Last Friday, I had the rare opportunity to be out, by myself, at night. While our son stayed with a friend and the Hubs kept the three youngest girls at home, I drove into a nearby town and dropped our oldest off for a school event and then headed to the mall, like some kind of irresponsible teenager who has nothing better to do on a Friday night. 😊 But unlike my teenage self, I was on a mission. With a $10 off coupon in my purse, I hit up Bath & Body Works to see what might be left on the 75% off displays, thinking ahead to Christmas and birthdays and loading up the shopping bag that was hanging from my arm.
As I tossed $3.25 body washes into the basket and tried to keep from going totally nose deaf after sniffing so many different scents, a large "CLEARANCE" tag caught my eye on the top shelf. It was attached to an over-sized wooden snowflake that had been $60 and was now on sale for $15. I felt myself reaching for it when I heard the associate next to me say, "We have two, if you're interested..." and the next thing I knew I was asking him to put them behind the front counter for me. I knew immediately where I wanted to put them in our home, and I also knew that they would be just what was needed to help blow away the after-Christmas doldrums that always follow the removal of all the holly and jolly decor.
I've written a lot over the years about my desire to simplify. I've shared my rules of "one-in/one-out" and my participation in the William Morris Project. I've talked about my desire to eliminate junk and keep only what is useful and beautiful. I've even been a part of the 12-week uncluttered course that Joshua Becker puts on several times a year. But over time, I've learned that needs change. What worked 10 years ago, doesn't work now. I'm still a fan of clean, clear surfaces -- though if you were to see my work desk where I am typing this at the moment, you wouldn't know that. I still prefer minimal decor to chaotic clutter. I'm still adamant that the kid's toys and art supplies remain in their rooms and designated play areas, while the main portion of the house remains devoted to simplicity. But I also know that I want our house to feel like a cozy home, not some cold, sterile landscape.
The post-Christmas blahs are hard enough. When the tree comes down and the festive lights are packed away, it can easily feel like we've lost all the warmth from the house. In a month with no holidays to celebrate, both school and work starting back up, and long, dark evenings, it's no wonder people immediate look forward to the arrival of spring. But January has always been a month for me that is full of promise and opportunity. The promise of a new year, with new possibilities on the horizon. The opportunity to make changes and try new things and take action on long-held goals. I don't want to rush through the winter months, always looking ahead to what's next on the calendar. January is our month to reset and start well, and just as small steps towards a larger goal shouldn't be overlooked, I think January is worthy of some festive love in the decor department as well.
When I spotted these giant snowflakes on Friday, in an instant I knew they were what our winter home had been missing, and I also knew I had the perfect spots for them. In fact, if I hadn't immediately known where I would place them, I wouldn't have purchased them. And I think that's really the key to the whole idea of #minimalismsimplified, isn't it? It's not that you need to purge the house of all signs of human life, but that you need to have a plan for the stuff BEFORE it comes into your house, just like I usually know what is going OUT before I buy a new pair of shoes or a new sweater.
I haven't read the book, but I watched the show. And yes, I rolled my eyes while people said thank you to the used shoes and old underwear before they put them in the trash bags. But Marie Kondo's way of folding t-shirts has definitely made a difference in our dresser drawers (even the Hubs is a fan), and the idea of looking at things and asking if they spark joy isn't necessarily a bad thing. For example, I knew as soon as I saw the snowflakes that they made me smile. I knew where I would put them. I knew I would be willing to get rid of other things if necessary in order to store them. All of that put together meant that I felt it was worth $30 to bring them into our house. And the end result? The kids loved them, the hubs admitted to them being a nice addition, and whenever I walk through our dining room, I grin. Whether you call that "sparking joy" or simply see it as fun decor, I think winter just got a little bit friendlier, don't you?