How To Love Your Home Now

If you’re anything like me, you can get overwhelmed and inundated by all the perfect home images out there – Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube videos. It can lead to discontent and a feeling like your home needs a total overhaul! I consider myself a creative, and the main outlet that is realized is in home decorating and home renovations. So I am especially susceptible to wanting overnight changes. The other day I was thinking about the drastic transformation my home has gone through since moving in 11 years ago {{you can read the blog post where I shared all the renovations we did to our home!}} It has certainly been a slow process, and I continually have ideas to change things up! It takes time – sometimes what feels like a turtle’s pace – because home renovations take time if you’re doing the work yourself and money! I was thinking about simple and cost effective ways you can “transform” your home, and wanted to share those with you!

The very first thing you can do is clean your home! You may think this doesn’t change much, but truly when everything is cleaned and put away your home just feels more cozy and peaceful. Making your bed daily is a habit that will help to make your home feel more inviting.

Along with cleaning in general, I wanted to mention floors specifically. Deep cleaning the grout in your tile, or polishing your wood floors can make them look new again! {{I have an inspirational YouTube video of cleaning my grout!}}

Rearrange! Move furniture around – either in the room they are in, or to another room. You can also rearrange your home decor – moving pieces to other rooms. I don’t like to own a lot of home decor and this helps to make things feel new.

Bring in fresh flowers or plants. I feel like fresh flowers and plants make a much bigger impact to a room than you would expect! I even like rearranging my plants – moving them to different rooms. If you are afraid of taking care of a plant, there are a lot of real looking faux plant options out there as well.

Use scent to enjoy your home more. Whether it’s a scented candle burning, an essential oil diffuser running, cookies baking, or a pot roast in the oven! Scent can really bring extra joy to a space.

Of course you know I can’t write a blog post without mentioning DECLUTTERING! Letting go of the things that you no longer love, or no longer serve you will make a great impact on feeling comfortable in your home. Display what you love and get rid of the rest!

Another idea is to initiate trading home decor with your friends or family members. You could even host a party where everyone brings what they no longer love for their own home. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

In addition to trading home decor, you can scour Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or local thrift stores to find new to you items on a budget to incorporate a style that reflects you. Along with finding home decor at these places, you can find some amazing deals on furniture that just need a little TLC. Flipping thrifted furniture is definitely a cost effective way to upgrade your home.

I purchased this dresser for a good deal off Facebook Marketplace then cleaned it up! Also, several of the pieces of art in this photo were thrifted!

The next thing I wanted to share is PAINT! Paint is such a cost effective way to make a dramatic impact in any room in your home. If you’re willing and have the time to put in the work of painting yourself, it is quite inexpensive. I have always used Behr Ultra primer and paint in one paint and it is $32 a gallon. Most rooms can be painted with one gallon, depending on which color you are going to and which color the room was at first. Obviously if you go from light to dark or visa versa, or if the room is large, then you will need more paint. You can also paint furniture or spray paint home decor you no longer love – a vase, picture frame, drape rods, and more!

BEFORE
AFTER

Another thing you can do is to hang drapes. Okay, I know this isn’t for everyone, but I feel like hanging drapes makes a room feel much more luxurious, taller, and more cozy. When we moved into this home, an IKEA had just opened near us and I purchased all of our drapes from there. I love their drapes because you can get really long ones (96” or 108”) for a great price. Hanging your drapes as high as possible gives the illusion that your room is taller and more luxurious!

You can also make your own artwork, use your children’s artwork, or frame family photos for inexpensive art. Another recent thing I learned about is downloading art prints that you can then print off on whatever medium you choose – like a canvas, or a print to frame. Even if you’re not super crafty, some of the art that is popular now is very simplistic and easy to replicate.

Learn a new skill!! Usually, the biggest cost of home renovations is the labor involved and potentially also paying a contractor if you don’t already have connections. If you want to do some bigger renovations like installing new flooring or a new backsplash, it might be worth it to look into learning these skills. Usually projects like this just take a weekend to complete, especially if you have a partner to help you.

Lastly, if nothing else, start a gratitude journal. When you are focused on the things you are thankful for, you are less likely to focus on the negative or on the things you want changed!

Some of these options may not be feasible for you, but I hope this gave you some ideas that you have not thought of before on how you can love your home now!

7 Reasons We Keep Clothes + Ideas To Declutter Clothes

Today I wanted to share with you common reasons we tend to hold onto clothes, and some ideas for letting go. It can be overwhelming to downsize our wardrobe, especially if we are not in the habit of purging items from our closet and the job has gotten out of control. The best advice I have if you’re feeling overwhelmed by a decluttering project is to take it in bite size pieces. Choose one drawer a week to go through, or set a timer for an allotted amount of time. Oftentimes getting started is the most difficult part. Once we start, we have momentum to continue forward.

{{ONE}} We feel guilty about the amount of money we spent on the items. This is probably the number one reason we find it hard to declutter clothes – and really any items from our home. It can be difficult to just give away items that we have spent money on. If the items are in relatively good condition, an alternative is to sell these clothes. You could choose a consignment platform like Poshmark (my go-to), or Mercari. You could send it to Thread Up if you don’t want the clothes just sitting in your home as you wait for them to sell, or you could bring them to a local consignment shop to get some of your money back. You won’t make as much money with Thread Up or a consignment shop, but then the clothes are out of your house. If you have enough items in general that you are wanting to get rid of, another option is to have a good old fashioned garage sale. I have found it much easier to let go of items that I am on the fence about when I can make some money back. Lastly, if you have taken a basic economics course, then you learned about “sunk cost.” Basically, sometimes we make poor financial decisions, but keeping the item doesn’t get us the money back. If anything, every time we see that item we think – either consciously or subconsciously – that we spent money on that, but no longer love it/want it. It might be better to just get it out of our field of vision!

{{TWO}} We think we might lose – or even gain – weight. Sometimes we hang onto clothing items that used to fit us, but no longer fit because we have gained weight. We hold onto them as though it was an incentive to lose the weight to get back into that size. Or perhaps you have the opposite problem where you went through a weight loss journey and you’re concerned you will gain the weight back. Either way, I personally don’t keep items that are too big or too small. It can be discouraging to have that pair of jeans two sizes too small sitting in the back of your closet. Instead, perhaps you could use the incentive of purchasing new items when/if you do lose the weight. And if you went through a weight loss journey, it could be cathartic to get rid of all of those large clothes believing you WILL maintain the weight you are at currently. Certainly there are exceptions. If you are expecting a baby, you will likely need different sizes in your wardrobe to account for different stages of pregnancy and postpartum.

{{THREE}} We have sentimental attachment. This is a tough one. It may take time to be ready to let go of some of these items. When beginning the process of decluttering, I agree with Marie Kondo, it is wise to leave sentimental items until the end. This gives you momentum, and you also begin to “learn how to declutter.” You begin to feel more confident in your choices to part with things. If you have things like school or sports team t-shirts that you don’t want to let go of, consider having a quilt/blanket made out of the t-shirts/jerseys so you can still appreciate and enjoy them without having a box of them stuffed in the back of your closet. Other items that have sentimental value could be displayed in your home so you are able to appreciate them. Get a shadow box for that special jersey, or the outfit you brought your child home from the hospital in. Find a way to display/enjoy it, instead of continuing to allow these items to sit in a box in a closet or attic space. Perhaps you could pick your favorite few – maybe you don’t need to keep an entire tote of baby clothes from when your children were babies. Choose a couple of memorable outfits. Or perhaps you can keep a couple of school t-shirts instead of 13 from every year of school from kindergarten through 12th grade!

{{FOUR}} We don’t have time/don’t want to spend our time this way. I understand this. Honestly, in the end, it comes down to what is important to you. If you are okay with and not bothered by overflowing closets and drawers, then you do you. But, I would imagine if you’re reading this post, you are interested in paring down your wardrobe. As I mentioned, you don’t have to do the Konmari method and pile all your clothes from every drawer and hanger into the middle of your room. You could focus on a little at a time – choosing one drawer, or one section of your closet. Another idea is to purge clothing items by category. Sometimes you don’t realize how many of one category you own – so taking inventory of all of your shorts, or all of your sweaters at once may give you a better idea of what to get rid of. Think realistically about how many items in each category you might need. Think about the climate you live in and how often you do laundry. Another idea would be to set a timer. If you don’t have hours to spend decluttering. Set a timer for 10, 15, or 20 minutes, then grab a bag or box and start filling it with the items you know you no longer wear. Another trick I use is to turn your hangers backwards, then turn them back forwards as you wear/wash each item. After 6 months to a year (depending on how temperate your climate is) you will get an idea of which clothes you are wearing. If turning your hangers around seems like a lot of work, push all your clothes to one end of your closet, then hang them back up at the other end as you wear/wash them.

{{FIVE}} It was a gift. I think it is a universal feeling to feel guilt getting rid of something someone gave to you. Even if you are someone who doesn’t attach sentimental value to things readily, it is difficult. I’m sure it’s even more difficult for those who do attach sentimental value to items. The truth is, when someone gives you a gift, that item now belongs to you which means you can do with it what you please. You can appreciate their gesture and experience the joy of the act of giving in that moment, but if this item is not useful to you or does not bring you joy then it is silly to hold onto it just because it was given to you. If the person who gave you the item would be upset because you didn’t use it or you gave it away – that is a boundary issue they have, not you. Usually, your friends and relatives would not want an item they gave you to cause stress or clutter in your home. I think most people would rather the item that they spent money on be given to someone else who would use itl than for it sit in a drawer or closet in your home.

{{SIX}} We have space in our closet.  I relate well to this one. I used to not purge things that were difficult to purge because I had the space for it, so why not just leave it. The truth is, physical clutter can cause mental clutter. If every time you open your closet or drawers and they are filled to the top, your brain has to process everything that is in there. With less stuff, it’s less the brain has to process. I am beginning to enjoy having empty spaces in my home! For me personally, I realize that one day we will likely downsize and live in a smaller home. I like the idea of being able to slowly over time purge my items rather than being forced into it when we do choose to downsize. Even further down the road (or not since we never know!) when we leave this earth we will leave our things behind, and our family will have to make choices about what to do with those things. I don’t want my stuff to become a burden to my children or family members.

{{SEVEN}} We think we want lots of options. This may be true for some people. I have thought about trying to transition to a capsule wardrobe, but even I like to have a variety of choices when it comes to clothes. One thing I have found helpful for myself is to have a “uniform” then having options within that uniform. I pretty much assemble the same look every day, just with different items. But, some people want all different kinds of styles and options within those styles. I think having too many options can be overwhelming and contribute to decision fatigue. This may be the main reason people want to declutter their closets in the first place. They might not be able to put their finger on why, but ultimately it’s that there are too many choices in our closets. By using some of the techniques and tips mentioned earlier, you can pare down your wardrobe so it’s easy to get dressed each day and you love what you are wearing EVERYDAY! Can you say that now??

I hope this gave you some motivation or inspiration to reassess how many clothing items you own! It can be tough to declutter clothes, but if you do a little at a time it can be less overwhelming!

Here is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post!

Minimal and Cozy

When I first started pursuing the idea of becoming more minimal I thought “I could never be a minimalist” because I really enjoy decorating our home to make it more cozy and inviting. Five years later, I’m realizing that “minimalism” is not a one size fits all. There is no true definition of minimalism, or a box you can put it in. To me, it just means living with the things I use and love. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you the ways I make my home cozy and inviting while still striving towards minimalism.

I know there are several books written on Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh), which is a Danish word meaning creating a mood of coziness or comfort. I haven’t read these books, but “The Little Book of Hygge” is on my reading list! I wanted to share with you what little I’ve learned from what I know of Hygge, and just how I have organically practiced it in my home. Coziness and an inviting space doesn’t have to equate to a lot of material things.

First, I like to use throw pillows, blankets, and rugs to warm up a space. I choose pillows, blankets, and rugs of different textiles to give depth and provide interest. I like to use different colors and textiles for the seasons. I try to purchase pillow covers instead of full pillows so that they are easier to store.

Next, I like to use plants throughout my home to give a feeling of aliveness to my spaces. I admit that many of my plants are fake plants as I struggle to keep live ones living. I do have several live plants throughout my home as well. Not only does it bring that feeling of life to a room, but it also brings that texture, organic color, and dimension. 

Third, lighting choice really does change the mood of a room. Using warmer tone bulbs, especially in the evening, creates a calming atmosphere. Using lamps as opposed to overhead lights, or even displaying twinkle lights in a fireplace or around a tree in your home can create this mood. In addition to that, lighting candles can create that soft light and cozy mood in your home.

Fourth, is scent. With scented candles, you can get the coziness of the light of the candle burning and the scent. You could also use an oil difuser to create that good smelling scent throughout your home. Another way you could get the coziness of scent is through baking or cooking. The smell of freshly baked cookies or bread in the oven, or perhaps a pot roast fills your home and creates that feeling of coziness and warmth. Lastly, you can create those good scents through cleaning products, which leads into my next point…

Fifth is order. Most humans thrive in a space that has order. Chaos in our physical space can breed chaos in our minds, which does not lend to a feeling of coziness or peace. I have different practices which help keep my home tidy, which I have a blog post about and you can read that post here. When things are put away, and clean this lends to a feeling of coziness. 

Lastly, surrounding yourself with things you find beautiful – whether that’s family photos, books, or intentional home decor. In spite of what some people think, “minimalism” doesn’t have a number of certain things. It’s whatever makes YOU feel comfortable, and whatever brings YOU joy!

I hope this post inspired you to find new and creative ways to create a feeling of cozy throughout your home.

Here is the YouTube video I made with this information.