Faith, Organization

I have one small box for Christmas decorations. I do not want to feel overwhelmed by the thought of decorating or taking down the decorations after the holiday. I choose to minimally decorate for Christmas because that gives me more time to focus on Christ. (This will most likely change if kids are in our future, but for now this is me.)

If my home was full of nutcrackers and Santas they would drown out the simplicity of our Jesus and His upside down Kingdom. The reminder to serve others, to put them first. For me, less decoration and less clutter mean more time with my savior.

Maybe this isn’t true for you. And I’m glad it isn’t true for everyone, because I love driving by homes with lights and giant snowmen and reindeer in their lawn. I just don’t love that for my home. All the moving parts would stress me out more than they would bring me joy.

So, with minimal decorations or with tinsel in every corner, may we all take the time this season to really think about the baby that was born. That baby who was and is our God. Our God who knew we needed rescued. Our God who chose to come to earth, a humble servant, to walk alongside us messy humans. Who chose to live the perfect life that we could not live, and die the death that we deserved, only to be joined with us again. How beautiful.

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

minimal christmas decor for me

Aside
Organization

tiny tidy tips

My house is on the smaller side as far as houses go. As you’ll see in the pictures below, my couch and love seat take up more than half of the living room. When space is limited, it’s all the more important to keep things neat and tidy – clutter can happen in the blink of an eye! In order to have, keep, and maintain a tidy house, you need to change behaviors.

  • Have a place for everything – If everything within your home has a home, then tidying and cleaning up become way less stressful!

 

  • Be in a constant state of tidying – Take a moment every day to put things away such as clothes, shoes, mail, etc. If you “have a place for everything” then this shouldn’t be rocket science. I understand that this is easier to accomplish if you do not live with small humans – and even easier to accomplish if you live alone. Small efforts every day keep you from spending your entire week cleaning up before you have guests.

 

  • Don’t keep things on the floor – I have two items in my home that belong on the floor other than furniture, rugs, and standing lamps. Those things are both baskets/bins. One for shoes by the front door and one that holds the dog bones and toys. Keeping your floor clear is a major key to keeping your home tidy. It also helps when it is time to sweep/vacuum.

 

  • Storage – storage must be respected. Do not allow any storage in your house to be so completely full of items that you are not even sure what is inside. Storage is your friend when it comes to keeping a tidy house, so be sure to treat it as one. Pictured below: we keep blankets in the chest that also serves as a coffee table. We keep puzzles, games, and electronics in the hanging shelves. Also pictured: peep the bin near the front door that is literally labeled “storage”. This is used by my husband for keys, wallets, pocket knives, etc.

 

  • Routinely downsize and donate – Know when it is time to let things go. Walk around your home and really take a look at what you have stored in your home. Does that item still serve a purpose? Do you use it? Does it bring you joy? If not, donate it so someone else can enjoy it. Is it something you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of? Re-purpose it! Pictured below, I have a giraffe figurine from my mission trip to Kenya and my wooden elephant that my best friend sent me from Thailand living their best lives as bookends on my mantle. Learn to let go and enjoy items as they serve their purpose. Things will come and go in this lifetime, and some things need to go sooner rather than later. Isn’t this true in many aspects of our lives?

 

  • Keep decorations minimal – or they will become clutter. I am a firm believer that less is actually more. Pick a few key pieces and decorate. Don’t go overboard. May I remind you that empty space is a decorative statement as well.

 

Leading a tidy lifestyle will not happen overnight. It comes when you respect your home and your belongings. Respecting inanimate objects may seem silly, but it will carry into other aspects of your life as well, and will even make the atmosphere of your home and heart lighter.

Standard
Fashion, Organization

horizontal vs. vertical storage in drawers

I used to fold my clothes and pile them on top of each other in my dresser drawers just like most of you do. It’s nice and neat after laundry day, but when you rummage through to find the shirt you need for Sunday brunch, there is no going back.

After doing some research on organization a year ago, my clothes have never been so easy to find! Like many of you, I used to have shirts that would get shoved to the bottom of the smorgasbord of fabrics stuffed in the drawer. But now that I fold and store my clothes horizontally rather than vertically in my drawers that problem is one of the past! What does horizontal clothing storage look like you ask? Take a look at some shots of my dresser drawers below!

I will admit, it took some getting used to and I had to retrain my brain when folding and putting away laundry, but after a month or two something clicked. I will never be able to go back to my old ways again.

It is important to note that there are certain items and fabrics that need to be hung. My dress pants and skirts along with a few dress shirts are hanging in my closet. In my pants drawer you will only find workout leggings, sweatpants, jeans, and shorts.

Now that I am able to see every shirt option and every pant/shorts option at all times, I no longer lose items or pull a shirt out of the bottom of the drawer only to find it wrinkled beyond wearability. I have even found that standing my shirts up and rolling my pants result in even fewer wrinkles and creases than before. Don’t believe me? Give it a try! (And let me know how you like or dislike it!)

Standard
Food, Organization

How to keep your kitchen feeling fresh, calm, and clean

The kitchen is a sacred place. Food is a necessity, so shouldn’t your kitchen be a peaceful and inviting space? Whether you are the one doing the cooking, the eating, helping with the dishes, or all of the above, an ample amount of kitchen time is coming up with the holidays being just around the corner. So, here are some tips for keeping your kitchen feeling fresh, calm, and clean.

  • Tip #1: Keep the counters and table tops clear

The less you have sitting on the counter, the better. Put as much as you can away in cabinets. Leave out just a few necessary or decorative items along with any snacks or food. If you are someone who keeps mail, keys,wallets, etc. on the counter- stop! Find a drawer or cubby for these items and stop cluttering your precious counter space. What did it ever do to you?!

  • Tip #2: You can never have too much white

There is something about a white kitchen that just screams CLEAN (Or CLEAN ME depending on the day of the week). But when it is clean, there is no place I’d rather be. There is a freshness and pureness that comes along with the color white that you simply can’t replicate with other colors.

  • Tip #3: Plants!

Plants keep your kitchen feeling fresh. And literally freshen the air with oxygen – shout out to photosynthesis. Some plants even get rid of toxins! I am terribly poor at keeping plants alive, and as you can see in the pictures below, even I have plants! I have an orchid on my table and a hanging plant above my sink called philodendron. There is hope for everyone! You just have to find the easy, low maintenance plants if you’re anything like me.

  • Tip #4: Candles

I have a candle on the corner of my kitchen bench and on my kitchen counter at all times. I light them if I’m having company over or if I’m doing dishes/cleaning the kitchen. Candles can make even the craziest of atmospheres feel calm and fresh.

  • Tip #5: Bake, bake, bake

Nothing makes a kitchen as warm and relaxing as fresh baked cookies. Don’t know how to bake or don’t like to bake? Buy the cookie dough that is already made and throw it on a pan and into the oven. Set the timer, then watch and smell your kitchen transform!

  • Tip #6: The most obvious – clean up

Wipe down your counters as much as you can. I’m convinced that little elves live in my cabinets and spill sticky stuff on my counters every night. I’m sure they have friends at your house too. Take a second to wipe down your counters every day or two (depending on how the elves are feeling). Once the counters are clear, tell Alexa to tell your robot to clean the floors. If no robots show up to vacuum, use an old school broom and dust pan. Throw in some dance moves here and there. You’ll feel awesome and you’ll look great doing it. Side note – Swiffers and Swiffer wet jets are sent from heaven.

Remember, time spent preparing and sharing meals is of great value, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Having a clean and tidy kitchen is not more important than making memories with your loved ones. However, I find that keeping a clean kitchen helps relieve my stress when it’s time to cook. I’ve also found that I enjoy being in my kitchen when it is fresh and calm rather than avoiding it and grabbing takeout. So follow these tips and surprise yourself by inviting friends over for dinner and card games. Or, follow these tips and make your kitchen the place to be this holiday season even when it’s packed with uninvited extended family members and in-laws.

Standard
Fashion, Organization

tips for downsizing your wardrobe

Is your closet overflowing with clothes, shoes, and accessories? Do you have clothes that stay in the laundry room, on your floor, or on that random chair in your house because there is no more room in your dresser drawers? This is where our culture will tell you to buy more storage or get a bigger closet, but I will tell you that it is time to downsize your wardrobe (because I love you and want to help de-clutter your life). So, here are some tips for downsizing your wardrobe and choosing what stays and what goes.

  • Dedicate a day to go through every clothing item and accessory you own. Buy some of your favorite snacks, turn on an awesome playlist, get some coffee and mentally prepare yourself to let go.
  • Invite a friend over for emotional support if you’d like. Make sure its a good friend who can tell you the truth when you want to keep that dress with the sparkly chunky belt that even the spice girls wouldn’t wear. However, be cautious not to turn this time into a dress-up party and not get anything done.
  • DO NOT LOSE FOCUS. you can do this. Right away, you should be able to designate areas for keep, give away/donate, and maybe.
  • Try on any clothes that you haven’t worn in the past three months. How do you feel when you’re wearing that item? Do you feel confident? Do you feel self-conscious? Be honest with yourself.
  • When is the last time you wore that item? If it is in season at this time and you haven’t worn it since last season or the year before, get rid of it.
  • Is this item something you like but you have another similar item you usually wear instead? Get rid of it!
  • Is this item something you got from a vacation but it doesn’t fit or you don’t feel awesome in it? Get rid of it! You will always have memories without holding on to the t-shirt with the city name on it that you brought back.
  • Do not hang on to “fat clothes” or “skinny clothes”. Your wardrobe should be something that empowers you. Not something that makes you feel deficient. You are perfect just the way you are, and your clothes should show that off!
  • Do not keep any items from an ex. And do not feel pressured to keep something because it was a gift! It was the thought that counts. If you are worried about your grandma asking why you never wear the sweater vest she bought you, just let her know that it wasn’t flattering on you, but you were able to sell it and buy this cute (insert item) instead!
  • Only keep items that bring you joy. Your wardrobe belongs to you and no one else. Why would you want to wake up each morning and go through clothes that don’t fit right or make you feel like the boss babe that you are?
  • Once you have bagged up your donate/give away items, hang up and put away all of your keep items. Now, you may go through your maybe pile. Does there seem to be plenty of room for these clothes? Now that you’ve only kept the items that bring you joy, you should be able to quickly look through your maybe pile and see right away which items are keep and which are give away.
  • Be sure to give away/donate those items within a few days (if not that afternoon). This will keep you from going through the bags just to make sure you didn’t accidentally give away anything that you might regret. These items served their purpose while you had them and now they will belong to someone else. So send them away with a deep exhale.
  • Now that you are finished, take a look at your wardrobe. Take note of which items you feel most confident in. Remember that next time you are shopping. Yes, that model looks amazing in that romper, but you got rid of your rompers because they didn’t make you feel like the sexy human that you are! This doesn’t mean you should never branch out. Just a reminder not to spend your money on items that you won’t rock with confidence.

Once your closet is put back together and no longer looks like an overstock room for a department store, give yourself a high-five and relax in there like you’ve never done before. You will be amazed at how easy it is to pick out an outfit the next morning. You know that you only own clothes, shoes, and accessories that you are going to feel and look amazing in! How awesome is that?! Best of luck to all who give this a try. You got this! XOXO.

IMG_0568

Standard