FAQ

As we’ve pursued a minimalist lifestyle, I generally come across these questions:

Was your husband on board right away?

He was pretty neutral. Within about a month he began noticing that our house was staying clean on a regular basis. He really appreciated that and has become gradually more and more supportive. We still have some areas in the garage to tackle, but that is his domain so I’m trying not to be too pushy ;)

How long did it take to pare down your home?

About a year. This sounds like a long time, but keep in mind I was trying to do it while taking care of three little kids and having our fourth (although, a good dose of nesting hormones can be VERY helpful for the cause!). If I had even one uninterrupted hour a day to work, instead of sporadic 15 minute segments, I could have done it in a month.

Are there any things you regret giving away?

Not. a. single. one. (Seriously, honestly, truly :)) Almost anything we have given away was worth $50 or less, so I just remind myself that if I really needed or wanted this again, I could buy it without denting our budget.

Does your house feel bare?

I did worry about this a little bit in the beginning, but as long as there are people in our house it never feels bare. There is usually a child playing with play doh at the counter, or a meal being prepared, it is interesting how just living in our home fills it up.

Do your kids have a choice?

This is something that I have had to put a lot of thought into. Between art projects, toys and all of the little things that children treasure, kids can generate massive amounts of stuff. What we have decided to do is let each of our daughter’s have their own magnetic board in their bedroom to display their most recent artwork and their own desk. Each of their desks have drawers that they can keep whatever they like in. For now this has worked out just fine, but I know we’ll have to continue to adjust as they get older.

Do you decorate for holidays?

Yes. Now that we have kids I love celebrating holidays with them and decorating is part of it. We have an artificial Christmas tree stored in its box in the garage and a rubbermaid tote each for Easter, Fall, and Christmas.

Does your house ever get messy?

Yes. Short of locking my kids in a closet, giving up cooking and sending my husband on safari, there just seems to be no way around it. BUT, the difference between messes now and messes before: I can clean up our entire house in about a half hour. No more full days dedicated to cleaning before holidays or hosting guests…and that is AWESOME :)

Do you think everyone should live this way?

No, definitely not. If you are living harmoniously with your things, then why change? If you are annoyed and stressed by your house, feel like you have outgrown it, or are tired of it always being a mess like me, then why not challenge status quo and see if paring down brings relief. (You might even discover that you have plenty of space, and even appreciate the tighter quarters once you purge :) )

Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

No, not in the truest sense of the definition. We have a TV and cars (we’d have to walk 8 miles to get to the nearest grocery store!) and some things in storage in the garage. But when it comes to the number of material possessions we have, we’re getting close. But this is what I’ve really come to appreciate about this community…no one cares! I’ve encountered wonderful people who are genuine, encouraging, helpful and glad to be on this journey together (and who definitely aren’t looking to qualify or disqualify people).

And in the end, I don’t know that earning the title of minimalist is our goal. I just wanted to get rid of stuff until our home felt manageable…and it turns out that has brought us pretty close to the minimalist line, will we cross it in this lifetime? Who knows…but for now, things are good :)

Does it get easier?

Absolutely. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Part of the reason we put off dealing with our stuff is because it can be a really emotional experience. We’re faced with buyer’s remorse, memories of loved ones, and guilt over things we haven’t taken better care of. So again, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all face the same things…but it does get easier, and while we are probably never “done”…when you arrive at a less cluttered home, it is so, so worth it :)

 

And now that we’re here, living a near minimalist lifestyle doesn’t actually feel that extreme. We still have everything that we need to live comfortably (we didn’t get rid of our microwave or washing machine), we just got rid of all the stuff that we thought we needed but don’t actually. It feels totally natural and has worked out well for our family.

Do you have a question? I’d love to answer it! Post it in the comments below!
Dawn

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8 comments

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Hi, Dawn…I just found your blog today and have read every single post. Recently I’ve been distracted and lacking in motivation, but your “home tour” was so inspiring that I immediately went and filled up a large tub with items to get rid of, then kept right on going. Thanks for sharing your story and helping me get back to my goals! :) I look forward to reading more!

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Wow, THANK YOU! I have been motivated and inspired by other blogs, so I am so glad to hear that–Thank you!

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Also a recent discoverer here, I have 4 kiddos 2-8. :) I’m wondering what you kept as far as sentimental stuff goes. It’s been fairly easy to purge the other stuff, but I have a heck of a time choosing the top picks for the kids’ baby clothes, keepsakes, etc. Second, how do you deal with the paper clutter? We homeschool but if I’m honest with myself I have to admit the majority just isn’t from that. It’s the bills, forms, randomness. What about books? Last, would you be willing to go into more detail about the details? How many outfits you kept, your wardrobe, how many dishes, etc.? Thanks so much for sharing all your methods, I look forward to the minimalism-for-sanity journey and have already learned a few awesome tricks, namely laundry, that we’ll be implementing pronto!

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Great questions, all of the same questions I had when I got started…and I had a hard time finding the answers which is why I wanted to do this blog…however I just haven’t gotten to posting about them all yet, BUT, I will give you a sneak peak! Sentimental items: I have a small-ish rubbermaid container for each child with baby items (blankets, outfits I loved, hospital bracelets). How much of things? I’ve erred on the side of too little and it has worked out just fine! Here is a glimpse inside our kitchen cabinets. For kids clothes, linens, and our clothes, I packed away extras in the garage so that in case I didn’t leave enough out I could grab stuff out, but never needed to so then the boxes went to Goodwill :) I’ll go into more depth on all of this in the weeks to come!
Baby Boxes :)Cupboards

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You are so awesome! You’re exactly right, these are the newby questions and I’m excited to follow as you share more of them. Thanks for the preview, those were great answers to my questions. :)

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Hi! Just found your beautiful home tour through Pinterest. We’ve minimized a lot in the past and lived well as a family of 4 in a 2-bedroom home. Now after a move and having our 3rd, I feel like I’m catching back up with minimizing again! Love everything you’ve got going with your simple home and blog. Keep up the great work!

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Thank you so much Trina! I often think how nice it would be if keeping a simplified home were a destination and not an ongoing process ;)

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I am amazed by your home. I didn’t know this was humanly possible with four kids. I am currently working through cleaning out at least half of the stuff in my bedroom. I discovered to my horror that I had about 120 shirts. I knew the closet seemed crammed, but I didn’t realize it was that bad. I was able to pretty quickly get rid of thirty shirts, but the closet could still use some breathing space. My goal was to get rid of half, but I’m starting to run into some clothes I’m a bit more attached to. How did you clean out your clothes? How did you decide what to keep and what could go?

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