Sunday, December 8, 2013

My quest for simpler living

Today, it begins.

All my hours of research and seeking inspiration are finally bearing fruit.

I am officially a minimalist. A rational minimalist to be exact.

I am tired of having piles of clutter around my house. I am tired of stepping over my purse and a box of random stuff to sit at my desk. I am tired of not being able to use my desk because the piles of who knows what multiply and expand and cover it edge to edge. I want to have dinner with my family or sip a cup of tea with a friend or read a good book at the kitchen table without having to clear 50 lbs of clutter. I want my bedroom to be a sanctuary of rest, not a catch-all for everything I want to keep out of my kid’s reach. I want to quit having to use and store baby gates to keep my kid away from the more cluttery parts of my house.

That's a lot to want, but as they say: minimalism is thinking big and being happy. The way I see it, I've lived 28 years, 2 months and 24 days old being someone I’m not. I didn't know it, but I've been in the closet all these years. No more.

I've always been known as a pack rat, a collector of things, a messy person. Not filthy, just messy. My mom and dad always used to joke about how I would cut up a piece of paper into miniscule bits and store them in an envelope in a bag in a box in a bigger box. And it was true. I liked my things. I liked making things; I liked keeping them in bags and boxes. My natural habitat was one so covered with things that it was generally inaccessible, unless you knew the route. It must have been some deeply rooted instinct to keep predators at bay. If they couldn't reach me, then they couldn’t hurt me.

But no more. Today, I'm setting myself free from clutter. I’m setting myself and my family free from over stuffed closets, from unusable surfaces, from weekends and late nights spent organizing stuff. This is freedom from over consumption and going over budget. I'm getting free from all the little bits and bobs of things I've stored over the years but never used. This is it; I have decided. It'll be a long road, and I've taken a few baby steps, but I have a long ways to go yet.

Would you like to come with me? If you could minimize your house, what would it look like? Where would you start?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Joseph Joseph Stacking Mixing Bowls

I found the company Joseph Joseph* a while ago on another minimalist blog (I can't remember quite which one) and fell instantly in love. Practical, colorful, minimalist kitchen tools. Heavy on the tools, light on the gadgets. I especially fell in love with the Nest 9 set, which arrived at my house today! It has a large mixing bowl with no-slip base, colander, sieve, small mixing bowl that doubles as a liquid measurement from 1 fl oz to 4 cups, set of 4 measuring cups (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup) and a tablespoon/teaspoon. It all stacks neatly in the large mixing bowl. Here's a picture of my new Nest 9 set next to all the stuff it replaced:

It replaced a set of 3 stacking mixing bowls with lids, 2 stainless bowls, a pyrex 2 cup measuring cup, a pyrex 4 cup measuring cup, a small sieve, a collapsible colander, my coffee scoop, a set of measuring cups and a set of measuring spoons. I stacked them up as much as possible and they still take up more than twice as much space as my new stacking set.

It is kind of hard to give away a few of these things. The stacking mixing bowls I found at a thrift store for a steal, they are awesome and vintage and I've loved them every day I've owned them. My measuring cup set is actually a set of stacking matryoshka dolls, and my measuring spoons are a cool vintage tin set I looked for for a long time until I found just the perfect ones. So why am I getting rid of things I love? Because as much as I love my things, I love not having them more. I love having more space, and dare I say, I love my Nest 9 more than I love all my old things combined.

Minimizing your belongings isn't always about getting rid of clutter you don't care about. It's also finding more efficient ways to store and use the things you do love, and sometimes that means replacing them.

Update: right after I wrote this post, I got word of a family who lost everything in a house fire so I gave my things to them. Funny how things happen like that, huh? 

What things do you love in your house? How can you make them work better for you?

*not an affiliate link