style / mindset / simplicity
style / mindset / simplicity
Seven months ago, my family and I moved. In many ways, when compared to our last move in July 2013, this recent move was uneventful and insignificant. I mean, we barely moved 2 miles. Nothing really changed except our four walls...same schools, same friends, same grocery store. And this time around I was wiser. After all, I’d used the Konmari Method in my entire home. I was prepared and organized like never before. Right? Well, maybe not so much:-)
If you’ve ever moved, you know that regardless of the distance...moving is an enormous endeavor!
It’s truly like a fairy-tale giant lifts up your house and dumps the entire contents out inside your new digs.
It’s not pretty. It’s not easy, but sometimes, it’s necessary.
We currently rent and our lease was up. The right house appeared at just the right time and we were excited for it to become our next home.
So, we began packing.
And packing some more.
In the end, the packing was way easier than with our move across the country. We had much less stuff this time around. The things being packed were items we truly loved and used. At least most of them:-)
Since we moved, I've received many requests to do a House Tour video. I kept putting it off for various reasons...we weren't settled, we were so busy, it wasn't properly decorated, everything wasn't super clean...the list goes on and on.
For months, I've been working on something I'm really excited about. I'll share more info next week... but in order to work on the project, I needed more space on my phone. As I deleted photos and videos, I came across the moving clips and decided it's finally time to share them and a house video, too. Thanks for your patience.
As I walked though our home with my camera, I felt relieved that I own less stuff than I have in the past. I also became inspired to make some changes based on what I've learned over the past 7 months.
Here’s where I am today...
I still keep too much.
I can now see the areas where I continue to save things “for later” or “just in case”. There is such clarity in hindsight. When I watch the moving video below, I’m reminded how far I’ve come. And I also know I’m not finished yet.
My journey towards simplification and a more minimal lifestyle has been evolving for years. It’s only in looking back that I realize I’ve actually made great strides in paring down and eliminating.
Most importantly, I realize that I am truly happier when I have less stuff.
My life feels richer and more full when I have less clutter, less mess and less stuff.
I couldn’t find peace in the midst of all the junk!
Now my mind is more relaxed and I am finally able to feel real joy.
All of this sounds trite and cliche even as I type it...but it is the absolute truth.
Note: I think these videos feel kind of long with no talking. Apologies. My top video guy wasn't available;-( and I was left to my own editing abilities...which are poor:-)
Hoping you find some inspiration from them!
The light bulb is on!
I finally understand what all of the minimalism and simplicity pioneers were so excited about! There is an indescribable delight and a true peace that comes from intentionally surrounding yourself with fewer belongings.
Keeping up with your neighbors isn't easy...
and it certainly isn't healthy or necessary!
I’m aware that it's early in my journey. I have lots to learn about living with less, but I am so ready.
I plan to explore the beauty of living with less right here. I really hope you’ll join me.
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The season is officially about to change. Autumn is just around the corner. Is your wardrobe ready? I have a plan….stay tuned.
I’m going to be sharing some big news in a few days.
I’d love to hear how you create a simple life. I believe we can all learn from each other. Please share below…
I recently received an email from a reader. She openly and honestly shared that she feels she's being 'strangled by the clutter of the past'. At times in my life, I have felt the exact same way. I’ve been completely stuck in the clutter. Unable to move forward and utterly overwhelmed by all of my stuff! After a decade spent working in client’s homes and closets, I’ve come to realize that this is a very common issue...and an area where we could all use a bit of encouragement. I replied to the reader’s email privately, but wanted to share my thoughts here. I hope this post helps you let go of the stuff that might be holding you back.
The reader wrote about having 'strong sentimental attachments'. I understand! In the past, I struggled a lot with letting things go. I saved every ticket stub, dried any special flowers, held onto old favorite articles of clothing, clung to past issues of magazines. I kept anything that I felt sparked a memory that I feared I’d lose if I let go of the item.
Here's one of the most important things I've learned...
It's the first real round of purging that's the hardest.
I can honestly say that once I started parting with things, letting go became much easier.
Every single client I’ve worked with has felt same way. I regularly receive emails after helping a client with a closet cleanse. Each and every email contains thoughts like this...
”Now I’m motivated to attack my entire house!”
“I find myself decluttering a little each day, all over my house”
“I feel like I can breath again...I’m on a roll to get rid of the stuff”.
Note: If you feel you have a serious problem with hoarding, I strongly suggest you seek professional help. There are people trained to help hoarders learn to let go safely and begin to heal.
Moving has usually been my best catalyst for getting rid of stuff. In the packing process I’d realize that some items had been in boxes in our basement for years...never used or even opened. I knew letting some of those things go would make the move easier. When we moved across the country, I was fairly ruthless. I knew I'd be paying to move things I really didn't need and wasn't using. I carefully sorted and discarded and saved.
I honestly have never missed any of the things I let go.
Are you at the breaking point?
If you’ve had it with the clutter and you’re ready to begin a serious purge, I suggest purging like you're moving.
Donate or sell anything that still has use. Making a bit of cash from unused pieces is a nice trade-off for letting them go. I always use Craigslist for selling things. I've had only really great experiences.
Recycle or trash the rest.
Try to remember...
The memory is in your mind, not in your stuff.
I know a couple whose home was damaged in the terrible flooding in Boulder, Colorado in September of 2013. They were in the process of renovating their home. During the reno they were staying in a small apartment nearby and most of their belongings were being stored in the basement of their house. The flood filled the basement with muddy water.
Literally, it filled the basement. The contents of that space was completely ruined. Everything they considered sentimental, important, or valuable was gone.
This truly opened my eyes to the fact that our stuff really doesn't define us. These friends have since finished their home and are slowly collecting new treasures that spark joy for them.
Imagine losing everything and still being okay...still holding your special memories inside.
Realize that it’s really just ‘stuff’.
In my own experience, the process and aftermath of letting go of things I don't use or love...is so freeing that it's worth the risk of not having those items in my possession any longer.
I have never regretted letting something go. Anything I've needed again in the future has been easy (and inexpensive) to replace. I no longer save things 'just in case'. That's big for me.
I've discovered that 'just in case' rarely ever happens...and holding on to all the stuff simply clutters our minds and our homes while we are waiting for 'that day' to arrive.
If a big purge is just too scary, then I suggest that you start small.
Tackle one area of your home first...an area that's not sentimental. The rush from purging is awesome!
The space you create in your home from letting things go will open up incredible space in your mind and in your life.
And it feels amazing!
Here are my tips for letting go of specific types of clutter and stuff….
If you have several items that represent the same memory, save only one. Let the rest go.
I knew I was finished having babies, but the tiny clothing still made me happy and sentimental. I selected one favorite baby outfit for each of my three kids. The three outfits are hanging on small hangers in my laundry room. I smile every time I see them:-)
Take photos of items that you love. I had very fond memories of a few pieces of maternity clothing and some kid toys. I took photos of the items and then donated them...figuring someone else would love having them as much as I did.
Would you want someone to keep a gift they received from you if it didn’t bring them joy? Forget the guilt. Let it go. Give those gifts away...regift them or donate them. Someone else will enjoy having them...it doesn’t have to be you!
One episode of Antique Roadshow will have you saving every old thing under your roof. Unless you buy and sell antiques, plan to attend the Roadshow in the next six months or are moving to a new house where you’ll actually use all of those ‘saved’ pieces…get rid of the old stuff.
Like many young couples, early in our marriage, my husband and I couldn’t really afford to buy all new furniture. During this time we gladly and gratefully accepted any and all donations that came our way. We made the most of the gently used pieces and remained thankful for each item.
Years later, we took a look around our home and realized that our style wasn’t being reflected authentically. We didn’t feel joy from the pieces that surrounded us. We decided to let some things go. I put my first post on Craigslist...a hutch and sideboard that had belonged to my parents. I had a very strong sentimental attachment to the pieces, but the style wasn’t really ‘me’. The couple who purchased the pieces was thrilled with their find! I was happy the furniture had found a new home.
We began to list and sell everything that didn’t feel like us. Slowly we started to purchase furniture that fit our lifestyle, our taste and our budget.
What a difference it makes to dwell with items we truly love!
If one is good, more must be better! Not so. Decide how many of something you actually need. Build in a tiny cushion of ‘what if’ and let the rest go. For a while I had a very large collection of Ball mason jars that we used for drinking glasses. I envisioned hosting a huge party and all of the guests drinking out of these jars. Reality is...I’m not currently hosting big events and storing the jars was stressing me out. I saved enough for my family plus a few extras for company. Plenty.
Being 'strangled by the clutter of the past' is such a true (and sad) statement. It's probably time for you to let the excess go!
I really believe that you will feel much lighter and happier without all of the extra stuff! Clutter creates stress every single day!
Best of luck with the process. Be gentle with yourself.
It took years to accumulate all of the stuff.
Change takes time...
Please feel free to reach out with comments, questions or suggestions. Let's be sure to recognize that we all have our own issues, each journey is unique and being supportive of one another can really go a long way.
Thanks for being here.
It’s been an entire month since my last post?! How did that happen? I’ll tell you how…we moved! Moving is a giant chore! Thank you for your patience. My family and I are feeling fairly settled in our new space. No matter how organized, moving creates its own brand of chaos! I’m so thankful to have this move behind us.
Okay, on to the final recap. I've done it! I have officially made it through my entire wardrobe and I've worn ALL of my clothes.
Every. Single. Piece.
The experiment took a bit longer than I expected. Since I only work outside of the house part-time, I only wear real outfits a few times a week...as a result wearing everything I own took almost 2 months...even though my closet isn't packed.
I loved this challenge. I can’t believe I'd never tried this before now. It was incredibly eye-opening to see how much and what type of clothing I really own.
As I came to the final pieces of my wardrobe, it was increasingly difficult to create chic outfits without re-wearing tops and jackets. I was determined to resist duplication and managed to pull together unique looks with the remaining seldom-worn items.
I enjoyed how much this exercise stretched me and forced me to think outside my usual wardrobe box.
If you haven’t tried it already, I urge you to start today! The 'Wear Everything I Own Challenge' provides an unusual opportunity to really experience all of your clothing. If you want to redefine your style, clean out your closet, edit your wardrobe or simply shake up your outfits...try it!
It costs nothing and is actually fun!
I've been asked to show full photos of each outfit. Below you'll find pictures of my final outfits. My apologies for the grainy images. Seems I was always rushing out the door and scrambling to get the shot. I'll work to improve the quality for future posts:-)
1. I have a lot of clothing! Some pieces, I like more than I'd thought and I'm excited to put them into regular rotation. Other items were just ‘okay' and it's time to let them go. I also realized that I have some really great basics; jeans, jackets, booties.
2. I had zero interest in shopping while I was doing this experiment.
None. This actually felt very strange. I really didn’t want to buy anything. I was so determined to work through my closet that adding more clothing seemed crazy! I also wasn't sure what I really wanted...so shopping seemed foolish during the challenge.
3. There are a few holes in my wardrobe. I discovered which pieces could be added to help round out my wardrobe. For instance, I have good jackets, but would like a few interesting tops to wear under them. I love boyfriend jeans. I wear them all the time. I could use a new pair. Also, black shoes. I need a pair of black shoes that I can wear as an alternative to my black booties. And...date clothes! I’m missing pieces that make me feel sexy. I plan to find a few items to wear on dates with my husband. Pieces that feel luxurious and look great!
4. I am ready for a Capsule Wardrobe. There, I said it! This is the most shocking result of this project. I have never wanted to try a capsule wardrobe. Never even considered it. I always loved reading about other women’s success with capsules, but didn’t want one for myself.
Now, I do. I haven’t begun putting together my capsule…I’m still working on hanging pictures:-) Next challenge?
Create a functional, authentic, beginner's capsule that works for me. I promise I'll share the process here...
Weekly updates are the best way to stay informed!
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Again, thanks for your patience and kind words. Each comment during our move gave me a boost and a smile as I packed and unpacked.
I’m thrilled to be back. Fresh posts coming each week. If there’s a topic you’d like covered…just ask!
As always, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for being here.
PS...Episode 2 of the Q & A is coming next week!
Week Two Recap...delayed by the chaos of moving! I had the crazy notion that moving would not interfere with my posting schedule. What was I thinking? Moving is an all-in, full-time, hands-on endeavor...one that requires more mental and physical effort than I originally recalled. Silly me.
While the tasks required for moving might temporarily interrupt my blogging schedule, I remain committed to wearing everything I own. I'm learning quite a bit about my wardrobe habits as I work through my closet. The second week was enlightening...I'm excited to share what I've learned. I apologize for keeping you waiting:-)
I promise to continue sharing what I discover along the way. Hopefully, we can all benefit from this little experiment.
The goal is to have a closet filled only with pieces you absolutely LOVE!
I ask for your patience over the next few weeks. I plan to resume a regular schedule again as quickly as possible! Right now, I'm off to pack some boxes...and remind myself to keep breathing;-)
Lots style and de-cluttering stuff in the works for the coming months! Super excited to share some new things.
Weekly updates keep you informed!
Thank you so much for being here. This journey is much more fun with you following along. Questions, just ask! firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd welcome a break from packing or unpacking:-)
Today's post includes two videos. The first one is Q&A Episode 1.5 and the second is just a quick update to keep you informed about some personal news. I created Episode 1.5 in response to a few non-style related questions that I missed the first time around.
If you're wondering..."Hey, Kristen, what about my style questions?"
Don't worry, in the next episode I promise to focus on style! I'll try to cover all of the style questions in one video. If it becomes too long and overwhelming, I'll break it up into separate categories.
Thanks for being patient as I work through the other questions first. There are lots of style questions and I want to be sure I give each one a thoughtful, helpful response!
Okay, so I tossed out a lot of information about visiting France. I find it hard to hold back when talking about this amazing destination:-)
Here are the links to the places I mentioned.
Each one is a place I truly love!
Hotel de Fleurie
Hotel Saint Gregoire
VRBO or HomeAway
Le Repaire de Cartouche
Cafe du Flore
Monoprix- lots of locations
Galleries Lafayette- 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France
Printemps- just across from Galleries Lafayette
Bon Marche- 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris, France
Anthopologie- I haven't been yet, but can't wait to see it!
South of France
Louis XV – Hotel de Paris
If you are planning a trip to France, I'm envious...
but Bon Voyage!
Now, I'd like to share what's happening at my house. I'm hoping you'll understand why my posting schedule might be a little interrupted for the next month...
Weekly updates are the best way to stay informed!
They're free and fun and available right here.
Have any great tips for me regarding the second video? Please share! It's crunch time:-)
I know there are lots of links in this post. If you have trouble with any of them, please let me know and I'll forward the info to you another way.
Thanks so much for being here.
The first move I really remember was when my husband, our almost two year
old daughter and I moved out of our rental house and into our first purchased home.
I remember boxing up the contents of the home we had lived in for 7 years.
Even though the house was bungalow-like with only two bedrooms, we had filled
it with lots of stuff.
Each day, I would box up the things we weren't using regularly. The things I didn't think we would need before the move. The pile of boxes in the living room grew. Soon I couldn't remember what the living room looked like without the box towers.
Yet as the boxes filled and the cupboards emptied...an interesting thing happened...
I realized I wasn't really missing anything. We were living with and using the bare essentials...and it was enough. It was plenty. There was freedom in less.
Full disclosure- this was not the beginning of my great push for a minimalist life. I was a hard sell. My husband would often say that he would be happy with living room that held only one really GREAT chair. The concept was lost on me... I was still attached to my stuff. But, the seed was planted...somewhere inside I remembered how nice it felt to only have the 'things I used every day' available to me.
The seed began to sprout...
Over the years we began to travel often. Two elements of our wanderlust led me to finally pare down-
1. We often rented flats or houses instead of staying in a hotel. A practice I highly recommend...especially if you have children (more in future post:-)
2. I became a 'carry-on only' girl. There was some reluctance, but I have never looked back.
Rental homes are awesome, but they don't have all of your stuff. So...you have to
make do and get creative. I have always found this exciting. We would open all of the cupboards to assess what we had to work with and then make a plan. There is magic
in having to stretch. Having to 'figure it out' goes a long way toward enriching the entire experience. Real memories are made in the 'struggle' of roughing it.
In addition, I had only the clothes, shoes, accessories and toiletries that fit in my
carry-on luggage. This too was a revelation. I managed to get dressed everyday and look put together... out of one small bag. I always packed the pieces that I knew looked and felt great. I knew they all worked together. I enjoyed getting dressed on vacation.
At some point during our time away... I would start to think, "I'm not missing any of my stuff"...except maybe my own bed. I quickly realized that I didn't need all of the 'extras'
I had in my house...especially the things I didn't really love! I'd return home ready to purge! I wanted to feel the lightness of living on vacation!
My family moved cross-country last summer. The move had an enormous impact on our stuff.
Only things we LOVED made the cut.
I haven't missed anything!
Well, except for the small Thermos' that my kids said they would never use...and now wish they had for their lunches:-)