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This post is sponsored by Joss & Main. I only work with brands that I would endorse personally, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Last week I mentioned that we were going to be sprucing up our backyard patio in time for summer–thanks to a partnership with Joss & Main, I had a little motivation to finally refinish our aging deck and freshen up our patio decor.

This week ended up being super busy! Between our seven year anniversary [!] and two sets of relatives visiting, it was all hands on deck [ha!] this weekend to get everything ready in time for a Memorial Day barbecue.

Did I mention it was 90 degrees? If you’re planning on refinishing your deck, Murphy’s law says that it will be the hottest weekend of the year.

Either way, I think the results were SO worth it!

Before Inspiration After

The pictures don’t even do it justice–it’s like we added an extra room to our house! The outdoor rug makes everything super cozy and is ultra durable for our crazy North Texas weather. I love all of the plants and lanterns, but my favorite feature by far is the arbor that we added to the stairs. I can’t wait for the jasmine in the planters to cover it and create a little garden oasis!

The surprise transformation of this makeover happened when I accidentally pressure washed my fence. I wasn’t even planning to do the fence until I spent six [SIX] hours pressure washing the paint off the deck and noticed that the bottom of the fence was getting much lighter. You guys, there must have been 10+ years of mildew covering the fence. It was horrifying. But now it’s clean as a whistle and the fence looks brand new!

I also just can’t believe how pretty the table turned out–it was so easy to make chalk paint and to stencil the tile, and now it looks modern and unique instead of like patio furniture from the 90s.

For source details, head over to the inspiration post. I’m just waiting on the garden stool to arrive to replace the side table, and then everything will be complete. I’ll be sharing more details on how to refinish a deck and how to stencil an outdoor table in future posts, so check back soon for a full tutorial!

The post Backyard Patio Makeover: Reveal appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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I don’t know about you, but I am SO ready for spring. I grew up in Florida, and while experiencing different seasons in Dallas is kind of fun, sheets of ice on my patio table in March is decidedly not. I’m sure I’ll regret this in July, but I’m looking forward to some warmer temperatures–and gardening season!

One positive thing about hibernating is that I spend so much time at home that I get super motivated to get things done–especially DIY projects and cleaning. If there’s one thing that gets me really pumped, it’s home improvement. I view cleaning as a form of home improvement–it’s hard to enjoy the fruits of your DIY labor when the windows are dirty […not that I’m speaking from experience there].

Spring cleaning is such a refreshing way to energize your space for warmer weather. While I’ve never spent time washing all of the walls, I do think there’s a physical and a mental benefit to giving your home a good scrub.

This is a guide to refreshing your home–wiping away the lazier days of winter in exchange for the new pace of spring.

Cleaning products

You can clean your entire home safely, effectively, and frugally with homemade cleaning products. Here’s what you’ll need for spring cleaning:

  • White Vinegar
  • Castille Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils
  • Scrub Brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Sponges
  • Rags
  • Squeegee
  • Vacuum/Broom
  • Mop

There are a billion recipes online for homemade cleaners, but here’s the uber-simple way that I make mine. I almost hesitate to post these “recipes” because these are so basic, but it just shows that you really don’t need a ton of cleaning products to have a spotless home.

All Purpose Cleaner

Vinegar [1/2] + Water [1/2] + Essential Oils [3-5 drops]

I use this on basically everything–furniture, windows, bathroom, fridge, toilets, etc. The only place I don’t use this cleaner is on my marble countertops, since the vinegar can etch the surface. For marble, I use soap + water.

Bathroom/Kitchen Scrub

Baking Soda. That’s it. Add essential oils if you want.

I use this to clean my tubs, shower and sinks. When I had an electric cooktop, I liked to clean it by sprinkling it with baking soda and rubbing it with half a lemon.

Carpet Deodorizer

Baking Soda + Essential Oils [5-10 drops]

Sprinkle on the carpet, wait as long as possible, vacuum.

Indoors Whole House
  • Declutter
  • Wash windows
  • Wipe down doors, door handles, window casings, and light switches
  • Launder/dry clean curtains and clean blinds
  • Change batteries in smoke detectors
  • Replace air filter
  • Touch up paint
Living Area
  • Dust fans and light fixtures
  • Dust artwork and wall hangings
  • Dust lamps and vacuum lampshades
  • Wipe down all flat surfaces
  • Vacuum upholstery and inside the sofa
  • Deodorize and vacuum carpets or send out for professional cleaning
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Wipe down baseboards with soap and water
  • Launder pillow covers + throw blankets
Kitchen
  • Dust light fixtures
  • Dust above cabinets and fridge
  • Dust artwork and wall hangings
  • Wipe down inside cabinet shelves and drawers
  • Clean microwave
  • Clean vent hood/microwave vent screens
  • Clean inside of fridge
  • Replace water filter
  • Clean stove and oven [research safe oven cleaning methods]
  • Clean inside dishwasher
  • Clean inside of small appliances like toaster, coffee grinder, etc.
  • Wipe down outside of all large and small appliances
  • Wipe down outside of cabinets
  • Scrub the sink
  • Sweep/mop floors
  • Wipe down baseboards and cabinet kick plates
  • Launder floor mats
Bedrooms
  • Dust fans and light fixtures
  • Dust artwork and wall hangings
  • Dust lamps and vacuum lampshades
  • Wipe down all flat surfaces
  • Vacuum upholstery/wipe down leather
  • Vacuum and rotate mattress
  • Deodorize and vacuum carpets or send out for professional cleaning
  • Vacuum under the bed
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Wipe down baseboards with soap and water
  • Launder duvet cover, pillow shams, blankets
  • Launder pillow covers, throw blankets
  • Launder mattress protector and pillow protectors
  • Switch out winter bedding for warm season bedding
Bathrooms
  • Dust light fixtures and vent fan
  • Dust artwork and wall hangings
  • Wipe down mirrors
  • Scrub tub, tile, and grout
  • Use a bag of vinegar and a rubber band to descale shower head
  • Scrub sink
  • Clean the toilet
  • Wipe down all flat surfaces
  • Wipe down inside cabinet shelves and drawers
  • Wipe down outside of cabinets
  • Sweep/mop floors
  • Wipe down baseboards and cabinet kick plates
  • Launder floor mats
Office
  • Dust fans and light fixtures
  • Dust artwork and wall hangings
  • Dust lamps and vacuum lampshades
  • Dust books and bookshelves
  • Wipe down all flat surfaces
  • Vacuum upholstery
  • Deodorize and vacuum carpets or send out for professional cleaning
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Wipe down baseboards with soap and water
  • Organize and declutter papers
  • Organize and declutter digital paperwork, photos, and correspondence
Utility Room
  • Dust light fixtures
  • Dust artwork and wall hangings
  • Wipe down all flat surfaces
  • Wipe down washer + dryer
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Wipe down baseboards with soap and water
outside
  • Clean/replace entry mat
  • Wipe down front door
  • Power wash or scrub front porch and deck
  • Stain deck if necessary
  • Clean outdoor lights, replace bulbs
  • Wash outdoor furniture
  • Clean grill
  • Weed and mulch landscaping beds
  • Plant flowers
  • Add compost and amendments to garden beds
  • Plant garden

If this list is overwhelming, break it down into smaller tasks. Maybe you spend a little extra time on the kitchen this week and check off a few of the deep-cleaning tasks. Maybe you don’t clean the grill until the first barbecue of the summer. Spring cleaning should be about refreshing your space, so don’t stress about getting it done on an arbitrary timeline. At the end of it, you’ll have a renewed home and a clear mind–totally worth the effort.

The post A Complete Guide to Natural Spring Cleaning appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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I can’t believe that it’s taken me almost eight months to share the details of our bathroom renovation, but here it is, y’all.

Our main bathroom really is the prime bathroom for the whole house–we don’t have an attached master bath and the second bathroom is inconveniently located between the kids’ rooms. It’s also the location of the only bathtub in the house, so this little bathroom sees a lot of action.

And little it is–it’s the size of an original 1950’s bathroom, but without all of the cute vintage pastel tile. One of the previous owners decided to remove the original tile and tub, so we were left with a rather dated and dull room.

Before

On top of the blahs, this bathroom had some issues. The tub was super short, so every time we gave the kids a bath it was like Waterworld. There were ants coming out of a pinhole opening in the grout. There were gaps around the fixtures and the tub was caulked incorrectly, so water was definitely getting behind the tile. Around the time my husband called me into the bathroom to see ants pouring out of the wall while he took a shower, we decided it was time for a remodel.

The renovation process

Our goal was to keep the renovation as affordable as possible while still doing a complete overhaul. I’ve never done tile work, and since this was such a large amount of tiling and put our primary bathroom out of commission, we decided to hire it out. I found an amazingly affordable tile installer on Thumbtack [seriously, this resource is the best for subcontracting semi-DIY projects]–he did all of the demo and installation, and I sourced and purchased materials. The total cost of the labor for the tile work was $850.

For the shower surround, I knew that I wanted a simple white subway tile with contrasting grout. We purchased the tile and grout at Floor and Decor–we estimated about 90 sq. ft. of tile and 16 ft. of bullnose tile for finishing the edges, which cost around $140. We definitely overestimated since we have a bunch leftover, but either way, subway tile is hella cheap.

I had originally imagined a black hex tile for the floor, but then I found Riad Tile. Their tiles are beautiful and they’re $9 a square foot. Are you kidding me? For encaustic cement tile?! As if that wasn’t amazing enough, I could save a boat load in freight cost because they’re conveniently located 30 minutes from my house. It was too good to be true, so I jumped right on that and bought my floor tile for $260.

We spent another $200 in supplies [cement board, green board, mastic, grout, etc.] and demo began. Please excuse the terrible iPhone photos.

I ended up being super lucky that the previous renovation had involved an extra layer of cement board for the wall tile, so all of that was removed without damaging the drywall underneath! When I discovered this, I knew that I could tackle the drywall repairs myself and avoid that expense.

Before the floor tile could be laid, we had to get the tub installed. We bought an affordable tub [a curse on whomever ripped out the old cast iron one] from Home Depot for $275. We hired a plumber to install it because leveling a tub is tricky and you can’t pay me enough money to go under the house. Turns out tub installation is pretty expensive [$500].

After about a week, we had floor tile, wall tile, and a new tub.

When I went to Home Depot to order the tub, I found bunch of giant boxed vanities sitting on the floor marked down 50%. I had originally planned to retrofit a sink onto a vintage wood dresser, but these were the perfect size and about a quarter of the cost. When I went to purchase it, it rang up as 50% off of the sale price, and the cashier decided to go with that–a brand new vanity and sink for $75, y’all.

I chose the Delta Trinsic tub and shower trim in champagne bronze [$200], which is the same color that I chose for the kitchen faucet. I wanted a matching faucet for the sink, but I really didn’t want to spend almost $300 on a bathroom faucet. I was so excited to find this faucet for just over $100–it matches perfectly and is very high quality. I also had to purchase the stupidly expensive matching overflow valve and tub stopper [$100], which was definitely the most annoying thing about choosing gold fixtures.

When things start going too smoothly in home remodeling, you have to start looking over your shoulder. We had asked the plumber to install the shower valve before the tile was installed and they royally screwed up. Everything was installed and ready to go, and then this happened:

It was such a sad trombone moment. Our tile installer had to come back make the repair, and luckily he was able to reroute the plumbing as well. His price was very fair, but it was an unexpected expense and it set us back almost two weeks due to his schedule and ours.

All of the remodeling work was completed about a month after we started. I finished out the drywall–I really hate doing drywall, but the walls are so intentionally textured in the bathroom that it was easy to camouflage my amateur work. We chose to paint the walls and ceiling the same color as our master bedroom [and our planned color for the rest of the main spaces in the house], Sherwin Williams Alabaster. It’s a clean but warm white, and it has a beautiful glow that makes a room feel lived-in.

Sometimes I design a room with a plan up front, and other times the details evolve over the course of the remodel. In this case, I went through two accent wall colors and three shower curtains before I landed on a black and white scheme with warm textural elements. The accent wall is Sherwin Williams Caviar, which is a really warm black that works well with Alabaster. The shower curtain was a bit of a splurge, but it was definitely the right one for the space–it’s an extra-long Belgian linen curtain in dune from Restoration Hardware [$129].

I added a natural wood shelf from Target, and styled it with items from around my home–a few books and a brass bell from my husband’s childhood bedroom. I printed out a botanical illustration from Smithsonian Online for free and used the same natural wood element in the frame.

It’s also reflected in my windowsill, which is literally just a 2×4 I found in the garage that happened to fit in the space. I had planned to paint it white, but I ended up liking how it tied into the room. I also painted the aluminum window frames black, because I just can’t help myself [I’ll do a tutorial on this soon!].

I wasn’t sure what to do about the towel hooks since there wasn’t wall space to hang them and hanging them behind the door wasn’t an option with our pocket door. They originally hung inside the shower stall, which is the worst idea ever if you like towels that are actually dry. I finally decided to hang them on the built in cabinets, which isn’t ideal but is functional for this small space.

The light fixture is a handmade black and brass four light bathroom light from Illuminate Vintage on Etsy [$225]. This shop has beautifully unique lighting, and they were super accommodating when I decided to swap out the all-black fixture I originally ordered for the black and brass version.

I found this gold and leather towel ring [$15] on Etsy, and installed a black toilet paper holder from CB2 [$15,similar one here]. I replaced the knobs on the vanity and the existing built in cabinets with these super inexpensive and simple gold bar handles [$20]. I added few houseplants, a gold tray and soap dispenser from Target, and a candle for some functional accessories.

After all was said and done, we spent about $3500 renovating this bathroom from the ground up. All things considered, that’s a pretty reasonable number for a full renovation. One quote that we received for full service reno in a similar style was–make sure you’re sitting down–$17,000! For a bathroom smaller than the walk in closet in my last home. That’s more than we spent renovating our entire kitchen. Nope.

There were a few extras that we passed up in order to stay in budget [I had originally wanted to remove the soffits, replace the built in cabinets, and use a vintage vanity, but these were all more expensive upgrades], but by far the biggest way that we’ve been able to save while renovating is to subcontract all of the work ourselves instead of using a general contractor, and to DIY where possible.

In this bathroom, we DIYed the drywall repair, painting, light fixture installation, vanity installation, and the sourcing and purchasing of all materials. Areas we hired out included demo, tile installation, and plumbing [despite our valiant efforts, we’ve never had any luck with plumbing].

after
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This post is sponsored by Joss & Main. I only work with brands that I would endorse personally, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Summer is right around the corner, y’all! Somehow it’s already almost Memorial Day, and that means that we’re spending a lot of time outside [that is, when it’s not raining. Lately, Dallas has been Seattle without the beautiful mountain scenery and great coffee.]. This is the first summer that our backyard swing set has gotten a ton of use, and with all of this rain my garden is going bananas–we basically live outside now.

When we moved in to this house, I was pretty pumped to have a deck that we could turn into an outdoor living space. Aside from getting a dining table and plunking down a couple of chairs from our last house, we haven’t done much out there yet. Now that the kids are getting bigger and we’re spending more time outdoors, I love the idea of having a great space to hang out as a family and to gather friends and family while the kids play in the yard.

So now is the time, friends! I’m going to refinish our sad, sorry deck and refresh our patio decor! Here’s the inspiration!

1. Refinish the Deck

The deck paint is in pretty bad shape, so I’m going to get my DIY on this weekend. My plan is to strip the solid stain from all of the peeling areas using a deck stripper and some elbow grease.

The plan is to paint the entire deck a complimentary shade of grey–bye, red-orange! Right now I’m leaning toward Behr Premium Solid Color Waterproofing Wood Stain in Harbor Grey.

2. Stencil the Table

I found our outdoor dining table on our neighborhood Facebook page for $40. I like the size and the black metal, but the tiles are heinous. I tried painting them with indoor flat paint [hahaha] as a temporary fix, but of course that peeled pretty much immediately.

I’m going to do it the right way this time, using chalk paint and a polycrylic sealant. I’m aiming for a cement tile look, so I’ll be stenciling the table in white and grey. I love these colors by Annie Sloan, but I’m going to try making my own chalk paint so I’ll probably use whatever leftover paint we have on hand.

I’m excited to dive into stenciling with this small project–I have a floor stenciling project in mind that will be a little more involved, so I’m hoping to get the hang of it with the table! The stencil I chose was the Rabat Tile Stencil from Royal Design Studio.

3. refresh the decor

Aside from some plants and chairs, there isn’t much “decor” to speak of on the deck. I’ve been thinking about sprucing up our outdoor spaces for a while–I recently partnered with Joss and Main as a Stylespotter, so I was thrilled when they asked me to collaborate with them on a patio refresh.

I wanted to create a soft contemporary vibe that would complement the modern armchairs and windsor chairs that I already had. I selected a neutral palette [surprise, surprise] of white, black, grey, beige, and a hint of dark green, and accented it with black metal, terracotta, and wood features. A few world-inspired pieces keep everything interesting and timeless.

I also wanted to add a feature that would bring some visual interest and help me add even more greenery to the patio. I had considered adding a pergola, but the deck is awkwardly shaped and I would end up with a post in the middle of the walkway. I decided to add an arbor to the stairs at the entrance to the yard–I can’t wait to add some jasmine or wisteria! There are a few great options for adding an architectural feature to your yard–if you’re considering an outdoor seating area, this is a great guide to selecting a pergola vs. a gazebo.

We have string lights over the deck which provide great lighting in the evening, but I wanted some additional lighting for ambiance [here’s an awesome guide to outdoor lighting as well]. Lanterns are a perfect option because I can use citronella candles to help ward off the swarms of mosquitos that invade Texas every summer.

Finally, a weather-resistant outdoor rug, pillows, planters, and a new end table help create a comfortable space for year-round outdoor living and gardening.


This Lantern Set
// More Candle Holders

This Lantern
// More Home Accessories

This Lantern
// More Lanterns

This String Light Set
// More String Lights

This Pillow
// More Pillows

This Pillow
// More Decor & Pillows

This Pillow
// More Pillows & Throws

This Rug
// More Outdoor Rugs

This Rug
// More Area Rugs

This Rug
// More Rugs

This Stool
// More Garden Stools

This Stool
// More Outdoor Decor

This Arbor
// More Arbors

This Arbor
// More Outdoor Structures & Storage

This Planter
// More Planters

This Patio Chair
// More Outdoor Dining Chairs

This Dining Table
// More Outdoor Tables

This Planter Box
// More Planters

This Planter Set
// More Pot Planters

This Potting Bench
// More Potting Benches

This Statue
// More Garden Statues & Accents

This Placemat Set
// More Placemats

My plan is to have everything fixed up by Memorial Day so we’re barbecue-ready! I can’t wait to show you the reveal next week!

Enjoy the long weekend–anyone else have DIY plans? Cheers!

The post Backyard Patio Makeover: Inspiration appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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Toy clutter is like the holy grail of clutter. Even if you were a pretty neat and organized person prior to having kids, there’s no denying the avalanche of stuff that seems to follow in their wake.

All too often, the solution to toy clutter is simply to contain it and to hide it. We use bins and baskets, boxes and storage ottomans, chests, sets of drawers, dressers, special shelves with individual square compartments for more bins–literally anything that will just keep the mess in one spot so that we don’t have to look at it. Most of the time these bins don’t stay organized or categorized, despite our best intentions. We look at our toy situation and say I just need more storage!

Here’s the truth–you don’t need more storage, you need less stuff.

You know that feeling when you’ve just moved into a new place and you can’t find anything because it’s all in boxes? Or you open one box to find the coffee stuff but you only find the coffeemaker, not the coffee or the mugs? That’s how I imagine a kid must feel when sorting through toy bins.

Just like we get overwhelmed by managing, organizing, and cleaning our stuff, our kids become frustrated when their toys aren’t ready for play. The solution to these frustrations [and many of ours] is to reduce the number of toys in favor of quality toys that are stimulating and readily accessible.

If you’re overwhelmed by the toy monster, here are a few practical suggestions to reduce toy clutter in your home.

1. Purge

The first step in any decluttering project is to purge the room of everything that is no longer useful. When evaluating toys, consider the following questions:

  • Is this toy broken, missing pieces, or otherwise unusable?
  • Is this toy interactive, or does it merely respond when my child pushes a button?
  • Does this toy help my child learn or stimulate the imagination?
  • Is this toy made from quality materials?
  • Is this toy annoying?
  • If this toy was lost or broken, would I buy it again?

But my mom/dad/great-aunt Bertha gave this to us!

Often we keep things gifted to us by friends and relatives that we’d rather pass on, but unless you feel that they will (1) notice, and (2) be offended by your giving away the item, minimize it without guilt.

If you truly feel that this will be an issue and don’t feel comfortable sharing your feelings with the giver, keep a special box with a few “Aunt Ethel toys” hidden up in the closet for visits.

Do I involve my kids?

I think it depends on their age. My children are 3.5 and 1, and I declutter their toys without them. When kids are young, they tend to hinder the decluttering process [everything is THEIR FAVORITE NOW] and they probably won’t notice anyway. If you’re on the fence, keep everything to be donated in a box in the garage for a week–if they ask for something in the box, give it back.

With older kids, involving them in the decision is important–not only is it more respectful of their belongings, but involving them in the decluttering process helps to teach them an important life skill.

2. categorize

The next step is to give everything a home. Consider where your kids play–do they have a dedicated playroom, or do they tend to play in the living room? How about their rooms?

In our house, we have three spots where toys go–most of their toys are on the shelves in the playroom, there are a few things on the shelves in each of their rooms, and a couple of items on a bookshelf in the living room. They generally play with each of those things in their respective spaces, so I’m not constantly hauling a boatload of toys back into their rooms at night.

Give every item a dedicated place so that your kids know where to put things away. You can also label each bin with a picture of what goes inside.

3. rotate

If kids only have a few toys, won’t they get bored of playing with them? Maybe. They’ll probably just find a new way to play with the things that they already have, but another solution is to rotate the toys.

Determine how often you want to rotate your toys–once a week, once every two weeks, etc. Get a corresponding number of large storage bins and sort the toys into each bin. Rotate and enjoy.

Some things can stay out all the time–art supplies, blocks, etc.–but rotating through speciality toys helps keep things fresh!

4. minimize creep

This is the most challenging step in the process–preventing the clutter from coming back. It’s easy to purge broken, annoying toys, but it’s difficult to change our habits [and the habits of others].

Start with your own habits–resist the urge to purchase new toys. Experiences are a great way to reward kids and are often more enjoyable than a toy that will be forgotten in a couple of days. When you do purchase a toy, be intentional about what you choose. Go through the same list of questions that you did when you were purging–is this interactive, high quality, long lasting, etc.–before you buy. Lastly, consider a one in/one out rule to prevent toy accumulation.

Changing the gift-giving habits of others is a different story. It can be awkward and uncomfortable to discuss the issue directly with well-meaning friends and family, but sometimes being direct is the best way to help. Another way to create change is to create an Amazon wishlist for each of your children and send it out “in case people need ideas.”

When I receive a gift for the kids that doesn’t meet our toy criteria, I usually accept the gift, let them play with it for a little while, and then pass it on. Making the decision for them might be a little controversial, but I believe that it’s my responsibility as a parent the best possible environment for them to learn and thrive. By limiting junk toys, we make a parental judgment call just like we do with junk food. Even though they might want it, it doesn’t mean that it’s good for them–even if it was given to them by grandma. Many people feel guilty making these decisions for their kids, but we make a lot of decisions for our kids while they’re young. By setting boundaries now, we hope that we will influence our children’s decision-making abilities in the future–in this case, it’s the choice to seek entertainment that’s high-quality and enriching.

If you’re a veteran parent, chances are you can remember a time when your child spent more time playing with a box than with the toy that was inside. Or the first time that your baby discovered a plastic water bottle or banged on pots and pans. Kids don’t need much to be entertained, and are often more creative when they aren’t. By thoughtfully selecting our children’s toys, curating what they already have, and mindfully limiting what comes into our home without guilt, we help our children thrive and reduce avoid our own overwhelm.

The post How to Declutter the Toys appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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The natural aesthetic is having a serious moment right now. Personally, I can’t get enough of the relaxed, collected, slow living ambiance.

One of my favorite things about the zero waste movement is how making better choices not only benefits the environment and our personal health, but also creates beauty in our space. It’s a win-win-win.

If the natural aesthetic inspires you, here are a few tips to cultivate it in your home.

1. Use natural materials

Natural materials are the key to a natural aesthetic. Take a look around your room and inventory the materials in the space. What materials are the most visible?

Natural Materials:
  • Fabrics like cotton, linen, burlap, wool, and silk
  • Leather
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Glass
  • Ceramic and clay
  • Paper
  • Wax
  • Woven materials
Synthetic Materials:
  • Fabrics like polyester, rayon, and acrylic
  • Plastic
  • Synthetic, plastic versions of woven materials
  • Engineered surfaces like laminate countertops, cabinets, and furniture
  • Unnaturally colored fabrics, candles, tables, etc.

When we select a cotton sofa instead of a polyester sofa, linen drapes over faux silk, and real leather instead of then fake stuff, our space feels organic, lived-in, and natural. In addition to being more beautiful, natural materials will be more durable and timeless than synthetic materials.

Additionally, anything that you display should be something that can be created naturally. Bright blue candles aren’t natural, but beeswax candles are. A baby pink throw blanket knit with polyester yarn will have a much different feel than a naturally dyed blush cotton throw.

Ask yourself the same question that you might ask about food–would my great-grandmother recognize this? Did this exist 100 years ago?

Natural materials will likely be more expensive than synthetic materials [but not always]–make classic selections and the initital investment will pay off.

2. plants, plants, and more plants

You can never go wrong with a houseplant. I’m a minimalist in many areas, but I could always use another plant. Greenery brings life to a space and creates an organic aesthetic that is impossible to replicate.

Display plants on shelves, hang them from the ceiling, put them on the windowsills–heck, you can even put them in the shower. You won’t regret another plant.

Also, here’s a hot take–nothing sucks the life out of a room like fake plants. Cultivate your green thumb and go for the real stuff.

3. eliminate visual distraction

Strike anything that competes with the beauty of your natural materials. Most of the time, this is product packaging in the kitchen and bathroom. Sometimes it’s brightly colored book jackets, kids toys, or other necessities of life.

Some ideas for eliminating visual clutter:

  • Decant products purchased in packaging into jars, containers, and baskets
  • Use baskets and boxes to contain smaller items like toys and miscellany
  • Group books into like colors
  • Cover less attractive books with brown paper and write the titles on the spine
4. create a sense of timelessness

When you see a room in the natural aesthetic, it could have been pulled from any time period. The colors and furnishings are classic, not trendy. Subtlety is the name of the game.

Create this feeling of timelessness by using a mixture of vintage pieces and new items. Choose pieces that have classic lines and styling, select subtle patterns and colors. A tone-on-tone look is a great way to create a natural environment. If you do incorporate bold color, use it sparingly–a turkish rug or brightly colored piece of pottery is much more impactful against a neutral background.

5. Layer textures

Natural spaces create a lot of visual interest by layering textures. Think a cotton sofa, a wool throw, linen curtains, a leather chair, and a vintage wood coffee table. Or an iron canopy bed with a linen duvet, a knit blanket, bamboo blinds gauzy linen curtains, terracotta pottery, and historic wood floors. Try to incorporate as many natural materials as possible into the same space to create a layered look.

The post How to Achieve a Curated, Natural Aesthetic appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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We’ve all been there–toys all over the floor, laundry spilling off the couch, nothing for dinner, sheets haven’t been washed in a hazardous length of time–when your home is disordered, it can feel like your life is spinning out of control. If your house is feeling utterly chaotic and you want to regain control, establish systems, and find your inner zen master, this list is for you!

1. Declutter

If I could shout this from the rooftops, I would. The only way that your house will ever feel clean and calm is if you clear your spaces. Whether the items are useful or not, having too many things visible at one time is incredibly distracting and puts us in an automatic state of overwhelm. Decluttering is a lifelong process, but if you’re overwhelmed with your home, it’s a great place to start.

In your first round of decluttering, discard or donate anything that’s broken, duplicated, ill-fitting, or annoying [like those loud toys from grandma]. With the items that are left, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is it useful [frequently]?
  2. Is it beautiful?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, keep it. Even better if both answers are a yes.

Finally, you can ask yourself Marie Kondo’s question–does it spark joy? Some items are useful [a pair of jeans from high school] but no longer spark joy. Some items are beautiful [Tiffany lamps] but don’t spark joy in your life.

2. Organize spaces by function

Designate a function for each space in your home. Every room should have a dedicated purpose [this is the bedroom, where we sleep] rather than becoming a haphazard catchall space [this is the bedroom, where we sleep, store unfolded laundry, work on the computer, and exercise]. Without a function, every room becomes a storage space.

For example, if you tend to do your work at the dining room table [making dinner time difficult and work storage inconvenient], designate an office space. This could look like an entire room with a desk and bookshelves, or it could look like a special cabinet in the dining room where you store all of your work supplies. What you don’t want to do is to store your computer on the dining room table, your office supplies in a kitchen drawer, your reference materials on a shelf in your living room, and so on.

3. Have a spot for everything

On a smaller scale, each individual space should have a function. We tend to do this in our kitchens quite easily [this cabinet is for drinkware, this cabinet is for pots and pans]–do the same for the rest of your home. What goes in your nightstand? Your media cabinet? Your junk drawer?

As you define these spaces, think about the inflow of stuff into your home. Where does your mail go? Artwork the kids bring home from school? New toys?

While you plan, think about how your family actually uses the space. If you always have a pile of shoes by the door, invest in a shoe cabinet instead of hoping that they’ll end up in the closet. Same goes for coats–hooks might work better for your family than a coat closet. Maybe you need a basket or shelf for books in the bathroom. Anything that will define where things go, even if it’s not in the most conventional location, will help to keep spaces organized.

4. Reset your space

I’ve always done a “reset” of my home at night–I think it’s a habit that I picked up from my mom growing up. I have a hard time relaxing if there are toys all over the floor and a pile of dishes in the sink.

Resetting your space at certain anchor points in your day [nap time and after dinner are good ones if you have young kids] will prevent the house from getting too chaotic. It also helps me ease up when the kids are making a big mess while playing because I know that it will get put away.

One hack here: as I move through the house doing various things, I usually grab something that’s out of place and put it away as I go to that room. Yes, I’m constantly putting things away, but then I don’t have to spend 20 minutes resetting at nap time.

5. clean the kitchen every night

A big part of the nightly reset is cleaning the kitchen. Rinsing the dishes, putting everything away, wiping down the counters, and starting the dishwasher is how we do ours [we run the dishwasher every night and empty it in the morning to keep the dishes moving along].

I’ll also add in scrubbing the sink, wiping down the appliances, and sweeping the floors when it’s needed. There’s nothing like waking up to a sink full of last night’s dishes and grimy countertops to throw off your whole morning.

6. Do a load of laundry every day

Folding laundry is my least favorite chore. I do it a heck of a lot, so I like to minimize the work where I can. I usually throw in a load of laundry each morning–I’m not a laundry purist, so I happily mix colors, whites, and kitchen napkins to no detrimental effect [cue the horrified screaming of laundry sticklers everywhere].

I usually just combine everything in the hampers for a large load 2-3 times a week, and then dedicate a cycle for sheets, one for towels, and two for cloth diapers. I aim to have everything washed, dried, and put away by the end of the day, and this helps avoid having to tackle super laundry mountain every weekend. And I get to wear my favorite jeans just about every day, which makes me happy.

7. Make your bed

There are two types of people: people who make their bed and people who think it’s pointless. I used to fall in the “what’s the point of making your bed” camp, but then I realized that making your bed really helps to set the tone for your home and for your day. If you make your bed as soon as you wake up, you’ve already accomplished a task–it will put you in the mindset to keep the rest of your home up to par. Plus, getting into a freshly made bed at night just feels better.

8. plan your meals

I know, I know. Meal planning stinks and we all hate it. But it really does eliminate a huge pressure point in your home–there’s nothing worse than opening up the fridge and realizing that there’s nothing to eat, or being one ingredient short. Make a list of your favorite meals and spend 10 minutes planning them out each week. Or dedicate a theme for each night of the week [pizza night, soup night, etc]. Or spend hours researching elaborate new recipes. Whatever works for you–just make it happen! It’s one more step to making your house run smoothly.

9. Sweep the floor daily

Clean floors are seriously the best. I imagine heaven to be a place where the floors are always sparkling clean–just me? Anyway.

I usually don’t have time to do a full vacuum more than once a week, but with pets and kids the floor gets dirty quickly. I spend a few minutes sweeping our main living area [living room, kitchen, dining room, and playroom] just about every day. Bedrooms and bathrooms get swept a couple times a week. A little bit of maintenance goes a long way toward feeling like your house is put together!

10. Have a cleaning schedule

Having a cleaning routine [or at least a rough idea of what needs to be done next] helps keep you on track so that the bathrooms don’t get ignored for three weeks [not that I’m speaking from experience…]. Ours currently looks like this:

  • Monday- dusting
  • Tuesday- floors
  • Wednesday- bathrooms
  • Thursday- kitchen
  • Friday- catch-all/outside areas

I virtually never stick to this exact schedule, but at least I know that everything will get clean if I stay with this rotation. There’s also a lot of wisdom dropped over at Clean Mama if you want to learn more about cleaning routines.

Your home should be a respite from life’s chaos, not a contributor to it. Taking the time to get your home in order is a form of self-care in the end.

Do you have a tip or hack for maintaining control over your home? Share in the comments!

The post 10 Ways to Get Your House Under Control appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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Spring has finally arrived in Dallas, and I’m soaking up the warmer days and sunnier evenings. Along with the urge to start deep cleaning my house, I’ve also been feeling the need to declutter a bit. One of the pros of moving each year was having to edit our belongings on a regular basis—we’re coming up on our two year anniversary with our home this summer, and some of the hidden spaces are feeling a little less than minimal. 

One of my favorite spaces to edit regularly is my bedroom—in order to keep the bedroom feeling serene, I keep the decor clean and minimal and revise my closet and dresser each season. If it’s not functional or beautiful, out it goes.

We made over our bedroom last year [why I thought 9 weeks postpartum was the ideal time for this, I’ll never understand], and it’s still one of my favorite rooms in the house—light, bright, airy, and calm. I like being surrounded by my favorite colors and textures, and it’s full of our favorite books—perfect for lazy Saturday mornings snuggling with the kids, or curling up to read at night.

If your bedroom could use a little refresh, you’ll find lots of inspiration at Joss and Main. Here are some of my favorite items to get your bedroom streamlined and organized for spring!

This post is a part of an uncompensated collaboration with Joss and Main–just for fun!

the inspiration Shop the look

This Dresser
// More Dressers & Chests

This Basket Set
// More Baskets, Bins & Boxes

This Basket Set
// More Bathroom Accessories & Storage

This Pillow
// More Pillows

This Bedding Set
// More Bedding Sets

This Area Rug
// More Area Rugs

This Bench
// More Benches

This Floating Shelf
// More Shelving

This Pillow
// More Pillows & Throws

This Curtain
// More Curtains & Drapes

This Pillow
// More Gray & Silver Pillows

This Throw
// More Blankets & Throws

This Hanger Set
// More Closet Organizing Accessories

This Lumbar Pillow
// More Lumbar Pillows

This Hook
// More Coat Racks & Hooks

This Shoe Rack
// More Shoe Storage

This Accent Tray
// More Decorative Trays

This Charging Station
// More Desktop Organizers

This Drawer Organizer
// More Drawer Organizers

This Olive Tree
// More Faux Trees

The post Cozy Minimalist Bedroom Refresh appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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We all love the gorgeous, sun filled spaces that we see on Instagram, but few of us have the soaring ceilings or floor-to-ceiling windows that create this light and airy feeling effortlessly. If you want to achieve that calm, warm, and etherial ambiance in your home, here are five decorating tricks that you can use to create a bright and breezy feeling in any space.

Declutter

Less is more. Minimalism is more than a trend, it’s a way to manage your life and your space. If you feel overwhelmed in your home, reduce the clutter and the visual calmness will translate into mental tranquility.

The first layer of decluttering involves finding a home for everything in the room. Loose keys, mountains of mail, errant piles of laundry–miscellany has a way of accumulating wherever it’s placed. Clear the space of everything that doesn’t belong and dedicate a spot for everything that’s left.

Secondly, we can minimize visual clutter by reducing the number of things in the room–think quality, not quantity. Instead of having thirteen small pieces of art on the wall, choose one large piece that’s really meaningful. Reduce the number of throw pillows on your bed and create a symmetrical arrangement with a few. Select only an item or two to live on the nightstand. This leaves space and gives the eye somewhere to rest.

Creating a light and airy feeling is all about creating space, and decluttering is the first step.

use light colors

To create the appearance of light in the room, pale paint colors are a must. You can go with white [and there are many dimensions of white–cool, warm, cream], but it’s not a requirement. Pale neutrals, like beige and grey, will achieve the same effect. If you want to add color, choose the lightest shade available–pale pinks, peaches, violets, yellows, blues, and mint green will all achieve the same feeling of space.

In your furnishings, you’ll create an ethereal feel by going with pale and grey toned wood or items painted in light colors. Upholstery, rugs, and linens should be light as well, and you can create a layered, tone-on-tone look by going with slightly varied shades of the same color [warm white, cream, ivory, pale beige].

If you have dark wood furnishings, consider painting or refinishing them to remove weight. For darker upholstery, add pillows and throw blankets in light, natural colors to add dimension.

choose lightweight Window Treatments

First things first–open your blinds. If you leave your blinds closed all day, you’re missing out on all of that beautiful bright, natural light that will flatter your space [and boost your mood!]. If privacy is a concern in the bathroom, consider frosting the windows to allow the light to come through.

Window treatments should be kept light in color and weight, using a natural fabric. Cotton and linen curtains are perfect. Sheer and lightweight fabrics diffuse the light instead of blocking it–avoid heavy fabrics like velvet, silk, and heavyweight cotton.

arrange Furniture for flow

When trying to create a light and airy aesthetic, the goal is to create as much space as possible. Arrange your furniture in a manner that creates flow.

Don’t be afraid to move furniture [like sofas and chairs] away from the wall, especially to create an area that promotes conversation. Only add as much furniture as is necessary, especially in small rooms–if you try to put too much furniture in the room, the lack of open space will make the room feel stuffy. Maintain large walkways between pieces of furniture and lots of open floor space.

An important part of homemaking is designing your space to create the ambiance that you want inside your home. A light and airy room promotes ease, calm, and clarity. No matter where you live, you can open up the space by using a few simple decor tricks and love the home you have.

If you need some more direction on creating a light and bright space in your home, explore my affordable e-design services!

The post 4 Design Tricks to Create a Light and Airy Spaces appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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The zero waste lifestyle has generated a lot of buzz lately–in fact, the word of the year for 2018 was “single-use.”

I have not reached mage-level zero waste status like some of the zero waste folks that inspire me (Bea Johnson, Lauren Singer, Kathryn Kellogg, etc.), but I think that I’ve learned a ton of more sustainable habits that have helped me drastically reduce my waste in the past five years.

The bathroom is a great place to make small changes that will create a more natural beauty routine and reduce your trash output. By embracing minimalism in your bathroom, you can streamline your morning routine in a few simple steps.

minimize your products

We’ve all been there–you buy a new product hoping that it will be great but it isn’t, you get free samples, you get two lotions free when you buy one–next thing you know, your bathroom cabinet [or worse, your countertop] could rival a Sally Beauty Supply.

1. Declutter Unused Products

Decluttering your bathroom products is one of the most satisfying purges of all time. If there’s anything that you haven’t used in the past three months, out it goes. Give it to a friend, put it up for free on a neighborhood buy/sell/trade Facebook page, or if it’s unusable, dispose of it properly and recycle the package.

2. Simplify Your Products

In the process, determine what you actually use on a regular basis. We usually reach for the same lipstick/lotion/perfume every time, with a handful of exceptions. 80% of your products should be things that you use 80% of the time, not 20% of the time, but more often than not, the reverse is true–we have 10 lipsticks that we only use on special occasions, and 2 that we use daily.

Look for ways to consolidate your products. Do you need soap and body wash, or will a simple bar soap suffice? Can you reduce the number of brushes that you have? Can you reduce your coral nail polish selection to your favorite shade?

Reducing the number of choices available in a given category simplifies the process of getting ready in the morning. Instead of choosing between 24 shades of eyeshadow, you choose between two that you wear on a daily basis. Better yet, develop a beauty “uniform” for everyday looks.

Choose Natural Products

It’s easier than ever to find beauty products that are effective and safe for our bodies and the environment. You can search for beauty products on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which rates each product for health and safety based on its component ingredients.

Look out for ingredients like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and fragrance in your bathroom products. These ingredients can be hazardous and safer alternatives are widely available.

Natural products are sold everywhere these days, including the grocery store, Target, and all over the internet. Whole Foods, Sprouts, and other natural grocers are easy places to find what you need as well.

Replace plastic Single Use Items

The bathroom is a great place to reduce plastic waste. Many of our traditional bathroom products have been replaced with disposable alternatives. Disposable razors, makeup wipes, and other single use products can easily be swapped out for more sustainable options. As an added bonus, you get to stop spending money on these things too!

  • Disposable Razor -> Safety Razor
  • Plastic Toothbrush -> Bamboo Toothbrush
  • Tampons/Pads -> Menstrual Cup/Cloth Pads
  • Makeup Wipes -> Reusable Cotton Rounds
  • Toilet Paper -> Bidet Attachment [we definitely still use TP, but this helps reduce usage]
  • Tissues -> Handkerchiefs
Reduce Product Packaging

To reduce product packaging, you have two options–purchase from a brand that uses recyclable packaging, or make it yourself.

1. Make Your Own Beauty Products

When I hear “DIY beauty products” I still think about the oatmeal and egg masks that my best friend and I made at sleepovers in the 7th grade [they actually work, btw]. It seems like making a product yourself would be a quaint but ineffective method, but these products work! Also, talk about convenient–you’ll never run out of deodorant again!

2. Purchase Sustainable Packaging

With the rise of low-waste sustainability, many small businesses are offering products in recyclable, refillable, or compostable packaging. You can find these at natural grocery stores like Whole Foods and Lucky’s Market, at local specialty stores, or you can order them online.

Implementing a few small changes at a time makes the transition to a zero waste bathroom manageable. Bathrooms are much more beautiful spaces when they’re not a jungle of multicolored plastic tubes, and by creating a zero waste, minimalist bathroom, you’ll have a simpler morning to boot.

The post How to Create a Zero Waste Minimalist Bathroom appeared first on Minimal Domesticity.

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