A Taste of Minimalism

We are finally getting our upstairs carpet replaced as I write this.   Ever have flooring done while you are living in a home? It’s a huge pain and a big disruption and a lot of work.

Ten days prior to the install date I started moving books, pictures and knickknacks. So I had a few days of an empty-ish bedroom. All the furniture was still in it but the shelves and tops were bare. It felt weird.

Then on Sunday we moved out all the smaller furniture and I got a taste of what my bedroom would be like with only a bed and a nightstand.  I thought I might like it.  My room is pretty small (10’x11′ I think) so I thought having some empty space would feel nice. Turns out I didn’t love it.  I felt like I was in a very small hotel room or a hospital room.  Bare isn’t for me.

I like having stuff.  My dream for my forever home is to have one full wall of shelves filled with books and a few knickknacks.  I like having a decent pile of clothes to choose from. I don’t want to wear a “uniform” and frankly I don’t find it hard to get dressed in the morning.

My hang up with stuff (specifically with spouse and small child) is that it has to have a “home”.  A place where it needs to be when not in use.  Apparently I am the only one of us three that knows how to put things away when I am done. Clutter just lying around drives me nuts. My son leaves his library books everywhere: on couches, chairs, the floor etc. Other than the book I am actually reading my library books are on a specific shelf in the living room bookcase. I always know where to find them and never have to spend time running around looking for books that have come due.

I don’t like it when there are too many things for a space.  And I agree with getting rid of things you don’t use or like or need. But I think there is too much extremism going on right now. The choice doesn’t have to be a 4000′ mansion or a 400′ tiny house.  You don’t have to limit your clothes to 33 items or having a closet so stuffed you can’t get things out.

Me?  I am shooting for a forever home that is probably around 800′ to 1200′ depending on the layout. I want to be surrounded by my books and mementos from my travels. I want a kitchen that I can cook and bake in with all the pans and bowls I need. I want a front porch and space for a few flowers, maybe a tomato plant and a spot to grow a pumpkin.  Nothing teeny and nothing humongous.  I want a life that is sized just right for me.

* The picture is of the Redwoods in California. I don’t think you can have too many trees or that they can be too big.  🙂

Upheaval

The chaos of the new flooring install has begun. It is a bit of a relief to have it started. I am surprised at how stressed I have been feeling. We spent the last four days moving everything we could upstairs or out to the garage.  I have made a list of things I can do upstairs and created a little work space in my bedroom.  I even remembered to make a lunch for myself and stash it in a cooler upstairs.  Hopefully my husband remembers to bring dinner home.  Today the workers are taking out the tile in the kitchen and everything is covered with plastic.

 

 

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See how scary this looks?  This is my old office, now the playroom, currently the storage area of downstairs items.

 

Five days of no cooking, laundry or cleaning.  Five days of not being able to find anything.  None of my precious bits of solitude.  A complete disruption of the normal rhythm of my days.  I can’t even watch tv as “my” tv and dvr are downstairs.  Every time I think about it I feel the start of a headache.

Instead I am trying to focus on what I can accomplish this week. I can do lots of stuff on the computer:  research Christmas present ideas, work on my calendar for 2016, create a sheet for counting the hunger loose change jar at church and of course write a blog post or two.

Other projects for the week include setting up a bullet journal for a One October start date.  I have been reading a lot about it and want to give it a try.  It seems like it would be my sort of thing. I want to spend an hour a day cleaning out my son’s room.  I have a needlepoint project I can try and finish this week while listening to the “Treasure Island” audiobook.

I may also sort through my books using the “KonMari” principles.  Since they are all upstairs and pretty much together I thought this would be a perfect opportunity.

I have set aside most of next week to moving things back downstairs. The plan is to do more KonMari type purging with the focus on DVDs and CDs.  I also want to rearrange the dining room/office area a bit. I really miss having my office upstairs.  As I feared, my son doesn’t use his new play room much at all.  I debated swapping back with some more modifications but I really don’t want the toys scattered downstairs again.

Instead I am going to tweak the office set up a bit and see if I can make it more to my liking.  And if that doesn’t work and the play room is still  being under-utilized maybe we will swap back after the first of the year.  I love the idea of redoing my office from scratch.  I would like to get rid of all the makeshift pieces of furniture and buying a new set up that really fits the space and my needs. Doubtful but a girl can dream!

So I have managed to pass the first couple of hours.  I am still feeling pretty stressed.  There is a lot of noise downstairs:  a loud fan, their radio, loud conversation and all the banging and scraping of tile being removed.  And now there is the added fear of “what if I don’t love the new flooring?”  Agghhh.

I remind myself to breathe.  I am going to go sort my son’s Christmas books.  I will not panic!  I will consult the list of things to do this week and keep busy.  Deep breath.

 

 

 

September

After the quiet month of August spent settling into new routines for school,  September has felt crazy busy. I have three,  once a month outings and I failed to realize they all take place the first week of the month. Add to that the one Thursday night game of the Arizona Wildcats and being in the feeling exhausted phase of the Whole 30 and it was a rough start to the month.

Things are settling down a bit,  though it is another busy week. Really hoping the “tiger’s blood” kicks in soon. One task on the list for this week is prepping for our new flooring install at the end of the month. Since we are doing the entire first floor we had to figure out what to do with all the furniture. Smaller items will be stored in the garage and the installers will move the bigger pieces around as needed. But in order to do that most of the items on the bigger pieces need to be removed. That is what I will be doing this week.

After reading “the life changing magic of tidying up” I counted how many books I have. Three hundred and thirty-eight. Is that a lot? I can’t decide but since I am keeping them all I guess that number is just right for me. However since about half of them are downstairs and I will now have to move them, I may change my mind.

I have been thinking about the best way to move and store all the books and knickknacks.  My first thought was to box them all up but we don’t have any boxes.  I do have a few empty totes and bins but not enough for everything.  Today I decided to use an empty tote to move the books upstairs.  I will line them up along the wall in the hallway.  I am going to do two or three bin fulls a day and we will see where we are at the end of the week.  After all the books are moved I am hoping all the knickknacks will fit in the bins.  I will put away my summer beach theme decorations and wait until the flooring is done to put out autumn.

 

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This is  5 loads of books.

 

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Still have a little wall space to use.

I took a long time deciding what flooring to get.  Homes in our area typically have some sort of tile or carpet.  A few have hardwood.  I went with the unconventional choice of linoleum.  Yup, linoleum.  I am not a fan of tile for many reasons:  cold, hard, slippery when wet and the whole grout thing.  Carpet is hard to keep really clean here, so much dust in the air.  Plus we have an open floor plan which means high traffic areas.   I considered hardwood flooring of some type but it seems an odd choice for such a dry climate and I didn’t think wood was the best option for coming in from the pool.   I also wasn’t sure how quick hardwoods would get scratched up with a small boy and a dog.

I wanted something very durable, easy to clean and comfortable.  Linoleum is all this plus environmentally friendly.  I chose to go with Marmoleum and found a reputable installer.  I am using one main color (Shitake)  and second lighter color (Caribbean) for the 1/2 bath and as a border in the kitchen.

I am a little nervous.  It is a lot of money and I hope I love it as much as I think I will.  It is the second major decorating choice for the house.  The first was paint colors and I am still loving my choices there.

It is going to be a lot of work and upheaval but it will be worth it.  I have been wanting to get rid of the yucky cheap carpet for two years now.  I think about how nice everything will look at Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and for years to come.  I am excited to be moving into the more visible, fun part of updating our home, even if it does involve carrying books up and down the stairs.