minimalist living tips

Minimalist Living Tips – FAQ

These minimalist living tips will address any potential concerns you might have about paring down. We’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have. We also highlight other minimalists and their approach to living with less stuff.

Our hope is that by giving you a better understanding of what minimalist living is all about you’ll feel inspired to try it out for yourself. We’re probably not doing ourselves any favours by kicking off with books (it’s a notoriously touchy subject), but we figured it would be better to rip the bandaid off early.

What About My Books? 

woman in library

The thing about books is that the savouring is in the reading. The story will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page. So knowing that, what’s the point of hanging onto a book you enjoyed but in all likelihood won’t ever read again?

Why not spread the love? Donate your books to your local library, school or old age home. If appropriate, of course. (The biddies might not appreciate 50 shades of Gray.)

We have a two-pronged approach to reading. For those lazy Sunday afternoons on the couch we take books out at library. Self-improvement books we buy on our Kindle, because those we invariably revisit.

Read: How giving away 1000 books got James Ball reading again
Read: Our take on the book debate

What About the Sentimental Stuff?

hands making heart shape

Memories reside inside of us, not in the things we own. One of Ang’s favourite ways to remember her Mom is to stop whenever she sees a bakery. Her Mom had a sweet tooth and a fondness for cream cakes and doughnuts. Staring at the display and guessing which ones she’d have chosen always makes Ang smile.

While there’s nothing wrong with keeping a small memory box, holding onto things you don’t use, don’t necessarily like and don’t really have the space for, just because they remind you of a loved one doesn’t make any sense.

You more than likely remember the person in a million other ways. Why not use those memories to keep them alive in your heart. See if you can come up with something similar to Ang’s bakery story.

Read: Our tips for dealing with sentimental clutter
Read: 4 Questions to ask when decluttering

Do I Have to Sell Everything?

overwhelmed woman - minimalist living tips

No, absolutely not! Just ditch the stuff that doesn’t add value to your life. Follow William Morris’ advice and “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Minimalism is different for everyone. Don’t try to shoehorn yourself into someone else’s idea of what the lifestyle looks like. Find what works for you, but be open to the idea of changing as you go. Nothing is cast in stone.

Read: What is minimalism? It’s a means to a beginning
Read: How to live a minimalist lifestyle without getting rid of everything

Is Minimalism Possible With Kids?

minimalist living tips for families

There are lots of families living a minimalist lifestyle. And no, their offspring aren’t dreadlocked and barefoot (not all of them, anyway). Most of them live regular lives with jobs and houses and cars. They’re mindful people raising mindful kids.

Read: 7 Minimalist family blogs that are living clutter-free and happy with kids

The Art of Simple by Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh spent a year travelling around the world with her husband and three kids (all under age 10). I reckon it’s safe to say she’s honed the art of simple. Read more >>

Read: At Home in the World

Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker

Joshua and his family embarked on their minimalist journey after a conversation he had with his neighbour. He and his wife are doing a superb job of raising mindful kids. Read more >>

Read: The Minimalist Home

Zen Habits by Leo Babauta

Leo is married with six kids, which is kind of the antithesis of a minimalist lifestyle, but clearly it works for him. His journey along this path kicked off when he quit smoking in 2005. He’s achieved a phenomenal amount since then, making him the poster boy for the “If he can do it, anyone can!” mindset. Read more >>

Read: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

Books, Blog Posts, Courses and Whatnot

woman reading map - minimalist living tips

We’ve put together a list of books, blog posts and courses that speak to the how of living a simpler life. They cover a range of topics here, because minimalism isn’t not just about owning less stuff.

Get Uncluttered (and Discover the Life You Actually Want) | Mostly Mindful

Are you completely overwhelmed by your stuff? Has the stuff in your house got a life of its own? If you want to get uncluttered in 2020 (and beyond), keep readin’!

11 Experts Explain the Minimalist Principles That Help You Maximize Life | Apartment Guide

This roundup from Apartment Guide has some great tips for living with less stuff. From being intentional and resisting the temptation to just shove stuff in the closet to living furniture-free (yup, that one’s from us), you’re sure to gain some valuable insights.

25 Lessons When You’re Ready for a Simpler Life | Marc & Angel Hack Life

Simplicity is ultimately a product of focusing on what matters. Identify what’s most important to you. Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else.

Parenting Spoiled Kids | Julie Suratt

We’re lavishing our kids with unwarranted praise, trying to be their BFFs instead of their parents, and giving them anything they ask for. Where have we gone wrong?

20 Questions for a Minimalist | Joshua Fields Millburn

The answer to question three is especially helpful for those of you just embarking on this journey. I found the idea of a packing party particularly ingenious.

Your home is living space, not storage space.

Francine Jay, Miss Minimalist

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

4 Comments

  1. Hi Angela,
    I was really touched to read how you remember your mom whenever you see a bakery. And I suddenly realized you’re so right. For the past year and a half, I’ve been reluctant to give/throw away any of my mom’s stuff. Even things I don’t like or use at all. I’ve been telling myself I was keeping her closer near me that way, but I wasn’t. In fact, most of the times they were only pulling me down. I thought about what you said and realized that the times I do feel really close to her is when I’m doing something she liked doing, when I’m eating her favorite candies, when I’m handling things the way she would have and that I’m not paying her any respect by keeping all kinds of stuff just because it was hers. Thanks for a very wise and helpful lesson.

    1. Hi Lies. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m really chuffed you found my way of remembering my mom to be helpful. Recently I decided to give away my old family photos to my aunt because I know she’ll really appreciate them. I never look at them because they make me sad. I like stopping by the bakery, that always lifts my spirits! 🙂

  2. Hi Angela – you’re an inspiration and having just rewatched your chat “The less you own, the more . . . ” you’ve nudged me into action.
    I was intending to do this, but now I AM DOING IT. I am closing down my workshop for however long it takes ( I’m a Luthier – I repair, service & customise stringed musical instruments). Last December I had a massive initial clean up, now it’s phase 2. (The photos of some of the piles of chuck-out are embarrasing) I gave huge amounts to TEARS and vast amounts of “paper” (notes, old magazines etc) to AA Waste.
    This final “clean up” will make my wife extremely happy, she’s a minimalist & I’m a bit of a hoarder – so here we go! New horizons down the road – here I come 🙂 I’ll let you know once I’m done and what my new experience is like.
    Be Well

    1. Hey Mike

      Good for you! You’re going to feel so much better afterwards, I guarantee it. This past weekend Sporty and I did our somewhat overdue 3-month clean-out and we’re feeling on top of the world. You’re making space for new and exciting stuff to come into your life, which is always rewarding. Good luck and let me know how it goes. 🙂

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