To Inspire A Life of Simple Natural Beauty
One of our core values here at Adored Vintage is Simplicity: "To inspire a life of simple natural beauty..." - that is what is etched on the front doors of our office. A simple life doesn't mean minimalism to us. It doesn't mean bare walls and closets devoid of color and prints. For us, a simple life means we are clear on our purpose, our goals, what we value, and most importantly we know what kind of life we want to be proud to be living and how we want to show up in the world. A simple life is being grounded in who we are.
"What do I really need? And out went more and more things. Simpler and simpler. Stripped down, pared down, the house became alive." - Sue Bender, Plain and Simple
It is Spring and 'tis the season when we are all filled with excitement and I know we are all so very giddy to get to Spring Cleaning (if the thought of washing all your curtains and vacuuming all the hard to reach spots makes you giddy, then we are indeed kindred spirits), but before we can embark on the dusting and polishing, let's do a little exercise with our hearts and minds.
What You'll Need
Set aside your tasks and to-do lists related to your home projects. Come on, put down the list. You can do it. Ahh, there we go. Now, go make yourself a nice cuppa tea, grab your journal, your favorite pen, and be sure to let any of your loved ones know that you need some time for yourself, so please no interruptions.
Cultivating A Simple Life Begins With Home...
Let's think about your dream home. What does it look like? Clean? Minimal? Lived in? What colors are your walls? Does your dream home have pine wood floors? Are there vintage built ins present in the dining room? Is there a wraparound porch? Go on, let your imagine run wild and pen it all down in your journal. It will be quite helpful if you are very detailed here. I wrote things like "I have fresh flowers arranged in vintage vessels, the flowers are from my garden." Perhaps you won't be quite as detailed as that, though perhaps you will. You can do this however you would like. Don't limit yourself with thoughts of "this will never happen"... allow yourself to dream and let your mind wander about trellises bedecked with clematis, light linen curtains blowing in the breeze with the windows open...
Now let's talk about what your home feels like. This is more important, because when it comes to cultivating a simple life for your home, how your home feels should be more important than how your home looks. When you have reached the balance of the very best of both worlds, you know you've hit the nail on the head! When your home both looks and feels like your dream home, it's no longer pretending, it is home. That is simplicity achieved my friend and this is what we are heading to!
So when thinking about how your dream home feels, here are some things to ponder. Does the home feel comforting? Is it cozy? Are things convenient and organized? Do things have a purpose? Is it quiet? Does it feel inspiring and inviting? Does it feel joyful to be in? Does it feel uncluttered and open? Does it showcase your love and appreciation for beauty and nature? Does your home feel soul fulfilling and soul enriching? Whether you believe in God or recognize something greater than yourself, does your home feel like you can meditate, think, and reinvigorate your spirit?
All right, let's take a little break. How are you feeling? Feeling overwhelmed or inspired? If you are feeling overwhelmed, then go ahead and take a breather and read the rest of this tomorrow and continue journaling then. If you are feeling inspired and invigorated, then let us continue!
But first, a gentle reminder. Real life is messy. And it does get complicated. Anyone who has it all figured out is most likely lying to you. You know what I can't stand? Those people that always say everything is fine. Everything is great. It's all g-o-o-d. It's ok for things to not be fine. To be vulnerable. To say life sucks right now and I'm hurting and I'm not good. It's ok to be these things so long as you don't stay STUCK in that cycle.
When cultivating a simple life, we have to get down to the bare bones of it all. What is important to you? What do you value? What do you really need?
Notice I didn't say what do you want. See, I would like a Hallman Italian Gas Range Stove (30" in Antique White with Brass Finish) but I don't NEED that (I mean, maybe I Do, no, no I don't). I mean my current 1980s Whirlpool electric stove with 3 broken burners cooks food too... but I'm getting slightly off topic. Slightly because my stove example is perfect for this next part.
What Do You Really Value? What Do You Really Need?
Now that you've written out what your dream home looks and feels like let's start to pare it down. Let's use myself as an example. I wrote down that my dream home has a light and bright kitchen. It's organized. Uncluttered. It has plenty of light. And yes, it does have a Hallman Italian range stove and also a counter depth French swing out door fridge... um, you know, the necessities of any kitchen worthy of Instagramming! So this is where we can start to look between the lines and see what it is we value based on how my dream home looks and feels.
Because organization, cleanliness, and light are important to me, I value Order which can also translate to Simplicity though simplicity can also be applied to design, to function, to unhurried hours. Because the appliances I need (ok want, fiiine) are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, I value Beauty and also Quality. I know to my core I am the kind of person that is greatly affected by my environment. I have a hard time working, living, and thinking in uninspiring messy spaces (you too?!). For me, a kitchen has to be functional and designed well and a joy to be in because I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen. When my kitchen is uninspiring and unorganized, I am not inspired to cook or honestly inspired to keep it tidy.
Look through your own writings of what your dream home looks and feels like and write down what values come to mind. Here are some examples of Values For Your Home to help jog your brain muscles...
Once you have discovered your values through your writings, let's work on paring it down to your Top Five Values. Write them down on a fresh new page and now think about one singular change or action you will take in your home to begin living out those values.
Perhaps in the dream home exercise you write that your pantry is a joy to look at. Perhaps this means you value Nourishment (a well stocked pantry, to be able to cook for your loved ones, to make healthy choices) and Organization (meal planning, always have everything you need on hand, everything is easy to find).
Now the reality is, maybe your pantry isn't a joy to behold at the moment... so when writing down your values for Nourishment & Organization, write just one thing you will begin to do and also why it is purposeful and valuable to you to do so.
For example: "I meal plan once a week (organization) so not only will I not feel stressed about what to make for dinner, but I feel good that my family has healthy choices (nourishment). Would be great to cook a meal together once a week (quality time)."
Cultivating a simple life means you are clear on your values and what it is you value and work towards a simple life every day. As a company, Adored Vintage values simplicity and beauty, and these are values I aspire to in my home and personal life also.
When we become clear on what it is we value, we can begin to simplify our lives by eliminating the things that do not serve our values or our purpose.
Cultivating a simple life isn't just about having less or spending less money. It is about having less of things that do not align with your values. It is about spending less on things that do not support or go hand in hand with your values. Cultivating a simple life is about appreciating the little things. Appreciating what you have and being clear on where you are and where you are heading. It's taking stock and noticing when you've strayed from your values. Living a simple life is about living everyday with gratitude for what is and knowing you are working towards what will be at your own pace, in your own time.