We took our next step toward minimalism this week. We decided it was time to clean out and off our entertainment center. It has 2 shelves and 2 cabinets with a shelf inside each one. The large top was covered! Not only was our television there but so were many things that didn’t really belong. We had a video game console and set of small speakers on top that simply needed to go onto one of the shelves. We had set them there because we didn’t want to run the cords then. They have been there for a year because once they were there we stopped thinking about it. There were also DVD and game cases that weren’t put away because the cabinets were so full of stuff that they were hard to put away. Papers that had been left there over time. We really had become clutter blind.
I started by cleaning off the top of the stand. Going through every item to decide if we still needed/wanted it. If the answer was yes, then I had to decide if it belongs in this area or elsewhere. I assigned four categories: Keep in this area, Keep in another area, Donate/Sell, and Trash. Next, I cleared off the shelves and set up our most used/loved electronics. The top shelf now holds a PlayStation, a camera docking station, and a set of 2 small speakers that I connect to my phone while cleaning. The bottom shelf now holds our cable/DVR box and a Wii.
The cabinets were stuffed full of DVDs, video games, cords, controllers, CDs, and random junk. I was a little surprised by how much stuff I pulled out! Here’s a picture taken during the process.
I really wish I would have taken a before shot but I forgot. The top shelf of the left cabinet is home to a DVD storage binder that holds kids/family movies and another full of CDs that my husband is not ready to part with. I am currently debating on buying another of these to hold the remainder of the DVDs, games, and CDs that we want to keep. On one hand they take up less space than the individual cases but I think that they allow us to feel it is acceptable to keep more because it takes up less space. I also decided to keep our daughter’s memory books on this shelf. I have been trying to find a place to keep these that they will be safe but that we have easy access to them. I will do a separate post about these books sometime soon. They are amazing! The bottom shelf of the left cabinet houses my daughter’s headphones and the cords that we needed to keep that are not in daily use. The top shelf of the right cabinet now contains DVD’s and a couple of video games. The bottom shelf is home to video games and controllers.
This area is so much easier for us to use now. We got rid of 2 boxes of stuff not including trash. A ton of this was DVDs and TV series that we no longer watch. It looks so much nicer! It gives me the boost to start working on decluttering and minimizing other areas of our home.
Here’s the finished product:
It is amazing to see the amount of stuff that accumulates in the kitchen. The kitchen really is the center of many homes. The kitchen was a huge undertaking during my personal journey toward simplifying my home. If you are on a similar journey or just want to take a few small steps towards less clutter, these 5 things are a good place to start.
- Tame the Tupperware Beast – We have all heard it a million times but it’s time to finally do something about it. The loads of mismatched lids and containers need your attention. This surprisingly did not take as long as I thought it would. Start by removing your favorite ones. The ones you use weekly that are in good shape with fitting lids can go immediately to the keep pile. Next start matching up lids and containers. Throw away anything without a match. Now trash anything that is discolored, cracked, or has an ill-fitting lid. The last step is the hardest, decide how many you actually need out of the containers left. This number varies based on the family. Consider how often you eat leftovers, what sizes work best for your family, and what logically fits in the space provided. Do you only use them once or twice a year? Could you use a freezer bag for those times instead? If you had to buy new ones tomorrow, would you purchase these items again? Wash the ones that you have decided to keep and organize into a larger container that fits in your cabinet. This keeps them from going everywhere inside your cabinets.
- Some of These Things are not like the Others – It is amazing how much stuff ends up in crazy places. This happens even more often when you have children. This can be time-consuming to handle but the extra work space in your kitchen is worth it. The weirdest thing we found was a decorative ink pen from Disney World inside a punch bowl. We relocated the ink pen to the desk and got rid of the punch bowl. We obviously hadn’t been using it, lol.
- Food, Food, and more Food – Take a day to pull everything from your pantry, cabinets, or anywhere else you keep non-refrigerated food. Check expiration dates and throw out everything expired to start. Go through everything else with honesty. Have anything in there that you will not eat? We got rid of a bag of candy our girls were never going to eat. They still had tons of Halloween candy hanging around in the pantry. To make getting rid of those things easier either give them to somebody who you know will eat them or donate them. Next go through your refrigerator and freezer doing the same thing. Now make a meal plan including all of your food. Depending on the amount of stuff that was harboring in your kitchen you may save a ton of money on groceries in the next couple weeks.
- Weird appliances – We all have them. I received the majority of mine as gifts but my husband is also responsible for bringing some of the odd items in. I made sure that my whole family was gathered around the table as we went through things. I set the small appliances on the table one by one asking if anybody truly used this product. The answers were shocking to all of us. There were some things that we all thought somebody else wanted and they didn’t use it at all.
- Bags – Do you have a huge pile of bags in your kitchen…maybe under your kitchen sink? Only keep the amount of grocery bags that you will actually use and recycle the rest. Do you use reusable grocery bags? Shouldn’t they be in your car instead of your kitchen?
When you are done, take the time to organize what is left. There are many options available to keep the things that you use orderly.
What if I dedicated one year of my life to living my life? Sound silly? Let me explain.
I am a wife, mother of three, and a night shift nurse. My work and home life can both be very demanding. I find myself becoming more overwhelmed in my daily life. I discovered the concepts of minimalism, purposeful living, and mindfulness about a year ago while pregnant with my third daughter. She is currently 6 months old and I have never felt more like time is just flying by. There was not just one moment that suddenly made everything make sense. There were many moments over the last few years that have continued to add up and have made it glaringly obvious that something in my life is going off track.
I am thinking about what I really want in life. Not what I am “supposed” to want but what I actually want. The whispers of my heart I hear when the house is quiet for a moment. All of this led me to reevaluate our daily lives. What does my family need? What do I need? How do I want my children to grow up? What memories do I want them to look back on? What if I spend my time instead of just “passing time” on watching TV and browsing through other people’s very edited social media feeds? I use that time that I have been wasting to do all the things that I claim to not have time for. What if I scheduled my time and planned the use of resources at home as effectively as I do at work? What if I use my time to do all the things I have always wanted to do? I could spend more quality time with my kids. I could check some things off my bucket-list. I have actually written one of those. You know, the end all, be all list of things I want to see, do, try, and eat before I take the old dirt nap. Nowhere on that list does it say watch reruns, spend hours staring at my phone each day, or give “The Joneses” a second thought. What if I lived on purpose? How would it change me? How would it change my relationships? My family? My health? My job? My home? My finances? What would happen if I spent one year truly living my life?
I have decided to spend 2017 living. If you would like to follow along, I will be covering my journey here.
I just finished the book “The only 127 things you need” by: Donna Wilkinson. I loved it. I found this quote particularly inspiring.
Children can happily turn anything into a great toy or amazing new game. Last night Isabella used junk paper to make a game resembling hopscotch. Today she is pretending our kitchen table is a playhouse. As parents we are pressed to buy expensive toys that will entertain our children or make them more intelligent. They receive countless toys for birthdays and holiday gifts. Many of these requiring batteries that take a toll on our pocketbooks as well as the environment. Then the toys break and they help to fill our ever expanding landfills. When in reality our children learn more from playing with everyday items and using their imaginations. Makes me wonder, Why do we bother?