Find out how minimalist living can simplify your home and your life, so you can enjoy the things you love. Plus, get simple steps to get started.
Whenever I mention minimalist living to people, they immediately think of bare IKEA furniture in a room with white walls. But really minimalism is so much more than that – even though the idea is to have less.
Minimalism is about owning less and surrounding yourself with things you love rather than things you think you need. Say what?!
How many times have you picked a shirt from your closet and thought, “I should keep this because I may need it someday?” See, that’s all about keeping things you think you need. But really, those things just pile up in your closet without getting worn because it doesn’t make you happy. And before you know it, you’ll have a whole closet of things you don’t like and no space to enjoy the things you DO like.
Now think about it in a different way, “I will keep this shirt because it brings me joy.” There’s no doubt you’ll be wearing that shirt all the time because it makes you happy.
Why I Chose Minimalism
I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I grew up with a minimalist mother. She had enough food in the refrigerator and pantry to last a couple of days, and often went to the grocery store a few times a week. For her, it was better to have just what she needed than a pantry full of clutter. Her closet had just a few work clothes and largely remained unused. We had white and barren walls, white carpet, and simple furniture. The only cluttered space was my room that had posters all over the walls and a closet full of clothes and knick knacks. My mother was so minimalistic that she had just a few photos and mementos from my childhood, so I went through a phase of keeping ALL THE THINGS. Can you relate?
Well, as I grew up and lived in my own home, I realized that I learned so many valuable lessons from my mother. I had shed those mementos – like old report cards, art projects, collectibles from school dances, award ribbons, etc. – quite frankly because I didn’t have storage space, and as I evaluated each item I had to think to myself, “Does this make me happy?”
Little did I know, minimalist living was growing in popularity. I honestly didn’t even know what to call it at the time. I thought it was just about being clutter free. But what I found was that organizing clutter was temporary. The stuff was still there. To truly get rid of clutter, I needed to get rid of it for good.
And then I found The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. If you haven’t read it, get it now. It’s such a gem. It will really help you to work through and let go of things you don’t need.
In a nutshell, author Marie Kondo asks readers this simple question, “Does this object bring me joy?” If not, it needs to go.
But what I love about her approach is that she suggests being grateful for those things you are letting go. So for instance, if you bought a dress and never wore it but it doesn’t make you happy, then say, “Thank you, dress, for giving me joy the day I bought you. Now it’s time to let you go. I learned a valuable lesson.” Then you let that dress go – and let go of the guilt you have about buying something you didn’t use.
It really hit home for me when I traveled with my family for a month in Hawaii a few summers ago. We literally each had a suitcase we were living out of and that’s all we used for that summer. We washed clothes once a week and just brought the bare necessities for the trip. I was actually dreading going home because I remembered all the stuff in my closets and paperwork in my drawers. I actually said, “I want to let it all go and just live out of this suitcase.” That’s when I really considered minimalist living more seriously because I wanted to have that feeling at home. I wanted to live in a home that I WANTED to return to rather than dread coming home to.
And what’s really interesting is that minimalist living has spread to other areas of my home too.
For instance, now when I open the cabinet under my kitchen sink, I just have a few staples – Thieves Household Cleaner, essential oils, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide to help me with everyday cleaning. If you’re looking for more ways to simply your kitchen and bathroom, check out my free e-book and email course here.
So now you know why I chose minimalist living, here are some reasons why you should consider it too.
5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Minimalist Living
1. You will enjoy the things you love.
When you declutter and let go of the things that don’t bring you joy, you’ll be able to enjoy the things that DO bring you joy. You’ll no longer need to dig them out of the closet or search through countless boxes to find them. You’ll have them within reach to use or admire.
Think about a closet with your favorite 5 outfits. Think about a wall with your favorite painting. Think about a photo album filled with your favorite photos. When you let go of all the clutter, you’ll be able to enjoy all of this and so much more.
2. You will have the space you’ve always wanted in your home.
Whether you have a 500 square foot or 5,000 square foot home, at some point you’ve wanted more space. Well, here’s the thing… you probably don’t need more space, you need less stuff.
Here’s an interesting statistic… the average American woman has 120 items in her closet, compared to 36 pieces to the average woman in 1930. But for the modern woman, about 80% of her clothes go unworn.1 That’s a lot of clothes just sitting in the closet and taking up space, not to mention a waste of money.
When you get rid of the things that don’t bring you joy, you’ll be able to clear out space for things that do bring you joy. You’ll be able to walk into rooms without boxes piled up in the corner. You’ll able to find that dress you love in the closet, rather than pushing through hangers of clothes. Your kids will be able to enjoy the toys they love without taking up an entire room.
You will have more space and be able to enjoy the home you have when you let go of things that don’t bring you joy.
3. You will feel relaxed and content.
You know that feeling? You walk into a room or closet and just feel overwhelmed with all the stuff. You might even feel anxious or depressed. There are boxes everywhere, but you don’t know what’s in them. There are clothes you haven’t worn in years. There are shoes and handbags you’ve kept just in case. There are mementos from years ago that sit stockpiled on a desk or in a drawer. You can’t walk through the room because there’s just so much stuff. Aren’t you feeling overwhelmed just reading this?
When you have less stuff, you will feel content and relaxed. You will be surrounded by just the things that bring you joy. You’ll have clutter-free spaces to enjoy. And you don’t need white, barren walls to be a minimalist. You can have color and statement pieces in your home. The point is to let go of the clutter and things that don’t bring you joy.
4. You will have more time and money.
The whole idea of minimalist living is letting go and simplifying your life so you don’t get overwhelmed with choices. You enjoy the things you do have and feel less inclined to buy new things. Or when you do buy things, you will likely buy what you need instead of bunch of things you don’t need.
Think about it like this… You may have thought to yourself that you needed a new pair of shoes to go with that black dress. But the reality is that your closet was so full of shoes, boxes and other miscellaneous items that you couldn’t find that pair of shoes that brought you joy. Those are the shoes that go well with that black dress. Those shoes are easier to see now because there’s less clutter.
You may find this in other areas of your home too – like the kitchen. As I started to let go of things I didn’t use, like the cookie press, cookie cutter cut-outs, and miscellaneous baking supplies, I found that when I made a batch of cookies I just needed a simple cookie sheet and my hands to form dough and make cookies. I didn’t need all those other things and didn’t feel compelled to buy new baking supplies. I was content with what I had because it was easy to find and I wasn’t overwhelmed with the choices.
When you can find things more quickly, you save time. When you let go and live more simply, you don’t have the desire to fill your home with miscellaneous things – so you save money.
5. You will enjoy experiences over things.
When you start to let things go and live more simply, you’ll start to realize that experiences will bring you more joy than things. You’ll enjoy a walk in the park, a beach day with the family, dinner with your spouse, or playing board games with friends.
Rather than get an upgrade to a smartphone that still works perfectly well, you may opt to use that money for an experience instead – like a vacation, dinner with friends, or a fun day of hiking with the family.
7-Day Decluttering Challenge
Looking for more ways to declutter your home? Join my FREE 7-Day Decluttering Challenge! I’ll go more in-depth on how to declutter your bathrooms and every room in your home. I’ll also show you how to deal with the emotions that often come up when you’re decluttering and simple strategies you can use to overcome them.
FREE 7-Day Decluttering Challenge
More Decluttering Tips
- 6 Signs It’s Time to Declutter Your Home
- 10 Steps to Declutter Your Home
- 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Minimalist Living
- Is Minimalism Right for You?
1. Millennials Go Minimal: The Decluttering Lifestyle Trend That Is Taking Over, Forbes, Sept. 7, 2016.
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com / manera
I love your articles, but am still struggling to adapt to the concept of minimalism in my private life.
I hope that one day, perhaps, I succeed.
Keep up the good work and best wishes from
a natural born hoarder
Tracey Black says
Thanks, Suzana. It’s one step at a time. Start with clothes first, and then move on to books. I really love the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book by Marie Kondo: http://amzn.to/2sb2JtN