Simplify Sunday- My Craigslist Coffee Table Turned Low Dining Table

 table 
I just moved a few months ago, so it is kind of soon to be redecorating. However, I didn’t have the money to get everything I wanted right away. Also, while I’m fine with my apartment, it’s not exactly huge. 

All this to say, a dining table was not a priority. I figured this was an opportunity to simplify. I put my rowing machine in the dining room, which was already small for a table. I planned to just use the two barstools I got and the counter for eating. 

Life got in the way. I found myself eating at my coffee table. I liked having more room than a counter top. Then, I got a television last weekend! When I put it in the living room, I rearranged everything so many times. No matter how I did it, the coffee table didn’t fit. 

I thought I would get rid of it, and just put it in the dining room for the time being. I got the living room fixed up (these rooms are really an open floor plan, it’s more like a miniature great room) and then took another look at the table. 

Suddenly, I actually liked it there. I put an empty vase in the middle and threw some pillows on the floor. I loved it! I could use the coffee table I got cheap off Craigslist as a dining table! 

I found four chair cushions at Cost Plus and cut the ties off. Now they are the perfect size cushions to store under the table, then pull out for floor pillows for eating! Combined with the pretty dahlias my friend K gave me- perfect! I love it! 

What do you think? I got some feedback that no one wants to sit on the floor, but I like it. I guess I can just sit there by myself… 🙂 I love the simplicity, bright colors, and small footprint. 

❤️ Jillian 

Simplify Sunday- Furniture Shopping on a Budget

Bookshelf, already had/ lamp (similar), Fred Meyer (had 30% off coupon)/ picture, $40 off Craigslist/ coffee table, $20 off craigslist/ sectional pieces Furniture Outlet (20% off sale)/ pillows, Cost Plus (buy one get one 50% off)/ chair, gift/ liquor table, Fred Meyer (had 30% off coupon)/ rug, Home Depot

When I moved, I knew that I would need to buy a lot of stuff. I had two priorities- not spending more money than I needed to, and not buying too much stuff. I didn’t want to undo what I had done with my minimalism. I planned out what I needed and hoarded coupons. I feel like I ended up buying a ton of stuff, but I did try to only buy what I really needed. For example, I don’t have a lot of space, so I decided to skip a table and chairs and just get two bar stools for the kitchen counter. 

bookshelfThere are a few good reasons, in my opinion, for buying things used. To start, it’s obviously much more cost efficient. Possibly more important to me, it’s good for the environment. I’m giving new life to something that is no longer useful to someone else, and I’m not buying something that had to be made brand new. Not buying new stuff saves on raw materials, transportation costs, saves me from going into a store and having to hear those super fake marketing spiels… So many ways to win, y’all.

I used Craiglist a lot when I was looking for stuff. Everything I needed (except the couch and bed), I checked Craigslist first. I got this bookshelf for $20, and the bar stools for $45 for the pair. Purchased new, the bookshelf would have been around $100 and the barstools at least $60 each.

bedroom That said, I wasn’t prepared to buy anything “soft” used. I am afraid of bed bugs and general grossness. I’m squeamish and I’m not afraid to admit it. My first purchase was a bed. I measured my apartment and decided that the biggest bed I could get was a queen, and that I could save money and space by just getting the basic metal frame. I went to Sleep Country, tried the three that fit my price range and firmness level, picked one, and was done. I love it when things are easy!!

I’m a little ashamed of my general lack of thriftiness with my bedroom. Everything was new except the painting, which I got for $20 on Craigslist (and I LOVE it!). The lamps were super discounted from Crate and Barrel, which means they were still more expensive than regular lamps 🙂 ($30 each, but now they are $20!). My bedding came from Amazon. Shiba Inu came courtesy of NW Shibas 4 Life!

sara nightstandI looked for a while for nightstands used, but couldn’t find anything small enough to fit one on each side. I ended up loving these Sara nightstands from Cost Plus. I personalized them by switching out the plain gray drawer pulls for cute colored ones, and putting a layer of clear contact paper over the top. You can barely see it, and it protects the top from water or stains. It’s super easy to wipe off, and I can have water by my bed with no messes. Also, it peels right off if you don’t like it!

bathroom The last thing that I bought was this over the toilet shelf (similar) for the bathroom from Fred Meyer. It was $30, and I was lazy and didn’t feel like looking for something cheaper. I’m so happy I have it though- it really helps keep my bathroom organized.

What do you think, does my stuff look too crowded? Soon it will be time for more stuff purging! My favorite splurge purchase was my sectional, it’s so comfortable I could sleep there instead of my bed.

Jillian

Simplify Sunday- Moving 

  

sleepy shibs Moving is very interesting when you’ve been operating as a minimalist. The last two times I’ve moved it has been pretty spur of the moment, but since I don’t have a lot of stuff; it has been fairly manageable. 

For my latest move, I literally called my sister at 11am and told her I was going to move and she should come help me. I had found seven boxes a few days earlier. I had those and some packing tape, nothing else and nothing packed. I started packing, using the boxes and any kind of container I already owned (luggage, storage totes, reusable shopping bags, drawers, laundry baskets, anything and everything!). 

I had borrowed a mini van, and I packed everything and took over the first load to my new place, which was about 25 minutes away. I unloaded the van, then went to buy a bed. About this time, my sister got to town and met me back at the old place. We easily loaded everything else into the mini van and her SUV. Most of the room in the van was filled with Riley’s kennel 🙂 

We drove back to the new place and unloaded. We were done at 4pm! Packed, loaded, unloaded, and bought a bed in five hours! 

I know it’s silly, but I’ve never loved minimalism more. I felt so proud of myself for getting it done so fast and easily! I also think that my efforts to get rid of everything unnecessary this year really paid off, because I have only found three items to give away in the last two months at the new place. 

Next week’s Simplify Sunday is going to be about how I furnished my apartment, and how much I worried about not buying too much stuff… I like how it turned out. Stayed tuned! 

Jillian 

Simplify Sunday-Yoga Edition

work out areaWhen I look at My 35 Project, I see one area where I need a lot of improvement. I haven’t done yoga even once! Yikes.

Obviously, I had to look at why. Doing something once a week should not be hard. What is standing in my way?

It’s hard for me to work out at home, and it’s hard for me to spend $15 on one yoga class. That’s what it is. It’s also hard for me to spend time doing yoga, when I have a mind block that says it’s more important to do weights or cardio.

My actual belief is that all three are important. Yoga helps me with balance, physically and mentally. It helps me connect my mind to my body.

So, here’s what I did! I made a space where I have a reminder every day to just think about it, if not to try a few poses.

yoga posesI don’t know yoga well enough to make it up as I go along, so I got this cool poster off Amazon!

I just used it, and while the pictures are small (this was the best one I could find), it was really helpful! I’m excited about this new idea, and that I got my first yoga session in.

Silly as the small victory may sound… It’s a big deal for me to pinpoint what’s standing in my way and then actually do something about it. 

Have you had any small victories lately?

💛 Jillian 

Sinplify Sunday- Packing Party

 sunshine and my princessAnne is having a packing party, and I’m kind of jealous. I don’t really want to go to all the trouble, but I love getting rid of things! 

So, instead… What would I do if I were completely starting over? What things would I actually need? Here’s what I got rid of:

  • Two pairs of tights 
  • Three pairs of socks
  • One shirt
  • A Packers foam finger that is just always in the way (sorry, Packers, I still love you very much!)
  • Two pairs of too small leggings
  • Three books
  • An old messenger bag 
  • Small decorative dish 

That’s it. I lost steam. Still, I think that’s pretty good (for someone that recently went through the entire house, and has been doing constant stalking of anything that might be useless!). 

On a related note, while thinking about starting over- how much do we really need, space wise? We are two people and two dogs, and we live in a four bedroom house. Kind of crazy, right? 

A few years ago I lived in a studio, and I loved it. Everything was super organized, and I hardly had to buy anything. Sure, I would have loved to have a closet (there wasn’t even one) for storage, but it made life feel so simple. I know that’s extreme and not for everyone, but it’s something to think about. How much do I really need? How much is just excess? How much good could these things I don’t even use be doing for someone in need? 

Just more of my ramblings 🙂 Happy Sunday, friends!

Jillian  

Simplify Sunday- Gimme Five! 

I am kind of a recycling nerd. I hate that I can’t recycle everything, because I get super freaked out by the idea of piles of garbage sitting around for hundreds of years.

Don’t even get me started on the huge pile of plastic in the middle of the ocean. It’s terrifying. It’s going to take over the world!

Anyway, I read a great book (The Zero-Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst- affiliate link) about living a trash free lifestyle. I don’t think that is particularly achievable for most people- I just have other things that I want to focus on. However, I am incredibly impressed by her.

I did take several things away from it, and one was the Gimme 5 program. Number 5 plastics aren’t recyclable curbside in most communities, but the Gimme 5 program makes it possible. You can either drop your plastics off at a location or mail them in. Whole Foods is one of the participants. So, not fully knowing what to do, I washed and saved all of my number 5 plastics until I had a paper bag full. J was not super impressed with my plastic hoarding, so it was time to take it in.

I’m not great with new things. I like to know exactly what to do, what the rules are, how things are going to play out. This includes something as ridiculous as dropping off a paper bag of plastic.

In my defense… I mean, you guys have been to Whole Foods, right? It’s not really the kind of place where it seems cool to walk in with your bag of garbage and wander around with it. I don’t even really feel that comfortable walking into Whole Foods in the first place. I didn’t even have yoga pants on, and aren’t they required?!

I pulled some nerve out of nowhere and walked in with the bag. I looked for a bin for the plastics, but didn’t see anything. Decided to wander casually around the store. Oh, la la la, I always walk around Whole Foods with my bag of garbage… Of course, in the process, I end up buying $36.06 worth of stuff. None of which was on my grocery list.

Moving on. I realize I am being a psychopath, and go up to customer service and ask the clerk if they participate in the Gimme 5 program. He says yes and takes my stuff. Gives me back my paper bag. That’s it. End of story.

So… In order to simplify my trash output, I nearly gave myself a stroke and spent $36.06. Go me.

However, I now know exactly what to do, and so do you!! All you have to do is save up your number 5 plastics, then take them in to Whole Foods to customer service 🙂 I do feel really good about the fact that those plastics won’t go to a landfill. Obviously the better option would be to not buy them, but we’re talking prescription bottles, peanut butter lids, stuff I need in my life!

You can go to this website to look for a drop off location near you. Does anyone have any other cool recycling tips for me?

Jillian