Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Minimalism: how I got started

Over the last few years I've gotten interested in a minimalist lifestyle.  I'm not sure "minimalism" is really the best descriptor of what I'm doing.  I think "intentional living" might be a better way of looking at it.  This shift in perspective has impacted so many areas of my life.  It has made me think differently about my house, my clothes, my kids, the food we eat, how we use our money, and our lifestyle.

Some people go whole hog into minimalism and take themselves down to some tiny number of belongings. That is not me.  I'm more of a whatever floats your boat kinda girl--you want to live in a dumpster with a mattress, three pairs of pants and ten bow ties?  Go for it, if that makes you happy.  I am not quite that invested, but I am interested in having less stuff in order to have more room for my life.

I've been following Jules's William Morris posts over at Pancakes and French  Fries for a few years now. William Morris is the source of the quote that is all over Pinterest:  "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be use, or believe to be beautiful."  That was where the first seeds of minimalism were planted--I can live without this stuff, because they are not contributing beauty or substance or helping me live my life.


Last year I read two posts by the Nester that really had an impact on me.  The first was This Is the Next House.  The point of that post is to stop waiting for the next house to make your life perfect---the house you are in IS the next house, compared to the last one.  After reading this I sold off and donated nearly everything in the Garage of Doom that was being held in abeyance for the next house. (Of course, six weeks later I bought a house that was twice as big as our rental and I could have used some of that furniture, but eh, I was happier without it.)

The second post that really resonated was Nobody's Dream Job.  This post is GENIUS.  Pure genius.  To paraphrase, it says that my job is being a stuff manager, I spend all day long organizing my stuff, yelling at my kids to put away their stuff, washing and drying and sorting our stuff, training my kids to be stuff managers, and dreaming about buying a bigger house so that I can hoard more precious stuff, and no, I don't get paid to hold that job, I have a different job that I get paid for and I use that money to buy MORE STUFF.

HOLY COW, people, holy cow did that one knock me over the head.

I would like to spend less time managing stuff.

At the core of intentional living is figuring out what is important to you, and then acting on those life values.  I've spent the past year reflecting on what my values are, and whether or not our lifestyle reflects those values.  I've decided that our current lifestyle doesn't reflect what I want it to.  It is not all hookers and blow over here, but our cash flow could be better allocated to things that are more important.

Choosing smaller, less expensive options is not a popular part of the American Dream.  It is sort of the antithesis of the American Dream. It is certainly not a popular choice  where we live in Orange County, California, home of conspicuous consumption and ridiculous wealth display. But, that is where we are headed.

We will be downsizing our big house.  Owning a nice big house was a priority that we thought we really wanted, but now that we have spent the past eighteen months with how much of our money it actually costs, and how many other things we are deferring in order to live in this house....we think we can do better.

More on this journey in future blog posts.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One Room Challenge: Week Two/Three

It is week three and I am making good progress (see Week 1 here), but progress has stalled a bit.

We ripped up the carpet and had tile installed in the master bathroom.

It looks FABULOUS. (Although lets admit that anything would have looked more fabulous than the grody carpet.)

I also painted the master bedroom and bath from navy blue to white.  It took forEVAH.  Never again will I use Dunn Edwards paint.   (FOUR COATS. And it could use a fifth but I ran out of paint and refuse to buy more.)

I am trying to paint some art for my room.  I never get this stuff right on the first try.

There is still a ton of stuff to do! I am falling behind!  The cabinets need to be painted.  I have scoured all of Orange County for new Euro shams and window treatents and can't find what I want. And so on and so on. Best get to work, as they say.  

Check out all the linking participants at Calling It Home.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Room Challenge: Week One (a week late)

The One Room Challenge returns! I am a week late!  It started last week, but I just wasn't ready.  But I'm here now.

I am excited to play along at home again (see last time here and the time before that here).

We are putting our house on the market in the spring, so the realtor gave us a giant list of things to fix around the house.  One of the items was "paint the master bedroom a neutral color".  Apparently people who don't read design blogs doesn't know how cool navy blue is.

The most important thing we were told to do, even if we chose to do nothing else, was to take out the supergross berber carpet in the master bath.

Those will be the two biggest changes in the rooms.  Everything else is adding color and texture through fabrics and paint.

I think the three people who read my blog on a regular basis are thinking to themselves, "goodness, Lisa, that mood board is so....gray.  Usually your house looks like a crayon box threw up."


The bathroom is going to be very neutral, much  more neutral than I would choose if I were staying in this house.  The bedroom will still have a lot of color from art and bedding, I think, but with lots of white as the background.

Come back next Thursday and see how far I managed to get!  See all the other linking participants here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No more carpeted bathroom

I have no idea what I was thinking when I suggested that I would join the 31 Days of blog posting.  Clearly that isn't happening (it is the 7th already, I have missed a quarter of the assignment).  In any event, I will still blog a bit on minimalism, as I have a bunch of posts in my head on that, but for now, I'm going to try to catch up on the other blogging thingy I wanted to do--the One Room Challenge.

You all certainly have strong negative feelings on carpet in a bathroom.  I agree with all of you---I don't like carpet in a bathroom either---but I am not excited about paying for the next owner to have tile in their bathroom while I have suffered through the disgusting carpet.

Regardless, I took your words to heart.  The carpet came out today. (That's hardiebacker on the floor, not the berber.)

I'm going to roll this room into my One Room Challenge post, so come back on Thursday to see the mood board for the master bedroom and bath.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

carpet or tile in a bathroom?

Since we've decided to sell the house in the spring, we talked to our realtor about what things need to be fixed before we list.  The realtor gave us an extremely long list.  A list that far outpaces our limited budget.  We are trying to decide which projects to tackle. (Not many.)

One of the projects that will definitely be tackled is the floor of the master bathroom.  Honestly, the entire bathroom is a gut job, but that is someone else's problem.  I just want the floor to be less disgusting.  It is gross.  It is currently carpeted in a stained, scuzzy berber.

It is even carpeted up to the shower.

Thankfully the room with the toilet has a tile floor.

Quotes for tiling the entire bathroom and toilet room came back at $1500+, and I am not excited about that.  I'd like to spend a lot less.

I'm debating two options.

First, the easy way.  We will be replacing the carpet in the master bedroom, which is open to the master bath, so we could just continue the carpet on into the bathroom.  This is a cheap, easy option. It involves no work on my part.

Cons:  it is still carpet in a bathroom.  Not in the toilet, thankfully, but still, I think carpeted bathrooms are....yuck.

Option #2:  I can get my hands dirty, rip up the carpet and the old tile and put down peel and stick ceramica tile that can be grouted (Home Depot carries it under the TrafficMaster brand). It is not a vinyl peel and stick, but rather a really thin ceramic-type tile.  It looks pretty good, honestly.

It is inexpensive and the materials will cost slightly less than the cost of putting in new carpet. Unlike regular tiles, I won't need a wet saw to cut them--ceramica tiles can be cut with tin snips or scored with a box cutter.  Best part--no more carpet in the bathroom.

Cons: a significant time and effort commitment on my part. I have never tiled anything, so this would be an experiment.  The room is full of lots of little corners and angles that will necessitate lots of measuring and cutting. The floor also isn't level.  Demoing the tile seems like a lot of work.

The biggest con--we would take up the bathroom tile and run the ceramica tile throughout the entire space.  Thus, if I screw it up, I've then committed myself into paying someone else $1500 to fix it.

Would you not buy a house if it had fresh, lovely carpet in the bathroom?  Have you ever used peel and stick ceramica tiles?  What to do?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

31 Days

Nester's 31 Days of blogging about something for an entire month is coming up in October, and I am thinking of joining.  There's no way I have enough budget or time to do 31 DIY or decor projects in October, but I do like the thought of getting back to daily blogging.   I guess that would be closer to a NaBloPoMo rather than a 31 Days, as the 31 Days is supposed to be centered around a theme.....I'll throw it out there though.

What would you like to read about here?  Is there is anything you'd like to hear me talk about? (Since blogging once a month is not conducive to high readership, I might be writing solely for myself.)  I'm thinking about talking about my thoughts on minimalism and how it has impacted our lives this year. I hope I can get 31 posts out of that topic.

What about you?  Will you be joining the 31 Days? 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Clifford the big red piano

My inlaws' furniture arrived last week.  The movers dropped off this on their way:

This is the view from the front door.

Where to put it?

I put it behind the sofa in the living room for a bit, but it was too big.  I should have taken a picture, but I was distressed about the hole I gouged in the new floors, so I forgot.

I had big plans to rearrange the bookshelves in the family room to make room for it, but the piano is heavy (see: gouged hole in floor), and it would be a lot of work to get the piano up one step and around the narrow corner through the kitchen and into the family room so.... I have a feeling that the day before I list this house I will take down the kid tv and push the piano around the corner.

For now it is just going to live in the foyer area.