The Cooper Cottage


When Mitch and I first moved to LA, we lived in a charming 1920s bungalow that was maybe 550 square feet. The two of us and our two dogs squeezed into that tiny space and for the most part we LOVED it.  We had a view of Downtown and lived walking distance to Echo Park lake. We also had a front porch and a little yard where the pups could run free and be their wild animal selves.

What we didn’t have, obviously, was a lot of indoor space, namely storage for clothes, linens, shoes, etc. There was ONE tiny closet and 4 built-in shelves, and that was it. We created an additional makeshift closet for Mitch’s clothes, but still it never seemed enough. The place was too small to bring in an armoire or shelving unit, so we had to make do.  Naturally, the lack of space was my biggest complaint about that home, and although I loved our sweet Cooper cottage so much, I often found myself daydreaming about the joy I’d have once we had more space for our stuff.

We lived there about 2 years until we found out we were pregnant.  We knew we’d run into some logistics issues trying to live there with an infant, so we decided to find something bigger. We moved into a place with 2 bedrooms and 250 more square feet, and I’m not exaggerating when I say we felt strange and almost overwhelmed by the increased size of our new home.  We even joked about far away we felt from each other when one of us was in the living room and the other in the bedroom.

The size of this place definitely works for our small family, and I don’t necessarily want a larger home, but before I started on this journey to minimalism – and especially with the addition of a baby, all the clothes, toys, and other baby things – I would catch myself thinking, “Ahh we don’t have enough closet or storage space! We need more room for stuff. Maybe a 3 bedroom would be better.”

But therein lies the problem.  We’d move into a 3 bedroom and we’d just fill it like we filled this one. It’s similar to when I have a large purse, I just fill it with more crap! (Can any other women relate?)  How many people move into a house with a garage and think, “Awesome, a junk room!” ? (I’d venture to say not many.)

The reality is we do NOT need more space.

We need less stuff.

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STAY TUNED for some interesting topics!

  • Saying goodbye to sentimental items
  • Step by step guide to cleaning out your closet
  • How to be a minimalist who likes fashion
  • Kids & Minimalism: Can the two co-exist? (TOYYYYYSSSSS!)
  • Consumerism & Social Justice / Social Responsiblity
  • The American Dream
  • Finding your own style of simplicity

If you’re interested in a particular topic, please let me know! I love hearing from you!! Thank you so much for reading. ❤️

Why “20 mugs”? 

In my last post, I mentioned a blogger who inspired me to take on this purge project.  I should clarify that what I meant was I felt inspired to take things to the next level and actually consider minimalism as a lifestyle while documenting the journey.

Purging actually isn’t anything new to me.  I’d say at least a few times a year, frustration sends me on a bit of a rampage to make space, both physical and mental.  I know some people can operate in chaos but I’ve never been one of them.  It’s hard for me to think when there’s so much clutter, so it’s a priority for me to keep my living space decently organized.  Of course, there are times when I realized I’ve failed at doing so (hence the quarterly purging episodes) and it’s even harder to maintain now that we have a baby, but I try.  In fact, maybe it’s the fact that I’m a mom now that I’ve chosen this new venture.

I truly believe that material things are just blinks of happiness. They can bring joy, but it doesn’t usually last.  In the end, I know that what we own isn’t what matters most. What matters most are the relationships you have, the experiences from which you’ve grown, the people with whom you’ve laughed, cried, shared an adventure… Or a secret… Or even just a pizza.

This is what I want to teach my son… that what we spend our time and money on essentially reflects our truest selves… and that the things we own define our lives on a deeper level than we realize.  If we viewed the things we purchase as not items we own, but items that own us, we might find ourselves feeling a little embarrassed. (I’m speaking mainly about American society, as I don’t have much first hand experience with consumerism in other cultures.)

Now I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t buy anything, that would be silly. And I’m NOT trying to bash anyone’s lifestyle (I really hope it doesn’t come across that way.)  I do think we as a society should consider changing our ways a bit, but this mainly about my own journey, and if anyone wants to join me, I would love some companions! 😉  What I’m saying is we should be more conscious about what we fill our homes and lives with.

Let’s now get to the title of this post…

About a month ago, after the initial inspiration, I decided to embark on my biggest purge excursion to date!  I’m talking major overhaul, none of that measly “one grocery bag full of random knick-knacks” business.  I felt like a volcano, lava bubbling angerly beneath the surface, about to erupt. Or maybe this was the eruption.

Around this time, I found myself in my usual habitat, surrounded by laundry baskets full of clothes than needed to be washed, folded and put away (seriously THE worst chore of them all.)  For the umpteenth time, I asked myself, How can two people and a baby constantly have so much laundry?

The train of thoughts didn’t stop there.

If we didn’t have so much, I wouldn’t be so frustrated. 

If we didn’t have so much, I wouldn’t have to spend as much time cleaning and organizing. 

If we didn’t have so much, *GASP* I could do things that I actually like doing! 
Do we even NEED everything in this house? Heck… Do we even WANT everything in this house? 

And so on and so on. I couldn’t stop my mind at this point and so while the momentum was there, I made the official announcement to Mitch and went to work.

I grabbed some garbage bags and with a very realistic attitude, I tackled my closet. The dresser. The pantry. The dish cupboard… THE DISH CUPBOARD.

I’m the only person in this house who drinks coffee, tea, or any hot beverage for that matter. WHY DO I HAVE MORE THAN 20 MUGS??

Clink clink clank. One by one, I placed them into a box for Goodwill. It was both a laughable and liberating experience.  Sure, I liked those mugs, in fact I probably kept more than I should have, but I bid farewell to about a dozen of them. And you gotta start somewhere.

And so there you have it. 20 mugs.

amatuerly illustrated by me

 

Purge Project: The Trailhead

Hello hello!  Welcome to my humble blog dedicated to my journey of combating what I’ve decided to call “stuffism”.

Stuffism /stəf izəm/ : the act or practice of obtaining and storing material goods; a modern movement lead by excessive and senseless consumerism.

Let me clarify that I’m by no means an expert on this (or anything really) and I have no idea what will become of this “purge project”.  All I know is that this is the journey I’m on, and amidst the challenges, I anticipate experiencing several small victories. I’m determined and committed.

This is about more than having a clean closet.  This is about mental and spiritual growth.  It’s about becoming the kind of parent that I want my child to be around.  It’s about confronting myself, my habits and ways of thinking.  It’s about digging deeper, inner peace and true lasting happiness.  You get the picture.

I’ve always been incredibly interested in and inspired by the concept of “living small“.  How much STUFF does one person need?  Does STUFF equal happiness?  Everyone naturally wants to say “no” to that second question… But if we’re honest with ourselves, do we really BELIEVE it?  Because as far as the market’s concerned, we definitely think buying more stuff will make us happier.

The constant desire to WANT is so deeply ingrained into our brain-washed minds that we don’t even realize we’ve lost ourselves in the massive crashing waves of consumerism.  Everything needs to be bigger, better, faster, newer.  We’re all walking around looking like the emoji with heart eyes like, “Oooh. I need that.”  No, no, you really don’t.

*looks around, lowers arms and steps off soapbox*

I don’t want this first post to be too long, so let me cut to the chase.

I was inspired a few months ago by a blogger I follow.  She posted a guide on how her family of 5 lives comfortably in a 2 bedroom New York City apartment.  A family of 5!  She’s talked about owning less, donating to Goodwill often, smart ways to store items, and more.  Her post got me thinking… Maybe, just maybe I don’t need all the stuff I own.  Maybe I could simplify my lifestyle, resist the urge to purchase things constantly, be smarter with my money and my living space, have less clutter and more organization… What’s the point of having so much stuff anyway?  It all turns to dust in the end.

So this is the trailhead.  You’re welcome to join me on this hike!  It won’t always be easy, but I assure you the views will be worth it in the end. 🙂

Photo Source: http://www.sizemoreoutdoors.com/hiking/fire-creek-rim-trail/attachment/img_06468/