Becoming Minimalist: Start Here.

Welcome to Becoming Minimalist. If you are new, welcome! We are honored to have hundreds of thousands of regular readers, and brand new readers every day. If that’s you, welcome. I’d love to make your experience here as comfortable as possible.

Most importantly, Becoming Minimalist is designed to inspire others to pursue their greatest passions by owning fewer possessions.

Our Story

Our story begins in suburban Vermont while I was cleaning the garage, my wife was cleaning the bathrooms, and my 5-year old son was playing alone in the backyard. I struck up a regular conversation with my neighbor who commented, “Maybe you don’t need to own all this stuff.”

The juxtaposition was striking. My possessions piled up in the driveway… my son in the backyard… my day slipping away… I immediately recognized something needed to change. My belongings were not adding value to my life. Instead, they were subtracting from it.

We began donating, recycling, and removing our unnecessary personal possessions. We embarked on an intentional journey to own less stuff.

As a result, we discovered more money, more time, more energy, more freedom, less stress, and more opportunity to pursue our greatest passions: faith, family, friends. And we decided to write about it.

Becoming Minimalist quickly became a place to encourage others to embrace minimalism. It does not boldly require anyone to become minimalist overnight—nor does it specifically define the word for you. Instead, it encourages each reader to discover their own journey and the far-reaching benefits that come from owning less.

We are dedicated to rational minimalism and discovering what that uniquely means for us. And the more who are introduced to this life-changing message, the better! Because we’re all just trying to make the most of this journey called life.

Our Writing

Get introduced to our simple message by reading some of our most popular posts:

Or, to discover the importance of owning less, try one of these posts:

We learned quickly that our journey to live with less on the outside would force our attention inward:

And would be entirely unique because of our life’s values:

Our story has been seen on the CBS Evening News, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, and countless interviews/reviews you can find all over the Internet.

Over the course of the last five years, we’ve written four books. And they tend to sell pretty well.

And if you really can’t get enough, browse our archives. But be warned, there’s a bunch of information there.

Our Community

If you would like to receive new posts via e-mail, sign up here. We send out a newsletter that unites, motivates, and equips simple living advocates. We are also connected to our community through social media. Find us here:

  • Facebook: Inspirational quotes and links.
  • Twitter: Quotes, thoughts, links.
  • Google+: Interaction and conversation.
  • Tumblr: Interesting stuff found on-line during research.
  • Pinterest: Promoting simplicity in home and life.
If you’ve heard enough and are convinced to try it out yourself, you’ll find some good suggestions here: 7 Ways to Sample Living With Less.

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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Comments

  1. Prudence Dagg says

    Will, my question would be whether those people would like you better if you had more stuff. Is that what you are questioning?

    I’m sorry you are having such a rough time. Everyone goes through rejection at some point. I know I have. I also know that seeking acceptance among those who weren’t going to give it to me was very painful. As I’ve determined to let go of those who don’t care, life has gotten better. Often others come into your life whom you wouldn’t expect to connect with due to the age difference, difference in situation, etc. –yet you do. I would encourage you to be open to those you meet along the way…and also, never get too afraid to reach out.

    I can be nervous to even reach out because I don’t want to be patronized by those who don’t care. But you may never know who would love to be friends with you if you don’t try.

    Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tripp & 1 other author may encourage you. Perhaps some on here have some other sources too.

    • kathy simmons says

      i don’t know how to say things at times. you don’t belive that. once i give all i can i can’t start up again it is to hurtful. age is a big thing in loving something. it nice to be same age close and grow old hold hands stay in one place. when pain hits you it hurts all of us go through it. not fun we need to know pain to know love. if we never go thropugh pain then how do you know good, love. i would love to fall in love with a man i can trust the is the strongest number 1 in loving . then the rest comes. i got hurt last year. i now know i was to my weakness . i really put my felling on the line. never will any one drag my heart around. i have a very loving soul. it hard to show some one. when every thing they ask told me never happen., i want to call him a friend. i was the friend. my heart now open, i need love also. i just gave it. we all need
      to love our selfd first. step back and look at the big picture.

      • Teri says

        I would like to hear your comments regarding minimalism vs frugalism or saving for the future. I am working at paring down our possessions but I find myself wondering if I will need said items if the economy really does tank and shortages occur. I am having a difficult time with this. How do you handle this? Save items that may be needed in the future or get rid of it all and figure it out when the time comes? Prepping or no prepping for the future? I have read 2 of your books by the way and am still struggling with this. Thanks, Teri

        • Ebony says

          This is a great question. One that I’ve pondered as I begin to prepare to try to sell this concept/lifestyle with my husband. I’m very excited about making the transition and plan to do so within the next week. I’d be interested in hearing Joshua Becker’s response.

  2. says

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  3. says

    The minimalist movement is really incredible. It’s amazing what happens when you can dismiss what others want you to do for them and start doing the things you are naturally good at and passionate about.

  4. says

    Hi! This is a great concept! I’ve been living by it for a while now. I once sold my condo and left all the furniture and dishes inside! I love to travel light and I take pride in living with the minimum. I even believe that there is a strong correlation between the moment I cleared my life of all its junk and the moment I met my soulmate!

  5. says

    I would think that Henry David Thoreau would be mentioned somewhere as the original founder of this movement.

    It struck me that a sight on doing with less doesn’t need to be on four social media sites. Wouldn’t one, well done, work?

    • joshua becker says

      I think it would be incorrect to assume a lifestyle that has been promoted for thousands of years by spiritual leaders from every respected world religion should be attributed to Henry David Thoreau—even as helpful as he was promoting the movement during his generation. You can find Thoreau mentioned here.

      We build on their foundation to further promote the concepts of simplicity and minimalism in the language spoken by our generation.

  6. kristen says

    Hi, i’m new to your site and wondering if you have any house pictures of your journey from start to after minimizing. Would be encouraging I guess to me to see a minimalist house and how much you reduced in your own home by pictures. I am more of a picture person then reading step by step instructions.

    • Jade says

      I have also wanted to see pictures as well of what peoples’ minimalist homes look like. I like photos for inspiration.

  7. Mike says

    I’m so glad to come across this site. I love all the helpful advice! I never knew other like-minded folks existed. I thought I was the only one who wanted this type of life. I actually thought I might be crazy. Now, please help. Do you have any advice that might help me convince my wife to become a little more aggressive in this. She is sympathetic to my ideas, but not as “determined” as myself to completely sell-out to this lifestyle. I confess I am extreme and a little too impatient. Thanks for the advice and for this wonderful information.

  8. says

    Family and friends who know me know that I’ve always been an organized person, dating as far back as high school. I was the one who kept my locker neatly organized, my desk neat and tidy, and even my bedroom at home was immaculate. Over the years, I’ve purged many items from my life, but it wasn’t until recently that the idea of minimalism truly resonated with me. There were so many things that I hung on to for no apparent reason other than they were quality items that seemed a shame to let go. After reading many inspiring articles from the “Becoming Minimalist” website, I decided that it was time for me to let go: let go of the “stuff” that was cluttering my life; let go of the emotions that were a barrier to healthy relationships; and even going so far as to let go of some toxic friendships that no longer had a place in my life. It was as if Joshua Becker had come into my home (figuratively speaking) and had given me permission to just LET GO. I find that the more I let go, the happier I become.In the past two months, I’ve cleaned out every closet, every drawer, and every nook and cranny of my modest 952 square foot home. I’ve donated clothes, pots, pans, glasses, silverware, books, knick-knacks and so much more to the local goodwill. I’ve traded in my SUV (which was bought new in 2006) for a small previously-owned economy car. I’ve de-cluttered my purse, my wallet and even my sewing and first aid kits. Last night, I donated “points” from one of my department store customer cards to a local charity and then cut up the card. As for credit cards, I now keep my two credit cards at home (instead of in my wallet) and even decreased the spending limit on one of the cards. I’ve gotten a minimalist hair style that takes less than one minute each morning to style. I wear no make-up but do continue my twice-daily routine of cleansing, toning and moisturizing my face.With all the extra “stuff” gone from my life, I now have time to concentrate on what’s important to me: quality time by myself, with friends and with my family. Thanks to Joshua for giving me the permission to let go.

  9. Robert says

    Several years ago I experimented with this concept by giving 10% of my possessions away. It brought a “lightness of being” that was unexpected, and started a trend toward decluttering. During the past couple of years my experience as the executor of an estate brought the whole world of possessions to the forefront once again.

    I’m convinced that at a certain point one’s possessions do begin to “own you”. The need to cover, protect, display, move, reassess their value for this current time in your life; takes time and energy.

    Late last year I adopted the term “Simplify” to describe what was going to take place in 2014. Becoming Minimialist is providing the encouragement to move forward with simplifying all aspects of my life, which include decluttering possesstions.

    This year my goal is to sell, donate, or giveaway 20% (or more) of my possessions. I’m not sure how I’ll keep score but I’ve already started by selling or giving away 1/2 of my cameras and equipment. The hardest inventory to slice down will be my books but the encouragement by Joshua Becker and the many many commenters on this site is very encouraging!

  10. Jules says

    I love this site and the ideas on it have inspired me to reduce my possessions by 35% this year (I’m was already a minimalist to some extent, but I love the challenge of getting rid of more).

    One area I’m stuck on and hoping that other readers or Becoming Minimalist can offer ideas for is: old jewelry. I’m not exactly sure where to donate quality, used silver and gold jewelry that isn’t really valuable enough to sell, but also not cheap enough to discard. Does anyone know of charities or other organizations that might benefit from a donation, and who have a clear cut process on how to donate. I’ve found little direction online so hoping others on the site have some ideas to share.

    Thank you!

    • says

      That is a really good question I had to deal with some time ago and found the following solution . Our church hold an annual basar/flea market, the proceeds go to charitable causes. Three goals, so to speak, in one: 1. my jewellery case is decluttered and the niche things have the room they deserve 2. Someone enjoys a piece of jewellery they might not have been able to afford before 3. A charity gets funds for their good deeds , actually they are four : my church gets the good feeling of having contributed…

    • Anne says

      Another good option is to deliver it to your local woman’s shelter. The women who seek out those types often have nothing other than the clothes they are wearing, they always appreciate nice things even if they are gently used.

    • JF says

      One thought is to take them to a few jewelers and see how much $ they give you. Then you can make a donation to a charity.

    • Lynne says

      Hi Jules, if you are in the UK, there is an animal charity which is always very grateful of donations of jewellery, whether broken or intact and they have local contacts who give them good prices for donated jewellery, all proceeds then go towards looking after the animals in their care. You can find out more at: http://www.cloughfarmsanctuary.co.uk/

      Lynne :)

  11. lukas says

    Beautifull template. Do you offer your template for free to share? I would really appreciate that… Thank you

  12. RL says

    It occurred to me this morning that minimalism, to me, is partly about authenticity in that it empowers me to say “I made a mistake, an error in judgement. I shouldn’t have bought this. I shouldn’t be living like this. I shouldn’t be involved with this thing or this person. I don’t really like it that much. It’s not me. It has to go.” The feeling of relief at freely admitting that and then letting the thing go must be what weightlessness is like.

    • Jessi says

      I agree. I like to declutter when I move, and I once wrote, “Moving is a lesson in past regrets.”

  13. Cat says

    Hi, I’m a college student and after entering college I’ve hoarded so many things (like books, notebooks, clothes) in my dorm just from local department stores and online shopping… I can still use supplies in the future I guess, but every time when we are asked to move out of the dorm, I’ll be in big trouble packing/going up and down and it’s pretty embarrassing. And now the school is ending soon so what am I supposed to do?!

  14. Christina says

    I am new to your website, having just read your article on how to have less toys which a friend sent to me. Exploring your website a little bit has been an “aha” moment for me! I’m realizing that this minimalist title unifies so many principles I’ve started to live my life by. These principles came from observations/experiences like how many people in my field of work make a decent income yet feel that they have no money, how many people are sucked into consumerism and the latest fad, how much waste there is when everyone wants to have brand new things, my trip to a third world country where people literally live with nothing, reading “Wealthy Barber” and wanting to live within my means, my husband’s love for travel and how he keeps harping on experiences over material things for our kids, and coming from an extremely cluttered home that is in such a state I hate to visit there.

    Thank you for validating these ideas and giving me so many ideas for the future. How inspiring!

  15. Karen says

    I’m finding that choosing to live with fewer things is an ongoing process. My husband and I have taken a step by step approach over the last 5 years, beginning with going down to one car and taking up bike commuting to get around. Part of our motivation was the economy and the realization that we too were living with more than what we needed and drowning as a result. Three years ago , we bit the bullet and did a short sale of our overly large house and downsized to a smaller, less expensive rental. Realizing last year that we were still paying too much for more than what we needed, we decided to move at the end of our lease and next week will move into an smaller space that will put us in greater proximity to things we like to do.

    We are both working on reducing are wardrobes to just those quality pieces that we really love to wear and wear often. I don’t know that I’ll get down to 10 or even Project 33 level but I can now fit all my clothes in one closet.

  16. Anne says

    Thank you Joshua for all your inspiring reads. I have been reading your blog since January and we are having “The Garage Sale” this weekend. It has been a cleansing process to move all the unused possessions to the garage and a struggle to let go of the sentimental items. I know it is the right thing to do and I can see the light getting brighter to freedom from our stuff. Thank you for being a daily inspiration to me.

  17. Jenifer Martins says

    Joshua, I read your blog for the first time exactly 1 month ago (May 27th) just because a dear friend of mine sent me the link, but I have to admit I wasn’t that interested. I had been making some changes in my life since January, but I didn’t believe a blog could make any difference in my life. But I have to tell you…from the first text I read, my mind changed completely. This blog is one of the most inspiring influences I’ve ever had. After reading your posts for 2 days, I decided to start taking action on May 29th and my life has improved greatly ever since. I’m a 26 year-old Brazilian woman having to live with a bunch of excess around me, because Brazil has gone through a huge economical growth for the past 10 years or so. Over half of our population has gone from poverty to middle class living, which, don’t get me wrong, I think is great, but the problem is that these people now want to own as many things as they can as a form of compensation for all the years they lived in poverty. So what we see in Brazil nowadays is a lot of excess…of everything: cars, TVs, gadgets in general, food, clothing, alcohol, parties, drugs, sex, crappy TV shows, crappy celebrities. It’s just wrong. People barely talk to each other nowadays. I’m an English teacher and it just hurts me so bad when we go for our 15-minute break and nobody interacts. They just sit next to each other and start playing on their cell phones or checking Facebook. And I’m talking about people in their 20s and 30s here, not teenagers! People here only care about themselves. They want everything right now and for the lowest prices they can get. I had been trying to fit into this lifestyle for a long time, but I’m done with it now, and your blog was the boost I needed to “come out” and admit I’m different (a weirdo in the Brazilian scenario). No, I don’t like to have a house full of stuff, I don’t like to spend hours inside a shopping mal, I don’t like to eatch reality shows and soap operas, and really…I’m done with having to stay inside a classroom every day doing my best to teach people who think they’re gonna learn English in 2 years (even though it took ME over 6 years). I’ve been getting rid of the stuff that are not important to me (which I’ve found is A LOT) and cleaning up the apartment I share with my mother. Surprisingly, I actually had to face criticism because of this decision to change and I didn’t get it until the same wise friend who sent me this link told me “Truth is, Jenifer…people don’t want you to change, because it means something inside them is gonna change as well, because your lives are connected, and if you change, their attitude towards you is gonna have to change as well…and people don’t like changing”. That’s really sad, but I guess it’s true, so I’m just gonna suck it up and they’re gonna have to deal with it. I’m gonna work as a teacher until the end of this year to save money to put myself through Physical Education or Physicaltherapy school next year. In May, I came to the end of the month with a R$ 760 debt with my mom. After reading your blog, I’m coming to the end of June with a R$ 300 debt, and if everything works out, next month I won’t owe her a cent. And if everything works out even better, I’m gonna get my own apartment, because my mom is one of those people who try to fill in huge emotional holes with stuff and more stuff and I can’t stand this apartment crowded with negativity and crap she doesn’t even remember buying anymore.
    Wow, this reply turned out way longer than I expected, but there you are! What I’ve been meaning to say with all these words is: thank you, Joshua! Your blog really does have the power to change people (if they’re willing to change, of course). Keep up the good work! =D

  18. says

    The idea of minimalism really appeals to me. I agree that people should streamline their lives and possessions, but I’m kinda conflicted. In the post above, you stated that many of the things people hold on to don’t add meaning to their lives. I enjoy fashion, and wonder what your thoughts would be on me living a minimal life, but with clothing as a form of self expression. Similarly, I’ve always wanted to decorate my future apartment to make it inviting and happy. Do you believe that these things could be justified as meaningful? (or am i just trying to make excuses to avoid any real sacrifice?)
    Additionally, I’ve been feeling a lot of guilt over the way i spend money. I think to myself, “What I just spent on ___ could have fed someone.” Everything from gum to fancy soap makes me feel like I’m being selfish. I honestly have been considering a vow of poverty, but I am very conflicted, because it would (obviously) have a huge impact on my daily life and my idea of the future. Am I completely overreacting to this? I just can’t help but feel like a bad person when I put my own trivial desires over others basic needs.

  19. RL says

    I have come to realize that the concept of minimalism (and the accompanying neatness and organization) has appealed to me since I was a child. I remember trying to make the most out of the few toys available to a child in a family of 6 in the 1960s. I remember trying to make my bedroom and play area neat and organized and peaceful, and I was OK with that. I didn’t start questioning and resenting it until I got older and experienced peer pressure and self-consciousness about my appearance and image in my early teens. I started wasting my money on the things I thought I was missing out on almost as soon as I started earning it and those bad habits continued for most of my adult life. I have found a lot of genuine peace in letting go of some of the unused, unworn things in my home. But I have also realized that some of this activity has been a poor substitute for dealing with bad life choices that can’t be thrown out or donated to Goodwill. Now that the visible is in fairly good order, the emotional issues that couldn’t be tossed out have nothing to hide behind any more. Working on it.

  20. Pete Simpson says

    I’m finding this blog quite inspiring. For a long time now, I’ve realised that life is less stressful if there is less clutter in it, and home chores are easier if the house is not filled with useless objects. It’s good to read some new related ideas and see which ones will work for me. Keep it up.

  21. Mary says

    Hi,

    I’ve been thinking about this idea for a long time and trying this year to alter my outlook on possessions. Thank you for this site it has been really helpful to me, and inspiring.

  22. Karen says

    Theoretically, I am totally on board with having less. I actually buy very little. However, I keep getting antique furniture passed down to me and am having a really hard time with offloading the family “heirlooms”. My one bedroom apartment is getting too crowded. I need help with letting go of things that can never be replaced…..suggestions?

  23. Priest says

    Hi Joshua nice to see that people are getting inspired from your blog to be happy and yearn for the peace inside.the less we have the more we will dwell inside to know ourselves which ultimately will lead to enlightenment the eternal state of bliss and peace.i think in modern times mahatma Gandhi is a great example of minimalism.i think experiment with truth is minimalism.minimalism lifestyle will lead from outside to inside .anybody interested in minimalism lifestyle will get some inspiration from mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography.thanks again Joshua for inspiring people into minimalism.

  24. Tara Timmers says

    One of the best parts of becoming a minimalist was the philanthropy involved in letting go go unused items to the non-profit sector as a donation. I passed on clothes, unused toiletries, fashion items, jewelry, books, office supplies and a variety of other items that were used for bingo prizes, christmas gifts, administration and silent auctions. This allowed the non-profit to provide for their clients in ways these folks could not in their own lives. Not to mention the fundraising support that donations offer to this sector. I encourage anyone who is on this journey to consume less: to give, give and give to agencies that support those in poverty. It can be freeing to own less and good for individual karma to make an offering to the community.

  25. Maria says

    After reading a book on “Abundant Simplicity” by Jan johnson had this deep desire to live simply and while searching on how to’s your site pop and start reading articles about minimalism which i never heard in my lifetime…Inspired and commited to live simply,i started de cluttering and sell stuff that i accumulated and im feeling lighter at this stage and hoping to continue on .I desire to be content and learning in this Journey that “God is enough for me”….I just quit my job and hoping that this mindset of minimalism will indeed help me to move on with great intent to live simply and greater dependence on Him alone…

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