How To Start Living With Less: The Best Guide To Minimalism

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

 What is minimalist living?

Some people believe minimalist living is owning a certain amount of objects, some people 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.  For me, minimalism is living a simple life, and living with less posessions 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 is creates a feeling of peace and calm from having fewer possessions rather than a house full of clutter. It’s the feeling of freedom which 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!

How I Started My Minimalist Journey.

Before I started on my minimalist journey, there was no guide to minimalism, no simple living blogs or minimalist blogs. Minimalism wasn’t something which was talked about. 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 the concept of minimalism without knowing it was even a thing.

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

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

Starting minimalism

If I lived on my own I’d have very few possessions, no television and a very 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.

My kids, like all other kids, have an endless stream of school paperwork clutter 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 struggled to find the motivation to declutter at times

One day whilst browsing for a new read,  I stumbled across a minimalist book which put me on a journey to simplifying my life.

It immediately changed my attitude to 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.

The best decluttering books

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The author  Marie Kondo lives in a small traditional Japanese apartment with very little storage, and from a very young age has been fantastically organised. 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, methodical manner guaranteed to have you staying clutter free for good!

How to start living a minimalist lifestyle.

I started decluttering clothes and minimised my wardrobe into Seven Key Pieces, this enabled me to create a  Minimal Wardrobe.  I then added some colour which enabled me to create stylish outfits with fewer clothes. It helped me stop buying more stuff and I even managed to save money!

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

In that order.

Following the advice given in the book, I began to realise how and why I’d been shopping for things I didn’t need and how I’d been holding onto things due to guilt or misplaced duty.

I felt terrible about the amount of money I spent on useless possessions which were now going to be donated, money which could have been 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 kids 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.

 Minimalist living, what keeps me motivated to declutter?

The Minimalists are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. 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, worked as coffee baristas to live a debt-free, minimalist life, and they’ve never looked back! They don’t need to be organised because they’ve got no stuff! they’re really cool guys with a chilled relaxed take on life

I particularly enjoy listening to their podcast while driving or doing my chores as it keeps me totally motivated!  Click here to check it out; it is of course FREE!

Although they are the extreme end of the minimalist scale, they have some fabulous 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 organised environment for your children, with less toy 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 started to want screen time less and less, choosing to play together instead.
  • It’s stressful trying to look after and keep up with all the possessions we hang on to out of habit.  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 stuff you have to clean, the more time you spend looking after your stuff.  You can look really stylish with a  capsule wardrobe. You can cook a fabulous meal in an organised and decluttered kitchen, you can still read hundreds of book without hoarding books. We spend a lot of time trying to organise and clean 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 and you’ve created more time too as you’ve not got to spend all your time organising! You could start saving for a holiday or an emergency fund and even give to charity.

How to start to declutter.

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

  • Aim to throw away 3 things per day.
  • 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, this can be done at your own pace it doesn’t need to be done in one day!
  • Just aim to clear all the floors.
  • Clear all the rubbish.
  • 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 organised space
  • Ask yourself  “Why am I keeping this, why is it in my house”
  • Get rid of any duplicate items.
  • Keep a donation box in the closets for clothes which are too small or toys not played with.
  • 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 a plethora of organising and decluttering posts, designed to ease you gently into the art of decluttering and minimalist living they are simple concise and most only take about four minutes to read.

These posts are designed to help you jump in wherever you are, to start to create 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.

How to get your husband to declutter his stuff.

How To Keep Your Kitchen Clean And Tidy

The Seven Best Things To Donate today!

How to Get Organizing School Papers!

To help you on your way to simplifying I have created a library of FREE checklists and resources. Sign up today and you’ll automatically receive my new posts too!

Minimalist Journey ~ How I Started Living With Less.



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Minimalist Journey ~ How I Started Living With Less.
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  1. Ewa March 1, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I really like Marie Kondo and constantly I try to reduce the number of things at home, but it is not easy 😉

    1. theorganizeruk March 1, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Especially when I live with people who keep bringing stuff in !

  2. Autumn's Mummy March 1, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    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!

  3. Sofia March 1, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I’ve started de-cluttering to live with less too! Now if only I could convince my bf lol…

    1. theorganizeruk March 1, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      Haha I have exactly the same problem and two kids who keep bringing stuff in !

  4. Practigal Blog March 1, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    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.

    1. theorganizeruk March 1, 2017 at 10:37 pm

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

  5. mdhippiemama March 2, 2017 at 1:22 am

    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!

    1. theorganizeruk March 2, 2017 at 10:26 am

      4 kids oh my word they come with so much stuff ! Good luck 😉

  6. Amanda | Maple Alps March 2, 2017 at 1:24 am

    The life changing magic of tidying up was such a great book! I’ve read it twice! I’m having such a great time applying the concepts and feel better already 🙂

  7. welcomepresence March 2, 2017 at 4:23 am

    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!

  8. Yuliya Oleynykova (@yukovadesign) March 2, 2017 at 10:59 am

    I can relate so much to this blog post. This is my current state too. i am trying to get rid of things I don’ need and replace them with simpler, plain things. My space is getting so much better. As well as I finally found a peace of mind xxx

  9. Bianca Osbourne March 2, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    As a minimalist, I love ALL of this!

  10. Lianne March 2, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    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.

    1. theorganizeruk March 2, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      Oooh keep me posted on your progress!

  11. Cheryl R. (@CRDesignsNY) March 31, 2017 at 11:48 am

    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.

    1. theorganizeruk March 31, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      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!

  12. Anonymous April 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

    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.

    1. theorganizeruk April 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      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 !

  13. Sara - Flanders Calling April 7, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    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. 🙂

    1. theorganizeruk April 7, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      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

  14. Christina April 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    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.

    1. theorganizeruk April 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      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!

  15. suzanneholt March 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    This was a great read! I love feeling like I already have what I need.Shopping is no longer an idle pastime.

    1. Clare Davison March 31, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      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!

  16. Fabian Abong'o July 11, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    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!

    1. Clare Davison July 11, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Thank you Fabian , I totally agree! I’d love to be able to salsa! 💃🕺🏻

  17. Mel August 9, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    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

  18. Clare Davison August 9, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    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 😊

  19. Shannon April 3, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    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:)

    1. Clare Davison November 13, 2019 at 9:07 am

      I agree, I love a good declutter! and not buying stuff to replace it is definitely the key!

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