Thinking Outside-the-Box, Literally

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My husband and I aren’t huge game people, but we like to keep a few on-hand that keep us busy on slow winter evenings and are fun to play with friends.

I grew tired of feeling like our games were consuming too much visual and physical space since the boxes were bulky and brightly colored. We also had other hobbies that needed to more storage room, like craft supplies and photography equipment. I started toying with the idea of getting rid of the games all together. But, I think that would have been a bad idea since there’s just no replacement for a good, solid game. Sometimes getting rid of a portion of something and keeping the part that means the most can be super effective on its own.

So instead of getting rid of them, I removed the bulky packaging and fit them all in one cute little box. We did something similar with most of our DVD collection by recycling the cases and fitting the disks in a smaller leather case.

I think we bought these little photo boxes from Michaels for $2 a piece and they’ve been the perfect size for fitting things like our games, receipts, and even Nerf guns (something else that occupies us during the winter. Also, I have a surprisingly good Nerf shot).

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The caveat here is that we don’t play games that often. Some people love games and their collection might require a whole closet, and that’s ok! Minimalism or simple-living isn’t necessarily about living “without”. It’s about simplifying or removing the excess so that the things that bring the most life, joy, and necessity can be prioritized with more of our mental faculties.

Sometimes thinking outside the box (like totally ditching the bulky boxes) goes a long way to providing just a little more brain power to something more worthwhile!

Simply, Becky

Clutter-Busters for Any Space

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I was recently able to spend a long weekend with my mom, woohoo! While I was home, I helped my mom declutter her spice cabinet. … because that’s what people do for fun together, right?! Ha!

Here’s the process that we used. It might seem silly that we used a “process” to declutter a small spice cabinet, but we were more interested in solving reoccurring pain points than simply throwing things out, so we first applied systems that I blogged about earlier and then reduced where necessary.

The Process

1. Identified pain points. It wasn’t overly packed, but my mom felt like it caused some distraction while cooking because she had to sort through it, items were expiring before she used them because some were getting lost in the back, and she had to overhaul it once in a while to maintain organization.

2. Determined systems to solve the pain points.

Gave each spice a home. To make it easier to locate certain spices, my mom grouped them based on usage and arranged them on the shelves according to accessibility—from most-used on the lowest shelf to the less-used on the top shelf. We also provided sufficient space for bulk spices and gave frequently-used medicine their own shelf to prevent crowding.

Applied a two-layer system. To reduce the amount that needed to be moved out of the way and increase visibility so less would be forgotten, my mom arranged the spices into lines that were two-layers deep. This naturally limits the number of spices that could fit on a shelf, so it also helps prevent the same levels from returning.

3. Tossed expired, multiples, or rarely used spices and moved items that had different homes. We moved things like dishes, straws, birthday candles, and less-used/large bottles of medicine to other homes to utilize the entire spice cabinet. Simply moving some of these items freed up a lot of space and increased visibility.

The result was awesome! After applying these systems and removing the excess, the cabinet now functions smoothly—spices are easier to find and hopefully organize themselves over time. And, my mom’s so creative—she repurposed the excess/expired spices into an animal deterrent for her garden!

I applied the same clutter-busting systems to every area of my space a while back and it was incredible how much time was freed up. I was no longer unnecessarily moving around unused stuff, organizing, or stressed by minor pain points all day.

What systems help you keep the clutter away?

Simply, Becky