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.


  • 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


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 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.

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  1. Hi Julie – I really enjoyed this post. I’m slowly getting rid of things too. It is a process, but so much better when it’s done. On another note, I tried your recipe for Wine Marinated Frozen Grapes. I used green grapes and Pinot Grigio. Everyone liked them! Next time I buy grapes I will get the red and try then with red wine. Love your posts!

  2. Hi Julie, 
    I found your blog via Instagram and find it to be very inspiring. We are in the process of house hunting and would be interested in hearing your philosophy on purchasing an older home and remodeling vs purchasing new. 

    1. Thank you, Katherine! Nice to “meet” you! Gosh, I love the charm of an old home, but new sometimes feels great, too! If I could build a custom new home, I would, but I would fill it with high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, mouldings and timeless finishes like sand and stain hardwoods, brass, etc. There’s something special about taking any home and making it yours though, too! I’ve never had an OLD home – just 50’s and 60’s, which feels, meh.

  3. Hi Julie, I recently discovered you on Instagram & fell in love with your beautiful whites & cream decor with a minimalist style.  I do have a question ? I as well don’t like clutter & I am having a hard time decorating our cottage we built a few years ago.  How do I decorate with a minimalist style & not have the look of staged?  I’m on Instagram as OurCraftsmanCottage, if you wanted to take a looksee to see what I’m talking about.  I can’t figure out what to put in the shelves without looking cluttered.  P.S. love love Love your beautiful home.  Thanks bunches, Sonja.?

    1. Hi Sonja, I love your page. I find that if everything has a purpose, it doesn’t look or feel staged. I do see you have quite a few built ins, but love how you displayed your china in your dining room – I’d replicate that in other spaces displaying things that you need in that particular room.

  4. Julie…I had to chuckle when you said you finally were able to get rid of your mom’s makeup and lotions. Ten years after my mom’s death, I still have a few things like that. I kept a couple of her old sweaters and  it is very hard to let go and it’s been 10 years for me since she passed away. Initially I kept them because they still smelled like her. Now, I wonder why I still have them. Throwing away memories is difficult. I have a questions regarding your pendants as well. What I would like to know, is how do you find the brightness of the lights on your workspace  when the bulbs point upwards? We are in the midst of a new home build and picking out lighting over the island and the dinette are giving me a headache. I like the “spotlight” style, but feel that if they are completely enclosed in a metal of some sort they will only shine light directly down and I don’t want that. I have open concept, so my next problem is finding a light for over a table (that I haven’t even picked out yet!). Does a person try to match the pendants completely, or just in material? I ave a painter that is breathing down my neck as well and I’m not doing well in that department either! Picking paint and lights has been a the most stressful part of the entire home build. 

    1. It is and if you have a moment where you toss something, you can’t replace it! I’m glad I’m not the only one who keeps trivial items. I actually gave quite a bit of thought to our lighting because our pendants in our previous home really pushed the light down. I recommend finding something with exposed bulbs {like these lanterns}. I find that when they’re exposed, the light can radiate in all directions. I like mixing the lighting, but staying with the same finish. I hope that helps – let me know if you have any more questions!