. Why continue to keep all these unnecessary items, when I can fill my home with family momentos and antiques, pictures, and decor that I feel a connection too. I can have my favorite clothes in my closet and have room for a new piece of two that are good quality and will be functional for multiple occasions.

I start with a whole house purge. I’ve discussed purges in previous blogs, but it’s truly a room by room plan. I don’t move on to the next room until I’ve finished the current one I’m working in. Please don’t get discouraged, this takes time. I am a teacher, so I did mine over my 2 week Christmas break. Not many people get that kind of luxury though. Planning to complete 1 room per weekend is better then no plan at all. I’ll be honest, it’s taken me since mid January to get my basement to a better place, and I’m still not done! Create space somewhere for donation boxes, or schedule an extra trash pick up if necessary.

It’s hard to decide what to keep sometimes. So I took this stance – Does it mean something to me? Does it serve a purpose? How often do I use it? If your answer is no, no and not often, ditch it!

Here are some helpful tips to help you purge, replace and organize:

– If there is a space that you want to fill, consider what you already have. Repurposing is a great way to make a space functional, spend little to no money and free up space where the repurposed item used to be! If you can’t find something you already own to work where you need it to, take time to decide what will be best in that area. Create a vision. And don’t go out and purchase something right away, that usually leads to buying something that isn’t exactly what you want. It’s ok for a space to be vacant for a while until you find the right item to fill it.

This wall in our bedroom was blank for over a year. I had these pallet signs hanging in two other rooms. I decided, since they were all about love, that she should be hung together in our bedroom, since it is the base of love in our household.

– If you need an organization item, like baskets, boxes or drawer organizers, order them right away. Amazon can become your best friend. Otherwise, the clutter will continue to linger.

– Decide what you are doing with an item right away. Don’t keep moving it around or putting things in piles. Those piles will never get smaller that way, and you’ll end up moving things so many times. It’s a vicious cycle. If you are keeping it, find its new home right away. If you can’t find a home for it, it should probably not stay around.

Then there’s the whole idea of, well I use it to decorate my home! Well sis, how much decor do you really own? In my case, a lot. So I decided it was time to reevaluate my ideas of decor. Sweet signs and knick knacks are great. But they don’t mean much to me and besides needing to be dusted once a week, they don’t really serve a purpose. So I decided that I can replace those items with things I actually use, have meaning to me, and bring uniqueness to my space.

I replaced signs that everyone and their mother has from hobby lobby with pictures of my family and friends.

The other decor on this wall also has personal meaning. The town signs on the top and bottom represent mine and Jeremys home towns. The sign in the middle is the town where we currently live in our first home together. And the windmill, despite it being purchased from hobby lobby, represents my family farm. We have a true windmill there and it’s always been meaningful to our family.

I had so many great pictures of loved ones, sitting idly on my phone. They were doomed to live there forever. So I jumped on snapfish and found a great deal for some small picture books. I made two books, one for each year that Jeremy and I have been together. They now sit on an end table in our living room. They replaced something silly and now our guest can flip through them and see the history of our love story.

My other tabletop decor was replaced with books and plants! Don’t knock plants until you try them. There’s a plant for even the worst green thumb. Literally, I had an air plant that was in my storage unit for almost a year after my ex husband and I divorced. He saw no light or water for 9 months! He was a little crisp when I finally got to him, but he was alive none the less! Plants help filter air in your home, and give any room a natural pop of color. You can also choose functional plants, like herbs, which you can then use as fresh ingredients in your cooking.

Side note, cute puppies make for great decor too!

Using family heirlooms and antiques also give a home uniqueness. My grandmother collected plates and miniature tea cups. My grandfather was air force, so my dad and their family moved around a lot. After my grandparents passed, I was gifted plates and cups that were my grandmothers. I have used those items to decorate my kitchen and office.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and in my adult years, I started collecting mugs and miniature tea cups from my own travels. I decided that those items deserved purpose, not to only be displayed. So I sold my large collection of Rae Dunn and instead replaced them with my travel collection. I use these mugs daily for my morning tea. Making them functional, and great pieces of decor.

I’m missing a lot of mugs from travels as a child and teen. My hope is to get back to those places again someday!

And lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative! Sometimes the most abstract things make for creative focal points in the home. I am a huge Disney fan. During quarantine, Jeremy and I started doing puzzles. The first puzzle we completed was of my favorite princess and villain- Sleeping beauty and Maleficent. The puzzle was 750 pieces and took us a few weeks to complete. It seemed like a sin to tear apart after it was complete! I mean, blood sweat, tears and a lot of back pain went into the project. So we decided to use modge podge to bind it together and frame it! It inspired me to turn our guest bedroom into a Disney themed room. I put up shelf’s to hold my precious Disney mugs, and have a few more Disney puzzles to complete as art for the walls!

Let your home be a place of peace. A representation of you and your family and if nothing else, fill it with love and happiness.

Until next time 💕

– Kate

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