A project in one part of the house brings chaos to others. By the end of the dining room makeover, the kitchen floor was in a state I prefer not to think about. The guest room still hasn’t entirely recovered from being the dumping ground for all of the things I removed from the dining room.
But while there was chaos in most places, the dining room itself–once it was finished–was calmer than ever. And it wasn’t just the fresh light paint.
In preparation for painting the china cabinet, I emptied everything out of it. In the process, I designated many dishes for donation. Shot glasses and bar stuff that we don’t need. Wedding gifts that we’ve never used. Extra serving pieces. Wrap it up, pack it up, take it out.
When I reloaded the china cabinet, there was so much breathing room. All of our dishes fit easily, and on the upper shelves where we have some of our more special items on display, we could actually see them. They weren’t lost in a mass of clutter.
I also took down the stained glass window and the display of family photos from behind the couch to protect them from paint spatters.
When the room was finished I was reluctant to put these things back. If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you know I’m super sentimental and love all of the family and personal touches we have around our home. So I was really surprised I didn’t want to have the stained glass Matt’s uncle made for us, or my hand-picked favourite family photos back on display.
Those things are super precious to me. But without them, the dining room felt calmer–a feeling that I liked.
There’s a push for minimalism–or at least paring down–by a lot of bloggers these days. While I will likely never be a Marie Kondo devotee, I am feeling a pull to simplify. I love my stuff, but maybe I don’t need quite all of it. Maybe some of it is more precious than others.
When the dining room makeover began, I had felt pressure about what to do with the top of the piano. What should I put there? How should I style it? During the challenge, I realized I didn’t have to do anything. The top could just be empty. There’s the metronome (functional) and the art Matt’s parents gifted to us on the wall above, and that’s it.
Inspired by the feeling I felt in the dining room, I’m now looking at the rest of the house. The bookcases in the living room, my closet, the kitchen–what do I actually need and love?
How about you? Anyone else making a move towards minimalism? How do you balance sentimental collections while making your home feel calm and uncluttered?
I understand how you feel!!! I am just finishing up a bathroom remodel. The dumping ground room is still cluttered with tools etc. I have been slowly decluttering. Clearing out closets and shelves is so calming at this point in my life!!!!
It’s important to have some area that’s a bit more under control–or the illusion that you have control!
I feel an enormous draw toward minimalism. I’m guessing because our lives become so hectic, so stressful, so overwhelming we are attracted to anything that makes us feel calmer. I totally get it.
Steve has little to no sentimental value of stuff. So I have to try to find a balance between saving EVERYTHING and saving NOTHING!
Every room in our house could use some level of decluttering!
Ah, Matt is the opposite of Steve. He keeps even more than me… and multiples of various things. He also likes to see all of his things rather than tucking them into drawers or cabinets.
Good luck finding your balance.
I am working in that direction too. I have been for years, but am still not close. We had a six bedroom house with a furnished suite and two sheds – all of it full of STUFF (for a whole variety of reasons) – and had to move into a two bedroom suite. That was the hardest move I’ve ever made in my life. Downsizing was going on the whole six years we lived there. Now we have recently moved again, and once again I’m shocked by the amount of STUFF we still have. I got rid of lots before we moved this time, and more since, but our home still feels full. It is a long journey! At the beginning we had all my things, all Shae’s things from when she moved in, all my parents’ things (we were living with them, then my dad died and my mum went into a home), and some of our kids’ things (they were young adults moving in and out at the time), and all the furnishings we’d bought for the suite and two tenants’ bedrooms. (Not to mention all the items for my studio, as my business is in my home.) Because of much of it being other people’s stuff, it couldn’t just be moved out en masse, everything had to be gone through meticulously and gotten to the right people or donated to the right place. I’m more than ready for a minimalist home!
A fabulous source of inspiration and support is a facebook page called Nourishing Minimalism Yearly Decluttering Challenge, along with the blog Nourishing Minimalism. Last year I filled out a whole chart on the FB page, which means I let 2018 items go! The conversation is often deep and rich, and the moderators are protective and careful, so it feels really safe.
Your dining room looks lovely! I can understand not wanting to fill it up too much. I’ve also noticed that if I move decor items (like your stained glass) around a bit, I notice and appreciate them more. It keeps things feeling fresh.
You’ve been through some big challenges and unique situations over the last few years.
Thanks for the suggestion for moving things around and also the FB page. Congrats on letting go of 2018 items. That’s a big accomplishment.
I wrote a big comment and tried to post it but it didn’t show up. When I tried to post it again, it said I’d already said that. Do you know if it’s there?
Found it, Jan. Not sure what happened there. Thanks for alerting me to ht problem.