Our New Home

Paris is full of teeny apartments. There’s  a certain simplicity to living in a 300+ square-foot (30sq meter) place.  It’s not luxurious, but it is full of the necessities.

We were blessed to find an apartment that was newly renovated here in Paris. It’s reasonable price and it’s comfortable. We have a tiny kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and main living space. 


Perks of having a small kitchen: small portions and small grocery store hauls. We have a small typical fridge, which does not house a lot of food.  We have realized we do not waste food much at all. Nearby is an “open-air” market on Thursday’s and Sunday’s every week, where you can buy fresh unpackaged produce. We do purchase packaged items from the grocery store, however a store called Day by Day that sells bulk unpackaged goods is opening nearby our flat. Either way, our trash has lessened being here, mainly because we don’t have spoiled leftovers and things that are forgotten in the back of the fridge. 

Living in a small place has been an adjustment in our lifestyle. We must do laundry every few days because of the size of the machine and the fact we need to air dry everything. We don’t have much time apart because we have less distance in our flat. We are cooking meals that are fresh and portioned correctly. We have less storage space for purchasing things that are unnecessary. We have close neighbors so we have to more mindful of them. 

In general there’s a lot of “pros” to living in a small apartment. Here are some of my favorite pros.

  • Less to clean. Which is a real time saver! I can accomplish other activities in the extra time I have now.
  • Less needless purchases from stores. I don’t go shopping for trinkets because I don’t have space for them! 
  • Doing more together as a family. We don’t have much privacy so we tend to do more together. 
  • Minimalism in a small place makes you feel happier and more free. I wake up happy to see white walls and less clutter.

It has been a really good adjustment and we have enjoyed it so far. Have you thought about downsizing your living space? If so, do it! You won’t regret it! 

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Selling Our HomeĀ 

Where to begin….

As you noticed from all my posts, we have been eliminating items from the house over the course of a year. Yard sales, Goodwill donations, giving to friends in need, and some garbage have been our lives for the past year.  It is a lot of work and made me realize I need think before I buy ever again. Is the item something you absolutely need and will you use it daily? If neither question is answered, then don’t purchase it. As mentioned before, America is the country of hoarders and accumulation. There’s so many stores for cheap stuff so people just buy without any second thought to the purchase, because, well it’s so cheap! 

Once we paired down majority of our items in the home we reorganized to sell. Let me tell you, it may be a pain to do, but rearranging your kitchen and bathroom cabinets will help you sell quickly. Seeing the back of the cabinet is nice for those looking at the home. My realtor said: “if it can open, they will probably open and look”. So make sure closets and cabinets are organized enough. We sold our electric appliances with the house, so those items were also spotless and organized. Yes the fridge had to be organized so they could see how much space they have.  

From there we downsized furniture to pieces we definitely needed. Getting rid of useless furniture will help make the home feel less cluttered. The more clutter the less desirable. It was inconvenient because we had no coffee table, we had a smaller tv, we had less of everything. But it was a good transition for coming to our new home here in Paris. 

Next, we repainted the entire house. Our bedroom was the only exclusion because I repainted it a year ago to a neutral grey. The rest of the house got a neutral tan/grey from Behr called toasty grey. It was perfect because the rooms all looked different depending on the light. So a 5 gallon bucket of paint, some new white trim paint, and supplies for painting ended up being around $200. Then I got the carpets cleaned and the grout cleaned. That is important even if they remove them, especially if you have pets and need to have a less allergic space for people to come see. Shockingly getting the carpets cleaned wasn’t breaking the bank. 

Before paint: 

After paint: 


The warm color made it feel more comfortable and look really clean. Make sure you declutter all surfaces especially the kitchen and the bathroom. Those two rooms are the most important to buyers. Make sure you keep it clutter free so that it will be easier to leave for a short-notice showing. 

Here’s my checklist for getting your house prepared to sell: 

  • Declutter every room, cabinet and closet. Rearrange the cabinets and closets so you can see the back of them.
  • If your appliances are staying, deep clean them. Oven, microwave, dishwasher, fridge and washing machine/dryer. 
  • Downsize amount of furniture to necessities. That corner table that holds a photo, yeah get it out.
  • Remove all personal items like photos, calendars and anything with you all over it. The new homeowners need to see themselves in your house, without your face or your family members faces looking at them.
  • Empty rooms that you do not use daily. You can live without your craft room for a little while. 
  • Clean all your windows.
  • Repaint if needed, including trim.
  • Recaulk counters, cabinets, bathtub, and anywhere else that has been caulked. 
  • Clean blinds or curtains. (Old socks work well for dusting blinds)
  • Get the carpets and tile cleaned professionally if needed. 
  • Declutter the yard and any outdoor space like a patio/deck. 
  • Clean your basement, laundry room, and garage. (I know, yuck)
  • Minimalize items on every counter or piece of furniture.
  • Purchase cheap neutral colored linens, shower curtain, and towels, preferably white or beige. It makes the bathroom and kitchen look clean.
  • Maintain the decluttered lifestyle for easy preparation for a short-notice showing. 

Believe me, once the massive overhaul is done, you will like having less to worry about. Your hard work will pay off. It will be easier to maintain for your showings and you will be able to give up your home easier. 

My Wardrobe

Growing up in the 90’s and high school in the early 2000’s my sense of style was not the most classy. I was a fad follower, but not in a stylish way. Plus I was a tall young teenager during a time where the only longs were in misses department. When straight legged jeans weren’t in anymore and bootlegs were, I still wore straights. Then I found bootlegs but they weren’t quite long enough. Then straight legs were back. 

After high school and I had extra money, I would shop and find something that I liked and just buy it.  I didn’t have a cohesive wardrobe though, nothing that truly matched more than one or two other items. I was also holding onto the younger looks and the fads. 

One day somewhere at 25 years old, I realized there’s no more shopping at forever 21! It’s not for me, it’s cheap material and it’s bad quality. 

Then we went to Europe for three months back in 2013. It was extremely eye opening on what I didn’t need in my wardrobe.  Maxi skirts aren’t for me, I almost lost one in a metro station. Heels are also not for me, I look like a newborn giraffe while walking in them sometimes. 

Upon returning home I started figuring out what I wear most. The “backwards hanger” trick was the first thing I did.  

 
This is my closet today. There are some empty hangers in there, but you can see I still do this trick even now.  Every three months I start over. I do wear dress clothes and casual clothes. My casual clothing is in my dresser drawers. I have scaled down to the shirts I love, wear all the time, and fit me well. 

  
I also own a few tank tops that can be dressy or just summer wear. 

  
I own 5 pairs of pants. One black pair and 4 jeans that are good quality and fit me perfectly. To a minimalist, that’s 3 too many pairs of pants. But for me it’s perfect. I love a little bit of change in style. I have a bootleg, a straight fit, two skinny fits and my black pair is straight leg. 

For my work out clothing I scaled it down pretty far.  I honestly do not work out like I should, I do not have a gym membership and right now it’s too cold for me to go outdoors. There’s two pairs of workout pants: one Capri and one long. Two workout shirts: one tank and one long sleeve. And then there’s two athletic bras. These items were my go to workout gear, the rest is donated. 

  

I even scaled down my underwear drawer. I got rid of those items that weren’t comfortable. Your underwear needs to be comfortable. Even down to your socks. Too tight, too itchy, too loose…get rid of them if they fit into any of those categories. 

  
I organized by kind and folded my pantyhose so it’s not balled up in my sock drawer. There’s something very refreshing about organized underwear! It is the first drawer you open and the first items you put on, it starts your day in a happy state when you have it organized. 

Once again, I have too much according to minimalist standards. However, a few years ago I had 42 pairs of underwear! I counted once, and realized that I do not need that much unless I started doing laundry only once a month. (Which I don’t do)

When debating on what to keep I stuck with neutral colors and a few colored items that are in the same family. I found I wear purple and teal the most, but I have kept more purple clothing. So find your color of choice and keep to it. 

It is tough to reduce, but once you do you will feel better. Plus getting ready in the morning will be less of a chore and more enjoyable. 

Decluttering: the Process

This experience has been eye-opening. Decluttering my life is challenging though. 

We started the process over the spring and summer months. It took some time and energy to do the first round. Really figuring out what we needed was tough at first. My problem was dealing with the sentiment in the beginning stages. I promise though, you will not remember what you got rid of months later.

My process started with the “knick-knacks” that I accumulated over the years. It is tough to get rid of things that may have been presents from family and friends. My first round of getting rid of stuff for the yard sale was hard. My next round has gotten easier. 

  
I kept this candle holder with neutral colored stones for my table. This is 1 of my 4 knick knacks in my downstairs. 

  
These glass pieces make up the total number in the downstairs. When you think about dusting your knick knacks, 4 items doesn’t seem like too much work. 

After removing the unnecessary items like decoration, it got easier to remove the other clutter. The decision became easier: just get rid of it. Even my husband was less attached to items of his.

 It was tough at first but once the yard sales and the donations happened, we felt relieved. Getting rid of clutter is a huge weight that gets lifted off of your shoulders. You do not realize how hard it is and overwhelming it is to live with clutter until you get rid of it. 

Of course there is still more to do, even when you drop off donations a couple times a week, there is something else that you can get rid of. 

Green Cleaning: Tile Grout

There has been a lot of green cleaning recently. When you are trying to sell your house, you need to make sure it’s clean. Even down to the corners and cracks, like tile grout. 

I have been cleaning my grout like this for a few years now. It’s really simple, just need two ingredients, scrubber, and some elbow grease. 

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Brush (old tooth brush works well or you can purchase a brush meant for grout cleaning)
  • Sponge or rag to wipe it.

Here is my bathroom grout before. It is a little darker to begin with but not supposed to be this dark 

  
So you use a spoon or something small to sprinkle the baking soda over the cracks. And then squirt some hydrogen peroxide on top of it. It will form a paste. 

  
Use your brush to scrub it. (This is where you need elbow grease) 

  You can see the liquid is discolored…. That’s the yucky stuff. Make sure you wipe the grout clean with your sponge or rag. I set up a bucket of clean water to use. 
  

Let it dry and then here you go. There may be some baking soda residue, but you can mop or steam the tile to remove that. It’s a lot better than it was. 

Let’s just say that baking soda, vinegar, rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are cleaning staples in this less waste home. Without those I don’t know what I would be doing besides spending a lot of money on cleaning supplies.