Easing into Minimalism

Think minimalism isn’t for you?  Many people feel that it is too austere or sterile. Some think you can’t do minimalism with a family.  Some think it means limiting your belongings to only 100 items or less.  I have also heard from a friend that minimalism, “looks too expensive.” Can minimalism carry a certain aesthetic or be a limited number of belongings? Certainly, but there is no one way to “do” minimalism.  There are beginner minimalists, there are moderate minimalists and there are more extreme minimalists but there aren’t any rules that say what a minimalist looks like or who can be a minimalist.  My hope is that with this post I can show you that minimalism is more inclusive than some people may think and help overcome some of the perceived obstacles. If you like the idea of minimalism in theory but don’t know if it is really “you” or not consider easing into minimalism.

Simple Living

This is where most minimalists first start – with simplifying. Often the minimalism journey begins with a desire to simplify, streamline, pare-back, and reclaim schedules, time and joy.  This category could also be considered a “stage” of minimalism – whereby we determine where our “enough” is.  Many people who start this journey will find they are extremely content with simple living and stop here – some continue on to letting go of more belongings.

What does a “simple living” home look like?  I give you the blog, Intentionally Simple.  I linked to Rachel’s “Home” category so you can see a good example of what a simple home looks like.  Rachel doesn’t call herself a minimalist per say but her home reflects a simplicity that many who aspire to be more minimal desire.  If you are easing into minimalism Rachel’s home is a good inspirational starting point.

Specific Category Minimalists

These are people who are minimal in only one area of their lives.  The most clear example I can give is the capsule wardrobe.  I would venture that many full-fledged minimalists may have started minimalism by implementing a capsule wardrobe and it eventually spread to the rest of their homes and lives.  If decluttering everything seems too daunting consider becoming an one-area minimalist.  The closet, the kitchen, your beauty routine – pick an area and run with it – sometimes the smallest changes can have significant impact.

Frugal Minimalism

Minimalism can also start with minimizing your budget.  I think that the monetary savings is generally a bonus side-effect for most minimalists.  That said, if you have been a frugal, money saving blog devotee and are wondering if minimalism can work for you then consider going this route.

Minimalism can and does fit any budget but I need to preface this by saying that minimalism is a pretty frugal lifestyle…but you can be frugal and be light-years away from being a minimalist.  Much of minimalism is about mind-set and being a frugal minimalist is less about the “deal” and more about making conscious, intentional purchase that save you money in the long run.  The frugal minimalist has a specific shopping list and a specific price they are willing to pay.  If the item isn’t on their list – they walk away.  If the item isn’t the price they can or want to spend – they most often walk away.

There are a number of blogs that have long focused on budgeting and frugal living that are embracing some minimalism principles (decluttering and living with less) that can help save money. One of my favorite blogs that fits this category is Living Well Spending Less.  Ruth Soukup writes very much from a frugal mindset but she also has her eye on being intentional with where she puts her money and time – which is right up my intentional living and values based alley. 😉 She also has some 31 day challenges that can help any frugal minded person who is looking at minimalism but isn’t ready to jump in 100%.

I also feel the need to address my friend’s concern that minimalism, “looks too expensive.”  There are some minimalists who drop some serious cash on things. Some save up and buy one high-quality item per year/season/month depending on their budget – generally with the knowledge that it is something they will use and they often have a sense of the cost-per-wear/use of the item.  It might seem they aren’t being frugal but the reality is that they are buying one high quality item that will outlast lesser quality items.  This is still frugality and it doesn’t give you the “deal of the moment” thrill but a delayed gratification shopping buzz will often be much more satisfying in the long run.

Wellness Minimalists

Easing into minimalism through prioritizing your health, wellness and self-care. This is a less obvious way to begin embracing minimalism but I think it might be the most important for many.  If you have any type of illness that you are dealing with (or caring for someone else with an illness) self-care is critical.

How does one ease into minimalism with wellness?  By carving out zones that facilitate self-care.  Clear your nightstand to help you read and unwind at the end of a day or when you are feeling ill.  Set aside a special space for yoga, meditation or prayer.

Take stock of what makes you feel good and focus your energy on those things first.  I have an auto-immune disease and decluttering specific zones really helped me feel better, take better care of myself and motivate me to continue to other parts of my home.


Where do I fall in this mix?  I think I can find myself in all the categories above.  I have dabbled in capsule wardrobes and loved it.  I have an auto-immune disease so wellness is important to me.  I am most definitely a reformed coupon, deal-chasing, former slave to the clearance aisle.  Right now I am hovering in the simple living category – we aren’t quite full-fledged minimalists yet (at least not by my estimation).

If you are feeling drawn toward minimalism whether by a desire to simplify your schedule, be less of a burden to our world, or just want to spend less time cleaning, then I encourage you to dig a little deeper, try a decluttering challenge, experiment with a capsule wardrobe, and see where easing into minimalism takes you.

Did you jump into minimalism or ease into it?  I would love to hear from you!


Journey Toward Minimalism

My journey toward minimalism started with a giant tangle of information, inspiration, questions and points of view. About three years ago the concepts of capsule wardrobes, zero-waste, and minimalism first hit my radar.  I was in the process of changing my entire diet after a diagnosis of Celiac. The concepts certainly intrigued me but I was too overwhelmed with the changes I had to make for my health to dive right in.  While I recouped and healed up I read, researched and took time to think about what I wanted and where I wanted to go.  Minimalism fit nicely with my values to be a more responsible consumer and environmental steward…the question then became, “Now how do I get there?”

In August 2014 I was ready to start moving toward a simpler life and started decluttering – it was a random and haphazard process. I would do a little here and a little there and not see any great changes.  I found the book “One Year to and Organized Life” and started working on the kids’ room in September.

That Christmas we paired back to the four gift rule and I began scaling back on our holiday schedule as well.  It was one of the best Christmas’ seasons we have ever had.  I was hooked on simple and decided that 2015 was going to be dedicated to simplification.

I knew that I didn’t want to go it alone and so I started researching things on Pinterest and found the blog “Becoming Minimalist” by Joshua Becker and then found “Nourishing Minimalism” by Rachel Jones.  Sure there are plenty of other blogs about minimalism but what resonated the most about these two blogs were that both Joshua and Rachel seem very approachable, they both have children and they both made minimalism look attainable.

In late December I joined the Nourishing Minimalism’s 2015 Decluttering Challenge on Facebook (here).  There was a progress chart!!! Yes I was *that* kid in school that loved sticker charts.  I gleefully printed up Rachel’s “2015 in 2015” decluttering chart and haven’t looked back.  I finished the chart in March, then finished a second chart in July, and am now on my third chart.

I knew that I wouldn’t likely stay overly motivated by a support group and a chart on my own so when Rachel asked for volunteers to be admin I jumped at the chance.  It has helped me stay more accountable as well.

I am now a moderator for Rachel on her new member site “Practical Simplicity“. It is part support group and part online course and it is wonderful.  It starts with the mental blocks we have toward decluttering, addresses establishing routines, and then practical daily decluttering tasks.  Rachel really does break decluttering down into more bite sized chunks.  It has really helped me move through my home more easily in the decluttering process as I am getting into the nitty-gritty. FYI:  The only “payment” I receive as a moderator is a free membership.  I also am not getting paid for this recommendation in anyway.

My journey toward minimalism is still just that a journey.  I am inching ever closer to that point but I have a long way to go.  I still have pockets of clutter to deal with.  I have some sentimental items to get through and some reorganizing of our apartment to do.  What I can tell you is that I can now see a difference and with each decluttering pass my home is feeling lighter and it is becoming easier to manage.

The rest of this year my minimalism efforts are going to be focused on our kitchen, living/dining room and getting them ready for the holidays.  In 2016, I plan to continue letting go but I am going to be focusing on establishing a capsule wardrobe for myself and organizing our bedrooms and closets.

What are some of your favorite minimalism resources and what is your current decluttering focus?