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    House and Home, Minimalism

    Simplified Mom: 40 Bags in 40 Days

    This is a minimalist dream - get rid of 40 bags of things in 40 days! But let’s be real that’s a lot of stuff! So this is my 40 bags in 40 days remix.

    I am starting off a little late this year, but lucky for me I have two boxes in the garage full and ready to go to giveaway, so doesn’t that make me ahead of the game?


    What is 40 bags in 40 days? 40 Bags in 40 Days was a tradition that coincided with lent. It is the idea that instead of “giving up” something for lent you will donate 40 bags of items. 

    Why do I love this idea so much? I’m a minimalist at heart. I dream of living in a clutter free world! I love the idea of living with just necessities and getting rid of the distractions around us.

    How does it work? Simple, your goal is to fill 40 bags, one bag for each day until Easter. 

    Follow my simple steps on how you can achieve this and be sure to check out the hashtag #40bagsin40days to see the progress of others. If you decide to follow along and participate, Post your picture of your progress using that hashtag! I would love to see what you clear out of your house! 

    • Create a list of all the areas in your home, thinks small! You may not have time to accomplish your entire room in one day, but if you break it down you can! 

      Example: closet bottom, closet top, drawer 1, drawer 2, drawer 3, drawer 4, under bed, top of dresser, dresses, shoes, pants, jewelry, belts…  You see you can easily break it up in little sections to not overwhelm yourself. 

    • After you have each location set pull out the calendar. For each day, write in the place that you will declutter or clean out. That way you are committing yourself to the task and making time to complete it.  If you have a big event on a certain day then only schedule in a small task.
    • Get to work - place boxes in your garage for giveaway, trash and sell. The goal is 40 bags, but realistically you may not have 40 bags in your house. I know that I don’t because this is something I do almost monthly. 
    • 40 days and 40 bags ends on Easter. I like to take the day after Easter to deliver all my items to where they need to go. Don’t forget to take a photo on the last day of all you have accomplished and pat yourself on the back - not only did you rid yourself of all these things, but you also will be able to help someone by donating these items.

    ** If you have the time instead of simply taking these items to Goodwilll you could sort them and take them to places that can use them right away rather then sell them. I like to split the men and women items and take them to the shelters and take the food to a local church. Ask around and find out where you can take items in your town that will be of more use. 

    Is this something you are going to try this year? It’s not too late to start today! Every little bit helps. Last year I did it for 10 days and I still made a huge impact. Let me know in the comments below if you plan on participating this year and what you hope to get out of it.

    If you’re interested in reading more, subscribe here to get my FREE DECLUTTER WORKSHEET. This is a step by step plan to help you declutter your home in one week. 

    House and Home, Minimalism, Must-haves

    Valentines For the Minimalist

    This post contains affiliate links. I make a small percentage when u click and purchase from that link.

    Candy, stuffed animals and roses, are just a few of the classic Valentine gifts. But let’s be real, are those gifts that we really need or will even use?  I love Valentine's day, mostly because my first date with my husband was 10 years ago on Valentine's day. Every year we still try to outdo one another and surprise each other with something. This year I decided to throw together a list of our favorite gifts over the years and why we love them. They aren’t all romantic, but they are the type of gifts that keep on giving throughout the year and some that just make us feel special! 

    Vitamix We love our Vitamix and get endless amounts of use out of it.  It starts in the morning when my husband blends up his coffee, protein powder and cream to make the perfect cup of joe. We use it throughout the day to make protein shakes, smoothies, popsicles mixes, sauces. The list literally goes on and on. In my opinion this is the gift that just keeps on giving. You can find our favorite here

    Coffee Maker My husband and his many coffee makers. The minimalist in me is cringing because he owns around 3-5 but this is what makes us happy. My husband and I like to think of ourselves as coffee connoisseurs. I dream of having a lovely little coffee machine that will make mornings, afternoons, pick me ups sooo much easier. (hint*hint*) My husband on the other hand enjoys spending time on his cup and making each one special.

    Griddle Starting to see a theme here? We love making pancakes and only recently did my husband start thinking about a griddle . I know we will have endless days of pancake mornings. So this year (shhhh don't’ tell him) he may be getting his pancake griddle

    A Class Such a wonderful gift for someone trying a new hobby! Recently my husband signed me up for a photography class and it was so incredibly sweet. He planned it for days when he could be home from work to watch the kids. I am so excited to grab my coffee, notebook and learn in peace. There are so many fun classes! Pottery, dance, workout. Trying something new is always fun and exciting. I love the idea of signing up for a class together too. That way you ensure you have at least one date night a week. 

    Membership/Subscription Along with classes, it’s fun to have a new membership somewhere. Maybe that yoga class you have been dying to try or a membership to amazon prime! Or a subscription to a curated box with treats each month! There are so many possibilities. You can sign up for a prime membership here

    Flowers This goes against what I said earlier BUT flowers make me happy. They bring me warmth and joy. So yours may not be flowers but something that brings your significant other joy. 

    Gift Cards Something you know everyone loves! It is simple, easy to get and can be used alone or with someone. My husband loves going to lunch at work and stopping for a cup of coffee so I know he will love this! 

    Get away together Plan a getaway, include all the details so they don’t have to  worry about a single part of it! Plan the babysitter, meals, activities. This one requires a little more thought but can be so incredibly sweet! 

    Romantic dinner at home-Sometimes there is nothing more special than staying home and getting cozy. Plan to have the kids to stay at grandmas! Make your favorite dinner and some yummy cocktails. 

    What are your favorite Valentines gifts? Share in the comments below! 

    House and Home, Minimalism, Uncategorized

    How to Enjoy Christmas as a Minimalist

    With Christmas eve upon us and the anxiety of last minute baking and gifting setting in. I thought what better time then now to work on my minimalist lifestyle. I am so lucky that I am constantly surrounded by “things” but the clutter gets overwhelming at times. I find clearing out clutter has allowed me to be more carefree and relaxed. My home is slowly becoming one that I dream of and my husband has stepped up too and helped me with this transition.

    I found that the best way to stay true to my minimalist lifestyle during the Holidays is to simply let things go. There are so many thoughts going through my mind that I often forget to truly enjoy the meaning of Christmas.  I have been blessed with the most fun loving family around. I look forward to seeing each and everyone of them every year. So this is a promise to myself to let things go and to enjoy the moments that I get with them. To remember that minimalism isn’t just about clearing out items, but also about clearing your mind. 

    • Don’t add to your “things” - My rule -One item comes in the house and three must go out! Amazon has made this incredibly easy to follow by sending me loads of boxes. You order 5 small items and get 5 large boxes? Each time I get a box I set it up in the garage and slowly fill it with Knick knacks. If you fill a box you can go online and they will print you a free slip to mail it to the closest goodwill. How easy is that?!
    • Let Routines Go - We work and work and work to get the kids on the most perfect routine and we try so hard to stick to those routines. During the holiday I have learned to let those routines slip.  Our kids want to stay up and spend time with everyone and they can’t nap because they are having too much fun in the snow. These memories won’t be here forever. Pretty soon they will be grown up. So this year we’re throwing routines out the window and adding to the memory book instead.
    • Stop Trying to do it All - Along with routines we are trying to squeeze in the maximum amount of  events and visits to friends that we can. We end up carting around cranky crying kids all the while tying to please everyone. This year the schedules are focused on the kids. If they need to rest and pop in a movie then we will do that. Having fun isn’t so fun if everyone is having a  fit. Happy kids = Happy parents! 
    • Eat Healthy, but don’t Make that the Focus - Each year I set this big ultimatum for myself. I always fail. It seems more realistic to enjoy the flavors of the Holidays, but don’t eliminate them. I am excited about this approach mostly because it means I won’t be kicking myself if I indulge in some of my favorite Holiday foods. 
    • Prep - This has been the number one way I have been able to cut back and feel more relaxed. If I plan ahead with snacks and things we may need then I spend less and we have more time for memories! Of course things don't always go as planned, but it is always better to be over prepped then under, especially with toddlers! 

    I am excited to have a clearer mindset as Christmas approaches.I have already started to let things go and just simply be me. Be in the moment and with those I love. Wishing all of you a carefree and magical Holiday!

    How do you plan to take on minimalism in this new year? 

    House and Home, Minimalism

    Simplified Mom #3

    “Give more things away. Your life will feel lighter, your heart will feel warmer and the world will be better.” 

    This quote perfectly symbolizes what has been going on in my life. I have been struggling to get rid of things, not because it’s hard to part ways with our stuff, but because the task of digging through things is not an easy task. At the same time I have been trying to find a way to help our country at this difficult time. All of these disasters and tragedies keep happening around us and for some reason I just couldn’t find a way that I could help. I wanted so badly to volunteer and travel to help people but with two kids that is virtually impossible. 

    All over California there were fires. Our beautiful state was burning and there wasn’t much anyone could do. The fires in Napa and  Sonoma were the closest to home for me. 

    My husband and I went to Sonoma State University and lived there for a several years. The area was so incredibly close to our hearts. Many friends and family still live there. I never watch the news with my kids, but during this time I just stared at the TV and watched the devastation. I cried and cried for those that lost their homes, their belongings and their loved ones. How can I help? I asked myself this so many times.

    It hit me, I’ll have a garage sale and I could donate all the money to them. I quickly reached out on social media, “Anyone want to have a garage sale with me to support the fire victims?” The response was overwhelming. My community was ready to band together and help as much as they could.

    Then came the hard work. Creating a community garage sale that was efficient and made lots of money to donate. I found myself overwhelmed at times, but I reminded myself day in and day out that it didn’t matter how much we made but that our hearts were in it.

    These are the steps to having a successful garage sale. Whether you have a personal garage sale at your home or a community wide rummage sale like I did.

    • check
      Details  The location, the date, the times. This has to happen first. You need to organize all the details so you know what size of sale you are looking at. For me it was finding a space big enough. It ended up being at our local community center which was perfect. It was suppose to rain the weekend of the sale so we needed an indoor location with tables. Other details you will want to figure out beforehand are where you are going to donate the money.  Those interested in participating or volunteering will want to know from the beginning where their time and money is going and who it is going to benefit.
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      Advertisement  Advertise everywhere!!! I used Canva to create flyers that I could hand out and post on social media. I created a couple different ones. I also distributed the flyers at local schools. Because this was a fundraiser many schools and companies were willing to help. Our local printing company donated the copies. I reached out to community leaders and asked them to post to their pages as well.  
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      Organize  I cleaned out my house and had piles in my garage. I sorted out all the clothes by mens, womens, kids and then the kitchen items and toys. I felt like I had the perfect little system in my garage. Then people started to drop off donations, which turned into even larger piles in my tiny garage. I sorted through these bags quickly and hung up the nicer clothing items like jackets and dresses. I made sure each category had its own space so it would be easy to lay things out on the day of the garage sale. I also sorted out things that were of poor quality, stained or ruined and took those to goodwill. 
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      Delegate  This was hard for me because I hate asking people to do things but it was necessary. I had a wonderful local mom offer to help me with everything and that was a blessing. I had another mom offer to throw a bake sale at the event. I had her organize baked good donations and set up for that portion of the garage sale. I had someone hang big posters around town and others come the morning of to setup. If you're  having a personal garage sale this all falls in your lap, but if you are doing a fundraiser it is a lot easer to find others to help. 
    • check
      Resources  Where will I keep the money? Cash Drawer? Servers apron? What will I need readily available at the sale for shoppers? Extra bags, extra cash for change, tape, paper, chairs and tables! Have these things ready a few days before. Set up the location or space the night before if you can so you can lay the items out easily in the morning and then focus on the shoppers.
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      Setup  This one is so important. I am so lucky that the mom helping me had garage sales before. She quickly set the tables up around the room and down the middle so people had room to browse up and down. The items were set on certain tables. There were areas inside and out. We also had bags available near the clothes so you could “fill a bag for $.”  We found that helps us get rid of things quickly. There was a rack that we had dresses and coats for people to easily look through. We had an area set aside for people that brought donations on the day of the sale so we could quickly sort through them and put them out on the tables. We had a large poster that listed the prices and details. Make sure your set up is convenient to the shopper. One thing I wish we had was an area with a mirror to try on clothes. 

    Our garage sale was so unbelievably successful. I never imagined we would raise so much money nor did I realize all the incredible people I would meet along the way. I am proud of the community I live in and excited to raise my kids here. The best part was handing over the money and knowing it would make an impact on their community.  

    After our successful garage sale we decided this needed to become a yearly thing. It became an important part of our Thanksgiving celebration list. We now will have a yearly garage sale around this time to give back. All the money will be donated and we will clean out our things along the way. I couldn’t imagine a better lesson for our kids and a better way to give back to those in need.

    House and Home, Minimalism, Must-haves

    Simplified Mom #2

    “Minimalism isn’t a race, slow down and take as much time as you need”

    I was overwhelmed at the start of this journey and was wondering what part of my life I should attack next. This was a good quote for this week because it reminded me to take a step back and slow down. Becoming a minimalist isn’t something that will happen over night, over a month or even over a year. It is something I am becoming and forever changing. I decide what things I want in my life and when. 

    I didn’t intend to start here on my minimalist journey but it just happened to be what I was ready for! Like I said before, minimalism means so many different things to different people. For me it's getting rid of unnecessary things, giving more & spending less.

    Today we ran out of paper towels. My first thought was to race to the store and grab the Costco-sized bag to have for the rest of the year. Hang on. A 6 pack of paper towels is how much?! I did some quick research and discovered re-usable towels that get the job done and aren't wasteful!  I ended up settling on bamboo ones.  They had an interesting feel to them, almost like felt, but I was eager to give them a go! 

    I invited my sis, her baby and my mom over for dinner. We made dinner together like old times and ate while the kids destroyed my kitchen 😆 3 kids and a tub of Parmesan cheese means lots and lots of clean up! After we were finished I moved everyone into the living room and was determined to tackle this mess with my new "paper" towels. I started with the high chair! 

    Once the towels get wet, they soften up and feel like your average paper towel, but they are tough as can be. They made wiping down Charlotte’s high chair so easy. As you all know the high chair has nooks and crannies that make the perfect hiding place for all of the leftover food that our toddlers seem to get everywhere! I then rung one out and started on the floors. I managed to wipe the whole room down with 2 towels, one for the floor and one for the table/counter tops. I tossed them in my next load of laundry and they came out softer but just as strong as when I first opened them.   

    When I say these things are amazing I am not exaggerating! They held just enough water and were so easy to ring out. My mom and sister already had them in their Amazon cart before leaving my house! 

    So even though I didn't intend for this to be my first minimalist mission, it just sort of fell into my lap! I needed somewhere to store these towels so I started cleaning out drawers. The towel drawer, pan drawer, bag drawer. I feel like my drawer items are shrinking more and more by the day! 

    Next are re-usable sandwich bags, bees wax paper wraps and bringing my own containers when buying food!

    House and Home, Minimalism

    Simplified Mom

    “Have less. Do more.” 

    I have always been fascinated by people who have very little, but are so incredibly happy. Why do we have this need to fill our lives with crap. I ask myself this all time. I have found there is a significant difference between the stuff I WANT to keep vs. the stuff I NEED to keep. I have come to find there is very little that we actually need, but a lot of stuff that I want to keep for one reason or the other. 

    To help me on this journey, I read the documentary The Minimalists. If you haven't read it you must! It made a huge impression on me and my first thought was to get rid of it all. Screw the WANT vs. NEED test I was using as I was cleaning out our house. I started throwing things out like a crazy woman. I started researching tiny houses and where can you park one. I started watching DIYs on building tiny houses, even though it takes my husband hours to put together some of the most simple kids toys. My life revolved around becoming this person that I wanted to be so badly.

    As exciting as all of this was, I had to be reminded by my husband that we don’t really live as lavishly as I was imagining. We live in a tiny shoebox of a house in a small town. We have two cars, one that is paid off. We have two credit cards, that we pay off every month. We hardly eat out and spend more time meal prepping to stay healthy and set a good example for our kids. And most of all we are happy with where we are in life.

    And the truth is, as much as I want to be that person, I don’t think I am. I like to have things to organize.  What would I do if I no longer had those things? My husband has many sacred possessions which he would not be willing to part with. And my kids! They love their toys and books. So I took a step back and asked myself, what does minimalism mean to me?

    I then checked out a few popular books on minimalism and began deciding where I wanted this journey to take me. 

    It doesn't necessarily mean the same for everyone. For me it’s simplifying my life, my family’s life and most importantly spending less. I think that is the big one - SPENDING less. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve raced into Target and walk out with an arm load, or raced into the market and walked out with so many things that we didn’t need.

    These are the three areas I have focused on during my minimalist journey

    1. Spend less
    2. Give more 
    3. Use everything 

    Today marks the start of becoming a minimalist or what I like to consider the first step, a “Simplified Mom.” I am excited to start this adventure with you! Be sure to check in for my next becoming a minimalist chapter. 

    Books I have enjoyed on becoming a minimalist: