10 Common Objections to Minimalism

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Vincent Nguyen of Self Stairway.


In a society bent towards consumerism, minimalism is counter-cultural. It uproots assumptions and challenges behaviors we’ve learned from others. It can be scary and mysterious—most new things are.

My mother is the exact opposite of minimalist. She makes good money, but still finds herself in financial debt because of her spending habits. When visiting, I find it difficult to avoid jamming my toes or scraping the sides of my feet against some sort of box when I enter her house. It’s cluttered.

My personal journey into minimalism started with the realization that my mom wasn’t any happier every time she bought a new technological toy. Neither did she feel any better about a house filled with stuff. I began to notice that I got along just fine—even better perhaps—with fewer possessions. I began cutting down more and more. It became part of who I am.

Still, people don’t always understand why my room has only functional things inside, why I don’t have tons of clothes, and why my room is always so clean. I have found that people are drawn to the idea of tidiness, owning less, and finding contentment without buying, but they still hold objections and concerns about minimalism.

My hope is to address some of the most common objections I hear. Hopefully, you will find minimalism is much easier than you think. And perhaps the many benefits will persuade you to make the leap.

10 Common Objections to Minimalism

1. I don’t have the time to start. 

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take too long to start the process of cutting down the possessions that you own. In fact, there are tons of creative little tricks you can implement that can start the process, eventually having significant impact.

For example, every morning make it a goal to get rid of one small item you know you don’t need. Maybe every time you do the laundry, you can remove one article of clothing. Pick something out and toss it away as you go.

If you have a lot of clothes, the simple act of turning around all your hangers can get you started. When you wear an item, hang it back up with the hanger facing the opposite direction. After a few months, you’ll probably be surprised with how many clothes you never wear.

Know it’s a process. You don’t have to complete it all at once.

2. Buying things makes me happy. 

I’m sure you noticed that after buying something, you feel slightly happier for a short period of time. But soon, you begin gravitating back towards your previous levels of happiness.

There is actually a phrase for that cycle. It’s called “hedonic adaptation,” and explains why we are only temporarily happier after acquiring something new.

Shortly after their winnings, even the biggest lottery winners are often found to be just as content as they were before they hit it big. New purchases don’t have the same thrill anymore. We buy more and more, hoping to achieve happiness. But it’s more like running on a treadmill—never fully reaching our destination.

We know it’s true because we’ve all experienced it before. Keep that feeling in mind next time you start to think buying things makes you happy. It is very short-lived.

3. I’m too used to having ______.

Again, minimalism should be considered to be a process. It starts with only one step at a time. Make small changes. Adapt at your own pace so it’s digestible. Remove the picture in your mind of an overnight shift in lifestyle.

It is always a process and you can tweak what you’d like. There are no hard and fast rules, guidelines, or obligations. And you don’t have to get rid of something you genuinely hold important. Minimalism is about cutting the excess, not removing what you love or use.

4. I may get rid of something I need in the future.

Ah, yes. The “what if?” question. Know that you are not alone. In fact, this is one of the most common struggles we all share. It is interesting that we always try to predict the future, even though we are horrible at it.

Get rid of things that are easily replaced and you won’t have that discussion with yourself.

If you get rid of small things that are inexpensive (yet still manage to take up a lot of room), you can always replace them in the future. Most things can be replaced with minimal expense and minimal effort nowadays. But most likely, you’ll find yourself to be far more resourceful than you imagined. Take your time removing large, expensive items—that should make the process easier.

5. I would love to simplify but my ______ wouldn’t agree.

Sandy Kreps wrote an article on this website about the very topic of getting on the same page with your spouse. She recommends you find common ground, focus on the positives, seek input, start small, and start with yourself first.

Joshua Becker, the founder of Becoming Minimalist, is more committed to minimalism than his wife, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get along. They find the line that makes the other uncomfortable and make sure not to cross it. It works well when you work on figuring it out together… just like everything else in life.

6. I have too many commitments.

Harvard Business Review created an excellent article in early September about how people compete against one another over how “busy” they are. Many of us are caught up in believing we’re being productive or busy even though most of it is in our heads.

If you are feeling an overwhelming sense of busy, minimalism is actually a great opportunity to start practicing time management. Segment your time. Remove the unessential. Become more productive at the things that actually matter. That, in a sense, is minimalism.

To regain focus, I have found the Pomodoro Technique to be very powerful. The technique teaches you to work in bursts while allowing you the freedom to take breaks. The standard practice is 25 minutes of driven productivity followed by 5 minute breaks fostering both intentional productivity and intentional rest.

7. Minimalism is easy for you. It’s your personality to live with less. But that’s not me!

Though there may be some truth in that statement, it’s certainly not all personality. Minimalism is a conscious decision to pursue less. Many of us have made it and almost none of us had it completely easy.

I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide, “I’m going to be minimalist!” For me, it happened through a series of realizations and struggles. A lot of thinking and sacrifices took place.

I didn’t decide to love less because of my personality. I decided to live with less because I saw value in it. There may be some people out there who desire less since birth, but they are a small minority. The rest of us struggled through it. Eventually, we thanked ourselves for doing so.

8. The math doesn’t add up, how could someone be happier with less?

It sounds bizarre, but having less can make you a lot happier. When you have a lot of possessions, you have extra worry. You have more to clean. You have more to manage, more to organize, more to repair, and more to replace.

When you own less, you find more freedom, less stress, and less worry. And that doesn’t even begin to mention the financial benefits of owning less.

There are so many problems that can be solved by subtracting. It’s almost surprising more people haven’t discovered it.

9. I’m an overthinker and there’s nothing I can do about it!

Simplifying your thoughts isn’t easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible either. I used to be an over-thinker.

Every single social interaction would leave me anticipating what would be said, how I should respond, and of course what I did wrong once it’s over. This bled into every other aspect of my life where I tried to control all the variables.

Without a doubt, meditation has become a common solution for over-thinkers and is a valuable step towards minimalism.

10. I don’t want to be judged by others.

In a society where we are evaluated based on what we own, it can be scary to break free and purposely seek less. People still don’t always understand why I don’t want things.

I get asked a lot of questions about my choices. I may even be seen as an outsider for a while, but none of it matters. They ask. They move on. Typically, I don’t stay on their mind for long because they’re more concerned about what others think of them anyway.

I spoke with Joshua a few weeks ago. We drank coffee. We talked about life and we talked about minimalism. We discussed how others perceive minimalism. People eventually notice he purposefully owns less. And when they do, one of two things happen: 1) They forget about it and no longer make a big deal of it, or 2) they admire his simplicity. It’s usually that simple. It never occurs to most that they could find contentment with less.

So what’s holding you back from exploring what minimalism has to offer?


Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and currently lives in Arizona. He writes on personal development and helps other people find the self-confidence in themselves to pursue a content life. Follow him on Twitter

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’ve been in the process of selling nearly everything I own now for over a year. I hope to have that task completed by the end of the year. My wardrobe is sparse, I only have what I need in my living space and nothing more. My biggest hurdle thus far is a box of photos that I’m trying to figure out how to handle.

    It is certainly a process.

    Thank you for a well appointed article, once again.


    Ms. Minimal

    • Amy says

      I scanned all our old photos and papers. I can look at them on the laptop when I want to see them. When my Grandpaw passes away 4 years ago we bought a digital picture frame for my Grandmas and I put a bunch of pictures on it both new & old. When she broke her hip last year and had to go stay at a rehab center for months she was able to have her pictures with her still. This was important to her, every inch of her wall space at home was covered in photos and she had a closet full of them too. When she passed away last Dec. my Dad got the frame.

      • hi says

        Make sure you back up your files on an external hard drive! I have lost many important documents due to unforeseeable events.

        • Amy says

          We always back up our files. We have them on two laptops, a thumb drive and an external hard drive. All of the pictures & videos are also saved online.

      • carole293 says

        I would like to know how to do that. I had some movies made into dvds then I decided it was a waste and got rid of them. who the heck wants to see me giving birth or an event I planned haha. but it would be nice to do some photos.

    • Jan says

      Ms. Minimal – We scanned all our photos into the computer and then got rid of them. It was hard at first but we actually look at them more now because they are part of a program where they are seen in a screen saver over and over. It is great!

    • says

      That’s really impressive, and brings up a good point:
      the suggestions to get rid of one item every time you clean or do laundry is great, but only if it exceeds the rate at which you are acquiring new items. I have a friend who constantly “throws out” old stuff, but always buys twice as many new things for everything she throws out, because it makes her feel like she has “room to spare now”.
      Personally, I commit to investing time into *everything* I try to throw into the garbage. It is much too easy to just throw things away nowadays, and when you make it harder to get rid of your items, it curbs your desire to buy new ones. First, I research online and see if there is demand on craigslist or ebay to sell it. If not, I try to re-gift it to a friend or neighbor, and if that fails, I’ll take it too goodwill.
      I think if we had to keep our own personal landfills in our backyards, people would be much more minimalist.

      • Colleen says

        “I think if we had to keep our own personal landfills in our backyards, people would be much more minimalist.”

        That, my friend, was well said!

      • Kate says

        Ms. Growing Green–You have written something very wise about “backyard landfills”. I once had neighbors who refused to pay for trash service and piled everything up in their garage until the annual city-wise cleanup–intended for large items that would not fit into trash bags. When they opened their garage door, there was a mound about 5 feet high by 10 feet long and 14 feet wide. What a mess! The city refused to pick up anything that would fit into a bag and they had to pay for a special collection. This was a real eye-opener for the neighbors because none of us ever see how much a year’s worth of trash amounts to for a family of four. I provided the other extreme when I told them that I share a container with the woman next door and never have more than half a plastic grocery sack a week because I have a reduced number of purchases and then recycle and compost, too. From this experience, I know that three composters appeared in the backyards on my side of the street. I hope other good practices occurred as well. Thanks for sharing your good idea!

        • Danny says

          being totally facetious… Here in eastern Ky some of the yards are personal landfills and it is a depressing sight that people would actually choose to live in filth…

    • Heather says

      Photos are not something I am willing to part with (I think everyone hits that bump in the road, for many it seems like books are their issue.) What I have found, is that with the process of getting rid of SO much stuff we didn’t need or didn’t use, it made far more room for what we wanted to keep. My photos are organized and placed on a shelf where I regularly rotate them in/out of our framed photos on the wall. (I had a digital photo frame and oddly enough, that was purged during an initial round. I try to keep my contact with electronics minimal.)

      My photos on the wall are something I wasn’t willing to compromise. It makes my house feel more like “home” to me. :-) And I’m okay with that!

      • Geraldine says

        I think if you have them in a system and they make you happy then that is great. I totally agree with you about photographs I am an Historian of photographs and recently had the opportunity to handle Victorian photos from a huge private collections and it was amazing, gave me a lovely feeling to know that these have survived over so many years. I first viewed them online, then handled them and am now writing about them again viewing online and for me its not the same. I have just inherited many of our family photos after my mum passed away earlier this year and am about to digitalise them all for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and I am sure for them they will all be happy with that as they don’t have the same feeling as I do with handling the original, but they will be able to handle it if they want to. Thank you for a wonderful post.

  2. Happy Annie says

    Great article! I especially like what you said about how minimalism is about cutting the excess, not getting rid of what you truly love and use. :)

  3. Amy says

    What held me back when I started this journey 8 years ago was the intense guilt I felt getting rid of things that I had paid for and just never used. I started the purge any way and quickly felt relief ridding my life of all that crap. If I find I have a need in the future I can borrow the item or buy it again no big deal.

      • says

        I’m a nomadic, webworking journalist, so need to be minimalist (with everything but my work equipment); and I love it. Yes, I found it hardest to get let go the clothes I had paid a lot for. Luckily for me, when I was in Europe last summer doing yet more clearing out, there was a an open day and bring-and-buy sale for a local charity so I finally gave those things away. I still have some books and photos stocked somewhere, and quite a few documents, and bags of things in various cities, but compared with what I did have, it’s brilliant. People sometimes criticise me for the amount of luggage I carry, but then I remind them that this is my “house”, and is not that much stuff at all compared with what I used to have.

    • Kim says

      I’ve been working on becoming minimalist since January 1st when I took 4 van loads of ‘stuff’ to the thrift store.. 4 1/2 months later and I haven’t missed a thing! Spring cleaning starts next week with round 2. I cannot believe how much more time and money I have NOT shopping for things. Thanks for the reminder tips :)


    • Anne says

      I forget who it came from, but the quote “Store it at the store” has helped me with this issue. Plus, comparing the cost of long-term storage with the value of the items we are storing.

      • C says

        I used to pay for a storage unit. It occurred to me there isn’t anything in there I couldn’t buy at the Salvation Army. And it would be a lot cheaper to replace a desperately needed muffin tin at $.50 at a second hand store than to pay $50/mo storing one. When you look at a thrift store as a storage unit, you start to realize you don’t really need to be hoarding bread pans and dish drainers and old mugs and DVDs. I know I sure haven’t spent $600/year at GoodWill since I got rid of the storage unit.

  4. says

    That’s the problem with my family and friends for minimalism – they do not accept minimalism as a long-term lifestyle for me. I want to alternate travel and work for the rest of my life – working for a year, travelling for a year, but again, they don’t think of it as a viable option. This resistance that comes from them daily is what causes the doubts that I sometimes have. But then I read a blog like yours, and the doubts disappear. Thanks for making a space for people interested in minimalism.

    • says

      You will meet resistance when you take any sort of unconventional path. It’s different and it scares them.

      I face this in pretty much everything I do, strangely enough. As long as you don’t let it affect you then you’re golden. :)

  5. says

    This is such an important point: “Minimalism is about cutting the excess, not removing what you love or use.” I often see comments by people who seem to think minimalism means getting rid of their hobbies, photos, etc. – instead of getting rid of only the excess.

    Most of these were problems/excuses for me, but I’ve adopted a “gradual minimalism” policy so now I just slowly plug away at it. It’s amazing how much stuff you can get rid of in just a few months without ever making a big project of it.

    • says

      Yeah, I think painting the right picture in the other person’s head is very important. When you settle their fear of getting rid of EVERYTHING and show them it doesn’t have to be that way, you realize people love the idea.

  6. says

    Great article! I find that the greatest benefit to us has been taking time to think about what kind of ongoing maintenance will be needed for anything new that we choose to buy. When we stop and think about the time or money involved we often change our mind.

    I also have a ‘one in – one out’ policy for a lot of the smaller things, like clothing, kitchen items, books and CDs: We only buy something new if we can think of something in the existing collection that we don’t want.

    I think a lot of people imagine that minimalism looks like an empty room with mismatched chairs, and overcoming that stereotype helps people to move towards it. I still have plenty of clothes, books, CDs, furniture and even a few precious decorative items in my home. To the casual observer it doesn’t necessarily look ‘minimalist’ but I now own about half of what I used too, and I own less and less each year. It’s about shedding the superfluous, appreciating what you have and not accumulating stuff for the sake of having it.

    • says

      Good point! The definition really can vary from person to person and what looks minimal to one may not be to another. There’s whole degrees and spectrums. I often see a lot of debate when someone claims to be minimal. “That’s not minimalistic!”, they shout.

      As long as you cut the excess from your own life than you are indeed minimal.

  7. says

    Whenever anyone tells me “why would you want to live with less?” (#8) I always say, but I won’t be living with less I’ll be living with MORE! More freedom (and uh.. money) to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, more time to pursue my dreams, and a greater ability to focus on bettering myself that doesn’t involve material belongings, like volunteering or reading more. We waste so much time, energy, money, and space on buying, cleaning, organizing, and purging all this stuff– you feel so much more free when you don’t have to deal with it! Less really is more.

  8. Nick says

    Becoming a minimalist has been one of the best decisions if not THE best decision I have ever made.

    My one worry when I started decluttering was if I got rid of alot of my possessions I would find myself bored. These days my only means of entertainment at home is the internet (albeit a very vast form of entertainment) after selling my guitars and xbox and such…

    However, with the money from selling these devices PLUS not having to buy more games/repair instruments I have become a lot more social, I am always available, I always have cash and I find myself exploring more activities other than tv (visiting the cinema, “Hanging out” with friends more, playing golf ect…).

    My friends always comment on how they are able to call me knowing I can always go and do stuff.

    Life is good.


  9. April says

    My favorite minimalist trick IS owning a small house! Reasons I love my small house:
    1) Less to keep clean! I can vaccum the whole first floor from ONE plug-in location and it takes about 6 min tops!
    2) I can be in the kitchen and my family can be in the living room, and I KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING and can SPEAK to them (not like this huge houses these days!)
    3) We simply CAN’T store much stuff! We have been holding onto baby paraphanelia and clothing, and now that we know this child is oppposite gender, I am FINALLY able to pass along all those lovely girl items to someone else and bless them! Then my storage room with be PRETTY darn empty!

    • says

      That’s actually why my grandma sold their old house! It was way too big which meant a lot to clean. Downgrading to a smaller house loses its “prestige,” but saves you from a lot of trouble.

  10. Peter says

    Someone I know actually claims he’s minimalistic and totally into it all the while buying more and more stuff. Some people are insanely delusional about what they are or aren’t in addition to the list above.

    • says

      I wonder if it’s because he defines it a different way. Ask him what defines minimalism as. Maybe he has a super profound answer and it’ll all make sense. :)

  11. Jess says

    How do you suggest tackling sentimentality and nostalgia? I seem to have less issue throwing out things and objects that unpaid for or didn’t use, but I like to cling to things from my childhood because of the associated memories they trigger. Old school projects etc, I think my kids will like to see, born from loving going through my parents little boxes of keepsakes. Except they had one tiny box each and I struggle to cull anything!

    • says

      For things like that, I say definitely keep them. I highly doubt your home is overflowing with items like this so I’d assume there are few enough, right? :)

      Remember, it’s about cutting the excess. Things that hold sentimental value aren’t excess. They are a part of you.

  12. says

    (less = more) that is the truth…
    Oh BTW, for sme people it is easier to just “start with zero”..
    example.. last time I moved I kept one or two boxes with “essentials”… a year later almost all the other boxes remain unopened. See what you can learn by just doing it… Now I can open a box and see (objectively) that it’s contents are usually worthless…(worth-less to me!)

  13. chris says

    Thanks to inspiration from Becoming Minimalist, and starting today, the minimizing in my life has begun. 20 new or gently used items gone from my home this morning, and another 11 from my office. Luckily, United Way fundraising is happening at work right now so I have a convenient & worthy cause to donate them for sale. I’ll be doing a sweep of my home & office every day, to see what else I can live without; I hope it is a lot. This is me being accountable & transparent. I don’t just want to talk about changing my life; I want to actually do it, & maybe inspire others.

  14. says

    Thank you for posting this, and I agree with everything, except maybe #4. It does seem like a valid objection.

    “If you get rid of small things that are inexpensive (yet still manage to take up a lot of room), you can always replace them in the future.”

    If something is small, how can it take up a lot of room?

    “Most things can be replaced with minimal expense and minimal effort nowadays.”

    And that’s a blessing and a curse. Electronics come to mind. What if I don’t trust someone giving me their used stuff? Maybe it’s secretly dirty or in bad working condition. Buying cheap also isn’t the solution. Every time I go to a Goodwill I see mountains upon mountains of stuff people won’t buy even for 0.99. Goodwill will send it all to a landfill. Where’s the end of this?

    “Take your time removing large, expensive items—that should make the process easier.”

    This is true.

    • says

      I don’t think he’s saying that you should buy cheap things. It’s that the difficulty of buying things these days is low compared to the difficulty of storing backup objects.

      For example, is it really worth it to keep an extra toaster (or whatever) in the house “just in case” your current one breaks, when you could probably buy a new toaster just buy walking to the nearest store or by clicking the “buy” button on Amazon? There are few things that are so difficult to find or replace that it justifies keeping duplicates.

    • says

      You caught me! I worded that part rather poorly… I apologize for that.

      “Small things” are things of little significance, not size. I can’t believe I missed that! :P

      With the second quote, I advise to always practice caution. You run the risk of being scammed (your examples are great,) but you replacing cheaper doesn’t always have to be second-hand items.

      • Anastasia says

        Thanks, Vincent! I agree there’s no need to hoard things beyond what’s in everyday use (like three different slow cookers lovingly gifted by family on every single holiday). Beyond that, most things around the kitchen can be done using very low tech tools. :)

  15. Kelekona says

    The stuff I have now keeps me from wanting more.

    If I pared down, I would back at the thrift stores looking to fill the space again. Big waste of money when I don’t enjoy shopping that much.

    Right now, most of what comes in is food or stuff where the lack actually drove me to face traffic and crowds. What goes out is mostly recycling.

  16. illy says

    Actually, the complaint I hear from my husband when I enthusiastically talk about minimising are:

    – He finds minimalism to not feel homely, he likes clutter.
    – He mentions that we don’t buy much to begin with anyway.

    The first comment depends on the decor and minimalism doesn’t mean bare. The second, in some ways it’s true, apart from videogames (which I can’t see him ever giving up) we don’t buy anything much. BUT the little we do buy (or gifts) accumulates as we rarely ever throw stuff away. I want to get rid of stuff but he doesn’t.

    I guess he doesn’t understand how minimalism will affect him in any way because he doesn’t clean and our financial situation is ok… We have a mortgage, for a house that’s considered small to him (2 beds + conservatory), we have no children (and don’t plan on having any) but do have a cat.. I wish we were debt free instead and had the liberty to do whatever we want.

    I feel others have it easy, comparatively. I find myself having very different values at times from my husband which makes things hard.

  17. Sandra says

    The idea of minimalism is really great and since I followed that path a while now, the same questions were asked. Sometimes I was at a loss of words to explain myself, so I find your answers really helpful – thank you!
    But there is one question still nagging at me and I haven’t found an answer yet: what’s the goal of all this? What do I do when I’m finished? I really like the decluttering and I love the way my life keeps simplifying with less stuff. But what will I find at the end of the way? I’m fully concentrated on the way of decluttering, but where does it lead to?

  18. cheryl says

    I really really need to do this. I have been responsible for so many elderly folks who have passed away and I feel like I shouldn’t get rid of all their things out of respect…guilt…not sure what it is. But it is smothering me. My dad passed and I am now renting his house but the folks cant really use the garage because there still is so many of his things there. I start to work on it and then I find something that has an emotional tie and I feel so sad and then I stop. All of the things I have are so choking me sometimes I wish I could just set them on fire and then they would be gone and that would be the end of it.

  19. Carola Tortuga says

    Leaving the country was a way to get rid of things. I took off from the US last summer, with 2 teenage kids in tow, and a total of 6 suitcases between us. That’s all we own now. Sure, we had to find some second hand beds and other necessary items, but it is not difficult to live w/o the things that many Americans find necessary (microwaves, appliances, furniture, etc.) My sister recently came to visit from the states and was asking, “Why don’t you have ____? Don’t you have a ____?” My simple answer was “No, and we don’t need it.” Period.

    • Ellen Scott Grable says

      I agree Carola, I moved to France a few years ago as part of my degree program and lived in a sparsely furnished apt with a duffle bag and a backpacks worth of things including all my school documents. The week I returned to my apt after six months away I went through everything with my son (he lived there while I was away) and I had a yard sale where I allowed people to pay me what the item was worth to them. it was a lot of fun! I have been very cautious about material items creeping in ever since. You have provided your kids with a great adventure without the weigh down of excess belongings! There is great freedom in less.

  20. Juan Carlos Araya says

    Hello Joshua, my name is Juan Carlos and i live in Costa Rica, i read becomingminimalist.com almost every day and i just love it! at first my reading was focused on books like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” at fisrt i was impressed but a little after opening my own business i was not happy at all! so i builted a few of apartments and the same thing happened i was not happy in fact now i am making more money with those things than with my full time job, what i’m trying to say here (and i really hope you understand what i am trying to say here, because my english is not very good) is that because of you i am now traveling to the land of less, i started with my closed, then my house we only own one car now i take the bus to work and i get off of it a couple of miles before just to enjoy a walk in the morning i see all the other people driving and let me tell you something i live (according to some stats) in one of the happiest contries in the world but those people driving they don’t look very happy to me and while i am walking i fell free sometimes i even walk from work to home (45 min walk) and it feels just great! Thank you very much, now you have a friend in central america.


    • Dr Ibrar Alam says

      Thanks. It is great to know things that you are doing .it is surprise to read the reply from a different person. I am replying you because i like your attitude and approach towards life is very simplified. My self a Dr.a Paediatrician, I am also trying to live a simplified life. Lets hope I will do so. I belongs to India.

  21. Lucy Packer says

    If you want to get rid of stuff, please don’t just throw it in the trash. I’m big on recycling and if it’s not real trash and it’s not recyclable, then I donate it, no matter what it is. Nothing should go in the trash but trash!

    • Anne says

      But do be mindful of what you are donating. Don’t put the recipient charity in the positionof tthrowing out your trash for you.

  22. says

    Becoming a minimalist is like re organizing that one “drawer” you throw all misc things into. You get rid of what you “want” and keep what you “need”,

  23. Kelly says

    I found the mantra “You don’t own the stuff, the stuff owns you.” to be very helpful. Repeat it, and when you’re holding that thing in your hands wondering whether to toss it, repeat it again. Believe it.

    I did get a laugh earlier in the thread, you know, “If I get a laptop, external hard drive, and a new thumb drive or two, I’ll be ready to start letting go of the material things”. :)

  24. Teaj says

    You forgot a big one: addressing gift giving occasions with relatives/ friends. this is a huge struggle for people new to minimalist convictions. My partner finds a lot of joy in buying tiny trinkets she knows I will enjoy. And I enjoy them, for a moment. Puzzles or legos or the like. And then they take up room on the shelf. Getting rid of them seems rude to a point. Im new to minimalism, its something that is quite appealing to me, but its something most people wont understand. Any hints on spreading the minimalist fever without sounding self righteous or ungrateful?

  25. Heather Thorne says

    Hi I Love this article !! I started decluttering years ago and finally started over on my own with only a carload of stuff. I now have some nice furniture and essentials but a very minimalist closet and stuff. It is awesome and so liberating . My mind is focused and creative now without all the stuff hanging around . Yes yoga and excersize helps but less is so much more !!

  26. Beth DeRoos says

    Someone I care a lot about told me that she would love to be minimalist……but

    She is disabled and its hard for her to move things, even a box to her small car. It was then that I realized that some people realllllly do want to get rid of a lot of stuff, but they have no family, or they have no friends they feel comfortable asking for help.

    When she shared this with me I smiled and told her I knew exactly what she was talking about, because of leg damage when my late husband accidentally fell on me (I was age 49) when helping him out of his hospital bed, I use a walker. And that I to had wanted years earlier to become hard core minimalist but had no one to ask for help either.

    Then I stepped out in faith and asked someone, who said yes they would help, but never showed up over and over as promised. It took asking five other people who all agreed to help, but had something come up, before my dear dear friend Sue K came thru.

    So maybe the question more minimalists should be asking is this. Have you as part of the conversation when someone has said ‘I would love to but I do not have the time’…..’I wouldn’t know where to start’……’I have no one to help me’, then said ‘let me help, it will be fun’?

    • Cyndi says

      This is such a good point!!! Some people have physical issues, but I think some of those who don’t would also like a companion. It can be so hard to keep making the decisions that a bit of friendly help and reassurance could be good. Plus it is good to have someone to make tea, move something outside, and do those random tasks.

  27. Nikki says

    As a single mom with 7 kids and a small farm, clothing is our big issue. We have pared down toys fairly well, but everyone has separate socks, pants and jackets for skiing, separate outerwear and boots for the barn, and then the everyday clothing for a large family–we don’t even keep more than 2-3 dresses for the girls and one nice church outfit for the boys. But people will show up with 4-8 huge trash bags full of clothes, assuming we need them–I can’t get rid of them fast enough!! To make matters more challenging, my mom just died, and I am having to clean out her house, and resist cluttering mine with her things–many of which are useful, high quality and sentimental!!! It is SUCH a struggle to pare down, and I really want to!! I’m printing this out and putting it on my bathroom mirror–thank you!

  28. says

    This blog has been so immensely helpful for my family and me as we pare down our possessions. I come from a hoarding family and my childhood was an absolute nightmare. The house was always a mess, abuse was rampant, we had rodents in the rafters and attic. I mean…awful! I’m giving my kids the gift a clean, minimalist home now and they’re really on board with it. They love the extra space, the freedom to be kids and not have to clean a bunch of stuff we never use. The local charity shops love me, as I bring in box after box of items to donate. Best yet – the charity shop I donate to is the Humane Society, so we’re helping animals to get the medical treatment they need every time someone else buys our crap we don’t need. :-)

  29. Gary Miller says

    What about the”I don’t want to throw it out because it has value”? I find it hard to throw something out because I could probably get. 50 cents for it at a garage sale and you wouldn’t throw out 2 quarters , right? And I know .50 cents isn’t much but when you have 10-20 (or more) of these that adds up.

    • says

      In that case, you need to ask yourself how likely it is that you’ll actually take action to sell it and get the money. Realistically, do you see yourself setting up a garage sale of any kind to get $5? You lose more in opportunity cost so at that point, it’s better to be done with it even if you “lose” $5.

  30. Jane Broman says

    I love the idea of scanning photos into the computer and backing up with a thumb drive. I have boxes and boxes of photos and the only ones I ever look at are digital.

    I began the year with a goal to simplify my life. In March I began to read and hear more about a minimalist lifestyle. I set a goal to get rid of 1000 things this year.4 months into it I am at 871 items. .. and yes I journal them! We have been debt free for over 10 years… Retired from a single income. So saving money is not the push here. Simplicity is. I don’t miss a single item i have regifted. Will have my goal to 1500 for this year. Each year will have to be a refinement as I pare things down closer and closer to the core!

    The mindset that I love my things but they don’t own me enabled me to turn my house and all I owned over to a young couple and then go to Africa for 2 years to do mission work!

  31. Rebecca Hexham says

    I’m so happy I found becomingminimalist I’ve been wanting to minimalise my home and life for a long time, especially the past 2 years since my second child came along my small house has been full of stuff! I started a few months ago and have gotten rid of so many things, though you wouldn’t think it if you came to my house I’ve still got a long way to go! My anxiety suddenly eases when I fill a bag to take to the charity shop and these regular posts keep me motivated they’re a godsend! It’s my litte girls 2nd birthday next week so later I’m going to have a big clear out in anticipation.
    I love reading the readers comments, it makes me feel less alone in a world of rampant consumerism!

  32. says

    Thank you for one of the best posts I have read on minimalism!
    I will bookmark it and read it again :-)

    I am in process, one day at a time!

  33. Penny Hoffman says

    I usually enjoy your insights in how to live more simply and there are few articles that you have written where I haven’t learned one other little gem of wisdom towards my goal of living a quiet life.

    BUT…today when you mentioned your mother’s financial tendency to be in debt and the problems that surrounded that issue disturbed me. Did your mother give you permission to refer to her in your blog in such a manner? If she did not I think it is disrespectful of you to mention her personally. If it had been my child who talked about me in such a manner I would have been deeply hurt.

    Just saying….more respect needed for your parent.

  34. Susan Cohen says

    It’s a pet peeve of mine that I don’t like to wash my clothes where everyone else does and, as opposed to the house I used to own, I can’t have a washer/dryer in my apartment. Doing my own hand laundry is a sure way to become a minimalist!
    I did, however, use to keep all my my paperwork from year to year. Now I only keep what is absolutely necessary in case I get audited.
    I get rid of all my clothes that I haven’t worn in a year (1 season) and if I find anything new I want to buy I get rid of something before I bring it in to the apartment.
    I find it really cathartic to have less. There are certainly things I miss but the benefits outweigh dragging through all that unused stuff. Who needs so many suits in casual dress environs or those extra sets of dishes we will never use?

  35. Sharleen Davies says

    Have been living small for almost 20 years and don’t regret a minute of it. We live in an area that is about 360 sq. ft. Have everything we need or want and lead very fulfilling lives. Loved this article, have heard most of these over the years but we now have friends who are envious of the way we live.

  36. Patty says

    One of my problems is I want to keep sentimental possessions that I think my three children will want one day when I am gone. I’m hesitant to dispose of a lot of belongings for this reason. They don’t have space or desire right now, but ‘one day’ they will (might).

  37. Tania says

    Regarding photos, I realized that I didn’t even remember where half of them were taken or who was in them. I decided to take them all out, and make 3 piles, keep for sure (only the ones that gave me a significant positive response), a maybe pile, and a garbage pile. After a day or two I went back to look at the maybe pile and ended up getting rid of most of those. In this way I got rid of about 80% of my photos.
    The other difficult one was old diaries and love letters. I made a small fire in my back yard, had a glass of wine or two, re-read each one, kissed it, and “offered it up to the heavens”. Burning can be cleansing. It doesn’t only have to be when you are angry. If you have a positive intention when you do it, it can be very peaceful. It felt more respectful than throwing it in the garbage

    • Tania says

      My mom is a pack rat. You can barely move in her house, and 99% of what she owns is old, broken or useless. She feels good giving things away but some stuff REALLY needs to go in the garbage. Once in a while we put out a table with a “free” sign. In the middle of the night my brother drives by and picks up most of it and brings it to the dump. It’s underhanded, but it is the only way to get her to let go of some things. She is delighted to wake up and see someone will enjoy her treasures.

  38. Lizzie Hough says

    In 1995 we purchased the one acre property next door to us. There was one house and seven outbuildings on that property, most of which you could not even see for the brush and trash. The first thing we did was buy goats to eat the brush (poison ivy and such). Then, we began the summer long project of literally going through ALL the mess. The first day, I spent one hour just clearing a 3 foot square patch. We sorted glass, iron, scrap, copper, aluminum, etc., recycled and burned and Oh, my, what labor it was. My children affectionately call that “The summer from hell”…. (I was newly pregnant with our fifth child and wholeheartedly agree with them!) It was over 30 years of buildup from the previous owners.
    We salvaged enough good tin to side a lean to storage building and proceeded to plant the rest of the space to pecan trees. Now, we have a producing pecan orchard where a pile of “stuff” previously resided.
    It was so sad to see the piles of clothing rotting in the shed or the gorgeous antique furniture that just crumbled when it was touched. It was waste and loss and did not bring happiness to anyone that lived there previously. The Pecan grove and open,airy space certainly has brought us happiness, though, not to mention financial profit from the pecans (and the salvaged metal and the goats, etc.) I am so thankful minimalism was a chose way of life for us which enabled us to mine the “gold” from someone else’s clutter.

  39. corey says

    number one says toss your clothes that is very irresponsible you should donate all your unwanted clothes they can really help another person

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