Minimalism makes me feel like a bad human.

When I was first looking for inspiration on living a minimalist lifestyle, I found a ton of sites that were knowledgeable, beautiful, inspiring….and very intimidating.

The advice I found on going minimal made me feel like I was a bad human for having three different types of tea on my pantry shelves.

Minimalist lifestyle wardrobe

Pinterest made me feel like I had to paint all the walls in my house white if I wanted to participate. (Also, why are the official colors of minimalism white, gray, and more white??)

It was completely overwhelming.

I had a closet full of clothing at home that took me forever to collect. And my husband had about twice as many shirts as I did.

I had a toddler at home. He came with more stuff than the entire Kardashian clan.

My husband and I loved to entertain, and kept a whole set of beautiful white plates in our kitchen cabinets just so we could use them once a year at Thanksgiving.

How could we possibly adopt a minimalist lifestyle when our current lifestyle was full of so many lovely things?

And why would we want to?

The more I researched, the more discouraged I felt.

The problem was, I didn’t really want to be a minimalist.

I just wanted to feel less afraid, less overwhelmed and out of control.

The truth was, I was a new mom. And I was drowning in overwhelm.

Suffocating under the pressure to live up to the beautiful lifestyle I had (which was created both by choice and by chance).

Even though I didn’t feel like I should complain, I felt selfishly forgotten. Lost in my own life.

And I desperately wanted to be unburdened by so many things – both in my home and in my head.

I wanted to feel free, unbound, and whole.

Why You Should Be “Minimal-ish”

So even with all the overwhelming information out there, I set out to find peace by giving the minimalist lifestyle a chance.

And living a minimalist lifestyle did sound simpler. More meaningful. Less chaotic.

Less stuff, less stress, less time invested into digging through my closet over thirty pairs of shoes trying to find my favorite sandals.

Some sites I found had a ton of beneficial reasons for adopting a minimalist lifestyle:

  • More money – because you’re not spending it on buying more stuff.
  • Less junk – because you’ve purged your entire house of anything that used to sit on a shelf or in the back of a closet.
  • More freedom – because you’re now spending money on experiences like vacations, outings and rock concerts.
  • Less stress – because you’ve only got one favorite tank top, so you don’t need to plan what to wear when it’s hot.
  • More eco-friendliness – because you’re not sucking down the planet’s resources by buying more stuff.
  • Less of basically everything else – because, well, you’re a minimalist. You’ve given away most of your stuff.

The lifestyle sounded beautiful…but it was harder than I thought.

I had a kid and a husband to think about. I didn’t think either of them would want to join me on the journey to “living with less”…

So I did the only thing I could do – I started small.

I took an opportunity to travel with my family for five weeks as an opportunity to finally go through my entire house and let some things go.

I sat down and took a look at what I really thought about my life, and made a plan to act on my dreams.

I chose moments during each day to quiet my mind, and find space for me to just be in this world.

I started small.

And after adopting a “minimal-ish” lifestyle, I’ve found there’s more than just lifestyle benefits going on behind the scenes.

I’ve finally silenced the noise.

I’m less afraid.

I’m more in control.

And I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

How to Live the Minimal-ish Lifestyle

Minimalism doesn’t mean you should get rid of all your vintage Beanie Babies or donate all your kid’s favorite toys.

You don’t have to use only one fork, one knife, and one spoon to live a minimalist lifestyle.

You don’t even need to paint all the walls in your house white or sleep on a mattress on the floor.

Minimalist lifestyle livingroom

To live a “minimal-ish” lifestyle, all you need to do is simplify.

Simplify the environment you live in.

Simplify the routines you stick to.

Simplify the thoughts in your head.

Minimalism isn’t necessarily about the stuff you have – it’s more about the habits we’ve built around that stuff.

Because let’s face it: we keep a ton of things around because it makes us feel better just to have it there.

In some room in the back of our house, we have a such-and-such item that’s there, just in case we need it.

The truth is: we don’t.

And the easiest way to start feeling less overwhelmed, more in control, and free is to start simplifying the way we live.

Simplifying the Minimalist Lifestyle

Contrary to what you may have heard, simplifying your life doesn’t mean you need to rip your house apart and secretly take your husband’s entire fly fishing collection to the thrift store.

Living a minimalist lifestyle means you have permission to say no. To anything that complicates, clutters, or confounds your peace.

I was able to give minimalism a place in our life by adopting a “minimal-ish” lifestyle. To start…

Simplify the environment you live in.

Take a look at each room in your house, one by one.

What’s in all those drawers?

What’s in the back of those closets?

What’s hiding in corners, under beds, or in attics?

Minimalist lifestyle - declutter makeup

To simplify, you gotta get ruthless with some items and really ask yourself: do I use it? Do I need it? Do I actually want it?

Simplifying each room in the house will take time, but I found that starting at the front of the house (the living room) and working towards the back (the kitchen) helped a lot.

Need some decluttering ideas? Here’s a list of the best decluttering tips and how-to’s I’ve found!

How to Declutter Your Home

How to Declutter the Living Room
By Just a Girl and Her Blog

How to Declutter the Kitchen in 5 Easy Steps
By Money Crashers

9 Easy Tips to Organize the Bathroom
By Clean and Scentsible

How to Organize the Garage in 5 Easy Steps
By The Spruce

Decluttering Your Home Office
By Get Organized Wizard

How to Organize a Laundry Room
By Life Storage Blog

How to Declutter Your Home
By Budget Dumpster

Simplify the routines you stick to.

What’s your day look like?

Are you working towards your goals each day, or struggling to keep up with life itself?

Simplifying the schedule you stick to may not sound important, but it’s a huge part of the minimalist lifestyle.

We’re going for less stress, more clarity.

Take the time to analyze what your schedule currently is, and simplify as much as you can.

Need some ideas for creating a better routine? I’ve found some awesome resources here:

How to Create a Routine

5 Steps to Creating a Personalised Daily Routine
By The Spruce

How to Create a ‘Success-Based’ Morning Routine
By Chris Winfield

How to Create an Evening or Nighttime Routine for Better Sleep & Relaxation
By Nutrition Stripped

Best Routines and Schedules for Moms and Kids
By A Mother Far From Home

Simplify the thoughts in your head.

Minimalist lifestyle

This one is a work in progress for me, but there’s something to be said about the tie between our excessive spending/gathering of stuff and the thoughts that bounce around in our heads.

Just by paying attention I’ve found I spend the most money on meaningless things when I don’t feel great.

My hair didn’t curl at the proper angle so I bought myself a new shirt.

Or my jeans are a little tighter this week than they were last week so I bought myself some earrings.

Little things like this add up.

And new research shows that a minimalist lifestyle can do wonders for your mental health.

Simplify the thoughts in your head. This will help you move towards your goal of adopting a minimalist lifestyle.

If you need help starting your journey towards inner peace, check out my favorite journals here…

Best Journals for Calming Your Inner Self

30 Days of Self-Love Through Journaling
By The Petite Planner

The Calm Mindfulness Journal
By Calm

A Year of 30-Day Challenges for Getting To Know Yourself
By Minimalish Motherhood

And when all else fails, remember that lifestyles are created over many years. Give yourself some space to have nice things in your life, and to let nice things go.

It’s all in a minimal-ish day’s work.

Happy Living,
Sarah

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