Minimize THIS, Part 3: The Master Bathroom

*Note:  The featured/cover image for this post is NOT my bathroom. If it was, you would have to sedate me heavily and/or burn it down. I simply used it for dramatic effect.

*Sub-note:  If this DOES look like your bathroom, no judgement. To each her own. 

Ah, the bathroom.

This one was both easy and hard for me. On one hand, I just LOVE getting little samples of products and trying new things when it comes to my face, skin, and hair. On the other hand, there’s just so damn much of it.

All my life, I have been in search of that perfect shampoo, conditioner, and styling product that will give me movie star hair, as well as any stuff I can slather on my face that will give me the tan, dewy look of J.Lo.

Well, guess what, such things don’t exist. I rotate shampoo and conditioner now because Shampoo Fatigue is a real thing, and I am of Scott-Irish/German descent – ain’t nothin’ going to make me look tan (or like J.Lo). I turn red. Best for me to focus on sunscreen.

I have been the grateful recipient of those little sample goody boxes many times in the past. Oh, how I love them. They’re wrapped so pretty and cute! And there’s just something so fun and gratifying about trying stuff for cheap or free in conjunction with the miniature size.

Give me allllllll the perfume samples ya got. Trial size = My size. Hand it over. Hotel toiletries = squeeeeeeeeeal with delight! Especially when I get my hands on some that you won’t find in your everyday Hampton Inn; those gems go into my permanent collection. #FRIENDSreference (only die hard fans will get that reference)

friends

All of it. It has to go.

So, I put on my elbow-length gloves and oxygen mask and dove into the abyss that is the underbelly of my sink.  (Ok I’m exaggerating. I went in with a couple old grocery sacks. Trying to paint a picture here.) With much strength and delight, I managed to fill three Target grocery bags. Two of them were complete and utter garbage; the other bag was filled with unused toiletries that I promptly dropped off at my local Ronald McDonald House. (Many places will happily take these unused mini-sized hygiene products off your hands! Check with schools and shelters around you, and always consider Ronald McDonald House as well.) Get real with yourself:  So long as you are buying regular sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc., you are never going to use these bite-size versions.

I found nail polishes that had completely separated and solidified (out they went!). I found enough bobby pins and hair ties to last my daughter and I a lifetime. I got rid of attachments to styling tools that I don’t even own anymore and never worked right anyways, and threw out the duds and the crud.

Once finished, I managed to liberate SIX small storage bins and TWO cosmetic bags from their useless contents, and now my bathroom vanity looks uncluttered and refreshed, and opening the drawers and doors no longer feels like a fossil excavation.

No shame; no pride. It’s just all gone and I feel happy. I kept exactly what I need or use daily; nothing more, nothing less. I even tossed some nearly full bottles of some not-so-cheap products because, let’s be honest, IF WE HAVEN’T USED IT YET, WE AREN’T GOING TO USE IT.

It hurt to feel like I was being so wasteful, but instead of admonishing myself for waste, I embraced that icky feeling that came with throwing out money and realized that I didn’t want to feel it anymore. Lesson learned! I only have to touch the hot furnace once to know it’s hot. I’ll use what I use and use what I have, and if it runs out I will replace it.

In this journey to prioritize, minimize, and organize, I have found it both overwhelming and cleansing. I have done so much already… kitchen drink ware, junk drawer(s), linen closet, my bathroom, my dresser, and even my husband has done his part of the dresser AND closet (my closet = my Everest). We are making so much progress!

But to think that I still have to tackle my closet AND the kids’ playroom makes my stomach turn. Then there’s the garage and other random places we have shoved stuff over the years just knowing that we would use it (sarcasm).

So, if anyone is thinking of following me down this road to less stuff, I would recommend making a list of different segmented projects to tackle. To help boost your confidence and motivate you, pick a smaller and more manageable project first. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step! And any other cliche’ sayings you can come up with about taking on a project.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Minimize THIS, Part 1: Important Papers & The Kitchen

We have plans to remodel many parts of our home. Yes, I realize this may sound counter-intuitive to my journey in minimizing, but hear me out.  Our home is where we spend much of our time. We bought this specific house because of its layout that we felt made it a place where our family could really maximize our time spent together. We also love to entertain (a more mature and professional way of saying we like to party I suppose) friends and family. It adds value to our lives. So, there are certain specific changes to our home that I do want to make because this is our “Forever Home” and we don’t have any plans to leave it. Therefore, we want it to be ours and exactly what we want and purchased it knowing there were changes we would be making.

It is actually the thought of remodeling that made me want to start sorting, organizing, and purging. Let’s take the kitchen, for example. If we want to renovate it, that is going to involve removing all the junk from within. SCARY! Wouldn’t it be nice if, come time to remodel, we only had the necessities in there that would require temporary relocation and then subsequent replacement back into the new space? Aha! See… It’s not about buying more stuff; this is about making our kitchen and family living space more functional and organizing it in such a way that makes the remodel process more efficient. Prioritize, minimize, organize! Plus, we all know what happens when you box up junk you don’t need or use:  It ends up staying in said box in the garage/attic/storage unit until Kingdom Come. I want to avoid that.

I digress.

Back to the “Important Papers.” Being an adult requires some semblance of having your s*** together, so a while back, we had purchased a fire-proof safe for our important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, deeds, passports when not in use, etc. It has been sitting in our family room for weeks and weeks. I think since Christmas to be exact, but who’s counting? (I am.)

file-cabinet1

I became overwhelmed as I sat in our family room (didn’t help that I surrounded by piles of laundry and watching that darn Joanna Gaines build a dream home) thinking about how in the heck I was even going to start getting this place into order. You know that saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”? The important papers were Bite #1. I went through the old file we used and sorted out old stuff that is now pointless, such as the papers on a car that I haven’t owned in five years, and filtered out the important documents, realizing that I am actually missing one of our social security cards! Yikes! I managed to get about eight “folders” of crap into two folders in the new box. It felt great, and I was instantly proud of what a responsible adult I am.

Then the kitchen knocked my ego down a peg or two.

I started with the infamous Junk Drawer. We all have one, right? Tell me you have one. I know you have one. It’s a drawer in your home (ours has always been in the kitchen) that you have to yank a few times before it actually opens because of all the eclectic items contained within that are blocking it from opening. Sometimes, you might actually be afraid to put your hand into it because nothing is off-limits in The Junk Drawer, and who knows what tetanus-inflicting sharp you might blindly encounter.  Full disclosure:  I found razor blades, lighters, crayons, glue, a Q-tip, $1.50 in change, five different kinds of tape, and allergy medicine in mine, just to name a few. In fact, go ahead and Google images of “junk drawer” and I guarantee you will see some images and think they sneaked into your house and took a picture of yours. All junk drawers were created equal, apparently.

junk drawer

Then that one drawer turned into the two next to it, then the cabinets above, and then a mini-meltdown later, my very sweet, supportive, patient, and tolerant husband was in on “the fun.” Off to the Dollar Store he went to (eeeeeek! Not buy more stuff, right?!? Well, yeah… read on) get some organizational supplies such as drawer organizers, gallon Zip-Lock bags, and large totes (which will be emptied by the end of all this minimizing and eventually ditched as well. After all, less stuff = no more totes).

Next thing you know, I realize that I own over 30 wine glasses, and that we have way more drinking vessels than a family of four should have. Hell, we have more drinking vessels than the Von Trapp family would need. Out they go! Tote #1 is filled, along with three very full trash bags of pure, undeniable JUNK.

So tell me, what’s in your junk drawer?

Now, go empty it.