My Minimalist Journey, and the Lessons I’ve Learned

Posted January 31, 2019 by Thirty-Something Angie in Lifestyle / 1 Comment

Minimalism is all the rage these days. Everywhere you look, people are decluttering their homes of things that don’t bring joy. As a “been-there-done-that” minimalist, here are some things I learned on my own journey.

I don’t know when I first heard the term “minimalist,” but I know over the last few years, it’s gained a lot of traction as a movement. At first, I never really considered myself a minimalist. I mean, I actually like stuff. Don’t all minimalists live in empty houses with less than 100 items? That’s not even close to how I live!

Luckily, that’s not true. At least, not for everyone. To me, minimalism is more of a mindset than a list of hard and fast rules to follow. If you’re being more mindful of what gets brought into your home, and trying to live with less, then you have definitely begun to embark on your own minimalist journey.

While the whole idea of decluttering and intentionally living with less only entered my mind a few years ago, I realized I’ve actually been a minimalist my whole life. At least, most of it.

It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly it started. Was it growing up with a struggling, single mother? Losing most of my possessions to a hurricane? That time I basically lived in my car, crashing on the couches of friends and relatives? Or maybe the multiple cross country moves I made as a young adult? I really don’t know, but somewhere in the middle of all of that, I lost my detatchment to stuff. I distinctly remember being in my early twenties and mentioning to a friend that I could walk away from my whole life with a backpack. That’s all I needed to carry my most prized possessions.


Then, I met my husband.

Let me just say, my husband really likes stuff. He grew up with a dad who sold collectibles at flea markets, so naturally, he sees the value in everything. E-VER-Y-THING. It’s something I knew about him as soon as I met him. And, I still managed to marry him and all of his stuff. I guess it’s true what they say. Opposites really do attract!

Anyway, fast forward ten years, and my home looks a lot different than I’d ever imagined. Despite paying for storage for years, having to get an extra large moving truck for our last big move, and picking every home we’ve lived in based on it’s storage capacity, we still felt cluttered.

One day, I was reading through organization advice (because I didn’t actually think I was a minimalist) and I read a piece of advice that hit me hard.

You don’t need more organizational systems. You need less stuff.

Man. I really wish I could remember where I’d read that or who said it, because it basically changed my life. That was the moment I realized that our consumerism had gotten way out of hand and I started working to reduce the actual clutter in our homes.

Our house now looks totally different. Somewhere along the way, I realized I’d always been a bit of a minimalist at heart, and that’s when the journey really changed.

We still have stuff. Our home doesn’t look like the ones you see on Pinterest and Instagram with white walls and empty rooms. We’re comfortable. The difference is, there’s a lot less to clean, and the things that are left are things we truly use and love. We still have a long way to go, but we’ve caught the vision, and keep moving forward.

Are you thinking about simplifying your life with all of the declutter talk going on? Check out what I’ve learned along the way! Maybe it will help you on your own minimalist journey journey.

Minimalism is all the rage these days. Everywhere you look, people are decluttering their homes of things that don't bring joy. As a "been-there-done-that" minimalist, here are some things I learned on my own minimalist journey.

10 Things My Minimalist Journey Has Taught Me

  1. Clutter causes anxiety: I dealt with anxiety for years and never could pinpoint the cause. The more I decluttered, the better I felt. I’ve read the articles before, but didn’t actually believe it until I experienced it myself.
  2. Customized items are hard to resell: I went through that phase of putting my kids name on everything. Then, they outgrew it. Think twice about personalizing everything if you plan to donate or sell the items later.
  3. Don’t hide your clutter: If it’s stuffed in a box or drawer, it’s not doing you any good. Either find a place for it, or decide if you really need it.
  4. Clean up is a breeze with less clutter: I spend so much less time “tidying” now that there is room to put everything away!
  5. Minimalism looks different for everyone: there’s no right way to do it. I’m in a minimalist group and it’s amazing to see just how differently everyone approaches this lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you’re on this journey for aesthetic reasons, to pay off debt, to simplify, or be more eco-conscious. Don’t worry about doing it the right way. Just do it your way and find something that brings you joy.
  6. You don’t have to follow experts: I’ve never watched minimalist youtube channels, checked out blogs, or listened to podcasts on minimalism. You don’t need an expert to tell you that you need less stuff. If it makes you feel better to check out the resources, awesome! But don’t let it pressure you into doing it the “right” way, because there is no right way.
  7. I was born to be a minimalist: I already talked about that in this post, but it was an important lesson I learned!
  8. I don’t need that many: I frequently have to repeat this to myself as I go through the house. We haven’t needed 20 matching wine glasses one single time in our twelve years together. We probably never will. Same goes for the drawers full of t-shirts that I never wear!
  9. Re-Purpose & Re-Use: Decluttering can cause a lot of waste. I much prefer to re-purpose items before throwing them out. For example: old t-shirts make great rags for kitchen clean ups. Chipped coffee mugs make great pots for little succulents! There are tons of creative ways to avoid adding to the landfills.
  10. Storage solutions just invite clutter: I used to be all about bins, baskets, and other storage solutions. Now, I realize that they just invite clutter! The only way this lifestyle works for us is by eliminating all of those catch-all solutions and finding real homes for everything we keep.

Are you on a journey to simplify your life?

It is still amazing to me that what started out as an effort to declutter and organize my home came this far. If you’re just embarking on your minimalist journey, I hope these lessons and little snippets of advice help you along the way!

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