Purging: Home Office V.1

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Where are we going to put that? As many of you can imagine, downsizing often makes us ask this very question. Moving into a tiny house can throw many problems your way. The very first problem my husband and I are facing is whether or not to keep things. Case in point, my home office - more specifically my two favorite DIY projects we've ever done. The first one I decided to take on is my desk. My husband and I purchased this beauty for $35 at a local thrift store and then painted and distressed it together.

This desk, my beloved, one of a kind, shabby chic, desk - is one of my favorite things that we own. It came with all these nooks and crannies and tons of drawers for storage. The only problem with it is, IT'S HUGE! And if I'm being truly 100% honest with myself, my desk was never used as a desk, but a means to store away all my clutter. If you don't know this about me already, I am a planner addict. 

"Hi, my name's Aubrey and I'm a planner addict."

More specifically, I am in the Filofax movement. If you've never heard of Filofax, I suggest you do a small Google search because they're pretty popular! Here's a picture of my personal sized Finsbury in the color Antique Rose.

I love this thing. It's my favorite tool to use for planning my day, and whenever I use it I am way more productive. As you can see, it also helps me get my creativity out for the day by decorating. My love of planner decorating was the root reason for wanting a desk. Bigger drawers = more sticky notes, stickers, washi tape, blah, blah, blah! Well, now that we're moving into a house that is literally less than half the size of the house we're in - the desk's just gotta go. So I had to do some serious purging. It broke my heart to see packs upon packs of stationery cards, pens, pencils, envelopes, markers, etc. just tossed out. But by the end of the day, I managed to get everything planner related into this little tote.

Isn't it cute? I actually managed to snag this 31 Organizing Tote for $10! Here are it's contents, and yes, it all fits!
  • 4 Pencil Box Containers ($0.50 each from Wal-Mart)
    • One box holds stickers
    • One box holds Washi-Tape
    • One box holds all pens, pencils, sharpies, and writing utensils.
    • One box holds my mini hot glue gun and its sticks. 
  • My Organizer X-Press Label Maker
  • A Corner Rounder
  • A package of sticky tack.
  • Scissors
  • Stapler/Staples
  • Pinking Shears
  • 3 Ring Hole Punch
  • Single Hole Punch
  • 20 Packages of Sticky Notes (Hi, I'm Aubrey and I'm also a sticky note hoarder.)
  • 5 To-Do List Pads from Target Dollar Spot 
  • 2 Folders ($0.50 each from Wal-Mart)
    • One folder hold decorative paper and scrapbook paper.
    • One folder holds lined notebook paper.
  • 1 Project life box
    • Contains half of two seperate collections. 
  • 1 Ruler
  • 1 Pack of Owl Blank Note Cards

I've been using this system for about a week now and I'm actually really enjoying it. It's made my planning sessions way easier as I am not getting up several times to find the scissors or hole puncher. Everything is in its place, and I know exactly where to look. I also like it because I can keep it out in the open, which for me is a constant reminder to check my planner or to update it. It doesn't take up much space either, its much like women who keep their knitting yarn by their chairs in the living room. 

By going through all of the "supplies" I had collected over the past few years, I came to the conclusion that I don't really use my desk, which is why it is so easy for me to say goodbye. I realized that most of my planning sessions occur in our living room where I can be watching a movie with my husband and mindlessly decorating at the same time.  

I have a feeling that getting rid of my home command center in my office is going to be a little bit more painful. But, for now I am going to stop and enjoy this accomplishment for awhile. After all, simple living is about taking the time to stop and notice the small things. So, if you're still with me on this journey I challenge you to purge one area in your house. It can be something as small as one drawer, or as big as an entire room! It's your choice. But when you do - take a step back and enjoy the feeling of an uncluttered space. And if you're not ready for an actual purge, then why don't you dedicate a week to noticing the small things? Start a blessings journal and begin living a little more simply today. 

Rejoice in the little things.


House Tour

Monday, October 27, 2014

As my husband and I are getting prepared to make our big - no small - move. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to give you a quick tour of our sweet little abode. By doing this I am in no way bragging, boasting, or putting down our new home! I wanted to show you what 528 square feet looked like in our case, and give you an idea of the space and storage it already provides us. I am absolutely in love with this house, and I wish I could have videotaped myself lobbying for it throughout the house hunting process. But, I will leave that for an entirely different post. For now, meet our house - before our life in it begins!

Anyways, this is what I will get to pull up to each day as I return home. I've already got a dozen different ideas for wreaths to hang on our door. Can't you just imagine one there?

Before I go into much detail, I want to credit as I found all these great photos of our home there! I'm so very thankful I didn't have to walk through and take pictures myself. These photos actually do our house justice!

This is another view of our home. It gives you a sneak peek at the view we are blessed with, our deck, and just how much parking we will have. I honestly truly believe that we will use 528 square feet for entertainment too. After all, we don't have to stick to just inside our home, but we are definitely planning to utilize our beautiful yard as well. Plus, our deck could be purposefully designed to feel like another room outside. It sure is big enough. Look below!

Definitely feeling so blessed. My husband and I are outdoor people. We love hiking, geocaching, and fishing. So having room for outdoor entertainment and fun, is such a huge blessing for us. (P.S. I'm sorry if I keep using the term "blessed" over and over again, but that is honestly how I feel about it! It's a blessing!) Not only do I get to wake up to my best friend of 7 years every morning, but I also get to walk outside and see this every morning.

Yeah, I'd say that's a blessing alright! Speaking of blessings - how's your blessing journals going? I'd love to hear more about it in the comments below. I've had quite a few revelations of my own that I'm dying to share with you - but that can wait for another post.

Alright, and now for the grand reveal of the inside. 

TA-DA! Come on in to our teeny tiny house that I absolutely adore. As you can see the kitchen is the first room you see when you walk into our home. I'm really considering leaving the kitchen as is because I think the colors really work together. (HINT: keeping your wall color light and your windows open, help to make small rooms appear bigger!) Here it is at a different angle:

I know what you're thinking: "Aubrey, this is nice and all, but it doesn't seem to have much storage." To which I reply, "Just keep coming back and see how we add some extra storage and make it work for us!" For now, lets keep on with the tour shall we?

Now if you walk straight ahead from the front door and through the kitchen, this is what you see next. I think our living room feels pretty big! And those beautiful double doors open up to our back deck. I can just see myself sitting in this room, with the windows open, and a slight breeze coming through our house. It makes me SO excited. 

This picture is of the family room facing the other rooms in the house. You can see the entry way from the kitchen, and the doors leading to the other rooms. That one on the left will be our bedroom, and the one on the right is the bathroom. There is another room just behind that wall that we will use for a walk in closet/laundry room. More pictures below!

This room will be our bedroom as it is the biggest adjoining room we have. It is just big enough to fit our bed and a few night stands. We're planning on painting this room because its a few shades darker than the rest of the house. Oh! Do you see that grey square just out of the picture on your right? That's our electric box. I'm planning on hanging a picture over it to cover it up! Next, we'll stop at the bathroom.

I love the smallness of this bathroom. It's got all the essentials, but it's still humble. Humble? Maybe that's not the right word, but I'm sure you know what I mean. There's a little space to your right that's not pictured, with a little towel rack. Storage may be a problem in here, but I think I have a few tricks up my sleeve! And lastly, the laundry room/closet.

This photo doesn't really do the room justice as it is much bigger in person. However, we are planning on purchasing a stackable washer and dryer; and using some closet organizing shelves to store all of our clothes and cleaning supplies. I'm actually kind of excited about having my laundry room and closet all in one place. Having it all together eliminates the step of carrying your clothes elsewhere to put them away. Here, we can fold, hang, or put away right out of the dryer. Now let's walk down to the lake and relax shall we? 

Burr, that water seems a little cold right now. Maybe we should just go back up and drink some hot chocolate together? Sounds good to me too. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and seeing our house tour. Before I leave you, I just wanted to tell you that minimalism looks and feels different for everybody. I know that my husband and I are going to be doing a lot to get our house looking and feeling the way we want it to. But our decision to purchase this house will really boost us financially, and give us our very own place to call our own. We are using our home as a tool to get debt free, pay off student loans, and live simply. Our process may be slower than others, but it feels right to us. 

Until next time!

Step One

Friday, October 24, 2014

There I was sitting in my class lecture, nose buried deep into my computer, trying to act as if I was listening when he said it. That short little professor who barely even saw me as I faded into the sea of faces in front of him said it. What he said was just a simple quote. I'm willing to bet that most of us have heard something similar before. Yes, just a simple quote that had the potential to yank me from my self centered habits and plant me smack dab in the middle of peace. I'm sad to say that my Facebook wall was louder than him that day. I wrote it down assuming it would be on the test and never gave it another thought...until now.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Enough. Now that's a heavy word isn't it? The only times I can remember hearing it is when my mother would throw her hands up in the air, look at me with frazzled eyes, and say "That's it! I've had enough!" Or when my father would push his clean plate away from himself, pat his belly and say, "That's it. I've had enough!" Yet, my experiences will admit that I could push my mother a little bit further to make her snap, and my dad would have a little bit more room in his stomach to have that piece of pie. See, I grew up in a family where "enough" meant almost. So, it shouldn't shock you as to why I allowed this quote to roll right over my shoulders and out of my life. What I heard was -

Gratitude turns what we have into almost enough. 

Wrong. Wrongo. Uh-uh. Incorrect.

If we take this quote at face value, we see all we need too. It needs not explanation.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. ENOUGH! As in all we need. As in just the right amount. As in just what we need!

Therefore, when we practice gratitude - that is understanding, realizing, and being thankful for all the things in our lives that we do have - it becomes just what we need. Gratitude is the first step in fighting the "bigger and better disease." It's the first thing we can openly practice that will slow down our hamster wheels. If we begin to be grateful, we begin realizing all the things we have. All the stuff that clutters our lives and our home. Then in turn, we begin realizing how much of it is more than enough. 


I am not the most grateful person in the world nor am I claiming to be. As my husband and I begin sorting through our belongings, preparing ourselves for the "big purge" before we we move into our tiny house, I am asking God to equip me for the struggle.

Gratefulness does not come naturally - BIGGER AND BETTER DOES! That is why we must guard our hearts from unnecessary desires by practicing gratefulness. Gratefulness opens our eyes to everything in our life that we do have, rather than setting our minds on everything in life that we don't.

So how am I planning to practice gratefulness? Well for starters I'm keeping a blessings journal. I'm using my Filofax to write down little blessings I've noticed throughout the day. Some examples are:
  1. A hot shower
  2. A warm blanket
  3. Hot chocolate
  4. Chicken
No blessing is too small to record. They all have purpose in your life. 

I hope you will continue to come with me through this journey, and that you too might start a blessings journal of your own. I'm looking forward to hearing about all the little things in your life that make a big impact. It's surprising how much that bigger and better mindset clouds our minds and allows us to take precious things and people for granted. 

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Have you ever been surrounded by stuff? Not just any old stuff, but your stuff? Your stuff is everywhere. Take a moment and look to your right, now to your left, do you see stuff? Do you see stuff that you don't use? Do you see stuff that is honestly just there to sit there? Like you bought it to sit on top of something else, so that it can collect more stuff that you won't use? This was me a few months ago - sitting in an outdated, hand me down chair, eating a bowl of cereal and looking into my kitchen completely overwhelmed with the mass of stuff that piled onto one counter.

I'm Aubrey. A 21 year old college grad, that has come to the conclusion that bigger and better, is not always better. For so long I have been stuck in this disease that if I could just get the next best thing, I would be happy. I would be content. I would be proud. I would have "it all". I've realized now that obtaining "it all" is not possible. There is always something "more" to get, to have, to chase, to yearn, to long for, to discover, to invent, to be, to become. There is always more - especially when we're talking about stuff.

In my short 21 years on this Earth, I've discovered that more is a rule in this life. It encompasses our lives and we are infatuated with the idea of it. If we could just get that higher paying job so that we could have more - So that we could have bigger and better houses, that can hold more of bigger and better stuff, with bigger and better vehicles, which all require more to maintain, THEN we could be happy. It's a never ending cycle that most of us are caught in. Like hamsters on a wheel we run, and run, and run after more, tasting the joy of purchasing our happiness for a split second before setting our sights on the next best thing.

However, as I sat in that old, 70s flower power, wing back chair, an idea surfaced above the sound of my crunching lucky charms.

"I. Want. More."

No, not more stuff - but more out of my life. I want more time spent not worrying. I want more moments that cannot be captured on Instagram or Facebook, but in my home and with the people I love. I want more inside jokes, better relationships, better health, more adventure, and less stuff. I guess what I'm trying to say here is - I want contentment. I want a bigger and better life.

So my journey to contentment begins with my best friend and husband by my side, one dog, one cat, and our 528sqft home.

Here's to having more.