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Morgan’s Mission to Help Others Embrace Minimalism (and her 1,200 sq. ft. home)


One of the first steps to living tiny is to downsize one’s belongings. At the end of the day, there simply isn’t enough space to fit 2,000 square feet of stuff into 200 square feet! While decluttering coach Morgan lives in a modest (but not tiny) 1,200 square foot home, her organization advice is relevant to tiny homers as well.

During our interview she mentioned that a home is like a garden — each season it needs care and upkeep — it’s not a “one and done” project. I love that reframing of mind! We constantly need to evaluate what we have, what we need, and what we should pass on in order to live more simply.

Enjoy the pictures below of her mid-century modern home, and then read the Q&A with some advice for decluttering below! Follow her on Instagram here.

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Decluttering Coach’s Humble Home

Morgan’s Mission to Help Others Embrace Minimalism (and her 1,200 sq. ft. home) 3

Images via @humblehomeva

I love seeing a minimalist home that still makes room for books!

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Images via @humblehomeva

I’m all for the couch and chair! Great colors!

Morgan’s Mission to Help Others Embrace Minimalism (and her 1,200 sq. ft. home)

Images via @humblehomeva

Some simple framed artwork in the dining area.

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Images via @humblehomeva

The kitchen isn’t remodeled yet, but we can update the post when it is!

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Images via @humblehomeva

Morgan’s office wall is absolutely stunning!

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Images via @humblehomeva

Look at how tidy her desk is!

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Images via @humblehomeva

In the bedroom, she chose a dark spruce color and it’s gorgeous.

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Images via @humblehomeva

Baskets make a simple and stunning wall art piece.

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Images via @humblehomeva

Morgan and her husband have a few cats.

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Images via @humblehomeva

The clean lines of her furniture makes the place feel extra tidy.

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Images via @humblehomeva

Her bathroom is a perfect blend of old-fashioned, yet clean.

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Images via @humblehomeva

Interview with Morgan

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Images via @humblehomeva

What are your name(s)?

Morgan Paixao

How many people (and animals) are living in your home?

6! Two humans (my husband, Vince,  and I) our pup, Lola and our three kitties, Otis, Marty and Norman.

How did your business get started? How did you become a decluttering coach? 

Helping friends and family with their spaces is something I’ve enjoyed doing my whole life. Whether that’s been more on the design end – helping pick out paint colors, room layout, etc… or helping organize and declutter. I finally decided to take the plunge and go at it on a professional level last year and thus Humble Home Organizing was launched in April 2020!

Why do you think people have so much clutter? 

There’s a lot of emotions wrapped up in our belongings and sometimes we can have a hard time navigating them. This could be feelings of guilt put on by ourselves and/or family members or fear of letting go. It can be hard to take a step back and look at our things from an analytical perspective, which makes it much harder to sort through.

How does your business help people? 

On the surface, I guide people through letting go of items that are no longer serving them and then help set up systems for what is kept. However, it’s so much more than that. My clients go through a genuine transformation that improves their confidence, decision-making skills, and ultimately their state of mind and emotional well-being. It’s really amazing and I truly feel so humbled and honored to get to do this work.

How many square feet is your home? 

1200 sq ft

How does keeping a small home help you stay decluttered?

Because our home is small, we are physically limited by the amount of stuff we can keep. A boundary like this can be super helpful though in finding that balance of what you need vs. what you want.
 

What do you do to keep a minimalist space? 

There’s always going to be new items making their way into your home. A big factor in maintaining a more minimalist space, and using minimalist principles in general, is editing regularly. I am constantly evaluating and reevaluating our things. Asking myself questions like, ‘Do we use this? Can someone else get better use out of it?’ etc…

What are the benefits of living with less? 

It makes tasks like cleaning and getting a space ready for guests so much easier. I love a clean house, but I don’t love cleaning. The less you have to work around, the easier and faster the job is going to be! If we have an exceptionally busy week and the house gets unraveled (which it definitely does!) it takes like an hour to put it all back together again, and then it looks great.
 

How long have you been living minimally? 

For me, this has been a process over the past 7-8 years. I read Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ back in 2013-2014-ish and it was such an eye-opening read. Since then, I have read other books, challenged myself in what I can live with and without, and see it as a continual learning process that will always be a part of my life.
 

Describe your decorating style and philosophy.

My style draws a lot of inspiration from the mid-century modern era. I’m a studio artist as well, so keeping color and unique pieces in our space is very important to me. I love the juxtaposition between these two concepts mixed with natural elements like stoneware and woven baskets. So I’d guess I’d say I’m pretty eclectic haha! An artsy, earthy, mid-century blend? Is that a thing?

What benefits are you experiencing from minimalism?

I think about my belongings in a much different light now. I acknowledge that everything is temporary and so there’s much more fluidity to what comes in and out of our home.
 

What about some challenges?

Holding true to your boundaries. I think especially with family this is going to be the biggest challenge for anyone wanting to live more minimally. Discussing gift-giving and hand-me-downs can be uncomfortable at first, but having an open and honest discussion will strengthen mutual understanding.


What makes your home special?

When we first looked at our house, it reminded me of my grandparents’ home that my dad grew up in. My grandfather built that house and we visited every summer and during holidays. I showed my parents a photo of this house and that was the first thing they said too! It immediately felt familiar and comfortable.


What is your favorite part of your home?

I love our bedroom. I decided to paint it a deep spruce green all the way around. I had never painted a whole room dark before, so it felt bold at the time, but we absolutely love it. I designed our bed and had our friends at Gray Fox Design Works build it out of gorgeous cherry. We remark all the time about how much we love our bed and our room. At night our dog and cats sleep in bed with us and it’s just so cozy and special.


What helpful advice would you give to others interested in minimalism or decluttering? What’s your #1 tip? 

Give yourself permission! Permission to let go, to say no thank you,  and to do what you want with your space. Once you free yourself from what you think you ‘should’ do or keep, the process will begin to really open up.


Anything I didn’t ask about that we should know?  

One last thing I’d like to emphasize is this idea that our home is a living organism of sorts. Thinking about it as a point A to point B process just isn’t realistic. If you think of your home more like a garden – a space that needs to be pruned seasonally and tended to, it’s going to make everything that much more enjoyable. I think with our homes we tend to want this sense of completion, when really it’s ever-evolving based on our needs and phases in life.

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • jerry dycus
    May 17, 2021, 9:52 am

    In the 60s this was a good size house and we had 4 boys in ours for 6 people. So one can hardly call this much but wasted space, money that takes more energy to run, taxes, interest/loan to pay.
    I find minimalism mostly a waste of space. It you are not going to use the space enough, why have it? Shrink down to what you need without the wasted space.

    • Diana
      May 18, 2021, 8:55 am

      Jerry My thoughts exactly!! We live in a 950 sq. House with 6 cats and 3 dogs.
      Not minimalists. But still have room💖

  • David Pedersen
    May 18, 2021, 2:01 am

    Sorry, but I can not see how this belongs in a tiny house blog. I might be called a small house. But it is not a tiny house.

    • May 19, 2021, 1:24 am

      I agree with you Dave. Additionally, what I see inside the home does not meet the definition of minimalism in my mind.

      • Diana
        May 19, 2021, 8:47 am

        I totally agree with you, a small house but not tiny by any definition.😁
        If thats the case I already live in a (tiny) house. 960sq.ft🌸

        • James D.
          May 19, 2021, 3:23 pm

          Since, houses have been getting larger ever since the 1950’s till now where the national average is over 2400 Sq Ft, nearing 2500 Sq Ft, and that includes a range that goes up to over 5000 Sq Ft that yes, means there are people who would consider your home tiny compared to what they’re used to… and that’s not even including mansions that start at 10,000 Sq Ft and go up to over 70,000 Sq Ft where even whole neighborhoods could be considered tiny in comparison…

          But this also extends to what you could legally build with minimum size restrictions. Like in Ohio, most municipalities are limited to a 1000 Sq Ft requirement. While a state like Minnesota it can vary more per county but while some may have a limit as low as 500 Sq Ft, others can go all the way up to 2000 Sq Ft as the minimum they will allow… Most other states it’s not that restrictive, some don’t even have minimum size requirements, but points out there’s actually a pretty wide range of what can be considered too small, depending where in the country you are making that comparison from and consequently what people may consider tiny compared to their normal…

    • Fred
      June 2, 2021, 9:40 am

      David Pederson, You say it’s not a tiny house and I agree. Maybe that’s why it’s found in the small house section of this website.

  • Sophia
    May 18, 2021, 2:05 am

    My house is 960 square feet and I don’t consider it tiny or small. This house is big, and I wouldn’t consider it to be decorated minimally. I don’t mean to be derogatory at all, but it really reminds me of the furniture section at the Salvation Army.

  • Eric
    May 18, 2021, 3:54 am

    To the three people above who were critical should consider this: While decluttering coach Morgan lives in a modest (but not tiny) 1,200 square foot home, her organization advice is relevant to tiny homers as well.

    The writer makes it very clear that she doesn’t live tiny, she lives small. And yes, I am also aware that the small houses of today would be classified as large 40 to 60 years ago. But that was then and this is now.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 18, 2021, 2:04 pm

      Thank you, Eric. I was of course not saying that her home is tiny. I live in an 1100 square foot spot myself and would never consider it tiny. But compared to my neighbor’s 2,500-3,500 square foot homes, we definitely live more minimally.

  • Wenonah Chonich
    May 18, 2021, 5:50 am

    This is hardly a tiny home. Lovely, but certainly not tiny, or even small.

  • James D.
    May 18, 2021, 2:09 pm

    There’s no absolutes in what people consider a size to be, it’s all relative to what is being compared and how it will be used.

    Like a home for a large family is never going to be as small as one made for just one person to live in, and there is the reality that average size houses have changed over the years. There was a time that what is considered tiny now was normal and there are still parts of the world where it remains normal and some of our Tiny Houses would even be considered large by their standards.

    Sure, there’s people used to a home that are around 1200 Sq Ft but these days there’s also a lot of people used to homes being over 2500 Sq Ft, or even over 5000 Sq Ft in some cases, and may feel 2000 Sq Ft is too small for even one person!

    There is also usually very little distinction between what is considered small to tiny, with some people using those terms interchangeably, as what some people consider small can also seem too small to them and that tends to make them group anything smaller as being below what they consider normal and usable to them.

    While there’s many people where downsizing is a journey that doesn’t happen all at once. Sometimes taking years and multiple phases before they reach their desired goal, but like many things in life it has to start somewhere but also doesn’t mean everyone will end up doing it the same way…

    So a lot just depends on your personal bias based on what you’re used to rather than anything that is a universally accepted standard.

    Besides, the point of movement is not to reach some proprietary standard regardless of practicality, which only promotes bias and discrimination that has historically plagued the housing market as generic one size fits all has been pushed to dominate the market, but to return to the ideal of individuality for finding what’s appropriate to meet your needs and that’s just not going to be the same for everyone.

    This is what famous advocates like Zack Giffin, from Tiny House Nation, has always stated as being what is important. Finding what’s appropriate, and is why small houses were included in the show to point out this has always been part of the movement and one of the reasons it pushes for seeking out alternatives to get away from accepted norms that where never really designed for everyone, in all situations, and for all locations.

    The only reason Tiny Houses are usually classified as 400 Sq Ft or less is because that has been up till now the most common legal limit but restrictions can go to larger sizes, even over 1000 Sq Ft in some parts of the country are not allowed, as well as different types of structure and housing options.

    The reality is houses can be any size and built any way that works for its intended purpose, which is ultimately the point the movement tries to get across, as they’re all homes and should all be allowed for those they work for so people can live how they want and do what’s practical and efficient for them… Allowing anyone who wants freedom, independence, and ability to make their own choices to do so without repercussions, retaliation, discrimination, and biased judgement that have no place in how they should live their life…

  • Alison
    May 18, 2021, 5:03 pm

    This is a really good size for a home. I live in a 1100 square foot house, and it’s perfect for me and my husband. We could benefit from some decluttering. But I don’t like to let stuff go. It’s a problem. I was inspired by Marie Kondo’s books, but went back to my old ways. I’ll have to check out Morgan’s website.

  • Ema
    May 19, 2021, 9:19 am

    I loved this – thanks!

    There’s no one cookie cutter approach to minimalism, and I love seeing everyone’s interpretations. I’m a mid century geek so this was a real visual treat for me.

    The garden comment makes so much sense too, especially when we let go and accept that possessions are temporary. Wonderful!

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