How Decluttering Can Increase Inner Peace

Our house is tidy, clean, organized and cozy – for the most part. Yet I often find myself feeling edgy, unhappy, unproductive and, yes, almost, stressed in my home. Now, why is that? Why do I constantly feel the urge to take a big box and throw more things out?

Free your mind.

According to experts, clutter consumes us mentally, adds stress and often wastes precious time, mostly because you have to spend time searching for something. When we keep thinking about the things that bother us – like that unfinished DIY project, drawers full of kitchen gadgets that we use once a year or storage boxes filled with sentimental value like Christmas ornaments or toys from our childhood – the annoyance can quickly spill over into other areas of our lives. God forbid, we may even snap at our husbands. (Great, now I can blame my bookshelf for that!)

At the beginning of this year, I signed up for the January Cure. And so it began, our entire family embarked on a mission to clear our home of unnecessary stuff. We called it #projectletitgo. (Because when you give something a title, its significance automatically triples.)

Our linen/medicine closet.

Our linen/medicine closet.

Whilst our home got cleaner, our garage emptier and our cabinets more organized, it still didn’t deliver the relief my husband and I were hoping for. It seemed like our approach to tackle clutter as a space problem could not be solved by acquiring more bins and organizers. Or following an abundance of Pinterest boards. Putting the label maker down, we realized we needed to go deeper.

How do you want to live your life?

Enter Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing guru. Her method: Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.


What is one to do with all these pens and pencils?

Marie Kondo challenges you to ask yourself whether each object you have is propelling you forward or holding you in the past? (Like those photos from your ex. Oi!) Of course, a toothbrush or Ziplock bags won’t ever get me overly excited. But that’s not the point.


Marie Kondo

According to Kondo, the question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future not only influence the way you choose the things you own but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life, including your relationships with people and your job.

Kondo recognizes profoundly: That overload of things in our homes is often about unhappiness, and that the right kind of tidying can be a kind of psychotherapy for the home as well as for the people in it.

With this newfound approach, we basically overhauled our decluttering project and took another look at the things we previously wanted to hold on to. Here’s an example: A side table next to our couch, shabby chic style. Purpose: Holding a lamp, housing a box of tissues and coasters, and offering space to put a drink. Clearly needed, right? Do we like it? Yes. Do we absolutely love it? No. The table can now be found on Craigslist offering joy to someone who really wants it.

Did you see how we decided about an item’s fate more aggressively? Mr. Thrasher even went as far as claiming that we don’t need a couch because we usually host our guests at the dining table. Insert wife’s vehement veto.

Get children involved.

I’m proud to say that even our 4-year old daughter embraced my newly discovered obsession with a minimalistic approach to decluttering and generously sorted out a lot of toys. From an early age, we taught her how to store AND organize her toys. In her playroom (also our home office), she has five individual toy bins:


Emma’s stuffed animals.


Emma’s cars, figurines and construction toys.

  1. for her stuffed animals (she owns 7) and doll’s clothing,
  2. for her construction toys (Lego’s, Magnatiles, GoldieBlox),
  3. for games and puzzles,
  4. for science stuff (magnets, her science kit)
  5. for her dress-up clothes and accessories.

Every bin is only half-full. Art supplies are within reach but behind doors in my bookshelf. Her books are neatly stored in her bedroom – German books on one shelf, English on the other.

This system also helps to establish boundaries: Her bedroom is for sleeping and quiet time, the playroom is for playing and learning. She has one treasure box where she keeps cards, letters and drawings from her friends, and two smaller boxes for little odds and ends.


The bookshelf in Emma’s room. (She still wasn’t ready to let go of her Frozen book…)

To get you started, check out these 21 Tips on Keeping a Simple Home with Kids which are precisely on par with our family system. Admittedly, this strategy may not work for every child (or its parents). As a always, a healthy rule of thumb is: the purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship. If what you’re doing is driving a rift between you and your child, it’s not worth it. Take a step back and reassess.


Don’t donate junk. Only give away what’s in good condition.

Finally, peace.

Imagining myself living in a home that contains only things that spark joy, I am slowly but surely resetting my life. One donation drop-off at a time.

Now, if only I had the guts to follow this process with my wardrobe…

What is your organizing secret? What was your “toughest” purge? Tell your story and leave a comment.


Interior Decor :: Easy Bathroom Facelift Under $120

As some of you know, we live in a rental house which leaves us hesitant towards investing a lot of money or time into major home improvement projects. But I would feel like a fish without water if I wouldn’t find inexpensive solutions to create a living space I love.

I recently gave our small bathroom a budget-friendly facelift and changed up the color palette a bit. Behold, no Turquoise, Aqua or Teal to be found in the bathroom at Thrasher Home.

Charcoal, Spring Green and White

First order of business: Using an old gift card, I replaced our Brown and Beige towels with new ones in Charcoal and Spring Green. To add more storage, I hung a white lacquered wall cabinet (scored on Craigslist for $20). Ever since we moved in, I’ve been wanting to upgrade our existing, cheap towel bars with flashy new ones but so far I couldn’t justify that admittedly quite unnecessary expense. I added it to the inspiration board, though. Because it’s pretty.

If you don’t have a gift card lying around to splurge on new towels, here are some other ideas for a quick bathroom refresher for under $120. I wish I could say under $100 but I really wanted to include the cool light fixture for you.

  • New shower curtain. Keep it low budget by using clear plastic shower curtain rings ($2) or simply keep your old ones. $27.
  • Add a pretty soap dispenser or clear apothecary jars filled with bath essentials. $6-$10. (If you are a bargain shopper, hit Ross, TJ Maxx or Marshalls for bath accessories.)
  • Go bold with a bright colored bath mat matching your shower curtain. $11.
  • Flashy chrome towel bar. $15.
  • Fun little trash can with lid (toddler safe – until she figures that step thing out). $17.
  • Rental or not, I think a new, modern light fixture above the sink can change the entire room. I liked this contemporary, no-frills option from IKEA. And who said you’ll have to leave it when you move out. $39.
Love the inspiration board? Check out my nursery inspiration boards: All-American Nursery, Transportation Nursery, Emma’s Nursery and make sure to follow me on Pinterest where I reveal my sources.

If you use any ideas or products found by Thrasher Home, please be kind and credit my blog with a link to this post. Dankeschoen!

Interior Decor :: Living Room + Front Room in SoCal :: Part Two

(If you use any ideas or products found by Thrasher Home, please be kind and credit my blog with a link to this post. Dankeschoen!)

After several hours of measuring, brainstorming, floor planning, furniture hunting, buying and arranging, here’s finally…an ‘In Between’ update on my recent interior decor project. My job is not entirely done because we’re still missing a few accent pieces and after a sudden change of heart on the ‘client’ side, I’ll have to reconsider the floor plan for the play room.

Before ‘Living Room’

Get the complete ‘Before’ scoop on this project here.


Can you find my little helper?


An outdated living room with faded and bulky furniture waiting to be transformed into a soothing, contemporary living space.

Let’s take a sneak preview into my shopping cart: Two gorgeous leather ottomans from Crate and Barrel, a comfy chair and colorful toss pillows from Cost Plus, accessories from Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx. You can get a pretty good idea of how I will be translating the color scheme.


And that was just the beginning...

In Between ‘Living Room’

As much as I would like to title this section ‘After’, I am not done yet. During my last trip to SoCal, we almost finished the living room but realized that we still have a bit more work ahead of us with the play room. Especially, after my MIL decided that she now wanted to add a larger book shelf to the room. (We initially agreed on a few floating wall shelves.) That changes the floor plan for the play room quite a bit.

When looking at the photos below, bear in mind that we’re still adding a few pieces of furniture and accessories. Despite the uncompleted stage of this interior decor project, I’m going to share a few snapshots with you. Because you asked so kindly.


Almost there. Still on the hunt for an accent chair and possibly another solution for the space under the right window. Maybe a sideboard or little cabinet?


This beautiful bookcase by Crate and Barrel did the job - sleek and simple. To the right you see my MIL's collection of crosses displayed. She's been wanting to put them up for years and we finally gave them a worthy spot. Since Sharon travels a lot, the wall will be filled with finds from all over the world.


The wall art will be displayed on a picture ledge matching the dark wood of the media shelf. And we have a lot more pictures to add.


More accessories and wall decor to be added...I am not sure if I'm really liking the leaf-shaped side table. What do you think?


I'm very much in love with this capiz base table lamp I scored at one of the three Marshalls I went to. One of my MIL's concerns was that the color scheme may turn out to dark. Which I addressed with cream colored accessories.

So, what do you think? Share your comments and ask away about where I found the furniture and decor items.

Interior Decor :: Living Room + Front Room in SoCal :: Part One

(If you use any ideas or products found by Thrasher Home, please be kind and credit my blog with a link to the original source. Dankeschoen!)

A few months ago, my mother-in-law asked me if I could assist her with the interior decor for her living room and front room. Um, let me think about it: I could dream up a color palette, create an inspiration board and then go out and buy everything? With someone else’s credit card? Yes, please, I’m in!

I wish we were further along in the process so I could post ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures but we just got started so you’ll have to come back for more.

In the meantime, follow me on Pinterest to see how I am planning to transform an outdated (sorry, Mom) and tired living room and a design-starved front room without a purpose into a sophisticated, modern, bold but soothing habitat.

It was a bit of a challenge to work my MIL’s only requests into the room design: Keep the wall color (somewhere between Sage and Avocado) and incorporate a recliner chair (La-Z Boy, anyone?).

I strongly believe that you need to understand the purpose of a room in order to design it: Will you use it for reading, entertaining, watching TV, as a family playroom, home office, craft area, etc.

You further need to get an idea of what the room needs to deliver: Serenity, open space and room to play, lots of storage, space for electronics, how much seating will we need, and so on.

After we worked through all these questions, I presented a few color palettes and eventually we ended up with these two lovelies:

The Living Room 

Color palette for living room: Gray, Indigo, Sage, Cream and Bronze.

The Front Room

Color palette for front room: Gray, Indigo, Sage, Cream and Bubblegum.

I recommended to keep the color scheme the same and only change the accent color (Bronze and Bubblegum) so that my MIL has the option to rearrange the furniture at a later point if she desires.

The living room will be mostly used for entertaining and watching movies on a big screen. Take a sneak peak of my furniture finds here.

The front room will function mainly as a play room but should also allow for a relaxing atmosphere so my MIL could kick back and cozy up in her recliner to read a book, watch TV or snooze off. Check out the furniture and fun accessories I found for the front room here.

Make sure to come back to Thrasher Home to see what on earth I will be doing with four cans of Gold, Indigo and Cream spray paint.

Weihnachten + Christmas = Christnachten

Truth be told, my expectations in Christmas or Weihnachten are higher than the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. I LOVE Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday! And now that we have Emma (insert loud squeal to express excitement about Emma’s first Christnachten), I want to make it so fun for her that she’ll love it as much as her Mama. Here’s how we celebrate Christmas + Weihnachten = Christnachten at Thrasher Home.


  • Christmas is about Christ. It’s not about a fat big man in a red coat with a silly hat and a long beard. I certainly won’t be going all Grinch on my little one but it is important to me that she learns that we are actually celebrating Christ’s birthday on Christmas. While we can play pretend and still like the Weihnachtsmann (Santa), we also put up a non-breakable nativity scene (make sure to watch baby closely as we certainly don’t want her to choke on Baby Jesus). As baby plays with the figurines, I tell her who they are. And we read her the story about Jesus’ birth for bedtime.
  • Christmas is Weihnachten. Or Christnachten. Which looks like this:remote_image20111201-32417-1uelvtu-0
  1. We’re celebrating Christmas on the 24th which is when we have the nice dinner and open our gifts.
  2. I’ve crafted an advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas. This year Paul still got it, next year it will be for Emma.
  3. Emma can put her shoe out in front of her room on December 5th as we celebrate Sankt Nikolaus (Saint Nick) on the 6th.
  4. I usually make an advent wreath: Every Sunday leading up to Christmas, we’re lighting another candle.
  5. Our house smells of Gluehwein or Punsch.
  6. We are eating lots of Stollen (please don’t call it fruit cake) and Zimtsterne.
  • Christmas is about people. Not (just) gifts. Even though gifts are my love language, I want to teach Emma to focus on her friends and her family instead of rushing around trying to find the perfect gift for everyone. Last year we decided to skip the gifts because I didn’t want to go into labor at the mall and we didn’t have much cash left after getting everything ready for the most precious gifts of all. But it was like someone cut out my tongue and I wasn’t able to speak.
  • Christmas is peace. Why bother with Christmas traditions if you can’t forgive or ask for forgiveness? I’ve been struggling with the loss of a once amazing friendship. As I am pondering over Christmas gifts, writing cards and praying for peace, I have reached out to my friend hoping for peace and forgiveness.
  • Christmas is quality time. Guess why this is my first blog post in December? I’ve been busy playing with my daughter, hosting play dates, visiting museums, getting together with other mommy friends for crafting activities and decorating our house with the help of my little elf. And instead of sitting at my computer at night when Emma is sleeping I’ve been spending more face time with my husband.
  • Christmas is not about spending money. I love to host, I love to make gifts, I love to decorate. All of which requires a bit of cash to make it nice. This is probably my first year, where I truly (try to) focus on spending wisely, making a gift shopping list and sticking to it. We also asked our families to refrain from giving us gifts this year. If they wanted to bless us, we’d love a contribution to our adoption fund.


Arm Chair :: Home Decor

Madeline Chair by Urban Outfitters

Mind-century inspired arm chair. $349. Available here.

A “Transportation” Inspiration Board :: Nursery Decor

I recently created this inspiration board for my friend’s baby boy’s nursery. My inspiration was our beloved city of San Francisco, their love to be out & about, and their home country, the UK.

A sophisticated nursery design for a stylish baby boy.

Shopping Resources:  grey locker bin by Crate and Barrel, wall clock by Crate and Barrel, yellow pillow by cb2, grey crochet pillow by cb2, dot wall hook by cb2, Golden Gate bridge print by Indira Albert on Etsy, yellow curtains by IKEA, neck roll by IKEA, metal letter ‘j’ by Urban Outfitters, round rug by IKEA, wall decal ‘truck UK’ on Etsy, school bus nightlight by Amazon,  Vespa love print by Indira Albert on Etsy, growth chart on Etsy, orange canvas bins by Walmart, race car piggy bank by Amazon.




The Kinderzimmer Is Done :: Nursery Decor

I’ve shared the inspiration board for Käfer’s nursery decor a long, long time ago and I’m thrilled to announce that our project has been completed two weeks before the arrival of our little baby girl. Can’t wait to hear what you think…

Our canvas - a plain and empty room.

Despite the pesky task of having to paint Käfer's room, Daddy was excited to get his daughter's nursery done.

When I looked for paint for the walls, I wanted to make sure to buy VOC free paint only. You know, no chemicals, no toxic fumes, none of that. I was excited to find this color at The Land Of Nod and after requesting a color swatch, I thought it matched my color palette perfectly. Well, unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be what I expected. Too bad I only realized that AFTER my dear husband and our wonderful friend Yuko had painted the walls. Yes, there is ‘pain’ in painting.

Original paint color on the right, first attempt to fix it in the middle, final color on the left.

With the help of a well-known home improvement store and its knowledgeable staff in the paint section, we managed to mix and fix the color (see photo above). And Paul and Yuko went back to the drawing, um, painting board and…painted again.

Our fearless friend Yuko.

After all, it turned out to be…yes, perfect. (We probably should have named our baby girl Yuko in honor of our dear friend who kept up with this.)

On to furnishing the room…I have a love/hate relationship with Craigslist. This time, I found exactly what I was looking for and the seller was absolutely easy to work with. I even managed to haggle a bit and got the dresser for only $60. (Mind you, it’s real, solid wood and none of that IKEA stuff.) My budget was $50 but I expected to find a piece of furniture that I’d have to sand, paint and purchase new hardware for. So with this dresser being in perfect condition and painted in the right color, I was ok to pay a bit more.

Found it!

I lined the drawers with cute polka dot paper from Paper Source.

Daddy at work.

And...we're done!

Looks cozy and fun, doesn't it?

Can't wait to play with our baby girl.

Every piece of wall art has a special meaning.

Plenty of diaper changes are awaiting this lovely dresser.

I found the 'California' hook by OldNewAgain on Etsy. Love that it came in turquoise!

I love these cute suitcases from The Land Of Nod. They come in a set of three and are surprisingly affordable.

The diaper changing station.

I used an expandable curtain rod to hang Käfer's tiny cardigans and jackets. The turquoise canvas bins hold bathing supplies, the beige one holds our girl's shoes.

I’m trying to remain humble but I’m not gonna lie: I’m loving Käfer’s room and cannot wait for her to enjoy it!

Sources (as far as I can remember): crib – Walmart; mobile – Babies R Us; metal bin for toys – Target; storage ottoman – Target; arm chair – IKEA; pillow – Cost Plus; curtains – IKEA; frames for art work – IKEA, Target; crib mattress – Target; crib sheet –; dresser – Craigslist; canvas bins – Target; T.J. Maxx; curtain rod – Bed, Bath & Beyond; suitcases – Land Of Nod; wall sign – Ross.

Devine Design :: Home Decor

If you are thinking about decorating your home with meaningful art and were wondering how you could be displaying bold but beautiful statements of faith, you may struggle to find modern design that reflects your style AND your beliefs.

Search no more, sister. Here is God’s gift for us: faith inspired art by Red Letter Words.

This one is definitely on my wish list for Christmas this year.

And if scripture is a bit too much for you, Dee (artist and designer at Red Letter Words) has created some lovely pieces inspired by her travel adventures.

An All-American Nursery Design :: Nursery Decor

Inspired by my pregnant British friend’s nickname for her baby boy (The Yank) and IKEA”s new (Christmas) decor items, I created this inspiration board for an All-American nursery theme. Fun and classy, don’t you think? Oh, and since it’s IKEA, you won’t have to kill the piggy bank to fund this lovely nursery.

All items available at IKEA.


Come back and visit my blog again to check out the inspiration board for the matching baby shower theme. God bless America! And your baby, of course!