Thoughts on a Minimalist Wardrobe

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Since we’re going to be moving next month (!!!), I’ve been cleaning up around the house. I’ve been really inspired by minimalist blogs and books, especially The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
Finishing the book was enough to motivate me to work on my side of the closet.

As primarily a stay-at-home mom now, my wardrobe needs are a bit different than a professional. I am by no means a fashionista, and in fact, I’ve been told by my own husband that sometimes I dress weird. (I like trying out different combinations!)

I don’t think to have a minimalist wardrobe you need a specific number of clothes, but it was fun to count when I finished. Not counting socks and underwear, I’m at around 50 items total.

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Although I’m still between sizes, I’ve narrowed down all my clothes to what you see below. 5 dresses, around 13 long-sleeved tops/sweaters, 5 or 6 cardigans, 8-ish short-sleeve shirts, 10 skirts, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of corduroys, 3 jackets, 2 tank tops, 3 lounge/sleep pants, 2 exercise/lounge shorts, 2 running pants, 1 long sleeved pajama shirt, 2 sweatpants (1 for being cold, the other for painting projects).

Some I can fit into and some I’m waiting to fit back into!

I’m also down to 7 pairs of shoes: New Balance sneakers, Uggs, Tieks, Clarks boots, Skechers Go Walks, Havaianas, and Ecco sandals (as my inside shoes).

Here’s a photo of part of the cleaning out process:

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A few things I realized:

  • I prefer my long-sleeved clothes to be on the pricier side whereas for my short-sleeved shirts I lean on the budget-friendly side.
  • I love ordering from Zappos from shoes. After working a wedding photographer and being on my feet for hours I will splurge on shoes if they feet my wide feet!
  • Matching hangers make everything nicer. We have the Better Homes and Garden brand from Wal-Mart, but my jackets are on wooden hangers and the skirts are from department stores (will look into matching skirt hangers).
  • I don’t stray very far in my color palette! It looks like red, a couple of oranges (from my Hokie days), and mostly blues, grays, and blacks.DSC_0568 DSC_0569

I wasn’t aiming for a specific number when I began cleaning out the closet, but I really wanted to focus on pieces that I loved, emphasizing happiness and comfort wearing the items of clothing.

There were a few times when I questioned some items, like maybe it fit fine, but the color was a little crazy. I decided to let it go because I knew it would just sit in the closet anyway.
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Now that I have finished I have better clarity on clothes I would like to pick up. Since I don’t wear shorts, I am on the lookout for a black skirt and a denim skirt (in the right fit and flare).

I’m also on the hunt for two sweatshirt/pullovers for when I exercise outside now that the weather has gotten colder (I’m borrowing Brian’s sweatshirts in the meantime). I only have two workout outfits that I alternate. They just see the washing machine more often!

I’ve enjoyed my clothes and my closet since the big cleanout and I’m working up the nerve to tackle books next! I’ve already gotten rid of a ton, but I know there is room for improvement. With a timeline approaching it’s given me more motivation.

Have you decluttered your home and/or your wardrobe recently?

What Makes a Good Book?

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When I finish reading a book, I usually spend a few minutes thinking about whether or not it was a good book. Recently as I’ve kept track of the books I’ve read with my Goodreads account, I’ve been pausing a bit on the rating section.

There’s nothing complicated about giving a book anywhere from one to five stars, but I notice that I’m thinking a bit more about how I give out the stars.

I think I’m torn in two different directions.

The first: Do I rate a book on how I felt as I was reading it? Meaning, I could not put the book down, it was all I could think about, and I raced through to a satisfying ending.

The second thought is do I say it’s a good book based on how what’s left after I’ve finished. Is there staying power where I remember the story and it continues to linger with me?

When I brought this up with Brian, he compared it to watching the latest Star Trek movie. He said something like, “I remember certain parts of the movie, like the scene with Kirk and Spock dying, but I can’t tell you anything about the movie’s plot. I enjoyed it, and thought it was a good and fun movie.”

For now I’ve decided to go with rating books based on how I felt as I was reading it. If I went based on the staying power of a book, then there would only be 2 or 3 books that would ever be rated by me!

Do you rate your books? If someone asks you for a book suggestion, what criteria are you basing it on?

Building Storage Cubbies for Decor

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Have you ever thought to yourself, Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s test the strength of my marriage by tackling a DIY project together even though we are lazy DIY enthusiasts (meaning, I like participating by pinning things on Pinterest and he likes watching other people doing the work…on television, maybe, if there is nothing else on, and that’s if we had cable, which we don’t), and then sharing it on the web?

Well, that’s exactly what we did! Spoiler alert: We’re still married.

This year Brian’s taken up a new interest: Nanoblocks. His hobby started in the middle of summer and we put the first few pieces he made in our china cabinet along with miscellaneous things we’ve acquired over the years. But then the super cute miniatures outgrew their space:

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I must have been feeling particularly crazy that day, but I went to Ana White’s website and found plans for these cubbies. It looked simple enough and we bought the supplies where it then sat in our garage for about a month before we finally decided to quit talking about it and just do it.

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For once we were pretty much in sync with working together on this project. I marked out the notches and Brian cut them on the table saw. We worked on it while the kids slept, and when they were awake we traded off to take turns playing with them.

There were a few downsides. I messed up on measuring, but I did it incorrectly on all the boards except one. We decided to use the slightly off measure and just rolled with it. I think the space inside the cubbies shrank about half an inch, but that wasn’t a big deal.

The other downside is that the wood was from inexpensive fencing or something that was really not worth it. The wood was awful and warped (though Brian claims it wasn’t that way when we bought it) and if you looked at it wrong it broke. We had to cut it wrong and repair it with screws. I made fast friends with the wood putty.

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Our time was also spent in our garage with the door closed that night so we wouldn’t disturb our kids, or the neighbors and it was sweltering in there. It’s a miracle we didn’t melt and/or get into a huge fight as trickles of sweat rolled down our backs. Ah yes, fun memories.

Eventually, we got it to look decent enough that if you put some paint on it, all the dinged up Frankenstein repairs would be hidden.

I thought it would be cool to do a watered down paint so that it would show some of the wood, but it looked pretty awful when I finished.IMG_2800

Instead, I painted it with leftover paint that’s our front door color (Riverway by Sherwin-Williams). It looked a lot better after the first coat.IMG_2805

The final result turned out well. I sprayed it with Polycrylic and it was ready to be filled with Nanoblocks.DSC_9564

This is an early morning view with the light on, so the color temperature is a little off. We keep it in the wall between our office and our bedroom. The bottom two rows are kid-friendly Nanoblocks, which means they have been super-glued and cannot be truly destroyed (though not for a lack of trying by the 1.5 year old). The very top shelf is for larger pieces that won’t fit in the cubbies.IMG_3347

After working on building cubbies together, we’re ready to move on to another project with higher quality wood! It makes all the difference in the world.

Week in the Life 2014 – Friday, Saturday, & Sunday

Today I’m going to catch up posting our Week in the Life 2014 for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I kept up with documenting and photographing on Friday and Saturday. I slowed down and pretty much was done with the photos on Sunday after the kids went down for the naps.

FRIDAY, THE ABRIDGED VERSION

I made some meals for Brian since he’s leaving on Sunday to start work in Houston. He’s going to live there during the weekdays and come home on the weekends until we close on our house (mid-December, tentatively).

First up, freezer-friendly breakfast burritos:
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Washing the sheets from the children’s beds. I try to get them done once a week.
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Packing, packing, packing. It’s easier this time around since it’s less than a 2 hour drive away instead of flying across the country like last year.DSC_0319 We had a fun Halloween together as a family. More on that here.DSC_0369

SATURDAY, THE ABRIDGED VERSION

Impromptu family dance party in the entry/dining room of our house. Sometimes we get a little crazy and silly and it’s fun when everyone from Grandma to Daddy participate.DSC_0386

We attended The Home Depot’s Kids Workshop. Bunny’s been going for around 9 months now and it’s become part of our family routine. DSC_0390

While the kids nap, my mom keeps an eye on them so that Brian and I can get a little bit of exercise in. DSC_0396

Remember the story of the cats? Well one of them made its way to our house and it was adorable. I want to adopt it, but let’s just say Brian likes being able to breathe for once. I would not be opposed if it became our outside cat (I also might have fed it).DSC_0403

We had fun with majorly discounted glow sticks and setting a timer on the camera to capture us running around. I’m pink, Nagini is yellow, Brian is red, and Bunny is blue.DSC_0455

SUNDAY, THE ABRIDGED VERSION

Let’s make some coffee! Brian took our coffee pot with him, so I asked him to make me a pot that I could keep in the fridge. It turns out that the place he’s staying has a coffee machine, so I think he’ll be bringing it back this weekend.
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We had a good bit of outside playtime as a family. Bunny is practicing using her brakes while Nagini is working on the balance bike. She can move…backwards.DSC_0527

And that wraps up my week! I’m looking forward to putting together the kit, physical album and supplies, so I’ll share that when I’m done. I hope it won’t take me too long! I’m going to order prints, and get it all sorted first.

For more information about Week in the Life, click here. Photos taken with a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens

Our Halloween 2014: Pooh & Friends

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If we didn’t have so many Christmas lights and decor (just for the trees!), I would go all out on our house for October. I’ll settle for going crazy on our costumes instead!

Presenting: Pooh and Friends! (And in case you weren’t sure who the cast of characters were, from left to right, Eeyore, Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet.)
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I have been a little bit obsessed with themes the last couple of years. Last year we went with a fairy tale theme. This time, I wanted something that could be so adorably cute, given how young they still are.

Yes, my husband went along with my idea because he is used to my crazy schemes. He took it all in good stride and even did a few hops like Tigger that had our kids laughing hysterically.

We went trick-or-treating with our neighbors across the street. One of the kids had my nephew’s old Star Wars costume, and the other was a cat.DSC_0332

We were pretty much a hit for the neighborhood. Kids and adults went crazy. Some adults loved it so much they gave our kids extra candy and one woman asked if she could take our photo (if you see a photo of us floating somewhere on Facebook, let me know!).DSC_0350

We started a little bit before 6:30 and went around for about an hour. DSC_0353

Piglet made sure to try taking bites of everything through the wrapper. She loved being part of the action. DSC_0364

After trick-or-treating, we put Piglet down for bedtime while Pooh hung out with Eeyore and Tigger on our porch to give out our candy.

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I thought it was a good lesson for Bunny (and maybe next year or the year after for Piglet with a later bedtime). DSC_0367

It’s good to get the candy, but it’s also good to share the candy.

Does anyone else like themes too? I’m already planning next year’s costumes!