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Mimimalist Mamas - Page 7

post #121 of 152

today, i started for-real tackling the "garden."


I grant you, it's a stretch to call it a garden. it's a tiny little courtyard space a tthe back of my house, and two very narrow beds running along the side of the house (which is where the entrance is). 


nevertheless, i got the place de-trashed and weeded. it wasn't a lot of trash, but it was a lot more trash than i expected. also, a lot of the plants are just in bad shape. I pruned several of them, but I don't know if many of those are going to make it. 


my landlady is also helpful. she's going to remove the stuff in the back that we can't use, so that we can have the space. I'd managed already, this morning, to go through the shelf unit of paint cans and chemicals and figure out that 90% of them were not useable or simply empty cans (and rusted through pretty good). since she is building the house next door, the workmen are able to take care of those cans for us. I put the good paints/etc (used just before we moved in to spruce the place up) into our 'secure storage' area, but she said she'd be happy to take them when her garage is finished (week or two?).  So, that means we'll be free of all of those chemicals! In addition, she'll be removing drawers (plastic) and a workbench. 


we, then, will be able to garden! i'm going to transplant some agapanthus from the front walk to the hillside at the back of our house -- that is the back "wall" of our garden. I'm going to mix agapanthus with some local grasses, too, and hope that those grasses just start to take over so I don't have to weed out clover so frequently. but, clover is great green manure, so I don't mind so much. i plan on putting down gravel so that the mud from the hillside isn't so much of a problem (it rains a lot, so we get a fair bit of soil down there). 


i think that will work.



then it's a matter of just putting in some potted plants, building a swing and sand box, and putting a bench out in the same area with the sand box and swing. 


post #122 of 152

continued work on the garden space today.


DH helped me pile the landlady's things into one corner, and from there, I was able to sweep out the greenhouse. we decided to keep the floating floor on the one side, as it keeps the place level and was difficult to move. I measured out the sand box space, and I plan on putting pallets as planters along the back wall behind the sandbox space. This will be a space for herbs and lettuces! , along one side, I'll also put some potted plants along the sides -- but not so large that they would block the ability to get to the herb/lettuce pallets. 

Across from this space, I put the long bench that we have -- which DS largely uses as a play kitchen. This will be a much better space for him to play. I have space at both ends for some potted plants on the ground, and I'll probably put a few on the bench to stabilize it a bit. I haven't decided what I want to plant yet, but I'm thinking that perhaps a blueberry bush (DS's favorite!) might be a good option for the corner. 


Under the kitchen window -- which looks out into the space -- I'll put in a flower box. I'm thinking of hanging a couple of tomato, bell pepper, and cucumber plants as well -- since we eat a lot of those and hanging goes well. I'll plant herbs on top, even though they'll be hung too high up to really use. The pallets will be for use, these are simply to cover and prevent pests. 


I think the toughest part, at this point, will be making the sandbox. 


it's winter here. i'm hoping to get this room set up by end of august, so that i can start planting in early spring. that's when there are good deals on started plants. i don't really want to start from seed (some things I will, though -- like lettuces). 


then, i'll get to work on the outdoor space between the protected/covered space (which is quickly becoming a more utilitarian space), and the greenhouse/playroom (as ds calls it) started. it's a small space -- perhaps about 9 ft by about 5 feet, leading into the hillside. I found a space with a lot of native grasses and flaxes growing wild, and was able to easily draw out several bulbs. I brought them back here and temporarily planted them, and I think i'll plug them into the hillside to hold the soil. Then more containers in this section, and it should look really nice. :)

post #123 of 152

Your plans sound wonderful! I bet you are having lots of fun doing all that.


We cleaned out dad's storage (because he plans to sell the house in the near future) and most of the stuff went into donation pick up pile in the garage floor. Some stuff he wanted to keep. My sis took a few things. I took a pair of hardly used snowboarding gloves, because just last winter I thought that I really need waterproof gloves for winter, my only pair is leather and they get soaked playing in snow...


So yes, once again I was looking at the truth that is that almost all the stuff we keep in storage is something completely useless.. A lot of it was mom's fabrics and old curtains and such, and then clothes, and then more clothes dad put in there after mom had died..


There was one "memory box" of mine that I didn't finish looking through. I didn't bring it home since I plan to burn most everything in dad's oven. I will keep a few letters from my family when I was overseas as an exchange student. I have my SMALL memory box at home which has hardly anything in it so I will put them there. And a few photographs that I plan to take out of the albums and then trash the albums and burn the pics I don't want. Burn my old diaries. I will perhaps look through them, I'm not sure yet if I even want to.


There was also two boxes of old fashion magazines - I don't even read any magazines anymore and I don't want my daughter to be around any. And I sure as heck don't want to store them and move them! I was using my parents storage for that LOL!


My snowboarding boots went into donation, I just don't see myself snowboarding that much anymore. And if I do I can rent..


When my dad sells the house there will be lots more work, but not so bad. The house is only like 1200 sf and it is not packed full by any means. Of course we'll help dad with it, since he can't take all the furniture and there is many antique pieces my sis at least wants and who knows, maybe my brother and I will take something. Also all the other mom's stuff still there, dad just doesn't want to make decisions about it which I understand.


Honestly I don't know what I would take. My sis already says she wants this antique tableware, a very full set :) It will be perfect for them as they have the biggest house (still only like 1600-1800sf  plus storage) and they host Christmases and Easters and big birthdays etc. And there is this large wooden antique "chest", that is used like a credenza for tableware storage and such but it's higher than a credenza.. She want that too. It's gorgeous, but big and heavy and we don't need it. There is still two wooden sofas/pull out daybeds.. a writing desk.. and so on. But I think my sis will actually find room for a lot of it, she says she can get rid of some IKEA pieces or whatever.. But they do have antiques already as well.


There is this one small wall-hanging cabinet with glass doors, it's very old and quite cute. It wouldn't take any floor space either. But my brother already said that he'd like that one, and that's the only thing he's mentioned, so he can have it. I already have those green velvet upholstered antique chairs in the attic (that go with our sofa) that we have no room for. And the couch is hardly ever used. Only when we have company someone will sit there..

I offered the set to my brother, LOL, but he said that they are afraid their cat will destroy them, and they are not too keen on unpractical furniture either.. :D

My sis already has an antique  "dining room sofa" and green is not her color anyway... But I KNOW that she would want to keep it in case her daughters would want it when they grow up (the oldest is 8 now). Oh well. We do have room for couch for now.. If my dad didn't just spend a small fortune in upholstering the set for me I'd get rid of it..


I'm rambling now.

This is the last day of DH's vacation, sigh. At least there's still lots of summer left.



post #124 of 152

I loved the pallet planter idea, I have three pallets now waiting to become strawberry planters.  Last night we loaded up a friends pickup truck with nasty wood leftovers and broken tile we ripped out of the kitchen.  Dh took it too the dump this morning, it was 1800 pounds!  It's nice to have my garage back now!

post #125 of 152

it is awesome to have a room back!


i priced out a good veggie box for the sand box for DS -- should make a nice one. Price is good (for NZ) at $129 for the kit, the fabric to go beneath, and the cover to keep the cats out. :D And, found some *really cool* planters at a really great price so that I can plant the shade/cottage garden. so, i think it's going to be pretty great overall. I'm excited about it!


In addition, we are moving forward with some interior work.


our first step, actually, is to put shelving in the lounge and also in the "closet room" which is quickly morphing into a library. We will curtain off the closet side of the room, and then put shelving on the long wall for our books and DH's writing materials. I'm also greatly considering home/unschooling again, so we would need space for those supplies as well. 


I'm bringing the two mid-century modern chairs from the office into the house. One will be in the corner by the shelving in the living room (which will mostly house DH's toys, some of our most-used books, and perhaps a nature table) across from and facing the day bed. Then, both the chair and the bed will need to be dressed. 


The second chair will go into the "library" (the new working title for the closet room) with a mid-century modern stool which would be a table or footstool depending upon need. I think this will be great for DH -- a place for him to read, study, write, work on his stuff, but also just a comfortable spot overall. I'm excited to see it come together. It's a very chilly room, so I"ll have to recover the chair in something warm and also make sure there's a blanket or 3 in there. LOL


So, i'm excited about that as well. :) 


Oh, and business is growing again. Such awesomeness!





post #126 of 152

I've been watching a show called Small Space, Big Style (it's on Hulu if you don't have tv/cable like me). It definitely not all minimalists, but some are and it gives great ideas for using a small space to it's maximum. The first episode featured this cool portable home I think like some of you were talking about. It made me think of yall anyway... 

post #127 of 152

sounds cool but i can't get hulu outside of the US. nifty, huh? :D 


i just did a closet/cabinet declutter. it's worked out nicely. not much to let go of, but enough to feel good having let it go.

post #128 of 152

I'm about to get rid of a couple of bags of stuff again. DD's outgrown stuff and stuff that was given to us and a couple of my own things.


We are at a place where it would actually be realistic for us to travel and / or live abroad. The thing that keeps bugging me is that DD is extremely sensitive and she was distressed when we last moved and missed our old home. Coming back to our old place was much easier since it was still familiar to her. "Home" is very important to her.


I guess I'm worried that she would be traumatized, by feeling uprooted and lost and home-sick. Maybe she is just too small? Maybe we should settle for just regular shorter trips for now.


Even a few months is like eternity to a toddler. Then just as she would get used to a place, we would move back again. Like we did with the previous apartment. But it was different as the place was really close and we still went to the same places and did the same things.... not really the same at all as moving to the other side of the world.


Then again, she  doesn't really have friends yet beyond family yet, she spends all her time with us, so in that regard it would be easy now that she is small. But I feel like she is just getting to know her extended family! 


So maybe it's a selfish dream, and the best thing for my daughter (for now) would be to stay here. 



post #129 of 152

I don't know, you're her mom so you know her best. But I honestly think kids are a lot more adaptable than we think sometimes. I have a daughter who is very shy around anyone except her immediate family. To the point that she will stare and give anyone else (including grandma, etc ) dirty looks and refuse to go anywhere near them. We went to Africa for a month and because she is completely a home girl who loves being in her own place I was worried how she would go out of her element. She LOVED it there. Because the people there are so friendly and loving to children (not like Australia AT ALL) she began to come out of her shell. She would start conversations with very big taxi drivers LOL. She talks about the people and places there all the time and I know she misses it as much as I do. I think, if you have the ability, one of the best gifts you can give your child is to travel with them and let them see and experience different cultures and sights. You would likely regret not going when you had the chance, a lot more than you would regret going. Just my honest opinion :)

post #130 of 152

hawk is gung ho about travel and loves living in NZ too. he remembers his old place, and he misses his grandparents a bit, but it's all good. he's game, you know?

post #131 of 152

Moving stresses out my 3 year old, but loves to travel as long as DH and I are both there.  I've gone to visit my family without him and she's been very upset, but other then that she seems to understand the adventure and impermanence of travel.

post #132 of 152

Yes, DD is great with travel too. I think it's because she knows it's temporary and we will return home soon, that she can enjoy the adventure. She is always so well behaved and a great sport!

Moving to a different country would be very stressful for her I think...


But maybe if we had a home base here, and we could always return here and she would know that, then it might be better. (Similarly, she was able to give up her pacifier when we forgot it at home when visiting my sis, and just told her, oh, it's at home.. and when we came home and she asked about it we just said that it's in a safe place, we'll look for it later, or something like that. So just knowing it was still around somewhere was enough for her.. If we said it was lost or put in the trash she would have been upset.)


If we just owned a very small home it might be plausible. Then we could come and go as we please. I guess it comes down to how much time we'd like to spend here vs. in another country.


I'm about to leave with DD to go to a cabin by a lake, my dad and brother and his girlfriend are coming. It'll be interesting to see how it goes. We are only there for a few days though.


I need to pack now...

post #133 of 152

well, i have to say that the moving/transition between homes here was confusing to him. he had this idea that we would have two homes, and go between them, but I explained that we were leaving one "for good" and going to the new one "for the time being" -- he was upset about it, but he's happy with the new place.


the less stressed and anxious we were about it, the more accepting of it he was. i think the anxiety is normal.


and, we go past it on the bus a lot, and he points our old place out. 'that's where we lived before. now we live in seatoun.'

post #134 of 152

Hello to everyone! I haven't read the entire thread yet but I wanted to introduce myself. This thread is a wonderful idea! I'm currently a WAHM (ok, mostly SAHM, but once every few weeks I shell out a few diapers) to two wonderful boys. We live in an office building that we take care of for my DH's boss. I got turned on to the whole minimalist lifestyle about a year or so ago and I'm really attracted to it. I can't say I'm a hardcore minimalist though, more like soft core, lol. I am trying to declutter, but I will never feel at home in a true minimalist home that has bare walls or practically no decoration. I LOVE decorating and I love the warmth that carefully selected "things" can bring to your home. For me, less is more, but none is definitely not more, if that makes sense. I guess I'm even minimal is my minimalism.

post #135 of 152

Hi Green momma, I don't think you have to be into the stark empty rooms thing to be minimalist :) I am definitely not. I think if it works for you then great but I like things to be a bit more welcoming. I love nursery type decor so we kind of have a theme for every room (or will when we finally get to our new home and unpack everything again ;)) and my house is very kid-centred. But it's not cluttered and apart from selected special decor items we only have things we need or use a LOT for the rest of the house. So you can be minimalist and still have a nicely decorated home. Everything in moderation I guess :). 

post #136 of 152

Oooo... jumping in! I don't have time to read the replies or really write my own right now, but I'll be back!

post #137 of 152

I was in a car accident two months ago, and have been immobile since; I just recently have started to be able to get around using a walking boot. Fortunately, I've had lots of help, but man is there a lot to do to catch up again! So much stuff has crept in and I'm not even sure how...


I have surgery again on Monday for some hardware removal, so I'm not sure how much that will set me back, but the kids start school on the 29th, which I am starting to feel a little anxious about. Basically, I went from being a kid, to having kids. And now I'm 34, getting divorced and all five of my kids will be in school (youngest is 3 days a week) so after the initial shock of wondering what in the world I would ever do with all that time, I realized I have plenty to do! :) 


I had been pretty comfortable with my level of stuff before, I just need to do some quick once over of everything to get back to just maintaining. Which is okay with me, I am looking forward to it! Lighting some incense, putting some music on and purging/organizing/rearranging/cleaning my house all alone sounds like soo much fun!



post #138 of 152

I feel a little de-clutter coming tomorrow as I'm probably spending the day alone (DH and DD visiting in-laws).

There isn't much, but I will go over everything and see if there's something we no longer use or need. Shouldn't take too long.

There is actually already a bag of stuff waiting to be donated that I've been slowly adding to.

I just want to keep on top of things :D


Otherwise I'm looking forward to some knitting time, making DD wool pants for winter. Also need to shop for a snowsuit for her. And see if the coat from last winter still fits... I keep for her one snowsuit and a then a coat plus snow pants. When we go about town I like to have separates on her, so that if we go to a cafe or inside somewhere she can just take off the coat and not have to remove everything... This was if she gets her clothes completely dirty or wet, she still has another set of outer wear and can go out again :) 


Other than outerwear and some hand knits I think we are covered. I'll just remove the summer stuff when it's time, box up the thing that will fit next summer, and donate the things that won't.

post #139 of 152

I'm taking part in Apartment Therapy's Toy Cure. Sometimes I feel like the toys in this house procreate like bunnies. Has anyone here gotten a handle on the toy situation? I would love to see pics of decluttered and simplified toy/play areas.

post #140 of 152



This is the space my family lives in at the moment.  It's a bedroom, another bedroom has our beds.  The outside toys are in the front yard, and their books are in the bedroom with my books.  It's not particularly clean at the moment.  I vacuumed last night, but didn't really pick up or organize much.  Their art supplies are in the desk.  The second pictures shows the rubbermaid tub that has their dress up things and stuffed animals and dolls.  Usually the big dog is used as seating, but since I vacuumed, I had tossed it on top.  Board games are in the top of the closet.  Blocks and Legos are in that blue tub under the side table with my mess all over it.  I'm right in the middle of a sewing project.  I also have a few baby toys that are put up with the baby clothes to be grown into.  The clothes you see in the closet are for new baby, and my two year old, my four year old has just about as many right next to those, and then they each have one drawer in the other room for socks, hats, and diapers.


I tend to look at this room and go "UGH we have SO MUCH stuff" but the other night we went to visit some (very normal) friends and when got home I turned to my husband and asked "So I know I'm a minimalist, but are most people like that?  Does that make me an extreme minimalist" and he said that yes, I was an extreme minimalist.  Right now I am thinking about getting bunk beds with a trundle for the girls, and making a loft bed for our full and combining these two rooms into one.  But then again, I find I really miss having a couch, so when we get the floors refinished in the house I want a futon for my living room.

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