Contentment 

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Last week, while my family soaked in the last few moments of vacation, my daughter happily played in a tide pool. I knew there were even better ones to explore a little ways down the beach, but as much as my parents and I tried, Penelope refused to leave, even with the promise of a bigger or better one to play in. Instead, she focused on enjoying what she currently had. Her little tide pool oasis, perfect for splashing and “swimming”. Continue reading

Family Pushback?

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Are you becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of support or contribution from your spouse, significant other, or children? Do you wish they would be more willing to purge the excess from their lives (and yours)? You are not alone! I have had countless people  ask for advice on what to do when they are ready to declutter, but their families are not. I’m going to share a few key things that have discovered in hopes that it helps you as well.

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This is 29

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Today (7/20),  I am celebrating my 29th Birthday, and have been reflecting on my life thus far. First off, when did I get so “old”?!? It is surreal to think of myself as pushing 30. In reality, age is merely a number and I am truly enjoying this life I have been given. Between being loved by my amazing husband, watching my daughter grow into the smartest, sweetest girl I know, and being surrounded by the best group of friends I could ever hope for, my life is rich beyond measure. Continue reading

On Esther and Purpose 

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What is your passion? Each of us has a responsibility to live a life of purpose, in accordance to our talents and strengths. This week I have been studying the book of Esther, and in doing so, I noticed that Esther had some character traits that are not typically viewed as the makings of a heroine. She obeyed authority, was respectful, humble, conscious, meek, submissive, and timid.  In conjunction with those,  she was courageous; willing to give up everything-even her life, in order to fulfill her destiny. Continue reading

Home Tour: Living Room

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After the mass kitchen purge and the complete master bedroom makeover (You can read about those here and here, respectively), the next room we tackled was the living room. Tim and I started by mounting out TV on the wall, making it possible to sell the TV stand. A few other large pieces of furniture were moved out of the space and decorative “fillers” that neither of us liked were donated. These simple changes immediately made the room feel lighter; however, we weren’t finished just yet.

Majority of the bookcase space was taken up with media, so Tim copied our favorite DVD’s onto an external hard drive. The actual disks were donated,  with two shelves being emptied in the process. At this point we were one more step closer to enjoying a clutter free family space!

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The final step in creating our ideal family space, was to rearrange the remaining furniture, and display the few decorative items we agreed to keep. While our living room is far from sparse, it is now purposefully minimal! A wonderful place to spend time together playing, reading, relaxing, or having the occasional movie night.

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How do you feel in your living space? Cramped, overwhelmed, and stressed? Feeling the constant urge to clean or organize? If so, maybe you can benefit from decluttering down to only the things you use and love!

-Heather

 

 

 

 

Traveling Lightly 

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Last week, my family and I took a trip to Nebraska to visit Tim’s parents. As I started to plan what to pack, I kept in mind that we would be flying, and knew that we didn’t need to be lugging tons of bags through an airport with a toddler and a car seat. So we kept things light.

Prior to this little excursion, the amount of stuff that got packed for trips was equivalent to the spare space in the car. If it fit, we brought it along.  So many times I over packed “just in case” items only to never use them. What a waste! Waste of space, waste of time to pack and unpack, and a burden to carry around.  Until discovering minimalism, it never crossed my mind that there was another way. If you search online for a packing checklist, full-page charts detailing hundreds of items bombard the screen. With materialism being so prevalent, it really is no wonder why  over packing happens.

Packing too much? Not this time! I made it my goal to only bring contents that fit into one carry-on rolling suitcase and a back pack. This was for three people, two adults and a toddler! In the end we did it (with a little room to spare), and still ended up packing one outfit too many per person and slightly overestimating how many quiet activities we needed for Penelope. In traveling so lightly, I realized how little a person actually needs to comfortably travel (or live contentedly, for that matter). We had everything we needed for four days in those two small bags.

Now that we have done it once, there is no going back. Minimal packing is the only way I want to travel!  I practice minimalism in my daily life at home, why not from afar as well! For me, it is all about less stuff, and more adventure!

-Heather

Home Tour: Master Bedroom 

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After I successfully decluttered and minimized our kitchen (you can read more about that here), I started on the bedroom. This was one area in our house that I hated! Our closets were overflowing, flat surfaces became a “catch all”, piling up with everything from change and receipts, to clean laundry that needed to be put away. There was way too much furniture making our good sized room feel small and suffocating.

Too. Much. Stuff. Our bedroom was suppose to be a sanctuary, a little at-home retreat to relax and recharge. Instead, I avoided it as often as possible because the mess and clutter were overwhelming to me.

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“Before” This poor quality photo was taken on a good day.
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“Before” Opposite wall.

 

 

Then I did something drastic. I did a major clothing purge, donating at least 90% of my wardrobe. Things I didn’t like or didn’t fit well were separated from the few things I truly loved. I also sold the desk, chairs, and dresser to further reduce potential clutter magnets.

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It Is amazing how a room can transform with a new bed, a little paint, and a major purge. The negative, anxious feelings from before have been replaced with feelings of peace and calm. I love our bedroom and the feeling of serenity the space brings.

If you are apprehensive about taking the leap and going for a major purge of possessions, don’t be! It is so freeing to get rid of things in order to create a space you want to be in. “Stuff” comes at a price, making it even more important to only own things you love and use. What does your ideal bedroom look like? What do you need to do to make your dream a reality? Don’t wait! Start clearing out the clutter now, and make changes  to love the space you’re in!

-Heather

Voluntary Simplicity 

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Minimalism is not a lifestyle of comparisons. There is no one formula or right way of living as a minimalist, but simply deciding to live more purposefully. Not allowing possessions to overtake your home and own you. It is, however, living with the perfect amount to fit your specific needs. For some, this will look like a mere few hundred possessions in a tiny house, some choose to keep everything they own in a backpack and live a nomadic lifestyle, and for others, like me, minimalism is a little more camouflaged. My family lives in a moderately sized, 1200 sq. ft. 3 bedroom 2.5 bath home. While my husband and I agree that it’s more space than we need, it makes sense for us to remain here while living a life of purposeful simplicity, for now.  No matter your end goals, the key to becoming a minimalist is deciding your purpose- no one else can tell you what that is.

I love the phrase “voluntary simplicity”. These two words describe a conscious decision to reject materialism and consumerism, while allowing yourself to own things without them owning you. Living a life of simplicity.

Possessions often “own” people in different ways, here are just a few examples:

-Sheer volume: Do you have drawers, closets, and cabinets overflowing? Is this causing you to spends copious amounts of free time cleaning or organizing the clutter? This is time that could be spent doing something more meaningful.

-Debt accumulation: Do you feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses”? Will Rogers said it best with, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” Don’t let other people dictate what goes into your home. What’s the point of trying to impress them if you are spiraling further into debt to buy unneeded things?  I, for one, choose sanity, simplicity, and financial peace over opinions that don’t matter! Real friends don’t care about your “stuff” anyway!

-Discontentment: when is enough, enough? That feeling of elated excitement when you make a new purchase eventually fades,  giving discontentment the opportunity to creep back in. This cycle will continue unless you make the decision to stop it. To realize that whatever void you are experiencing will never be filled with things. Make an effort to discover contentment through gratitude, breaking the cycle of consumerism.

Every day I make the decision to live a life of voluntary simplicity. Although it has been a process and will continue to evolve with each season of life, I have never felt a greater sense of joy! Will you join me in living a life of purpose?

-Heather