Thursday, November 13, 2014

I've Been Simplifying...

Toward the end of summer I started feeling like all I did all day long was pick up little doo das and put them back in their rightful home. Granted, I have four children, one of which is a nursing baby, plus a husband (they do make their own kind of mess, don't they?). So, I should expect to have lots of doo das to continually pick up, right?


However, if I am spending all my time on this, then I am not left with time for the important things. The really important things... like...

Taking time to stare into my children's eyes and REALLY listen to them, not half listen while I am running around the house tidying things up.


To make art, with the kids and without. I mean really make art, without the mind chatter of "I need to pick up the mess in the playroom, I need to fold the clothes, etc..."


Now, I need to clarify that I have never been a keeper of things. I am not a collector and I do not like to shop. In fact, I get rid of things on a fairly regular basis. And, when I buy a consumable... I consume it, like pretty paper and such :)

So, when I say simplify... I am speaking very literally. I was ruthless, people! I went through every room and asked myself "Do I use it?" or "Do I love it?" 
If I couldn't answer yes to either of those questions... then I said, "LOSE it!"
Random vases
Decorative baskets
The extra four spatulas (really? I only use one!)
Tupperware. OH the tupperware
Extra tablecloths
Extra sheets

Once I had done that in each room, I repeated it... five times. That's right! I went through each room five times and purged multiple things each time, including the studio. (More on that later.)

The only thing that was safe were the books. One can never have too many books, in my opinion...
When all was said and done, we donated over 60 bags full of stuff to our local charity! YAY! And, that was coming from a house where it's chief domestic officer prides herself in not keeping, hoarding, and collecting.


I now have dressers with nothing on top, mantles without dusty decorative candles, and shelves with breathing room.... YES!

In retrospect, I had been on the road to this destination for quite some time. In fact, as I look back at my scrapbooking and how my style has evolved, I can see that I have been simplifying in my aesthetic. Over time, I have added more layers, yet less color; More white space and less visual clutter.

That is one reason that I decided to try the Paint Plan Play class at Studio Calico. I really couldn't tell what it was about from the promo video. But, I could tell that the instructor, Ashley, has a very graphic, modern style that is wonderfully simple yet perfectly balanced in composition and design. Simple is not always easy and I was excited to learn from her approach, especially through the lens of art journaling.

The class truly has given me a fresh perspective on what art journaling can be. I will share more with you regarding that soon.

So, once I had finished my ruthless purge around the house, something amazing happened.... TIME! I found time. I really did. Less visual clutter equals less mental clutter and less mental clutter equals more time to live in each and every moment. 

The kids are spending less time managing their stuff and I am spending less time managing their messes. This means we have way more time to just BE. 

Be together. 
Be artsy.
Be fun.

Less truly is more. I am learning that concept more and more everyday, especially in my art. Remember how I mentioned my studio? Decluttering and simplifying my art space has given me a clarity in my creativity. 

I'll share more about that next week.

Have a great weekend! 


  1. Great post Ashli! Love the layout you created to document this process in your life!!

  2. Gorgeous page and the place where I am at! In the same process and have three big nagas already!

  3. beautiful. I really enjoy your photos. They are very stylized and pretty.

  4. OMG this post has been so motivating for me! I know that this is something I need to do, something I've needed to do for awhile! You've inspired me, I'm going to attack the kids' craft room right now! :D

  5. Brilliant post, Ashli ... and such a great layout recording your clean and simple-isation ... CAS so works for me! Anita :)

  6. Wonderful post, I myself love the clean and simple life.

    Hugs diane

  7. Interesting...I love the story and the page, and this is where I am at right now too. Started with one room and sent a full truckload to the dump, plus donations ready for charity. My goal is to go through the house a room at a time and purge, purge, purge. I let it go too long and the clutter is stifling...I want clean and simple, and now is a good time. My hardest area is always the craft area, so I may need the practice with the other areas first. We have so much that others could use. Thanks for sharing this - it hit home!

  8. Such a cool story and page! Love your work so much, Ashli!

  9. thank you for the great post and reminder of what is important. Love the layout!

  10. Just like someone said, this really hits home. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Michelle t

  11. Lovely page! I like that it has lots of great little details while still fitting with the subject matter. :)


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