* Before we get started, let me add a little disclaimer here to say that I do not think of myself as better than anyone, nor do I believe that I parent or make my home better than anyone—I am not here to compete! On the contrary, I wish only to share a simpler way of life. These are habits & practices that we have adopted and continue to grow in and ones that work for OUR FAMILY. I intend to shed some light on our daily life and provide useful information to those who seek and will appreciate it. Thank you!
Five habits of our simple home life:
- Use natural and organic products
- Live with less stuff
- Make your own
- Reuse and recycle!
[In this post, I will only be discussing bullet number two due to the lengthy details.]
Live with less stuff Because we live in 768 square feet, it is necessary to save as much space as we can. That’s my biggest objective these days. We do have a storage unit within our apartment building, which is helpful, but in general I just like to be mindful of how much we have in our apartment at one time. Overall, I think we do pretty well with keeping to a minimum the essential and practical items within our home. When I quit working to stay at home with my daughter, I immediately began going through EVERYTHING in order to simplify. (You can find more details about this project via my previous blog, here). It brings me joy to declutter and organize…which is why I’m always trying to find any unnecessary items to get rid of! However, this isn’t to say that we aren’t sentimental. Not everything we have is practical. A lot is about what is comfortable, cute, and worthwhile. But tossing duplicates and eliminating extras is good practice.
For baby: For me, the biggest area to minimize the amount of stuff we have is baby. I’m kind of obsessive about it! Let me tell you, YOU DON’T NEED every product on the market for your baby. It is exciting to get prepared for the baby and to buy things that are needed to make life easier once the baby arrives—there are so many neat things out there. But honestly, very few things are actually a necessity. We have operated on practically nothing since Vienna was born. One of the reasons I didn’t have a baby shower was because I didn’t want to get stuff. I didn’t need it! Anyway, I was certain that friends and relatives would give lots of gifts once she was born, even without a shower or requests for goods. Plus, we were fine with using hand-me-down furniture, clothes, towels, sheets, and toys. I realize that receiving hand-me-downs may not be possible for all, but there are stores such as Goodwill and Once Upon A Child that carry used, clearance, and inexpensive baby items. We have, and still do, purchase a lot of Vienna’s clothes and/or toys from those kinds of stores — they are a great resource! And I’m not saying that you can’t buy anything new or something that you like, but just KEEP IT SIMPLE.
For example, one of my tenets is to postpone purchasing an item until the baby enters that stage in which she’ll need it — and not before then. Otherwise, items are just being stored forever and taking up space. We didn’t need a crib until we transitioned Vienna to her own room when she was six months old. (And we were lucky enough to receive one from my sister-in-law). Before that, she slept in a bassinet in our room and then a pack-and-play. A few months ago, we placed an old twin mattress of mine on her bedroom floor and now she sleeps there. Thankfully, we had the mattress on hand (and she transitioned so well) that we didn’t need to go out and purchase a toddler bed or something! Also, we didn’t find it necessary to buy a highchair before she was born if it wasn’t going to be used until she was seven or eight months old. (And again, in our limited space, no need to take up more room). We have yet to buy utensils for Vienna to use when she’s eating because she either eats with her hands or will use a small spoon (a coffee creamer spoon). She also learned how to hold and drink from a small glass cup, so no need to buy sippy cups either. We keep a limited supply of clothing for Vienna and only buy more clothes once she outgrows them. In the beginning, mainly because we chose not to find out the sex of our baby, we bought neutrals so that we could easily mix and match outfits. We still hold to that philosophy today so Vienna is quite often wearing neutral colors. Baby toys: again, we keep it simple. We have books, blocks, stuffed animals, and educational toys for Vienna. No electronics, no television. Bowls, pots & pans, wooden spoons, and the great outdoors are especially fascinating to babies as well. There’s no need to go out and buy fancy toys.
For the home: Most of our furniture has been gifted, borrowed from a family member, or purchased by us. Very few items exist with the latter label. We continue to update pieces as the budget allows, but to tell you the truth, I’m not very fond of many of our pieces. I do want to be more consistent with our style and have new things but have learned that living this way is not always so bad. It makes our home unique and cozy and has helped me to be grateful and creative in the way I use things, such as trying different setups within the rooms. With a small budget, it gives us change without having to go out and buy a piece of décor or furniture.
For a while, we had a small TV in our bedroom that we only used to watch movies. We had visitors asking us if we had a TV and where it was – apparently it’s odd to not have a TV in your living room! We do have one in there now, but we still mostly just watch movies. Perhaps some other practices that are deemed odd: we don’t have cable, we don’t have internet (besides on our cellphones), we share one car (always have, even when we were both working full-time), we use our dishwasher as our drying racks for when we wash dishes by hand (we rarely use the dishwasher), and we recently put our microwave in storage – it saves A LOT of space in our kitchen, and we can just as easily use the stove to heat things up.
I feel that the less we own, the less we have to store, pick up, and clean around. What we have gets used often (it seems I am ALWAYS tidying up), so when it comes to housework, it isn’t a daunting task. Like, at all. And also, it helps if everything has its certain place and stays there (or at least returns there if taken somewhere else). It just makes practical and logical sense to me! That way, nothing ever gets lost and everyone in the household is aware of where an item “resides.”
When Vienna and I are at home and not babysitting, we listen to the radio throughout the day, play around, or talk with one another. We don’t allow her to watch TV, so it is never on during the day and never an activity that we participate in. Sometimes it can be boring, but it also challenges me to be more creative and productive with our time. As a family, we generally enjoy our quiet time anyway. We are simple, homebody folks.
Please, always feel free to contact me directly for more information or any questions regarding this post. I am always happy to share and discuss in greater detail these elements and areas of our life about which I am so passionate. You can find my contact information on my contact page.