Beginning Our KonMari Journey

Beginning Our KonMari Journey

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting about our progress as I’m reading through ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ and sharing some of the things I’m learning along the way.

Here’s our story about our path towards a life of simplicity and minimalism so you have an understanding of where we are at the beginning of our KonMari journey.

We’ve been simplifying for what seems like our entire marriage. Our first home was a tiny 572 square foot apartment and the possessions we each owned coupled with wedding presents more than filled up that space. (And there were still items left in our parents homes.)

After 2 moves, only 7 months apart in 2008, I realized how much I really wanted to simplify. Packing up all of your possessions and putting them into a moving truck makes you realize just how much stuff you own.

I started really decluttering in 2009, trying to weed out as many items as I could that weren’t useful. In August 2009, I found out I was pregnant! I was determined to keep things simple for our baby. In fact, we only purchased one item, an outfit the day we found out we were expecting a boy. Everything else, from our crib to our changing table, to bedding, books and toys was either handed down or given to us as gifts for baby. We were so blessed by generous people but also a bit overwhelmed with how much stuff our 8.5 pound baby brought into our home by the time he arrived in April 2010.

In September 2010, my husband accepted a new position in Georgia and we were once again loading up a moving truck. Again, I was astounded and even a bit embarrassed with the amount of stuff we owned. We moved our little family into a 3 bedroom condo with a single car garage and we filled it up. The closet in the extra bedroom was full of stuff and so was the garage. In the 6 months that we lived there, we never were able to park our vehicle in the garage.

When we purchased our home in March 2011, we actually downsized (our first home and condo both were around 1,500 square feet). Our new home was 1,300 square feet. While it didn’t have an attached garage or basement, it did have a detached garage so there was ample space to store stuff.

In the almost 5 years that we’ve lived in this home, we’ve added 2 more children to our family. In that time, we really have simplified our home, changed our consumption habits and live quite minimally.

My husband has adopted a simple ‘uniform’ consisting mainly of jeans, black button ups and t-shirts. I don’t own many clothes or shoes, neither do our children. Our kitchen is small, therefore we keep our dishes and kitchen gadgets very simple. And, our children really don’t have an overabundance of toysBut, there’s still a lot of stuff in our home and some of it is never used, played with, worn or read. 

Trying to live without a lot of clutter can be quite challenging for 5 people in 1,300 square feet . We’re choosing to live in our ‘small’ home because it makes the most sense for our family financially but we don’t want to feel cramped in our home. Living with less stuff makes our home feel like there’s more than enough space for the 5 of us. 

After Christmas, (and the influx of stuff that comes with this holiday), our home was in need of major decluttering.

Instead of decluttering how I typically do, I decided that we’re going to try following the KonMari Method. I read ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ last year, nodding my head in agreement with most of her decluttering and tidying philosophy and even adopted the KonMari way of folding. However, I didn’t actually follow the method in terms of going through our belongings category by category and only keeping those items that ‘spark joy’ or those that are necessary.

We’re beginning our KonMari journey now and hope to simplify our home and only surround ourselves with the things we love or absolutely need.

I’ll be posting about things I’m learning and what’s leaving my home in the weeks ahead!

Have you read ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’? Have you followed the KonMari Method? 

*I do not agree with all of her writing and philosophy. However, there’s a lot of good content in the book and I just take what’s helpful and ignore the religious parts I disagree with.

Our Temporary Chaos

Our Temporary Chaos

Our life has been a bit chaotic this past month.

We started the first phase of our home renovation on August 22. (And, when I say we, I really mean my husband, my role in all of this is to serve as the cleaning crew and do some painting!)

We put in a wall between our kitchen and hallway, are replacing floors in the hall, kitchen and dining area, plan to take down a partial wall in the kitchen, rearrange our cabinets, put in a gas oven and redo the backsplash.

We’re over a month in and it’s just been a hall renovation so far. We’ve ripped out the tile in the hall. Doing that caused us to find that at some point our return air unit had leaked so there was moisture in the sub floor. This caused the flooring to temporarily come to a halt and we had to bring in an HVAC professional. We’re thankful it doesn’t have to be entirely replaced but it’s currently sitting in our carport, waiting to be re-installed.

Cecilia's Room

Our home has been a bit unsettled these past few weeks. Cecilia’s room holds the entire contents of one of the hall closets and other things from the other two smaller ones. We also have some of the new hardwood flooring in her room and a box of miscellaneous home improvement items.

Hall

Our hall is half painted, mostly floored and we’ve been shuffling tools and other flooring items around in the hall.

Bathroom

The bathroom that is right off of the hall is serving as extra storage space.

Carport

Now, add to this chaos a carport that is half full of flooring, sub flooring, some ripped out tile and a table saw.

Yard Sale Stuff

The other half of the carport contains yard sale items. I’ve been decluttering like crazy over the past couple of months and have decided to have a yard sale so our boys can raise money for a giving initiative at our church. Plus, our boys typically park their bikes in the carport so we’ve literally had to cut out a path just to get to our vehicles some days.

Backyard

Our riding mower is in the shop and our push mower is currently needing repair so our yard looks like a hayfield. (The picture doesn’t look so bad but trust me, it’s tall!)

And, to top all of this off, my husband was sick ALL weekend Friday-Monday. Really sick. He attempted to do some flooring Friday afternoon which I’m convinced made everything worse. And, let’s be honest, lawn mower repair and flooring fall entirely on him because I lack those skills.

So, things are currently quite messy, cluttered and the yard looks awful.

However, I am at peace with the current situation because I know it’s temporary.

This is a huge step for me. My natural bent is perfectionism. In the past, tall grass, a carport full of junk and a house in the midst of home renovation would have made me miserable and absolutely unpleasant to be around.

While I have to admit, most of it is visually unsettling to me (clutter/chaos causes me to feel a bit stressed), I am able to move beyond my feelings in regards to the mess. In those moments it starts to bother me, I remember that a home renovation is a temporary time of chaos, we’re having a yard sale this Saturday and what doesn’t sell will immediately be donated and we soon shall have our mower back and the grass will be cut.

This past Sunday, our pastor talked over some current bad cultural lessons and one of those lessons we believe is that life is a performance.

My perfectionism has been driven by this.

I was trying to please and be found worthy by being perfect. As an adult, it shifted from grades and extracurricular performance to trying to keep my home and yard perfect and appear to have things all together.

Thankfully, the desire to perform has been identified and no longer drives me.

Perfect doesn’t exist. Life is messy, life is cluttered, life is imperfect.

And, while it may be hazardous (ha, ha) to have anyone in our home during this season of temporary chaos, I’m not embarrassed by what anyone may think of the mess and disorder that is currently our home.

Don’t be so caught up in trying to perform and be found worthy that you live your life for other people. Life is not a performance. 

Homeschooling in a Small Space

Homeschooling in a Small Space

Five years ago, when we sold our first home and started looking for a new one, one of the home features on our wish list was a bonus space of some sort that we could use for a school room. Even though our son was a baby, we knew we would homeschool and thought having a separate room for school was a necessity.

We ended up compromising on several items on our wish list in favor of a home that was smaller than the first home we owned but below our housing budget. For us, giving up extra square footage was well worth it since we have a very affordable mortgage.

We’ve lived in this home for 4.5 years and have attempted to sell but have realized that choosing to live small allows our family more financial freedom. And, a few months ago we set a goal to pay off our mortgage by May 2020 so we’re planning on staying here until the mortgage is gone!

Last month, our oldest started Kindergarten and we began our journey of homeschooling without a dedicated school room.

Homeschooling in a small space has proven quite simple for our family.

Our learning area is our dining room. Our table is the most used piece of furniture in our home. It’s where we eat 3 meals a day, do school, create and write (I’m currently sitting at our table writing this!)

As soon as breakfast is over each morning, we clear the table, wipe it down if necessary, then pull out our learning materials for the day and jump right into learning.

We have a cabinet in our dining room that holds all of our school supplies and books as well as our art supplies, coloring books, library books, learning games and there’s even a shelf with toys for our toddler.

Homeschool Cabinet

While our dining room may have a bit of a classroom feel, I think it’s quite charming. I love having a map on the wall, our children’s art work displayed and books in our dining room.

Instead of viewing our limited space as a challenge, I’m embracing the simplicity of making our small space work.

The cabinet is our learning material storage space which makes me think carefully before making purchases and I ruthlessly declutter items that are no longer useful for our children.

I’m also thankful for our library, we check out our limit of books almost every week so our children are exposed to a variety of stories and information but we don’t have to deal with the clutter! Having a dedicated shelf for our library resources keeps them from getting lost and gives them a place to belong while they’re in our home.

After just one month of homeschooling, we’re loving the lifestyle of teaching and learning with our children. We also know that being content in our small home and homeschooling in a small space has given us more freedom.

Paxton and Weston’s Shared Bedroom

Shared Bedroom

Our boys have been sharing a room for almost 3 years and they’ve had bunk beds for a year.

When we first got the bunk beds, they slept together in the bottom bunk but now Weston sleeps on the top bunk and Paxton is in the bottom. Both boys are heavy sleepers so we haven’t had any issues with them waking each other up during the night.

Our bunk bed has the built in staircase which makes me feel much better about our young children having bunk beds! So far, we haven’t had any bunk bed accidents and the kids know that they are not allowed to play on the top bunk. Our bunk bed also has built in drawers under the bed and on the end of the staircase which gives us some extra storage space for pajamas, underwear, socks and some toys.

One fun part of having bunk beds is the bottom bunk can easily be turned into a fun fort, ship, clubhouse or whatever they can imagine by putting a sheet up!

Our home is around 1,300 square feet and roughly half of that space is living area and half is 3 bedroms which means our living space is a bit small but the bedrooms are pretty large.

With the bunk beds, the boys have a ton of floor space in their room to play, make believe and create.

Art-Wall

We have a fun, colorful gallery wall in their room. Most of the artwork was painted by me and each boy painted a canvas. We have an art line up so they can proudly display their latest creations in their room. And, their table is perfect for coloring, playing house, building with Legos or anything they can think up!

Boys-Room

We’ve taken advantage of door and wall space to serve as storage for a few items. The back of the door is perfect for their backpacks!

ClosetAround the time we purchased the bunk bed, my husband also designed and built a built-in wooden shelving system in the closet to maximize the closet space. This has allowed us to keep the space organized with a toy library as well as store their games, sleeping bags, hanging clothes and memory boxes. The time and money spent on this built-in project was well worth it!

Our home may be a bit on the small side and our children don’t have the luxury of having their own rooms but we’re making the space we have work for our family by living with less. And, even if we lived in a larger home with more bedrooms, I have a feeling our boys would still want to share a room!

Related Posts:

Cecilia’s Nursery

Why We’re Staying in Our Small Home

Our Brick Ranch Home Tour

Creating Space in Your Home