Simple + Free Minimalist Home Tour – Crystal

Minimalist Dining Room
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Crystal, who has kindly offered to share some images of her Simple + Free home with us:
Our home is roughly 1500 square feet. It feels much larger because a) vaulted ceilings and b) because much of our space is without “stuff” to fill it – making it feel empty to visitors but freeing to us.
Four of us live together. My husband, Kyle, and our two children ages 7 and 3. We’ve been on this “simplifying life” for almost 3 years.

 

Minimalist Dining Room

Our motivation was simply seeing how freeing life really can be without a bunch of stuff weighing us down. We’d rather spend a weekend playing and exploring than decluttering or organizing ANYTHING. When we let go of society’s pressures to accumulate more we find sheer happiness with what we already have. You realize how much time is opened up to pursue your dreams in life along with helping others (which brings true happiness in and of itself). But even small things that make daily life happy happen more often when you’re not picking toys or clutter all day. I wrote a post about “The Freedom of Maintaining Less Stuff” Because the more you own, the more you have to maintain it – whether that’s organizing, cleaning, upgrading, fixing, storing, troubleshooting or simply researching how to maintain it – these are the things that then rule your life instead of say, what YOU prefer to do with your time.

 

Minimalist Kitchen
As soon as we saw the benefits of owning less, whole worlds opened up to us. For me personally, simplifying revealed three things: 1) It brought me closer to God. Without a ton of household chores, I feel free to read my Bible more often, sit in silence or pray during what used to be a busy afternoon. 2) It brought me closer to my family. (see below) and 3) It revealed an opportunity to serve others through my new non-profit, Broken to Brave

 

Minimalist Living Room
Did I mention we also completely cleared our calendars for over a year to basically detox our “busy” lifestyle?… Wow. Talk about a life-changer. We said “no” more often than saying yes and only our true priorities and things that brought us joy remained.

 

Minimalist Kids Room
Living a simpler life means I am now free to spend more time with my children, learning alongside them, talking to them, spending one on one time with them, reading to them… which brings me to ––
We also homeschool, so it’s impossible not to have items to help our children learn through daily life. We still try to keep things minimal but I do have a space for art materials, workbooks…etc. We also love reading  (as you can see). My vice is definitely good books (more on that later). I do my best to borrow most of what we read from the library but there are many good books which we prefer to have on hand. We also don’t have a dedicated “homeschool room.” We simply hang out and read or play games on the couch or floor and do most of our artwork/writing at the dining room table. We’re big adventurers so much of our time is actually spent outside in nature.

 

Minimalist Kids Room
The biggest challenge was honestly staying true to who we are as individuals and as a family. Just because we want to minimize doesn’t mean your spouse wants to get rid of something that’s dear to him or her. You just have to model it. People close to you catch on quickly when they see how beneficial and freeing having less stuff is. We can also manage minimizing but have to honor our family’s desires at the same time. And it never looks the same. One day I’m purging and my husband has boxes from Amazon on the front doorstep. Other days, it’s the opposite. We just have to keep it balanced and listen to each other’s desires. Same goes with our children. I’m pretty sure I scarred my firstborn by donating one of his two basketballs – in my mind no one needs two basketballs. But the one I ended up donating was apparently more special to him than I thought (despite my asking for his permission at the time) I would never donate something other than outgrown clothes without someone’s permission. That’s just common courtesy.

 

Bathroom
The other challenge is setting up expectations. I can’t expect to consistently have a clean home – homeschooling means our kids are around playing, doing art, bringing out games and toys the majority of each day. So making sure I relax my personal expectations is key. My house may look perfect one day in the future but that’ll be a bittersweet day because it’ll mean my two sweet children are grown and have lives of their own.

 

Minimalist Bedroom
The last challenge was presenting our requests to family members. We mainly request experiential gifts for birthdays and holidays. For grandparents who love showering their grandkids with gifts, that might have been the toughest change in mindset – and we still see our share of material gifts. And that’s OK! We’re simply grateful to have a loving, giving family and just hope they understand why we request minimal gift-giving. We’d like our children to appreciate giving to others as well as never growing up feeling entitled. This is important to us.
Finally, one of the best things that came out of living a simpler life was 1) our marriage and 2) Broken to Brave.

 

(Note from Rachel: Thank you Crystal for sharing your humanity with us! Notice all the Broken to Brave books piled in her bedroom. This is real life – it’s O.K.)

 

Minimalist Bedroom
If we never cleared our home, our heads and our hearts I doubt we’d be where we are in life. Our marriage has never been stronger because we’re spending more quiet time talking together. We’re prioritizing our family time – doing things together more often than not. We’re taking time for ourselves when we need it. Professionally, it’s easier to stay on a path that brings you happiness when you’re not clouded by society’s pressures to accumulate more junk – my husband knows for certain he’s doing what he was meant to do. We workout together as a family – eat homemade dinners most nights of the week, talk, laugh, adventure together.
Yard
It’s probably the best thing our family did, simplify. I can’t imagine if we’d purchased a mansion, consumed our time with filling it with things only to have to maintain those things, taking time away from what matters most.
The funniest reaction I received was from my mother who upon walking into our most recent home said, “Wow. It feels so empty in here.” “Yeah” I replied. “I might get a plant. But I might not.” That was five months ago and we haven’t changed a thing, nor is there a plant. We have a rose bush and a few other flowers on our property so I just go clip those and viola! Instant beauty without going to the store.

Crystal Wiley is the blessed wife to an exceptionally gifted and patient husband with whom she’s owned and sold a few companies, and a homeschooling mother to her two adventure-seeking children in the Pacific Northwest. Her current passion is running Broken to Brave, a non-profit effort that delivers bundles of inspirational, life-giving books to local children experiencing hardships. She loves simplifying through minimalism and slowing down to enjoy each season in life all while focusing on God’s big plans for her family. Depending on the day, you can find her exploring nature with her kids, hiking, snowboarding, camping, reading a plethora of books (to herself and her children) or writing about whatever strikes her heart.
 
You can find Crystal on Instagram at @Simple.and.Free_  and you can read more about their simple, adventuresome, homeschool journey at Simple + Free.

Everyone’s way of embracing minimalism is different and that is very important to remember. When you are thinking about becoming minimalist, the whole point of it is to keep true to your authentic self. What is important to you, the things you enjoy and the life you want to live. I’m excited to share some real life examples of what minimalism looks like in different homes around the world. If you would like to share a tour of your home, please contact me here with “HOME TOUR” in the subject line.

About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m the Joyful Space Specialist. it’s my desire help others create a joyful space of their own and enjoy their time spent at home.

12 Comments

  1. Sarah Temperley on 09/01/2017 at 11:27 AM

    Peace radiates from your home!! Thanks so much for sharing a slice of your life.

  2. Bethany @ CuteCapsuleLife on 09/01/2017 at 11:31 AM

    Beautiful home, so relaxing!

  3. Marla Christensen on 09/01/2017 at 10:37 PM

    As your mom, and grandma to your two beautiful children, I am thrilled to see you blossoming into your own! Yes, it was interesting at first to watch you “simplify,” but I have seen many incredible blessings from the simplified life you have chosen. I am so proud of the woman, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, granddaughter, etc. that you have become. You are an inspiration to many!

    • Fiona on 09/02/2017 at 7:07 PM

      Oh, that’s a beautiful compliment. Having chased success + happiness at the detriment to my health + well-being, I am now slowing down + simplifying the contents of my home is one aspect. Your daughter’s words are inspiring x

  4. laura ann on 09/06/2017 at 7:28 PM

    Am encouraging retirees to downsize and minimalize to save time with housework with more time for fun things. Some incl. us, are moving into smaller housing with no yard work in townhouses or retirement communities. ‘Retirees must realize their kids/heirs don’t want their stuff (except photos, maybe few items) and why leave a mess/burden for others to have to go thru? Many group homes need household items, some clothing, rescue missions, etc.

    • Crystal Wiley on 06/09/2018 at 4:19 PM

      That is amazing! Keep up the great work, Laura Ann.

  5. Melanie on 09/10/2017 at 11:48 PM

    Love your home Crystal! It’s inspiring to those of us beginning on the path to see what it can look like once you find that comfortable place. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Kathy on 12/14/2017 at 12:11 PM

    What tools do you use for cooking? Do you cook much?

    • Crystal Wiley on 06/09/2018 at 4:18 PM

      Hi Kathy, yes we cook a ton! However, we realized we only need a few basic essentials. There are multiple articles out there on the few things you need to get the job done 🙂 Happy cooking!

  7. Jess @ Minimise With Me on 09/09/2018 at 6:59 AM

    Loved your minimalist home! Thanks for sharing!

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