Our Minimal Bedroom

Our bedroom is the one room in our home that is off limits for our kiddos through out the day. Of course they come in to snuggle first thing in the morning and sometimes we read stories on the bed together at night but for the most part, our bedroom is the one room I can walk into half way through the day and breath a sigh of relief because everything is still as I left it. And yes, I do make our bed every single morning. 🙂  It’s something I’ve been doing religiously every day since I was little and there’s no stopping me now! It may sound super silly but I truly find that that small accomplishment at the start of the day sets the tone for more and greater accomplishments through out the rest of my day and it’s also amazing how a made bed can do so much for a room!

Even though our room has always looked tidy from the outside however, our drawers, night tables and closet were a whole other story…too. much. stuff. Crammed with clothes I rarely wore, shoes I hadn’t looked at in years and so many purses I kept “in case”.  I was excited to get minimizing this more personal area of our home after finally getting my husband on board  (and he still has a couple drawers to work on 😉 ).

I was recently thinking back to how easy it was to get dressed for the day in high-school. We had school uniforms and my options were very slim: 2 pairs of pants, a kilt, and 4 tops to choose from. I loved it because with only a few options, there was no stress or pressure when trying to find an outfit. It’s all I had, it all mixed and matched AND as best a school uniform could, it all fit me well. Soooo my goal has been to come up with a similar system for my current wardrobe. A minimal, collection of clothes that is mostly neutrals, all goes well together and is ALL stuff I love and fits well!

I wish I had taken a before photo of the closet but the top shelf was previously stuffed with bags, clutches, wallets, hats, and there was no floor to be seen on the bottom with the piles of “extra” shoes and clothes piled up.

I used the following pile system when going through our bedroom stuff to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I did my own things first and then helped my husband with his.

Pile 1 – I love these items. They fit me well and I wear/use them frequently. (put back in the closet)

Pile 2 – I want to keep this but I don’t know why. (put away in a box in the back of closet for 30 days)

Pile 3 – These items don’t fit me or my style. (Donate.)

Pile 4 – These items are not in good condition. (Throw Away.)

Pictured in this post is my fall/winter wardrobe as I took these photos a few months back but spring/summer would look pretty similar in color and amount of clothing.  Here’s what it entailed:

  • 5 pairs of pants: 2 pairs of jeans (one light and distressed and one dark wash) 1 pair of leather leggings, 1 pair of sweat pants, 1 pair of black skinny pants)
  • 4 sweaters
  • 2 sweatshirts
  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 denim button down
  • 2 dressy tops
  • 5  neutral tees (black, grey, navy, white, striped)
  • 5 layering items for different looks: Black leather jacket, jean jacket, grey cotton blazer, faux fur vest, and a dusty pink jacket.
  • 7 pairs of shoes/boots: uggs, hunters, runners, 2 pairs of dressy boots, 2 pairs of toms.

Now I do have my dresses, a few skirts and a few blazers/dressy sweaters hanging on the other side of my hanging shelves. I generally have a couple fun statement pieces per/season but the rest are items I rarely pull out and again it’s all stuff I have gone through, it still fits well and I love, but with being a stay at home mama, I don’t reach for any those things very often. I want my primary wardrobe to be easily accessible and a minimal collection of items I would wear on any given day through the week.  It has been LIFE CHANGING for me to have such a limited collection to chose from and I absolutely love it.

Hope this has inspired you to de-clutter a bit and live more minimally. It’s honestly becoming so freeing for us in so many ways to live with less STUFF and I’m passionate about sharing our journey with you so thanks for taking the time to read! If you haven’t yet, you can check out our minimized kitchen and playroom too! The twin’s room is up next!

 

Continue Reading

Our Minimal Playroom

If you’ve been following along with my blog the past few months, you’ll know that our family has been on a journey towards living a minimalist life. (You can view our minimal kitchen HERE!) So what does this actually mean? For us, it’s not just about getting rid of stuff, but it’s about living a life with intention…in every area. Our home, our calendar, our relationships. It’s been quite the journey but we’re already seeing the benefits of the changes we’ve made thus far and it’s been so so freeing.

Today I want to share what we’ve done in our playroom as I know a lot of parents would argue that it’s impossible to have a minimal and tidy home with children. I mean doesn’t everyone tell you (in baby mags, blog posts, and on pinterest) everything that you need when you have kids. I mean seriously, right from the newborn stage and as our children grow into toddlers and then reach school age, we feel the need to provide them with so much stuff. I’ve come to realize how wrong this way of thinking is. Living with less, has proven to not only be freeing and beneficial for myself and my husband but for my kids as well. It’s completely changed the way they play and interact with each other and I’m so excited to share HOW!

We have literally gotten rid of garbage bags of toys, books, stuffed animals, etc. from both their bedroom and playroom over the past few months and they haven’t missed a single thing! At first, I began the mission on my own, during nap-time or when they were asleep at night and for real, they never noticed that things were disappearing. They would just tell me how much they loved the open space. They noticed right away that there was more space to run around and play instead of every square inch of the outside of our playroom occupied by toys or toy storage. (I wish I took some before shots but our playroom was a disorganized clutter filled MESS.) But then I read somewhere that it’s important to make our children part of the process of de-cluttering/minimalizing, teaching them from a young age to have a healthy view of their stuff. I want to teach them that the items we own, should enhance our lives, and not hinder them. Therefore, I have started to talk to them about donating items to other children who would have a better use for them. We talk about which toys they haven’t played with in a very long time and why it’s time to remove them from our play space to give us more space to play with the things we do have. So while I used to sneakily get rid of things while they were at pre-school or in the evenings, I now allow them to see me dropping off their old toys at the local Goodwill, or giving them to a younger friend who would get better use from them and they are starting to get joy out of this. I love that they’re learning not to become too attached to material things from such a young age.

So what have I noticed about the difference in their play? In the past, I would go down to their playroom after a half hour of them being down there and there would be toys EVERYWHERE. Not that that’s a bad thing…I mean what’s a playroom for right? They’re welcomed to make all the mess they want while they’re playing. But it was evident with the time that had passed, that they never stuck with one activity for more then a few minutes. They were overwhelmed with all the choice and would hop from one bin to the next, dumping, playing for a few minutes then moving on to the next thing. I don’t blame them one bit, I would be the same way with so many options!  Their play was not focused or intentional. It was scattered and disorganized, like our home. Now, every toy we have down there serves a purpose, we have removed the clutter, we have removed everything mismatched and everything that wasn’t enhancing their play. For us, this was A LOT of plastic…silly items we had grabbed over the past years at yard sales, toys that were missing pieces and parts, old happy meal toys, extra stuffed animals, etc., Most of those white bins below used to be stuffed to the brim with mismatched items. Now, everything has a spot, a designated home. We have one bin for playfood, one for toy animals, one for balls, one for cars and trucks, one for instruments and one bin for odds and ends (mr. potato head, a fishing game they love, a doctors kit, etc.,)

They are really into building and constructing lately so they have a separate small expedit in their room with duplo, lego, and bright builders. We also have a puzzle cupboard in our upstairs living room as well as a games closet where we store all the board games we own. Other then art supplies, playdough etc., this is the extent of their toys you guys.

So now, they will literally go down to the playroom for an hour and a half together and be so engrossed in a game of make believe that I have to go down there and sadly end it so we can eat supper or head out for an errand. Their make believe games include grocery store, fire station, beach day (where they use my blue yoga mat as water ha!) and they often pretend the spare room next door is a hotel and set up a restaurant and everything. Some days they’ll play trains for a good 30 min and their absolute favourite game right now (since they got mini sticks and nets for Christmas) is hockey because now they have enough ROOM to play it! Their play in general is so much more focused and they spend twice or three times as long as they would in our playroom then when there were SO many more toys! Sounds ironic huh? Try it…I promise you you’ll see the difference.

 

While I did such a large initial purge of the playroom, it’s important to note that this is an ongoing process. They have grandparents who like to spoil them and they’re always getting little knickknacks from birthday party treat bags, souvenirs when we’re on holidays, birthday and Christmas presents etc., so we need to constantly be purging in order to maintain a minimal play-space. But it’s SO worth the up-keep to see them so much more creative and focused with their play.

And every good play room needs a chalk wall right? This one has been well used!!

 

A dress-up collection is another essential in my opinion! This was theme of their Christmas gifts two years back and they’re really just starting to use them now! 

 

So that’s how we’ve minimized our play room and the benefits we’ve seen from it! Hope it’s inspired you a little? Thanks so much for reading!

Continue Reading

Minimizing the Kitchen

I promised I’d be sharing each room as we work on purging/organizing and living with as little as possible. With what we have gotten rid of already, it’s been so freeing and there is still SO much more to go. I had no idea how long the process would take. At first I’d be like “Today during naptime, I will do the kitchen!” Well 3 hours and 2 cupboards later….not so much. But then again, I was not only purging things but also transferring spices, cereals etc., to different bottles and containers as well as labeling them so it was quite a time consuming task. But SO so worth it you guys. I’ve found that as we’re purging, organizing at the same time has been KEY. I don’t want to just slowly replace the empty space from the things we purged with new stuff. That would totally defeat the purpose. The idea is to live with LESS going forward so if everything has it’s own spot and we have everything we need, it will be easier to not buy anything more. Make sense?!

So here’s what we organized/got ride of:

Cereals: Storage containers can be EXPENSIVE but you’d be surprised how much the dollar store has! Most of my mine are from there! 🙂 Putting our cereal, oatmeal, rice, etc., into containers has been so helpful! Just love how organized it is and we can easily see what we need more of for our grocery shop each week.

blog-photos-3-of-12

Tons of mismatched glasses and mugs. How many do you REALLY need?! We each have our fav mug that we use on a daily basis, so why do we need like 10 more each? We basically cut our collection in half. And I got rid of like 20 mason jars that had just been collecting dust in another cupboard. I used them for punch for parties and such in the past but haven’t used them in so long and I don’t plan on pickling or jamming anytime soon so off they went! (Don’t worry, we have another cupboard beside with all the dishes we KEPT, not pictured! But those empty shelves in this photo were filled with all the ones we never used!)

blog-photos-1-of-1

Tupperware. As you can see we now have a small stash in the photo below. It used to be stored in the huge corner cupboard. We had SO much we never used and a lot of it was mis-matched but we were just keeping it in case we found the right lid? Ron’s the only one that takes food to go on a daily basis and we just need a couple containers for packing away left overs. NOT a million.

blog-photos-8-of-12Canned goods/boxed foods. We had a lot of stuff that was sitting in our pantry cupboard that was expired and a ton that I knew we would never use. So for a clean fresh start, we donated the good stuff to a local food bank and got rid of the rest.

Again, all the jars and containers are from Dollarama and the plastic white bins on the bottom shelf actually come with little scoops! Perfect for flour, sugar, etc., blog-photos-5-of-12

And this is so super embarrassing but just to be real and show you what things looked really like BEFORE…maybe it will be a little relatable or maybe we were just living like complete slobs. Either way, below is the very same cupboard before we made the spice drawer pictured below and got rid of so many things.

img_6902

Extra serving dishes/pots and pans – we didn’t have a huge over supply of these but there were a few things we have never used sitting in cupboards collecting dust so off they went.

Dish rags and towels – don’t need a hundred of these. Thats what our washing machine is for. We kept a minimal stash in a small drawer. blog-photos-7-of-12Spices – Our spice collection was so out of control. We had them all in the bags they came in stuffed in baskets in a cupboard (as pictured above). I used to actually think that was organized because they were all in one basket (the spice basket) but it was not a good system. We had quite a few doubles because we never knew what we had and would often accidentally re-buy things for new recipes. I had to do a lot of combining/throwing some of it out and Ron made this awesome DIY spice rack that literally took 20 min to put together. It’s in the drawer right beside our stove now so easy and accessible for cooking! The bottles are from the Dollarama!

blog-photos-4-of-12The kids dishes – ok this was a big one! We had like 30 plastic spoons. What?! We run our dishwasher daily so we definitely could afford to lose some of those. Same with plastic cups, bowls, and plates. I don’t how that collection piled up so fast! (I blame it on all the cute dishes at Target when it was still here!) We kept the twins 3 plates and bowls each. Enough to go around if we have a play date with friends and enough to get through all meals and snacks on an average day. Same with the cups!

blog-photos-6-of-12This drawer used to be our “mismatch drawer” All this stuff was just in there loose and things were always getting stuck or tangled together. Now, everything has a spot. A basket for cookie cutters, a basket for clips, and two baskets for measuring and other cooking tools. blog-photos-2-of-2

Appliances you’re not using – There were a couple big things we hadn’t used in YEARS that were taking up so much space in our cupboards. One of them was a portable grill Ron used in university but never once since then (it took up a third of the space under our kitchen sink). We also had a old blender that still worked but was cracked (not sure why were keeping it…again, just in case? We have a brand new one!) Also a couple gimmicky items that had been given to us around our wedding or showers and we had never touched. Getting rid of those larger things gave us so much more SPACE!

blog-photos-1-of-2

Our kitchen makes me so happy now instead of stressing me out! I would always get so flustered when cooking dinner because I could never find things or nothing fit when I was trying to put it back. I was convinced we had outgrown it and I needed a much bigger one. But nope, just needed to get rid of a whole lot of un-used items and make sure that EVERYTHING has a spot.

Sooo if this has inspired you in the least bit, happy kitchen purging/organizing! Thanks so much for reading!

natalie-xo-1

Continue Reading

Minimizing Our Home || Some common clutter piles to get rid of TODAY

I love our cozy little bungalow. It’s small but during this season in our life, it’s been just right for us. I love how close it forces us to be as a family. We always know what the others are up to. We try and keep it organized and tidy for the most part but we do have twin toddlers, after all.

Right after Christmas, there was stuff EVERY WHERE. Piles of new toys and clothes all over the living room, chocolate wrappers, trinkets from stocking stuffers, remnants of wrapping paper etc., etc.,. Pretty typical post-christmas scene I do believe? In a home the size of ours though, it can get overwhelming (for me anyway) when there is extra mess on top of the normal everyday mess.  My husband thinks I’m slightly OCD when it comes to having a tidy and organized house and that particular morning, I was completely convinced we had outgrown our home. Convinced that there was NO WAY we could possibly fit another human in this small space. Convinced that we HAD to get a larger place asap or I would not be able to function on a daily basis. My husband knows how to handle me when I get going on one of these rants. He doesn’t argue my points, but he doesn’t agree. He just helps tidy and clean until I feel better and come to my senses. He’s really the best.

After we spent the whole day cleaning and tidying and putting all the new stuff away,  you’d think I would feel better. But I didn’t. Our closets and cupboards were exploding after trying to fit all the new stuff in. And the strange part is I thought I prepared for this. I purged a “bunch of things” (especially toys) leading up to Christmas to make room for all the new stuff that was coming. Yet, it still didn’t really seem to make a difference. I was still convinced at the end of the day, that we needed a bigger home before baby comes.

img_6715

A few days later, I picked up a book off my bookshelf that I had bought last year “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I bet you’ve already either read or heard of this book but if you haven’t, it’s a MUST READ if you’re looking to declutter and minimalize but don’t know where to start. I’m not gonna lie…there are a couple strange parts where she talks about her clothes and items having feelings (not so into that) but for the most part, life changing. I read some of it last year when I first bought it, but I never finished and was much too busy at the time to apply a lot of what I was reading. This time, I’ve been reading it desperately, ready to follow everything Marie (the author) is telling me to do because realistically I know we can’t manage a move before July (when the baby comes) so I have to find a way to make our cozy 3 bedroom bungalow work for a soon to be family of 5. (gah! that sounds crazy to say out loud!!)  I decided I am ready to make some drastic changes. If you read my post back in the summer about minimalizing, I truly did get rid of a TON around that time. Minimalizing has been a goal of mine for the past 6 months or so. But the thing I didn’t realize is that you have to constantly be on top of your game. Stuff accumulates and it accumulates FAST! Especially when it’s not just you but three other people’s stuff as well. And here’s the other problem. When I got rid of things in the past, (even this past summer when I was so determined ) I got rid of all the stuff that was EASY to get rid of. ..clothes the boys had outgrown, clothes that didn’t fit me right anymore, dated house decor that was sitting in the basement, etc., etc., That was the extra stuff that shouldn’t have been there in the first place but I was keeping it in case. That stuff was all (except for a few of the boys baby clothes) pretty easy to take in bags over to the local goodwill.

It’s the stuff that I have in my shelves and closets (the ones I open every day) that I have started to look at differently. It’s because some of the stuff, I do really still love BUT I don’t use it…I haven’t used it much too long for it still to be sitting there. So I’ve started to be completely ruthless with getting rid of things because I’m completely sick of clutter and STUFF.  Anyone with me? When reading through the book, Marie is actually a tidying consultant and tells stories of clients homes and shares some of the most common stashes of things people keep. So for starters I thought I’d share a few BIG piles of things I got rid of right away after reading that part:

  • Piles of all old magazines ( you think you’ll go back and look and them but you never do! never. Even the awesome House and Home ones I love. 🙁 I didn’t realize that until I read it. Out they went.)
  • Piles of manuals for small kitchen appliances,  tools, etc., (we had a FULL kitchen drawer of these!!!! And Marie said it was ok to throw them ALL away so that I did!)
  • Books – she says if you’ve had it for a year, and haven’t even opened it yet, chances are you never will. I had a handful of those! This was HARD because you always have that “what-if?” feeling but I tried not to think twice about it and off they went. I also had a ton of other ones that I didn’t care to keep but was just keeping them because they were all together in my book stash.
  • Cosmetics – gah!  I have this huge bin of old lotions, half used eye shadows, body sprays, old nail polish, etc., and it’s ALL going to go. I’ve never reached for anything in that bin for at least a year. No reason for it to be taking up all that bathroom space now is there? I’m just keeping what I use on a daily basis.
  • Box of electronic items – random chargers, cords etc., We totally have one of these! Marie says if you don’t know what it’s for, throw. it. out! Ha! Why did I think I had to keep them all in case? I don’t even think we have most of the items they belong to anymore!
  • Extra bedding and linen – We had so many spare mismatched towels and extra sheets and pillow cases that we don’t ever use! We just need one extra set for the spare bed and a couple extra towels for guests. Everything else out!

Any of these resonate with you?!

So that’s a start. As I go through my home again,  room by room, I’m going to be sharing more of the types of things we get rid of and why. I’ll share what our minimal bedroom looks like, our minimal kitchen, bathroom, playroom etc., So far, I’m feeling SO MUCH BETTER and it’s only just begun. I’m realizing that we’re really not growing out of our cozy little home quite yet, we just have too much stuff. 

 

Thanks so much for reading!

 

natalie-xo-1

Continue Reading