Friday, October 31, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: conclusion.

The journey and decision for minimalism in our family was a long process. And a very personal one. It isn't always easy to pare down those sentimental objects. There is still momentary hurt and frustration when an object is broken. And we still own plenty of things. (More than I'd like!)
I feel that minimalism can manifest itself differently to each person, and each household. Everyone is different. And that is good!
I hope this series offers you the chance to make the decision that is best for your family. To actively think about what you bring into your home and what you spend your time taking care of. It truly matters.
If you'd like to catch up on any of the posts in this series, please click here.
Next month I will be focusing on allergy-free Thanksgiving recipes! I hope you'll join me as we prepare thankful hearts and tasty dishes!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: truth.

If you are considering adopting a more minimalist approach for your home, consider these five truths:

Getting rid of the thing does not mean getting rid of the memory.


If your blessings become your burdens, then they are no longer a blessing


If it doesn't fit, get rid of it


More isn't better. It's just more.


If you forgot about it, you probably don't need it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: desire.

There are two ways to get enough.
One is to continue to accumulate more and more.
The other is to desire less.
G.K. Chesterton
Spending less time with my stuff, and more time with my kiddos; including this cutie pie!
Also, I have the giveaway winner!
The winner is Moi, who said, "I hardly ever buy magazines but I love them too! I always grab one when I am getting my hair or nails done. I love the ones about home or beauty."

Please email me your address at (at)!

Thank you to everyone who entered!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: holidays.

It's now less than two months til Christmas! Are you excited? I am...even if I think it is a bit early for the Christmas decor to be out in stores.


As we prepare our hearts for the holiday season, I also like to prepare my home. The early part of November is the perfect time to clean out closets, go through drawers, and just minimalism in general. Usually this is when the weather starts to have us spend more time indoors, so turn on some music (Christmas music, if you dare!) and start cleaning out! I also love to clean out my home in preparation for what the holidays may bring: visiting family and friends, trips away from home, and gifts.

Gifts can be family Christmas party can totally scrap your plans for minimalism in the New Year. I'd like to share what my family is initiating.

Have you heard of this gift-giving poem:


Something you want,

Something you need,

Something to wear,

And something to read.

I love that! 4 gifts per family member, that's it. (And kids' clothes and books get a free pass with minimalism in our home, since they are so hard on both and get replaced often!)


My two-year-old, W, might receive this for Christmas:

Want - A helicopter from Disney's Planes: Fire and Rescue

Need - A new pair of shoes

Wear - Christmas jammies

Read - A Larry Gets Lost book


For my husband, it might be:

Want - A spherical ice mold for whiskey

Need - A new cell phone

Wear - A new belt

Read - A subscription to Auto Week

If you exchange gifts with extended family members, consider asking for experiences instead of things (and consider giving experiences, too!). Depending on the recipient, that might be a zoo subscription, passes to a local museum, movie tickets, a trip to the spa, or maybe a special trip to Starbucks!


Our family is trying to put the focus of the holidays back on memories and family instead of accumulating possessions. Will your family consider joining us?


Also, today is the last day to enter my giveaway!


Monday, October 27, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: media, pt three.

It's no secret that I adore magazines.

And magazines are my favorite form of media for a minimalistic lifestyle.

First off, they are flat out fun to look at! And there is a magazine for any interest. I am a huge fan of Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living, and my husband is reading Auto Week and Car & Driver (opposite ends of the spectrum there!)

And then there is the minimalist aspect of things. They are a wonderful thing to read and then get rid of. You can recycle them, share them with a friend, start a fire, leave them in a waiting room, or donate them to Goodwill!

To inspire you and to celebrate making it this far in our thirty-one day challenge, I have a GIVEAWAY!

One reader will win a selection of my favorite magazines!

To enter, just leave a comment and tell me what your favorite magazine is!

Winner will be chosen and announced on Wednesday, so be sure to check back then!



.family sunday.

I went to write this morning's post and realized I forgot to post this yesterday!

B - I had so much fun with you this week doing fun parenting things, like dinner picnics in the park! I am so grateful to be raising our kids together!

J - This week you got to meet a group of firemen, and you made me do proud! You were the first kid to step up and give the fireman in an oxygen mask a hug, and you thanked every officer for letting you see their truck. Way to go!

W - You are working on using your compassionate heart with playing doctor. You are never squeamish, and always have a good "nosis". I can't wait to see where this takes you, baby boy!

A -This week you made it apparent you had a favorite book: Ladybug Girl. It is too cute!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: shopping.

I talked about the pitfalls of clearance and sales already, but I wanted to spend a bit of time talking about shopping with kids. Or spouses. Or siblings. Or whomever you shop with that might add impulse items to your cart.
It is easy to start to accumulate lots of unnecessary "treasures" especially when shopping at stores that have toys, movies, clothes, and groceries.

When I write my grocery list, I plan on a few extra food items. It's inevitable for my family to find something extra on sale, or to spot a treat that looks too tasty to pass up. So I leave a little wiggle room in my budget for that sort of thing.

Before we enter the store, I mentally decide what my plan is for the trip. Is it a no-toy trip? (My kiddos aren't allowed anymore new toys until Christmas, so that's an easy one now!). Is it a no-clothes trip? No movies?

If at all possible, I try to avoid those areas of the store. If I don't see it, it's much easier for me to pass up and not add that extra thing to my cart!
Unfortunately, my kiddos know where the toy sections are, so they can see through that trick.

This is where the courage of my convictions comes in. Sometimes it is as simple as saying, "we're not going to get any toys today, so we don't need to go down that aisle." Sometimes, it's not that simple. This is where it's helpful to have already decided; no letting the kids sway you! Tantrums can be embarrassing, but if you've ever been to Target, you know that you aren't the only parent with a kid having a meltdown. It happens. As my mom says, "Sometimes you are entertained, sometimes you are the entertainment."

While I try not to have food be a reward, the reality is that sometimes the budget only allows for a consumable treat, and not a toy treat (which is great for minimalism!), and sometimes I just tell me kiddos that.
Anytime I enter a store, I have to fight the impulse to add to my possessions, so I know that the struggle is real! But take heart, you can do it with a plan and some conviction!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: decor.

I spent a brief post on seasonal decor, but I wanted to share a bit about minimalism and my every day decor.

After our last move in the spring, my husband confessed to me that his absolute least-favorite move-in task was hanging pictures. This was after he had finished unloading the entire moving truck himself (I was 7 mos. pregnant) and painting a huge wall in our living room. So I knew he wasn't joking around.


Since we have at least two more moves in the next year (thank you, Marine Corps), I thought to myself, why? Why continue to make an already stressful thing like moving, even more stress?

So we made the decision to go more minimalist with our decor. We no longer have any picture frames to hang up. And it made our move so much easier!


But we had this very dated mantle when we moved...

So what to do, what to do?


We did keep my favorite mirror to hang (it was a wedding present and I just love it!

I also wanted some pictures of my sweet family.

And I have just been loving these photo panels. They are available from most photo-product websites. Easy to move, no breakable glass, and will work in a variety of spots, just in case we don't have a mantle in our next home.


Sometimes, it's the little things that can make a big difference!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: forgotten.

I hope you are enjoying this series on minimalism as much as I am enjoying it! I already feel my home is getting cleaner and easier to manage and live in. Today I have a truth to share with you as you begin to go through your belongings and decide what can go and what can stay.

Minimalism truth: If you forgot about it, you probably don't need it.

As I go through my closets, especially the ones I don't use often, like the linen closet, I find things I forgot I had!
Has that ever happened to you?
Now, while the truth is that you probably don't need it since you have been living your day-to-day life without it, there are several different paths I take when I come across something I didn't know I had.

First: Is it something I've been looking for?

You know...when you put something in a "special" place and then promptly forgot where that special place was. If it's something you were looking for, hooray!

Second: Is it still in the original packaging? If it is, can I return it? Or maybe give it as a gift?

This one is all about being frugal...nicely. If the package is NEW, then it may be prudent to return the item, or to gift it to someone you think could use it.

 Third: Is it in tatters, and that's why it was shoved to the back of the closet?

This is maybe more applicable to clothes or linens more than anything else. Those clothes your kids ruined with a bottle of ketchup, or that ratty sheet you were saving just in case. Maybe it's just time to toss it in the garbage!

Fourth: Do you just not want it anymore?

 Sometimes I buy something thinking it will be awesome! And then, it's not. So I have been known to shove it in a closet for a few months. If you come across things like that, put them in that donation bag!
I hope this truth helps you as you start to implement minimalism in your own home and feel the weight of your possessions lightened!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: kids.

I think you just like to see pictures of my messy house, friends, so here is some more real life!
If you have the privilege of knowing my sons personally, you know they are...bonkers.
Their room often ends up like this:
So I approach their room with almost the same format as I approach any room, like my office, with a few changes.
My boys' room needs to be their refuge. It needs to be safe. So there is no furniture besides their beds. Nothing for them to pull over on themselves. Nothing for them to climb up.
So I keep their clothes in tubs in their closet. They're just little boys, so we don't have a lot of clothes for them. At this point in time, one tub is plenty for each kiddo.

I don't feel like I can go the plastic tub route with them, because they are so hard on things. Toy bins often become space ships, party hats, sailing ships, and a hundred other things.
So I love these soft baskets from Target.
They are ridiculously resilient, soft if you happen to run into the wall while wearing one over your head, and hold lots of toys.
As far as decor goes...well, we don't own this house, and we are probably going to be moving within the next six months, and then moving again six months after that. So decor needs to meet lots of criterion: easy to put up and take down, safe for kids, attractive, versatile...
Enter the wall hangings!
I love to make graphic cloth hangings (my husband flies helicopters, and my boys obviously think that is the coolest thing ever). And these fabric buntings are basic enough to fit a variety of different themes. It's works well for us!
And there you have it! Here are all the ways I tackle minimalism, organization, and toddlers!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: the office.

Several of you mentioned that craft supply storage was a big struggle. I think you somehow knew that was currently the messiest room in the house.
In our home, we have one room that serves as the office, guest room, craft room, and our daughter's bedroom. We're very multi-purpose.
Because I work from home, there is a tendency for things to get piled in here.
Real life, I'm tellin' you.
So here is my approach:
1. Start with two garbage bags (this is how I start cleaning any room). One is for garbage, and one is for donation to Goodwill
2. Start picking up. Put garbage in the garbage bag, put things that don't belong in that room away where they do go, and out things you've been meaning to get rid of in the donation bag
3. Once the floor is clean, I start going through the plastic bins I keep all my supplies in. If I don't use it anymore, get rid of it. If it was part of a project that I've finished, get rid of it. I only keep very general craft items on hand (glue gun sticks, water colors, hole punches) because I tend to go out and get the specific things I need for a project anyways. I try really hard to only buy what I'll need for the one project, and always use coupons!
4. Label! And you're done!
You can do it, I know you can!
What other ares in your home are problem areas?

Monday, October 20, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: family.

What do you do if not everyone in your household is into minimalism?
If there are other people in your household, chances are you might run into a snag if all of a sudden you are getting rid of things left and right. In our home, we can't even agree which episode of Curious George to watch next, let alone how we should manage our possessions.
To be fair, the four month old, she doesn't really have an opinion. So that's one...only three more to go.
Always a plus to have this cutie on my team!
How to convince them?
Really, it comes down to having my husband on up my team. We are the adults, after all.
Here is what has worked in our home for getting everyone on board the minimalism wagon:
.explain why you want to be minimalist.
for me, it was simply: I'm overwhelmed
.provide concrete examples.
I broke down my day for my husband and showed him just how much time I spent picking things up
.set personal goals.
my husband decided he wanted a new iPhone, which wasn't in the budget. so he went through his things and put a ton up on eBay
.dont get frustrated.
a flamboyant emotional display is not the best way to get what you want, even for toddlers
.lead by example.
once I started cleaning out my own things, my husband noticed how nice it was

That's what worked for me! My husband is pretty easy going about this sort of thing, but it's a lot more fun now that he is excited about it, too!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

.thirty one days of minimalism: friendship.

Baby A had her first visit to the quilt shop! Look for projects on the blog soon!
Weekends are my break. Time with my little family and time to have fun.
This weekend was filled with friends, laughter, fun, and maybe the occasional meltdown.
Tomorrow is back on the minimalism bandwagon, but today is for laughter and memories. Which is my personal goal for minimalism in my home to begin with.

.family sunday.

B - Every week of flight school I watch you walk the balance between studying the amount required and being present in your family's life. Thank you for including us on your journey! We can't wait to see you winged.

J - This week I saw your imagination take off with building things. It amazes me! You only need to see something built once to be able to repeat it, and there have been spaceships, submarines, and more all around the house.

W - You are so sweet, baby warms my heart how you tell everyone you meet about your little sister. You are also comical, which is why immediately after introducing your sister, you pretend you are a dragon.

A - At four months old, I cannot believe how feminine you are, sweet girl. We are having so much fun together doing girl things. You are the perfect addition to our family, and none of us could imagine life without you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: less.

Enough is as good as a feast.
Mary Poppins
It's been awhile since I focused on a minimalism truth.
Today's minimalism truth: More isn't better. It's just more.
This is a convicting truth for me, and a definite struggle. Once again, my chore this weekend is to reduce the volume of possessions we have in our home. It's just way too much. And I am exhausted trying to keep up.
having more DUPLO blocks seems to result in more spread around, not more playing
I think this is a hard truth for me because I struggle with contentment. That, yes, what I have is more than enough. I don't need the newest whatever; I only wear the same 2 pairs of jeans and 4 t-shirts, so more clothes really aren't necessary! My children have more toys than they know what to do with; and it goes on and on.
But, I am taking this truth to heart, and will really be working on it in the coming months.
W has fully embraced the less is more mantra for his daily dress
And no, he's not potty trained yet, he just wears underwear over his diaper

Thursday, October 16, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: memories.

Thank you for all of the encouragement on yesterday's post!

Baby mementos can take up a lot of room, and a scrapbook can take up a lot of time and materials to maintain. I mentioned it in this post, but I have a simple method for preserving memories.

I realize it may not be for everyone, but it is the perfect solution for me!

My trusty laminator is key here!

I have a stack of white card stock cut into 5x7 inch sheets. Then I affix the cards, pictures, and other flat mementos I want to keep with adhesive, laminate, hole punch it, and I'm done!

Each child has their own ring, and we have one for all of the cards we send out as a family.

It's a fun way to look at how my kiddos have grown!

Baby A has some fun things...

her sweet little footprints...

the cigar band from daddy's celebratory cigar...

and the card from her hospital bassinet. So sweet.

Because laminating is very permanent...there's no undoing it once it's been done...I like to use my scanner and get a high quality digital scan of anything that is especially important.


I hope this helps you get a jump on any piles of mementos you have sitting around!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: the kitchen.

We recently moved and the room with the most to pack and unpack was, by far, the kitchen.

And, really, there's just no getting around that.

Dishes are breakable, pots and pans are big and heavy; there is just a lot that goes into stocking a kitchen for a household.

So what do you weed out? How do you make your kitchen feel clean, organized, and minimalistic?

Kitchen gadgets: boy, there are a lot of them! A tool for every different type of can get crazy. So I suggest really watching what you actually use when you cook.

I had an egg separator, that I hated washing. So I always separate the yolk from the white using the shell. The separator was just there to make up the crowd. There were a dozen other tools in my drawers that I forgot I had, and cooked just fine without them.

Also, the pantry: this is the first home that I have ever lived in that has a "pantry." Honestly, I really don't like it. I'd rather have the food up high in cabinets, than in an easily-accessible closet right in the middle of the kitchen. But I'm making do. This isn't a forever kitchen.

Although it has definitely been a learning experience.

This is what my pantry looked like the first month we lived in this house.

Awful, right? I'm embarrassed to show it to you!

After a lot of tweaking, cleaning out, plastic tubs, and the help of my trusty laminator...


Night and day difference, right?

While it wasn't my intent to spend money on new containers and tubs...the day after I cleaned out my pantry, sugar ants found it!! I guess they appreciated the organization. So the small initial investment in air-tight storage will save me money in the long run because I won't have to keep replacing food because of ant invasions.

Also, the plastic containers are much lighter than the glass ones, and will be one less thing I will have to worry about getting broken during a move. Plus, I love them! I love the clean look, and it didn't hurt that they are accented in my favorite color!

Do you have any secrets for keeping your kitchen clutter at a minimum?


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: seasonal decor.

I had a long mama-night last night and woke up with complete writer's block. We'll see where this goes.
Seasonal decor is a hard one if you are working on minimalism or if you are limited on storage space. Unless you leave your Christmas lights up year-round, there is always something off-season to put away.
My personal approach is to store a few key pieces of decor for each season that are fairly neutral, then accent with temporary decor that won't need to be stored. It is simple and fun! And because it changes each year, I don't grow tired of my key pieces as easily.
Take autumn, for example! Pumpkins and gourds make excellent decor! So does corn!
And when the season is over, you can just put it all in the compost. Easy peasy, no storing necessary.
Use spring to fill your home with fresh flowers. Or evergreen wreaths and cranberries for Christmas. Summer is a great time to display shells and sand from your travels. Experiment with what's available seasonally, and keep yourself from storing excess decor year-to-year.
And if you're like me, it's a good way to not grow tired of what you buy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: why.

So why minimalism anyways?
Today, I wanted to share the personal reasons I have for choosing a more minimalistic lifestyle for my family.
I don't want to spend my time managing stuff.
I just don't. I want to spend it with my kiddos, working on projects, or blogging. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to pick up and move on.
I need my home to be safe for my children.
Not all rooms in my house are for kids all the time. Shocking, I know. But my makeup is in an easily accessible drawer in my bathroom, so that room is out for solo playing time. And I'm not a fan of kids playing in the kitchen by themselves. But for the rooms that they do have access to - I need them to be safe. I need to know that if I walk away for a moment (I do have to go to the bathroom sometimes!) that my children will be okay. That there are no breakables for them to...break. That nothing can fall on them. So my solution is to have less stuff.
We move. Often.
My husband is in flight school with the Marine Corps. Each phase of flight school is 6-8 months long. So we move a lot. And the less there is to pack and unpack, the less time we can spend in upheaval. Our last move was only about 20 miles from our apartment, but I was 7 mos. pregnant with baby #3, and we did the whole thing ourselves. We were unpacked in less than 48 hours. It was glorious!
Intentionally spending less money on material possessions leaves us with more money to spend on experiences.
We live 2300 miles from home and family. We like to visit! But plane tickets can be expensive. So the less we spend on toys that will be broken, or movies we'll only watch a couple of times, the more money we have to put towards plane tickets!
Our children will take their cues from us.
I want my children to grow up good stewards of their possessions, but not to be obsessed with them. I don't want them to put objects over people. And you can be happy without owning everything you see on TV. Really, you can.
What about you?
Are you working towards minimalism?
What are some of your reasons? 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

.family sunday.

B - the last couple of weeks having you home have been so wonderful. I know you're eager to get back to flying, but I'll miss you.

J - You tried some new things this week - riding a horse, a zip line... - and I'm so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone!

W - You can be so fearless, little boy. You amaze me. And this week you and I have been having fun with music. I love hearing your voice sing jingle bells.

A - You and the love you so obviously have for your brothers touches my heart, baby girl. I love to see you get yourself in between your brothers and reach out to touch them, it is too sweet.


.thirty-one days of minimalism: scripture.

Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17

Have a blessed Sunday, friend!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

.thirty-one days of minimalism: fun.

We took a family day off today. A day off from home, from cooking, from cleaning, and from minimalism, and had some fun!



PS - boiled peanuts is a southern delicacy this pacific northwest family just doesn't have the taste buds for