The Dusting Rule for a Simple Home

Dusting. It’s something we all do at least once a year or so when we finally see how gross the top of our bookshelves are.

Or, if you’re like me and live in a particularly dust-prone apartment, you just try to put it off until company comes.

Having to dust frequently is the other reason why I choose to keep surfaces to a minimum, second to my habit of filling them up as soon as they are clutter-free. Any surface I don’t use on a regular basis gets covered in a nice little film of bunny fluff and whatever else it is that is constantly floating around our apartment.

But we are settling in to our apartment for the long haul, and I feel like it’s time to slowly and intentionally put some good thought into styling our space. The internet is filled with cute bar carts and bookshelves that are just as filled with cute trinkets and decor, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to take from that to inspire our own home.

Bar carts

So cute, but so dusty.

But when is it all enough?

The dusting rule

Enter my new rule for any home decor item that comes through my door: will I want to dust this? Will I do this gladly?

The first question is, almost universally, probably a no. But it basically is a way to ask yourself if you are willing to commit time, space and energy to this new addition to your home.

The second question is where it gets interesting. Will you gladly take care of this item? Will you grow resentful of that dusty, cluttered bar cart in the corner, or will you be happy to share your space with it?

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I love my little sparkle jars, and am happy to dust them. Plus, it’s just a fun way to store my little holiday garlands when I’m not using them.

If dusting cute bottles and fake flowers means that you get a huge smile on your face whenever you see it, then it passes the dusting rule. But if it doesn’t….you know the drill.

Skip it.

It’s a super simple rule, but I thought I’d share with you because it’s been helping me a lot lately. I’ve been able to decide what I’m looking forward to adding, replacing or removing in the future and any rules are good rules for me.

This goes for teapots, chairs, tapestries, curtains, you name it. If it will gather dust and you don’t love it, ditch it.

So there’s a super-quick tip for simplifying and avoiding regretful purchases. What is your best rule of thumb for simple home decor and housewares?

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A California Christmas

We’ll be home for Christmas. But in a different way – we’re going to spend Christmas at our home in California instead of our home in Indiana.

So this year I really want to design a Christmas around that idea – we are home. Our Christmas plans will look different from year to year, but a lot of what I said last year about the holidays still rings true. Especially the part about trying to focus on experiences over things for Christmas.

So let’s take a peek at five of the big pieces of our holiday this year.

Christmas California

Home

I love Christmas lights, but for some reason I’m not crazy about other seasonal decorations. My husband loves it though, so I picked up a few different festive items and did what I could to make the apartment cheerful (and not overwhelming).

Alternative Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree

We even decorated the bunny cage with little ornaments and some garland. The most important decorations were actually candles, because we love the ambiance that the scent of winter pine brings to our space.

The best part? We can store these decorations in a space smaller than a shoe box.

Gifts

Again, we’re keeping it simple. For the nephews (six of them under the age of 12), we got walkie-talkies – a gift that is only fun if you’re spending time with others. I loved the idea of them running around the house, radioing to each other like secret agents.

[SPOILER ALERT] For the grownups, we did what we felt each family member would use or appreciate most. We gave practical things like gift cards, fun & useful coffee mugs and I even found some awesome glass straws for my smoothie-loving mother.

We also did something new this year for a few of our family members – we donated to charities in their honor. We picked a different charity for everyone we did this for, because we wanted it to be relevant and meaningful to each of them.

Family

We miss everyone terribly this season, but we’re so fortunate to have the communication we do with everyone. Calling, texting and skyping keep us all almost close enough to touch.

To reach out even a little further, we took Christmas photos of us and the bunnies and are sending out hand-written cards to let grandparents, friends and other family members know that we’re thinking about them.Christmas Cards

Even sitting down to write the cards has helped with those holiday blues I wrote about in my last post.

Charity

Since we don’t have a lot of holiday parties to go to this year, we’re going to spend a little bit of Christmas Eve volunteering and serving food for those in need.

We’ve both been feeling like it’s time to start sharing our time more with others who need it, so I think this is a start to something we can pick up in 2016!

I wanted to share this little tidbit since I think it might be a good option for people celebrating holidays far from home, and it might serve as a starting point for our future holidays in California.

Togetherness

This is the most important for us this year. Instead of gifts, we’re investing in strategic, sit-down-and-talk-to-me games.

King of Tokyo and Rivals for Catan are our most recent additions.

My husband has some holiday time off, so we’re going to spend our days exploring new places in LA, planning for 2016 and playing games to our hearts’ content.

Because being together is what it’s really about, right?

Happy Holidays!

 

Minimalism Can Be Colorful

One of the biggest misconceptions about minimalism is that it has to be dull. Monochrome houses, interiors and wardrobes are the images that come to mind.

I actually had a hard time when I decided to become a minimalist because of that very thought. I love color.

But since we started back at square one when we moved to LA, I wanted to keep my apartment simple and colorful.

Simple Colorful Living - Minimalism can be colorful!

A colorful home

We made our apartment colorful by adding yellow curtains, tons of multicolor rugs (the rabbits need them for playtime) and actually painting a wall.

Painting was a big step for me because it helped me feel a greater sense of permanence and ownership.

We keep our home colorful by adding in fresh flowers. I especially love them beside my desk because I can enjoy them while I’m working.

Fresh flowers at home

Don’t be intimidated by those black and white interiors that you always see, and don’t let that stop you from simplifying. It’s okay to have some brightness in your life!

As I always say, if it brings you joy, then it belongs.

I guess that’s why none of my rugs or curtains really match each other. If I need something and it happens to come in a color I like, I ditch the notion that everything has to match and get the color that brings me most joy.

A colorful wardrobe

As I’ve pared down, I have found that I do tend to stick to neutrals more than I used to.

But I think that’s because the colorful stuff I had before was all just junk that caught my eye at the store. It was flashy, but in the cheapest way.

I’ve started to see more of my favorite colors come to play in my wardrobe – there’s nothing quite like the happiness that wearing pink brings me.

Clothes drawer

All of my shirts, pants, shorts and skirts fit into one drawer these days.

Patterns? Yes please. I love tiny floral prints and stripes because they can be paired with other things easily. I don’t like a lot of effort when it comes to choosing what to wear, so I appreciate the versatility of my patterns.

My minimalism and making it yours

My minimalism is bright but essential and simple but colorful. I’m working on implementing that concept even past the physical possessions: simple, colorful happiness and bright, essential conversations and relationships.

Your minimalism could look more or less colorful than mine, you could own more or less than I do. The point of minimalism is not to reach a destination – it’s about the intention that rides along with you on the journey. Seek a simpler life and keep/purchase only what truly adds joy to your life.

Cheers to a bright Sunday!