You don’t have to have a dedicated room for guests, but you can do a few simple, inexpensive things to help make them more comfortable.
These little things go a long way to help friends and family feel welcome and relaxed, (plus you probably already have most of this around!) - clean linens, a set of towels for each person, an extra pillow/blanket, night light, alarm clock, water bottles (and snacks if you want!), a few notes about how to work the TV and about your area. As a minimalist, you don't have to go overboard, just include purposeful and helpful items.
While it’s nice to have a designated guest space, it’s totally unnecessary - especially if you host infrequently or consider guests when you make furniture purchases (ex. a pull-out couch). I love multi-purpose and multi-use pieces!
A small toiletry basket in the bathroom is awesome to keep tucked away and pull out when guests arrive and covers anything they may have forgotten. Most of this you probably already have extras laying around, or if you want to “stock” your basket, go for travel-sized items.
🌼Asprin (travel bottles or packets)
🌼Tums / stomach medications
🌼Makeup remover wipes
🌼Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, lotion (gender neutral or set for men and set for women)
🌼Blow dryer and a few hair accessories (bobby pins, hair spray)
🌼Feminine hygiene products
Once of my favorite things about having guests is taking that extra step to really make them feel welcome. It’s those little touches that make them feel appreciated, and are great for easing the travel transition.
Love hosting? Tell me, what is your favorite thing about it?
The great Ben Franklin once said, “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” Whether it’s three days or three weeks (or even more or less), when family and friends come to visit, it helps to plan for adjustments to routines so your time spent together is relaxed, flexible and most of all, enjoyable! It can be tough for kids especially, who may get over-tired, over-stimulated and temporarily displaced if guests have to stay in their rooms.
As my guest prep checklist mentions, the week before guests arrive, it’s helpful to review expectations for…
⚡ Meal Planning
⚡ Budget and financing
⚡ Regular daily activities, sports games, after-school activities
⚡ Holidays and special events
Anything I’m forgetting? Do you find anything especially challenging when guests visit?
Your wardrobe should include only pieces that FIT, FLATTER and FEEL GOOD!
I know how hard this can be - we talked about the emotional aspect of clothing this past week. I’ve been a huge range of sizes. My body shape has changed with kids. I have some extra “love” in places I wish I didn’t right now. BUT, start with what you have and what you decided to keep. Remember to keep what fits and what works for what season you're in - I do have a very small box of things I kept that aren't working for me right now, BUT, they aren't out and taking up space in my closet!
A capsule wardrobe is your new daily “uniform”. Hone in on your style with a few simple questions:
🌟 What is your lifestyle like 75% of the time?
🌟 What’s the season you’re dressing for? Weather?
🌟 What do you own and LOVE? Why?
🌟 What do you own and never wear? Why?
🌟 What are your favorite colors to wear? Silhouettes?
🌟 Any special events this season?
🌟 Favorite brands right now?
My answers look like this:
🌵 Fall in Phoenix (still 🔥)
🌵 V-neck tees, easy shorts, casual dresses with pockets (Soft, comfortable, utilitarian)
🌵 Crew-neck tees, chiffon “work” tops (Neckline ugly, too “grandma” and restrictive)
🌵 Black, olive green, denim, rosy pink; peplum tops, cinched-waist dresses, high-waisted bottoms
🌵 Not until winter
🌵 Old Navy
Don’t be afraid of tailoring! If you love something and it can be adjusted to fit better, go for it.
Did you answer these questions about your own wardrobe?
Creating a Capsule Wardrobe
As you declutter your closet, let’s talk about a tool you can use to have a small but sleek, stylish, and purposeful wardrobe. Imagine you walk into your closet and ALWAYS have something to wear. No, it’s not crazy - it’s a “capsule wardrobe”!
The term first appeared in the 1940s and was later revived in the 1970s; it’s a collection of staple clothing and accessory pieces meant to easily complement each other and mesh well together. I’ve seen the term a lot over the past 5+ years, and as someone who spends an ample amount of time in the closet and comes out with “nothing to wear”, I thought this could really benefit me. A capsule focuses on a great collection of fundamentals and saves you time (you already have a closet full of complementary favorites) and money (shop seasonally for a few key pieces if you WANT to, but you don’t even have to do that!).
So how can a capsule wardrobe help you?
👕 Save TIME looking for clothes
👕 Simplify + reduce quantity
👕 Highlight favorite styles, colors and silhouettes
👕 Spend less on clothing + only shop seasonally
👕 Waste + donate less
A capsule DOESN’T have to be overly restrictive - you can limit the number of clothes or not, I chose not to limit because I decluttered so much, I wasn’t left with a lot in the first place!
It also naturally incorporates sustainability. Key pieces are classics - they may even be investments - that can be well-taken care of and used year after year. Recycle favorites each season and put them away in-between.
WHY clean out your closet? Anything in your home can be made more efficient and work to your advantage.
Your wardrobe can do just that, with the added bonuses of self-expression, confidence and feeling your absolute best. We talked about emotions and clothes, and leaving this area until last when you declutter - this will give you ample time to "perfect" your process and figure out what works for you in other aspects of your home, so you can head into the closet with determination and the know-how to make your wardrobe really WORK for you. When you step into the closet, think about how to your use your wardrobe as a tool to help you be your best self. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s all about progress over perfection - so don’t take it too seriously, either!
Try my “CLEAN” method to clean out your closet, once and for all!
Your style, your size, your favorite colors (including ones that flatter your skin tone!), your daily activities + routine
👖 LAY IT OUT
Choose to go by section or take EVERYTHING out; set up three bins / bags / piles - need, maybe and NO
Keep your favorites that you LOVE, try on the “maybes” and plan to donate / sell the “no”s
Create a curated capsule wardrobe of (unlimited) pieces that FIT, FLATTER and FEEL GOOD
What key pieces do you need to purchase (or re-purchase)? Do you need new storage solutions? Re-evaluate your closet AGAIN in three days - not to question your decisions, but to see if you can cut anything else and be even more ruthless
TOMORROW: How to create a capsule wardrobe that works for you.
Ohhhhh, the emotions that surround clothing. This alone makes it one of the hardest things to completely clean out, detach from and minimize.
The first step before doing absolutely ANYTHING in your closet is to be completely honest with yourself.
Sit in your closet, and take a few minutes to consider the following:
👗 You are trying to be your BEST self
👖 IT DOESN’T MATTER what size you are
👕 Your clothing should FIT you properly
🛍️ Wear what you LOVE and what makes you feel good
👒 Emphasize the parts of your body that you LOVE
👟 Clothing can be sentimental, BUT, that doesn’t mean everything should stay
👜 LET GO of anything that you associate with bad feelings or negativity
While clothing is a positive form of self expression and style, it can also be frustrating, depressing, and mask emotions. When we’re honest with ourselves, dress for the stage of life we’re in, AND in what fits us and what feels comfortable, the closet stops becoming a battlefield and instead becomes exciting, easy and efficient.
Everyone knows the feeling of stepping into their closet and saying, “I have nothing to wear.” So many women also shop for new clothes (because we “have nothing to wear”) every few months. Save time, save money, and save your sanity. Are you ready to clean out your closet?
If you saw me on the daily, you’d LAUGH if I started talking fashion with you (I prioritize comfort - ha!). But, I have a fun secret - I’ve been designing clothes and sewing since I was a kid. I lived and breathed fashion magazines. I took private fashion design classes, learned about proportions, style, how to draw a croqui, and plenty more. I wanted to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology since I learned about it when I was 13, and I did. I have a Bachelor's of Science in visual merchandising and home product development, BUT my portfolio was all fashion and the visual design department head who reviewed it asked multiple times if I wanted to switch to fashion design before accepting me.
I still wonder today what life would be like if I did become a fashion designer, BUT it’s incredibly hard work. I’m not lazy, I just wanted to be able to explore different types of design. After college I worked for many years in eCommerce and digital marketing, specifically photo shoot production, fashion styling and studio operations.
When you see me in jean shorts and a tee shirt (my fanciest #momlife lately), with no makeup on, don't judge. I’m excited to dive deep into the closet with you this week, talk a bit about why it’s such an emotional place, how getting over the mental hurdle is key to cleaning out your closet, how to organize for YOU and how a capsule wardrobe MAY help you (or a few other approaches you may want to try). Although I’m not in love with the "look" of the closet right now, the system works, so why fix what's not broken?
Any thoughts on cleaning out the closet?
Try The Timer Trick
Feeling frustrated or overwhelmed? Try this simple TIMER TRICK! Works great for kids and adults alike…
Set it when:
⏰ You / the kids need to finish or end a task soon
⏰ You’re challenging yourself to finish something quickly or in a certain amount of time
⏰ You need to make a decision about something quickly
Check out these examples:
📺 Only 5 more minutes of TV
🍽️ Unload the dishwasher in 10 minutes or less
📖 Read for 20 minutes before bed
📨 10 minute break for every hour of work
🤔 30 minutes to decide on the yellow or green chairs
I use the timer trick a lot, especially for my toddler - it’s a favorite of some of the parenting accounts on IG. I let her push it, she feels in-control and knows what to expect when the timer goes off, helping curb (some of the) tantrums. It's also great for mundane household stuff because I love a good challenge, ha!
But, I REALLY love it is because it helps analysis paralysis (I OFTEN get stuck in a this-or-that rut when looking to buy something online) and the timer trick really enforces “just make that decision already!”
Have you tried the timer trick?
Give everything a place
One of my favorite quotes from Maria Montessori, the well-known physician and educator behind the Montessori method, is, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
We follow some Montessori principles as my children are growing and learning, but I am not strict, and play with what works best for them and our family. I also don’t apply this ONLY to my kids - I’d suggest that this is an ideal principle of minimalism as well.
How does this Montessori idea apply to the minimalist home?
🌟 Have a designated place for every item you own
🌟 Having that designated place makes it easy and efficient to put back what’s taken out
🌟 This philosophy helps with structure and organization
🌟 Children are naturally tidy and want to be helpful - this principle reinforces this
Any Montessori mamas out there who love this quote?
The $15 / 15 Minute Approach
The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus) came up with the 20/20 “rule”, which is an ideal way to approach whether or not you should keep as they note, the “just-in-case” items that we tend to keep around for that exact reason - just in case.
The idea is, if you can replace the item for less than $20 in less than 20 minutes, it’s gone. If you need it, like REALLY need it, you can replace it down the road, BUT the majority of those items, you won’t even miss.
I’ve adopted this rule, but changed it a bit to fit our family’s needs - the $15/15 minute approach. Consider the following -
🌟 How far away is the nearest store you could get essential items? (Ex. Grocery stores, Target and other stores are only about 5 minutes away)
🌟 How many unnecessary / “just-in-case” items do you really keep around your home? I have tried to declutter so ruthlessly that I have already gotten rid of a lot of these
🌟 Lots of tiny, many-piece kids toys and games are less than $15 - if you're trying to minimize the amount of small, cluttered toys around that your kids *might* play with, this is a great way to do it
🌟 If you’re planning on selling an item for less than $15, is it worth your time and energy to go thru all the steps? Over the past month I’ve sold a lot of items, but I have some remaining that I wouldn’t charge more than $15 for; I’ve decided these will be donated and my time is more valuable doing something else
Do you have any “rules” you follow around your home? My mom and I used to joke that we followed the rules unless it was a stupid rule and if it was, we wouldn’t bother. If you know me (or my mom), you know that we weren’t really rule breakers anyway!