The Journey Begins

src: DayTripper (Tom)

It all started harmless enough on a spring Saturday morning as my 5-year old son and I went to clean the garage. The neighbors happened to be outside planting gardens, watering flowers, and tending to the outside of their two-level home.

Nearly three hours later, we were still working on the garage and the neighbors were still outside working on their home. My neighbor turned to me and said sarcastically, “Ahh, the joys of home ownership.”  I responded by saying, “The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.”  Her next sentence struck a chord with my soul. Her response was, “That’s why my daughter is a minimalist. She keeps telling me that I don’t need all this stuff!”

“A minimalist?” I thought. “How attractive, how freeing – I want that in my life.”

Call me uneducated, naive, whatever you want – but I had never heard the term before. Yet, it seemed to be the one word that defined my deepest desires. I went inside to tell my wife about the conversation and her response was the same as mine, “That’s what I want too.”

And thus, the journey begins. The journey of becoming a minimalist.

The blog will serve two purposes. 1). A journal of our personal journey as this family of four (33, 29, 5, 2) becomes minimalist. And 2). A proof if this typical family can make it real in their life, so can 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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Comments

  1. says

    How exciting for you and your family sharing the same vision. I too have recently become a minimalist. Unfortunately, my exwife did not feel the same. There were other reasons to our divorce, but this was one of them. We have a 5 year old son who I am trying to teach the minimalist lifestyle. A lot of which gets deconstructed by my wife’s cluttered lifestyle. I only hope that my son will choose the lifestyle that fits him when he is older. I look forward to reading more of your journey. Reading yours and other similar ones, is like having a support group to help us navigate in this society of consumerism. I think if we all practice minimalism our economy would not be in the state that’s it’s in.
    Peace.
    Tony

  2. Roger says

    For some time now I have been studying and practicing lean (as in lean manufacturing), and began to see other places where lean can be practiced, like home for example. From there, I’ve recently discovered minimalism, or simple living. We are now in the process of selling our house that is way too big for what we need and moving into something more manageable. With this we are moving closer to work and with a smaller space to take care of. Not only does it support how we can make things simpler (without a bunch of stuff) we can also reduce our costs and become completely debt-free. We’re on our way!

  3. says

    I’m not sure how minimalist it is that I just read through your entire blog backwards, but I have greatly enjoyed reading your story.

    I am a minimalist-at-heart living with a self-confirmed packrat, but a recent weekend spent going through the house talking about what we would like each room to be and actually starting to move things around and get some stuff out of the house has given me hope for the future!

  4. says

    Every few months this post generates a new comment, intriguing.
    I’m on the slow path to becoming a minimalist. My wife doesn’t keep a lot of junk around, but I dunno if she’s really ready to take the same path I am. My son (9) is showing great signs of not being too materialistic, we clean his room out every few months and he’s really good about getting rid of stuff he’s done with. My daughter on the other hand is a packrat to the extreme. We have to go in her room and throw stuff away when she’s at school just to maintain some floor space.
    My biggest challenge on the path to minimalism is getting rid of all the collections I accumulated my whole life. There’s something that’s keeping me from packing the car full of this stuff sitting in the attic and driving to Goodwill….it’s the desire to get “some” money in return for selling this stuff on eBay. Do I go ahead and list it? nope. So that’s where I’m stuck.
    I enjoy the blog, keep it up!

    • di says

      As you age, you may be more likely to sell it, because it gradually becomes more difficult to take care of everything in the same that you did when you were younger.

    • di says

      I throw out extras from everyone else’s room as well. They’ve never missed a single thing and always seem happier with fewer choices.

  5. Sooz says

    We r getting on this track to at 46, 42 and 3 years old. Want to teach our son not to have his “stuff own him!” ThankU!

  6. says

    I really identify with this post! Last weekend I was at my mother’s for Mother’s Day and I spent half the day inside in her basement organizing and going through all my stuff instead of spending time with my family enjoying the nice spring weather and bbq. I was really frustrated by the end of the day and was in a bad mood for the rest of it. What a day! :-( I’m making the same pledge you are to become more minimalist! Good luck on your journey and thanks for the great blog to help those of us getting started!

  7. says

    Your site is so inspiring! As a family of 6 (soon to be 7) I’m finding that STUFF has taken over our home. More and more I find the desire growing to purge ourselves of the unnecessary bondage to things that are meaningless and only weigh us down. I look forward to delving into your posts to find advice on how I can go forward with this. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. :)

    • di says

      With kids, ask them if they’d be satisfied with one or two dozen toys. Setting limits without complete deprivation is a good place to start.

  8. Connie Fletcher says

    Josh, first let me say that I hope this finds you and your family well. Please know that you are missed!! I am from a small town in Vermont…..near the Essex area…you may recall that area. I had just heard of your blog as you were leaving, and failed to follow up on finding your blog. My mentor was talking about you today, because I mentioned that I spend too much money on too much stuff that isn’t of any value. I guess it’s about time I learn about this minimalism “thing”….before my maximalism gets the better of me. Oops, too late…I think it got the better of me, and I need to correct this!! Too bad you aren’t still here, but with the advent of the computer, I guess we can still connect…..

  9. qnaguru says

    I am wondering why Minimalism is used only in context of Individuals or Families. Why can’t it be adopted to Industries – like Manufacturing, Service-Industry and so on.

    Also, isn’t Minmalist a thing that enables Simplicity. Another wonderful trait.

    Thankyou, i love this blog.

  10. Diane Comfort says

    Just read your book “Simplify” and really enjoyed it. My husband and I are planning
    to downsize and move into our motor home. Reading your book has helped me
    to know where to start. I enjoyed the part about the small victories! I now have a
    plan to start with the small area’s and move on to the larger ones.
    Thank you so much!

  11. Emily says

    I’m starting at the beginning of the archives —

    Here’s how I found this site:
    1) I work and come home to a nearly one year old baby and dent know how to effectively keep the house clean, and I do have a husband, but he works many hours longer than I do so I have the bulk of cleaning house on me. I didn’t know where to begin or how to maintain a clean house so I literally googled “how single parents keep their house clean”.
    2) venture onto some cleaning websites that are truly helping, and the one thing they all mention is the importance of decluttering.
    3) I though about decluttering and started, found how cathartic decluttering can be, and I thought I may have minimalist tendencies. So I googled minimalism and found this site.

    Now that I’m really curious, I am going to try and read as many posts as I can. I love the content on here!!

  12. Andrew Akin says

    Hi Joshua,
    You have encouraged me to get rid of all the stuff in my life and start living the way everyone was meant to live. I really appreciate your work.
    I am working on a project that will bring an encouraging and inspiring word every day to people who are not computer savvy or just don’t like the internet. Believe it or not, some people would rejoice if all computers ceased to exist. I will tell you everything about this project but don’t want to do it on this blog site. I would love to use some of your material in this project with your permission. Thank you so much Joshua, blessings to you and your family, Andrew

  13. keith p.cooper says

    2-4-14
    Joshua,
    Your idea sounds super!I myself have had a problem with clutter going back to 1987.And I still have a problem with it despite years of Psychotherapy.In fact I just came from my therapist a few blocks away a little over a hour ago.I feel comfortable
    talking with her but not my clutter.My day phone is:212-863-0818 and my home
    phone is;718-782-4838.Thankyou for your time.And God bless you.RSVP.If I were as
    happy as you I would feel better!
    Signed,
    Keith P.Cooper
    P.S.Did you go to college?

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