Simplify Your Space with Wendy Wolff

My name is Wendy Wolff and I have drank the minimalist kool aid.  Seriously, possibly the whole pitcher. Here is the short story….

Two years ago my family moved to the middle of the Cascade Mountains for a one year sabbatical. We felt stuck on a treadmill that was set on EXTREME workout for so long that we really didn’t know how to get off, or even slow down. We wanted to recalibrate, so we went completely off the grid for an entire year and volunteered at a remote retreat center called Holden Village.  

Not recommending this course of action for everyone who needs a change, but I recalibrated at Holden 16 years earlier when I was in the midst of a major life decision. It provided the clarity and courage I needed….so I convinced my husband if a week could do that, then a year could only be that much better.

I will spare you all of the tedious details, but we rented our house to friends of friends and needed to decide what we to bring with us for the year, what was worth paying to put into storage and what we needed to purge.  As we dug through rooms, closets, drawers, storage bins and nasty corners of our basement and garage, we had to ask some questions of ourselves. Like, What the HELL is this? Where did I get this? Where did YOU get this? Why is this taking up our precious space?

We honed in on two questions that helped us with our decision making process, “Do we love it?” and, “Is it essential?” If we couldn’t say yes to either of these two questions, it was set into the purge pile… with gratitude. That was when I discovered how amazing it felt to gift lovely things that we didn’t need that can be LOVED and essential to someone else!

I was becoming a minimalist and I didn’t even know it was a ¨THING… like a movement with itś own gurus – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, Sara Susanka, and so many others I am learning about as I continue to immerse myself in this new world.

Fast Forward… We had an amazing, beautiful, very simple, clarifying year at Holden and came back to a home that holds only what we love and what is essential. I have empty drawers and half full closets. I know what is in every storage bin because every single thing endured that beautiful interrogation.

There is a mysterious connection between simplifying our spaces and clarifying our path. I believe that when we removed the physical clutter, we had more mental and emotional space to actually be present in our thoughts and dreams.  We had built our family life around our careers and came home and decided to turn everything upside down and rebuild our careers around our family needs. There was some demolition that needed to happen in order to pour a new foundation so we could start rebuilding. We continued to simplify and ask hard questions.

I decided to leave my profession of over 20 years. I was a school counselor and supported children and families through their emotional and academic struggles, building insight and resiliency in individual’s sense of self and their relationships.

For the past year I have been helping others simplify their spaces and walk them through the process we discovered before we left for Holden Village.  I have found my most motivated clients are those that are moving because there is no avoiding the back BACK closets and dirty corners of your basement.  I have helped people let go of belongings that represent lost dreams, lost relationships, lost places and make intentional decisions about how they want fill their new space with things that represent who they are and want they want to be moving forward.  

I just binged the Marie Kondo Netflix series and I so appreciate the gentleness and compassion in which she helps people reflect on what truly brings them joy.  I want to spend the next 20 years helping people untangle their relationships with their stuff. I have worked with empty nesters and aging parents looking to reimagine, simplify or downsize their space…  busy professionals who have avoided this process for too long and parents who just wants to reduce the clutter so life feels more manageable and efficient. I feel honored every time I am invited into people’s messy spaces and love taking them on this journey of simplifying.


Head over to our Move Prep & Packing page to learn more about some of the services Wendy joining our team allows us to offer!

What To Do With Food When Moving

 

The process of moving involves a lot of planning ahead. And when you have a full house, it’s tricky to plan meals so that there’s little to nothing left to transport to your new location.

While it’s admirable to try meal planning for a month straight to use every last amount of food in your home, it’s often not possible because there is already so much to do!

So instead, take a look at some of these solutions to use the week of your move.

SuperCook

Make recipes based on what you already have in your kitchen.  Take stock of what’s in your pantry, fridge and freezer then check the boxes and SuperCook does the rest.  You’ll get recipes from various cooking websites that all have the ingredients you’ve listed.  Great way to clear out the kitchen AND try something new!

Visit their website here.

Chose a Move for Hunger Moving Company

Move for Hunger is a company that comes to you, packs up non-perishables during your move, then sorts and delivers the items to local families in need.  While they have nationwide partners, all of the donations stay local.  By working with one of their recommended movers (like us!), you have an opportunity to help those in need.

To find a local Move for Hunger moving company, search here.

Donate Directly

Maybe you have a particular location or food bank that you want to work with – Great!  Before you load up the van and head over to the location you’ve chosen, be sure to call ahead to verify the items they are currently accepting and their ability to take on the items you’d like to donate.  If you’re in the Twin Cities area, one popular location for donations is Second Harvest Heartland.  You can check out their website hereto see what foods they need and how to donate.

Reach Out to Friends, Family and Neighbors

For perishable items that won’t be accepted at donation centers, reach out to friends or family to see if they’d be able to make use of them.  You can also see if any of your neighbors are into composting or maybe your local recycling center has a composting opportunity.

Throw Away, The Right Way

If you have items that are perishable, can’t be used before you’re move, won’t travel well, and you’ve exhausted all other options, you will need to throw them away.  But make sure that you do your best to limit the impact of each item. For example, if your milk isn’t going to last then empty the carton and recycle it properly.  Same goes for any juice containers or jars.  Check in with your local trash/recycling providers if you have any specific questions on items in particular.

 

With food, it’s hard to anticipate your needs in advance, but with the solutions above you might be able to not only save yourself some last-minute stress, maybe try some new recipes, and help out your local community.  Get creative and if you have other ideas, share them below in the comments section!