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!

Your Guide to Post-Holiday Storage

The holiday season brings a lot of things: friends, family, delicious meals and treats, plus lots of decorations…  Whether it’s a full house or just your desk, it’s fun to decorate! Music plays in the background, treats are set out and everyone puts their best designing foot forward.

Once the New Year arrives, we find ourselves in a quite different place. As much as we loved the act of decorating, we find ourselves dreading the clean up.

But, there’s a way to avoid this feeling – a way to make it more fun. Get organized!

With our tips below, you can enjoy finding a specific place in storage for each of your items and may even create some space for new decorations you find.

Use Clear Bins

While those green and red themed bins at Target may suit the season, they can also be an absolute pain when trying to locate items next year.  Even if you label your bins, it’s still tricky to find exactly what you’re looking for.  Using clear bins will make it easier to see what is in the bin. So, when it comes to finding that particular snowman serving tray with a spot for veggie dip, you won’t spend a half hour opening each box, rooting around, and creating chaos in your once organized boxes.

Organize by Color

For whatever reason, every holiday season has its own trendy color.  Last year was blush pink and this year is turquoise blue, but two trendy colors don’t always go well together in practice. So put those clear bins to use and sort your hand towels, candles, dishware and sparkly things by color. That way you can easily see the different colors you have and what might look best together.

Take Care of Breakables

You can easily purchase a durable plastic bin with specialty dividers inside, but those get pricey. Another option is to create dividers using cardboard pieces around your home, like the one below.

Many smaller decorations are breakable, which causes a lot of stress when packing up for storage and then pulling them out a year later.  Beside the DIY cardboard dividers, you could also use this tutorial to create an even more secure storage bin.

Take Stock of the Unused Decorations

Over the years, you can end up with a lot of decorations. If you’re planning to get rid of them, avoid throwing them into the trash. Look into other solutions that are available in your community.

Donate!

Goodwill is a local non-profit organization that accepts plenty of seasonal décor. Note: They will not accept artificial trees NOT in the original box. Click here and find a location near you.

Reuse or Repurpose!

What’s broken may not necessarily be a lost cause.  If you’re crafty, you can easily turn outdated or damaged decorations into something beautifully new.  Check out this articlewith different examples ranging from broken ornaments to old tinsel strands.

(At the Very Least) Recycle

If you have broken items that won’t be accepted as donations and you aren’t really the crafty type, double-check what can or can’t be recycled.  If you aren’t sure, check in with your local recycling provider or you can also use this quick décor recycling guideas well.

Store Everything Together

Avoid searching your home last minute for that one missing bin that you need and keep all of you decorations in one particular area.  Whether it’s in a specific closet or area in your basement, make sure that you keep your bins together.  If you are able to add shelving to a space, consider purchasing some basic metal storage racks (link).  This way you could even have one shelf per holiday!

Just look at how cute all of your decorations could be, even in storage!