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Any serious minimalists on here?

post #1 of 101
Thread Starter 

I know a lot of people are here to declutter, get organized and keep their lives simpler. But I was wondering if there are any more extreme minimalists here? Living with the absolute minimum of stuff and nothing that is not essential. Please no flames from those who don't subscribe to this level of simple living- positive posters only smile.gif


I recently went through a life changing experience, and now we are moving far away to an island- which I have wanted for a long time. I thought I had been moving towards minimalism the last few years, but now I am realizing I was fairly deluded orngtongue.gif. I just had it neatly organized and stored so it seemed like less stuff. I took selling to a whole new level and have decided this whole move will be the inspiration for a new simpler life. And I mean very minimalist. The more I get rid of the more I want to. And the more I realize that what I believed before to be essential to a convenient happy life was actually completely unnecessary.



We are learning to do without things that we really never needed to begin with. We will only be shipping the bare minimum of stuff. My lounge room is set up like a department store completely packed full of the stuff we are selling. I am no longer interested in buying anything as I see that it got us into this situation in the first place. Things no longer have meaning to me. I am holding my breath until we have it all gone and we can get there and just be together as a family. Which is what is really important to me. And always was, but managing all the junk was getting in the way of living a full life. 

So is there anyone on here who lives this way as well? Maybe those living on an RV or a boat- the ones who didnt rent out storage for their stuff while they were away winky.gif But sold it all and let go of the importance of 'stuff'. Or those who just decided to change their life one day? Or anyone who is moving towards this lifestyle now? Im talking hard core minimalists.....where are you all? orngbiggrin.gif

post #2 of 101

Well, I wish I could be a hard core minimalist.  Dh and the 3 kids prevent this though. lol


Truly, it sounds freeing and beautiful, what you are doing.  I hope others post their experiences going minimalist.

post #3 of 101
I've moved abroad once now using just the allowed suitcases (I think 5 in total) for my preschool age kid and I, and I'm about to move again and do the same thing. I do find that furniture and kitchen items add an extra burden--I've always gotten basic furnishings and kitchen supplies after moving and I like to cook and bake so I get more than the bare bare minimum of, say, one pot and one tupperware. But toys, books, clothes, and all the other random junk (high school yearbooks, old school notebooks, wow I had a lot of crap lying around, etc etc) were completely pared down. I gave away, freecycled, or donated to charity most of it.

I've also had to live in small spaces (usually just a room in a house for my kid and I) for a number of years, I'm actually just now living in my own apartment for the first time, so I'm used to not having extra space to keep junk around. I do like having enough space for the kid to play in, a yard or a large room, which is why I wouldn't want to live in that small of a space again now that my kid is older.

Plus, being poor/being a graduate student has made frugality a lifestyle. Used clothes and toys, hand-me-downs from friends, freecycle, yard sales, side of the road free items, means I rarely need to spend money on new items.
post #4 of 101

I am so there. :p I love reading about minimalist lifestyle type stuff on here, so thank you for starting this thread! I know your name here because I always remember your posts... ;) At the moment there's no hardcore minimalism going on in our apartment; a bit too much stuff. Not getting rid of things as much as usual the past couple months and the holidays here has magically made stuff appear. We've been planning to move across the country for a long time and I've been patiently waiting excitedly. :D We bought a house on Mt Hood and we are leaving here in April. We plan on giving away everything, pretty much, and just shipping out boxes of the clothes and kitchen items we need the most, and packing important things in our Rav 4. There are a few very important things that we must bring, such as our birth certificates, etc. type paper and suchlike, my favorite guitar and our macbooks and favorite toys, etc. I love my sewing machine like crazy, but I can always replace that, so I don't even know if I'll bring it. And methinks it's the type of thing that would just love to break on the trip there. :p  Pretty much anything can be replaced. There are very few things that are *absolutely necessary* that can't be replaced. That's what I think, anyway. :p That's all that I have to say about that right now, I guess. Well done on getting all those things together to get out! I know exactly what you meant when you said you were holding your breath waiting for it to go out and you guys to get where you're going and be together. We are in the same boat, so to speak. :D Luckily for me we live in an apartment building and there's a loading dock where people can put whatever they don't want there. It's a huge space, so we figure all our furniture and whatnot can go there (and maybe some friends will take a look here and have anything they want) before we leave. Okay, that is all. Great thread! 8)

post #5 of 101

I would say I am a minimalist in progress...but have come VERY far in the past 2-3 years. I am here to say it can be done with a child or children and having a 2 full time careers, lots of pets and lots of love. While I would LOVE to find a little beach house somewhere, that is not possible (right now)  BUT I can make the most (or I guess the minimalist) of what I have now. As I have travelled down this path, I have found it to be small and large steps, all with a learning experience along with them. We are in the process of moving H O M E in 8-9 weeks. SO let the decluttering and simplifying begin. This time of year is perfect, as we are keeping Christmas simple. I am giving my son and my hubby just what they need and my son is getting a special gift from us. We donated over 50% of what my son had as toys, mostly things he has played with for 2 years or so and has outgrown. I work in a corporate office and actually do love my job, so I do have a lot of clothing and shoes. Someday, when things are not so corporate, I will downsize that part of my life. Until then, we work on other areas. We have very few chotskies, probably a small box full and we only have our college books, currently in use and the Bible and my son's basket of books (all are classics and favorites) . We utilize the library a lot. My biggest "collection" are photos. I love to change out my pictures and give them as gifts in a nice frame. Otherwise, I try to keep everything else pretty streamlined, from the amount of kitchen items to personal hygiene products to even the pet items or how I try to keep my car clean and simple inside. What has helped me a lot is making a priority list of the top 5 things I want to accomplish, say in the next year and what items or actions am I doing to get there and what can be purged. This even includes people, items in my favorite list online, Facebook, even items from my past (Held a big cleansing ceremony). As I get older, people and experiences are more important than the right house filled with the right stuff. We like to travel, even if it's a weekend trip and we are very into family time, our careers and education. So that is what we focus on. It's amazing as I get older, perspective has made a huge difference, even in such a short time that I have been doing this. I want my son to remember us and his life experiences rather than not getting the right toy or having a hissy fit over something as trivial as "stuff", ya know? So, onward I go.  As far as hubby and myself, down the road, we want to walk away from what we have, when that time is right, and find that beach house and just back a suitcase and go, without looking back or worrying about stuff. : )

post #6 of 101

In the past year, things have really ramped up. We have been through 5 surgeries- me 2 and hubby 3 ..and after I was laid up in bed for 10 weeks and watching dust settle on everything and my house become chaos, as soon as I was up again, I purged liked crazy. I was not happy how things went downhill with me not cleaning and picking up all the time and no, I don't blame my family. Hubby REALLY tried but with working full time and watching our son, he was doing his best. We were just REALLY disorganized and had a lot of useless stuff. The house actually looked worse when we started, like a tornado blew through. But we were determinedld not to put a dang thing back unless we decided it was 100% necessary or loved. Keeping the stuff down has been important too. As I stated, Christmas and birthdays are minimal and the rest of the year, I stick to lists to keep me on track. I only allow myself to shop once a week and if we truly need something in between, then we go get it but only 2x this past year has it been necessary, as in couldn't wait until the next shopping day. I am more aware of what's in the pantry and what products we have really used over the past year. Just this past week, out went some fancy smelly bathroom items that I hadn't used in a year. I am determined in the next 7 weeks to purge 7 more full boxes. I think that will put us a good spot for moving ,starting fresh and keeping it simple.  

post #7 of 101

I find living a super minimalist life very appealing, but at this point, barring a house fire, my family will never get there.    I wish you well with it. 


There is an article in this month's Sunset magazine about a family who lives this way.   I think it's the January issue, if you are interested.   It's inspirational to see the photos and hear about changes they have made.

post #8 of 101

Read this thread yesterday and swore I responded!   Ah...here goes again.


I don't think I can call myself a hard-core minimalist....yet...but I'm a wanna-be for sure. I've lived as an extreme minimalsist multiple times in the last few years and absolutely LOVED it.  Just finalized purchase on an older small 'ranchette' type property in Montana (6 acres--house, huge garden, sheds, garage, small house, huge yard/flower gardens, chicken coop, etc.). We lived there from May to Nov this year and had just 3 carry-ons and 2 checked bags for 3 people--and one bag was foodstuffs/towels, linens. The house had basic furnishings/kitchen items/washer/dryer, etc. but it was so nice and easy to keep track of our 'stuff' when we had so little. Moving to Puerto Rico, I got rid of 1/2 of our stuff, and moving back it will probably be the same, and I know there are things I can reduce even more once there. In 2010, I lived only 2 months with my 'stuff' due to shipping to Puerto Rico/going to MT for 6 mos, and I realized that even though I'd reduced....I still had too much! The new place in MT is far from any cities/shopping so I know I will keep more of some things I'd not usually and having animals/outdoor/garden will mean more of some thing we've not had before, but I really look forward to being more self-sustainable!


We also lived what's called 'FOTR' (full-time on the road) in a 35' motorhome in 2008 for 4 months straight and traveled 8000 miles and my boys have now seen 47/50 states. About 250sf for three of us and it was the perfect amount of space. Since 2007, we've spent a total of about 9-10 weeks a year living in the motorhome full-time while we traveled for craft shows as well. We also spent 6 weeks in 2008 in Europe with just a carry-on backpack each. I know it's been a good experience for my boys (almost 15 and 11) and they speak fondly of it often and can't wait for the next adventure. I love that they're accumulating experiences and not 'stuff'. They can pack for a trip of 2 days or 6 months into a carry-on backpack and be perfectly happy with only the possessions they can carry on their own backs. It definitely has carried over to daily life as well. When we go to purchase items, they are conscious consumers and really think about what they want and if they will use it.  They are super minimalists for clothing, and so it's easy to buy quality pieces a few times a year for them as I know they will wear them until they are worn out.


My biggest problem area is sewing stuff!!!! Fabric! I use it for my business, and I make all kinds of things we need. I like to buy it on sale, so it's so hard to balance that with how much is 'enough' to have on hand.  I have bought only a few yards in the last year and have been using up 'stash' so that has been good for me. Now to continue into 2011!

post #9 of 101

Great thread! We are minimalists too :)

We have spent 2.5 years in a 220 square foot 5th wheel, a year travelling and a year building our cob home. We are close to being done the house!! So will be needing to get some things we have been without.. Just got a washing machine again after 2.5 years without. We are putting in freecycled but super nice stove and sinks. Buying as much as we can used or building what we can, such as cob benches and recycled wood loft beds :) 

Living with less has taught me that less is more!

It has been the best thing we could ever do for our family by far.. Ours kids play with and appreciate what they have and also use their imagination so much more!

post #10 of 101

I am also a minimalist in progress...DH wants more stuff and I want less lol DD could care less at this point (shes 15/mo) We have recently moved to one car...severely downsized our home and are renting a very minimal apartment.


After the 1st I am getting rid of EVERYTHING (after giving DH a 3 month period to sell it or give it away) Yes I want to be organized but I totally dream of just living very minimally and really LIVING somewhere in what my family would refer to as the "boonies" with a nice homestead and some lovely horses. peace and quiet and away from the world.

post #11 of 101

I dream of living a true minimalist lifestyle.  It's hard with a family, and people seem to be constantly giving us stuff.  I am really going to give it a consious effort this year to not bring anymore stuff into the house, and to get rid of a lot of the *stuff* that I have been hanging onto for sentimental reasons.  I was thinking last night about what I would truly miss and what I would replace if our house burnt down.  I would really mourne losing the kids baby books, and I would quickly replace my e-reader, my camera and my knitting needles - the rest of the stuff just doesn't matter (I've got all of our photos stored on an external source, so I can access those from just about anywhere...).


Good luck on your journeys - I hope that some day I can be there!

post #12 of 101
Originally Posted by greenmansions View Post

I find living a super minimalist life very appealing, but at this point, barring a house fire, my family will never get there.    I wish you well with it. 

This is me exactly.  I admire those who are able to do it.  Me, I look at my stuff and think I could never part with it.  I NEED it (in my mind anyhow).  I love this blog.  The family goes back and forth between living simply in small spaces to getting rid of almost everything and traveling/living in their RV.  It's really inspiring.  I'll be reading along with this thread for inspiration and perhaps strength to get rid of some stuff. winky.gif

post #13 of 101

We are getting there.  We are traveling for the next year for dh's work, so the past 6 months have been all about minimizing everything.  I love it and finally dh loves it too.  We own not quite the bare minimum, but a small step up from there.  Our dishes are down to 1 bowl and 1 plate for each family member.  One towel per person.  Minimum of clothes and shoes.  Just enough chairs, just enough bed space, just enough toys.  I am absolutely in love with this lifestyle.  My kids are happier, my work load is less.  Our debt load is less.  


Once we leave, we will have a suitcase for each person that will include clothes/shoes, bedding, a towel, and one small toy.  Legos for the boys, my dd is taking her little play creatures, I have a Kindle and dh is bringing his laptop.  We are moving to a minimally furnished space and will not be able to acquire much.  


I am curious about coming home.  After all the minimizing I have done this past year, I know that there is more I can get rid of.  I know I have books that we don't need to keep.  I have a couple of extra things in the kitchen that are not needed.  The kids' toys could be pared down a bit more.  I am looking at a lamp right now that I don't need.  An advent calendar that could go. A stack of CDs that could be loaded onto an iPod and then donated.




OP -- just read your post again and I am totally struck by how alike our situations are.  I know what you are going through right now.  I am amazed at how much I have gotten rid of (and we were pretty lean to begin with) and how much I still own.  Why do I have all of this stuff?????  And where did it come from?    

post #14 of 101

Not there, but dream of it.


I don't know as I could go seriously hardcore (like one suitcase holds everything I own in the world) but definitely can release more 'stuff' happily. We are pretty minimalist compared to most of the mainstream western world, but again -- I am feeling pulled to continue to release more and more.


I would love to get to the point of one bowl/plate/cup per person, one towel etc. Right now we have I think 5 of each (with 3.5 people) so not too bad obviously, but we could take it further. I do have one or two 'hot spots' too, like crafting supplies would not be considered minimalist :)


Loving the thread though, and hope it continues!

post #15 of 101

Oh my gosh...wait until you get home and look at your 'stuff'.  You'll immediately just want to put it all in boxes and donate it. I felt so claustrophobic when I got back 'home' to all the stuff!

Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post

OP -- just read your post again and I am totally struck by how alike our situations are.  I know what you are going through right now.  I am amazed at how much I have gotten rid of (and we were pretty lean to begin with) and how much I still own.  Why do I have all of this stuff?????  And where did it come from?    

post #16 of 101

I would love to do this but the dh and kids simply won't let it happen. dh has way to many "sentimental " things. convincing him to part with anything is like pulling a bobcats tooth.

post #17 of 101
Originally Posted by zenenlightened View Post

dh has way to many "sentimental " things. convincing him to part with anything is like pulling a bobcats tooth.

I hear you!  My DH is probably my biggest obstacle when it comes to decluttering.  I was sorting through the file cabinets today and he wouldn't let me get rid of DD's expired passport.  So, it will be stashed away and completely forgotten about until we clean out the filing cabinet again - gah!

post #18 of 101


I try to be minimalist. 18 years ago I moved here w/ 2 suitcases, 1 carry-on bag & and 16 cardboard boxes that held my pots and pans, linens, out-of-season clothes, books, and cassette tapes.


Since then, I've married, had 2 kids, bought a flat. I try to keep things minimal, and having a small flat (by North American standards) helps. But, the books have piled up, as have the CDs, and papers. It's hard to balance keeping minimal stuff w/ frugality and memory keeping. I *could* throw out the winter clothes every summer, but instead, I store them. I keep a box of X-mas decorations and a box of Chinese New Year decorations. I have the same set of pots and pans for 21 years. We have 16 plates and only once or twice a year do I use all of them at the same time. But, I don't want tov reduce to 4 and then use paper-plates with guests or on holidays. I even sometimes wish that all of them matched (which would be a waste of money and resources).


Chinese New year is coming up, so I hope to do another clean and purge of the house.

post #19 of 101

This was an inspiring thread to find! We are planning to move overseas so are on our way to this. In the next two months we'll either be moving itnoa  5th wheel or a one room suite! (with our 1 year old!) by most people's standards we are already minimalist but we have to go wayyy down from our 2 bedroom apartment.

post #20 of 101

Great thread :) If I lived on my own I'd be extremely minimalist. Now there is three of us and we are just "normal minimalists". We live in a 600 sf apartment but there is still room in our cupboards. People say they don't believe I could possibly get rid of anything else as we have so little, but I'm still whittling down our possessions further. And teaching DD to become minimalist too :D My husband is on board though he is less organized than I am, so his closet and desk drawers get messy. If it was organized it would take half the space it does!!! (I sometimes fold everything in his closet neatly and it looks way more spacious.) For practicality I'm keeping two sets of sheets as we don't even have a dryer but line-dry. I would like to maybe live in a small house of our own in a few years.. But for now where we are is great. But I honestly think I can pare down even more. 

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