Maple Alps


So You Want to be More Minimalistic

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Minimalism is something I’ve been working at for a few years now. I feel that I’ve always had some kind of craving to have less and to be surrounded and burdened by less. Even when I was much younger, I enjoyed throwing things out and organizing things, but it got to the point where I would get rid of things, but then accumulate more. It got harder and harder to let go of things. As I’ve mentioned in other posts before, it took going abroad for me to realize that I really don’t need stuff. I was perfectly content and well cared for with only 2 suitcases worth of things, and even then I didn’t use every item. Just over a year ago, I finished reading the life-changing magic of tidying up - and it was truly life-changing (I talked about it here). It got me re-energized to declutter and reclaim a full life - which was ironically not full of things!

It came down to choosing what brought me joy. I’ve had several requests to talk about some minimalist living tips, and so I’m sharing the steps that helped me!

So You Want to be More Minimalistic |


Envision Your Minimalist Life

Why do you want to live a more minimalistic life? What does your minimalist lifestyle look for you? What do you want to do in your everyday life? Write it down and consider it your “why.” Here are some ideas:

  • I will come home to a tidy home so that I have time to relax after work and pursue creative hobbies.

  • I will enjoy a bubble bath in the middle of the week just because.

  • I won't trip over things on the floor anymore.

  • I won't spend hours each weekend cleaning.

  • I will have a clear mind that is a result of a clear living space.

  • I will not be tied to materialistic things.

Write your list. Remember these things as you go through your next steps:


Say Goodbye to Your Unnecessary Things

My ultimate decluttering guide will help you best with this. I will direct you there rather than write it all out again. It’s important to let go of stuff that is just stuff. Keep what really brings you joy. The guide goes through all the areas of your house and just helps you get an idea of what you really should simplify. Find it here.



Quality over Quantity

Even though we are finished (for now) with school, my husband and I still have this poor student mentality. At the beginning, we would always choose what we perceived to be more affordable, just to find that later it would fall apart, or we just really didn’t like it. Seriously, never buy a bookshelf from Walmart. Haha. In the end, it was cheaper to choose the quality items we enjoyed right off the bat. It eliminated buying multiples as well. Quality will last and is worth the initial higher cost.


Choose to keep items that bring you joy!


Realize the fragility of Life

I know this sounds extremely morbid, but you will probably die someday. Do you really want to spend your days unhappy and surrounded by things that bring your life no joy? I sure don’t. I also don’t want to leave my junk for my children to clean up. I would rather leave a legacy of time they spent with me rather than the things I had.



Don’t Try to Do it All At Once

Step-by-step, friends! The decluttering process alone can take up to 6 months. You’ll get there if you keep at your convictions and chip away bit by bit.


Be Mindful

Think about the value that each of your curated items brings to you. This goes for everything from the physical things you can touch, to the apps on your phone and the emails you sscribe to. Everything should have a purpose and add to your experience. in some capacity. Of course, there will be things you have to keep that aren't necessarily too exciting, but reduce what you can.


Some Other Things to Consider Simplifying:

declutter deep clean |

What are some of the ways you embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle?


Why Living with Less is the Worst

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps17 Comments

Great news! Spring is here! If you are not one for spring cleaning or spring decluttering, that is okay. Living with less is the worst. Here is why:

Why Living with Less is the Worst |

Finding your way around in the dark is too easy

Seriously, it’s no fun having no obstacles with which you might at any moment stub your toe with. Middle of the night water runs to the kitchen are no longer fun because they no longer require superhuman ninja skills.


You only own what you love

Sometimes you just want to hate most of the items you have on display, #amirite?


Possessions last longer, which is boring

Wouldn’t you rather keep buying cheap, ugly things that you don’t care about enough to take extra good care of? Spending more money on disposable items is much better than buying good quality ones that are better for the environment and your wallet.


You have less cleaning and dusting to do

There is nothing better than spending your precious time on dusting that clay gnome you made in the second grade. Also, it’s a great work-out moving the piles of paper from one end of the house to the other, just so you can vacuum. Taking 500 items off of surfaces to dust is truly exciting.


Your junk drawer is nonexistent

It’s so boring and predictable to know exactly what is in each one of your drawers. Being able to see every item for quick retrieval is lame.  


Everything has a home

You should not need to know exactly where everything is at any given time. It's just not natural. Scrambling for keys and the like is essential to the human experience.

deep cleaning decluttering |

Great arguments for living with more if I do say so myself. If, however, you do not share this sentiment, be sure to check out our ultimate spring simplifying guide! We have upgraded our guide and you can now find an expanded Spring Cleaning guide and printable booklet there!


The Ultimate Decluttering & Deep Cleaning Guide for your Home!

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps34 Comments

A few days ago, I wrote up three points to help prep for simplifying and decluttering your home in time for a good Spring cleaning! Today, as promised, we will go more into the actual process itself. I love a good declutter! 

If you didn't get a chance, hop on over to the previous post so you can be all caught up! Preparation and intentionality are key to making this work :)

 I think I could write separate, detailed posts about each of these, but I spared you and condensed everything in a few points per room. I so do love lists, don't you? Of course, everyone is different and has different decluttering needs. This is meant to be a guide to help you with your decluttering and simplifying.

The Ultimate Decluttering & Deep Cleaning Guide for your Home! |

First, let's tackle some excuses we might come up with for items. Ideally, you want to only touch each item once in this process (do you have your boxes/bags ready?):

Sentimental Items. These are probably the hardest thing to deal with. If someone special gave you an item, or a certain item holds a fond memory, it may be hard to let go! This was actually the biggest thing that kept me from making radical decisions when it came to decluttering. I had boxes of cards that people had given, and items that collected dust on shelves. Before I knew it, I was overwhelmed - but I still couldn't give them up. It took a while before I realized that a lot of these things were just clutter in my life. I finally went through everything and managed to decide on a few items to keep in a memory box. Everything else I took pictures of (if I deemed it worthy) and donated/sold/threw out the rest.

Item you think you might need in the future. Honestly, if you haven't used it by now, you likely won't. Accept that it is just taking up space, and it needs to go. I should probably let go of the ice cream maker I have hiding in my cupboard now that I think about it...

Items that were expensive. Yeah, that happens - we don't always make the best purchase decisions. Everyone makes mistakes. But if you're not using it, why are you holding on to it? Think about other purchases you likely don't make too wisely, like the phone plan you spend way too much on or all those fast food stops. Though not material, a lot of money goes into these things for some people. Is it any different? Something to chew on anyway (no pun intended). 

  • Be honest about your clothing - Oh man, I think I could write a complete separate post about this one. Get rid of everything that doesn't fit, is worn out or beyond repair, things that you don't love wearing, and items that you haven't worn for a year (if you didn't wear it last summer, you probably won't wear it this summer either). I like to use thredUP to send my great condition clothing to and make a little money (Send your used clothes there to sell! And buy great second hand items there too! Here’s a link for $10 for you to use to find something you actually love!)

  • Accessories, shoes and scarves too! - Say goodbye to the accessories and scarves you don't wear anymore or don't fit your style. Trust me, you'll feel better once you do!

  • Critique your sock drawer - it's time to let go of the socks that have no partner and the underwear with, gasp, holes! Anything with worn out elastics probably should be purged as well.

  • Remove things that shouldn't be in your bedroom at all! - Your bedroom is for sleeping and dressing and escape. Why is there a toothbrush in your closet and a rubber duck under your bed?

  • Reduce items on surfaces - Clear the top of your dresser and your side tables, and limit items to 3-5. It's soothing to see clear surfaces.

  • Get rid of unnecessary duplicates - Do you really need 5 whisks and 9 sauce pans? Chances are that your burner can't handle that many pots at a time anyway...

  • Spices and canned food that are outdated or you never use - Don't forget to check your fridge and freezer! I like to use bins in my cupboards and fridge to keep things organized :)

  • Extra dishes you never use - Also the ones that are broken/or chipped.

  • Small appliances you don't use - Remember that ice cream maker I mentioned earlier.....?

  • Containers with no lids - If you have a giant drawer full of Tupperware with mismatching lids and pieces that are no longer useable, I urge you to please, please get rid of them. Limit and organize!

  • Linens - That one ratty dishcloth needs to go. You know the one I'm talking about.

Related: DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Throw away soaps, lotions, cosmetics, etc., that you haven't used in a year - or don't plan on using (think of all of those Christmas sets you received last year). You also probably don't need six tubes of lipstick...

  • Expired medication - Medication should not be kept in the bathroom due to moisture anyway. Take expired goods to a pharmacy to be disposed of properly.

  • Duplicates - The four boxes of bandaids under the counter are probably not necessary. Weed through and consolidate.

  • Linens - Get rid of completely worn out towels and those with holes in them. Five towels per person in the household is also a bit excessive...decrease to two and add one or two for a guest.

declutterguide |

Living/Family Room
  • DVDs, CDs and Video Tapes - In this digital age, do you really need or use these? Digitalize what you can and get rid of the rest.

  • Magazines/Newspapers - Get rid of editions you don't read or need anymore unless you're planning on making a collage TODAY. Otherwise, say goodbye. I agree, there's nothing like flipping through a magazine, but digital copies do help keep clutter down if you would consider...

  • Games that are missing pieces or games you don't play - replace pieces if you really like a game, but get rid of games or toys that aren't played with! You really don't need them.

  • Papers! - Unless you've gone paperless (we'll tackle digital clutter next), you have likely collected quite the amount of paper! Go through old papers and shred what you no longer need, and file what you do. If you are not completely sure about something, I would vote scanning and still shredding it. Just don't shred your birth certificate. Not a good idea.

  • Clear off your desk - Keep what you leave on your desk to a minimum. It's much easier to get work done that way anyhow.

  • Junk Drawer? - I will admit I had one of those in my desk - until I decluttered. It is now an orderly collection of materials I need. I had some random things in there - like key chains and old was a scary sight. You don't need these things either! It's such relief when I can go in there and find the essentials I'm looking for right away.

  • Emails - this is a large undertaking indeed. Delete all time sensitive emails (expired coupons, deals, etc.) and emails you no longer need. Archive important emails.

  • Contacts - there are probably a lot of contacts you no longer need to have - like your brother's best friend's sister's cat's previous owner, with the email,

  • Pictures - I feel as though I'm constantly cleaning my photos because I neglect to do it right away. You don't need blurry pictures that are impossible to decipher...and that one photo you took 50 times to get a perfect shot? Just keep the one perfect one.

  • Create a filing system and stick to it - Create a system that works for you. Folders can be your best friend! Go through old documents and get rid of ones that are no longer relevant or useful. Digital clutter is a real thing!

  • Clear your desktop - Having a clear desktop is amazing. Clear it off after every project to avoid having to search through it, wasting time and energy.

  • Feeling ambitious? - Back up all of your files and reset your computer to the factory settings! It feels great - like getting a brand new computer! I do this on my devices once a year.

  • Go through boxes of stuff - you know the ones I'm talking about. You probably haven't looked through these boxes in years - do you really need to keep what's in them?

  • Throw out old paint, oil, cleaning supplies, boxes, newspapers, etc. - do it responsibly though and recycle what you can :)

  • Get rid of tools you never use - if you haven't used that electric saw or wood detailer ever, you might just want to sell them...

  • Exercise equipment - commit to using it, or say goodbye.

  • Holiday Decor - Do you still use that wreath from 1978? No? Toss it. Consider minimizing your decor in general - less is more!

  • Go through the glove compartments - There might be more trash in there than useful items! Organize or throw away receipts and other papers (important papers fall under the 'organize' category, okay?).

  • Check the trunk - The less weight you have in your car, the better! At one point, I had a few half-filled bottles of antifreeze in my trunk... Consolidate what you can and store everything else away properly. You should keep that extra blanket in the trunk though.

Phew. I think that's enough for now. Did I miss anything? If you've ever decluttered before, you likely know what a difference it makes in your life. 

Do you plan on decluttering and simplifying your home this Spring? I hope so! In this case, I wish you a happy decluttering and a wonderful weekend! 

declutterguide |
The Ultimate Spring Simplifying Guide

Preparing to Declutter and Deep Clean

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps46 Comments

I love Spring. Even more than Spring itself, I love Spring Cleaning. Call me strange, but I do. It has been a long Winter, and things have been accumulating, but over the last couple of weeks, I have successfully managed to declutter even more to make way for my spring cleaning day. 

Spring is just around the corner, and I thought it would be appropriate to share some decluttering tips to help you get ready for your Spring cleaning! There are no rules when it comes to decluttering, in my opinion. I do, however, believe in guidelines. I've outlined three ways to begin preparing for your simplifying process below. Later this week, we'll get to the actual decluttering.

Preparing to Declutter |

Set Goals

Decide what you want to accomplish for each area. This is completely up to you. It helps if you write down your goals and share them with someone else to keep you accountable. 


Commit & Be Thorough 

This will take time. Decide on how much time you will commit to each project/room. Follow through and don't continue or move on until you have finished.


Create a System

Decide whether you will sell, donate, or throw away the things you collect. Be sure to have garbage bags or boxes handy for each category. Some categories you could use are:

  • Keep

  • Donate/Give Away

  • Sell

  • Throw Away

  • Sentimental Value

  • Put Away

  • Repurpose

Feel free to pin the image below!

Decluttering Steps

Later this week, once you complete these steps, I will be back with more practical tips for decluttering every room in your house! Don't you just love simplifying?

Update: You can now find the Ultimate Guide for Your Springtime Simplifying HERE!

declutter deep clean |
Spring Simplifying

Why I Got Rid of a Lot of My "Stuff"

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps16 Comments

“Minimalism: is a word that is getting a lot of attention these days. When I first formally heard the term, I'm pretty sure I was in a music history class (think Philip Glass), which is completely unrelated to what I am about to talk about now.

I thought I would give my few cents on the topic of minimalism, since one of my resolutions was to lead a more minimalistic lifestyle. As you probably know, I strive to lead an intentional and simple life, and I think that decluttering and having less makes life feel purposeful. 

There's a certain satisfaction I feel when I can finally let go of something that is just taking up space - things I haven't used in years or things I may not have even liked in the first place! There were a few items that held a certain sentimental value, but I was even able to rationally say goodbye to some of them (digital cameras and scanners are wonderful things!).  Some of my best years were spent when I could only have two suitcases full of the things I needed.

Related: Why Living with Less is the Worst

Don't worry, I'm not trying to tell anyone to get rid of their sentimental items - it's just my own personal choice. It's a continuing process.

Here are a few reasons I think that less is more:

Why I Got Rid of a Lot of My "Stuff"  |

Save Money

Well clearly since you are content with your needs, there is nothing compelling you to buy as much as your credit card or bank account will allow you to. I’m actually known for being able to truly window shop without spending money. By the time I get to the point I might buy something unnecessary, I’ve already talked myself out of it.

Save Time

When you have less "stuff," you tend to have more time. Think about it though:

Less Dishes = Less Dishwashing
Less Decor = Less Dusting (and less clutter)
Less Clothes = Less Laundry at one time (not to mention less time getting dressed in the morning!)

Basically, you'll have more time to do things you enjoy (or more time to be productive!).

Have Quality Items

Since you will have less expenses, and less things to buy, you'll want to buy things that will stand the test of time. Things that won't break after just a few uses. Bonus: most of your items will also have more meaning to you personally because you actually use, love, and took the time to choose them out. Curating items is such a satisfying feeling.

declutter guide download |

Less Clutter to Occupy Your Space and Your Mind

When my surroundings are a mess, I find that my thoughts are also a mess. I can't be as creative, and I can't easily stay on task. Often, your surroundings reflect your state of mind.

Pack Less, Travel More

More money to spend on travel, less to put in your suitcase (and goodbye overweight fees at the airport!).

Add Value to Your Life

Decluttering and simplifying is really just getting rid of the things you have that do not add value or joy to your life. I have experienced it myself: when I let go of items that are just "things," I felt so free of dead weight. Material things are not bad, neither is having a certain sentimental attachment to some of them - but I strive to store treasures in heaven (see Matthew 6:19-21).


What do you think of getting rid of useless or meaningless possessions? Would you get rid of half of your things?

Why I got rid of almost half of my stuff.