House Tour: Main

House-Front

So what does it look like for an ordinary family of six to live a minimalist lifestyle?
Here’s a glance inside our suburban town home.

    

    

White-barWhy I wanted to do this tour of our home:

When I was first looking into minimalism, I wanted to see if it was actually possible for a family of six to live this way without moving to a studio apartment in New York City. Could we achieve this in our 1,800 square foot, four bedroom, three bath town house? And what does it look like???

Turns out it can be achieved, without down-sizing and with four kids. And while it will definitely look different for everyone, here is what it looks like for us.

So welcome to our home! We’re glad you’re here :)

Let’s keep in touch!

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And if you’re on Pinterest, here is a picture for that, THANK YOU (thank you, thank you!) for sharing:

This is really cool & inspiring! Makes living as a minimalist very appealing :)

48 Comments

  1. I love the idea of simplicity, but somehow, in the process, it seem to have lost something. There are no books, no plants, no mirrors, no place to, I don’t know, sit and read a book and drink a cup of tea. What I do like about it is that it would be easy to clean, especially vacuuming. I have no carpets in my home just because I hate vacuuming so much. You have done a great job of simplifying, and the toy storage is wonderful. It’s not quite right for me. I think it is possible to have both order and beauty.

    • Thanks Dodie, I LOVE to hear what others think when they see inside our home! I’d say, I’ve probably erred on the side of fewer things simply because of the ages of our kids…my hope is that as they get older I will have a few more things that sit out (like plants, and throw pillows and blankets :)

      • I appreciate all the effort and hard work to simplify your home. I am mom of only 2 boys and am impressed with how well you keep your home. I aspire to move closer to this idea. I completely agree with your need to keep decor put away. I have many items in storage until my toddlers are old enough to respect caution around breakables. I often feel like my home has less character because I keep knick knacks away. I LOVE the art you have placed around your home. I tend to keep a lot of extended family photos in frames on the wall instead. Mainly because we don’t live near a lot of family and I like to remind my kids of their relative’s faces and names. I am curious how you handle birthdays and Christmas, when so many loving friends and family tend to overwhelm our kids with toys and extras. I keep trying to find a polite way to say – no more “stuff,” just come spend time with us! I went to school for Interior Design and worked for several years before we started our family. I want to applaud your style choices and hard work. I don’t find it sterile or lacking in any way. I think you have made a beautiful home for your kids that teaches them to enjoy and appreciate what they have in each other and focus less on their possessions. God bless and good luck with your family. Thanks for letting so many into your home.

    • crystal

      i’m am so glad that i found your site. i’ve been looking endlessly for minimalist homes for families with small children {my husband + i will soon have three kiddos 3 years + under}. your home is BEAUTIFUL…and even more beautiful is the peace i’m sure you have with being able to spend more time with your family than…cleaning or looking for things that are lost – ha!

      • Haha Crystal, you are absolutely right! It takes a little effort to get the ball rolling…there were days when I felt like I had gotten no where and would never be done simplifying our home, but then it just started feeling like things were more under control and I realized how far we had come :) Best wishes on your journey and I look forward to keep in touch!

  2. I have to agree with the first comment. While your home is lovely, clean, and minimal, I can’t help feeling that it is somehow sterile. It seems to lack your family’s personality. I think there is room for more personal style without losing sight of the minimalism goal.

    • Thanks for the comment Heidi, I’m ALWAYS curious to know what people think when they “visit”…I’m aware that we have lived this way for quite awhile now, and at times I’m tempted to get rid of even less (so this is good encouragement not to do that ;), I always want our home to be warm and welcoming so this is helpful feedback! :)

  3. Madeline

    I must disagree with the previous two comments. Your house has a lot of character! You’ve got significantly less than most families, but have maintained everything necessary, including that which is beautiful or fun. I love the peaceful vibe your house gives off, that comes mainly from the tidiness. Your family is beautiful, and I bet you get to spend more time with them because of the lifestyle you’ve chosen. Well done! And thank you for sharing!

    • THANK YOU for the comment Madeline…it is interesting how one sees sterile and another can see peace and EASY TO CLEAN :) Thank you for the kind words!

  4. I. Love. It.
    I think most of us aren’t used to seeing homes that look like this because magazines show rooms full of stuff available to buy. These pictures look more like an art gallery where the blank spaces draw attention to the art on the walls. I can’t imagine a house with 4 kids is lacking personality.

  5. Your home is organized and clean AND beautiful!! As someone who suffers from anxiety and a bit of genuine OCD I am actually taking things off the walls, painting them light pretty colours (as opposed to depressing apartment beige) and I won’t be putting most things back!! Using light blue is helpful for a feeling of calm – Being this “sparse” is easier to clean – I get anxious when I think there are dust bunnies under the bed!! I’ve removed our night tables so now our room is just a bed w a lovely quilt, light blue walls an it is soooo beautiful to me. So now I’m feeling better already! Perhaps at some point I’ll put things back up to enjoy but for now I will respect how I’m made and act accordingly….and not worry what anyone thinks!! (-:

  6. I have been dealing with anxiety for a very long time, and the messes in my home have always gotten to me. And living with ADHD has not helped that one bit. I am so distracted and cannot seem to keep up with anything. Recently I have been dealing with pain and fatigue which was diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Great, now the messes stress me out, and I can’t clean them up, lol! Your home is so peaceful and relaxing. A much more minimalist, organized, tranquil home is my goal this year. Thank you for your inspiration. And I love love love your fireplace! I think it would be lost in a more busy room. It is definitely a statement piece!

    • Amee, this is Jill from above. I have fibro too. I find having a very minimal amount of stuff in my home really helps. Sending warm wishes & thanks Dawn for showing the light at the end of the tunnel!

  7. My big question! What did you do with all the stuff that it takes to maintain a family of six? We are a family of 4 boys…Laundry, multiple seasons & sizes, toys, artwork, school supplies, cooking & cleaning….I don’t know how to score what we don’t need!

  8. I think this home is an incredibly beautiful, practical and comfortable space to raise a family. Not sterile at all, very warm and inviting!

    • Thanks for the kind words Kendra :) I think for moms with little ones our home probably looks refreshing…for those with older kids who don’t destroy things anymore, I can see where it looks a touch bare…we’ll see how it evolves as the kids get older :)

      • I am curious about your statement ‘older kids who don’t destroy things’…so does that mean you are waiting til they are older to teach them how not to destroy things??? I am NOT being critical, I am just curious! Your home is lovely.

  9. I LOVE your home. I am constantly editing our space to strike the right balance of minimalism and functionality. We often get the comment ‘did you just move in?’

    • Oh that’s a good one, we haven’t heard that one yet :) Often we hear “how do you keep your house so clean with kids?” or “your home feels so spacious” (even though it isn’t big at all :)

  10. Wow, thank you for sharing your photos and story. Amazing space, (especially when viewing the images in color). Spacious, warm, and beautiful, with the sense your family comes first.

  11. I found your site when looking for ways to downsize. While living as minimally as you are living isn’t for me – yet – I can certainly appreciate it. I’m sitting here in my bedroom looking around at stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Can’t find anything to wear because my closet is so jammed with…….stuff! The worst thing? Seems I never have time to do what I really want to do because I’m always dealing with…..stuff. I do believe you may have stsrted me on a path. -:)

    • We can all relate…it is such a gradual process, stuff accumulating…my best advice is to pick a room and just get started :)

  12. I think it is beautiful! I kept my home VERY pared down when my older children were small and it really helped. It’s true that as they get older it will probably change some. I now have 2 in their twenties, 2 teens, and a 10 year old. Due to various interests of different family members it may be necessary to have more. Also I don’t decorate much and am very picky about what I do decorate with (I abhor dusting!) But through the years a few things I really love have come along. I think your house is absolutely perfect for the stage you are in. Although my house is sparse compared to most, people tell me how comfortable they feel here. I think it is so much easier to welcome people when you aren’t worried about all the clutter! It frees you up to welcome them in, make some coffee, and sit and relax and chat. I think people like it because they can relax and feel at ease.

    • This is really encouraging, THANK YOU so much for sharing! I love hearing from those who have gone before and have lived like this for awhile…the benefits are just so good!

  13. I’m simply amazed you can do this with that many children. This definitely gave me encouragement that I can do this with less people in my home. :)

  14. Bev Hudson

    Kudos to you and hubby for keeping the house so organized and clean…I do find it looks like it is staged for sale, and that is perfect if that is the case. If you love it, then that is all that matters.

  15. It always amaze me what united states people consider minimalist. That´s a regular middle clase house in the rest of the world, a rich one even. You are so used to huge houses, houses than in other countries would be considered sumptuous, even impractical. Like a house that ownes you and no the other way around… It is not a critique. Just an observation.

  16. Simply Lovely! Such an Inspiration!

  17. I’ve had this page open in my browser for weeks so every time open it I get a glimpse of your home. I have been SLOWLY moving toward a more minimal lifestyle (for 2 years) and I still feel buried in “stuff.” These pictures are so motivating to me! Every one of these spaces feel like somewhere I could sit and think and relax and breathe easier. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never get there without some outside force, like having to move for a job or something, but seeing other people do it gives me hope! Thank you for putting this out there, I will keep coming back for inspiration!

  18. What a beautiful and inspirational home! In my opinion minimalism is much different for families than for singles! I think the lessons children will learn from being raised in a minimal environment are invaluable! I hope to continue our journey towards living small! We’re having a garage sale this weekend!!!

    • Thank you Andrea, and I totally agree…I think that was one of the main reasons I started this blog, I had a really hard time finding inspiration for family minimalism. I hope to find ways for others to share their minimal spaces, and designs and ideas as we move forward, I just LOVE seeing what it looks like for each person and family :)

  19. I LOVE your home and I am planning lots of purging, especially of toys and things I always though were necessary for grown ups to have! I think we’ve been trained to think that the “right” way to decorate is with lots of furniture, wall art, and accents. It looks good in magazines, but it certainly doesn’t FEEL good to live in. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thanks for the kind words Niki and I definitely agree! Blessings on your journey! :)

  20. Hi Dawn, thanx for letting us into your home. I love the spaciousness of it and I’m sure it’s a breeze to clean. I have a home that is way too full of stuff, but I’m gradually coming to the point I can let go of things. It’s hard!! So hats off to all those who have already mastered the skill of letting go.
    I just want to know: do you have things in your home like books or paint for the kids or just things for hobbies, you know, things you need to do stuff. I like to crochet and ofcourse you need wool, scissors, etc. So you also need a place to stack this. What do you and your family do in your free time? Perhaps you have some valuable tips for me.
    Thanx again.

    • It is difficult and it is a process, so don’t be too hard on yourself :) I don’t have a ton of time for hobbies, but I’ve found that now that my kitchen stays clean I’ve really started to enjoy cooking, trying new recipes and investing in high quality kitchen items. I also enjoy the occasional craft/sewing project and keep my sewing machine and supplies in my office closet. This can be tricky because scrap fabric and craft supplies accumulate QUICKLY, so I usually let the girls play with left overs or donate them when I’m done (but the thought STILL goes through my head “maybe I should keep this scrap of material, I might need it some day…” then I have to remind myself that I value open closet space over a stock pile of extras…still not always easy! I also really enjoy gardening, we have a garden at my parent’s farm just a few miles away, and that is fun because it doesn’t require much for “stuff.” Keep up the work, soon you’ll look around and be amazed at how far you’ve come and how much you enjoy your home! :)

      • Hi Dawn, What you say about keeping stuff because you may need it some day is so true. And then there is the money you’ve spent. I find it hard to part with something I paid for. Now I tell myself that it’s the price I pay for more space. I keep on with my struggle with myself. Today I let go of 3 bags that were broke and I thought I would repair them someday. Ofcourse I never had the time. So today it was goodbye and farewell to all three of them. However I must admit I cut the handles off to keep them “just in case”, you know….

  21. LOVE your house and that you are minimalists! I have been a minimalist my whole life. Now that I’m married and have a daughter and one on the way, I aim to teach my family the values and benefits of being a minimalist. Two of which that stand out are less stress and the ability to focus on what truly matters rather than making yourself happy with material possessions. I try to donate regularly so that things don’t accumulate. We don’t have much in our house, but I still hope to one day have even less. Minimalists are a rare find, so avoid letting others’ opinions about your lifestyle get to you. Kuddos to raising your kids in this lifestyle. They will grow up appreciating things rather than expecting them all the time. They will also be more creative in play by using their imaginations with what the few possessions they own.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Kimberly, I’ve met very few life-long minimalists, it seems most of us find it after we are fed up with stuff, so it is encouraging to hear that you still appreciate the lifestyle. And like you, I would like to have even less as we continue down this road and love, love, love how creative the kids are and what they find to play with! It is so fun to watch them :) Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is encouraging!

  22. I love the look and feel of your home. I am living in my mom’s home, before she passed over, and my ultimate desire is to simplify and declutter and I have done alot, thank you .Your blog energized me to keep going. I love the simple way of life.

    • Thank you for your kind words Carol (they energize me :) and blessings on your journey!

  23. I happened upon your article from Pinterest because we are also a family of 6 on the minimalist journey. We chose to downsize from 1500sf 3 bed 2 bath to 900sf 2 bed 1 bath. Despite getting rid of over half our things in the last 2 years, we still need to get rid of more. But that is why I appreciate the minimalist movement so much! Whatever point you are in your journey and whatever number of possessions you have is perfect as long as you are living intentionally!

    Bravo to you for your beautiful home and teaching your kids that things are tools not means of happiness. I think your home is lovely and perfect for your family! Thank you for sharing it. I also applaud you for the grace with which you have chosen to handle others’ responses to your article. Your grace is a breath of fresh air. Well done!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Amy, your comment really meant a lot to me! And it is very nice to meet another family on the same journey! :)

  24. Wow! Dawn thank you so much for posting a tour of your home. It was so helpful to actually see what minimalism can look like. I feel so inspired to continue on this journey. Thank you!

  25. Cherriezzzzz

    Maybe it’s just my family, but where are the items your husband owns? Does he have any hobbies?? Tools? Electronics? Paperwork? haha You see when it comes to my home my husband’s items are something I need to consider. He has reduced his things drastically :) But he still gardens, uses computer gear, and has tools etc. You have an entire room dedicated to your things, which being your items are easy to store and maintain. We have 4 children too, so my hobbies are nursing, using cloth diapers, and homeschooling haha! But is there a secret place where his indoor items are stored? I ask because I have no clue how or where to store his things. I have the space, but I’m at a total loss! He is happy with whatever I come up with, so long as he doesn’t have to toss it all. And FYI I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YOUR HOME! It’s my inspiration!

  26. Your home is truly inspiring! I am definitely motivated to simplify!!

    • Thank you, I’m really glad to hear that, it is definitely a worthwhile journey! I’ll look forward to keeping in touch :)

  27. I love this! I don’t think it looks clinical at all. To me it looks fresh and clean and light and spacious. All things I aspire for life for my family and I. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  28. Jennifer Gunter

    Do you have updated or just “in color” photos? I understand the comments saying it is sparse and sterile…but I think that is due to the black & white photos. The color thumbnails are so bright and vibrant, and I have a feeling that your whole home feels that way in person.

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