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Minimalist Living — What We Own

There is a revised post of what we owned before we started traveling here – Minimalist Living – What We Own Now.

Want to come wander through our minimalist apartment?  We are pretty social people and would love to have you over, but it is a bit far to travel for most of you.  This way is probably not too exciting but I get a lot of questions about what we actually do own.  …so here is the nitty-gritty.

Our simple minimalist living – summer 2012

Let me take you on a tour of sorts.

First here is the living room

In the living room we have:

  • 4 pictures on the wall my super amazing photographer hubby took.  I would like to put up more pictures over the futon when I get some updated family pictures printed.
  • Table and 4 chairs (chairs move around between the table, bar, and piano)
  • Book basket
  • Round decoration basket by the fireplace
  • End Table
  • Toy box in the corner (the blue thing.  It has dress-up cloths, dolls and a few other misc toys)
  • Piano – my new baby, love it!
  • Hanging mirror on one wall
  • Clock over the table
  • Futon (folds down for a double bed for the kids at night.  All their bedding is kept in a compartment underneath)

Moving to the kitchen

The kitchen doesn’t have much for being a kitchen, but it has a pretty big percentage of our stuff.  ‘Cause food is important 🙂

In the cupboards there is:

  • #1 above stove has spices
  • #2 upper left side has baking supplies, empty/leftover containers, vitamins and medicine, my super awesome blendtec blender, tea and coffee.
  • #3 above fridge our party supplies – 6 piece set of china, fancy glasses, cloth napkins, candles and candle sticks, fancy set of silverware.
  • #4 upper on right side has dishes (set of 8), glasses, waffle iron, fancy bread pan, toaster

On the bottom

  • #5 oven drawer has pans – pizza, cake, muffin, mini cheese cake, and cooling racks
  • #6 lower on left has pots and pans, and food stuff – potatoes, beans, rice, cans, cereal, chips crackers, etc.  We don’t keep to much food in the house beyond what we need for a week between shopping trips.
  • #7 lower on the right (sink) has trash can on one side, coffee maker on the other, and dish soap in the middle
  • #8 lower on the right has mixing bowls, strainer, casserole dish and carrier, popcorn popper, ice cream maker (pretty important), cake stand, salad bowl, crock pot, and flour.
  • There are 4 (little) drawers – silverware, foil/plastic wrap/etc and pens, dish towels and recipes, knives and bigger serving utensils and rolling pin and place mats.

The freezer also has a gallon of chocolate ice cream thanks to my husband 🙂

Next to the kitchen we have the the entry area with two closets

First closet is actually the furnace room… not supposed to put stuff in there but we slid in:

  • Ironing board (hangs on the back of the door)
  • Vacuum, broom and dust pan
  • Kids helmets
  • A tub of swimming and camping stuff

Second closet is the kids closet:

  •  They have games on the top shelf
  • Box of books, sewing stuff, homeschool books, crafts, and misc school stuff on the second shelf
  • Canvas box of toys for each of them on the third shelf (cars for Ian and Barbies for Lily)
  • Balls, blocks and scooters on the bottom

In the hall we also have another closet (kind of a pantry size next to the bathroom).

The central-ness of this closet lets it double as a bathroom, laundry room, linen, homeschool, and cleaning closet.  It is super shallow so it doesn’t hold much.

It is pretty messy looking at it in the picture but it holds:

  • Top shelf has cleaning products, laundry stuff and extra towels and extra sheet.
  • Second shelf holds bathroom stuff, hair, make up etc and the shoe box that holds our extra socks (the ones that make it through the laundry without a mate).
  • The third shelf is the kids and holds a little tub of treasures, Ian’s tools and block of wood, and their piggy banks and savings jars.
  • The fourth shelf has a homeschool tub, coloring books,  a box of Lily’s craft and treasure things, and a small box of Ian’s legos.
  • Below is our reusable bags, back-packs and a crystal cookie jar for Lily’s hair and make-up stuff.

The bathroom really doesn’t hold much but here it is

  • I had Bryon hang extra towel hooks so we can hang up all 4 of our towels
  • I don’t like things in the shower so I collect them in the green bucket (shampoos etc)
  • Under the sink there is extra TP, cotton balls, Q-tips, and a bucket with our first aid stuff (except medicines we keep in the kitchen out of reach)
  • There is a candle on the sink I got from a friend from Germany

Okay, the last spot is the bedroom

Bedroom comes with two cute kids waiting for me to be done taking pictures so they can watch a movie 🙂

  • On the wall there is a picture and a mirror.
  • Furniture includes – bed, end table (which I broke yesterday…), two chairs, small book shelf, office chair
  • Throw blanket (that I still need in the summer because we can’t agree on the AC settings…)
  • Book shelf has kids weekly allowance money, my purse, my bible, kindle, and puzzles at the bottom
  • Another book basket
  • Guitar

My husband made a super cool bed frame for our bed that lets me store all the out of season cloths and our camping supplies (tent, and bedding) under the bed.

There are two closets in the bedroom

First closet is our office, it also holds our empty suitcases and Bryon’s photography stuff.

Second closet has all 4 of our clothes and a laundry basket.  (we each have about 33ish things).  On the top shelf I have my sewing machine and my sewing box, cooler, box of Christmas decorations, and some picture frames I want to get new pictures printed for.

Off site

We keep our old files and our memory tub and a few other things up in Bryon’s folks attic.  I hate that we have to keep so much paperwork for our small businesses for so many years but we were audited once so we make sure to keep stuff 🙂

That’s what we got now.  I don’t know how exciting it all looks after writing it out but hopefully it can answer a few questions.

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  1. I think this is obviously a great visual! It is hard sometimes to really understand what a “minimalist” may or may not have. And I think it is hard for people that are striving to be more minimalist to understand that they are still allowed to own things, but to make sure they are important to you and your family. Love that all of your clothes fit in one closet! Awesome!

    • thanks 🙂

    • I definitely agree, this might be a little out there but even in the movie Fight Club, like the Brad Pitt character says, what you own eventually owns you. We think stuff makes us happy but honestly it’s overcoming life’s challenges that makes us happy, not the stuff we have.

  2. At the moment we live in free housing provided by our employers. Next time we move and it’s our rent money again, we’re going one bedroom too (we’re also a family of 4) You have inspired us! Thank you 🙂

  3. Pat MartInsen Pat MartInsen


    • Thanks Pat!

    • thanks, I really want to be able to close the doors on the ‘office’ sometimes and it was able to accomplish that. I hate having the office spread all over the bedroom, but I hate the idea of having another room just for an office. 🙂

  4. I love this and love seeing the photos! I’m hoping to do some more major decluttering this week, so this is inspiring.

    • good luck 🙂

  5. You’ve got such a nice sized kitchen for a 1 bedroom! Did you have problems finding a complex that would allow all 4 of you to live in a 1 bedroom? Most of the complexes here have limits on the number of people (including children) that can live in certain size apartments. Also, what is your sleeping plan for the kiddos as your daughter reaches puberty? I can see two kids of the same gender sharing a bed, but I’m wondering what your daughter will think as she matures. Thanks for the tour!

    • Megyn, thanks for your comment 🙂 I don’t have plans out farther than a few months at a time usually so I am sure we will be doing something different by then.

      There are usually code issues (though I think it is pretty dumb), this complex is somehow outside the city in someways and inside in others so they had no problem with it. They have lots of 2 bedrooms we could move to if we need more space in the future.

      The kitchen is pretty cool. It actually is smaller (number of cabinets) than our last one but because it has the open bar area it feels bigger.

  6. Mereta Mereta

    So I love the idea of using the closet for an office! SO simple and creative at the same time! We are trying to get into an apartment (but we dont dare to try a 1 bedroom, lol) and I was wondering what in the world I was going to do with all our paperwork/documents we have to keep.
    Great post Lorilee!!!

    • Thanks Mereta 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing the photos! I’m really new in toying with the idea of minimalism and it help so much to see photos of how you live. I’m struggling right now with whether minimalism has to be a certain type of style too? Or can someone be a minimalist with a crazy colorful bedspread and throw pillows? It is ok for minimalists to hang things on the wall or is it just about what it means to you??

    Thanks again Lorilee! I started following!

    • You probably want Lorilee’s answer, but minimalism for me looks very different. I think there is a whole new movement of minimalism (some would call it simple living) and it looks different for each person and each situation. I consider myself an aspiring minimalist, but I have way more stuff than Lorilee does. For me it’s about only having stuff that is meaningful and useful.

      • Jill, thanks for your response 🙂

    • Leslie, I can answer you in two different ways 🙂 1. Minimalism is about having what you love and need and nothing else. If you love crazy colorful bedspreads and throw pillows than that is great. I love how color makes a focal point in a room. Because what you love and even what you need is personal there is no list of what a minimalist would own or not own.

      2. Minimalism is a pretty popular idea right now. Minimalist is a photography style – taking pictures of close ups or very open areas with a small focal point. Minimalist is a running style. Minimalist is also a decorating style. What I have seen is light, open, minimally decorated (obviously), white or very natural colors. I don’t think there is anything against hanging things on the wall but the idea that the less distraction there is the better the few focal points can stand out.

      I wouldn’t feel like you need to adopt the decorating style to adopt the benefits of #1 🙂

      Thanks for your comment. Good to meet you!

      • Nicole Nicole

        Is there a difference between Simple and Minimalism living, decorating etc.?

        • hum, that might depend on who you ask. I see simple as just less stuff, minimalist is sometimes a more ‘hard core’ term. For me, and for this blog, I use them interchangeably.

  8. Jessica Jessica

    How does it work with your kids sleeping in the living room? Do you go to bed/get up when they do?

    We’re wanting to move to a 1-bedroom but this issue seems to keep coming up. (we have a 3-yr old)/

  9. Deb Deb

    Wow! I’m inspired! I love office closet!
    You’vee made such a happy home for your kids! I love that they will grow up knowing how to embrace what’s important and let go of the rest.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! Good to meet you 🙂

  10. OMGawsh, you would simply shrivel up and faint dead away if you came to my house 😉

    • 🙂

  11. Jessica Jessica

    You’ve definitely inspired me!! But, how does it work with the kids sleeping in the livingroom? Is that hard to do?

    • Thanks for your comment! It hasn’t been hard at all. We work in the evenings or hang out and read or watch a movie and we do all those things in our room/office/reading room. So as long as I don’t want to clean the kitchen after 8 (I never want to clean the kitchen) then the kids can have it quiet and dark. If we have people over late it would make it hard for the kids to go to sleep but we haven’t run into that being a problem yet. Does that answer your question?

  12. I love how light and bright your space is!! Thanks for the walk through…I think it’s answered lots of questions. 🙂

    • You are welcome 🙂 Good to meet you!

  13. Jennifer G Jennifer G

    LOVE the kitchen. I would miss my microwave and my coffee pot. So for my kitchen, those have to stay out. I had been storing my toaster away, but my son is finally getting old enough (and tall enough) to be able to make his own toast, so I think it is about to have to find a home on the counter again. I think it is time for my crock pot to return to the laundry room, though.

  14. I agree with the above comments– it’s so fun to see what a minimalist home looks like! The visual definitely helps me picture it… and realize that wow, I am absolutely NOT a minimalist even though I blog about living small and living simple. Thanks for sharing!

    • Minimalism and simple living comes in many forms 🙂

  15. evelien evelien

    Thanks so much for sharing, love your organized closets!

    • your welcome… I wouldn’t say super organized, but they aren’t overflowing 🙂

  16. Jennifer G Jennifer G

    Wow, we have WAY more stuff than that, and I’ve only counted my living room and kitchen so far. I’ve pared down a lot, but I can see I have still got a long way to go. But we are hopefully moving next summer and a large majority of stuff will stay here when we go because this will be come our weekend/vacation cabin. So some stuff will be tossed/donated and others will be divided and only important stuff that we use regularly will get moved (For example, I have 2 crockpots, one will move and one will stay, the same with our extra coffee maker…our favorite one will move and the extra will stay, so I’m not dragging stuff back and forth). That will give us time to sort through the “unimportant” stuff when we are back on weekends.

    • sounds super nice 🙂 Good luck with the move!

  17. It’s SO refreshing to see such an uncluttered,well organized home! My wife,(2) kids and I are just beginning to re-evaluate our lifestyle and downsize as you have done-seems like a monumantal task indeed,but we’re inspired by your (and other’s) journey 🙂

    • Stephen…. will take uncluttered but with 2 kids the organization is not always there 🙂

      • LOL,trust me when I say I understand (mine are Jamie-daughter-15 years old,and son Nicholas is 10) :p 🙂 I hope your week is off to a great start,happy Monday! 🙂

  18. This is so inspiring! We’re working on an adoption right now, and it’s crazy what our government thinks we “need” to be able to bring another child into our home! I’m sure whatever we have is more than our child in Ethiopia has right now! I do plan to do some simplifying and decluttering soon, I am a minimalist at heart.

    Your apartment reminds me of when we lived in China. I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how little we had while we lived there, and how much simpler life was!

    • oh wow! Congratulations! I got to preview ‘Until We All Come Home’ by Kim de Blecourt about her Ukrainian adoption (book coming out Nov 6) I was blown away! So excited for you and pray the process will go smoothly 🙂

  19. Eva Eva

    Thanks for inviting us into your home! Reading your list of possessions and seeing the pictures was really inspiring and helpful. It’s great to get an idea of what a minimalist home actually looks like.

    • so glad you liked it! I am working on a follow up post in a few weeks too. That was last summer but we have changed up a few things 🙂

  20. Wow, i’m so amazed by these pictures. I have just started to try and organise my home and simplify my life, I have no kids and I am finding it almost overwhelming the amount of work to be done! I work long hours in the corporate world and I feel I just don’t have the time to be organised and minimalist, because when your in a rush buy and store to get things done fast! But if I could just get the right habits in place! My husband and I have a 3 bedroom, open plan, 2 garage home on an acre. And we don’t have enough space! I can’t believe 4 people’s clothes fit in one wardrobe ****brain explodes****.

  21. Tara Tara

    Enjoyed your willingness to share all. Curious about others on the minimalist path. How much (or rather how little) are most minimalists able to comfortably live with (or without)?

    • Everyone is so different. That is probably the beauty of it 🙂 Seeing other examples helps us change our ideas of normal and gives us ideas. Thanks for your comment!

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  26. Robin Robin

    In such awe of your family…it’s fantastic that your children are having these great values instilled in them at a young age. My daughter is 11, my son is 18 (will graduate in a few weeks) and my husband is a lover of technology and has the latest/greatest of every gadget.
    To my excitement, we’ve decided to convert a barn into a house and will be downsizing our 2200 sqft home to about 1400 sqft. I love home decor, so I won’t be parting with many of my things, but I’m hoping to minimize considerably. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • You are welcome! Sounds like a really fun house project 🙂

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