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5 Ways to Ease into a Minimalist Lifestyle

I never realized I was a minimalist. Honestly, I still feel like I have too much “stuff”, but I’m always purging, letting go of things that only clutter our home and minds.

how to embrace a minimalist lifestyle

When I envision minimalism, I 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. 

“Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes.” {Terry Guillemetes}

Some of our minimalism 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 didn’t have money to spend on extras, like decor.

As years passed and we could, I found myself to be more thoughtful with my purchases. Rather than purchasing something to fill a space, we made a commitment to save and purchase what we truly loved, which means that three and a half years after purchasing our home, we’re still decorating.

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}.

“Organization isn’t about perfection. It’s about efficiency, reducing stress & clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” {Christina Scalise}

If you want to embrace the less is more lifestyle this year, here are 5 ways to ease into a minimalist lifestyle:

  1. Designate a “safe” space for a little 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. 5 minimalist ideas to embrace
  2. 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”.
  3. Take it one space at a time and ask yourself these questions: 
    1. Does it serve a purpose?
    2. Do you use it?
    3. 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”. ideas how to pare down with a less is more approach
  4. 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! 
  5. When starting a project, consider how you can blend design and function. 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. Another example of this is the lead image – my most frequently used platters and bowls are stored in the hutch for easy access, but also serve as decor. Any time a piece serves multiple purposes, it’s a win in my book, er, home.5 ways to ease into a minimalist lifestyle

I hope you enjoyed these tips to ease into a minimalist lifestyle. My friend Christina recently sent me a list of questions and paired with reader questions, I have so much more to share! Please, if you have any questions or tips, leave them in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

My final tip is this: realize less can be so much more.

entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner




10 comments on “5 Ways to Ease into a Minimalist Lifestyle”

  1. 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.

  2. 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

    • 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!

  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. 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.


    • 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

  5. 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.

    • 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!

  6. Pingback: Minimalism Design | How to Design a Simple Home to Create Space and Function

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