Simplify 2016 is a new, monthly series designed to provide practical tips for how to live joyfully and fully in a busy world. Missed the first edition? Check it out here.
This month’s Simplified focus is my favorite place in the house: the kitchen! I am all for fancy kitchen gadgets, pretty linens, decorative bakeware. But even if you love cooking and baking, like I do, you really don’t need 3 sets of muffin tins, two dozen dish towels, or 8 spatulas. Here are some tips from my recent kitchen overhaul.
- If it has only one function, get rid of it. My rule is anything I have in my kitchen must have multiple ways I can use it. A dishtowel can not only dry dishes but can also line a breadbasket or work as an oven mitt. A blender can make smoothies, sauces, soups, juice (a main reason why I don’t own a juicer!) An ice cream bowl can be a prep bowl, condiment dish for parties, or a candy dish. If you can’t find at least a second function for it, let it go.
- Organize things by how you use them. Glasses and stemware go by the fridge, cooking utensils by the oven, silverware near dishes. Make things easily accessible. Also, keep like things together. Put baking utensils in the drawer by the baking pans. Keep cookware and oven mitts by the stove with the cooking utensils. And that random cabinet or drawer that is in a weird spot (such as above the fridge)? If you don’t need it, leave it empty. It’s freeing. I promise.
- Collect things that are pretty. Don’t just go for the functional tools. Splurge on the fancy muffin tin, use the special occasion dishes. If you’re going to only have one of something, you might as well love it. And you might as well use it. Don’t let it collect dust waiting for a special occasion.
Got a spring cleaning itch? I’d love to hear how you’re simplifying your kitchens!
Simplify 2016 is a new, monthly series designed to provide practical tips for how to live joyfully and fully in a busy world. First up, let’s tackle our closets.
New year. New month. New season of Project 333. I last talked about my experiences with a capsule wardrobe back in 2014 when I first started. I’ve been doing one every season since, but I did eventually change my starting dates. Texas weather just doesn’t fit with standard seasons, so wardrobe planning can really not make sense in some months. I now set my seasons beginning in March, June, September, and December.
Here are some of my tips for getting started and sticking with a capsule wardrobe:
- Designate time when you feel your best. If you’re going to be going through and sorting and trying things on, make sure you are ready to accurately critique your closet’s contents.
- If you’re not sure about something, it’s okay to hold on to it. I put maybe items I am not ready to part with in my 33, and if I don’t love how I feel when I wear it, out it goes. A new item may replace it, but usually I just end up with less than 33 pieces.
- Don’t get hung up by the number. If you end up with 21 or 34 or even 40 items, it’s okay. As you wear through things, you will figure out your style, your go-to items that you gravitate towards over and over. And yes, some things will still go unused, even with just 33 items. Go ahead and take those out at the end of the season and find them a new home.
- Build a wardrobe of your favorite things. If it only goes with one other item, if you bought it because you thought you should have it, if you just don’t feel your best when you wear it, get rid of it. Why spend the whole day wearing something that doesn’t make you feel like a rockstar? We work best and act as our best selves when we are confident and feel good about our bodies and our appearance. So set yourself up for success in the morning. It will be worth it.
- It’s okay to keep shopping, but ask yourself, Do I love this more that what is already in my 33 items? Anything that comes in should replace what goes out. So make sure it sparks joy.
Just getting started with a capsule wardrobe? Check out Project 333 and Unfancy for more tips and resources.
Moving chaos has become an annual summer lifestyle for me. And after packing up and moving nine times now in the past nine years, I’ve figured out a system to make it easy, simple, and even fun. The key? LESS STUFF. Less stuff equals less headache, less time, less space. And all that less leaves room for more fun and more life.
1. Downsize. Before packing anything up, I like to go room by room, drawer by drawer, and get rid of things that are no longer in use. Try to be very tough during this process. If it hasn’t been used in the last year and has no possibility of being used in the next week, out it goes. Someone else might love it? Add it to the donate pile. It’s broken, old, not worth anyone using again, ever? Toss it. Either way, let it go. Since we’ve moved pretty much every year for the past nine years, this is pretty easy for me to do. So many things don’t get the proper home when we move in and most of it we don’t realize is hiding until we go to move again. If you didn’t miss it, you probably don’t need it. And by doing this BEFORE you pack, you don’t accidentally pack and move things that you don’t really need, allowing more space for the things that do matter. And it makes for a lighter load as well.
2. Leave space. Not every wall needs to be covered, every drawer filled, every space used. Leave a little room for breathing and fill a space with the things that are needed and the things that are loved and let the rest be. It’s amazing how freeing having an empty kitchen cabinet feels.
3. Outsource. Yes, less stuff means less things to move, but doing it yourself isn’t always the best use of time and stress. Decide what is worth doing yourself and what is worth getting help with. We hate moving furniture up and down stairs so we hire someone to help with the big items. Small boxes I can pack, move, and unpack myself in a day. Cleaning is always more fun with friends, especially if you pay them with food (or wine!) And painting can turn into a fun adventure with a little help. Moving does not have to be a big headache. Recognize your limits and turn an otherwise stressful time into an opportunity for focusing on what matters most.