The Ultimate Guide To Minimalism And Living With Less.

Have you ever wondered what makes people decide to start living a minimalist lifestyle? Do they wake up one day and start getting rid of their stuff? How do they decide which essential things to keep and what is clutter? Are people born with the need to be a minimalist, or is it something they choose to do one day when fed up with the physical clutter? Choosing to live with less was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Find out how I started living with less in this simple guide to minimalism and simplicity.

beautifully tight fitted sheets on a bed

 What is minimalist living?

Some people believe minimalist living is owning a certain amount of objects. Some think minimalism is keeping just enough items to fit in a backpack and travel the world unhindered by possessions. Some people believe minimalism is only keeping things that spark joy. While some of the aforementioned are examples of extreme minimalism, this way of life would not suit most households. For me, minimalism is living a simple life with fewer possessions than the average person in Britain or America.

Minimalism is knowing that you already have what you need and not wanting or needing to buy more stuff. 

Being a minimalist creates a feeling of peace and calm from fewer possessions than a house full of clutter. It’s the feeling of freedom that living a simple life brings.

Minimalism is living a simple life with spending very little money.

There are many different opinions on minimalism. Just ask any minimalist. They’ll all tell you something different!

Live more, worry less.

How I Started My Minimalist Journey.

Before I started my minimalist journey, there was no guide to minimalism, no simple living blogs, or minimalist blogs. Minimalism wasn’t something that people discussed. We had just emerged out of the 1980s, which was the yuppie era, full of excess and greed.

As a beginner minimalist, I stumbled around minimalism without knowing it was a thing.

As a child, I enjoyed empty spaces, rolling fields, and order. We lived way out in the countryside in the Lincolnshire Fens, which was flat and empty. I loved the freedom of the open spaces and the complete lack of buildings.

My mum is highly organized, so our family home was always immaculately clean, tidy, and organized. I thrived in this simply uncomplicated, clutter-free environment.

Starting minimalism

If I lived alone, I’d have very few possessions, no television, and a tidy house.

But I don’t live on my own, and as I can’t get rid of everyone else’s possessions, I have to find a way to co-exist with their “stuff” and continue in my quest of living with less stuff.

Like all other kids, my kids have an endless stream of school paperwork and toy clutter everywhere.

My spouse is a borderline hoarder who keeps boxes from phones he no longer owns!
I, too, battled for years to contain my “stuff.” I would shove it all in drawers, cupboards, and the garage.

My house would be serene-looking on the surface, but everywhere else was a tangled mess of chaos, and I sometimes struggled to find the motivation to declutter.

While browsing for a new read,  I stumbled across a minimalist book that put me on a journey to simplify my life.

It immediately changed my attitude toward shopping and clutter; it gave me a plan, a way to achieve the “click point” in my life that I’d yearned for from my childhood, where I could actively live with less.

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Marie Kondo lived in a small traditional Japanese apartment with very little storage and was exceptionally organized from a young age. She talks about her struggle to contain other people’s stuff and how she overcame the urge to throw other people’s stuff away.

She explains how to simplify every area of your life, step by step, through all the categories, in a practical, systematic manner guaranteed to have you staying clutter-free for good! It’s the perfect guide for minimal living!

I started decluttering clothes and minimizing my wardrobe into seven key pieces, enabling me to create a minimal wardrobe. I then added some color to create stylish outfits with fewer clothes. It helped me stop buying more stuff, and I even saved money!

I slowly worked my way through the book’s categories, decluttering as I went, and I only kept things I truly loved and cherished in this order.

I soon realized I’d bought something new I didn’t need and held onto my possessions through guilt or misplaced duty.

I felt terrible about the amount of money I spent on useless possessions I had now donated, which we could have used for holidays or savings!

I worked my way through the kid’s things and decided to keep a minimal amount of toys, and I created a kid’s capsule wardrobe for them, too, so now they play more with fewer toys in a toy rotation, and they have many more matching outfits than they ever did when they had more clothes.

 What keeps me motivated to declutter?

The Minimalists Joshua Fields, Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus have some of the best recourses to starting over as a minimalist. I love these guys because they had it all. They had a great job, the fancy car, the expensive apartment, and they gave it all up, sold everything, and worked as coffee baristas to live a debt-free, minimalist life, and they’ve never looked back! They don’t need to organize all day because they’ve got no stuff! They’re cool guys with a chilled, relaxed take on life.

I particularly enjoy listening to their podcast while driving or doing my chores. It’s a great guide to minimalism, as it keeps me motivated! Click here to check it out; it is, of course, FREE!

Although they are on the extreme end of the minimalist scale, they have great thoughts on debt, buying stuff, and the adverse effect our need for excess things has on our well-being and environment.

Can you be happy living a simple life with less?

  • Many children and adults struggle to thrive in a cluttered, chaotic environment. Creating a decluttered and organized environment for your children with fewer toys allows them more space to play. Kids struggle to focus when their environment is overstuffed with toys. When I decluttered my kid’s toys and started a toy rotation system, my kids played together more and had a much deeper imaginative play. They began to want less screen time, choosing to play together instead.
  • Trying to look after and keep up with all the possessions we hang on to out of habit is stressful.  A lot of people dislike cleaning. However, they stuff their house full of stuff they need to clean! The more stuff you buy, the more you have to clean, and the more time you spend looking after your stuff.  You can look stylish with a  capsule wardrobe. You can cook a fabulous meal in an organized and decluttered kitchen. You can still read hundreds of books without hoarding books. We spend a lot of time organizing and cleaning our stuff instead of going out and enjoying time with our loved ones.
  • A streamlined life enables us to enjoy extra quality time. If you’re not spending your money on useless possessions, you’ve got more money to spend on creating memories, and you are not getting into debt. You’ve made more time, too, as you’ve not got to spend all your time organizing! You could start saving for a holiday or emergency fund or even give it to charity.

How to start to declutter.

Here are some decluttering ideas to get you started. Choose one from the list you think could be manageable and focus on it each day.

  1. Set a timer

    do a few minutes a day, stop decluttering when the timer stops, do this every day! If you need some help with motivation to declutter and  clean, click here

  2. Start small

    Aim to throw away three things per day.

  3. Work methodically

    Start decluttering at the door of one room and work your way around the room until you reach the door again, decluttering top to bottom. You can do this at your own pace. It doesn’t need to be done in one day!

  4. Make it safe

    Aim to clear all the floors.

  5. Minimize the chaos

    Aim to clear all your laundry and put it away. For quick and easy laundry tips, read here.

  6. Make hygiene a priority.

    Aim to throw all rubbish away as soon as you can. Reducing the volume of garbage in and around your home will help keep rats and mice at bay. If you do discover rats or mice, follow the steps in this post immediately.

  7. Tackle the toys

    Get rid of broken toys. starting a toy rotation system can help you stay on top of the toy clutter for good and help your kids play in an organized space

  8. If it’s broken, get rid of it.

    Get rid of broken gadgets, electricals, furniture

  9. If it’s too big, get rid of it

    If your furnishings are too big for the room, you will need to get rid of them. The same can be said about things like clothes and toys. If they don’t fit in the allocated space and overflow, you will need to declutter. Read this post about allocating space for your possessions.

  10. Stop buying more stuff.

    Don’t buy any more stuff for the house. You should be getting stuff out of the house rather than bringing it in!

  11. Go digital

    Take photos of sentimental items rather than hoarding; this is especially useful for larger pieces of furniture.

  12. Question yourself

    Ask yourself, “Why am I keeping this? Why is it in my house? Would I buy it if I saw it today?”

  13. Get rid of duplicates.

    Having more than one of anything is a no-no. If you’ve got one that works, throw the rest away.

  14. Think ahead

    Keep a donation box in the closets for clothes that are too small or toys not played with.

  15. Don’t give up!

    Take a before photo and an after photo to keep you motivated!

Try reading some of these posts to get you started on your minimalist journey! I’ve created many organizing and decluttering posts designed to ease you gently into the art of decluttering and minimalist living. They are concise, and most only take about four minutes to read. These posts help you jump in wherever you are and begin creating good habits to keep you on track.

Your home didn’t get chaotic overnight, so don’t expect to be able to fix it all in one day.

Take your time and do whatever you can, when you can; there are no minimalist rules to follow here!

38 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Minimalism And Living With Less.

  1. Autumn's Mummy says:

    I seriously need less clutter around me! I think I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and have a good spring clean!

  2. Practigal Blog says:

    I’ll have to check out the book! I am trying to live a simpler life in every area as well. I’ve found that having a family makes this more difficult, but not undoable. When I stop comparing my lifestyle to others who consider themselves minimalists, I find that I am content and have joy with the amount that I have.

    • theorganizeruk says:

      I think you have hit the nail on the head there it’s important to be comfortable with what you’ve got !

  3. mdhippiemama says:

    I’ve declared this month a no buy month. I don’t think I have a ton of stuff, but we have 4 kids living in this house and even a small mess can be overwhelming. I’m trying to purge a lot of unnecessary stuff, so we’ll see how that goes!

  4. welcomepresence says:

    That’s a great book. My wife bought it last year and we went through the house and got rid of a lot of things we don’t need. It felt great to clear up some space in the house, really energizing!

  5. Lianne says:

    Just read the book and my hands are itching to trow so much stuff away everyday! I’m going to get started with her methods soon. I think I’ll tackle my clothes tomorrow.

  6. Cheryl R. (@CRDesignsNY) says:

    You could have written this for me. My first tidying book was this one and it’s got me rolling. I’m about half way through my stuff but my wife is a collector of stuff. Shirts, socks, bandanas, paper clutter, electronic things that she claims to buy for me and then uses daily, setting aside the last one. While I’m making great progress, she’s planning the next purchases on credit. We’ll get there eventually I hope.

    • theorganizeruk says:

      Ahh yes it’s so frustrating! My other half is just starting to realise that if he stops spending money we have more money in the bank ! are another great read lots of tips and tricks from the ex millionaires!

  7. Anonymous says:

    We are in the process of trying to minimise and organise our lives. I say we, I mean me. Haha. Dragging my husband into it but it’s tricky. I thought I was the one with the hoarding problem but he is such a bad influence! Always with the “you sure you wanna get rid of that?” Or “but I love that on you!” Such a battle. If I could go back I’d throw it all away before it started.

    • theorganizeruk says:

      Ahhh I feel your pain completely! I have to be alone when decluttering or my daughter (aged 9!) and my other half keep asking me why I’m throwing it out , even just rubbish! My 5year old is like me though his favourite job is a tip run !

  8. Sara - Flanders Calling says:

    Did you read the second book? I loved that one too. I am tackling paper clutter now (after loving my clean wardrobe and bookshelf off course). 8 bags of paper (really big ones) and 4 boxes full of paper are gone… but now I don’t know any more. It got to a point where I feel it is still to much paper and I feel stuck. Anyways: not giving up. 🙂

    • theorganizeruk says:

      I did , I loved having illustrations. Paper was a nightmare I have to say , and I have missed a few things I’ve shredded ! ? but on the whole much better without it !
      I’m stuck now at sentimental, I just can’t even peep in the box ! X

  9. Christina says:

    Her book has some good principles,but as far as I can tell, she doesn’t really address dealing with other people’s feelings towards stuff. Especially children.

    I’ve been decluttering for about 2 years and with a family it’s an ongoing process. Hubby is definitely more on board now that he sees how much time and effort and frustration is wasted with having too much stuff.

    • theorganizeruk says:

      And money ! I agree that she didn’t cover kids stuff , hopefully now she’s got a little one she might bring out a new book !
      I just sneak out with my kids stuff however it’s only ever stuff they don’t use or enjoy playing with , everything else I don’t touch , I have one who loves to throw stuff away and one who will not part with anything even questions food packaging going in the bins ! You’re right it’s a never ending struggle!

    • Clare Davison says:

      Thank you Suzanne! It feels great to go shopping and decide you don’t need it or it’s not quite right doesn’t it!

  10. Fabian Abong'o says:

    Amazing article. I’m a minimalist. I realised I dont need a lot of things to be happy. After all, if you base your happiness on possessions, then the happiness will always be ellusive. I work less, have more money and have more time for salsa!

  11. Mel says:

    Which book is the one that first inspired you and helped you understand why you replaced things? I struggle with de cluttering and need to get to the root of it so I can move on. Thanks

  12. Clare Davison says:

    Hi Mel, the book which made the biggest impact is ”the life changing magic of tidying up”. It’s such a simple book but she’s so matter of fact and really gets to the root of why we behave the way we do.
    She talks you through each category starting with the less emotional ones.
    The minimalists are also fabulous to keep you on track, I listen to their podcasts in the car and pick out what I need. But if you don’t want to relapse I’d definitely start with Marie kondos magic of tidying up ?

  13. Shannon says:

    Decluttering is my method to save time and money. Less time to address where stuff goes and because I know where everything is I don’t repurchase items and I am able to find and use them to increase my efficiency. Happy with less:)

  14. Tina says:

    I do the minimalist game of whatever day it is, that’s how many things I get rid of. It can be 4 Rubbermaid bowls with tops or 30 envelopes. The stuff goes to Goodwill, the library, the free table at the local food bank, or even an animal shelter. I have plenty of craft supplies, enough dishes and lots of linens. I don’t need 10 heavy blankets. We only need six bath towels. We need six dish towels.

  15. Charles says:

    Hi. I’m new to this, when sorting out your wardrobe what about things that you may use later. So I have 4 blazers, pretty timeless. Should I throw out 3 now or store for later when the one I’m using is Worn.

    • Clare Davison says:

      Hi Charles, great question! Minimalism is also about non-consumerism so it would make sense to store the blazers until the other one is worn, unless of course it doesn’t fit or is uncomfortable. Good luck on your journey to a life of less!

  16. Charles says:

    Thanks Clare. I will take your advice.A month into this and lots of stuff either donated,ebayed, or recycled Firstly it really makes you feel “lighter”. I can only describe it as that. Secondly isn’t it amazing how you can get pulled back into buying, I found myself buying (and returning) something similar to what I’d just sold ( it was shiny and nicer!!!). It really is like a drug. Again thanks for the advice. Will post again if welcome.

      • Charles says:

        Hi Clare. Just wanted to share with you and your community my progress. Well there is progress. Not quite a lot has gone to either charity or EBay (100 plus items on e bay, £3000 plus banked to be spent on holidays with our lovely dog next year). All that is great but what is bette is the clarity and appreciation that I am starting to have. I love the clothes i have kept. During the period I have bought one item which I really do get joy from. My work space is uncluttered and I derive real pleasure from what remains. I appreciate the design of my office chair. I love my fountain pen and how it feels. I had all these things before but could not have told you this. They were just things. Christmas is so much more about experience and people. I feel far less pressured to consume and provide. It’s just another steps but it all feels so worth it. Letting go of what I don’t really need gives me the space to appreciate what I have. Marie Kondo was, as you suggested a massive help and I’d advise anyone interested to read it. The question at the end, “are you keeping this because you want to hold on to the past or fear the future” really helps you shift your outlook. My appologies if this seems like a “blurt”. I just want to share. Best. Charles.

        • Clare Davison says:

          Hi Charles, I’m thrilled to hear this, so happy you have found some clarity and made some money in the process! Well done for all the hard work you have done to achieve this goal. It’s a great place to be on the journey. ??????

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