Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Minimalism

Setting Up A Minimalist Bedroom


Happy July 4th, everyone! I hope you have a great weekend grill out with family. We do not have a grill yet – the old grill left behind by the previous owner was too gross to keep (thanks though!). We did order a new grill, a sexy beast to say the least. Cannot wait for it to be delivered.

After removing the old carpet and expose the hardwood flooring, we aimed to set up our bedroom and Slav’s office as soon as possible. A good night sleep is necessary for carrying out all the physical work we are doing, and some downtime at night on his computer is well-deserved for Slav.

I always wanted cozy bedrooms. However, the two bedrooms we lived in the longest in the past were either big, or directly open to the rest of the house (no door). Our new bedroom is 10’6″ by 11″. It can take a king bed comfortably, yet with ample room for bedside tables. Just like my all-time favorite bedroom below:

Our bedroom has a closet wall. However, the wall of closets was divided to two, with one opening to the office.

Bedroom closet


Office closet


This setup left very little closet space to the bedroom. Although I have been working towards a minimalist closet, I have a husband who does not throw away anything. Between Slav’s mom, who buys clothes and bedding for us constantly, and Slav himself, who refuses to let any old T-shirts go (“they carry memories!”), we need additional storage.

After consulting with Slav, we decided to get a storage bed. Coincidentally, the morning we went to IKEA, Emily Henderson published a post on storage bed. You bet I was reading through it while shopping in IKEA!

I love a storage bed that has simple lines and big drawers, like this one from Muji. I might ask Slav to build one in the future. But for now, we picked IKEA BRIMNES for its simplicity and storage capacity. Slav also wants it in black – he picked up the classy BEKVÄM stool in black too, which we had in NC but in birch color.

BRIMNES Bed frame with storage IKEA The 4 integrated drawers give you extra storage space under the bed.

This is how our bedroom looks like in our moving day – dirty window frames, old carpet, and cheap curtain rods.



After removing the carpet, we threw our mattress on the floor, and lived like this for about another week.


Slav spent a day to piece the storage bed together:


meanwhile, the living room became a dump ground while waiting for its own IKEA furniture.


At the last minute, we decided to rotate the bed 90 degrees. We gain 3 more inches this way for the drawers to be fully open.




Slav also took the broken metal frame off the window and installed blinds. We plan to get bigger window down the road, so good window treatment can wait. We purposely mounted two big blinds (35″) side by side, so we can get an idea how 70″ wide window would work with the bed. We can also play with the length of the adjustable blinds to find a desired height for the new window sill.


We did not like the king headboard options in IKEA, and we still do not know what type of headboard we want yet – antique? Something dramatic? With comfortable padding or bare wood? How tall should it be? I found this headboard on the Design Sponge. It will work for our bed, but it is a bit too modern for our taste.

What we had a clear vision for are the bedside tables. Slav has been using a drum his best friend gifted him a while back. It works for the few things he keeps next to bed. And any multi-function furniture is a win in my book.


As for me, I have been hoarding a live edge for a while. I found it in a discount store for $10 in Nashville. It has since been used as a candle holder, a center piece for the dining table, and a kitchen shelf. But this is what I really want to use it for – as a bedside table.


Two of the deep drawers hold our winter bedding and towels



And the other two hold Slav’s shorts, jeans and winter layers.



Slav has lots of pants and shorts, but he always piles them up and only wears the ones on the top of the pile. These drawers allow him to see all the pairs he has and provide easy access to any of them. Hopefully we can get more clothes into the mix.

We are only using the outer edge of the drawers – they are much deeper and can easily accommodate another line of clothing. But I have no plan to fill every drawer to the brim in this house. We voted on not buying any outfit until we consume what we have in hand. In another words, we will only be REPLACING our clothes.

With the heavy stuff out of the way, we are able to fit all of our clothes in the two closets:

Bedroom closets


Office closets


All of my 3-season clothes are in the bedroom closet. Slav wears T-shirts and shorts 99% of the time, so his T-shifts and underwear are kept in the bedroom closet too. The office closet is filled with his shirts, sweaters and winter coats. He accumulated lots of them when he was young and lived in New York. But during the last 11 years of living in SoCal and the South, most of these clothes were just collecting dust. They will definitely get some use this winter! (Let it snow!)

We are still far from the minimalist closet I’d like to have. But we live in Colorado where winter clothes are needed, and they take a lot of space. We have the plan to redo the closet with IKEA PAX system, and potentially to reverse the office closet to create a bigger bedroom closet. For now, I put up a pair of curtains over the bedroom closet for a cleaner look:


These curtains are also from IKEA.


We hung only one painting – the one Slav gifted me at our last anniversary:


It is painted by Adam Faglio, our favorite Polish painter. He is a family friend and what he painted is the castle in Slav’s hometown. You can see more of his work here.

Our bedroom is far from finished, but it is clean, comfortable, functional, and minimal. I’d like to bring some plants into the room, and get snow white bedding when we need to replace our current ones. I love this bedroom from the Design Sponge. And I think green plants and a bigger window will make our minimalist bedroom a truly peaceful place.

Minimalist Wardrobe

Look at this baby:

Is it your closet? You may ask. No… I wish. But I am getting there.

It is possible for me to have such a closet. I only wear black, white, blue and grey, I wear two pairs of shoes for the whole year, and I work in academic so nothing is too causal.

It is also great for me to have such a closet. I do not take pleasure from anything appearance-related (including cosmetic), I do not want to spend more than 5 minutes in the morning to get ready, and I only allow a small budget for clothes.

So there we go, when I heard the concept about minimalist wardrobe like this “50 item wardrobe“, I am like “Woohoo! Now I finally have an excuse to do this!”. it is like that being part of a movement made it more legit to dress simply. And this feeling is wrong wrong wrong in many levels: First, when do I ever feel guilty about not dressing up? I is true that I was told that wearing only black is “depressing” and “uninteresting” but who cares right? People should wear what makes THEMSELVES feel good and look good, not for anyone else’s opinion. Second, why do I worry that underdressed will make me “uninteresting”? If you are a fond of me, either as a friends or as a romantic partner, you probably see pass my worn-out grey T-shirt and are more interested what beneath (my heart and soul of course). So why bother to worry how other people think of something they do not even care?

But I still felt guilty enough to keep lots of unworn, colorful, and “interesting” clothes that I might never wear in my closet. So for a change, I am gonna ONLY keep the clothes that brings me joy and I cannot wait to wear. I am part of the movement now and this makes me feel like a bad-ass feminist more than ever.

Anyway, I am here, inspired by Hej Doll. She had this wardrobe which is greeeeat. You can tell that she really does “buy less, choose well, pay more“, She owns only 50 items that are in good quality and can last many washes. They also go with each other whichever way you pair them, which makes travel very easy. She has this amazing series called Travel Light which teaches how to pack light and travel for 10 days with just a carry-on.

I probably will never get to as few as 50 items, because I will live somewhere with four seasons and I have lots of stuff for skiing. I made a list of the cloth I am atively wearing and there are about 60 items if we do not count sport clothes. 🙂

And here is what I have done:
1. Donate everything I have the opportunity to wear but rather not, regardless for what reason;
2. For the ones does fit and I do not hate, box and store everything I have not worn in the past two years and I will donate them by the end of this year if I still have not worn them;
3. Only buy a piece of clothing if I cannot wait to wear. It is OK I have something really similar in my closet;
4. Only buy shoes to replace the current ones. So that means one in, one out.
5. Buy quality, not quantity. And only go to the mall/online when I need something.

I actually did my purge in September and have lived by these rules for the last three months. The result is great. I did added a couple more exercise clothing, aka yoga pants, but in general my closet has been getting smaller and it has been much easier to get ready in the mornings. On weekdays, since I only have two jeans – blue and black. So which jeans I wear automatically decided which shoes I wear. The only decision I make is which grey T-shirt I wear with the black jeans or which white T-shirt I wear with the blue jeans. I wear black tops if I feel fancy. Most my jackets and coats are hanging by the door so I just take the one on my way out depending on the weather. On weekend I wear leggings with Tunic and boots. It. Is. That. Simple.

Maybe one day I will have Seth Brundle’s closet  – Well I am still afraid people around me will think that I am a freak. But maybe 5 years later I will be “who cares”, right?

Sp how do you organize your closet? Do you purge?

Three weeks without smartphone

It has been three weeks since I stopped using my smartphone. It was not voluntary – hubby broke the screen of my HTC OneS three weeks ago and we have trouble getting it fixed. I was pretty bummed out first, but three weeks in, I am kinda of loving it! My life has been so easy and… free? I feel more relaxed without a smartphone.

Fewer distraction and more focus

I used to get constant reminders from my phone – events and meetings, work emails, to-do list, friends’ Facebook activities, and so on. They occupied my mind and really distracted me from the present tasks. It is like waiting for an important phone call, I felt anxious missing anything important. As soon as I started not carrying a phone, I was able to focus on the current moment. And it has been so productive for me. Another reason I think – when I cannot put stuff on my digital to-do list, I just deal with them right away. it sounds so silly but it really prevents me from procrastination. 🙂

Think for myself

I also feel like that I have a lot of free time without a smartphone. The constant connectivity did me more access to more information, but browsing does take time. I used to watch and read stuff online non-step, one youtube video after another. I do not even discuss the stuff I watched with hubby and friends, I just send them a link. It left me no time to process the information I got. Now when I step away from my computer, I can really digest what I read/saw earlier and think a little deeper about the issue. These blank moments here and there really makes a difference on my information processing. So when I return to my computer or tablet, instead of just “watch next”, I have a question in mind and actively research new information.

Do I have to talk to people now?

Without a smartphone, I interact with people more now. Without a phone on my fingertips, I started to look at people in their eyes in the elevator and talked to people who shared rides on my commute. The experience has been so positive. I guess the news nowadays, at least from the news media I follow, like NPR, are largely negative and have made me so cynical, But when I interact with people, I am amazed that how nice people are and it really makes me happy.

Better Sleep

The biggest change is really unexpected – I sleep better now. Maybe it is because I do not read from my phone in bed anymore. I used to bring my phone to bed when I felt sleepy and browsed Pinterest – usually ended up felling asleep an hour later. Now I bring Roxie to bed and cuddle with her – 2~3 minutes and I am out. It is so silly and magical – I think my dog loves it too!

More connection, not less

The only time I wish I had my phone was on my birthday, which was last week. I was looking forward to talking to my sister and a couple old friends. But hey, I now have my contacts transferred so I can contact them any day – why just birthdays? Something about owning a landline made me want to call people. For some reason, owning a cellphone made me feel the opposite – isn’t it weird?

Be a smart owner of a smartphone

There was some inconvenience living without a phone but thankfully because I work in an office with a landline, the problem has been very minor. Hubby and I communicate using my office line. And we are fine without communication when I go to gym or run errands by myself. It reminded me my childhood, playing with friends in the field and only going home when it got dark. I had much better sense of time back then and never missed my dinner.

As much as I enjoy not having a phone, hubby insists I get one again. But after this experience, I hope to keep some of the good habits I started. I always have the choice to turn my phone off, or put it in my bag, and reclaim my life. One thing I will definitely not change, is to bring my puppy to bed every night. She is so cuddly!

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