How to Incorporate Minimalism into a  Home Renovation 

bench-accounting-nvzvOPQW0gc-unsplash

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

As we grow, our homes grow with us, and it can be challenging to keep up with home improvements due to the natural hustle and bustle of life. Over time, rooms can become cluttered, outdated, and dingy due to daily wear and tear. So, if you’ve found yourself in need of an overhaul in your home, look no further. Utilizing minimalism as a design style can provide you with added benefits of peace of mind, as well as a clutter-free, and inviting space. Here are some simple ways to incorporate minimalism into your next renovation that will leave your home feeling more relaxed and cozy. 

Clean Up the Kitchen

kitchen cabinets

Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash

Seeing as the kitchen is the most utilized room in a home, it becomes easily susceptible to clutter and disorganization. It’s common to find a junk drawer, duplicate cookware items, and an overloaded pantry in many kitchens. If any of those sound familiar to you, it probably means that your kitchen isn’t as functional as it could be for you and your family. Thankfully, a minor and minimalistic kitchen remodel can do the trick. 

$$$: Reorganize Your Storage

If you find that your storage space just isn’t cutting it, you can incorporate new cabinetry in your kitchen to not only give it a face lift but make it functional to fulfill your minimalist design. Installing new cabinets in a kitchen can cost about $2,000 to $8,000 on average, but can vary based on the size of your space and the material you choose. Plus, you can customize cabinets to maximize storage by including a lazy-susan or double pull-out shelving. New cabinets will provide you with the opportunity to have clutter-free counter tops and more room to organize your belongings.

$$: Paint the Walls

When completing a remodel, color can make a significant difference in a living space. Neutrals—such as taupe, beige, and camel—can be used as accent colors to minimize any bulky furniture pieces like large tables or islands. You can also mix in black, white, or wood finishes to tie the space together and complete the simple and spacious design. Don’t underestimate the power a fresh coat of paint can have on the illusion of space—especially if you’re trying to keep it simple.

$: Declutter Excess Items

Once you’ve installed your new storage space and/or redecorated in your kitchen, take the time to purge any additional kitchen tools, expired items, or basic items you may have forgotten about. Be sure to give each piece you keep a designated area to prevent future disorganization. If you find yourself with duplicate items that are unused and in good condition, consider donating them to prevent waste. 

Keep in mind, though, that if you aren’t able to easily replace duplicate items, it’s okay to hold onto them in storage. If they’re contributing to a clutter problem in the kitchen, set them aside in a designated storage area in the event something breaks and needs a replacement.

Revamp the Living Room

brina-blum-nWX4pKwzLoE-unsplash

Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

Your living room should be a cozy space where you can kick back and relax. But when items start to accumulate on the tables and entertainment center, it can be easy to feel uneasy since clutter can leave us feeling stressed and anxious. So once you’ve taken the time to purge the room and reorganize the essentials, simple renovations can refresh your living room into a minimalist hideaway.

$$$: Build New Storage

Consider installing built-ins to give your decor pieces a place to shine. This can be a fun DIY project for you and your favorite handyman to tackle together and will be a great way to utilize all the square footage your room has to offer. Built-ins will help with limiting the amount of space for knick-knacks and will prevent you from over decorating or creating chaos in your area.

$$-$$$: Swap Furniture

Furniture can also make or break the look and feel of your living room. Keep in mind that minimalism focuses on quality over quantity; you don’t have to add more items to create depth in a room. Instead, try incorporating functional pieces such as a sectional couch matched with smaller accent tables, and accent with natural textiles. 

For cost savings and reduced environmental footprint, shop local resale shops like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to find furniture at a much more affordable price. My living room is furnished with secondhand items and it’s just as comfy and cozy as something bought new.

$$: Revamp Floors

Another great way to add to your open-feel is to install new flooring. Light-colored wood or large tiles are perfect options to add to your minimalist style. These options will create the look and feel of a bigger room and can be accented with a colorful area rug. Be sure when choosing a rug, to assess the size options, as you want to be sure to show off as much of your flooring as possible. The larger the rug, the smaller the room will feel. 

Spruce Up the Bathroom

phil-hearing-U7PitHRnTNU-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

The bathroom is another room in the home that can quickly become cluttered and disorganized, seeing as it’s usually our go-to room while getting ready each day. If you have the means to do so, replacing your bathroom vanity can provide you with more storage, as well as free-up any counter space that’s been taken over by brushes, cosmetics, etc. 

$$-$$$: Replace Your Vanity & Storage

Design options are endless, so assess your bathroom to help you choose a bathroom vanity that suits all your needs. Should you decide to install a larger vanity that offers more counter space, be sure only to keep out what is necessary. 

If you feel that you need more storage than what your vanity provides, opt for sleek bathroom cabinets to store all of your toiletries. To take your bathroom design to the next level, look into mirrors that provide additional storage and lighting to make your room as functional as possible.

$: New Fixtures

During your remodel, you can also consider updating the fixtures throughout your bathroom. Replacing your faucet, showerhead, and light fixtures with modern black pieces will tie the room together for a clean design. Fixtures can be found at a bargain at your local DIY store or Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

$: Declutter the Vanity

If you can’t afford a remodel or you’re in a rental space where you can’t make big changes to the space, take some time to re-organize and declutter the space. Be intentional with the items that you plan to keep on the counter top. If you find yourself knocking things over and getting frustrated, you’ll enjoy the peace from a less cluttered counter. But if you’re someone who needs to have all their stuff at arm’s reach, find a way to make it work for you within the existing space. Minimalism is personal.

Ultimately, the key to incorporating minimalism into any home improvement project is to make meaningful renovations by being mindful of your needs. Through the use of functional furniture and decor, as well as carefully selected design styles, you will be sure to have a finished remodel that the minimalist in you will love.

 

Welcome to my home!

I recently declared “I want to do a photo tour of my apartment, once I clean it and purge everything I haven’t used in the last six months.”

Guess what?

Yep. Cleaning marathon.

I spent about eight hours cleaning my apartment, assembling all my to-purge items in a big “organized” pile, rearranging my living room, cutting a LOT of clutter stress, and making everything pretty enough to show the world on my blog.

Here is is!

First, some minor background information: My apartment has two doors – one into the living room, and one into the kitchen.  The kitchen door is there so that when people got food deliveries back in the 1920s when the building was first used, the deliveryman could come right into the kitchen and not through the whole house. I call the living room door the “front door” and the kitchen door the “back door.”

When you walk in the front door, you see this:

liv room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The couch is a Salvation Army store find, covered in a white blanket because I didn’t like the floral print it had.  The rug is three kitchen rugs that I stitched together with embroidery thread.  The coffee table is a footlocker/trunk that I spray-painted white.  My desk area is comprised of an end table that my mom and I painted white this summer, and a storage ottoman I am using as a stool until I procure a desk chair I like.  And there are a couple of my record paintings on the wall and a print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, my favorite painting.  It used to be hanging in the center of the front wall, but I can’t put nails in the wall so it was up with 3M velcro strips and it proved too heavy.  Sad day.  I’ll paint something for the wall eventually.

liv room 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the corner by my door, featuring a bookshelf – those are all the books I own, a far cry from my initial library — and easel.  The pretty box on the floor holds some records for painting projects.  The wall has various photos and another record painting.

I left out the closet.  It’s not that exciting.  Mostly storage, and my fancy purple pea coat.  To the left of the door is my hallway, and our next stop is:

bedroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My bedroom, which is finally clean.  I have two end tables (you can sort of see one in the background) which are finally clear of ALL CLUTTER.  My end table only has a book and my phone charger on it.

One way I save space in my bedroom is with my lovely accessory storage system:

bedroom 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hats, necklaces, and earrings are displayed on the wall.  I haven’t worn a lot of the jewelry lately, so some of it will likely end up in The Great Purge of 2013.

Next up is the kitchen!

kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stove – clean.  Sink – clean. Counters – clean. Satellite bowl full of oranges – awesome. Breakfast nook – lovely, and clean! Sign stating, “It’s official – I’ve become my mother” – hilarious, and true.

Some space saving tips for the kitchen:

kitchen 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnetic knife rack under the cabinet.

kitchen 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall-mounted hooks (love those 3M strips) for cutting board and colander.

kitchen 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoe organizer on the fridge to hold utensils.  One day soon I will get rid of those awful plastic utensils.  Also, that’s Zoe!

Lastly, the bathroom:

bathroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All sparkling clean! And ZERO clutter, since everything fits in the vanity or medicine cabinet. Very soon that soap will be all used up and replaced with a natural alternative! Also, note my cat’s fancy top-entry litter box, full of eco-friendly and cat-friendly paper litter.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour!

 

No ‘poo

I have not used shampoo in a little over a month.

Google “No poo method” and you will find over one million search results teaching you how to clean your hair without using shampoo and conditioner.  The miracle ingredients are two of my favorite things: baking soda and vinegar.

The general recipe is this: one heaping tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water, and one tablespoon of vinegar per cup of water.  I eyeball mine, partly because I don’t have measuring spoons but mostly because I can very easily adjust as needed so I don’t need to bother being super precise.  You can adjust the baking soda or vinegar more or less depending on how your hair and scalp respond.

I use a plastic bottle (I had it lying around in my donate pile and salvaged for this operation) with a pull-top spout to mix the baking soda solution. The small spout makes it easy to get the solution into the roots of my hair.  I use a spray bottle for the vinegar mixture.  I use organic apple cider vinegar, but you can use distilled if that’s all you have.  I encourage the organic stuff though, it has given me better results.

The good: This method is free of nasty chemicals that hide in conventional shampoos and conditioners, which strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils.  You won’t have to wash your hair as often either!

The bad: People will probably think you’re a weird hippie, but it’s okay because your self-esteem is awesome.  It will fade your hair dye, but you don’t want those chemicals on your head anyway, right?

The ugly: There is usually a breaking-in period when switching to this method of haircare.  Because your scalp is used to being stripped of its oils, it may overcompensate for a while and your hair might get greasy pretty fast.  This is usually over within a couple weeks.  I didn’t even have this adjustment period, my hair just got awesome.  Your mileage may vary.

My results: I love it, and I have no plans to go back to shampoo.  I think my hair has better volume than it did when I used shampoo and conditioner, because the shampoo weighed down my hair with buildup, and there is no residue or buildup with this method. My dyed color has lightened, and it appears that my natural color, which I hate because it’s a dirty mousy brown color, actually seems brighter and doesn’t make me as upset when I see my roots — perhaps there is hope for a totally chemical-free head.  I also use the very same baking soda and vinegar solutions to scrub and tone my face in the shower — my acne is nearly gone!

Next project: DIY toothpaste from baking soda and salt.

What DIY bath products do you make at home? 

My not-so-minimalist bathroom

Hi, I’m Caitlin, and I am a recovered Just-In-Case-A-Holic.

I took the opportunity to remove everything from my bathroom while I was cleaning it, so I could take an honest look at what I had.  My findings astounded me.

I am ashamed.

How about those four brand-new deodorants? The two packs of makeup remover cloths when I hardly wear any makeup? Four bars of soap that came with me when I moved out of my ex-husband’s apartment.  Two brand new bottles of body wash for my boyfriend, two for me, plus one for each of us that was in the shower? Five tubes of toothpaste?

This has to stop.

I quickly began to sort, based on what I would keep, what I would transfer to someone else or to the donate box, and what I could toss.  Tossing was easy — old cosmetics and a hairbrush.  The transfer/donate pile got the his & hers body washes, lotion, one of those bottles of baby oil, and some other odds and ends (like my two extra pairs of tweezers).

The stuff I kept got sorted further still — would its home be the shower, the medicine cabinet, under the sink in the vanity, or in the “bathroom” bin on my bedroom shelf?  Shower and medicine cabinet stuff got put away, and here’s the rest of what made the cut:

Much better. I also left out the kitty litter scoop and toilet bowl brush. Those are givens. Plus, I didn’t want them on my bed.

The clear tote box is my “refill” box, with deodorants, soaps, contact lenses, and toothpaste.  I vow to not buy any more of those things until I use up what’s in this box.  Purple box has the overflow that I use semi-regularly but doesn’t fit in the bathroom, so it stays on my bedroom shelf — it has a hairdryer, flat iron, cotton balls, and various hair and makeup odds and ends in the zip bag.  Pink polka dot box has lady stuff in it.  The white-lid container is for kitty litter (the litter box is in the bathroom), and the small cup is a shaving kit I got as a gift for my boyfriend.

Here’s how the finished bathroom looks:

Daily things —  dental hygiene stuff, face stuff, hairbrush.

Shower stuff — his & hers body washes (to be replaced with a single bar of soap upon their demise), shampoo and conditioner, face wash, shaving cream.

In the vanity — refills, lady stuff, kitty litter stuff, extra toilet paper, and cleaning stuff.

One more step toward just enough. I would like to be rid of the excess soaps and toothpastes before I move again, so I’ll be sure to work my way through this stash before I go buying anything new.

I love how clean and light my bathroom is when I don’t have clutter all over it.  How do you keep your bathroom free of clutter and just-in-case items?