Monday, February 23, 2015

Just a little bit of decorating...

So how does one decorate minimally? Easy. Do less, decorate with fewer items, and when in doubt, do without. But seriously, here are our top 10 tips on how to declutter your decor. (CONFESSION: while I am all for dollar shirts, Brian and I tend to spend more on items for the home. Invest in art and antiques, furniture and sheets - but cut corners when you can - barter, trade, and haggle!)
  1.  Walls can be bare. You don't need to fill every speck of plaster and sheetrock, sometimes (most of the time) space is okay. That also applies to the floor. Leave room to walk, skip, summersault - you get the picture. Don't turn your house into a hoarder house, leave more than just a walkway between pieces of furniture. Think about a luxurious hotel and you'll get the picture.
  2.  Be aware of where your eye is drawn, in the picture above the items on top of the dresser are order by height, tallest to shortest working your way in. My eye is drawn to the piece of art in the middle. (CONFESSION: this is the least helpful tip lol, but I feel like it sounds smart)
  3. Think in pairs, sets of fours, or our favorite - threes.
  4. Symmetry is King! Use your ruler (or measuring tape), make minor pencil marks on the wall, and work together. Be diligent - this is your home so take the time to do it right.
  5. Coordinate colors by bringing out accents in picture or art. Neutrals are an obvious choice for big items, smaller items can be bolder without fear of being tacky. 
  6. QUALITY over quantity, all day long. Do your research, know what materials items are made of and where they came from. Things we value in the items we buy: made in the USA, organic and recycled products, local artists and vendors.
  7. Leave room for expansion. Unless you are in your dream home (we are not), buy pieces that may be a bit large or spendy for your current digs, but will work perfectly for the home you are going to have. That said, investment pieces don't need to be displayed until you have the space for them and only if you are actually going to have space for them in the near future.
  8. Ignore rule 7 in most instances. Don't buy something just because it catches your eye; if you really want or need it then:"1 item in, 2 items out" (it's just good math). AND if said item is not unique or one of a kind, consider that the item may still be available once you have space to display it. More stuff = more stuff and our goal is to minimize!
  9. Functional and pretty. Jars, boxes, platters, glassware etc. can be decor but also have a function. Our ideas include spare change, potpourri, seashells, plants and scented oils.
  10. Furniture, the best known Christmas gift for couples! Especially since we are minimalists in the making, we don't need to buy each other stuffs for presents. Instead we focus on things we can do together (more on memory-making-gifts in another post) and items for our home. The dresser in the picture (with matching bedside tables, not pictured) is the well researched, not hastily purchased Brian/Josey Christmas gift of 2013.
Have more tips you'd like to share? Comment below, because minimalism doesn't apply to list making!

Need not, 
Brian and Josey

Monday, February 16, 2015

CONFESSION: This is tough

So now that we have overzealously purged our excess items (over 150 items to date), we are reverting  back to the 'One Item Per Week' we initially started out to accomplish. This week my item was pretty weak, but Brian seems to have unknown stores of items he feels unemotionally attached to. I, however, haven't quite conquered the skill of getting rid of things not just for the sake of getting rid of things. So what to do now that the going is getting rough? Really consider what items we don't use and are not going to use. While owning extra cords and old cell phones seems like a smart idea, you might need a backup emergency cord or phone in the future, the simple fact is that you don't need it.

Example #1: Recycle unused (and especially unusable) phones, cords, batteries, computers, cameras etc. etc. There are many places to properly dispose of said items, I use this link:  Hennepin County RecyclingExample #2: Craft supplies that you have so much of there is no possible way you could ever possibly use them up, trust me, Brian and I try our hardest (apologies if you have ever received one of our handmade cards decorated with stickers from a coin operated machine). Example #3: Rocks. Yup you know you have some, rocks for a fish tank or bamboo plant or be it an igneous or sedimentary piece of earth excavated on a camping trip from the mid-90s. Some you could keep, but what are you really going to do with a rock (don't say paper weight, I'll know you're lying). 
Furthermore and on a side note, thank you Catherine for being the receiver of some of my unneeded items, preferably I should get items out of my household and not pass them on to others in my social circle - HOWEVER I think you might enjoy what was in that floral bag and I'm always willing to properly dispose of unwanted items! 

Wish me luck, because I think I'm going to at least need that...
Need not, 

P.S. In case your curious my items this week: colored construction paper (100 pages or so) and Elmer's glue

Monday, February 9, 2015

My mid-winter wardrobe update (for FREE)

Featured: said dollar jeans.
Love, love, love shopping. Hate, despise, just cannot stand spending money while shopping. May sound like a conundrum to you but for me it is an opportunity (and decidedly a challenge).

Luckily this whole trend of thrift and second hand is deeply rooted in my community (designer labels included). So instead of clipping coupons, enrolling in reward cards - running from store to store, mall to outlet mall, I simply go to one store (okay by chance I went to two different locations). The store has crazy great prices: $14 jeans and $20 dresses; but even better sales: $10 bag sale and DOLLAR DAYS (HOLLAH!)

Here's how it works, you bring in clothing that's gently used and from the last year or so - they evaluate your stuff (making you feel like a Nervous Nelly) and then they make you an offer; you can choose to refuse but when your goodwill bag is about to go to Goodwill, any offer is a good offer. Then you can shop tip you drop! So that means that I brought my clothing filled bags in and traded them in for the items in the picture; my math skills are awesome.
AND I still got rid of more than what I brought in. Booyah.
My point? As long as you have the washing skills of a 1980s housewife and don't mind the fact that someone owned or wore clothing before you (*gasp* kind of like buying clothes that someone has already tried on at the store!) then this is the deal for you. Seriously, those jeans were $1. And those fancy dresses, well I did splurge a bit (CONFESSION: one dress cost $10), but lucky for me my brother-in-law gave me a gift card for Christmas, making this girl all the more richer with a wardrobe that's a teensy tiny bit smaller.

Need not,

P.S. During said "Dollar Days" one lady walked out with multiple overstuffed bags, her discount was over $1500. That's no lie, click here for the secret store that was previously not mentioned. Get on their email list for notifications of their Dollar Days and Bag Sale - or ease yourself into the dirt-cheap-clothes process and go right now.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Congratulations to Ruth and the MetroTransit

Just sayin'. 

CONGRATULATIONS to our cousin Ruth
She single handedly took the award for 

*First person to comment on our blog* 
*First person to make an excellent minimalism suggestion 
pertaining to the recycling of paper goods* 

I admit that second category is a bit wordy, but I'm sure there's a condensed version on the trophy label, as I am sure there is a trophy (CONFESSION: there is no such trophy)

Problem solving time. How to get to evening festivities with friends (and a certain brother/brother-in-law) 10 miles away without leaving a car (our only car, as in there is just one car in our household) or paying for a taxi etc. etc. Some might suggest Uber or some other high tech taxi service (but being that neither of us have smartphones this would make such an endeavor difficult and expensive).

Never fear MetroTransit is here! Now MetroTransit is something to be admired, certainly I believe it to be amazing. Having used the bus many a time dating back to the days of plaid skirts, the public library and Planned Parenthood (more about 5th grade another day). Brian and I thought to be hopeless last Saturday evening when planning to venture uptown, but were saved when I remembered both our walking abilities and our proximity to a bus station! Decidedly we planned out our trip (see link provided for your own endeavors) and embarked on our mile and a half walk to the nearest stop. Reminder for readers not in the state of Minnesota, temperatures were no more than 25 degrees requiring hats, gloves, and winter coats.

Taking the bus (one transfer and a total time of 51 minutes) is no big deal, after all we aren't the first to have stumbled across this crazy form of commuting. By happy mistake our bus was late (which I was able to check on only through a series of foreign steps including calling a number on the trip itinerary I had printed out, and pressing numbers on my phone, waiting patiently for the estimated time of arrival for our bus number). Happy because it resulted in extra time at a bus stop which we happily waited for inside of an establishment which provide ice cold drinks (I know contradictory to the temperature outside, but the establishment had a fully functioning heating system).

The point that I am trying to convey would be that of minimalism. Making our eco footprint smaller one ride share at a time and saving that hard earned dough for the things that matter most; like a trip to South Carolina or a split level home near a good elementary school. There's always a good story to be told when finally leaving those blue plush seats and neon bright lights. Ours includes a troupe of three young kids all sporting smartphones, which they were intensely involved in, and no less than one drunk man stumbling through the aisle (the details are ours to keep). Never discount the ease and accessibility of the bus, yes it takes quite a bit longer and perhaps I picked up a few strains of mold on my pants pockets, but hoorah for carpooling! MetroTransit is Most Amazing!

Need not,
Brian and Josey

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How to fill a goodwill donation bag in less than 60 seconds:

Quick! You need to declutter your life and you don't want to think about it too long, because then you'll make excuses for why you "need" to keep every item you have previously brought into your home. Jump off of the couch, get a paper bag, ready? Set. Go!

  1. Old magazines on the coffee table, you're not going to read them, you haven't for the past 14 months
  2. Pants that are either too big (unflattering) or too small (if you lose weight you deserve new pants)
  3. Dull and rusty knives, they don't work so get rid of 'em
  4. Shoes from high school (especially if you are not in high school)
  5. Hats that you no longer wear or no longer resemble their original color (i.e. the white ones)
  6. Outdated textbooks, classics are exempt
  7. Frames with no pictures (unless your photos are ready for pickup at Costco)
  8. VHS tapes, you better not have any but just in case
  9. The VCR ... seriously, let it go.
  10. Old trophies and medals excluding ones from the Olympics, not that your accomplishments are unimportant, but plastic is.
How'd you do? Remember that the point is to get rid of items that you don't use, need, or enjoy yourself. Let someone else in on the fun, purge and be the better for it.

Need not,