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I love our home. It isn’t perfect but it’s us.
I’ve been sitting on this post a long time. Mostly because of that reason, I love our home.
I love it, it feels like such a safe space. And I feel oddly protective of it. But I am also excited to share it because I love it. You know?
And there is so much I could say. I could talk about the choices we’ve made and why and how they’ve effected our life. And I don’t know if that would be helpful or not. I don’t know what I want this post to be, I don’t know what you want this post to be… so let’s just take a look around and see what comes out?
Oh and if you have no idea who we are or the backstory, oops… we are a family of two adults, two kids (5 and 8) and a much loved adopted cat, Houdini who live in a two bedroom apartment. You can read more about our life in the about category.
Most of the time that we are at home and not sleeping is spent here. And I love that. I love that our home encourages us to congregate together, even if we are doing things separately. When we first got together, we lived in a two roomed place… not two bedrooms but just two rooms and we dreamed of this giant house with a room for everything. With a table for eating, and a table for art, and a table for boardgames… Well we tried that in the conventional manner, we finally worked our way up to a four bedroom home with two living spaces and it felt so redundant? Maintaining so many different spaces for so many different things was overwhelming and constant. It made life more complicated instead of less!
So here we are, trying it a different way with a room for everything and a table for everything and it is so simple. You need a table? You don’t have to think where is most appropriate, it is always right here. And it encourages us to reset it with each use so that it is available for whatever the next need is. And it is used so thoroughly! I feel so uncomfortable thinking about all the tables we had that sat dormant for so much of their life, the materials and time that went into them just deserve more to me.
When we began clearing the physical space in our life, we began thinking more about the other spaces too. Life can be really noisy and distracting! And it is so hard to find clarity in yourself when you are being bombarded with information; from labels, media, news, advertisement. When we began moving more towards zero waste, we really felt that calm when our house wasn’t yelling at us to pay attention so much information and we wanted more of that.
We wanted to be less passive in that which we encountered and four months ago, made the decision to remove our TV. It made our days longer in a good way, we seemed to have so much more usable time. We do still watch things in our office but it is something you have to put more thought into to prepare the space for that purpose and in deciding what to watch. Our stereo has so far made the cut, we use it to play audiobooks and music (is that too obvious to include ha).
Our kids create a lot. We keep some on our wall, when it gets full we take it down and begin growing it again from scratch, usually every few months. Things that come down from the wall end up in here along with everything else and when it gets full, we go through and decide what ones to file away and which we are ready to say goodbye too. One thing we did do was move into art journals verse loose paper as it is far easier to keep track of and store one full but of course, favourites get pulled out for the wall and so… yeah. This system seems to work smoothly for us. We do end up keeping quite a lot but I’d rather make room for it by removing other things than not, it’s all about priorities right?
Our art supplies live on this cart that lives next to our couch. I like that it is on wheels so we can move it to where ever makes sense at the time and it’s open so it’s easy to see everything.
On the top the kids have a folio each, I’ve done a flip through video of this on my facebook but it is basically each filled with coloured cardboard, ribbon, stickers… basically any collagey type thing gets kept in here and the kids can easily look through to find what they need and it’s compact to store. We also have a box in our kitchen where we collect recyclables and the kids are always welcome to raid it for things they might need or want.
Next is a colouring book each for me and the kids, they choose them because they love cats but I also really like adult colouring books for their longevity, they inspire more investment because the pictures are more detailed and complex — colouring books are also not really a necessity but they’re fun and I find it soothing. Then an art journal each. And at the very front is my bullet journal or paper brain which I can talk about more in another post if people are interested? It’s where I keep all the things I need to remember.
So we keep the basics on hand, this is our idea of the basics; watercolours and brushes, pencils, pens, scissors, tape, glue, sharpener and rubber (the pink and orange things) and rulers. We would like to invest in some other paints… soon. If a person needs something that we do not have, they figure out how to make it work in another way that uses what we do have or we figure out a way to obtain it. I feel like you need to know the option exists but that doesn’t necessarily mean storing it personally. We live in an urban area where we can walk to shops, we have a thriving community we can share resources with, we have options beyond our own walls.
In the bottom we have playdough and clay tools. I like making our own, it’s cheaper, seems to last better, you can create the exact colour you want and how much prettier are glass jars? Not to mention less wasteful than packaged in plastic options. We also have clay, which is kept in our hallway closet (we bought bulk so it is laaaarge)… you’ll see that later. Our kids use playdough on black, thin card like creations that we repurposed and we store those under our couch… it just means less cleaning the floor.
Our kids are still keen on duplo as well as lego (maybe even more so, I think it is just far quicker to make creations big enough for their cats haha) so we have a selection of both. We keep our lego inside a sheet in this chest so we can lift it all out onto the floor for play and then wrap it back into here easily once done. Lego is a big love of the other adult in our home so we have a lot. More than fits in here and we are still figuring out how to figure that out.
We keep a selection of the most frequently played and loved games in this basket next to the couch. The rest of our games collection is in the hallway closet.
The rest of the toys. It’s more than I’d choose but it’s not really for me to decide now that they are owned by our kids. Their things, their choice…. as long as it fits in the space we have and well, it fits. We have tried so many different ways of storing toys but honestly, you can’t beat the one big basket… if you need to find it? You know where to look. And if you need to pack it away? You know where to put it.
I felt like this needed it’s own section even though it is technically in our living space because it just feels so important. I know so much of our clutter used to be from coming inside and just dumping all those bits and pieces you take out with you everywhere. And then you can’t find things next time you need them, it’s really not a great system. So our solution was creating this landing space. Everybody knows where to come to find all their out of the house bits and also where to return them to when we return. On the top we have a yellow jar where we collect spare change and a basket for our keys. On the side lives my basket bag and our umbrella.
The top drawer has our hats, sunscreen (which we use rarely, mostly if we are going swimming in the height of summer) and we keep other small items in a basket so they don’t get lost in the drawer.
The next drawer is for bags. We also have these travel clipboards ready to go for if the kids want them. The kids each have a cloth bag (lovingly made and tie dyed by their Nanna) and a small coin purse. There are two communal cloth bags we keep here, we have more in our hallway closet. Then my slingpack which can hold snacks and water bottles for outings that require that and then a small black wrist clutch for when I just need my card holder, phone and keys.
And the bottom holds all our shoes.
Our kitchen is compact but we can fit four busy humans in here so that is enough space.
Along the window sill we keep our scrubbing brush, dishwashing powder and washing up liquid, a jug for filling our water filter and a set of ceramic measuring cups I was gifted by a dear friend. Zero waste is so beautiful, I feel less desire to hide things in cupboards!
But if we so desired, we could store them here under the sink as we have the space! Currently it houses spare cleaning products and our dustpan.
I keep my B12 supplements here as I’m usually opening this cupboard at one point during the day and it reminds me to take it.
This is a box of chopsticks. Just thought that mightn’t be obvious.
We use clothes now instead of single use items so we have quite a number here (and quite a number in the wash because I cleaned the house for the photos ha).
We use our stainless steel containers for taking food with us out. For storing food we either use our jars, a bowl with a plate over the top or a double plate situation. I was scared about freezing glass jars but we’ve been storing soup for months now without a single breakage; we make sure the mixture is not too hot before sealing and we leave plenty of space in the top just in case.
We keep these in our kitchen because we shop straight into our own jars and bags when possible and so before a shopping trip we need to load these up with the empty ones we will need.
We keep all our spares jars up the top. The one you can see partially filled has rubber bands and twist ties that we sometimes get on produce for reusing. Next is all our pantry staples. Then our bowls and plates (8 of each). And at the bottom is our bin, one day I hope we don’t need it at all of course. Around the corner we have cups and mugs. Bowls for cooking and soaking. A basket for onions and potatoes. Our cat’s food. And a basket for our recyclables.
This is our family bed. It works for us and I have to say is mighty minimal and convenient. If somebody wakes in the night, there’s no getting up to them because we are all there. There is only one bed to make! And one load of washing to do. And it is easy to shift the mattresses up to air out frequently and vacuum underneath.
We keep a basket of books next to the bed as we read each night. It is also the comfiest space for reading during the day. It is a selection chosen sporadically from our collection that we keep in the hallway closet (I feel I’ve mentioned it so much, it’s coming) and our weekly library books. When we had all our books visible at once, it would be so hard to choose and the kids often gravitated towards their favourites because it was simple, they stood out in the crowd. And while favourites are lovely and comforting, it is also nice to discover new favourites! This way we get to focus on different books each week and experience more. All our books are still always available as needed on lower accessible shelves if needed or wanted between swaps.
Our clothing is all stored together. Again, so convenient. One place to find everybody’s clothes and one place to return it all too when laundry is done. I want to do a whole post about my wardrobe (and why I re-embraced jeans) but to briefly explain what is where; the basket on the top of the drawers is my current set of house clothes, it is what I wear around the house (and to sleep), I wash them as needed so they just get chucked in there when not in use; spare house clothes are in the bottom drawer (I have in total; two shirts, two long pants for winter, two shorts for summer and a jumper). I hang my out of the house clothes except pants which are in the second drawer (I have in total; four shirts, two dresses, four jumpers/sweaters/cardigans, two shorts, one pair of jeans). In the top drawer is undergarments and socks (and my menstrual cup in a cloth drawstring bag). The third drawer is my exercise gear (one shirt, two pants, one jumper).
The basket beside my drawers is all our swimmers. Chris has a basket of pants, a basket of undergarments and socks and his shirts and jumpers/sweaters hanging. The kids have undergarments and socks in the top drawer, the middle drawer is all Immy’s clothes and the bottom drawer is all Aubrey’s clothes; they are not folded — the easiest way for them to find what they need is to empty the drawer until they stumble upon it and the easiest way to clean that up? Just chuck it all back in. Set your home up for success! The basket next to their drawers is their collection of fairy skirts.
Bathroom & Laundry:
The main thing I wanted to talk about is this genius toy storage solution that only really works specifically in our bathroom ha but I was so excited when it came together. I figured out one of our laundry bags fits right over the space designed to hold a hand towel (we only use a hand towel when we will have guests, we are happy just using whatever towel happens to be hanging for hands). We don’t have specific bath toys so this hanging mesh system helps to get things nice and dry before they return to their home in the living space. It is currently full of duplo.
In our shower we just have soap and shampoo (bought into our own container). That’s all we feel we really need and also means it can all fit on this soap shelf without cluttering up the shower too much. We have one sturdy laundry basket for the trek down to the communal line, it lives on the washing machine. Just like our mop lives in the laundry sink… not the most elegant but it works.
Our sink! The essentials are kept up here; toothbrushes, toothpaste (we tried making our own but the kids were not keen so we’ve been using this organic paste sparingly for now), our homemade deoderant and soap.
The top drawer has a hair brush and accessories.
The middle drawer is face towels.
And the bottom drawer is medicinal.
In the cupboard is our “hairdresser at home kit” and an empty bag we use for taking toiletries when travelling.
Our toilet is separate which I think is kind of nice when you only have one bathroom. We keep our vinegar and bicarb on the windowsill in here for cleaning.
This is our office, where I am writing this right now! It has our computers and Chris’s favourites from his lego collection. The wall opposite the computers is blank and this is where we build our nests for the occasional movie night (you can find a recent one on my instagram). The top drawer on the desk is where we keep any paper bills or actionable mail. The middle drawer has a pen (for writing a giant DONE on said actionable mail when it has been actioned). The bottom drawer has our phone chargers.
Everything else gets kept in the hallway closest. There’s a lot to take in in these pictures…
Our towels; we keep different coloured towels (x2) for each person, it just helps us keep accountable of caring for them and not going to grab towel after towel after towel. Below them is our backpack for bigger treks and other cloth bags. We then keep beach/pool towels (one each) and two spare towels up the top.
At the top we have Chris’s memorabilia and a giant exploded folio of lego instructions booklets. We then store our toilet paper here. Then our books. And at the bottom our games. On the otherside is our stationary. Then our electrical cords. And at the bottom is our clay, cuisenaire rods, letter cards and a rock tumbler.
Up the top there is all my sentimental items and our albums, I need to go through them again. Some areas take many, many passes through as we become more ready to say goodbye. On the next shelf is spare baskets and trays and our important documents folder. Then there is our vacuum, in what I can only assume is the vacuum closet.
And that’s our home. I hope you enjoyed that thorough peek, I do apologize for the photo quality… I only have my phone and not a lot of skill to work with.
I’ve written a follow up post if you’re interested in our why and how of minimalism!