Mins Game Days Eight through Twelve - May 8-12, 2019

I decided to group together the last five days for the 30-Day Minimalism Game in one post as the items being purged were just so tiny.

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Day 8

An almost-easy day

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Day 9

A very easy day

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Day 10

More of the same…

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Day 11

So easy I got rid of 12…

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Day 12

A bit more of a challenging decision…

For Days 8 through 12 I decided to go through my box of bits and bobs and found a number of small things that didn’t work as planned or were just things I had too many of.

Day 8 - I purchased a number of these dark screws as potential decorative hangers for the cord on my copper sailor mirror - a mirror I purged months ago. Regardless, I only needed one, and only the largest worked, so I’m getting rid of most of the excess.

Day 9 and 10 - more of the same. Though two of the gold nails were part of a large pack I had purchased in order to get one to hang my moon phases calendar.

Day 11 - I had to purchase picture hangers for the back of a frame I was fixing. I only needed two but they came in a very large quantity. I’d already purged a number of them but now I’m purging all but two. (And, yes, I am aware there are 12 bits, but I’m counting them as 11.)

Day 12 - I purchased these clips as I thought they were gold-toned versions of the other chip clips I had. They are tiny. And while I could use them to hang various other items with a gold nail, I don’t like wall-clutter and can reuse the gold binder clip on my moon calendar when year ends if I have something else worth hanging.

As I can send all of these items to a family member who is an artist and hangs many things, they were easy to purge from my bits and bobs box. I’m still debating on whether to continue to go through said box to purge the many, many plain screws I have that will never be used - but as I don’t have a place to send them aside from the recycle bin, I may decide to hold onto them “just in case.”

Day 13 is TBD…

Mins Game Day Seven - May 7, 2019

Oddly Day 7 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game was easier than Day 6…

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Day 7

A day of quick decisions…

For the 7th day of the Mins Game I got rid of two unused sheets of circular labels that I bought on a whim in early March, thought I’d use for address labels or jar labels and decided against both, so am finally going to pass those along.

I also got rid of a small pouch that came with a pencil sharpener that I don’t need and hadn’t used for something else, but will come in quite handy for those 6 clips I gave away yesterday.

I’ve decluttered three books I have read (mostly). And am selling a signed collectible book that I’ve loved owning but have since become tired of the stress involved in keeping a collectible item safe.

I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to stay in the challenge this month - I’ve already let go of 28 items. Which may not seem like a lot. But I think I’m quite a bit farther along in my journey toward minimalism than I thought, so am struggling to find real items to part with so that I can make it halfway through this challenge.

Mins Game Day Six - May 6, 2019

And on the 6th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I struggled…

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Day 6

I took the easy road…

They may look small, but I absolutely love these clips. They look super cute in the basket I have for them in my kitchen. BUT… the set I bought at Food52 came with 24 of them and as I use them as bag clips for various things around the house, I never, ever use 24. In fact I only use about 5 or 6 at a time. And I don’t need them for laundry or anything else but bags.

So I’m giving away 6 to my mother - as she too will love that they’re the best bag clips ever and eco-friendly.

Though I should probably have waited until Day 12 and given away 12. (But then the basket would look just too lonely.) And so I struggled a bit for today’s challenge. But I’m happy I finally made the decision. And if for some reason I need more in future (doubtful), they weren’t hugely expensive and are readily available online or in stores by other manufacturers in smaller quantities.

Mins Game Day Five - May 5, 2019

Day Five of the 30-Day Minimalism Game was definitely challenging. I had to decide on a few additional items I was going to be ready to part with, which wasn’t a quick or simple decision.

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Day 5

A not-at-all easy day…

I had already kinda/sorta made the decision on a couple of these things - but the remainder I went back and forth on for many hours before finally making the mental commitment to say goodbye.

As all have some kind of value they won’t be leaving our space until sold, but they are all items I’ve officially parted with - a couple of extra shelves that don’t get much use (or won’t when we move again), a bench that we rarely use for the past two moves as it doesn’t fit as well into our space as it did in a previous residence, a chair that used to be a desk chair that’s now just decoration, and a spare kitchen chair that is very much loved is almost never used as we have too many.

We will be making a more significant change of residence in a few months, so the idea of transporting these delicate/difficult/fragile items has allowed me to let them go.

Mins Game Day Four - May 4, 2019

This is the last semi-easy day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game for me.

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Day Four

It’s getting harder…

For Day Four I got rid of two knives and two knife protectors. This has been one of those decisions I’ve been delaying for a couple of months. I bought this super cute set for the peeler but had no real need for the three paring knives that came with it as we just use one paring knife that has its own protector and is super easy to keep clean. I liked the idea of the serrated knife versus the knife I’m keeping (for now), but as these two knives were blue and the other was grey and matched the peeler and doesn’t have a protector I’m getting rid of these two.

I am likely going to have to put a few items up for sale in order to come up with the five items for Day Five. And, yes, I will count them even if they don’t get sold immediately - as it’s about the decision to purge even I don’t get to the post office, the donation center, the eCycling center, or make an immediate sale - as once I’ve made a decision it’s as good as gone. Ahh but getting to that decision point… not easy.

Mins Game Day Three - May 3, 2019

The third day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game was another easy-ish one.

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Day Three

It’s still pretty easy

I still had two Muji pillowcases that we don’t use that I’ve decided to pass along (I had previously gotten rid of one) and a pair of socks (counting as one item) purchased from the General Store that I never got around to wearing as makeshift slippers after purchasing them this past winter.

While I have a few more relatively easy items to part with, things are going to get pretty difficult unless I go through my toolbox/screwsbox. And I may have to list things for this challenge that I hope to sell but that might not leave my space for some time.

It’s only Day Three and I’m already starting to experience decision fatigue. Ack!

Mins Game Day Two - May 2, 2019

For this second day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I found a couple of easy items to let go of.

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Day Two

Another easy early day of the challenge

My kitchen seems to be the place I collect the most “clutter.” I love kitchen gadgets and seem to acquire things at random that I don’t need. Among them is this knife - an exact duplicate of one I got rid of because I didn’t use it that I repurchased and… yes you guessed it… I didn’t use it.

I am also getting rid of this hand carved spoon which I bought ages ago as a birthday gift for a family member from a local shop that I never got around to sending. As I have never had a use for it, it’s time to let it go.

Mins Game Day One - May 1, 2019

I played the 30-Day Minimalism Game before - just over a year ago - and made it to the end which was thrilling. We have since moved - purged a whole lot more, acquired a few more things - and I thought I’d try it again.

Though I know I won’t be able to make it to the end of the month unless a) my partner contributes to the challenge - and I don’t think he will; b) I count teeny-tiny things individually - which I might have to; and c) I somehow accumulate a heap of things during the course of the month that I’ll want to purge - unlikely.

But as I’ve been delaying quite a few decisions and want to make some of those “tough choice” ones, I figured I’d play for as long as I possibly can and hold myself accountable.

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Day One

Easiest day of the challenge

For the first day of the challenge I managed to part with a dining chair - it’s one I loved, that sparked joy, and that I used daily, but as I have an excess of dining chairs and this one was the heaviest and most bulky, I decided to let it go. [Sold on Craigslist]

Have you played the Mins Game? Are you playing it this month? How are you doing/how did you do?

What I Decluttered This Month - April

This month I spent much more time focusing on not purchasing new things - I almost made it the entire month without an unnecessary purchase… almost. But I did get rid of a few things. (And technically I went well over 30 days without making a frivolous purchase, but I would have loved to make it through April without a single impulse buy.)

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As we may be moving again when our lease ends, I opted to sell a few items that just don’t travel well and/or haven’t been used in our latest residence - even if they did spark immense joy.

I got rid of a few products, clothing and bedding items that just weren’t working well for me or got damaged/destroyed, had shrunk, or were just showing too much wear. I passed along some gardening seeds (not shown) that were never going to be planted in a planter I don’t own. And found homes for some review books and other reading materials.

I learned that glass straws - even of the hand-blown variety - just aren’t for me. No matter how beautiful they are. If I do end up purchasing a straw to take with me to the movies for those rare times I do need a straw - it will be stainless as they are durable and less expensive so I won’t be so worried I’ll forget the straw and toss it. (The jar in the picture above was not decluttered - and is currently holding various wooden stir sticks my partner insists upon using on occasion.)

So only 36 items went out door this month (well, actually 34 as two items are still waiting to be taken to their new home). But as I only brought one new thing into my home this month - and technically none as the one item hasn’t yet arrived - my home does feel a lot lighter.

I’m not too sure how much I’ll have to declutter next month, though I am thinking of selling a few more things. And if some new items do come into my home, I’ll try to follow the one-in-three out rule.

What I Decluttered This Month - March

While I didn’t get too much decluttered this month - and I’m sharing my declutters before the actual end of the month - I did reach my “purge” limit. As I had to make a lot of tough decisions and force myself to follow the guidance of other, far more successful, minimalists in order to dispossess myself of many of this month’s possessions, I figured I’d give myself the rest of the month off.

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I think I only managed to rid myself of 36 things this month - a few of which were super easy to part with - ill-fitting or threadbare clothing, a torn and tattered sheet, expired/used cards, etc. But the kitchenware items were very difficult to let go of. Especially the dishes that matched my current set.

Purging items that you feel attached to can make it feel like you’ve climbed a mountain when you’ve just gotten rid of one little thing. At least it feels that way to me. And I am wiped out, mentally drained.

Yet I feel so much lighter having parted with just a few hard-to-let-go-of items, than if I’d let go of many things that meant far less to me.

I am hopeful that as each month passes I’ll have fewer and fewer things to get rid of. And as I’ve set myself a budget with a goal not to buy too many extraneous things for the next year, I’m hoping it will be possible to find my way to minimal by next spring - at least what I currently feel would be my minimal.

Of course the first week of this month (prior to setting this goal for myself) I did add a number of items to my home - baskets, planters, mugs, an outdoor table - but these past three weeks I’ve stayed on goal.

What I did with the stuff…

In order to rid myself of this month’s possessions I sent a number of things to family (at a shipping cost), gave a couple of items away via a local app, dropped off a few things at goodwill and my local eCycling center, recycled one item, gave a few more items to a friend (using the tote bag I was decluttering to carry everything in), and attempted to upcycle some of the worn fabric items - but failed as they were just too destroyed to use as rags. So landfill got something. :(

What I Decluttered This Month - February

I didn’t get quite as much decluttered during February as planned - there are still a few decisions left unmade regarding kitchen items and linens. I also ended up picking up a few things that might not have been as useful as they should be when added to my home, though all of them are rather beautiful.

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I passed along a few ceramics that I had in my collection that I wanted to share with family, some book-related swag, some new/unused socks that weren’t quite right, a pet food reusable tote, a duvet I love but haven’t used, and a decorative pillow that I don’t have a need for. I gave away one additional coaster to a colleague that wasn’t being used, recycled some bits and bobs from my toolbox, some wrapping paper, a paint “brush,” and a bit of paperwork, said goodbye to a new but completely destroyed bath mat and eCycled an old/unused computer cable. I also recycled an eco-friendly soap holder as it kept getting mucked up with soap waste due to the really wet location in the shower it lived in.

The changes aren’t significantly noticeable in my space - aside from having a tiny bit more room in my linen bins and one less decorative pillow (cover) to wash each week - especially as I did end up adding an equal number of mugs to my collection. But at least there are a few less unused items in my space and a few less decisions to get fatigued about.

Did you declutter your home in February? If so, what did you declutter this past month?

Overthinking the Things on Your Journey to Less

When on the journey toward minimalism it’s easy to find yourself spending way too much time thinking about your possessions - the very things you’re trying so hard not to have to think about.

Do I want this? Do I need this? Can I live without this?

Just because something is beautiful, could be useful, cost a fair bit of money, if it isn’t actually being used it might be better suited to a new home. Try not to make something fit into your life that doesn’t, try not to overthink it’s value. If it’s causing you stress and not being used, it’s not valuable to you.

Just because something is beautiful, could be useful, cost a fair bit of money, if it isn’t actually being used it might be better suited to a new home. Try not to make something fit into your life that doesn’t, try not to overthink it’s value. If it’s causing you stress and not being used, it’s not valuable to you.

During the process of moving toward less it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

But just know that this will not last forever.

While you may constantly have to reassess your things, your goals, your life, once you have pared down there will just be that much less to have to reassess.

Be aware that it’s not a “once and done” effort. But know that with each step forward it will get easier, there will be less to have to think about, and “overwhelmed” will become a THINK of the past.

Early on you will likely hit decision fatigue on multiple occasions. If your head is spinning, step away and focus on something else - a “no-brainer” activity. This does not have to be done all in one go. You do not have to have the perfectly minimized home and life at the outset.

If the prospect of this taking weeks or months or years makes you want to give up, take some time to think about why you’re doing this. Is it just to have a clean and organized home and life? If so, maybe you just need an organizer. But if it’s to live more intentionally with less, then maybe you’ll want to adjust your expectations and timeline to ones that are more realistic.

It didn’t take a day, a week, a month or even a year to be surrounded by clutter and chaos. So, why should you expect it to take so short a time to disentangle yourself from the life you created?

If you find yourself overthinking certain items in your space, and becoming easily overwhelmed by them, set those items aside for now and focus on the easy wins - inexpensive items that have expired, that you have way too much of, that you don’t like, trash or papers that don’t require action, things you’ve been meaning to get rid of but just haven’t.

Know that every decision is a step toward the life you want, even if it may not be the decision you wanted yourself to make right now.

More Valuable, Less Meaningful

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As I move toward achieving the minimal that’s right for me, I’ve found that I am left with possessions that are inherently more valuable.

At least from a monetary standpoint.

Clearing away the clutter meant getting rid of items that were of poor quality, that didn’t have staying power, that weren’t unique, leaving me with items that were built to last, that serve a purpose, that fit with my design aesthetic.

But even though these items that remain have a larger price tag, and are more intentionally in my life, they are less meaningful to me.

Because, while I appreciate the things I own and will treat them well so they’ll continue to serve my needs, they are just things.

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They are meant to enhance or support the life I am living. They are meant to function, to appeal to my sense of beauty, and even to “spark joy.”

But as I continue on my journey toward minimalism, I realize that the only things that are truly meaningful are the people and beings in my life, the experiences I have, the memories I create, the impact I make, and the goals I seek for my future. Not the objects that surround me.

No matter how “valuable” or beautiful or intentional they may be.

As you journey toward minimal, do you find the things that remain are more valuable? And do you find them to be less meaningful to you than before you began to declutter?

Sentimental Clutter

I used to attach emotion to every piece of paper - gum wrappers, movie tickets, cards, notes - every object - buttons, dried flowers, stuffed animals, trinkets, toys… junk.

Sentimental clutter decluttered in days past.

Sentimental clutter decluttered in days past.

My memories were so interconnected with these items that when I decided to declutter that nearly everything I owned fit in the “sentimental” category. Outfits and books and music and DVDs became associated with memories. I associated decor items with certain times and events in my life.

And forget about gifts. Those automatically became sentimental clutter the moment they came into my life.

But over the years I learned to let go.

In part because when my mother moved she tossed the items I stored with her. The items my father was keeping for me got destroyed by a flood. A broken pipe in my apartment complex wiped out a few more things. So I had no choice but to say goodbye.

The fear of bugs had me getting rid of even more. (Reality bites sometimes, doesn’t it?)

But eventually it got easier and I got rid of things by choice. I came to realize that these items were just things that were taking up valuable space. They didn’t have feelings - no, those Ikea ads about the broken, discarded items are not true. These broken, useless items were only just a physical reminder of a time gone by. And many weren’t even that - as I couldn’t remember where I got them or why I had them.

I have taken photos of almost every sentimental item I decided to part with. I’m not ready to let go of the reminder quite yet. Especially as I’m learning that memory isn’t always infallible and sometimes - at least with the positive ones - it’s nice to have that trigger.

Any regrets?

None. Though I do sometimes miss my first stuffed bunny that was given to me before I was old enough to remember and that went through a lot with me over the years. And I do miss the stuffed mouse my father brought me when I was so very sick, to keep me company when he could not.

But I do not miss worrying about whether they’re OK, where I am going to put them, how I am going to take care of them. And I don’t mind not having to constantly wonder what’s the point of keeping them if they’re just stored in an airtight bin in the back of my closet.

Any keepers?

Some. I have a couple of handmade soup cups/bowls that were given to me by my father that are too delicate to use anymore, but I’m not ready to let them go. I have a signed book by an author I idolized as a child. And I have a worry stone given to me by a professor that I just couldn’t let go of no matter how many times I tried.

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I do have quite a few of those paper items pasted into a number of scrapbooks, a few small decorative boxes of photos and cards, three medium-sized storage boxes of “lost loved ones” memories and a necklace. Though, as all the paper items are digitized I hope to one day be able to let them all go.

Tips?

Take those pictures. They make it so much easier to get rid of the little pieces of clutter that aren’t quite as meaningful.

Practice the Fire Drill Test. It may help you to remember that these things aren’t the important things in life. And the longer you spend contemplating the stuff, living with old memories, it means less time spent enjoying your present, spending time with the ones you love, and making new memories.

Save the “lost loved ones” items for last. And don’t attempt to do this all at once. These will be the hardest. When you’ve gone through everything else and these things are all that remain between you and your ideal minimalism think about tackling these things. Whether these are items belong to a lost pet, a former friend, partner or spouse, a relative who is no longer with you, they will likely be more emotional to part with. Allow yourself the emotion but say goodbye to as many of the things that you can. The harsh reality is that they no longer need them and if they were still alive they might not even have them or want them anymore. In most cases they would want you to enjoy your life and if their things were getting in the way of that enjoyment they’d want you to get rid of them. And just remember that they are not their things. Just as you aren’t.

Minimalism is NOT Perfectionism a.k.a. My Non-minimalist January Buys

It’s sometimes easy to confuse minimalism with perfectionism. Especially when looking at those ideal minimalist homes or those seemingly flawless minimalists who live with next to nothing and who are in touch with who they are.

But nowhere in the definitions of minimalist or minimalism does the word “perfection” appear.

An adherent of minimalism
— Merriam-Webster
A style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.
— Merriam-Webster

Yet, still the urge to seek perfection when pursuing minimalism persists.

And so when failing at being perfect, it’s easy to think you’re failing at minimalism - though that’s not the case.

Because minimalism is a journey, a lifestyle, a mindset. It’s about being realistic about your needs and understanding what those needs are. It’s not about being mistake-free.

Which is something I have to constantly remind myself about. And forgive myself for… which leads to my not-in-pursuit-of-minimalism purchases last month.

My desire for the perfect space had me purchasing a slew of baskets, a throw, a bath mat, and some linen tea towels - all not truly needed but were meant to help to make my space look perfect. Only a few do, and only a few will likely remain in my space in the days/weeks/months/years to come.

In my quest to be more healthful and eco-friendly, I picked up this Swiffer alternative when an item from an existing order was out of stock. I also purchased a number of bath/cleaning products from Common Good, Burt’s Bees, Aesop, Bigelow. All useful, but I didn’t need to splurge on these items - especially as I still haven’t used up what I already have in most cases.

My love of mugs got me into a bit of trouble when I discovered my new favorite potter had an Etsy shop. And at a moment of weakness I succumbed to my love of stationery and writing implements. The mugs instantly became a problem as they didn’t fit perfectly in the space I had for them. The notebooks, however, serve their purposes and are already in use.

The only thoughtful purchase I made in January, beyond necessity purchases, was the simple brass photo holder meant to display a couple photos of loved ones that had passed. It took a long while to find it - though I still am not sure whether I’d have preferred the one in the more angular shape - so has been a very intentional buy.

Every single one of these items are ones I find beautiful, all of them have the potential to be useful, none of them help me to find perfection, and fewer than a handful are ones that pass the need versus want test.

This is a journey. This is a journey. This is a journey….

Less IS More

I used to believe that having more things was better.

My empty space felt unfinished. It didn’t feel like home.

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I thought by filling my space up with furniture, books, films, decor, accents, kitchenware, I’d be happier, I’d feel satisfied, my space would feel like mine.

But all I felt was crowded.

And I was stressed. Unhappy. Unfulfilled.

So I changed things up. I got rid of the things I thought weren’t good enough. And I bought more.

I thought by having more, there would be more to “love.” I thought by upgrading to better, I would be happier.

But really all that happened was that I was more in debt and more unhappy.

And so the cycle continued.

As I began to embrace minimalism, I came to appreciate the idea of having less. While I very much appreciate items of quality, things handmade, things of beauty, I enjoy them far more when I own fewer of them.

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Having the space surrounding an object of beauty allows that item to stand out.

Having fewer items to maintain, makes them that much less stressful to own.

Understanding that while I do appreciate these things, they’re just things and aren’t truly important, allows me to focus on the people and beings and experiences in my life that are.

I used to think that having more was everything. Now the only “more” I wish I had was time spent with those I love.

The Hobbies

Having hobbies typically requires a certain number of possessions in order to pursue those hobbies. If your passion is photography, you’ll need cameras and lenses and tripods and lighting and backdrops and more. If playing an instrument is your thing, you might need accessories, music, music stands, soundproofing. If you’re into outdoor activities you’ll need all the gear that is required to pursue those activities.

The acquisition of which seems to go against the idea of minimalism.

But minimalism isn’t about living an empty life devoid of the things you enjoy just for the sake of having fewer possessions.

If your hobby (or hobbies) enriches your life, then making room for it does not conflict with living a minimalist lifestyle.

My hobby requires half a closet…

My hobby requires half a closet…

An excess of paraphernalia

Where your hobbies can conflict with minimalism is if you were to acquire items that you don’t need or use to pursue that hobby, items that go unused and just take up space.

And it’s easy to go overboard, especially when pursuing a new interest. All those potential “must haves” that seem to be necessary but actually aren’t. So it might take some trial and error and then some editing before having the “right” amount of stuff - whatever amount that might be for you.

… and my hobby adjacent reference materials - useful but not all of them used - take up a cupboard shelf. Perhaps it’s time for an edit.

… and my hobby adjacent reference materials - useful but not all of them used - take up a cupboard shelf. Perhaps it’s time for an edit.

Abandoned hobbies

Abandoned hobbies can also get in the way of living a minimalist lifestyle. Especially if you hang onto those items with the idea of picking them up again “someday.”

Not only will your space become crowded with interests no longer pursued, but they will affect your peace of mind. They will be that constant reminder of something failed, money not well spent, a dream unfulfilled.

So it is important to go back, reassess whether you’re just taking a temporary break from that hobby or whether it’s one that you’re no longer passionate about. And if the latter, then it’s important to say goodbye to those things so that you can make room in your life for new things, new interests, new passions.

Too many hobbies

Another way that hobbies can get in the way of living minimally is if you find yourself passionate about too many hobbies - ones you just don’t have the time or money to realistically pursue.

While you may want to learn to surf, master the electric guitar, speak a new language, if your life is too busy to tackle them all, you have to take the time to think about which one - or ones - you’re most passionate about, which one fits more easily into your life, and which one you can comfortably afford.

But there’s no reason to keep your life hobby-free just because you want to live minimally. If seeing the stuff that makes up your hobby brings you joy, fills you with excitement, makes you feel alive, then you are living intentionally, you are living minimally.

Home Decor Trend Watch Out

When pursuing a minimalist lifestyle it’s easy to succumb to the idea of creating a minimalist home aesthetic by purchasing decor items that fit that aesthetic.

Scanning YouTube for minimalist home videos and you’ll find countless home tours of calming spaces filled with decor items that fit with a bohemian (boho) lifestyle - neutral colors, earth-friendly fabrics, handwoven baskets, plants, tapestries, and on.

Aesthetically pleasing minimalist home tours

Aesthetically pleasing minimalist home tours

While these spaces look lovely and give off a calming, serene vibe, does pursuing this decor trend truly fit with minimalism?

Is this trend no less manufactured than fashion trends? Will the next trend that comes along make you want to toss all your items in favor or the latest one when it begins to populate social media and YouTube?

Will your space start to look like a page out of a catalog - a la Phoebe Buffay in The One with the Apothecary Table?

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NBC

Will it drive you into a consumerist frenzy or spending spree?

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NBC

If you’re tossing your perfectly good plastic containers in favor of handwoven baskets and bins, is that truly minimalistic? If you’re buying baskets instead of discarding items you don’t need, or buying baskets to house items that you don’t need but that you’re purchasing to fit your new design, is that being a minimalist?

Do those fake plants in those lovely ceramic pots that require dusting but don’t provide oxygen or other health benefits truly give you a sense of calm in your space? Or are they just future clutter you’re going to purge when the trend ends?

I am not a fashionista, or at least not anymore, but I definitely have to fight the urge to follow home decor design trends. Especially ones that make a home space seem calming or cozy or “perfect.” It’s a challenge for me to watch any minimalist videos with beautiful homes as the backdrop, as I covet those spaces. (I'm totally obsessed with JFM’s living room.)

So I’m not immune to the lure of consumerism when it comes to my space.

But in my pursuit of living my minimalist lifestyle, I’ve taken the advice from the experts and taken a beat before clicking to buy and thought about whether that hanging print that would look just so amazing above my sofa is one I actually need or want to fill that space - especially since I was considering getting rid of the two I already owned.

I’ve set up a waiting period on items that I don’t absolutely need just in case I’d regret purchasing them later - items such as hand knit throws, belly baskets, eco-friendly storage containers, kitchen utensils. And most of the time I haven’t gone through and made those buys.

But I haven’t been perfect and have found that most items I’ve brought into my home because of the latest trend are ones I’ve already given away to others.

TIP: Find your style. Before revamping your entire living space, ask yourself if this trend is really your style. Is it one you’ll want to live with for the foreseeable future? Is it one you can easily maintain? Do you really want all the things required to make that style appealing in your space? Is it one you can live with even when the trend shifts and can you afford to do a refresh if it’s not?

It’s taken me a long time to figure out that while I enjoy a multitude of different styles of decor, the one I’m least likely to want to change - and the one I keep returning to when the latest trend has passed - is mid-century modern. The clean lines, the ease of moving the pieces, the beauty and simplicity of design, makes these classics ones I know I will be less likely to tire of in the long run.

TIP: Trend-lightly. If following a trend does bring you some joy, but you know you’ll likely want to follow the next one, then do so with smaller, less expensive items - pillows, blankets - or items that you know family and friends would love to have after you’re done with them, or items that don’t have a long “lifespan.”

TIP: When I do find myself beginning to covet the homes I see on YouTube and Instagram, I pause and ask myself if I prefer the empty space that would be filled by the item(s) I see, I ask myself if I want to be responsible for maintaining and moving those items, and I ask myself if I’d prefer to have the money to enjoy an experience with instead of the thing. Is not having it better than having it?

The Minimalist Entryway

The first peek into someone’s home comes from the entryway. Whether you’re in an apartment or condo, a tiny house, or a standard (or super) size home, your entryway sets the stage.

In our minimalist entryway, we have less than two square feet. We’ve opted for a wall-mounted “shelf” to house keys and wallet and the occasional piece of outgoing mail. A mirror replaced a clock as it not only brought light into the dark corner, it saved us from embarrassment more than once.

In our minimalist entryway, we have less than two square feet. We’ve opted for a wall-mounted “shelf” to house keys and wallet and the occasional piece of outgoing mail. A mirror replaced a clock as it not only brought light into the dark corner, it saved us from embarrassment more than once.

So if you want a home that feels calm, decluttered, and relaxing, it has to start at the entrance to your living space - even if that entryway is through a mudroom that guests might never see.

Because this is not about how others perceive your space or whether they deem it at “acceptable” minimal aesthetic levels. This is about how you perceive it and whether it serves your needs.

An entryway is not just the place you welcome others into your home. It’s the place where you enter and leave your space (that is if you reside in a space that doesn’t have a mudroom, attached garage, or other exit point).

So it potentially has to serve a multitude of functions. Perhaps it’s the space where you grab/drop your keys, wallet, sunglasses, phone, put on/take off your hat and coat and shoes, pick up/leave your mail, check yourself to make sure you look the way you intend to look.

And while it would be nice to leave it sparse, it just might not be feasible to do so.

But it doesn’t have to be cluttered.

Just around the corner from our entryway and closet we do have a small nook where we have opted to put a bench for those times we need a little extra help putting on shoes. We’ve also added a hanging rack that we usually fill up with hats to eventually be washed and our reusable bags that need to be brought to the car.

Just around the corner from our entryway and closet we do have a small nook where we have opted to put a bench for those times we need a little extra help putting on shoes. We’ve also added a hanging rack that we usually fill up with hats to eventually be washed and our reusable bags that need to be brought to the car.

Before going out and purchasing furniture, organizational supplies, accessories, decor, think about what purposes you need the space to serve. Do you need it to hold your pocket change? Do you need it to charge your phone or watch? Do you need it to be a repository for your “grab and go” items?

Then think about what will realistically fit in the space. While a large piece of furniture with drawers to house all that you’d like to have access to as you enter and exit your home may be on your Pinterest board, is it truly something you can navigate around in your actual entryway? Would you love it as much if it was taking up all that real estate in your space?

Next, think about whether you’ll really be “happy” with the multitude of purposes you’re trying to cram into that space. Do you want the space to have all the cables and wires that come with using your entryway as your charging station? Do you want baskets or bins of items in plain sight every time you come into or leave your home or would you rather find a place for them behind closed doors?

TIP: Empty out your entryway if not already empty. Take a look at the space, take pictures of it, and live with it in its empty state for a day or two - or more. Not only will having the empty space help you determine whether you prefer it sparse versus filled, it will help you to realize just what functionality you’re missing from that space. Add back (or add to it) only that which serves the function(s) you need and the visual aesthetic you desire.

Things to consider when decorating your entryway: Do you walk in, wishing you had somewhere to set your purse, keys, wallet, sunglasses, gloves, etc.? Do you really need a place to sit down to take your shoes off or put them on? Do you need a hook for your coats and other items if a closet isn’t a part of your home’s entrance or would you rather take them to a closet elsewhere to avoid the visual “clutter”? Do you want to leave all electronics at the door so that you can be free from your pocket screens at the day’s end? Do you want this to be a space filled with decor items - plants, candles, prints, photos - whose maintenance you will be reminded about as you enter and leave your home everyday?

In our current space we are fortunate enough to have an entryway closet to house my partner’s many hoodies, our shoes, a couple spare totes, and a basket for our three hats. (We do have extra hangers for guests, though my fleece goes on one of those empties. And the empty bin is from a recently decluttered pair of shoes.) In the past we’ve used the wall-mount hanging “rack” shown in the pic above and a wall-mount shoe “rack” by j-me for our everyday shoes.

In our current space we are fortunate enough to have an entryway closet to house my partner’s many hoodies, our shoes, a couple spare totes, and a basket for our three hats. (We do have extra hangers for guests, though my fleece goes on one of those empties. And the empty bin is from a recently decluttered pair of shoes.) In the past we’ve used the wall-mount hanging “rack” shown in the pic above and a wall-mount shoe “rack” by j-me for our everyday shoes.