When I started my pursuit to live a life of more with less, “minimalism” wasn’t even a thing. I was just tired of settling for a life that everyone seemed so miserable having. I just wanted to try something different, because I wanted something different.
I’ve learned a lot over the past twelve years, but one of the places I never expected a lesson was from a hotel room.
Think about it…
- How do you feel as you walk into the room?
- What does each (good, clean, and acceptable) room contain?
A hotel room, or even a suite with a kitchenette or dining area has nothing but the necessities. It’s also crazy to think that a hotel room actually focuses on something as simple as a good night’s sleep, when so much of our lives (and homes) focus on everything BUT.
When this revelation first hit me, Mike and I were on a business trip without kids (meaning, it was MUCH more quiet than usual). While I laid in that comfortable hotel bed on that glorious pillow (there was both firm and soft), I looked around at the room void of clutter, and realized how relaxed I felt.
It was a foreign feeling, let me assure you… but I liked it, so I asked myself, “what is different?…” (other than the obvious no children running around). As I sat back examining my hotel room making a mental note, I realized a few things that made staying at a hotel so simple (and good), and it almost seemed crazy that I’d never noticed it before… starting with the color WHITE!
MAKE WHITE THE NEW BLACK
I noticed how much white was in that room; bedding, sheets, towels… all so that they could be washed together and still look new. I began to wonder if hotels could be holding more answers behind the room key…
Now, I gotta admit to ya’ll… I LOVE fun kids’ sheets, but when you have more than one child (and a budget) it’s not always easy to have each child have “their own” set of sheets. Truth is, there are many other ways for your child to express him/herself in their space besides cute sheets.
I’ll pause a minute here if you need to take a deep breath before continuing…
Seriously… I get that you might be hyperventilating now as I talk about “simplifying” your life when it feels as though I’m asking you to cut out something that brings you so much joy. BUT, if you’ve ever been behind in laundry, or had to deal with arguments on what sheets go on what bed, and what happens when they decide they no longer mermaids or Paw Patrol, then hear me out.
Minimalism is about being intentional about the choices you make which requires taking a good hard look at the “why” behind what you’ve been spending your money and time on. Minimalism is a journey that will lead you to something more crazy… more simple… and more good than you ever dreamed possible… so hear me out on this.
Having one set of white sheets for each twin size bed in our home (and two extra sets for those nights someone pukes) has literally freed me in ways I never thought possible. I am able to wash all the sheets and pillowcases in my home in one load together… and with bleach/brightener, I am able to help keep them white and looking new. (DO YOU HEAR THE CHORUS OF ANGELS SINGING??!!)
And, if that’s not enough to change your mind… when a child gets sick in the middle of the night, I just throw the dirty sheets in the washer and replace them immediately with the extra WHITE set in our linen closet (that actually has bedding instead of clutter). What I’m sayin’ is, when one of my precious little ones gets sick, I can get them cleaned up, and put clean sheets on their bed so they can go back to sleep in the warmth of their bed.
WHITE BATH TOWELS, HAND TOWELS & WASHCLOTHS
This was another big step for me because I thought I’d hit the genius jack pot when I bought one different color towel for every child. What a rainbow of beauty we had… until they started using them… and I washed them.
Red and pink could only be washed with similar colors, and navy could NOT be washed with yellow (we learned a very valuable lesson that day… yellow and blue don’t always make green people). So, with only one towel per person, keeping each one clean after each usage became my living laundry hell (summer means dirt people so hanging them for more than one use wasn’t a possibility). I had been looking for an answer to our toweledge situation (is that even a word?) and I found it in that hotel room.
I began thinking, if white sheets could potentially make life more simple… maybe white towels could too, and sure enough…
Having only white towels means no one has to use a specific one and I can wash them all together… and add bleach/brightener when needed (which my kids think smell like a hotel pool). Que the angels again…
I even went so far as to buy only white bar towels and “sack cloths” for the kitchen clean up too. I have a tubtrug to put bleach water in it to allow any stained whites soak before throwing them ALL together in ONE load! (
World laundry peace is such a good feeling…)
BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE
BEAUTIFULLY MADE BEDS
Think about how inviting a hotel bed looks. Not a million pillows… usually 4 to 6 depending on the size of the bed, and maybe one or two small decorative pillows (your husband may get on board for no other reason than this). There’s not a gazillion covers… just a blanket, topped with a comforter (or duvet). Not a thousand designs or patterns. Just simple. Many duvet covers are are even white. Sometimes, there is a patterned, colored coverlet or blanket laid at the foot of the bed. That’s it. Pure luxury.
A hotel nightstand has NOTHING but a phone, alarm clock, and lamp next to the bed. A hotel is all about keeping it simple, beautiful, and clutter-FREE. Feel free to add special touches to your bedside like fresh cut flowers, a candle, picture of a loved one, or a good book… but remember to keep is simple.
SIMPLE DESK & CHAIR
Every hotel has a small desk with a drawer, chair to sit, and a lamp. Soooo simple. And while I understand there is more to a home office than that, a hotel can certainly challenge you to think about what could happen if before leaving your desk, you took a few extra minutes to organize it so it would be inviting to you the next day? (I know it convicted me.)
Aside from how clean the toilet seat is in a hotel bathroom (I currently have SIX males in my house that has THREE toilets… need I say more?), I love walking into a hotel bathroom to see what “goodies” they’ve left for me… which got me to thinkin’… why can’t my bathroom(s) be a place to pamper myself AND still keep it simple?
Four bottles of shampoo with matching conditioner, 36 “essential” oils, and 15 different smelling lotions don’t make for a relaxing spa day when they fall on top of you when you’re in a hot bubble bath relaxing (with your eyes closed)… hypothetically of course.
Now, I understand that a hotel bathroom is OVER THE TOP when it comes to simple. It rarely has drawers to keep you make up, toiletries, or hair products inside, BUT it’s still a great example for how simple a bathroom could be if you just decided to keep things to a minimum and only keep things that fit easily (aka… not crammed or overflowing).
I keep what I use to a minimum, and don’t keep more than what I can store. Extra toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, toilet paper, etc.) are kept neatly behind cabinet doors and in drawers. If you don’t have any drawers, buy a make-up case to keep ALL of your makeup. Even though I have drawer space, I still use a make-up case because it not only keeps me from buying more than I need, but I have all my makeup ready to travel!
I cannot end this post without sharing the biggest take away from that hotel stay… room service available every day.
What I’m sayin’ here is, no amount of de-cluttering your home will work if YOU don’t work to maintain it… every day. No matter how simple you make things or how much you remove, it won’t last if you don’t have the people in you home doing their part to keep it clean. Make it a part of each day for everyone to help pick up and clean before bedtime so you wake up to a clean and peaceful house.
RESET YOUR HOME
Some of the most life-changing things that I’ve implemented have come from that stay. Hotel simplicity was a revelation that put me on a path to creating peace in my own home. Does it still get messed up? Absolutely. In fact, as I write this post, my stairs look more like a mine field (no, really… it’s dangerous)… but that just means it’s time to call in my gang (many hands make light work) and “reset” our house.
Don’t allow the state of house dictate a negative response. Stop thinking you need a vacation to get away and relax. Make the decision to create a home you love to live in. You can do this… one step at a time! It’s never too late to start again… but don’t wait… start NOW.
What are the things YOU love about a hotel? Keep your mind open to the possibilities of a simpler way of living. Think about what you could implement in your own home to make things easier, more simple, or clutter-free. Comparing your home to the minimalism in a hotel room, how can you “PERRGE” the rooms in your home to feel more inviting, clean, relaxing, and enjoyable?
IF YOU’RE A MOM…
Talk with your children about how good it feels when you’re in a clutter-free space. While they may not like cleaning their room, they would probably agree that it’s more enjoyable to know where things for when you want them. This is all a part of having a simplified space.
If you have small children, don’t pick up after them. Encourage them to put things away themselves. If they have more stuff than you have space, then allow them to choose what needs to go. Guide them, don’t guilt them… and PLEEEEEEEEASE don’t get rid of their stuff while their at school! Remember, as a parent we have a great responsibility in raising children who will be ready for the world one day. If you are doing everything for them (including making decisions about what is worth keeping), they will struggle as adults in their own homes one day.
If you have older children, they can make decisions for themselves when it comes to simplifying. Talk with them and discuss what clutter is. Learn what their thoughts and feelings are about getting rid of things. If they struggle letting things go, ask questions to learn more about the “why” behind their struggle. Getting to the root of clutter is crucial or it will never really go away. Have them help you throughout the rest of your home, so when the time comes for them to declutter their room, they are ready to make good decisions from the example you’ve set.
Continue to talk with your family about possible improvements to your home. Are there things you can do to add more laughter and peace as you continue to remove the things in your life that don’t matter? Begin taking the steps to Turn Your House Into a Home that everyone loves to live in!