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How to Start to Live Like a Minimalist

daisy-75190_150The truth is, you’re not just going to wake up one day and decide you’re sick of all the clutter in your house and start to purge. Typically it doesn’t work that way. Like any program, when starting to live a minimalist lifestyle you’re going to want to start small and comfortable, then work your way to bigger decisions for reducing clutter, maintenance, redundancies and emotional attachments.

Living a Minimalist Lifestyle – Where to Start

The easiest answer is to start where there’s pain. Is your wardrobe a pain. Do you spend a ton of time trying to coordinate clothes? Start by eliminating the oddball items and streamline your go to style. Have you heard the rule that you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Why not just keep the 20%? Your answer is probably because the 80% contains the special items like dresses you wore once to a wedding. As a minimalist, you will get in the habit of borrowing clothes for those kinds of occasions. Or buy secondhand and sell third-hand. Learn more with New Year’s Resolutions for Minimalists.

Minimize Your Emotional Attachment

I worked with a guy who told me that he returned from a vacation to find his apartment building had burned down and all he had left was in the suitcase he’d taken with him. True story. And I was like all empathetic with my, “how awfuls.” Meanwhile he was like, “it was totally liberating.” In fact those were his exact words. He said that most of the stuff in his apartment was temporary possessions that he’d eventually get rid of anyway.

Look at what you have through the lens of temporary. No, you’ll never get rid of the silk scarf your grandmother gave you, but the concert t-shirts and board games and candle collection – that can go.

Look for Repeats

This is a numbers game. How many do you have of a particular thing? Like house plants that you have to water and keep alive on a daily basis. Remember in Along Came Polly where Ben Stiller’s character calculates how much time he spends putting on and taking off throw pillow adorning his bed. Yeah, it’s kind of silly.

Where is it all Going to Go?

You don’t want to stuff all this excess consumption into your garbage tote. The point of minimalism isn’t to be wasteful. Hello! This is your opportunity to make money.  This is why you’ll need to work slow and methodical. Look at what you can upcycle into something more useful.What is worth selling? Chances are a lot. The best places I’ve found to sell second-hand goods are Craigslist and Consignment Shops. Both are local and don’t involve the hassle and resources of shipping. And if the weather’s nice, have a garage sale to make money off your smaller, knick knack type items.

Need more direction?

Here is a video I did for eHow on how to go minimalist and live with less. This video is in short the battle cry of Eve of Reduction. I was honored to be the one to present this topic for eHow.

How to Live With Less Stuff & Go Minimalist —powered by


Femme Frugality


What are you hoping to downsize?

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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7 Responses to How to Start to Live Like a Minimalist

  1. Joel @ SaveOutsideTheBox September 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Great tips. You are right on about borrowing those clothes that you occasionally need. You don’t need to clutter up your closet with those random articles of clothing! And I love selling the clothes I don’t use to used clothing stores. It’s nice to get a bit of cash and know that someone else will really enjoy them.
    Joel @ SaveOutsideTheBox recently posted…When Cheaping Out Costs You More MoneyMy Profile

    • Eve September 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

      Joel, thanks for stopping by! One of my favorite things to buy second-hand is dress shoes for my kids. $8 leather penny-loafers – are you kidding me? Score!

  2. Deb October 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    It really is an emotional thing to purge and then find out that you still keep things for years but are not making any use of them.

    What I do is to use my digital camera, take snapshots of those things then donate, give away or take it to the trash can. I need to be ruthless, and think of the houses featured on HOARDERS. That’s a bit exaggerated but I don’t want to end up like that because I am holding on to too much stuff.
    Deb recently posted…Keeping Your Home Clean When Doing Home Improvement ProjectsMy Profile

    • Eve October 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

      Visualizing is such a purposeful way to stay motivated – even if you’re thinking about what you don’t want to be.

  3. femmefrugality October 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Oh, wow! The perspective of your friend is surprising but enlightening! And I love the Along Came Polly reference! That scene cracked me up. Great video…congrats on being the eHow speaker for the subject!
    femmefrugality recently posted…The Psychology of Sick DaysMy Profile

  4. Savvy Working Gal October 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    When I was a kid my mom left my dad and moved us to our Grandparents house. On her way out the door she grabbed a laundry basket of unfolded clothes and that was it. We lived for two months with only those clothes and did just fine. We even managed to go to church, so we must have been presentable. It can be done.

    One of the most defining moments in my adult life occurred when my husband and I purchased our home from his aunt and uncle who were downsizing. Every inch of our new home was filled with stuff they didn’t have room for. I was given strict orders not to get rid of anything. I decided then and there my home will never be like this. They are gone now and so is most of their stuff which took me years to dispose of and get rid of. It really put “stuff” into perspective for me.
    Savvy Working Gal recently posted…The Savvy Reader Book Club Choices for OctoberMy Profile

    • Eve October 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      Wow, I cannot imagine being pinned to stuff someone else is emotionally attached to – and not having control over what’s in my house. Thanks for sharing!

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