5 Ways to Begin a Minimalist Lifestyle

I would consider myself a minimalist. Maybe not the extreme kind that you’ve heard of or those families who have an outhouse in their backyard. But in comparison to some, I live a minimalist lifestyle.

I don’t like clutter. I don’t feel that I need to have the latest gadgets and kitchenware. I have no problem parting with clothes and items that hold no use for Hubby and I.  I’m constantly filling bags up for the Salvation Army to pick up. Do all of thoughts and facts make me a minimalist? Not necessarily. I believe that it’s a way of life and a conscious thought process.

But the end result has been what surprised me the most! I’m much happier with much less!

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It happened gradually.

By nature I’m an organizer and enjoy a thorough cleaning (not the actual work, but the result of it!). My personality doesn’t tend towards hoarding and being a pack-rat. So I feel as if in this area I was given a “head start.”

Another thing that impacted my minimalism was the fact that Hubby and I moved into a 3rd floor, 1 bedroom apartment when we were married. The climb and limited space really limited what we brought into our home.

And one more thing set me over the edge. I have a best girlfriend who lives in a 2 bedroom, 900 square-foot apartment in NYC with 4 kids! If she can handle that, thrive and enjoy it, then I could too, I thought!

After visiting my NYC girlfriend I was amazed at what could be accomplished with so little. I was amazed that it didn’t take lots of things for this family to be happy! I was amazed at how well everything was handled! I. WAS. AMAZED. And I was inspired to be more minimalistic.

I didn’t throw out everything I owned.

At this point I didn’t throw out everything I owned! No, that’s a bit extreme. But my mindset changed a little.

Did I  really need another pair of flip flops to wear this summer? Do I really need another mixing spoon to sit with the dozen I already have? Is it really necessary for me to have a dozen boxes of Christmas decorations – of which I only use about half of the stuff anyway? Is it prudent for me to have 17 purses?

No, we didn’t throw out all of our worldly possessions; we trimmed it down a bit though. If you look around my apartment you will still see plastic bins of stuff and boxes of books. But that’s okay. It’s closer to living with less than before!

With a new baby coming in August, we would need to be making room for him, as we live in a 1 bedroom apartment. So I began sorting through our clothes, decor, shoes, purses, etc. to purge! You would be surprised how much stuff even I could have that I don’t need in a 1 bedroom apartment! I even found 4 pieces of furniture that we don’t need that can be sold at a yard sale!

You don’t really need a whole lot.

I’m learning that I can live with much less than I thought. Our world tells us that we need things, electronics, gadgets, clothes, etc to be happy. Marketing tactics are used to urge us to buy more. So we fill our houses with stuff – stuff that is often not used. And if thought about, we would realize that we don’t truly need all of it.

As Hubby and I prepare for baby, we are being selective in the baby gear that we request and purchase.

Because of our limited space, we just don’t have the room for a baby swing and a play gym and a changing table and all of the stuff baby usually gets. We are only set on getting the bare essentials. And that’s okay because I’m realizing as I’m researching things, that baby doesn’t really need all of that. He really will only need what he already has: Hubby and I!

Not only does this principle apply to baby but to other areas of life as well: When one will do, don’t buy two. 

There’s freedom in having less.

With stuff moved out of our apartment there is now more open space! There is less for me to clean. There is more room to breathe! And best of all, there is room for baby!

The realization that you don’t need stuff to make you happy is freedom! You know ahead of time that buying another cd, movie, book, etc won’t bring joy to your life. You can be free from the bondage of buying, buying, buying!

There are other options.

Hubby and I love our local library! We milk it for all it’s worth! Instead of buying books, we borrow them! Instead of buying movies, we borrow them! It’s been a great resource!

But there are other awesome resources out there too! There are ways for youto make steps toward minimalism! Borrow from friends the baby gear you need. Buy used items from Ebay or Craigslist and resell when finished! Be creative!

This minimalistic life happened gradually. It’s something that I continually work at and must keep myself in check. But I can honestly say that I’m happier now with less stuff than ever before!

How have you moved toward this?

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  1. says

    I, too, am “downsizing” — not houses but just “stuff” — my goal is 100 items per month and as of May I am about 16 items over. Some of it is just cleaning out that drawer and yes, do I really need six springform pans? So I keep one of each size and out go the rest. And as I am working from room to room, going through drawers and regoing through drawers, the house seems more organized and easier to clean.

    As far as clothes, we all wear the same seven things anyway — why have the other 20 hanging in the closet. I wasn’t ready to really get rid of most of my clothes so I put them in bags and put them in another closet. I figure after six months if I don’t go looking for something, out they go!

    I feel more freedom living with less but hey, I am far from a minimalist — I do like “things”!

    • Danielle Wells says

      You’ve got a great plan! 100 items per month is an excellent way of reaching a goal of less clutter! Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    This is inspiring and thought provoking. I am working towards minimizing this year. It’s a state of mind and heart. I found you through Ladybug Blessings link up.

    • Danielle Wells says

      Yes, less cleaning is ALWAYS good! I’m loving not having to dust the knick knacks and extra stuff! :)

  3. says

    Well, as you know, I’m a total kindred spirit on this. About 8 years ago we renovated our home to the extent that we had to move out to a temporary apartment. Each of my girls could only one box of personal belongings that would be their entertainment for a year. I was SHOCKED at how they didn’t miss the cabinets full of “stuff” we had put into storage. SHOCKED! When we moved back in, they didn’t hardly care about most of it. Big lesson learned.
    Seana Turner recently posted…Tough To TossMy Profile

    • Danielle Wells says

      That’s funny that your girls didn’t miss the “stuff” they had packed away! :) Goes to show us that we can truly live without! THanks for sharing your story!

  4. says

    Great post dear friend! Glad I could be of some inspiration. Living with less was hard for me to learn too, but now I wouldn’t change it! (And for the record-it’s only 800 square feet!)

    Your idea to buy baby items on Xraigslist and resell is perfect! We have done that, and often resell for the same price we paid! We get a new swing for each baby, use it for 3 months, and then resell it. And you’re right about not needing all that gear-but I WOULD say a changing table is a must!

    Love you!

    • Danielle Wells says

      Thanks, Andrea!:) I’m blessed to have such a great friend in my life! Your inspiration goes further than you think! LOVE YOU!

  5. says

    What a great post!!! I didn’t consider what it was called, but I have definitely cut back on a lot of stuff since having my son. I have done so much more with less, and it’s a great accomplishment to see so much open space in our apartment. And I feel more free and happy without all the unnecessary stuff.

    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! We love having you! :)
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    • Danielle Wells says

      It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’m a minimalist…I thought the word was too extreme for me. But given our family’s circumstances and living situation, there’s no other word for it! :)

  6. says

    I’ve never had a lot of stuff. I came from a large family, so I didn’t grow up with a lot. Next came college, roommates and apartment living. It was easier to move when you didn’t have a lot. Then when I got married we bought my husband’s aunt and uncle’s home. They downsized into a condo. You’d never know though – they left an entire house full of stuff. It took me five years to get rid of it all – actually from time to time I still see an old house or some other object my husband has set out for the garbage truck. A few years after buying our home I visited my husband’s aunt in the nursing home. It was eye-opening to see her there with a small dresser, closet and a TV while I was cleaning, moving and storing all of her possessions – it made me realize what a waste of time and money it was. After that I never bought much myself.

    Because I never buy much myself or had much growing up I do have a hard time getting rid of my own stuff especially clothes.
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    • Danielle Wells says

      Thanks for sharing your story! I’m coming to believe that the search for and buying of “stuff” is truly a waste of time and money.

  7. says

    Thank you for sharing your tips on #throwbackthursday! I am actually getting ready for a garage sale this weekend and have donated a lot of my things. It is a freeing feeling! I have gotten much better with letting things go.

    • Danielle Wells says

      Yes, I love that feeling of freedom I get when I throw stuff out! I’m planning a garage sale in a few weeks too, so I’m excited to see the pile of stuff I’ve accumulated that will be out of my apartment! :)

    • Danielle Wells says

      My Hubby is a pack-rat so I totally understand the difficulty in keeping the “stuff” tamed down! :) By the way, I love your party! I always find other great articles to read!

  8. says

    I don’t live in a small home, but it’s not set up well. For example: Not one storage closet. Only the three in the bedrooms. No linen closet; no mud room; no laundry room. I definitely had to downsize my stuff when I moved in because there was really just nowhere to put it.

    I’ve always leaned towards minimalist anyway. I like a clean, non-cluttered space. That’s hardly the case usually with a kid and four dogs and a full-time job, but by not bringing in what I don’t need, I can at least keep it tamed!

    It’s nice to read a less consumer-focused post :)
    Stephanie recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #3 – My DIY Succulent Wedding BouquetMy Profile

    • Danielle Wells says

      Wow! You really do have no room for “stuff!” I guess that’s good to keep the stuff in check though :)

  9. says

    I would love to hear how you got hubby in on it all! I have a pretty nice sized home, but I love to purge, purge, purge. Hubby, on the other hand, never wants to get rid of anything! He has probably 50-100 shirts/T-shirts, always wants to keep every cord or miscellaneous gadget that we MIGHT need someday. When I got two new couches, he moved our old one into the garage (thankfully he did throw out/burn one of them he already had in there first). He’s so terrible at letting go of things!
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    • Danielle Wells says

      Yes, Hubby is also a pack-rat but he’s gotten so much better in the 2 yrs of our marriage! Our small apartment makes it impossible to keep junk so we work together to make sure our apartment is clutter-free! :)

  10. says

    Danielle, first off, congrats on the pregnancy. Apparently it’s been way too long since I’ve stopped by. You’ll definitely be glad you didn’t sign up for too many baby items. I’m a minimalist of sorts and we always seem to have a box of “giveaway” baby clothes and gadgets at home. My friends are always having babies but I just can’t keep up with the goodies that we get. For sure, good nursing tops and crib sheets/mattress protectors are top on my new mama must-have list. Thanks for sharing about how you manage to keep clutter at bay. Loved it!
    jelli recently posted…Unleash Your Child’s Creativity with Baby-Safe Homemade Sidewalk Chalk PaintMy Profile

  11. says

    This is so awesome! I am sitting here struggling today with being at work and wanting to go home and purge. Ive decided recently that I want to minimize my closet so I am trying to invest in a few things I REALLY like/love and start purging the rest. Quit buying because it’s on sale … go for quality over quantity.

    I hate clutter and struggle with stuff getting junked up. My hubby is a pack rat (I had to laugh at someone else’s tshirt comment. I was able to get my hubby to let go of some that went into my paint supplies!) I am going to subscribe to the follow up comments to see what everyone else is up to.

    But I have found that I am much happier with less… and I am on a quest to get there!


    • Danielle Wells says

      It seems like us minimalists are paired with those pack-rat hubbys! I ask my Hubby to go through his t-shirts every couple months or so because of his abundance of them! What is it about men and t-shirts?!? Thanks for following! I’m headed to you now :)

  12. says

    I’m all for the less is more mentality. Last year we took dozens of carloads to donate… there is just so much we didn’t use or need. Our general rule is if we haven’t used it in a year, it’s gone. Big ticket special items get a 5 year pass (i.e. scuba masks and fins).Thanks for sharing at #smallvictoriessunday !
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  13. says

    I love this way of thinking, I find myself leaning this way more and more. The only problem is trying to get the rest of my family on board (esp. the other half!) This was really encouraging and inspiring though, thank you for writing!!


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