Minimalism: Living Better with Less

I love SIMPLE and inexpensive ways to do things, and I am slowly changing my husband’s frame of mind about frugality and saving money. I am constantly perusing Pinterest and some of my blogger friend’s sites to find awesome little nuggets of great information! Recently, I am very interested in minimalism; it is all about freeing yourself of possessions, guilt, and the rat race! You can bet you will hear me talk about this a lot more as we begin our journey (if he doesn’t think I’ve lost my mind and divorce me!) to minimalism.

On her blog the minimalist mom, Rachel Jonat shares her journey to do more with less. The family decided in 2010 to become minimalists– they purged themselves of lots of “stuff” including the family car, and never looked back. In just over a year, they had paid off $60,000 in debt and moved overseas with just suitcases and some boxes of housewares that they shipped. She has a book coming out in May called Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized, and Happy Life.  You can bet I am buying that one– I definitely want to be more like them.

Rachel’s latest idea is “one in, two out” which means that for everything they bring into their household, they must get rid of two things. I LOVE this premise, and I will be doing this in the new little place.


Lest you think minimalism is some crazy fad, you should know that The Minimalists, AKA Josh and Ryan have spoken about the trend at SXSW, Harvard Business School and TED; they have also written a bestselling book, Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, which debuted at Number 1 on Amazon. Obviously, there are lots of people interested in living a pared-down and SIMPLE lifestyle.   

The Minimalists have a cool way of making minimalism fun– they suggest finding someone to play this game with and make it a competition. The game works by ridding yourself of one possession on the first day, two on the second, etc. You can sell, trash or donate things– but they must leave your home by midnight. As Ryan and Josh say, “You both win if you can make it all month. Bonus points if you play with more than two people.” 


I would love to ditch all our Earthly possessions and travel the world– and if it was not for the husband, I would probably be in Sicily right now. One person that has taken minimalism to heart and lives life on her own terms is Valen Dawson, author of the book, Dream Catcher: The Magic of Living your Dream Life. She also blogs at This Way to Paradise and Eating the Globe.

Recently Valen wrote a post about letting go of your “stuff” that I really took to heart. Honestly, there are very few physical possessions that I hold so dear I cannot let them go– Grandma’s rolling-pin, the gun my Dad taught me to shoot with when I was six, and my Mom’s cedar chest that came from her mother. If you look deep within yourself, you likely will see that 95% of the things you have, you can let go. As for me, I am lightening the load now— someday in the future, I hope to do the kind of globetrotting that Valen is now. Could her smile get any bigger?

Valen at Eating the Globe


Because I own a freelance writing and online marketing business, it was thrilling to find a post incorporating minimalism into the freelance world on the Microlancer Blog. It discusses removing distractions and clearing away anything not needed– this goes for the desk as well as the computer. (I know I get the most work done when the Internet is totally out!)

Check out the Minimalist Guide to Freelancing and pick up some great tips about removing distractions, balance and focus. I know that I did! Now what DOES this picture with these two adorable dogs have to do with minimalism? Read the post to find out!


What do you think of minimalism? Could you get rid of a lot of your Earthly possessions, and how would it change your life?


40 Responses to Minimalism: Living Better with Less

  1. Great article! I can’t say that I’m a minimalist, but I love the idea of that lifestyle — although I could never part with my car…I don’t think anyway.

    • denisemgabbard

      Thank you, and thanks for stopping by! I doubt I could ever do without a car…unless I lived in a place like New York or Chicago where everything you need is within walking distance. Come to think of it– I would gladly give away my car for a place within walking distance of the beach :)

  2. Our society tends to be so focused on material possessions it’s refreshing to see another side! As part of my Lenten challenges I’ve been toying with the 40 Bag/40 Days clean up — basically get rid of a bag a day — now, I’m preggo, due any day, and have been really sick this pregnancy, so I’m going a modified version . . . ie, a bag any day I can. But that is helping to get rid of things that we just don’t need weighing us down.

    • denisemgabbard

      I love the idea of getting rid of a bag a day and I think I am going to do that, too. Stuff creeps in a little at a time, so I also like the get rid of two things for everything that comes in. I think it’s just changing our mindset so that less is more.

  3. We have so much stuff we dont know where to start when we do clean. I used to be a sneaker freak. I was always buying new colors and styles. Finally my fiance put his foot down and told me for every pair I brought in, one had to go. After a few years of that. He finally said I could only have one pair for work, and one for outside of work. I still have a few pairs of boots and tons of flip flops but having only two pairs of sneakers was so HARD at first. Now i realize i dont really need more than that.

    • denisemgabbard

      That man is a keeper! My husband has let my shoe and clothes habit go on for far too long.(don’t you love how I deflected that on him, LOL?) Now that we are downsizing and I have to go through all that “stuff”– YUCK!

  4. I really need to declutter my life for sure–I wish I had the motivation to do so!

    • denisemgabbard

      The more I read about minimalism, the more motivated I get to do it. People that live this way always mention how much easier their lives are without are the clutter.

  5. Very cool, we are both writers! I also try to embrace a simple lifestlyle although I enjoy some luxuries like Starbucks so I’m not sure if that really means my life is simple. I am in Cleveland – I see on your profile you grew up here and just recently moved! I am from Toledo originally. Been here about 2.5 years and love it.

  6. i have been saying for weeks now that I need to clear the kid’s clothes out. There is a consignment sale this weekend I’d like to attend but I should not go unless I’ve cleared out the clothes that do not fit. Great article!

  7. I think I have the exact opposite issue – I have TOO much stuff and I hate to let go of things. Especially the things that my boys outgrow. They are all so sentimental to me.

  8. The minimalist mindset is not very popular these days, is it? We, too, embrace a simpler lifestyle, choosing to live within our means.

  9. I think the only things I would have trouble letting go of if it came down to it would be those with sentimental connections. I definitely need to start the one in, two out thing. I could probably do a one in, five out and be safe for a year!

  10. I agree, less is more. I get so tired of clutter that I find I’m always throwing things out or giving them away.

  11. We as people grown custom to material things. I have a lot of stuff I could get rid of that I don’t really need.

  12. This is really interesting. I am all for saving money and being frugal and any advice I can find, I pay attention. I’m not sure about giving up my possessions however I have given up cell phones for the last few years because it’s just crazy to pay 40 a month and I never talk to anyone lol. I do love my internet and cable though so I can’t give those up but I bet if I totally did this 100% I’d feel much more peaceful and relaxed. I’m definitely looking into it and see if I can find some things I can apply to my life ’cause I do need help.

  13. I am working on decluttering right now. It feels nice to purge.

  14. I am a minimalist but NOBODY else in my house is, and it drives me insane. I also have a slight case of OCD which doesn’t help. I think the simpler the better- I always have.

  15. We’ve been on a kick to cut down on the clutter also and are having a yard sale when the weather warms to get rid of it all!

  16. I agree that minimalism is important. Last year we downsized from a 2-story, 3 bedroom townhouse with a garage and a shed to a 2 bedroom apartment. It was tough, but I love living with less.

  17. This is a fantastic idea! I think we could really do a lot of good if we minimalized our lives. We have a move coming up that I am hoping to be able to motivate us to get rid of a lot of stuff. -Amber

  18. I am so intrigued by this concept and have been thinking about it for a long time. I want to start going that way but I need to do a little more research first. i would LOVE to travel with my girls instead of have “Stuff.”

  19. wonderful article.. I can’t say that I’m a minimalist, but I love the idea of that lifestyle and would love to learn more.

  20. I like the in out rule. Although we do not stick by it fully, before all of the birthdays, I try to make a bag or two of things to donate. I am not living like a full minimalist but getting rid of unused items makes a huge difference.

  21. We just downsized trying to live with less stuff. There are some things I will not part with because they were passed down through generations of our family but other things we are doing without a lot of what we want though have all that we need. My goal is to teach my children the difference between need and want as they seem to have forgotten the difference between the two.

  22. I’ve learned so much about frugal living and saving money from my couponing friends. It’s amazing how much money one can save…

  23. Yes, I could get rid of quite a few of my earthly products and I have been doing so. I think it is easier as you get older to let go of stuff.

    There is a Wisconsin based company that has been perfecting a handmade mobile home. The company is called Escape and they make a mobile home which is classified as an RV and it is beautiful and really looks like a small cabin. My goal is to move into one of those down the road.

  24. Good for you! I am a Residential Interior Designer and I find that I have been leaning more towards a less is more approach to my own decorating as I have gotten older. I am sure your hubby will see the benefits and hop on board. Welcome to the group

  25. Wow. Minimal living has always interested me for sure!

  26. I love the idea of getting rid of one thing, then two, and so on. What a great way to purge out things you don’t need.

  27. Great article!! I’ve been working on living with less this year. Can’t say I miss the “stuff” and it’s so nice having the extra space! :)

  28. Wow, I love the idea of 1 in, 2 out. My dad does things in his Polish style– nothing is ever thrown away, including things that date back from the 1950s. It makes for a lot of clutter in the house. I, on the other hand, like the minimalist approach. I only have what I need and it makes me feel more sane!

  29. I would love to get rid of at least half of my stuff. We have moved several time in the past few years and each time we got rid of alot of things but we still have so much!

  30. Yeah that is the society that we live in unfortunately.

  31. We were very happy when we had no money and no things, when we were first starting out. It gave us lots of time to spend together.

  32. Maybe I need to start doing this. Going through a stressful time and maybe it would help.

  33. I try to be minimalistic but definitely don’t succeed. I like the idea of making it a game though. I might could make it work if it was a team effort.

  34. This sounds like a great idea. I need to adopt this idea. I think my husband would definitely be on board with this since he hates clutter.

  35. Thanks for the mention!! Yes, I definitely have a lot to smile about!!

  36. Oh I certainly agree with living better with less. The more stuff you have the more cluttered it is. I love the bare minimum and if you don’t really need it then why get it?

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