Taking Minimalism to the Masses. And How You Can Help.

At the end of this article, I’ll introduce you to a brand-new Becoming Minimalist Newsletter and give you an opportunity to win one of ten autographed editions of my new book being released in August. But before I can make that exciting announcement, I need to give you some background…

“I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success – the earliest spark in the dreaming youth – is this; dream a great dream.” – John A. Appleman

Becoming Minimalist: The Story

Four years ago, I stood outside my typical suburban garage and made a life-changing realization. To the left of me stood a dirty pile of material possessions. To the right of me, my son sat alone in the backyard asking me to play. At that very moment, my neighbor appeared outside her home. I began commenting to her on how much time and energy was being wasted taking care of my house and everything we had purchased over the years. Her response was simple and life-giving, “That’s why my daughter is a minimalist. She keeps telling me I don’t need to own all this stuff.”

The statement rang in my heart as a beautiful invitation. The realization that I could purposefully live with fewer possessions had never entered my mind. Maybe it’s because I was a product of my own selfish greed or maybe I had become a product of the consumeristic society in which I lived… but I had never considered the fact I could intentionally live with only the most essential possessions in my life. My wife and I went to work right away removing everything from our home that we did not know to be useful or beautiful. Eventually, we’d move into a smaller home.

As a result, we discovered a far better way to live. It is a life lived with more time and energy for the things we value most. Saturdays are no longer spent cleaning the garage or organizing closets. They are spent with the ones we dearly love. Our financial opportunities have also changed dramatically. We spend less time and money at the department store. We no longer live paycheck-to-paycheck. And we have far more disposable income available to give to causes we believe in. We have more freedom and less stress in our lives. Our kids are happy. We are happy. We have indeed discovered a better way to live life.

And this message needs to reach the masses.

Becoming Minimalist: The Website

Immediately, we started a website. For the first 18+ months, it stood as an on-line journal of the progress we were making, the lessons we were learning, and the benefits we were discovering. Surprisingly, the website was being read by more and more people each day. At the time, we did very little to market the blog or target readers. We just consistently wrote about the outward and inward journey towards minimalism in our lives. We never asked for readership, we just opened up our lives.

Two years later, in March 2010, we made an intentional change to this website. We began to realize we had learned some valuable lessons about possessions and the effect they have on our lives. As a result, we began to use this website not as a personal journal, but as an opportunity to invite others to pursue minimalism and find new life because of it. We joined social media networks. We connected with other bloggers. And we sought out opportunities to challenge our readers to live for something greater than the pursuit of material possessions.

Our efforts were well received. Becoming Minimalist grew from 500 subscribed readers to almost 15,000. Our monthly page views increased from 40,000/month to 500,000/month. Facebook fans increased. Twitter followers grew. Books were written. And the message was beginning to spread. Looking back, this intentional pivot forever changed the course of this website and our lives in the process.

But over the past few months, I have sensed a growing call inside my heart… a newfound passion growing inside my soul. I still recognize far too many lives around me being lived for temporal pursuits. Our culture demands conformity and our souls too willingly submit to the pursuit of possessions… seeking life, happiness, and meaning in all the wrong places.

But we have an opportunity to change that! We have discovered there is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more. We have discovered an unexpected key to happiness. We have a message that needs to be spread. We have built a platform on which to proclaim this message. And we are ready to intentionally give more energy, time, commitment, and finances to spread this message to the masses… to those who so desperately need to hear it.

And I know in my heart that many of you are desiring to do the same.

Becoming Minimalist: The Newsletter

Starting today, I am announcing the creation of a Becoming Minimalist Newsletter to accomplish that very purpose. Specifically, the goal of this newsletter is to recruit, mobilize and equip a team of people committed to the intentional promotion of the minimalist lifestyle. And provide them with the resources to spread this message as far and wide as possible.

The newsletter will provide a far more personal opportunity for communication than this blog allows. Because of its nature (permission-based delivery to inboxes), we will have greater freedom to share intimate details of our pursuits, this website, and the intentional spread of the minimalist message. The newsletter will be delivered on a consistent basis and will contain links to popular, shareable posts from this website and others to be shared via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and heartfelt conversations over a cup of coffee. The newsletter will provide practical opportunities to support Becoming Minimalist and others in minimalist-specific ventures (book launches, speaking engagements, interviews, presentations, tours).

In short, the newsletter will serve as direct communication to those interested in promoting the minimalist message. And together, we can make a big difference!

I do encourage you to sign-up. At this point, it’s the most important first step. By subscribing, you’ll get exclusive content, specific opportunities to promote minimalism, and advance notice on new projects we’re working on. (FYI: This e-mail list will not receive blog post updates individually. But will instead receive regular round-up reports of popular posts from this site and others).

You can sign-up below to join more than 2,500 others on this exciting team receiving the brand new Becoming Minimalist Newsletter. I look forward to partnering with this exciting team committed to the intentional promotion of minimalism to a world that desperately needs to hear it:

Thank you so much for being a part of a more intentional Becoming Minimalist. And if you wouldn’t mind sharing this article on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, I’d really appreciate it.

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

    Subscribed :D I am not sure why but I feel quite excited at this idea. There lies another advantage of becoming a minimalist I have found, little things like this make sure a big difference. Happiness is so much easier to come by these days.
    Now can we have a minimalist dating site? Tee-hee. It has been something I have been thinking of recently – how does someone with so little date something who is the opposite or where do you find like minded people.
    OK I am off to ramble elsewhere. Looking forward to your newsletter

    • says

      I’m really excited too Samantha. I’ve been thinking about doing this for quite some time and the timing finally feels right. If the motivation for a minimalist dating site ever begins burning inside of me, I’ll look you up. But I’m not sure it would be wise to wait for me on that one…

    • says

      It’s funny how I came across this comment. This evening I was curious to see if there was such a thing as a dating site for Minimalists, so I did a Google search and this comment came up! LOL.

      BTW…Love the site Joshua.

  2. says

    There is a wave… it is rolling out from all of us that are “Becoming Minimalist” our families, our friends and students are all watching . While some are in dis-belief and some are amused and still others think we are crazy, we know we are the sane ones. Simple living is as old as time itself…. Many people I know are gaining strength through being simple and frugal.
    The Sage leads by following (the Way)
    Be Sagely, lead through example, there is peace and tranquility in a simple life; the time is neigh for our species to take action.

  3. says

    “I still recognize far too many lives around me being lived for temporal pursuits. Our culture demands conformity and our souls too willingly submit to the pursuit of possessions… seeking life, happiness, and meaning in all the wrong places.” Wow! that got me. It is SO true. I’ve never been a pack rat and started making a concerted effort two years ago to live with less, but after meeting Joshua at WDS and attending your talk, my desire to have less stuff and more life has intensified. You each had a calm and centeredness that I rarely see in people in my day to day life. Signed up for the new venture and hauling still more stuff out the door (310 items this past weekend).

  4. says

    Minimalism will help us hear God more clearly. When the static of the world is squelched, His voice seems louder. Thanks for your ministry and for encouraging people to live their whys!

    • Jennifer Bowyer says

      AMEN!! That couldn’t be more true. I am definitely hearing God more lately, after taking steps towards minimalizing :)

  5. says

    “Our culture demands conformity and our souls too willingly submit to the pursuit of possessions…”
    Your thoughty and thought-provoking quote above really resonates for me. Thank you for “saying” it “out loud.”
    It’s sort of curious how so much of Life is dependent on REVOLUTION. I think we all have a “story” of our coming to simpler minimal living, same as we have our tales of those who laugh and call us crazy… The thing is, we don’t “get it” til we “get it” and once we’ve GOT IT, well, golly, there’s no limit to what is possible.

  6. says

    Dear Joshua, I’ve just subscribed to the newsletter. I’m writing from Italy, and I really would like to translate part of the contents of the newsletter on my 8-months-old blog viaggioleggero.com. With all the due credits, of course. What do you think about it?

    • says

      Sure. We write to be read… no matter the language. The design of the newsletter is to present material and efforts that are completely shareable to a team of people desiring to share them. Your efforts fit entirely in-line with the goal.

      • Jennifer Bowyer says

        Joshua, did you ever think you were going to be reaching so many other countries/cultures when you began this journey? Isn’t it wonderful?! I’ve noticed comments on this post from Italy, Germany and Brazil. How awesome! And I never knew where you were located, until I signed up for the newsletter… kinda cool to see you’re in my neck of the woods :)

  7. Naomi says

    I’m so excited about this newsletter!!!
    Since going Minimalist in the last 4 years I’ve managed to recruit my Husband, Mother and Mother-in-law (My Dad was already trying to encourage my Mum so he’s part of the choir). One of sisters-in-law is almost there also. I can’t wait to see who else would like to join us!
    This is my kind of Gravy Train! :D

  8. says

    Exciting! Can’t wait to hear more in the first newsletter!
    Thanks for your continued inspiration down this minimalist path :)

  9. says

    Looking forward to your newsletter. Even if I have no idea what would be the difference to your blog and tweets. And the blog and tweets from some similar people. I’m a minimalist most of the time. Our family with two boys lives very simple and reduced to the essentials. And we are working hard on it. But it’s great. We don’t need much money and that makes us independent. And we travel years long (3 and 2 years, in the last 12 years).
    Minimalism makes life meaningfull and easy.
    Greetings from Germany.

  10. Katherine G says

    I love your website and recently shared your article on Kid’s Toys on our homeschool facebook pages. In fact for the past month your website has been our homepage. That way it is a constant reminder of our family’s long term goals. For the past few months we have been committed to significantly downsizing. We are a military, homeschooling family and have moved 6 times in 6 years. Recently, the clutter has moved in effecting our homeschooling outcomes and our homemade meals have turned in to frequent and costly eat outs. It is too much for one person to keep up with. In the past two months we have gotten rid of half of our furniture and a third of everything else. Our journey into minimalism started when we decided to start foster to adoption. When the foster agent failed to come our home visit and had to reschedule my husband said, “Maybe this was a good thing. Do you really think we can successfully handle more?” From that point on we have be dedicated to downsizing our processions to improve our happiness. And in six months, when we have less to take care of, we are going to reschedule that appointment!

  11. says

    Joshua – Love the blog!

    I have signed up for the newsletter and will do whatever I can to help spread the news.

    Thanks for doing what you do. This is really good stuff!

  12. says

    This sounds so promising! I love organization and clutter-free life style. I’m not a minimalist yet, but I’ve been reading about minimalism for more than a year now, and I’m in the process to pairing my things down. Some people simply don’t understand this, specially because I have a bigger home now (from 322 square feet to 710 sq. feet), but I want less stuff and more time to live. You have been very inspirational to me!

    (Apologies for eventual mistakes – I’m from Brazil and English is my second language. ;))

  13. says

    I began the first step in my minimalist lifestyle yesterday after signing up for your newsletter. I went into my four year old daughters room and realized she had way too many toys. Hundred’s of tiny pieces of plastic lay around the room, everyday she and I spend 30 minutes picking up and sorting them into bins. No More. I set aside 3 bins, and placed the toys I knew she loved and played with faithfully in them. I went through her closet and pulled out old clothes and brought them all to a local donation center for the Booster Club. But the biggest improvement was when we went to the grocery store later that day, she began her normal plea for a new toy but I said no. I stood my ground and did not give in. I was very proud of myself. :) I know it is just a small step, but a step no the less. Last night, I began with my own clothes.

    • says

      Mamie – Small steps are WAY better than no steps at all.

      Congrats on starting your journey. I, too, am just beginning this process. And I’m very excited about the future.

  14. Jennifer Bowyer says

    WOO HOO!!!!! I’m super excited about your newsletter, and your new book! I can’t wait to be part of this :) We’ve begun on our journey of minimalizing… getting rid of the unneccessary at home, de-cluttering, re-organizing, etc. Our first step was actually to get caught up on ALL laundry in the house. Literally, everything other than what we’re wearing (and our son’s cloth diapers) are clean! We do one load at the end of every day, and put those clothes away. So now, we never have piles of laundry. We never have to frantically search for something to wear, or a towel for the shower! lol In fact, now we have too many laundry baskets just sitting around. But I plan to use those to help organize our efforts in getting rid of things. :) Thank you so much for your inspiration!!

    • Deniz says

      Jennifer, you sound just like me!! The laundry was my first step. Ours was absolutely crazy. It had gotten so out of control and i couldnt keep up with it and was just washing the few pieces we needed over and over again and leaving the rest. I have three very young kids who like to play with dirt and water haha so we have heaps of washing to do. Embarrassing as it is to admit, my mother in law took care of the ‘heap’ over the course of a few days :/ but NOW i do the washing regularly and its looking fantastic! Ideally, I put a load on before breakfast, and after breakfast when the kids go outside to play i go out and hang the washing. Then after their nap in the afternoon we go outside again and i collect, fold and put away the laundry. I hope it becomes a habit so that i can keep it up. I think thats what is important- to make good habits, so that it will come naturally.

      • Jennifer Bowyer says

        Deniz, no matter how it got done, it got done! :) That’s awesome that you’re now trying to make it a good habit. I completely agree, once you get in the swing of things, it becomes natural which in turn, makes it so much easier to keep up with! and I have to commend you for hang drying your clothes. I’m not sure where you live, but I’m in Arizona where it’s completely possible to have dry clothes within a couple hours, if hung outside. But I’m taking the easier route and using the dryer. Maybe one of the next few things I get done, is utilizing the sun more often :)

  15. Kelekona says

    Hearing the story about how the whole journey is logged right here, I figured that it would resonate better if I could read from the beginning instead of the accomplished.

    How hard would it be to add a “next post” link to the archives? Does your software support it? Otherwise, reading the archives is going to be annoying.

  16. says

    Hey Josh,
    Having people like you, Leo, and the Minimalists filling my RSS feed, has really inspired to spread the word also. Contribution begets happiness.

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Simplify. | Is your mom home? | August 11, 2012

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