Oct 27, 2014

5 Steps To Minimalism

5 Steps to Minimalism

Have you ever been interested in minimalism but don’t know where to start? There was a point where I was very interested in it, but had a hard time nailing down any ideas or was too overwhelmed to even begin.

1. Visualize
Get a pen and paper, or a word file, or any other way you feel like documenting your thoughts. Document your goals. What do you hope to accomplish by being minimal? What are your major life stressors?  What do you think minimalism will look like for you? What is your end result? Will it be an easier to clean house? A less stressful environment? More time with family? I like to keep inspiration on my Pinterest account as well, but it’s not as easy to track.

2A. Assess Your Space
My go-to when I first started was “space”, or “stuff”. I felt like this was the easiest place for me to start because it’s something you can see. It’s tangible and was easier for me to manage because I could see visible progress. I made note of where I felt overwhelmed with it and why. Outgrown toys, clothes that aren’t worn, kitchen gadgets that haven’t been touched in years, all on my list. How should each space in your home function? What do you actually use each room for?

In the beginning it was toys and clothes for us, then with the addition of Søren everything has been chaotic and finding a good way for this space to function for our family has become more of a priority. I regularly clean out the boys rooms, but still fall behind in plenty of areas in the house (especially the garage). I’d really like to have everything more streamlined and functional.

2B. Assess Your Time
Do you always seem to be “busy” but never feel accomplished? Do you spend more time doing something you love less than something else? Are you dying to spend more time with your family? Write out a list of things you have to do, and a list of fillers. Make a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule about what your time should look like. Do you see any gaps? Are there things you can do differently? Does this mean less overtime at work? Less group activities for the kids but you’ll get to spend more time with them?

I think it goes without saying that I work a lot. I try to only work at night while the kids are asleep, but in the busy season often my work spills over into daytime. I’ve taken steps to limit the amount of work I do in certain areas so I can focus more on what the more fulfilling parts of work are for me, and ultimately so I can spend more time with my family. If you’ve noticed more sponsored posts on the blog, this is why. Often I can work on these without sacrificing time with my family, so I want to say a big thank you to you for helping to support these sponsors, and ultimately helping me to spend more time with those I love.

3. Make a Plan
Please keep in mind that minimalism is different for everyone. Just because one person might have less stuff or needs than another doesn’t mean that they are better at it. What does your minimalism look like? Is it to manage your house? Your schedule? Both? You will want to make a plan, for space I recommend a room-by-room plan, and for time I recommend a schedule. List out attainable goals, or goals that can be broken down and celebrated when you meet them. This not only makes it more simple, but also encouraging when you feel as though you’ve made progress.

Our current space plan right now is still playing musical rooms. I reassessed our needs as Søren grew into toddlerhood and the age gap between the boys became more of an issue. We’re still in progress, I’ll have a big update for you when it’s done, or you can follow along on my instagram. My time plan is really to just get work under control and back to reasonable hours, I think after the holidays pass it will be a more attainable goal.

4. Implement
Follow through. This is always the hardest part for me. Personally, it’s easier if I make small task lists with tasks I know I can finish within a couple of hours. I use my Gmail tasks for this and it works out well. I like to break it out by room or item too, for example “Office / File paperwork” or “Closet / Remove unworn shoes”. It helps me to visualize my progress, which is key for me to stay motivated. You can always re-visit your plan and edit as needed.

5. Maintain
This is another area that I admit I have a lot of trouble in. It can sometimes be harder than simply getting started but will make life easier if you do pay attention. It helps to set a standard for items you bring in or activities you spend time on. As an example, I don’t buy toys for the boys that I know they will lose interest quickly, or that might break or get lost easily. I’ve curbed a lot of my shopping habits by simply asking myself if it’s something I need (functionally). Do I really need that chopper or will a knife do the same job? Be intentional about what you bring into your home, and what you devote your time to.

I hope that these tips will help you get started and on your way to a more simple life. This is the fourth and final part in my minimalism series. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments, or you can always contact me.

Some resources:
Closet Detox Sheet by Into Mind
5 Simple Steps to De-Clutter Your Closet by Mnmlist
How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe by Un-Fancy
Life / Inspired Pinterest Board by Jessica Doll
21 Benefits of Owning Less by becoming minimalist
TEDx Talk by the minimalists

Do you have any favorite reads or articles? Feel free to share them below!

My Living Room

“For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay

Expand Comments

[…] “This isn’t a trend. This is the new standard.” It speaks so much to the idea of minimalism being here for good, and not just another fad. I truly believe people are waking up to making […]

Minimalism has simplified my life even without intent. I just prefer things in their proper place and the least amount of clutter as possible. It has worked wonderfully in my home over the years. Beautiful home you have by the way and thank you for the post.

It’s so good to hear from someone with similar thoughts. I often have a lot of family members ask, “Where is your stuff?”, lol. :

My sister and I just had a conversation about this yesterday. It is something we both need to work on, but we are trying!

This is a really great post. Thanks for sharing!

This is something that I need to work on. That wardrobe capsule has intrigued me…I just may take a chance and see if I can stick with it! Thanks for the ideas!

This is a great and helpful post! I think I have the hardest time with the “Maintain” portion of the process!!

Your living room is gorgeous!! These are really great tips. I need to work on minimizing the amount of stuff in our house… we’ve started donating a couple bags/boxes a week – so now to just stop bringing new stuff in to replace it!

I love the idea of minimalism but my teens disagree! I do not like clutter – it is distracting. But my kids are collectors.

It’s so hard for me to throw things out but as soon as i see an episode of hoarders I get rid of everything I possibly can lol. Your living room looks so comfy and cozy even with your minimalist decor.

These are such great tips that I could easily implement

I LOVE minimalism. And then people see my closet. But, I promise! I love it! I want it!

I need to declutter my wardrobe so badly! I have so many things I can’t even shut the draws at the moment, it’s not good!

Your living room is gorgeous, so bright and airy!

Katie <3

I’m totally not a minimalist. I LOVE your living room though, but mine is just filled with color and crap. Beautiful crap hah

I love your living room. I am always trying to minimalize. It’s difficult sometimes but it helps to know its a cleansing. I love when I go to hotels and theres no excess with me. I dream of my home being like that. (PS I love your living room!)


I think writing down everything really helps me with goals. It’s actually how I realized that I needed to be brutal when it came to giving stuff away when I moved out of my apartment. I ended up having way more bags to donate than bags I was bringing with me.

I must admit I never really thought about minimalism at all, I have learnt a lot in this post today thank you Jessica

Minimalism was forced upon me as well, but I adjusted fairly easily. I’d much rather have experiences over things, but that’s just me! And 2B is a very important part of my life, I always want to make sure there is some quality family time involved in my little ones life.

I love this post because I am trying to get into minimalism! I am bookmarking this for a future reference 🙂

I would love to have less stuff, but with a hubby that loves to bring everything under the sun home and hates throwing anything out, it’s a little tough. I do try to purge every so many months though and I think that helps me keep my sanity…lol.

Thanks for the advice. Didn’t ever really think about things that way before.

I love this! I’m always on a mission to minimize, which is REALLY difficult when you have kids. I’m constantly purging things we don’t use or need! This is a great list to keep handy when I get stuck in a rut! Thanks for sharing!

That room looks so cozy and welcoming. I want to grab a fleece blanket, cup of coffee, and my bible and just curl up and ahhhh…

If only being a minimalist was so easy as reading how to be. I stink at it and really need more help and getting better at it!

What a great post ! I love the idea of capsule wardrobes and I”m going to read more about it now!

We are trying to start being more minimal. Too much stuff and too much clutter is making for a stressful home. So it’s our project to start scaling back.

Great post. I will admit though, I enjoy stuff so much so I’m not really a minimalist. However, I do believe in clear space and am against clutter.

Haha…..I was literally going to say exactly what Chelsea said! I love your living room!

Like I said before. Kinda wish I was a minimalist, I just don’t think it will happen. Especially with The Guy’s bike stuff strewn around. I wonder how differently we’d live, if we were living that way.

Sidenote, but I LOVE your living room. Seriously perfect. I kind of suck at being a minimalist. I very much enjoy getting new things and my closets are very cluttered 🙁 I have got a LOT better lately though at passing on things I don’t need or use which has helped make some room in my life!

Thank you! I used to struggle pretty bad with it but I find as I get older it gets better, I feel more confident in wearing tried and true pieces and the excitement of new ones has sort of worn off. I know, I sound like an old fart, lol. I also know someone who has a 1 out / 1 in rule. For every new thing she brings in, she has to sell/donate/give away one. I think it helps with it but isn’t a total fix if you’re already overwhelmed.

This was much needed! Just like you – I think the worst part for me is to follow through!

It’s so tough sometimes. 🙁

For me, minimalism was somewhat forced in the material sense because of moving to California and having to down-size with space. But over the past couple of years, I’ve also approached life by pulling back from all the extra things I did because I thought I should and don’t really need to do. I know there are still things that I spend too much time on and shouldn’t, so everyday is a little journey! Looking forward to hearing about your next big change!

That definitely rings true for me, it’s always changing based on our needs.

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