The Pared Down Together Instagram Challenge wrapped up on Monday and it was a whirlwind of photo taking, sharing and inspiration! I am so grateful to those who joined in and received a ton of positive feedback on how much this challenge helped spur action. I also got to know several of you which I am so thankful for.
Now if you missed out on the challenge, don’t be sad. Here’s a recap of all the TIPS I shared!
I know this may seem a little overwhelming to do all at once (or even over the span of 14 days) so go ahead and take your time or use what you need right now and come back again down the road. Here’s a few things that participants of the challenge had to say:
Hey! I’ve been following you for less than a week and you’ve already inspired me to start cleaning out drawers!!! Thanks.
Hey! I just wanted to say thanks for your challenge! I was quite bad at posting daily, but it was a great way to connect with others on IG in a simple way.
You totally inspired me today to clean up my jewelry space on my dresser. I wish I took a before picture.
I’ve been guilty of letting some artwork live a lonely existence. Great advice!
01 | Something that you love seeing everyday in your space
What do you love seeing everyday in your space? What speaks to you and offers a little joy in the face of your busy day? By taking some time to really figure out the answer to these questions, it will simplify the process of paring down your possessions.
02 | Unmentionables
The underwear drawer is not a graveyard for the itchy, ill fitting or worst of all frumpy. If it doesn’t make you feel good, get rid of it.
What? No picture! It was bad enough posting it on Instagram, I just couldn’t do it here!
1. Dump it all out
2. Pick each piece up one at a time and if you immediately think “woohoo, I love this,” then put it in the keep pile.
3. Indecisiveness, guilt, and “just in case my washer breaks” have no place here. Purge with abandon.
4. If you’re guilty of rummaging through in the mornings to find your favourite bra, you won’t miss any of the other options.
5. If there’s a hole in it, it’s long past its expiration date
6. If you don’t feel great in it, get rid of it.
7. Organize: take the keep pile and make it work for you. Since you’ll be left with the good stuff it should be easier to figure out a system – whether it’s by category or most worn. I love using small open boxes as separators.
03 | Collection
I never considered myself a collector until I actually thought about the things I buy repeatedly. Yarn was the natural thought but then my husband declared “nail polish”! He’s right…. I do have a thing for polish 💅🏻😉.
I store mine in one open box in the bathroom vanity and I toss any that are bubbly, older than a year, or too difficult to open. Dealing with collections can be challenging because we collect the things we love (don’t we)! Try to keep your collection to your absolute favourites and consider photographing items you don’t love and then parting with them. Think accessible and enjoyable – if your collection doesn’t fit in with those two words then let it go.
04 | Something that you love but is currently hidden
What’s relegated to a life of loneliness in your home? Is there something you love but have long forgotten about? TODAY is the day to go and find it, dust if off and find it a better home!
1. Displaying what you love will act as a reminder of the things that are important to you
2. It will make you happier
3. Deciding what you love makes it easier to part with what you don’t. While you’re digging out the gem, take a few minutes to make decisions about other items that were put away and forgotten about.
4. Consider selling no longer loved items online or donating them locally.
05 | Dream space
Emily Henderson ‘s space just does it for me and was also something that pushed me to pursue weaving. When I laid eyes on the fibre creation by @nikeschroeder I knew yarn had to be in my future. Do you have a dream space or are you already living in it? (📷 by@brittanyambridge for @dominomag )
Taking a few minutes to think about your dream space will help shed light on your style and the decisions you make when you chose to bring an item into your home.
06 | Books
Opening a book gives me a thrill. Yes I’m a slave to the kindle at night (one-click page turning is way easier in bed) but I rarely leave @chaptersindigo empty handed . I love books more then many things in life and paring them down can be a challenge. This is why #books are in every room of our home. Not only are they great for decorating a space, they also act as a reminder of things read and new possibilities to be found.
1. Do the book huddle – locate all of your books and corral them into one room (you’re welcome for the workout).
2. Weed out the uninspiring
3. Be honest with yourself – if you didn’t love it don’t keep it
4. Bookshelves are happier when they can breath so work in some empty space when you re-introduce the books to the shelves.
5. Storing some books spines-in can give the eyes a break and adds visual interest.
6. Consider putting some aside to display throughout your home but remember less is more (and you need room for that coffee cup, wine glass or beer stein)
7. Donate your used books (please do not throw them away, you’d break my heart)
07 | PJs
Alright let’s be honest for a second. When it comes to pyjamas and Canadian winters it’s hard to keep pretty – never mind sexy – in the equation. So my personal pj faves from @nordstromottawa and @eberjey get pushed aside and instead I’m in nightshirts. TIPS
1. Dump all of your pjs onto the couch/bed/nearest available surface
2. Pick each one out and quickly decide if it makes you feel good when you wear it (or if you absolutely need it to avoid teeth chatter in the frigid nights of your harsh climate)
3. Consider the vertical fold where you make a small rectangle and store it on its edge – it’s a game changer – trust me
4. Donate the ones that don’t make the keep cut
5. Reward yourself since you are paring down while watching the golden globes and that, friends, is something to be proud of.
08 | Tech
When it comes to tech, I go with the trifecta: iPhone, iPad, MacBook. TECH clutter is a real thing and I know it’s pretty low on the excitement scale but paring down in the technical department can give you some much needed stress relief. I’m not suggesting you toss out your iPad (I might cry actually) – what I am suggesting is joining us for some simple streamlining.TIPS
1. Do you have an old phone just in case – or a laptop that takes an hour to start? How about a tube tv? Consider donating it to your local habitat for humanity reStore.
2. Corral your cords. No one wants to stare at your electronic cords so either purchase tubing to group it together or relocate it to a less obvious spot.
3. Pare down your email. DO IT. It feels so good to know that your virtual life is under control. Personally I subscribe to the file system in gmail. Keep what you need but get it out of sight. Reserve your inbox for new and important stuff!
4. Get rid of old apps and you’ll have space for new ones! Check out Create & Cultivate ‘s blog for 5 game changing apps that will make you look like an all-star this year.
5. Keep the phone out of the bedroom at night. Your phone may be your best friend during the day but banish it at night. It’s a sleep disturber and giving it the boot from your bedroom will help you catch more zzs.
09 | Bags
Hands and Feet Handmade has an incredible way with bags. So keeping my bag collection small has been easy now that I’ve found one that’s versatile and the perfect size in my opinion. For#pareddowntogether, I focused on clearing out what’s in my small collection of bags because life is so much easier when your handbag isn’t a vortex of chaos.
1. Go on a home wide hunt and grab all of your bags – I’m talking backpacks, purses, briefcases, gym bags and the dreaded plastic bags. Put them on the floor.
2. Pick each one up and quickly decide if you love it and feel good wearing it. All no’s get put into the sell or donate pile (Try to sell any designer bags so you have actual cash to put in your favourite bag *empty them first)
3. Of the keepers – dump out the contents and sort what should stay and go. This will greatly improve your morning routine trust me.
4. Find a good spot to store the bags you choose to keep. I keep my five bags in a wire basket on the floor in our bedroom where I can see my options and easily change it up.
5. Be ruthless with doing away with the plastic (some grocery stores will take them back) and then consider purchasing reusable bags. I love The Jones Market YES tote!
10 | If you’re home could talk
Calm Chaos: 2 words my house would use to describe itself. If your home could talk, what would it say? Think about it – then decide whether you like it or whether it’s time for a change. Simple yet significant changes can change the story of your home.
11 | Fussed Up!
How many dresses are hanging in your closet? I’m talking the fancy dress variety? This past summer I decided to sell the ones hanging in my closet and to use Rent Frock Repeat 🇨🇦 or Rent The Runway from now on. Now just a little fussed up is a different story. I believe a few versatile pieces can take you many fun places. Today why not take a look through your closet and see which no-longer-hot numbers you can sell or donate?
1. Take all formal wear out and put it on your bed (I’m talking all seasons)
2. Pick each piece up one by one and decide whether it makes you feel fabulous, whether it fits you perfectly, and whether you will definitely wear it again this year
3. If there’s is any hesitation, get rid of it
4. Consider donating any dresses you don’t feel are worth selling to women’s shelters or local companies that give to youth for proms.
12 | Junk Drawer
It’s not MESSY when it has a place, am I right? Today why not tackle your junkdrawer (or in my case letter holder)? Let’s start simplify your life and end the morning dig for your keys, security pass, you know what I’m taking about.
1. Dump out the drawer.
2. Find homes for things that need to be kept but don’t belong in the drawer.
3. Section off the drawer using small open boxes.
4. Discard anything you don’t need or love.
5. Smile tomorrow morning because you just trimmed down your morning routine!
13 | Mags
A perfect Saturday would be spent perusing my latest Domino, Style at home, and Chatelaine magazine only that rarely happens. On my list of life realities there’s scarcely time for getting myself dressed. This causes a beautiful accumulation of magazines that I admire in neat little piles until a rare moment in which I tear through them, yank out the good stuff and then recycle the leftovers. So there you have it – it’s not indulgent and maybe one day I’ll have time to change that but what I’m left with is inspiring pages that I come back to over and over again!
14 | Empties
Empties don’t always have to be of the liquor store variety (although that’s generally the fun kind 😉). In my case they’re often of the product type. You know when you buy a new (and hopefully better) skin care product and you immediately abandon the old one – I’m guilty of that, so for #pareddowntogether, I will finished up these bottles so I could officially banish them from the bathroom.
That’s it! 14 Things to think about to get your home organized, de-cluttered and to get at the root of what you love (and don’t) about your space.
This was a great way to kick off the year and even do some paring down myself!
Let us know if you have any tips to add to these categories or share them with hashtag #pareddowntogether and @pareandedit on Instagram!
Related: Ready to go one step further with your space? Now that it’s pared down, why not make it civilized?
Wondering what to do with all of the things you’ve pared down? Click here to get my free guide to selling furniture online and make some $$$ !!
Author: Ashley Izsak
Blogging since 2010, I adore the online community. Working out of my home studio in Osgoode, Ontario, allows me to travel to clients throughout the Ottawa area. I value interacting with each new client and believe that with some simple yet significant changes you can have that space you dream about, you can tame your chaos, and I can help you do it.
Get in touch to collaborate on a project or to have a conversation because these days interacting with adults is always refreshing.
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