Friday, November 6, 2009

Living With Less

(room above by Chaffee Braithwaite) I was so excited to see our kitchen renovation on Design * Sponge and one of the reader's comments really got me thinking. The reader wondered about our losing storage space when we tore down the upper cabinets & replaced them with shelving.

(image above from

It hasn't been a problem for us & I actually have a ton of storage space for what we have (we have a pantry for our food & miscellaneous appliances & a large sideboard in the dining room for servingware & sets of china and our wine & most of our hangs from the wall) but it did get me thinking that there are things that we've gotten rid of or don't buy simply because I don't want my kitchen filled to the brim... and that maybe if I did have all of those things, this kitchen wouldn't work for me... Things like specialty appliances & gadgets that we would rarely use. We really just don't have these. (We have a blender, a toaster & a mixer & even one of those "set it and forget it" rotisseries... but we never opened the fondue set we got as a wedding gift, I borrow my mom's crockpot when needed, we don't drink coffee so the coffeemaker stays in storage until guests come and we have very few kitchen gadgets.)

Sure I'd love to have all of these things at my fingertips, but cramming my kitchen full of the latest & greatest and the "just in case" items would make my life more cluttered on a daily basis, and it's not worth it to me. I'd rather do without the amazing fondue we would make once a year... or make it on the stovetop instead and put it on a pretty bowl..

Living like this doesn't come easily to me & we have to purge constantly as I've said before. We have a cabinet in our laundry room with "giveaways" that we have to empty about once a month or so. Stuff just wants to sneak into your house! It's crazy!! We accumulate and have to fight off incoming-stuff daily or find places for it: coupons in the mail to restaurants we'll probably never use, mail-mail-mail!, paper clutter, cardboard boxes from packages, little notes & lists, purchases we decide to return, and somehow toys are always finding their way into our home... BUT, on top of fighting off incoming clutter, I think it's important to not have a lot of stuff in the first place. (room below, Susan Ferrier, House Beautiful)
What I mean by "a lot" is also very subjective. To the extreme minimalist, "living with less" might mean living with clothes and a few dishes and furniture, but to someone like me, "living with less" means having only what I need and love... and this includes lots of books & decorative accessories & dishware ;) The important thing is keeping what you need and use and love- whatever it may be- and then ditching the rest.

OK- OK -- I have a confession to make: I have hoarded some things from my childhood: I've saved all of my Barbies in case we have a little girl and am waiting for the day when we can play with them (she WILL love Barbies ;) ;) and also some of my stuffed animals and toys that are still in good condition. This may sound weird or cheap but we give them to Christian for birthdays & gifts because to him, they're new and it makes me so happy to see him playing with my old toys. (He loves them & so many of them are better than the new plastic toys!) (image below from

Ok, but back to "living with less": It's freeing and you honestly have more time when you live with less. (image below from Nate Berkus) We spend enough time as it is cleaning up our own messes: laundry, dishes, toys, and the 3 bibs that my dog drags into the dining room EVERY DAY arggg, but nothing makes me more frustrated than trying to find a place for something I didn't really want in the first place. So why let that stuff stay in my house? I don't. Living with less is a constant process and battle, but one I find very-worth fighting.

"Keep and seek only what you love and your home will be truly yours."


So how about you? Do you try to "live with less?" And what is "living with less" to you?