Monday 27 October 2014

Minimalism Week #10- "Catch All" Closet Part 2

When I started to tackle the closet today, I discovered two things.  Number 1: My 5 month old daughter is not a happy camper when she isn't the center of Mommy's attention.  Number 2:  The one shelf almost exclusively stores caulk, car wipes and other things that I can't identify.  This would be my husband's department and I plan to set him to work this coming weekend.  The very top shelf houses a box of replacement light bulbs and an old dog blanket.  I kept the light bulbs and will pitch the dirty/torn blanket the next time we take a drive to the dump.

I didn't remember to take a before photo.  My apologies.  My sewing and craft shelf took an overhaul.  I pitched a bunch of fabric scraps and old buttons off of outfits that are no longer in my possession.  It looks so much better and it feels good to have everything organized and ready to go.

Here is the "after":

Like I said, the top two shelves should be dealt with over the weekend, thanks to Hubby.  I am sorry for the short post.  I am still learning to manage my time with Miss. E.  Have a wonderful week!

Friday 24 October 2014

High Five For Friday!

Ahhhhh..... It is Friday, at last!  I see a lot of Moms saying that weekends don't "mean anything" to them now that they are at home with a baby.  I feel completely different!  My husband is a wonderful man and a very hands-on Dad.  He is happy to be on "Daddy Duty" and I can relax a bit.  I still have to do her feeds (unless I have been ambitious and pumped).  I don't have to do diaper duty or work to keep Miss E. entertained/happy.  Weekends are also wonderful because I get to see my husband truly enjoy our daughter and bond with her.  It is fun to watch!

Nationally, it was a tragic week with two episodes of terrorism happening on Canadian soil.  My heart goes out to the family and friends of the deceased soldiers.  May they rest in peace.

In general, (excluding the aforementioned tragedy) I had a good week.  I was super productive yesterday which was fantastic!  My house is clean and my laundry is (nearly) caught up!  I have been working hard to stay on track with eating healthy and exercising.  I was super terrible last weekend (laid on the couch all weekend and ate pure junk), so it was time to shape up.  Here are the best things from my week:

1.)  I managed to eat healthfully this week.  I feel so much better when I mind what I eat.  I made peanut butter oatmeal balls for a snack to grab when I am hungry.  They are delicious (and handy)!

2.)  I was able to get a bunch of sorting done.  My basement bedroom has to be ready for guests over Christmas and I have been storing a few things in there.  I moved along quite a few items and I threw away some items that were beyond repair.  My awesome Mom came over and watched over Miss. E while I got my sorting done.

3.)  Butternut squash soup.  Need I say more?  YUM!  I made a batch and froze a few containers for lunches in the coming weeks.

4.)  Clean house. (I yapped about it above so we will move on...)

5.)  Miss. E has decided that she LOVES the cat!  This is so much fun to watch, albeit a little scary.  We are lucky, though. As Miss. E's affection grows toward our tuxedo cat, the cat's affection for Miss. E wanes.  The cat stays out of her reach.  When I am supervising it is amusing to watch Miss. E call out for the cat and reach for her.  She has "petted" the cat a few times and gives a bunch of happy squeals.  I love it!

I hope you all had a wonderful week!  Link up at!

Monday 20 October 2014

Minimalism Week #9- "Catch All" Closet: Part 1

Every house has one of those places.  That place that you put things when you don't know where they ought to go.  Things that don't have a home.  It is sometimes a junk drawer, a room, a basement, or, in my case, a closet.  (Well, actually... the basement is starting to apply to me, but that is a post for another time!)  I admire people who can keep the "junk spot" to just a drawer or somewhere small.  I am hoping that, with our move to minimalism, my husband and I won't have any need for a "junk spot".  That would be the ultimate goal.

I am the proud mother of a nearly five month old daughter who refuses to nap!  This really limits my time for minimizing projects.  I started working on this closet for this week's project and I will finish next week.  This closet is used for many things.  It stores all of our pet supplies, overflow from our tiny kitchen, tools, sewing/craft supplies and many other things.  I tackled the floor and first two shelves today.

Here is the before:


What you can't see is the loads of stuff behind the large bag of dog food.  I wasn't really thinking when I took that picture!

This closet isn't horrible, but it does cause me to shudder every single time I open it.  I can never quite get to what I want and there are a lot of items in the closet that are pure garbage.  I started by pulling everything out.  I made a bag dedicated to my dog's apparel.  She has a winter coat, a Halloween costume (much to my husband's dismay), a life jacket and a few handkerchiefs (for pretty puppy pictures!).  I then put her travel dishes into the backpack we always take with us.  I sorted through her toys and gave them a designated basket.  I folded her towels and stacked them.  

I then tackled the second shelf.  I threw away a lot of items such as: an expired bottled of ear drops for the dog, some expired cat and dog treats, a dog shampoo that doesn't agree with my dog, and a bone that my pup has no interest in.  I donated my dogs "winter booties" and one of her hair brushes.  

The third shelf was easier than I expected.  I had room in my kitchen for a few of the items since my husband and I had gone through the kitchen several months ago.  I donated a few vases (they really start to pile up!).  I also found a home for the phone book (beside the phone, of course!).

Here is the after photo:

Ahhhhhhh.... much better!  Everything is easier to find and my closet has a lot more space.  It is a beautiful thing.

Do you have a junk spot in your house?  One of those places that "things" seem to accumulate?  What strategies do you use to combat this?

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Minimalism Week #8- Christmas Conundrum

We celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend.  (It was Canada's Thanksgiving weekend.)  Hubby was home so we enjoyed a ton of family time and we were able to get a few things done around the house.  We spent Thanksgiving with family, talking to Hubby's family on Skype and enjoying dinner with my parents at their house.  It was such a lovely weekend and I was thankful to be surrounded by the people that we love.

Thanksgiving brought us to the realization that Christmas is fast approaching.  My husband and I have discussed the obstacles to our minimalism that we encounter with the holidays.  When we discussed the "important" aspects of the holidays, gift giving never came up.  The most important thing to us is spending time with our families and celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We both agreed that we didn't need gifts in order to enjoy our holiday.  Miss. E is far too young to understand the holidays and she won't notice an absence of gifts.

We decided to speak to our families.  I broached the subject with my family and my husband with his.  We requested that we not do adult gifts this year.  We did note that this is Miss. E's first Christmas and acknowledged that the Grandparents would likely want to do a bit of shopping for her.  We requested "practical" gifts, like clothes.  She will definitely get use out of clothes!  We also would appreciate books, as we are avid readers and read to Miss. E often.  We were surprised that we were met with relief over the prospect of no gifts.  It truly adds stress to the holidays for most people.

I also broached the subject with our adult friends that we have exchanged gifts with in the past.  We decided on a set gift for the children (one pair of jammies and one book) and we also decided to not do Christmas gifts with the adults.

My husband and I are excited for the holidays, knowing that our minimalism will be respected.  We want to put the emphasis on the important parts of Christmas: faith, family and fellowship.  We plan to make donations to a few causes close to our hearts.  I look forward to the holidays and embracing the "true" spirit of Christmas.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Minimalism Week #7- Miss. E's Room

I went through my daughter's room this week.  We received so many lovely gifts when she was born.  I was not expecting this.  People were extremely generous.  That being said, there were a few gifts that didn't fit our parenting style, didn't fit Miss. E, and items that were sweet but not very useful.

I started with the clothes that she has already worn and is currently wearing.  I pitched a sleeper that was flame-resistant.  It was cute, but the chemicals used to make an item flame resistant are linked to cancer.  I donated items that would be best on a short, chubby baby.  Miss. E is very long and quite lean. Some of the onesies simply did not fit her. There is such a wide range of body types with babies (as there are with adults), so not everything works on every baby.

Miss. E received a ton of toys.  She was given a small army of pink stuffed animals and dolls.  While these gifts are sweet, they are not "useful" or in line with our move to minimalism.  I kept three stuffies (one from each set of grandparents and one from a great-grandmother).  I kept two dolls (one from a great-grandma and one from my best friend).  Every other stuffed animal was donated in hopes of making another child's day.  She received a few rattles that were exactly the same.  I kept one and donated the rest.  I also donated some toys that I didn't feel fit our parenting style.  I tend to lean toward toys made from natural materials (wood, cotton, etc.).  Anything made from plastic has to be from a reputable company and BPA free.

Miss. E was given a lot of sentimental gifts, such as frames and plaques.  While these are nice, they aren't in line with our minimalism and are really not useful.  Most of these items were donated with the exception of a few, which were kept because of sentimental value.

Gifts are a difficult thing to minimize.  Most of us feel large amounts of guilt when it comes to things that other people have given to us.  We know that the giver has spent money on the gift and has taken the time to select something just for us.  We must remember that a gift is not given with the intention to burden.  I don't think that someone gives us a gift, hoping that it will sit in a drawer or closet, unused and forgotten.  Knowing this, I feel that it is okay to pass on items that can be used by someone else.

There were gifts that we received that we love and use.  Miss. E loves her "Sophie" giraffe, activity mat, cloth rattles and her noise-making book.  I love the Aden & Anais blankets that we received, the children's books and the many sleepers that I have put to good use.  We also received money, which was a lovely gift.  We started Miss. E's college fund with it.  It is never to soon to start saving for college!  My best suggestion for a baby gift is money or gift cards.  The parent can then select whatever works for them.  If you want to give an actual gift, you could consult with the parents and see what they might need.  Some parents even set up a registry.

How do you deal with your children's growing stash of items?  Do you have any suggestions as how to keep their things to a minimum?  Comment below with your ideas!