Monday, August 20, 2012

Minimalist Furniture

This article could not have come at a more opportune time.  We are in the midst of yet another move!  Yes, that's right.  We are moving across the country again!  Hopefully for the last time!  

Moving makes you really consider what you need and what to purge.  Fortunately, from all of our moves, the purge pile is actually pretty small.  We are on a constant search to simplify our lives of clutter, and moving has made that much easier.  We did a huge purge of furniture when we moved from CO to Nashville.  Now, as we look to move back, there really is not much furniture I feel we "need" to get rid of.  I still have in my mind, those lists of furniture pieces I would be fine with seeing gone, or those that we absolutely need.  It feels good, though, to know that we have just what we need.  It also feels good not to feel emotionally attached to furniture.  It is a very freeing feeling!  

While the writer of this article may be going a bit extreme, I think it's great to approach furniture like this.  It makes you really consider if you "need" it.  Here are some the pieces of furniture she said you don't "need" (my thoughts in italics):  

1. Dresser. Instead, try fabric shelves that hang from the closet bar. I use them myself for socks, undies, and folded clothes, and in my baby's room for everything from onesies and sleepers to bibs and washcloths.
I don't personally use a dresser.  I have plastic drawer bins and baskets that I use in my closet.  All of my clothes fit in my closet area.  However, if I had a dresser to use, I might use it, but I've been able to make do without.  
2. End tables. In my opinion, all those extra little tables that live in corners, and at the ends of couches, are just magnets for clutter.
Sometimes you need a place to set a drink.  We use our end tables, so I don't see these at clutter.
3. TV stand or entertainment center. I've eliminated the need for this monstrosity by ditching my television altogether. But if you're not ready to go that route, you can simply hang it on the wall.
In a rental, it's a lot of work to think about hanging a television, so we love our dining buffet-turned tv stand!  
4. Buffet or sideboard. Say sayonara to all the fancy table linens, and the heirloom (or wedding) china you never use, and skip this storage piece -- giving your wallet, and your dining area, a little more breathing room.
I keep my china stored in a secure bin and can pull it out whenever we serve a nice meal.  If I had a place to display them, I would, but it's not essential to me.  I also use my china teacups for things like holding baking soda around the house on shelves as air fresheners or to display a rose bud.  
5. Curio/display cabinet. Do away with the tchotchkes and knickknacks, and you can do away with this massive (and potentially expensive) furnishing. You'll also spend less time and money acquiring dust-collectors to fill it up.
Yea, no.  We don't like dust collectors, so I'm going to agree with this comment!  
6. Recliner. Sure, it's nice to put your feet up -- but not exactly a necessity.
We don't have one, but I some comforts in life are nice to have.  
7. Ottoman. See above.
8. File cabinet. Get a scanner and go digital for your non-essential paperwork. By minimizing the amount of paper that enters my life (and doing an annual paper purge), I'm able to get away with one box of "must keep" documents tucked away in a closet.
I scan all of our documents, but even still, our family is so complicated that we need to keep current papers organized, so my filing drawer is a must!  
9. Bookshelf. As a minimalist writer, I have a love/hate relationship with books; that is, I love the content, but hate the physical (heavy, unwieldy, difficult to move) format. Ebooks have been the answer to my prayers -- enabling me to forgo a bookshelf, and carry my entire collection with ease.
I agree with the love/hate relationship with books.  I haven't been able to jump on the digital book bandwagon.  I'm a purist when it comes to reading!  
10. Nightstand. If your bedside accoutrements are few, consider attaching a small shelf to the wall instead.
Need it!  Between alarm clocks, glasses, retainer, glass of water, lotion, and so much other stuff, I use my nightstand.  The floor is great to set stuff on, but when you have puppies, you want to make sure your stuff is up safe.  
Feeling inspired? Ambitious? Intrigued? Living without the next five items is a little more unconventional, but can save you a nice chunk of change (and some serious square footage):
11. Desk. If you use a laptop, you may not need a dedicated work surface -- you can surf, check email, and pay bills on your dining table, coffee table, sofa, lounge chair, or floor. In one of my apartments, I used adeep windowsill as a workspace.
I'd love to get rid of our desk, but until our desktop computer poops out, I feel like we need it.  I'd love to be back down to just laptops someday...
12. Desk chair. There's no need for a desk chair if you don't have a desk.
13. Sofa. It might sound crazy to go without a couch, but it's doable (and kind of fun!). The alternative: a lounge chair or two, or simply some cushions arranged on the floor.
We have to have a sofa!  It was the best investment we ever made.  Not only does it serve as comfort for us, but allows us to entertain, which is important to us.  And it serves as a really comfortable guest bed for the occasional guest who needs it.  Seriously, it's really comfortable.  
14. Dining table. Like a sofa, a dining table is typically considered a household essential -- but it doesn't have to be. If you don't mind sitting on the floor, a coffee table may suffice. In fact, in some cultures, a simple low table is the norm.
We need our table, but we only have one.  I like not having a dining table and a kitchen table.  Simplifies things!  
15. Dining chairs. If you don't have a dining table, you don't need chairs; if dining at a low table, a few cushions will do. Such an arrangement can have a serene, Zen-like feel, or if you're so inclined, a more bohemian, Arabian nights ambiance.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Eco-Friendly & DIY Christmas Decor

Now these are super late!  But it's never too early to start thinking about holiday decorations.  (Or in my case, in advertising, we're already shooting Christmas trees and planning for the holidays in July!)  These are some of the decorations I made for Christmas 2010 when I hosted my family.  My decorations were focused on using natural materials, reusing materials, or using items that can be used year-round.
*  Spray painted branches and used them in an everyday green-tinted vase
*  green tablecloth that I use all year round

* green tinted coke bottles (already red and green!) with ribbon as candleholders

* home made swag made of spray painted branches

* pine cones collected on our dog walk and ribbons