A Minimalist Life -- How to Get Started

There is an AMAZING trend surfacing everywhere these days concerning minimalism.

I love it. I hope it sticks.

My journey with a minimalist lifestyle started toward the end of my college career, when I moved five times in three years. I hate moving. So. Much.

In the midst of those moves, I started loathing "stuff." It's a pain to move all the stuff. 

I started questioning why I need all the stuff.


My convictions were solidified when a home organizer (a gift from a dear friend) came into my kitchen for an hour. In that hour, she helped me purge a box of unneeded stuff and consolidated my cupboard space so that I had TWO that were empty! 

From then on, I continually and ruthlessly purge my home of unneeded items.  

I have become very quick at getting rid of things, because I have done it A LOT and have felt the rewards of having less stuff. But, I know this concept is a scary one for some people! It might simply be overwhelming to start at all. 

Do it one room, or even one drawer at a time. 

Take out everything! Put back the things that you absolutely know you will need. Keep the other things in a box(es). Give it a week or so (some advice says up to a year) and take items from the boxes only if the need arises. If after the time frame there are things left in the boxes, those are most likely things you can purge.

If you don't want to store things in boxes for even a short time; you just want to DO IT, the key is being completely honest with yourself. No excuses or lies, the most common being, "I might use it in the future."

There are a few things that I ask myself when debating whether or not to keep something.

1. Do I NEED this object? Do I use it daily or very often? How long has it been since I actually took this item out of it's storage space? 
2.Why EXACTLY do I have it? 
3. Do I have another or similar item to this that I use more? 
4. If I don't NEED it, does it bring me joy?
5. If I don't NEED it, is it sentimental? -- Could I take a picture and be okay with just the photo?
6. If I were to pick up and move to a new house, would this item come with me?

Here is an example: 
I have two bathrobes. One is fluffy terry cloth, one is silky floral. I never use the floral bathrobe. Do I need it? NO. I definitely do not use it daily or even often. I always use my fluffy one.

Here is exactly why I keep it: it was my mother's. I gave it to her as a gift when I was little. It was the first gift that I gave her that I picked out on my own. The first gift where I actually considered my mother's person hood... as in she is beautiful and deserves to have a beautiful robe to wear in the morning after her shower.

I understand it is completely sentimental, and a picture will not suffice for me. So, I keep something I don't need.

One more example:
Necklaces.

I have a collection of other necklaces that I recently went through. I'll just give you my thoughts on one of them.


I ordered this necklace off of Etsy like six years ago as a birthday treat to myself. I definitely do not wear it daily or even often. I honestly can't recall the last time I took it off the hook; in fact, I don't think it's been off the hook since I made the display board it hangs on. 

Why exactly do I still have it? 

UGH! Because I spent money on it, and I thought it was so gorgeous at the time. I still kinda think it's pretty... meh... It could really be cute with the one particular outfit. However, the last time I wore that outfit, I picked a different necklace that I like better. Honestly, it's just not my style anymore. I think I just felt guilty for getting rid of it, because it was hand made.

And so, into my donate box it went.

You see, it's a very thoughtful process (although it doesn't have to be). So, it will take time especially if this is new for you. Think about how much time it took to accumulate all the stuff. It's not going to take five minutes to purge it.

I promise you that living with less stuff is a weight off of your shoulders. It's less space occupied in your home. It's less stuff to take care of which will save you time and effort. Minimalism is very liberating!

I look forward to sharing more with you about a minimalist lifestyle. 

But, let's be real... I still have tons of stuff I don't need. I don't want you to think that I live in a sterile, empty home. I enjoy decorating and display. I enjoy compiling stylish outfits. I love to experiment with arts and crafts. So, believe me, I have stuff! 

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this definition of minimalism that you can find here on the Minimalists.com:

"Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
Minimalism has helped us…
  • Eliminate our discontent
  • Reclaim our time
  • Live in the moment
  • Pursue our passions
  • Discover our missions
  • Experience real freedom
  • Create more, consume less
  • Focus on our health
  • Grow as individuals
  • Contribute beyond ourselves
  • Rid ourselves of excess stuff
  • Discover purpose in our lives
... Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life."

How about you? Do you ever feel like you have too much stuff? What are some ways that you keep it under control? 

5 comments:

  1. I always feel like I have too much stuff. We've purged quite a bit since we moved, but over time have just accumulated more and more things. I have so many things that were my grandparents. I'm not sure how and when we will use all of these things, but I store them because I'm not ready to get rid of them yet.
    Thank you for this post. I often compare minimalism to cleaning out your purse. Getting rid of the pack of gum that spilled, the old Chapstick, old receipts and cashing in the loose change. Once this is all done, it's not so overwhelming to find something in there!

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  2. Yes! Amy, the purse is the perfect way to think of starting. There is always the stuff that is pretty obvious to get rid of. If that is out of the way, it already feels better and then, we can keep going...
    I totally get the storage of your grandparents' things. It might be awhile before we are ever ready to part with those things, maybe never and that's okay.

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  3. I think I remember that bathrobe.

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  4. My husband and I struggle with this. I'm very much a purger by nature, married to a hoarder. It makes for very interesting spring cleaning! ;)

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    1. I get it! My husband had a hard time at first, but I *think* he is becoming a fan of purging. When I confront him with the questions in the post, he will often realize the true nature of why he tends to keep things.

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