Monthly Archives: January 2012

3 Simple Ways to Make Your Home Light and Airy

{via Apartment Therapy}

 

Light and/or airy. Both is better, but one is an improvement on neither.

(Oh, I’m sorry. That makes very little sense. And it appears my brain has taken a holiday. Please continue reading while I try to coax it back to reality.)

Almost invariably, we want to live in a house that is light and airy. And understandably. Some of these living spaces just look so inviting. (Notice the distinct lack of stuff though – interesting, textured, warm and uncluttered. Homely bliss.)

{via Lonny}
{via The Design Files}
{via Lonny}

I’m no interior designer, and you’re not looking to tear walls down, but there are some things you can do to brighten up your home and let the fresh air and good light in.

  • Do you have heavy curtains or blinds you could remove from the windows? If privacy isn’t an issue, they could come down completely. Alternatively you could replace them with a sheer curtain.
  • Make it a part of your morning routine to open your blinds and crack a window or open the front or laundry door. An open door at one end of the house and an open window or door at the other helps create good cross-flow of air – naturally moving cooler air in and the warmer, stale air out.
  • Don’t block doors and windows. Try not to place furniture in front of your big windows or doors – not only does it interfere with circulation and traffic flow, but it also blocks the light.
  • BONUS TIP: Get yourself an indoor plantthey cleanse the internal air of toxins and they look sweet.

 

Light can be a feature of a room in and of itself. And letting natural light play a part in your home means you need less stuff adorning the walls and surfaces in the hope of “warming it up”. An article I found really helpful when I  started out and equated a minimalist home with a sterile and cold one is this great post by Miss Minimalist. Highly recommended!

 

 

2012 in 2012 – January

Since the beginning of 2012, when I had my big idea to declutter our home of 2012 unnecessary items by the end of the year, I’ve thrown myself into the challenge with gusto. So far I’ve tackled the kids’ wardrobes, overstuffed with clothes that we’ve bought, been gifted, been donated and accumulated via osmosis. I’m also mid-way through our wardrobes and have a couple of posts coming up with some tips on the best way I’ve found to work through these clutter-zones.

Is this scintillating reading? Probably not.

But if you want to live a simpler, more mindful, more contented life, then I guarantee that decluttering your home is one major step towards getting there.

The major benefits that we’ve already discovered living with less (and we are but a fraction of the way there) are:

  • more time for ourselves – cleaning, tidying and dressing take less time, because there’s less to clean and less to choose from
  • a healthier perspective – I exercise (or at the very least stretch and do some sit-ups) every day now. This has come mostly from the feeling of mental well-being and boosted energy I’m getting by lightening the load that’s been burdening me. Each bag that goes to Vinnies is a physical and emotional weight off.
  • more gratitude – stuff does not equal happiness or love
  • more contentment – the combination of those above add up to a feeling of contentment – that we’re doing right by ourselves, giving ourselves room to breathe and dream

 

So I will keep on with the 2012 Challenge. If you’re wanting to declutter and start towards a simpler, slower life, then drop me a line in the comments or say hello on Facebook and we can do it together. And if 2012 seems like a mighty number, nominate a figure that you’re comfortable with. We have to start somewhere!

Running

I dream about running. Somewhere quiet and green and not too hot. I dream that I don’t get stitches. I dream that I find a rhythm. I dream that I enjoy it.

Simplifying our lives is giving us more time, energy and motivation to pursue things we dream about. Things like writing, going to the beach for the weekend, travelling and now, running.

Last night I went for my first (awake, non-dreaming) run in a long, long, long time. And you know what? It was quiet and green and not too hot. I escaped into and out of my head for half an hour. I breathed the fresh air. I decided I needed to buy a good sports bra.

My sister-in-law has convinced me that I should do the Sydney Half-Marathon with her. In five months.

Just so we’re on the same page here, a half-marathon is 21km.

 

That’s 21. Kilometres.

Sounds great. Except. I currently can’t run 5% of that distance without stopping.

However, being thoroughly modern, I thought, “Run a half-marathon? There’s an app for that.” And you know what? There kind of is!

It won’t run the half-marathon for you, but it does promise to get you from the couch to running 5km non-stop in eight weeks.

Once you can run 5km non-stop, then you’re in the position to start training for the half-marathon. So, baby steps. You know.

 

Meanwhile, the 2012 in 2012 challenge continues. Today I took over 200 pieces of clothing to St Vinnies. (That’s 10% yo!)

The difficulty will be once I’ve cleared the wardrobes and toys out. That’s when the hardcore declutter will have to kick in.

But still – 10%. Feels good. About as good as running!

Use it? Need it? Love it?

Do you have a declutter mantra? A set of criteria that you apply when deciding what to do with that broken alarm clock/Winnie the Pooh denim jacket/those too-tight jeans/three of the same baby blankets? (All personal examples. Don’t judge me. Winnie the Pooh was cool.)

I didn’t think I had one either. But it turns out that the past six months of simplifying has given me more than some empty cupboards and an acute dislike of eBay selling.

Every time I pick up an item that is in my declutter zone, I ask myself three questions:

“Do I/we use it?”

“Do I/we need it? Or will we reasonably need it within 6 months?”

“Do I/we love it passionately?”

These questions have become my declutter mantra.

And it’s because of those three questions that no-one else can tell you what your decluttering should look like. What you “should” and “shouldn’t” keep. What needs to be done with mementoes, photo albums, childhood keepsakes, your wedding dress, camping equipment, baby clothes.

You need to spend a little bit of time figuring out what you want from a simpler, clutter-free life and why you’re on this path in the first place (I’m sure glad you are though!) then set up your own criteria.

For example, we use our camping gear on average once a year. Many simplifying/minimalism gurus will tell you that if you don’t use something within 3 or 6 months – depending on how hardcore they are – then it’s history. I say it’s great to have suggestions from these guys, but you need to run your own race.

Living a simpler life is not about culling your belongings to the bare minimum, living with 100 personal items or less, dressing from 33 pieces of clothing or living out of a backpack. Not unless you want it to be.

Instead, living your simpler life is about truthfully cutting out the extras, the stuff that weighs you down but brings no value, the duplicates, the vampires. The belongings that, when you look at them, give you a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach, as if to say, “I can’t believe how much money we wasted on that.”

When you choose to let go of those things – to really let go – you’ve mastered the trickiest part of the journey. And you may just discover your own simple living mantra along the way.

 

Further Reading:

Courtney Carver’s Project 333

Dave Bruno’s 100 Item Challenge

 

Happy-Making: Head Off, Get Out, Unplug.

{via akakumo}

The first days of a new year always finds me excited, optimistic, wondering at the possibilities and successes the coming year will bring. Anything is possible, and the only thing between those “anythings” and me is good, honest, hard work.

Then the year rolls on, bills need paying, kids get sick, the weather turns cool and we settle into the day-to-day. All of a sudden, those anythings feel a bit too much like work. A little too far away. Just out of reach, around the corner, not quite achievable.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

Last Sunday we took off for the day, headed to the beach, and generally ignored our day-to-day. And I can’t tell you how refreshing it was.

Just to be away. Removed. Unplugged.

It allowed us the space to enjoy each other’s company, play uninterrupted with the kids, hold a conversation, talk about the future. All without the incessant tap-tap-tapping of our relentless to-do list.

Suddenly, the anythings seemed closer again. The to-do’s less urgent. The dreams infinitely achievable. It was ace.

This weekend, we’ll be doing something similar. And we plan to do it every weekend this year. To head off, get out, unplug.

I hope your weekends are beautifully unplugged (even for an hour) and you and yours have the space to dream.

 

xxx