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Vacation really gave me a new perspective on life. I came home feeling rejuvenated and excited to live more simply. I’m tired of trying to have the perfect house and perfect parties. I’m tired of spending my time accessorizing my home and changing it up for the seasons. I’m tired of all of the waste—trash and stuff we simply don’t use. I’m tired of spending my time cleaning up toys and dishes and clothes instead of focusing on those I love.

We’ve taken the first steps towards minimalism. The word is such a turn-off for many and I’ll try not to use it excessively, but for me, it means getting rid of anything and everything we don’t need or love. I love a bright well decorated home, so I won’t be removing my gallery wall or lamps that make our house feel complete. But every drawer, closet, space is on the cutting block. I’ve almost completed the kitchen, going cabinet by cabinet and choosing what stays and what goes in a brutal way. Most things go. We simply don’t need serving dishes or random mugs I once used for a photo shoot or water bottles we never grab or old coffee makers we may use again, but don’t ever touch or … the list goes on and on.

In my linen closet, I removed 80% of the belongings-every table cloth, table runner, old blanket or bedspread or sheet set that we don’t use is gone. Ten seasonal throw pillows are gone. I cleared out half of our toys in one day last week. My entire large vehicle was full. It was ridiculous and so freeing. We still have work to do with toys though. We’re doing this because we want life to be about living, not things.

Next up are the kids’ closets, my master closet, our garage and our basement storage. The basement storage is going to be a beast, but after doing so many smaller spaces, I know I can tackle it! My office is in serious need of a clearing, but that will wait a bit longer as I get so nervous removing any important documents or work supplies I may need for a photo shoot.

Once our home is truly cleared of anything we don’t need or LOVE, the big thing is ensuring we don’t bring more in. I’ve made changes in my shopping habits already. We’ve asked our families to give our children birthday gifts of experiences-a sleepover at their homes, a trip to the local frozen yogurt place, a movie date with grandma or tickets to things such as the children’s museum, sports games, theater shows. Most of our family understands and is being supportive about this. I love that it will only strengthen our boys’ relationships with those closest to us. My cousin who is like a sister was the first one to volunteer to do this and it was a breath of fresh air. I’m hoping that when we think we need things for a party or event, we can borrow from friends and in return, let others use our things as well, helping all of us to spend less and have less stuff.

I recently read Lara Casey’s home tour over on Design Mom. She said something that I’ve thought for a long time about toys. Don’t keep toys that have many small parts. It’s just so hard to keep things together. Removing toys with small parts or many parts alone was a game changer. We did more than that, but I was thinking that tip might help someone who is hesitant to make change but is feeling overwhelmed by toys and belongings.

I have so much to learn and a lot of work to do. We are imperfect. We have a lot of waste—our trash bin is full nearly every week. I used paper plates for longer than I care to admit after Ezra was born. I drive a large gas-guzzling vehicle. Believe me, I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect, but this change is refreshing. It makes me think about what really matters and I know it’s not my belongings or how perfect my home is. It’s how we make people feel. It’s good food and welcoming guests with loving open arms. It’s inviting friends over on a whim or having someone come in for coffee without worrying about our mess. It’s having extra cash to help someone when misfortune occurs and to donate money to organizations that matter because we’re spending less money on objects that don’t add joy. Life is worth living and our objects and my hangups with perfection have prevented us from living fully.

If you come over anytime soon, you may not notice a change in our home. But it’s there. I’ve already invited people in many more times than I normally would just knowing there was less stuff that could possibly make its way to the floor. That’s joy, friends!

Not every family’s journey will look the same. Objects offer different joys and purposes for different people. One family’s version of minimalism will be very different from the next. That’s ok. For us, this is the right path and it will certainly be a journey.

We recently began the process to open our lives to something new and big. I’ll share at some point, but we’re not ready yet (no, I’m not pregnant!). Clearing our home of things we don’t need or love feels like a great way to prepare for this change.

My favorite books (May I suggest you try Audible to cut down on the quantity of books) on minimalism/slowing down/living simply and intentionally:

Essentialism

Simplicity Parenting

Hands Free Life

Hands Free Mama

Chasing Slow

Minimalist Living

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up

The Lifegiving Home

The Power of Now

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Have the best week, friends!

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