Find truly effortless ideas for minimalist living. Learn how to begin a more minimalist lifestyle – and love it!

A minimalist lifestyle might not be what you think. Read on to learn more about becoming a minimalist- the easy way!

A blue Dutch door with a simple guest bedroom beyond.
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I never realized I was a minimalist. Honestly, I still feel like I have too much “stuff”, but I’m always purging. I tend to prefer a clutter free home, letting go of things that tend to also clutter our minds.

When I envision minimalism, I used to think modern. Reflecting on comments I receive and how I feel when our home becomes too cluttered, I realized that you can live a minimalist lifestyle with traditional taste and apparently, I’ve been doing so all along.

Becoming minimalists has helped us live intentional lives, only inviting things (and activities) in that we truly love.

Minimalist Living

I’ve written about our minimalist home, minimalist seasonal decor, and making your own warm and cozy even when you’re a minimalist. You can also find all the details about our minimalist kitchen here! 

Some of our minimalist living has sprouted out of need. My grandma always said “waste not, want not” and for years, it was an essential part of our lifestyle as Chris was in medical school and residency. We simply didn’t have money to spend on extras, like decor.

As years passed and we could make larger purchases and investments in our homes, I found myself to be more thoughtful with my purchases.

A simple guest bedroom in white and navy in a guide to minimalist lifestyle.

Creating a Minimalist Lifestyle

Rather than purchasing something to fill a space, we made a commitment to save and purchase only what we truly loved, which means that quite a few years after purchasing our home, we’re still decorating. And that’s just fine with me!

Purging is also a constant. It’s how I begin each organization project. There’s a misconception that I don’t have messy closets/spaces. I just might take a photo of what our guest bedroom has become this winter.

The difference is, I don’t let it spill over into other rooms (there’s an invisible caution tape over the door and the fear of me screaming “don’t go in there” running through the girls’ heads until I have time to tackle it).

I love sharing ideas for improving your home! 

We’ve renovated many homes during the last 20 years, and I am always thrilled to pass along the knowledge we’ve gained along the way. See the complete Before and After tour of our St. Louis home here, and our Modern Lake House Before + After as well.

A simple guest bedroom in white and navy in a guide to minimalist lifestyle.

Tips

  • No need for storage units even if you live in a small home. Decluttering your home gives the illusion of additional square feet that you didn’t know existed!
  • Becoming minimalist can also save you money! Rather than purchasing multiple things you never use, use for a short time and replace, etc, minimalist living will make you thoughtful of your purchases and enjoy them for years to come.
  • When you embrace a minimalist mindset, it tends to make you spend money wisely. For example if you have a capsule wardrobe, one versatile piece can add an abundance of options.
  • I have found that when you choose quality over quantity, it makes life easier and less stressful. A quality item won’t need to be replaced again in a year, saving you time and money.
A white kitchen and an organized closet space in a guide to minimalist living

How to Become a Minimalist

  • For me, minimalist living is about eliminating excess and choosing wisely. Most items in our home serve more than one purpose. For example, our platters double as decor. Some hang on a wall while others are stacked in our hutch.
  • Even the hutch is multi-purpose. It visually breaks up a long wall of cabinets in the kitchen and stores a lot of my entertaining accessories. It also stores desserts like pies, cookies, and cakes when space becomes a commodity when hosting dinner for a crowd.
  • Our drinking glasses double as vases and even our cleaning supplies integrate into our “decor.” You can learn about my everyday essentials in this YouTube video.
  • If you want to embrace the less is more lifestyle, I’m guiding you through eight simple steps to ease into minimalist living.

a white kitchen in a guide to minimalist living

Start Small

This will help you make it a sustainable lifestyle instead of a phase.

Designate Space for Chaos

Nothing in our home is perfect. The basement is another example for that. You have to allow chaos to live somewhere when you have children. Or at least I do.

The basement is that one place where kids can be kids, get creative, make a mess and I don’t have to repeat myself 9 times begging them to pick it up. In fact, I rarely ask them to.

Get Everyone Involved 

We try to make de-cluttering and organizing an adventure. Like “girls, you received so many great gifts at your birthday parties, wouldn’t it be fun to give some of our toys to kids who may not have very many?” They get excited to let go of their things.

I assign each kiddo a task like “collect all the markers”, “see how fast you can fill this trash bag” or “all dress up clothes in this bin”.

An organized laundry closet

Declutter

Take it one space at a time and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it serve a purpose?
  • Do you use it?
  • Does it bring you joy?

If you answered no to any of these questions, let it go. Pare down to the things you really love and need. The rest is just “stuff”.

Donate duplicates. Get the Decluttering Checklist here.

An organized laundry closet

Assess

Assess how you use the space and how you can use it better.

Our bookcases are valuable space that were under-utilized for some time. Rather than decorate them with trinkets, we added baskets which hold household items like batteries, our dvd’s, manuals, etc.

The platters were just consuming space in a kitchen cabinet, but can be used when hosting get togethers.

We frequently mix drinks at the bar cabinet as well!

Blend Design and Function

Any time a piece serves multiple purposes, it’s a win in my book, er, home. In our lake living room, the folding stools can serve as extra seating, foot rests and even luggage stools when we are overflowing with guests!

In our primary home, this was showcased in the way we incorporated our linen cabinet. I always loved the way a wardrobe looked in a family room, but it consumes a significant amount of space, so it needs to be functional as well.

We removed the coat closet in our foyer so in the winter it accommodates coats and in the summer, the same side is filled with throws we’re not using. The drawers hold games, candles, and pillow covers.

A white living room with blue accents in a guide to minimalist lifestyle.

Bring Less Into Your Home

Waste not, want not. Bring your bags to the store, take less home. Don’t purchase something because it’s on sale. Purchase because it fills a need or better yet, fills multiple needs!

Consider a Capsule Wardrobe

Chances are, you have things in your closet you haven’t worn in a year – eliminate them! Remove everything from your closet and choose the pieces you love.

Play with them to see how you can mix and match and how many outfits you can create from those pieces. Eliminate the rest.

A white living room with blue accents in a guide to minimalist lifestyle.

More Decor Inspiration

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47 Comments

  1. One of the best gifts my Mother ever gave me, was telling me that I could get rid of anything. Not to confuse an item with a memory, and that if I got rid of something, I wasn’t “throwing away” the person it belonged to, or that gave it to me. I’m not saying I don’t value heirlooms… but it’s very freeing.

    1. That’s brilliant! I finally let go of my mom’s makeup and lotions that have been tucked away and moved with us 5 times. Thanks for sharing, Shannon!

  2. Hello Julie…I just found you today on Instagram and am an immediate fan! I’m a designer/builder in Napa, CA and wondered if you would share what camera you use for your gorgeous photography of interiors? They look like you hired a pro but I can’t imagine you hire someone for the amount of great shots you post.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Leslie

    1. Thanks, Leslie! Nice to “meet” you! I taught myself photography and am working to refine my skills. There are so many great tutorials online, tips, etc! I have the Canon 5D Mark IV (most were taken with the Mark iii) and several lenses, but for home I tend to use a 50mm 1.4

  3. Wonderful post! I look forward to your emails, just for the chance to see your lovely ways of doing, cooking and thinking. I find your blog calming and refreshing….and SO BEAUTIFUL! Thank you!

  4. This is such a lovely post! I’ve been trying to implement the less is more approach to my life and I’m actually happy with the results so far. But I still think it’s just a beginning of my journey so I loved all your tips. Since I live with my parents I can’t really get them to love the minimalism style as well 🙁 They take my suggestions as offensive and disrespectful (oh well). But I know it’s more than just about our rooms, houses or wardrobes. My ‘chaos space’ in my room (well for now it’s just my room) would be the drawers under my bed – they’re still organised but they keep all the pieces of stuff that I don’t want to display. But since the rest of my family isn’t really at the same page – I can make it anywhere else other than my room haha. Thank you for this lovely post!

    With kindness

    1. I can only imagine how challenging that is, but nothing feels better than a space of your own to retreat to…and nothing is more important than family. Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend!

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. i’m the same way and it’s a never ending thing I swear. There’s always something that needs to be re-done.