For anyone currently overwhelmed with the post-Christmas clutter (or year round clutter), here's some major motivation from one of my favorite minimalist mamas. Motivation to edit the items that are currently blocking your zen vibes (or that are simply jamming up your closets), and motivation to reduce the amount of items somehow finding their way into your home on a weekly basis.
If you know Ashley Petrone, you're well aware of her incredible interior style, fun-loving personality, killer dance moves... and love for minimalism. And this mama of three is the real deal. When I spent time with Ashley last year I got to see first hand that the lady we love on Instagram is the exact same in real life. So refreshing! At that time I was pregnant with my third and I wanted to get some honest answers from a veteran mom of three – specifically, how she maintained her minimalist lifestyle and esthetic with little humans that love collecting stuff.
Fast forward to this December, I asked Ashley to share her tips for keeping the clutter under control (and out of the house) during the most wonderfully gift-giving time of the year. And while it's after Christmas (everyone needs some time to hibernate), these minimalist takeaways can help you all year long.
Holly: You’ve said before that you prefer experiential gifts rather than toys for your kids. What are your favorite experiences to give your kids?
Ashley: My favorites so far have been anything that we’ve been able to do with them. Last year we surprised them with a trip to Disneyland. We woke them up early, had Mickey sweatshirts, and took video of the whole thing. They freaked! But really, anything that kinda takes our family on an adventure, even as simple as a trip to the beach!
H: Grandparents are the sweetest gift-givers (seriously the best!) – they love seeing grandkids’ faces as they open presents, but the kind gifts can start to pile up. How do you communicate with family about your low-clutter, high-experience goal?
A: I think us moving into our trailer helped us a bit. People just expected that we didn’t have any room. But I still reminded family then, and I still do it now, that we would rather have activity gifts or experiences. I try and get the grandparents excited about doing some of the experiences with the kids. Or the activity gifts, which include crafts, legos, outdoor toys... stuff like that.
H: How do you help your kids be more willing to let go of items that are no longer used/needed?
A: I always find it’s hard to have kids part with their items. And telling them that other kids will use them more doesn’t seem to help :) It’s kind of a constant reminder. When we had no room it was much easier to explain to them, because it was simple – no room. But we try and explain to them that us doing things together last’s forever and that most of their gifts end up broken or at the bottom of the toy bin. So we try more to excite them about the opportunities we get to experience together.
H: For the kids toys you do have, what’s your favorite way for stylishly storing everything?
A: I’m such a fan of bins and baskets. Even inside of drawers. It seems to just help keep things a little more sectioned. Even with so little though, my kids can make a mess. It’s actually shocking – haha! But luckily with baskets, the clean up is so fast!
H: I love your cozy minimalist style... What’s your favorite way to create breathing room in your home?
A: Less is truly more... less stuff, less stress. Less time to clean up, more family hang time. If I put a little more emphasis into the design of the home rather than adding more stuff, our house feels styled/decorated without being cluttered. So I try and focus on that!