6 Tips for a Healthy and Minimal Kitchen (Decluttering Progress: Part III)

The kitchen can be a sanctuary. The kitchen can be a grimy hell hole. Sometimes it's a little bit of both.

I think that to maintain an organized, tidy, healthy, and clean kitchen there are a few things to remember.

You can see how these tips have changed my kitchen for the better, as I show what my kitchen used to look like in my KonMari video here.

1. Clean with non-toxic and safe cleaning products.

The whole point of cleaning is to make it a healthier place to be, right? Why poison yourself with harsh chemicals? I make my own multi-purpose cleaner with a few natural and safe ingredients. I am going to post a video about the recipes I use next week. Stay tuned!

2. Clean often.

This is something that we're working on. Eventually, after decluttering more, I think it will be easier to actually clean surfaces on a more regular basis. 

Matt and I have been really good about doing our dishes at the end of the night each night. We do have to get better at cleaning the refrigerator and floors at least once a week.

3. Use glass containers for food storage.

We are trying to figure out the best way to buy bulk items in an attempt to reduce the waste we produce. We have some jars for these items but might need to head over to the thrift store to find some more.

We also like storing our leftovers in glass containers rather than plastic. Plastics leach into our food when the temperature changes. Glass containers also last longer and I think they look nicer.

4. Get rid of items you don't use.

Keeping the amount of things in the kitchen to a minimum is important to me. Our kitchen is pretty small to begin with. We cook a lot so we need all the chopping space we can get.

We have a few items sitting on the dining room table in purgatory, waiting to learn their fate. Will they be sold or donated? 

I also wrote a blog post about keeping the kitchen manageable, in terms of dishes and silverware. The idea I discuss has been a game-changer for me.

In my last video about our decluttering progress, you can also see the before and after of the under the sink situation. It’s MUCH better now.

5. Have a designated place for each item.

Giving each item a home in the kitchen makes it that much easier to put it away after using it. It keeps things looking tidy and you always know where everything is! 

6. Incorporate plants into the kitchen.

Plants just add some freshness, color, and a sense of calm. The trick is to not go overboard and get so many plants that you can't keep them looking nice. I learned this the hard way.


If you have any kitchen tips to share, I’d love to hear about them! 

Decluttering Progress: Part II

Here is a quick video about my continuing decluttering progress.

In this video I show what it looked like before I tackled my bathroom cabinets, hallway shelf, and under the sink kitchen cabinets, as well as what it looks like now. 

Tip: Baskets are cheap and nice ways to organize items. I got 5 of them at Goodwill for $7. :)

What are your tidying/decluttering tips?

Megan

Decluttering Progress: Part I

Last week my boyfriend and I had a conversation about our ideal home situations and what we needed to do to make them more of a reality. 

If you’re interested in that conversation, you can check it out below:

We both want a clean, simple, organized, and personal home that is as functional as it is cozy

We both found some photos that represented our ideal homes. 

Matt’s photos:

My photos:

I think we’re lucky to agree on so many aspects of a home.

So the next step was to make a plan.

We decided to start by decluttering the basement and the bedroom. 

In the basement we have/had a lot of junk. Some of the junk was there when we moved in like paintings, fishing rods, a weird mattress thing, a desk, a clothes rack, buckets of some junk, another desk, and an air conditioner. 

We also have some clothes we forgot about, DVDs, CDs, books books books, and a guinea pig cage no one should use because it’s weird and too small.

On the other hand, we have stuff down there that we actually use. A cat carrier, laundry supplies, tools, extra dishes for when we have company, Matt’s band stuff, and painting supplies. 

The main issue with the bedroom was that Matt had a lot of clothes he didn’t wear that he needed to sort through so that he’d have more room to store the clothes he does wear.

The first step in decluttering the basement was to organize the items into piles: trash, donate, sell, keep, not sure yet. 

The subsequent steps are to throw away the trash, haul the donate stuff to Goodwill, sell the sell stuff, and find a home for the items we want to keep and decide what to do with the ‘I don’t knows’.

We are in this phase now.

The bedroom however, is in pretty good shape. Matt took the clothes he didn’t want anymore to Goodwill and has organized the clothes he wants to keep. We might need a better solution for his shoes. 

Decluttering a home can be a little stressful. It’s sometimes hard to get rid of your own things for sure, but I think it can even tougher to talk about it with your partner and get to a place where both people feel good about the plan. Matt and I are pretty lucky to be on mostly the same page.

The final and never-ending step would be limiting what comes into the home. It’s easy to fall into the habit of buying for reasons that aren’t really good enough if a decluttered home is the goal. 

Good enough reasons for me to buy something:

  1. it’s a necessity
  2. it’s going to last a really, really long time
  3. it will bring me joy for a really, really long time

Bad reasons for me to buy something:

  1. it will give me a rush for the rest of the day or week
  2. boredom
  3. to be cool

I will continue to share as we continue to make progress on our home and work toward our goals. 

What is your ideal home situation? What can you do today to start making that a reality? What are you waiting for? 

A Slight Step Back

Hey!

So I have some updates to share. If you want the short version, watch the video below. If you want to read the details, check out the post below that. 

I've been feeling a bit down lately. A bit unmotivated and lazy. I've done a whole lot of work to create more happiness, so it's frustrating when I start to feel blue. And thinking about how frustrating it is only makes it worse, of course.

Last summer I started working on a project. It's something I didn't know a whole lot about how to do, but something I really thought would help me, and therefore other people. It's a daily mindfulness tool and it's almost finished. 

It's something I was working on before work, after work, and on my days off. In addition I was working on YouTube and filming videos every week. I love having YouTube as a medium in which I can connect with people who are also interested in minimalism, health, happiness, compassion, and mindfulness. However, I realized that maybe I just need to take my own advice and do what I want to do, rather than what I think I should.

So, of course I want to create helpful videos, but not at the risk of becoming stressed out or putting up junk content for the sake of putting something up. Your subscription feeds deserve better!

My solution is now to film the things I'm excited about, and if that happens less often than once a week, I'm ok with that. 

I can spend more time trying to finish my mindfulness project and more time gaining more experiences to share on YouTube. 

In the mean time, do you have any questions for me or suggestions for what you'd like to see on the Like Minimal YouTube channel or on this blog? I'd really appreciate any feedback you could give. :) I'm ok with constructive criticism as well! 

I'll still be posting on all of my social media outlets, which can be found below. 

Thanks for reading, you're the best!

I'd love to hear about if you've ever felt like you needed to take a step back from something good for one reason or another! 

Minimalism Applied to Food & Being Plant-Based on a Budget

I'm moving toward minimalism more and more because I'm trying to cut out all the crap that wastes my time and energy. 

I eat plant-based foods because it's good for me, the planet, and the animals. It can also be quick and delicious and cheap. 

I really love food. I love to eat it, make it, understand where it came from, and understand what it will do to and for my body and mental well-being. 

Here's a video I made about my thoughts on minimalism and food. I also mention this article, which teaches us how to spend $50 per week or less on healthy, whole, plant-based foods.

Why do you eat what you eat? Habit? Health? Nostalgia? Comfort? Consciousness? Price?

 

Minimalism & Should VS. Want

I used to feel more overwhelmed by life.

So many to-dos and responsibilities. Not enough joy. I'm better now at finding joy in most things, but not perfect. 

I realized many of my to-dos and responsibilities were either related to physical objects I owned or things I thought I should do, not things I wanted to do. 

This post focuses on "decluttering" my actions and obligations.


I didn’t have the time or energy to do the things I wanted to do. Actually, I’m not sure I even knew what I wanted to do because I didn’t have (make) the time to really think about it. 

I thought I should do:

  1. Do well in high school
  2. Get into college for something I had an interest in (started in Music Industry, switched to Elementary Ed. freshman year)
  3. Do well in college
  4. Do some internships and get some jobs here and there related or not related to my major
  5. Get a job that pays well and has benefits

I don’t regret doing the jobs and internships. I did learn a lot. I didn’t really enjoy them though and I thought I had to do them to show people I was a hard worker and that I was good at it. I was afraid to ask questions most of the time and that sometimes lead to making mistakes. I didn’t take a look at what my alternatives were to doing these types of jobs. I didn’t even really think about what it meant that I didn’t like them. I just thought that I needed to do a good job so that I could learn a lot and get a better job after I graduated. I thought I would eventually enjoy it enough and that would be life.

Had I reflected on my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my values, I might have come up with a more suitable plan. 

I was just going through the motions of life as I thought I should because:

  1. I’m lucky to have a pretty comfortable and safe life  
  2. I was lucky enough to get to go to college 
  3. I picked a major I thought I wanted to pursue because it would pay enough, I would be making a difference, and it was socially accepted
  4. People I looked up to said to get a good job that takes care of you and you’ll have summers off and you can do what you want then and you can travel and marry another teacher and you can be home with your kids in the summer!

All of these things about teaching can be true, of course. However, people who give advice like this don’t necessarily know what’s best for YOU. For example, 1.) I don’t know if getting married is for me. 2.) I’m 75% sure having kids isn’t for me. 3.) I appreciate education but this system we have is wrong and I’m not really up to fixing it when there is other work to be done that I’m more excited about. 

There’s some kind of saying that I can't recall about how you can tell the people who are doing what they’re doing for others by the disgruntled look on their faces. I think this means that if you’re doing something solely for someone else, and it doesn’t serve you, you’re not going to be happy. 

I don't think a world full of martyrs would be a better, happier, healthier world. To emit a positive energy in this world, it’s important to take care of yourself. The healthier and happier you are, the better you can serve others. It’s doing it because you want to do it rather than because you have to or think you should. 

Some of these people giving me advice were stuck in a fear and/or scarcity mentality rather than living from a perspective of limitless opportunities and abundance. Get the education so you can get the money and be safe. There’s plenty of room for everyone to be their authentic selves. This doesn’t mean everyone is going to make a living off of what they love doing most. As Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic & Eat, Pray, Love) advocates, it’s not fair to put such pressure on what you love to pay the bills. Do what you love while paying the bills in another way and eventually, maybe, one day it will sustain you. But maybe not, and that has to be ok. The key is finding other things you enjoy that you can do to pay the bills. 

I don’t regret the way things have worked out because I’m here now, living with more intention and serving myself while serving others. I’m learning every day more about the world and more about myself. 

Part of minimalism, for me, is cutting out the things that I don’t want to do. This has applied mostly to employment, but it also applies to social invitations. It allows me more time to learn about life, about myself, and more time to focus on building the life I'm aiming for while working at a job I enjoy. 

Here is a video I made about my experience walking away from a more typical 9 to 5 type job. 

I’ll have another post soon about how physical things relate to minimalism process. 

What things have you done because you thought you should despite not wanting to?

Finding The Perfect Wardrobe & My Personal Style

I really like knowing what I’m going to wear. There is a thing called decision fatigue. It's why Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day. He saved his decision making power for more important matters.

I usually know what I’m going to wear because I only have a handful of each item in my wardrobe that I currently enjoy wearing. So it’s always just a combination of those things. They say most people wear 20% of their wardrobe. So why not only keep the 20% and donate or sell the rest?

These items are comfortable, good for work and/or hanging out, and I think they look pretty nice. But they’re not perfect and some of them are starting to look a little bit worn. Most of these items were purchased at UNIQLO, a department store, or a thrift store. 

I’m working on investing in some clothing that is sustainably, ethically, and humanely made. (That’s a whole other blog post.) I’m using the INTO-MIND “Personal Style & The Perfect Wardrobe” workbook to help me discover my personal style and my perfect wardrobe. I want to feel awesome in all of my clothes. It’s funny that I feel like I have to use an 85 page workbook to do so. But hey, it’s a great workbook and I really need to see things step by step and on paper. I think if I put in the effort now, the reward will be long lasting and so worth it.

I like the idea of capsule wardrobes, where you have a small amount of pieces that fit your lifestyle and work well together. Some people have a capsule wardrobe for each season, some have two per year, and some I think create one capsule wardrobe for the entire year. Some people do 33 pieces per capsule wardrobe. Some people have more or less. I will see what feels right for me.

I think it makes the most sense to take my time creating one capsule wardrobe for the entire year. I want to own less and really get a lot of use out of each piece, especially if I’m going to be investing more money in each.

This means I will also have to take better care of my clothes, not letting them sit in the dryer for days to be wrinkled and then ironed. I think I will be more motivated to keep them nice because I will basically be in a long term relationship with them, having spent more money on them and loving them and all that…

What’s your wardrobe philosophy? Do you have one? Do you think you need one? Do you care about looking put together? Do you wear clothes? Come on people, let's talk.

When Your Partner/Housemate Isn’t Into Decluttering

This house is too much for me.

I can’t keep up.

The guinea pigs, the floors, the dishes, the laundry, the bathroom, the clutter.

I went through all of my things in April using the KonMari method and asked myself whether or not each item sparked joy. (There are some things in the basement that I didn’t include, like extra kitchen dishes and spices. I need to go through these things to eliminate clutter down there.)

I got rid of a lot of things that didn’t spark joy.

However, not all the systems I set up have lasted. This clearly means I need some new systems and places to put things away and perhaps even to further declutter my personal things.

I want to encourage my partner by being an example and show what it’s like to live without clutter. I think it’s just hard to see through all of the other clutter. 


We are pretty busy. By busy, I mean we like to do things and we have jobs. 

What we don’t like spending our time doing is cleaning up.

A piece of this puzzle is that permanently decluttering provides that clarity and space to actually clean the house regularly. 

If we spend so much time putting things away, we don’t have much will power left to devote to cleaning the house.

So I’m trying to think of things I can do that benefit us both, without coming off as pushy or preachy.

  1. I can do it. People say, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” I agree. It’s a little bit tougher when what you want to do is to someone else’s things. I can make some piles and organize and when he has the time he can go through them. This might show what the place could look like if there were less things. 
  2. I can better develop my own systems of storing my items in hopes of inspiring change. 
  3. I can give up my dream of having a clutter free home.
  4. Just kidding I can’t do that. I WILL NEVER GIVE UP.

If I do something that helps, I will let you know.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? If so, please give me some insight!

A Storage Update: Storing Clothing the KonMari Way

I just wanted to show you how I'm currently storing my clothes, according to Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I had previously been storing them in a way that made it impossible to maintain. 

I also filmed a very short update video:

Storing my clothes this way has reduced the amount that has ended up on my floor and couch - clean or dirty.

pants, leggings, tights, socks, sleepwear, extra tees, underwear, bras, & swimwear - some contained in shoe boxes

pants, leggings, tights, socks, sleepwear, extra tees, underwear, bras, & swimwear - some contained in shoe boxes

shoes, bags, books, inbox, jewelry & essential oils, more books & paper file folder, hair care, more books, & work out equipment

shoes, bags, books, inbox, jewelry & essential oils, more books & paper file folder, hair care, more books, & work out equipment

In the book, she writes that you'll know when the amount of things you own and the way you are storing those things "clicks" into place by how easy it is for you to maintain it. I think I'm on my way, but hope to get rid of some more of the clothes I still don't wear and invest in some higher quality, more versatile pieces. 

clothing rack with jackets, robe, skirts, dresses, & tops

clothing rack with jackets, robe, skirts, dresses, & tops

In the upcoming month or two I will be building a capsule wardrobe for the cooler seasons.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe or want to build one? If so, how many pieces do you want to include? Please let me know in a comment.