Kitchen organization, The Minimalists, & finally finished a project. #stanley90sreno week 13!

So my dad needed his saws back for a bit, so we're stalled on our flooring installation for a weekend. Oh, well! We found plenty to do despite being snowed in after about 11am Saturday!

Since we have flooring in more than half of the first floor, we figured, we can bring more boxes in! Last Monday we brought in a bunch of boxes, mostly kitchen, some office or other, and I was totally overwhelmed about unpacking them. But I finally got into it and rearranged a bunch of parts of the kitchen to make room for the less-used kitchen stuff that had been packed away. We've missed having more than one oversize coffee mug, for example, but for the most part I felt burdened by all of the stuff we own and have not missed since we moved and it's been in the garage. I've been thinking, why do we have all this stuff?? I don't need all of these cute dip bowls and sets of drinking glasses of different sizes and obscure cooking implements. Kitchens are the worst to pack, you always need way more boxes than you think you will, and it turns out I haven't needed most of the stuff that was in our old kitchen.

Overwhelming, right??! (It will help once we reinstall the pantry door, but still... pretty cluttered.)

Part of the issue is we need to tile the backsplashes before installing shelving on the sink wall. That will be for plates, bowls, and hopefully some other commonly used items like glasses or mugs. So I put all the plates and bowls on the counter for now and am trying to anticipate what space we'll have later.

It was quite timely that the documentary Minimalism came up in conversation or Instagram 7 times last week. Almost everyone was inspired by it. So we watched it on Saturday night and... well... here's my film critique.

I am all for the concept of living simply, with no more space or stuff than you need. I am creeped out by the constant barrage of commercials, cheap fast fashion, different sales every weekend, consume-consume-consume nature of our culture. As I just said above, I've felt burdened by all of the stuff in our garage while we've been living pretty comfortably "camping" in our home waiting for our flooring! I enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I was moved by The Story of Stuff in 2007.

But honestly, to me the movie didn't build on those concepts very much, or give me any more reason or inspiration for living minimally than I already had. I felt like it was about 30% content and 70% drama, with music and poignant-sounding statements added in for shock value. I think the concepts have been circulating around for a while now--I am glad they are getting more attention with these dudes' popular blog, podcast, and movie--but I wanted to learn more about how and why to live more minimally.

I did appreciate that they related the constant cell phone-checking and connections we are surrounded by to consuming more physical stuff. I don't go out and shop a whole lot, but I am kinda glued to my cell phone or another screen and I think I am victim to that dopamine smartphone addiction so many of us have developed. But again, I wanted to learn more about how to combat that.

Also, this is totally not important because, to each their own, but I was a little discouraged that most of the minimalist homes they touted were so modern and stark, with blank walls and trendy furniture, as if that is the right way to do things. No art on the walls? None?? No rugs on those hard floors? Nothing on the kitchen counters? I love the William Morris quote, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." I find value in things I find beautiful or interesting, and I like to change seasonally and as I change, and I think I am happier in a home that has decor as well as purely functional items. (So why am I defensive?? I know who I am, right? I think my other issue with the film was the narrators left me feeling judged, as if their version of minimalism is the right thing for everyone who puts thought into their lives. And yet they still didn't explain why that's the right thing!)

Jason pointed out that the movie talks about "minimalism" kind of interchangeably with "living an intentional life," but there's a big difference. The main idea of the film is that mindlessly going through your life accumulating possessions is not a way to happiness, but that doesn't necessarily mean having a minimal amount of belongings; only that the belongings we have should be in our lives because of their utility, beauty, or meaning, not simply because of a habit of accumulation. Calling the idea minimalism makes it sounds like you're supposed to get rid of all your stuff, when the idea is really to live intentionally. They talked about living intentionally in the film, but all of their examples of minimalism came from showing how little stuff they had, which didn't necessarily mean anything.

I'd love to know what you thought of the movie! It's on Netflix and a bunch of other places, very easy to find.

Sunday we were snowed in all day, so we got some little things done--installing switch plates, cleaning, removing ancient pieces of tape and gunk from a window...

This window in the front of our house was the most disgusting to clean and I had been putting it off even after painting it. I finally cleaned off the tape and dog spit and nose prints from the previous tenants' pets, and cleaned out the disgusting window wells.

Since there's no wall above it we haven't had curtains on this window (and they would block some of it even when wide open) but for privacy I think I'm going to install some on a hanging track system! (We also close the bamboo blind at night and most of the time.)

We also finished the beam. Hooray!! We installed it a while back but had to buy the right color of wood filler for the nail heads/holes, and get back up on the ladder. We (Jason) finally did it! I can't wait to show off the beam once the floors are in and rest of the room is more finished!

Meanwhile, I am still trying to decide between dining chairs. It's down to 4 white plastic Eames-ey ones with black spindle end chairs or 6 matching low-back (probably black) ones. I just don't know. Opinions welcome.

We definitely didn't make big progress like we have in the past, but considering we don't have the tools we need for the floors and couldn't drive to the hardware store to get stuff for other projects... I don't feel bad about it! I am feeling a little cabin fever after today, though!

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