Our Cottage Spring Cleaning Adventure – Part 2
Every time I do a meet-and-greet with mothers after my Project Nazareth talks, many of them have suggested that I be open to giving an online tour of our home. And while I thought the idea was great, a part of me wanted to keep our cottage out of the public eye.
But when our family decided to participate in the Forty Bags in Forty Days Challenge, I had a change of heart. I was very much at peace with the idea and I felt that it was the right time to share how the simplification principles that I have been writing and speaking about could be applied to our own home.
Little House In The Hills
So please, do come in. I’m happy you stopped by. I give you my warmest welcome.
But before I begin the tour, let me provide you a bit of background information. Our home was built in the summer of 2003, shortly before my second child was born. During its planning stage, we made it clear to our builder that we only wanted a one-level home because we wanted to practice voluntary simplicity.
But our Lord had other plans. The lay of the land was such that our home needed a basement. We ended up with an unfinished basement and a total of 1,000 square feet of living space on the main level.
Our Living and Dining Area
When we moved in, we knew we needed to use this precious space wisely. One of the first things we did was to make an executive decision about our large living room. We only owned one couch and thought we didn’t need all that space for just the living area.
Although we already had space for a small breakfast table in the kitchen, we decided to split the living room into a living and dining area. In retrospect, this was a wise choice in that we have a large enough table to be able to sprawl freely as we homeschool our three children.
Simple Spring Cleaning Steps
Step 1 – Detach
In the living and dining area, we detached from the following:
- old magazines and coffee table books
- more books and readers
- lots of paper & excess artwork from the children
- outgrown coats and shoes
- outgrown hats, gloves, scarves
All out-of-season shoes and garments that we will definitely be using next year were placed inside labeled bins and put in storage downstairs.
Step 2 – Contain
Containers do a wonderful job controlling clutter. In our home, we use shelves, bins and baskets to keep most of our clutter contained. In our dining area, we use this old shelf to house our out-of-print books, old prayer books and favorite readers.
We had to weed through our collection to make sure we have a place for our favorites and a place for our oft-used reference materials such as The Holy Bible, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and Webster’s Dictionary. We use a small, wooden box to contain all our holy cards which the children use as bookmarks for their workbooks and readers. The top of our shelf serves as a special space to celebrate the Liturgical Seasons of the year.
We also had to tame our magazine collection. It began getting out of control so it came to a point where we had to choose our favorite issues and recycle the rest. So our magazines dwindled down to a more manageable number and contained in a beautiful, wooden basket I found at a local thrift shop.
It was difficult for me to let go of some of my Simple Living Magazines, though. But, while there is a saying that it is nice to enjoy a little bit of everything, there really is no rule stating you have to own a lot of everything. The less things you have, the more special these things become. Pare down as much as possible but keep your absolute favorites too! Here are some absolute favorite titles I decided to keep:
Step 3 – Systematize
One super simple system we try to apply in our home is to remove our shoes as soon as we come inside. This lessens the chances of tracking mud, dirt and allergens all over the house and makes maintenance cleaning a bit easier. All grown-up shoes go inside the brown basket on the left side of the buffet.
And because we don’t have a mud room or a coat closet in our main level, we had to be creative and put baskets under our buffet table to contain children’s shoes.
Until Next Time
Thank you for stopping by to visit. In a couple of weeks, I will be showing you more rooms in our home and all the changes we’ve made to make our environment simpler and more peaceful.
Until then, Happy Spring Cleaning and a Happy, Holy and Blessed Easter Season to you and your families!