4 Life-Changing Statements Minimalism Makes Possible

“Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.” —Maya Angelou

Several years ago, my life changed forever. The Saturday started out typical: woke up, drank some coffee, ate some breakfast, and started in on the day’s project. It was the first morning of a beautiful three-day weekend in Vermont. My wife and I had decided to spend the Saturday spring cleaning the house.

My project was to clean out the garage. After the cleaning was finished, we’d begin relaxing and enjoying the holiday weekend. But my life was turned upside-down before we’d ever get there.

“Maybe you don’t need to own all this stuff,” was the last statement my old-self remembers hearing.

It was said by my neighbor right after I began complaining to her about how much work it had become caring for our house—everything from my garage was piled in the driveway at the time. She had used the word “minimalist” earlier in the conversation. And at that very moment, I found minimalism, or it found me.

As a result, my life has been refreshed, rejuvenated, improved. It’s been an amazing journey. And over the last several years, because of minimalism, my life has changed in ways I never dreamt possible.

Consider these four statements minimalism has made possible and the joy found in each of them:

1. I wish I owned less stuff. Since that weekend, we have been on a journey of minimizing possessions from our home and life. We immediately went to work removing everything we no longer used or loved. At the end of the process, we took a breath. But soon, we began noticing more things around the house we could live without and began removing them as well. Even after another clean-sweep through the entire house, we still owned more than we needed. We removed some more, bought a smaller house, and continued the cycle.

Of course, none of this happens in a vacuum: holidays and birthdays come and go, moments of consumer-relapse occur, new hobbies emerge, kids get older, tastes change. Even as someone trying to live a minimalist life, things still begin to collect around me. As a result, when I look around my house today, I still wish I owned less stuff. And that’s something I never would have said years ago.

2. I don’t mind earning less money. Somewhere along this journey of intentionally living with fewer possessions, an important realization occurred in my mind. Living with less means I can joyfully earn less if the right opportunity presents itself. The measure of success in my life is no longer tied to my house, my car, or my paycheck. I now measure success in other ways: integrity, character, family, friendship, joy, love, peace (just to name a few).

Because of that change in perspective, when a new career opportunity presented itself that offered so many of the things I most value in life, I accepted—despite less pay. As a result, I earn less money than I did before. But I don’t mind a bit.

3. I’d love to tell you my story. I love my newfound life. I have more time, more energy, more mental-capacity, and more money to pursue what is most important to me. Owning less means less burden, less anxiety, and less stress each and every day.

Because of the numerous benefits, I love sharing my story with others. I love seeing the realization in someone else’s eyes that possessions are not the answer to our heart’s greatest pursuits. And I love inspiring others to come join a movement of men and women all over the world who have decided to intentionally live with fewer possessions. I enjoy sharing my story because it stands as a clear invitation to find something better… and I’m not sure I could have said that before minimalism.

4. I know, deep-down, you want to own fewer possessions too. None of us really believe it. No one really believes that possessions equal joy. It’s just that we’ve been told so many times and from so many angles that we would be happier accumulating more, we have started to believe the lie more than we realize. Our lives begin to align with that pursuit.

We start to buy bigger houses, nicer cars, newer technology, trendier clothing, and more toys for ourselves and our family. As a result, our possessions begin to burden us more than we recognize. They no longer serve us—instead, we serve them.

But in our deepest heart, we know our possessions are not adding value to our lives. Even worse, we can probably recognize how they are subtracting from it. I know, deep-down, you want to own fewer possessions. I know because I’ve been there. And why else would the message of this article resonate so deeply inside you?

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    I started the same way. I started to declutter and just never stopped (I am not sure if my local charity shop love me or dread seeing me). I never had money, but it is still great to know I don’t have to strive to be a millionaire. Stuff isn’t fulfilling, its just stuff. Some of it is useful, but plenty of it is just a clat to have

    • Adrienne says

      Hahaha. Exactly! In six month’s time I have taken over six car loads (jam packed) of useless possessions to the thrift store. They look at me askance and finally asked me “Where do you get all of this stuff???” Who would imagine that it could all come from a “typical” american household. And I don’t need any of it. The more I got rid of, the better I felt – more free, lighter, more on track for what really matters in my life. I love the open space in the house, the knowledge that what I have is useful and needed, and that de-cluttering has moved on to other aspects of my life as well. It’s a great journey.

  2. kamisaki says

    There are a few more I could add, but that would just clutter this post. You put it well, and, of course, simply.

  3. says

    As someone who has just started his journey, and the blog “A tidier life” to go with it, it’s good to see that there is hope for me too. I am still at the point where it pains me to get rid of a shoebox, because you really never know when you might need it, but like you I started cleaning, and just decided to do a little more.

    You seem like you have a lot of the benefits that I am hoping to gain from moving towards a minimalist lifestyle. I am taking my time, and hopefully also working up some inspiration for writing along the way. Getting rid of ones stuff really makes to think, makes you consider what each and every thing is worth, and what the opportunity cost is. I really like your blog, and will continue to follow it :)

    • says

      Thanks Jon. Take your time. It’s not a race. You didn’t collect all the stuff in one day and you won’t likely get rid of it in one day either. The process takes time. Like I said in the post, it’s been four years for me and I still feel a need to minimize more.

      • Sonia Munson says

        …and 4 years for me too. From a 3 bedroom house full of my grandmother’s, mother’s, step mom’s stuff just because I couldn’t let it go…to a one bedroom apt…and a garage…well, I outfitted apts for a couple people, gave loved furniture to a niece who lost everything in a fire…she will love it also. Spread more “stuff” around, and I am still going strong, still going thru boxes from my move…almost done. The hard part for me is my art and craft business…I have “stuff” from the 50’s from my grandmother…who was an artist…now, that is going to be tough. Art is my priority now…but I think when I’m done…I might just live in my art studio…after all, there will be plenty of room for me and what is left!! Priorities!! :) Happy purging!

  4. says

    Yet another great post from you. I am constantly re-evaluating my posessions and trying to minimize them down to the basic essentials. So very refreshing :)

  5. says

    I just wrote a post on this last night! Strange timing.

    My wife and i are on a similar journey. We have just begun, but the feeling of “letting things go” is so incredibly freeing! We refuse to let our possessions define our family as we grow together moving forward.

  6. April says

    We have been on the journey of letting go for a couple of years now, and our lives our so much better than when we were slaves to our stuff. We will be moving to a smaller house in a month, and are looking forward to less maintenance, lower utility bills, a smaller mortgage, and greater financial freedom–all because we own less stuff. Thanks for all of the helpful thoughts you post–your blog is a major source of inspiration for me!

  7. says

    I also started the same way, though here in the UK the minimalist lifestyle idea isn’t as mature as it is in the US. I think people are starting to see the light though. I’ve been ‘minimising’ since 2009, and this year am in the process of downsizing the house in order to free up some of the enormous burden of a house thats just too big now I have less stuff. This will of course give the financial freedom you mention.
    I started the Two Less Things blog in April this year to spread the word about minimalism in the UK. I still feel theres a long way to go, but my daughters comment “Dad the guys at the recycling centre will know you on a first name basis” gives me the impression that I’m making good progress.

  8. Teddi says

    I have a deep desire to have fewer things, but also a great need to design and create–everything from costumes and beadwork to horse-tack and pottery. My conundrum is how to keep the things I will successfully make into other things (most of which will be given away) but also de-clutter and get rid of the things that will never make the jump. Any advice for minimalist creators?

    • Daniel Conway says

      I share your conundrum in a different way.
      My occupation involves cleaning up vacant
      And abandoned properties, which involves
      Multiple trips (sometimes5-8 a day) to a
      Nearby big city transfer station (ex garbage
      Dump). THAT’S where the trouble starts!
      For every ten truckloads of junk/tires or
      Whatever I bring in, I bring two home lol.
      All good stuff from mostly foreclosures
      Residential+commercial. I give most of this
      Stuff away to friends or anyone who wants
      It really. The actual both sheer amount and
      Level of quality of goods/products borders on
      Comic criminality! Fortunately there’s a nearby
      Habitat for humanity resale shop (mostly used
      Home products/fixtures/furnishings. I bring
      Tons of product (recovered/pilfered/absconded)
      There from the dump. I’d like to think my
      Motivations are keeping perfectly good
      Products out of a landfill+possibly repurposed,
      And helping friends and folks. I’ve been doing
      This for over a decade now and (somewhat
      Ambiguously) feel pretty good about it. Now
      All that said. Do you think I’ve accumulated
      Some stuff? HA!!! They have meds for people
      Like me (seriously)! I’ve been following Josh+
      Ryan @ the minimalist for a year and a half
      Now and am slowly implementing a lot of their
      Philosophies but I have to admit at times
      It does feel like QUITE the conundrum:-)!!


      • says

        Daniel, I think I’d make two stops with your truck: 1) Transfer Station; 2) Goodwill. Make sure everything gets dropped off at one of those two places. And good for you for repurposing the things that can be repurposed. You’re helping everybody with that extra stop.

    • says

      Tough call without having more specifics Teddi, but I do have one thing for you to think about. You are likely to have greater success as an artist with fewer distractions. Or as someone else once said, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” The tendency is to think that keeping a lot of materials around will make you a better artist, but in reality, the opposite is true. Keeping your materials to a minimum will bring you better focus and force your hand in creating good art. Hope that helps.

    • Janice says

      Teddi ~ I’m wondering the same thing…thinking organization in storage is probably key. And remember if you’re giving away most of what you create you’re still minimizing. Check out New York Artist/sculptor Lisa Hoke’s current exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Beautiful and alarming!

    • Sonia Munson says

      Ahhhhh I know your heart!! I posted above about the 4 year mark…I had an arts and craft business starting with a ceramic shop with everything in between!! If it was out there I wanted to do it and could. I have to back away from that now, We had over 8000 ceramic molds and downsized in the 90s but I still have my kiln and about 50 molds and won’t give up yet. But as for the other stuff…I have to turn a blind eye to new and exciting projects…I love everything! But, alas, no room. So when I moved I chose to keep the ceramics (they are stored at this time), jewelry findings, some knitting, my sewing machine and all my paints and brushes. Still…I think the jewelry and yarn are going to hit the give away, But, the point is..to limit what you are going to do..but not stop doing it. Organization is key also…which I am still working on…and purging that also..but what if I need THAT!! Good luck from one artist to another!! One final point,,,which I have found…now that I have limited my focus, as Joshua pointed out on another comment, what I am working on now…is some of my best work ever…and I am looking forward to my first ever art gallery show next year!! WOOHOO!! BTW…I’m 62 and started painting when I was 4 with many distraction in between!

    • Sadie says

      One thing that helped me with this is just to create a box in the closet for “potential projects & materials.” I won’t keep more than will fit in those boxes. When I find something new, I get rid of whatever is the least appealing thing in the box.

    • Judy Millman says

      Well, I am a scrapbook maker and card maker. My craft room is organised otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get anything done. I don’t believe minimalism means owning nothing, or blank white walls with no furniture, etc. Crafting sparks joy in me. We still get to do what we love and that may require stuff! But just be mindful of how much you have. I still have to work on not owning to much paper!! Real weakness of mine! But it still feels good to get rid of knick knacks, furniture, less clothes, etc. Good luck!

      • ren says

        I going thru my s scrapbooking hoarde. So many duplicates of paper and stickers cuz I couldn’t remember whati already had. Just went thru my stickers and got them in an organized binder. So small step…

  9. says

    I absolutely want to have less clutter. It’s tough with kids, but we do continually try to move through stuff and get rid of it. Sell it, goodwill it, whatever… A few years ago I wouldn’t have said that either, because a few years ago we were trying to get stuff, and get on our feet!

  10. Brenda says

    I started my minimalist journey when my paycheck was downsized 4 years ago to what I earned 14 years ago. I am a single mom with a house payment, property taxes etc so it has been tight. But…………I have learned so much though with this journey about what really is important. And it’s not my or my children’s possessions!

    We are continuing to de-possess and it feels really good. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. says

    Simple and so well put. I too have simplified and now I am much more aware of each purchase. I am even more aware of what I give as gifts…as “things” just collect. Love your blog! :-)

  12. kamisaki says

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to our comments. It really adds a personal touch to your blog. Since the approach to minimalizing is unique and personal to each of us, your simple act of responding thoughtfully adds a lot of motivation to our endeavour. I am sure you don’t have the time to do that for the comments you receive on every post you write, but it makes a difference when you do. It also gives a great example of how to respectfully encourage others in our lives to consider minimalizing. Thanks for that!

  13. Tiffany says

    I really like your blog! Your posts give me inspiration and strength when I feel the desire to get more/different/impressive STUFF!

    I am very dedicated to owning less. My husband, however, presents a challenge…but we are working on it together.

    I love that you moved to a smaller house. We bought the “american dream” two years ago…2200 square feet, 0.5 acres, granite counter tops…and I have to say I am not nearly as happy as everyone told me I would be. I feel ungrateful, but all I can think is that I want to sell in a few years and downsize…all this space, all this yardwork…ugh! Everyone tells me that when we have our first baby (soon) my mind will change, but I doubt it.

    I admire the changes you have made and hope to make similar in the next few years!!

    • Sheila says

      Hi Tiffany,

      Our American Dream is a 1800sf home on an acre of mostly wooded land. We have four kids ages 15-6. Our house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a good-sized playroom for the kids. It is the perfect size for us. Any bigger and I would just have more to clean! I think it is great that you have realized it is not the house that makes a home. You have such a great way of thinking that I bet when baby comes along you’ll still long for a cozy simple home.

    • Ted says

      Don’t forget…Being minimalist can be practiced by not having a horde of offspring. I know few marriages that have remained healthy with more than 2 children. The planet, and few parents, can afford more.

      • Kathryn says

        Ted you and I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve had 5 children and am blessed so deeply by them. They aren’t a “horde” as you call them but are my precious jewels each created for a purpose by the Creator of the universe.

  14. says

    Awesome post! I’ve noticed that as I reduce my ‘things’ more and more you come closer to the truth of who you are. This changes you and you tap into that authentic nature where those 4 comments come from.

  15. says

    So true…Find the essential… it is the only thing that matters, once you know that to be true, if you do not take action you are ignorant……This is one of the most exciting times of my life….Freedom comes from giving…..the more you give the more you have, this is the truth!

  16. joanne monyelle says

    I am an artist…Oil on canvas is my favorite medium…..When Painting with oils, Less is more. It is the best tip I can give a new painter…..and it is a simple concept. Being a minimalist is something both my husband and I have thought about for years…. Now we are forced into it : ( because of the economy.. we are losing everything we own : ( giving things away..because we have no one to help… it is a sad and heartbreaking journey…but one we probably never would have done if we weren ‘t forced to… we would be homeless if it weren’t for family.. we are not minimalists to be trendy….but I do believe less is more..and i’m lucky I’m an artist, poet and love nature, animals and the earth ,moon and sun..these bring me the most comfort in life.. but this journey is scary

    • Sonia Munson says

      It is scary…mine was not voluntary either…and also an artist…starving LOL. But you can do it!! I see that this is an older post and hope you will see this…hope you are doing well.

  17. eric chambers-potts says

    I began decluttering ten years ago. But it is only in the last year or two that I’ve become aware of the new minimalism movement. There are many ideas that I really like but I do think that, show me five minimalists and I’ll show you six different approaches to minimalism. Which is good.

    I’ve been seriously trying to be more minimalist, simple, intentional, frugal for a year or so. I’ve removed many objects from my life but the intention wasn’t really to reduce the number of things I have. The goal really was to ensure that all the things I have custody of are relevant and add to my quality of life. So, paradoxically, I probably have just as much ‘stuff’ as I had before but a lot less ‘junk’. I have no goal of moving to a smaller house. I like large empty rooms. Lots of space to recharge and reflect. But of course old age will bring its limits.

    I had a problem removing ‘sentimental’ items but once I squared up and did it a few times it got easier and the single figure number of sentimental items I now have I do value, though I wonder if in time they will go as well. Photos and memories are all I really need. I’d like to get to the point where, if the house burnt down, there would be nothing irreplaceable.

    Love the blog – inspirational.

  18. The Tenrec says

    Being obsessed with getting rid of stuff is missing the point. You’re still OBSESSED WITH STUFF!

    • kamisaki says

      Maybe, but it’s a step in the right direction. Minimalizing is a very personal and unique process for each individual. Baby steps!

  19. says

    I came to minimalism slightly differently than most people seem to. When I graduated from college I began looking for ways to save money. One of the first was switching to shaving with a DE razor instead of a cartridge. That lead me to an article on a blog called the Art of Manliness, and from there to an article on AoM about minimalism, and on to Tammy Strobel, Leo Babauta, and others. I have yet to replace my cartridge with a DE razor (still on my list) but I’ve reduced possessions, expenses, and etc over the past few months and can honestly say at this point I agree with all four of your points. Great article Joshua!

  20. Sue Davey says

    This weekend I decided to start clearing out our house as we want to go travelling Europe in our little camper van for six months and rent out the house whilst we do – to fund the trip. However, I stumbled upon this word “minimalism’ whilst I was looking for inspiration on storing things more tidily and I am absolutely fascinated by the philosophy of it. I am reading everything I can get hold of and starting to feel really excited about an alternative possible way of living and thinking about things. Here in the UK, it is no different from the USA, consumerism is everywhere.

    I cleaned out my wardrobe (that was my starting point this weekend) and I couldn’t believe how many pairs of trousers I actually own! Granted, I do go up and down in size, but 10 pairs is just too many..and what’s more I know there’s still plenty more in the loft.

    Thanks for your blog. I think this could be the start of a new life for me. I have been discontented with work, shopping and the daily grind for a while now but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Well, quite by accident, rather like the author, I think I have found the reason. Any recommendations and/or advice for me, as a newby to this, will be gratefully received. Now I just have to keep on track.

  21. Walter says

    Thanks for your blog. I agree with kamasiki that your responses to comments set you apart from other blogs. And now for a response, hopefully brief:
    1) I concur. I knew my wife and I were making progress when the grad school daughter came home for a visit and asked (due to lack of ‘stuff’ in the house)
    “so, when are you guys moving?”
    2)Still looking for the opportunity with value, but ‘living like no one else’ so finances are not a burden.
    3)Still looking for my ‘voice’.
    4) This is the primary reason for my reply as we have found it difficult to change social functions with friends and family that are so often centered on consumerism. Shopping trips, vacations that involve shopping, and regular ‘auction’ nights no longer hold the interest that they once did. How do you address the habits of others who have no interest in your minimalist values?
    Again, thank you for telling us about your journey.

  22. Rin says

    Great article indeed. As a young individual, I just recently moved in another country and will be having the start of my adult life and career here. I think it is very timely that I have read your blog about this, so that 4 years from now, I will not be saying the statement, “I wish I could have owned less stuff.” I only packed with me my essentials, which I first, I believe, I could not live with comfortably, guess I was wrong at all. What is great about people is that, they are capable of change. It has been my 3rd month here and I am living just fine with fewer, fundamental things.

  23. Gayle says

    My husband and I have never been prone to keep things we don’t use but since retiring we’ve taken a harder look at what we are willing to buy and store. We have to love it or use it or out it goes. We also ask ourselves, “If we were to sell our home and move would we want to take it with us?” and reason if we don’t clean out the clutter, someday someone will have to do it for us. Our neighborhood email list, Freecycle and thrift stores have offered us many re-purposing possibilities. We have an older home with three bedrooms, two small closets and no hall or linen closets (folks in the 1920s were early minimalists!) and we still have some empty space on our shelves. However, it takes some effort to maintain a minimalist home and we regularly declutter and think hard about whether we really want to buy something. Have you noticed that spas, luxury hotels and resorts are never cluttered? Clutter just creates mental stress and is not a relaxing environment.

  24. says

    I have been trying to slowly change my life to a simpler life. In many ways it has been successful. However, living with a spouse that although not into buying stuff, is someone who loves money more than people and experiences. I no longer try to reason with him and have decided to go at minimalist on my own. Hence, it’s that much harder. The difference in mindset is and will eventually cause issues within us but I am unwilling to give up what I think is right just to please him.

  25. Marci Glenn says

    Oh, this so hits home for me. I started down my minimalist path just over two years ago when my husband passed away unexpectedly. We were in the middle of a huge house remodel and the kids and I were left to complete the project. I hired contractors and during the one year to complete it, I took almost everything out of the house and put it in a storage unit in our driveway. After months passed and no one asked for/missed the “stuff”, I called our local charity and had them pick it up. I can’t tell you how freeing that was. Although we still live in the house, we have lots of empty space and it is a joy. Once the kids are off to college, I will sell the house and move into something that will not require so much time and energy. The other piece of my story is that I took early retirement from a 22 year corporate career position just two months ago. That has been the best move in my life, so far. I am fortunate that the only debt I have is the house and am able to trim my expenses to live this dream. My next goal is to decide what I want to do now. Thank you for your wonderful writings, I so enjoy reading them. cheers!

  26. Colleen says

    My journey with Minimalism started a couple of years ago. I think I was actually born a minimalist, I have never liked clutter and stuff all over the walls etc. When I read about this concept it had me hooked! I have been taking car loads to Goodwill for at least a year and I could keep going, but my family is not at the same point of acceptance yet. I feel so much lighter without so much stuff and so less disstracted. I often blame it on my OCD or ADD, but I just get completely overwhelmed by visual clutter. I love the clean open spaces, etc. I think about all of the money I spent in my 20’s and 30’s trying to have a perfect home and always in style. It not only wore me out but drained our savings. I am not perfect, I still will buy something now and then that we probably don’t need, but my thinking is so different now. I really look at something and think about if I TRULY love it and NEED it. If I think it will be out of style in a year or its just not really a need, then I just don’t get it. Its AMAZING what we REALLY need to live. I did not get into minimalism for a lack of money, but peace of mind and clarity and it has helped me focus more on what is REALLY important. I am not a perfect minimalist, but I am on a journey that reveals new things to me all the time. I do not think this is a trend for me, its a way of life.

  27. Agatha says

    Oh, wow…as I am reading all of the responses, I find myself smiling. I just recently discovered my inner happiness which includes being free from material things and not continuously worry about making more money. I recently packed up majority of my clothes for Purple Heart…when I looked around my closet, there were still so much remaining, why was I holding onto them for all these years? I find myself saying to my friends that I want a simpler life ….no financial burden so when I finally received my nice bonus after waiting 2 years, I happily resigned. Honestly, I feel like a load has been lifted off my chest since my job affected my quality of life. I will try my best to follow a minimal lifestyle …sometimes when you achieve the things you always thought would bring you joy and wealth is not where true happiness is….it is the simpler things. Took me long time to figure that concept, it is never too late.

  28. Milinda says

    Another advantage of minimalism is that you develop a real disconnect to “stuff.” Now, when I break something or my son accidentally ruins an item by spilling or dropping it, he doesn’t feel so awful because I can say to him very sincerely, “It doesn’t matter. It’s just a thing.” Of course, I am an advocate of taking care of what you have, but it’s still all just stuff, and my son is learning how much more important he is than anything material.

  29. Cheryl Bryson says

    I recently downsized and moved from a 3bedroom 3/4 acre lot into a small two bedroom duplex with a tiny yard. At first I was feeling cramped in the small area, but now loving it. I had two garage sales one before moving and one after. Not only did I make a little money, but felt my “things” were going to a better place. After the last garage sale I took the remaining items to Good Will in hopes they find new homes. 3 truck loads later, I am lighter! A friend recently said to me, “it is ok to do nothing and rest for a bit”! Loving this new life.

  30. Ashley says

    Surprisingly, Ive always been happy with very few material possessions, yet I was a pack rat at the same time. I never bought anything really, just saved my money, but I always had a hard time getting rid of certain stuff: Doodles and stuffed animals and clothes mostly. The doodles and plushies I kept because I liked them and they were sentimental, but they took up so much room and everything looked messy most of the time. As for the clothes, I thought “I might wear this one day”. It didn’t help that my sister always bought loads of clothes, and would throw huge piles of clothes she grew tired of in my room once or twice a year, and refused to take them back.

    Well, a year ago, I cut my wardrobe in half, and now I have just cut it in half again. :) Still have all the doodles and plushies though, ;)

    Now I’m debating on whether I want all my Archie comics. I have an impressive collection of 120 Archie comics that I never read anymore, but still, I love how big the collection has gotten.

  31. Tracy says

    I recently stumbled upon your page, but it has really changed my life. I have two little kids and just a ton of stuff I have accumulated over the years. I never realized it until the last move when I completely filled a 3 bedroom place with our stuff. Ugh. I used to spend my money on experiences vs things. When did I change?
    I am getting ready to have my third child and my doctor took me off work early. Unable to afford keeping my kids in daycare with only a percentage of a paycheck, I pulled them out. The amount of satisfaction and bonding time I have now gotten with my kids now shows me what it is really supposed to be like and I have a greater passion now to lead a fuller life by trimming my working hours or finding a job eith more flexibility or family-friendliness. Thank you for opening my eyes to how it should be through your carefully penned postings.

  32. Nicole Corman says

    My journey started with knowing that I had too much clutter around the house. I started selling things and then started to get more relentless by donating more and more (found so much energy was going into selling things for a small profit – and I just needed to let it all go). Sadly I found that I love to bargain shop and I was replacing what I had gotten rid of with more.
    In the past few months (after a move and then stumbling upon your blog) I’ve stopped buying for the sake of buying I’ve started donating more and more. My husband is also on board – wanting our whole family to live with less so we can be and do more of what we love!
    Thank you for your daily encouragements. Through my sharing of your posts, other friends all over the world are minimalizing as well and so we’ve become a means of support for each other’s journeys as well! Thank you!

  33. says

    I started my minimalist lifestyle in 1997, not exactly sure where it originated or why, but I believe it was around the time I was studying Buddhism and about to travel to New Mexico to start a new life. It was the last time I owned furniture and for the first time, I could fit all my possessions in my car. I used my “car” concept for years, as I relocated to other places. Then in 2012, I moved to Asia, and all my possessions (excluding my larger paintings, which is now at a friend’s shed in America) I brought to Asia. Just a suitcase, my backpack and easel was all I had. I still work at keeping my possessions to a minimum. I use this philosophy in my art too, as I use just a few colors to mix others, use eco-friendly materials and a simple website to match. But it starts with a shift in attitude and state of mind. So minimalism has become a strong shield for my survival in this world.

  34. says

    I’ve been working on the concept of decluttering my life. I have recently gotten rid of an exercise piece of equipment I’ve not used for years. I found a youth charity to give it to!
    I will continue to try to work at it. I’ve began to let go of shirts that I let set in storage, and try not to purchase anything that I don’t really need!
    Thank you for continued reminders that I can live with less!

  35. says

    My husband and I are downsizing from a 3200 square foot house we rent, to a 1247 square foot condo, and if we could have found a smaller one that worked for us we would have moved to that. In this process I am giving away so much stuff to Goodwill and to my kids; just when I think I’ve given away all that there is to give, I find more, and make more trips to Goodwill. I am loving this and feel so liberated, it’s hard to explain to relatives and friends, but I am so happy to let go of it all. Your posts just keep me going.

  36. Leni says

    “As a result, when I look around my house today, I still wish I owned less stuff.”

    This is exactly how l feel. In 2011 we moved 2 times and each time I decluttered and threw more stuff out. I keep purging to this day but I still feel we have to much. Thanks Joshua for your posts they keep me motivated to not buy stuff I don’t need and to keep me reducing our possession.

  37. Lisa Causey (Ryan) says

    Wow–good article! I so very need to declutter–these are all things I need to hear. Thank you!

  38. Jo says

    This week we are moving to a condo from an apartment, three years ago we moved from a four bedroom home. Over a year ago I first started reading this blog and got serious about downsizing. I am so thankful I did as it has made this move so much easier. Even now I am sitting surrounded by 50 boxes packed and ready to go and am wondering why I am taking so much. They have been packed up for a couple of weeks and I don’t miss what is in them. But I am sure my husband will insist on taking them. We still have a lot of stuff sitting in a basement that I will have to deal with but it is a lot less then what we started with. Thank you Joshua for continuing to write, as I need to read this every week to keep me on schedule.

  39. says

    Ever since finding this site I’ve been slowly depleting years of junk I’ve collected. I’m 22 and my apartment could be a 4 bedroom house and still feel full. I hate seeing it cluttering everything yet when it comes time to get rid of it, just too hard! It’s a daily struggle.

    The one point that stood out most to me was ‘I want to own less stuff’ it boggles the mind the amount of less hours, less stress, less awful customer service I’d have to have given if I hadn’t bought all the junk I’ve ended up tossing. For me it’s a slow progression to quality over quantity, ‘stuff’ is becoming less important and memories are replacing what I used to spend all my money on.

    Hoping with this site and others like it I can slowly start to minimalise!

  40. Cynthia Induni says

    The Joy of Less. Francine Jay. From my library donated books section for 50 cents. Changed my life. Minimalism trickles into ALL areas of your life. Wonderful.

  41. Not a minimalist and happy about it says

    Your fourth point is actually incredibly presumptuous, and the message of your article didn’t resonate with me. I love being surrounded by art (from my heritage and elsewhere) and beautiful things and books and antiques, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. If minimalism works for you, great, but please don’t assume you know what is right for everyone.

  42. Cindy says

    Maya Angelou may have “spoken” those words but they came from an old gospel song written by Jimmie Davis and Charles R. Goodman and recorded by Jimmie Davis.

  43. says

    nearing retirement (we’re only 57 but still..) my husband and i are deciding *how* we want to live in our golden years. with that in mind, we’re beginning to unload (for the weight really has become a burden). even in the planning, there’s a certain freedom. thankful for your site.

  44. says

    I love this article! When we lost our house nearly five years ago, we had an opportunity to rehab and move our family of nine into a 740 sq. ft. home with a 1 1/2 car garage on 2 acres. We rented a storage unit, but months later we found most of it was not needed and we haven’t looked back. Our little house gives us freedom others don’t have. It costs much less, is easier to maintain, and keeps us honest about how much stuff we own. Now that we’ve been here this long, I’ve found that we’ve accumulated more than I realized (where does it come from???) with all these growing kids and changing needs. It’s time to regroup, purge the stuff, and take the minimalism to the next level! Every van load I drop off makes me feel like my lungs have expanded and I can breathe again, and my daily routines have become easier now that I’m not working around excess clutter. I made one pass through the house, garage, and cellar but it feels so good, I’m ready to go through again! :)

  45. Paula says

    I’m mentally ready for moving towards minimalist, but we have 7 children (his, mine, ours). Bicycles, alone, have forced one of our cars out of the garage. Other mass quantities include, bedding, sleeping bags, camping gear, so.much.stuff.
    I have been selling A LOT of my personal hoard.. and doing well.. I’m sure we could weed out a lot, but “minimalist” still looks extreme in our home because we didn’t go “minimalist” with procreation. :)

  46. Char says

    Great timing! Lovely post! Just yesterday I was explaining to my Husband how it feels like I am ALWAYS decluttering, clearing, minimizing. It never ends! This for me was the answer, that it really is a process, and a way of life: “At the end of the process, we took a breath. But soon, we began noticing more things around the house we could live without and began removing them as well. Even after another clean-sweep through the entire house, we still owned more than we needed. We removed some more, bought a smaller house, and continued the cycle. Of course, none of this happens in a vacuum: holidays and birthdays come and go, moments of consumer-relapse occur, new hobbies emerge, kids get older, tastes change. Even as someone trying to live a minimalist life, things still begin to collect around me. As a result, when I look around my house today, I still wish I owned less stuff.” Thank you!

  47. Me, here, now. says

    So, eight months into my journey of ‘de-junking’ and we’re way past what I thought was going to be the end. I thought we’d have less stuff and a more spacious / tidy flat. Instead, we have a more spacious / tidy flat … which we are now selling so we can go travelling around the world! If I hadn’t started on this journey (initially discovering Marie Kondo’s book, then this website), we would still be drowning in a sea of ‘stuff’, weighed down by our possessions. As it stands, we’re free as birds and about to leave the nest that no longer feels like home. Our home will be firstly, a camper van (to tour the UK), then secondly a yacht (to tour the UK, then we’ll sell everything left and fly out abroad and buy a larger yacht to live aboard) . We’re going both inland and coastal on our various travels … who knows how many years that will take …. but it won’t matter as we don’t have to get up to ‘work for the man’, or feel disgruntled when we have to pay over £150 a month in council tax for what feels like nothing (don’t even get me started on mortgage repayments, other bills and taxes!). We’ll be celebrating Christmas this year in Cornwall as we usually do … but this time we’ll be living in our new abode. It’s all very exciting … and very feeing!

  48. Rhiannon says

    I started reading this blog about five years ago and Joshua’s story really resonated with me. I lived a similar life in the subururbs with a big new house and my husband and I worked jobs we hated to pay for all the crap we thought we needed. It didn’t really feel right to us, but “more” and “bigger” is just how our society is programmed so we thought we were doing it “right”. A year into clearing out some junk my little girl was diagnosed with cancer and she died four months later. That was the catalyst for our more intentional life. Through our grief we talked about what we would prefer our lives to look like knowing now we are not guaranteed a tomorrow with the ones we love. It didn’t happen overnight and took a few years of planning but finally, the house is sold, all our possessions fit in a 15′ u-haul, I have a job I enjoy, and my husband’s last day of working a 33 year long family job he despises comes to an end this weekend. We’re renting a little apartment for the summer as we wait for our tenants to leave our little beach house and we’re moving into a space 1/3 the size of our old one. We’ll keep renting out the house every summer for income and hit the road with just the necessities come rental season. Never in a million years did I think this is the path we’d be on. We are not rich, we are a working class family, but simplifying has opened many possibilities for us. Thanks, Joshua for helping me see through the hype of societies expectations to what is possible when you live outside the box. I really enjoy reading what you write.

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