He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

15 August 2013

Becoming a Minimalist: Day 4

After yesterday's kitchen challenge I wanted to go easy on you because, whether you actually went through your cabinets or not, just reading about the challenge can be overwhelming.
That said, today is fairly simple.
Clear All Horizontal Surfaces
You may read that, take one look at your living room and giggle saying to yourself "Oh, that Krystle, she's adorable!"
Well, despite how cute you may find me, I am actually serious.

Do you remember that overwhelmed feeling I described not long ago? Well horizontal spaces speak directly to that feeling. I have always tried to have the house clean before bed and before I leave the house so that when I wake up or return home I do so to calm. Home is supposed to be a place or peace and restoration (and yes, many other things) but not a place of chaos and frustration. Your horizontal surfaces (table tops, counter tops, end tables, chair seats, and the like...) are the most obvious places I can think of that can either speak to simplicity and cleanliness or scream clutter and headaches.

I say this is step is simple because it repeats a process that I have suggested in previous posts...
1. Get a large box or plastic bin and place it in a central location of your home.
2. Pick a room to start in (mine was our bedroom).
3. Take ALL items off one surface (I started with my night stand.)
4. Place all piles of paper in one large pile in a central location and devote time to go through the entire pile, piece by piece, in the very near future (like while watching a light hearted movie with a cup of coffee).
5. Move everything that isn't absolutely necessary into the box.
6. Move to the next room, taking the box with you, and do the repeat steps 3,4,and 5.
7. Once your have gone through all of your rooms, hide the box. Be it in a guest room closet, a basement, and attic, just get it out of sight for one week.

If, after a week, you think your space looks a little plain, go ahead and add a bit of spice but keep it simple. 
...and "keeping it simple" doesn't mean clean lined, boring, and modern. It simply means "simple".
As with everything, there are a few exceptions...
What if I have a lot of essentials such as my kitchen counter tops?
You get to choose what is essential and non essential in your home. You may be thinking "it's all essential" and though it may be true for some, it is unlikely to be true for most. If it is a necessary item, it may not need to be out on display. The point here is create visual cleanliness. For instance, we had a coffee maker, a wire basket for fruits and veggies, a paper towel holder, a crock for wooden spoons and spatulas, and our family calendar on our kitchen counter at all times. I was only able to pair down by one thing, our cooking utensil crock, by placing all the items in a drawer next to the stove. I'm still trying to figure out a strategy for the rest of the items but for now, just one thing gone is still considered progress and that's what I'm trying to establish. I'm looking for a lifestyle change and a different mindset, not a specific formula for perfection.
What about family photos and heirlooms?  This again is your call but here is my word of encouragement... This exercise is intended to give you a break from your belongings and decide how you really feel about them so put them in the box anyway.
If you find that you can't make it more than a day without the item... it's probably an essential item and, by all means, pull it out. If you desperately miss an object while it's gone but don't necessarily need it, give yourself at least three days before you pull it out. If you find that you're able to make it a full week without thinking about a particular item, needing it, missing it, then after the week is up, consider donating it or giving it away. If it's a picture frame with a beloved picture consider enlarging the photo and placing it in a wall frame or maybe tuck it away in photo album.

Finally, when the week is over, if you find there are items you just cannot part with but don't need enough to put back in plain sight then I recommend one of two things. Either leave the items in a box out of sight for another three weeks and revisit it to see if you're ready to part with them then or designate another home, out of site, for that item. If it is something you just love... that makes you happy to see... I definitely recommend giving it an honored spot in your home. The goal is to simplify and make your home a place you love to be.
Home is where the heart is, after all!

Are you joining us late in the game? See what you missed HERE.

kitchen with wood island
bedroom pix

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