Why Minimizing Your Social Media is Good for the Soul │ Simply Minimally

Last year, I went off Instagram for two months.

A hand holding a cell phone with apps on it

It was probably one of the best things I've done in a while and I documented a little bit about it at a great minimalism site called Minimalism.com. 

While lessening social media isn't a popular thing to do - heck, it's the opposite of popular - it's something that I needed to do.

More importantly, it was something my soul and heart were crying out for and I didn't know how much it was crying out for it until I pulled the plug.

While you may not be ready to get rid of a social media app (or ten), you may want to think about lessening what you do have, or at the very least, getting rid of aspects of the app.

Maybe you're following way too many accounts.

Maybe you want to be a minimalist but you're following high-consumption lifestyle bloggers.

Maybe you're following people because they follow you and it's all about the numbers rather than the authenticity of your account.

These are all valid reasons for going through your accounts today and unfollowing the superfluous accounts. 

When it comes to being you and living a life meant for you, following folks who go against what you're striving to attain will not help you. More than likely, it will only serve to thwart your good intentions.

Here's how minimizing social media is good for the soul and a way to keep you living intentionally.

It resets your compass: When I was on Instagram, it always felt like I was in it for the validation, at least in the later years. While validation can be helpful, when that's all you're seeking, it changes the motive behind the app. This was not at all why I began my way onto Instagram. 

In the early days of Instagram, there was so much honest connection. I was friends with like-minded individuals, we bonded over the things we liked and photographed. Then over a few years, Instagram changed. It wasn't so much about the connection anymore but about the bottom line. It was ad placement; reels; or someone always selling something. 

I missed the old days. I missed people posting for the sake of an item or person or thing being beautiful, not because it could up one's commissioned sales. I fell prey to this as well, focusing more on what I could gain from it, rather than what it originally started out: a connecting app. 

While Instagram is a completely different animal in 2024 than what it was in 2014, I restarted my account (I even did this in 2017 when my love for minimalism began and then restarted it again in 2023- so I've restarted my account twice!) And now, it's strictly for my closest friends and family. I'm back to posting what I love: things I think are beautiful and make me happy to look at.

It refocuses your priorities: This was the biggest shift for me when I left Instagram for a couple months. I was sick of myself, sick of people posting for their selfish gain, sick of all of it. Going off of it showed me where my values lay: in taking care of myself, lessening my carbon footprint, and being a better human. I was a minimalist. Following people who bought and continued to "show and tell" their items were not good for maintaining my minimalism.

My priorities (the ones I felt that mattered) took first place. I got rid of the accounts that were physically nauseating me, kept only the ones I truly cared about and liked, and made it my account one that focused on living with less, living with slow fashion, and slow living, all surrounded by people I care about. I can't think of a better way to have an app than that way. 

Instagram doesn't make me angry anymore - I don't think about what I've lost, or that it's not "like the good old days." I only focus on what I've gained by intentionally choosing what I want from it now.

It reveals people you don't want in your life: I kind of mentioned this in the "reset your compass" section. But this one is so important. What's the saying? You are the sum of your three closest friends. While Instagram friends are somewhat superficial, the truth is, I allow who I want in my little world of squares on my phone. I'm in charge.

There were plenty of people I followed who were nice, had beautifully curated feeds, and reflected a well-put-together life. But their content was constantly showing items I could buy from them, so they could get a commission. It was all about money. I'm not against money in any way. I own my own business! But, when Instagram became more about marketing than genuine friendships, that was my cue to get out of there, or to at least change the way I was viewing it. The "friends" who rarely commented on anything I posted (and took my comments for granted), got the boot. See ya!

That felt great to do. When you get rid of the accounts pulling you down it leaves room to revel in the accounts that pull you up! They pulled me up to freedom, truth, authenticity, and beauty.

Maybe you're not ready to get rid of accounts. That's fine. But remember: the people you surround yourself with - even if in some small way - affect what you believe in, what you do, and how you perceive the world around you.

If it's that strong of an influence (even if it's subtle and sometimes subconscious) we need to be very careful who we bring into our world. We are the sum of them.

I'd rather have fewer but quality, good, amazing, "friends" than a ridiculous amount of followers who are trite and only follow me (so I follow them) to raise their rankings. Maybe it's not Instagram but Facebook that you have problems with. Maybe it's Snapchat. Whatever it is that's bringing your soul down, it needs to change!

Today, I feel like a different person. Because I am a different person. And all because I decided to "clean up" my social media accounts.

As is the case with all things minimalism (and living a slow meaningful life), less is more.

Way more.

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Minimalist Kitchen │ Minimal Aesthetic for Your Kitchen

Sometimes, when the lighting is just right in my kitchen I love taking pictures of what's there. 

We renovated a few years ago. We had old oak cabinets original to a home built in 1984. You can imagine what that looked like.

As a minimalist, there isn't much in it now. Simple, clean lines, and a solid surface counter.

But that's what makes it beautiful. That's the appeal of minimalism and the minimalist lifestyle.

Rather than the kitchen itself, I'm mesmerized by what's not in the kitchen. No extra stuff, no extraneous items.

Evening in a kitchen

I can see the lighting, the mood, the simple beauty of white cabinets, and gratitude for a gorgeous space to call my own.

No need to go out for coffee when I have a kitchen like this to wake up to every day.

Less is more.

Minimizing Your Sock Drawer │ Minimal Living

The sock drawer gets a bad rap.

It's the go-to excuse when we don't want to do something. "I have to go organize my sock drawer."

It's the place we put things that have the potential to have great value. (How often does jewelry get put into socks and forgotten about or thrown away accidentally?)

It's the one drawer or part of a drawer, that we tend to think doesn't matter. Because, heck, who's going to see it?

But it does. You see it. You live with it. And you're the one that has to navigate its contents every morning.

If you're striving for a minimalist lifestyle, then your sock drawer and its contents count in your quest to keep minimalism front and center.

My mother (don't tell her I said this) has a thing for socks. I remember one time, years ago, she counted her socks and it was like something over 120 pairs. 

This is partly because she just loves socks. Plain and simple. It's also because we give her socks as gifts (because we know she loves them). It's also because she has an addiction to them. A very benign addiction, but an addiction nonetheless that can sabotage any minimalist's goals.

My oldest son loves socks too. Especially the crazy ones. So, maybe I'll send him this post after I publish it. He has several dozen or more, pairs of socks, all with fun and crazy patterns. In fact, I just gave him two pairs for his birthday.

To my credit, he wears his socks out like he's a sock-footed toddler running in the street. So, that boy needs socks. Socks are easy gifts. 

I also buy socks for myself when I see they're on sale, or if they're ones I need. Or think I need it. I mean, socks get holes. Holes in socks aren't attractive no matter who's wearing them.

So, how many pairs of socks do we need?

Apparently, the common number of socks you potentially need in your sock drawer is 10-20.

And after having thoroughly minimized my sock drawer, I can tell you this is right. What's incredible is that I feel like I could live with less. Like seven pairs. I wash socks every day, and I have my favorite pairs that I wear. So more than ten feels superfluous.

I have a favorite style and cut (which I got at Costco oddly enough, about five years ago) and I wish I had bought a few more sets because they're wearing out. 

But, they're all I wear! (I have an alert on eBay to purchase them if they come up - they appear like a rare bird, every now and then, and I'm watching like a hawk.)

But, that's how weird I've gotten about socks. It's an age thing, I'm sure. This chart about gifts and socks is 100% true.

All that to say, we love how certain socks feel. And if that's what we like, then that's what we should be wearing! Yes, we need random gym socks, heavy-duty hiking socks, or invisible no-show socks for those little ballet flats we slip into. 

But, for the ones we wear every day, I'd say 7-8 pairs of those might be all you need.

Here are a few helpful tips:

Forget about the price. Okay, don't go crazy spending $40 for a pair of socks (there are better ways to spend $40), but if there is a specific brand that fits you just right and feels great, then that's what you should be wearing. It's your feet; you're only on them every day. So, take care of them with socks that feel awesome.

Wear what you love: As with all clothing in the minimalist lifestyle, wear what you love. It's as basic as can be. Have socks that get eaten wearing sneakers? Hate those knee-high socks that Aunt Jo got you? Get rid of them. Keep only what you love and what feels good on you.

Less is more: If you're like me, you're always reaching for the ones you know fit well. So that's really all you need in your drawer (as well as those outlier pairs). Get rid of the ones you don't wear. Maybe start with keeping 20 pairs, see if you wear all of them, and gradually pull out a pair or two you don't wear as the weeks progress.

My ears are burning right now. I swear my mom knows I was talking about her. But, she's a perfect example of what all of us do to some varying degree: we hoard socks. We think we'll need them and not have enough.

That has never happened to me.

Regardless, don't accumulate socks that just sit there. That's a waste of money and space. 

Find what number works for you, get rid of the extraneous socks that are only there "just in case," and declutter your sock drawer for the simple life you yearn for and peace of mind. 

This peace of mind will result in peace of feet. 

And happy feet are the best kind.

Your Stuff or Your Life │How Minimalism Gives Life

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."  Henry David Thoreau 

That quote by Thoreau should be posted everywhere; in the bathroom mirror, when you take out the garbage, and when you head to the grocery store to buy food.

So, how much life have I exchanged for things I thought were important?

I think about that question often. As a minimalist, it's become a solid tenet of my ideals. The whole point of minimalism is to stop the endless cycle of accumulating. More specifically, accumulating things we don't need.

I remember buying a car a few years ago. My current SUV was hitting that mileage limit where almost anything that went wrong meant it was a repair that cost more than the car was worth.

So, we bought a much newer car, only two years old; the newest car I've ever owned. My husband and I aren't into buying things that depreciate when they drive off the car lot. So, two years was a nice way to still have something newer but not so new that we would be paying for deprecation once we parked it in our garage.

I got a Jeep Cherokee and I love it like one of my children. It's reliable, perfectly sized, and gray: one of my favorite colors.

What I didn't like was the car payment. We had put a small down payment on it, but it still didn't alleviate the pain I experienced every time I made that payment. A cringing and wincing came from my face that would rival any teenager as I wrote that check. It wasn't fun.

I hate car payments. I hated the ball and chain feeling I had with it. I HATED having that $400 a month bill that was like flushing money down the drain.

Because what did I have? Sure, I had a car that got me from point A to point B.

But I also had hours of work from me and/or my husband that went to this egregious bill. The alternative would've been to save up the money and pay for it in cash.

The issue was we needed a car, and we needed it sooner rather than later. This is why almost everyone has car payments: it ameliorates our desperate need for transportation and fills a void quickly.

But it comes at a cost. A premium, really.

The agony I created from paying that bill wasn't worth it. It cost me anger, energy, time, and money all for what... a hunk of metal on wheels.

My old car would cost too much to fix and wasn't worth the repairs, but the trade-off was a newer shiny car with a fat old car payment

I realize life isn't always easy and simple. Especially when it comes to cars. We buy what we need because we need it! But, I could've done things differently.

At the time, this was just before my journey into minimalism and I knew I needed the car. But, I hated debt regardless of whether I was a minimalist or not. Paying off my mortgage early was always on the table for me, minimalist-minded or not.

Years ago, I read a fantastic book called, Your Money or Your Life. It dives deep into the nuances of cultural wants versus true needs as well as learning to save money through mindfulness and good habits. It also discusses exactly what the title states: Are you willing to sacrifice your life for stuff? How far are we willing to go to have what we think we need?

The questions that book raised stuck with me.

Today, I question whether I would've done what I did buying the Jeep eight years ago. I probably would've bought the Jeep, but it would've been an older one and I would've saved up - if not for the whole thing - for at least half of the cost as a down payment.

I believe there is a way to have it all, but it comes down to patience and timing.

I can have the Jeep, but I will have to wait and save up for it. I can get the car I'd like to own, but it doesn't need to be quite as new. I've learned that stuff doesn't equal happiness, either. I loved my car but was miserable with the payment. 

Needless to say, we paid that baby off early. I think we went out to dinner after I made the last payment, too. It was a momentous occasion.

You can apply this concept of "your stuff or your life" to all parts of your life. From the clothes in your closet to your kitchen gadgets (that don't get used) to even larger things like mortgages. 

How hard will we have to work to act like we can keep the purchase we made?

As Thoreau so eloquently put it, it costs us what we are willing to give up.

If we don't want to give up our lives for things, then we've addressed the issue at the core (which is also a minimalist core value): Our health, our family, and what we already own right here are more valuable than any shiny thing we need over there.

If we can't afford it, if it costs too much, then we'd be wise to wait until we can afford it.

When we wait for what we need, we often find we can live with less (and with less frivolous and costly items), and live with a focus that transcends the consumeristic culture by which we're surrounded. 

Next time you're purchasing something large (or want to) ask yourself: What would Thoreau say about this?

To Have or to Hold │ The Minimalist Way to Know How to Buy

As someone who sells vintage clothing for a living, I know a little bit about shopping. More specifically, I know about shopping therapy.

To shop for vintage clothing for my online vintage shop, I have to thrift. But, wait... that's not truthful. I don't have to thrift, I get to thrift!

Because of thrifting, and going to estate and garage sales, I inevitably see a lot of clothing. Which means I hold, touch, caress, look at, and fidget with a ton of clothing. Thousands and thousands of pieces each week.

In my quest for minimalism in my personal life, I realized that much of the ease of my transition into minimalism came because I touched and looked at clothing regularly.

In other words, I could let go of what I didn't wear because I so often looked and held clothing. This sounds esoteric, but hear me out.

Minimalism comes easily because I am deeply entrenched in slow living. Slow living relates to buying clothing that is sustainable, reusable, and of high quality. It is well made and made to last for years (unlike the fast fashion of today- think Targert, Shein, and Forever 21.)

But I see so much fast fashion in thrift stores (all the worn-once-now-discarded pieces) which keeps me from ever wanting to return to that. The land of cheap, and constant, clothing replacement is repugnant to me. 

I don't say this in pride, I say it in a humble but dedicated gesture. I used to be a part of the vicious cycle of fast fashion, never satisfied, and always wishing my closet were bigger. 

As a convert to a minimal lifestyle, I see the error in thinking fast fashion is the way to go. That cycle will never satisfy or make me feel good. I'll always want more; always need more; always be searching for the next trend.

But, that was years ago. I began the switch to minimalism in 2017 and never looked back. I was blind, but now I see.

And I see that slow fashion, the value of owning less but better quality, is the way to go. And in my quest for slow fashion, I see the error of my previous ways. I'm so much happier and content.

Why is this so? Because I've learned to value slow fashion; the quality made, the vintage, the lovely pieces made so well you don't have to keep buying. I seek slow fashion and wear slow fashion, so it's everywhere I turn because I choose it. 

But I also see a ton of fast fashion because it's my "office" for selling vintage clothing. Either fast or slow fashion, I'm touching, holding, and feeling all the fashion. This repeated afront of clothing fills my shopping desire - that filling-my-closet desire - and pretty much negates it.

So, here's a question you can ask yourself when you're shopping: Do I need this or do I just need to hold it? 

You can do this with shoes, household goods, and even furniture. Maybe all I need is to touch the sofa fabric; maybe all I need to do is hold the sweater up to me, while I tell myself I don't need it and then conclude that I have what I need as I hang it back up on the rack.

Because that's exactly what I do and it works like a charm. Here's what I do. When I see an item I like, but don't need: I possess the item in my mind. 

I put it in my hand, I feel the material and look at the label. I begin to ask more questions: Is this something I need? Do I love it? Will this replace an item in my closet that needs to be replaced? 

More often than not, just holding the item and talking through the pros and cons of the item, allows me to already "possess" the item and put it down when I see I don't need it. 

I find that I only need to hold it, not have it, to fill a temporary longing. When I do this, when I hold the item as if it's mine, and put it back, I refrain from wasting money on something I don't need. 

In the past, as a fast fashion gal, it was easy to pick up random stuff I wanted to buy. This was a normal thing, right? I'd swing by Target for bread and milk but also swing by for a pair of denim shorts and a tank top (that I truly didn't need). 

Unfortunately, without a clear concept of what I owned in my wardrobe and what I wore regularly, it only added to the chaos of my closet.

When I act as if I am already in ownership of the item, I'm psyching myself out while I'm shopping and keeping myself in check.

So, get out there and shop if you need to. But remember, shopping doesn't have to mean you're there to buy. Sometimes, all you need is to window shop, and yet, window shopping isn't even close to what I do. 

With my concept of having versus holding, you get to hold the item in your hand, and go through all of the tough questions, not just look at the piece.

When I'm out sourcing for my vintage store, I see pieces that could fit well into my wardrobe. But almost always (nearly every time) it's an item that looks good, and is to my taste, but I do not need it.

So, I hold it up to me, feel the fabric, mentally go through the items in my closet, see if it's a duplicate (which it almost always is), smile at it, tell it it's beautiful, and hang it back on the rack.

Give this a try, next time you're out shopping. Is the item to have or to hold? More often than not, it's a "hold" item, that belongs in someone else's closet.

When you know what's in your wardrobe, and love what you have, you get to be selective with your wardrobe. That's a gift! It keeps the excess out of the way, and the goal of loving what you already have becomes the focus of your life.

What is a Minimalist?

a woman sitting with a cup of coffee
If you've heard about the wonderful world of minimalism, but aren't sure what that entails, it's essentially what it sounds like.

A minimalist is someone who wants minimal aspects in all the things they own and do. This could be things in their closet, their kitchen, the amount of mugs in their cupboard, or how many jobs they have. This could even be fewer social media apps.

As minimalist expert, Joshua Becker, says in his book, Things that Matter: Overcoming Distractions to Pursue a More Meaningful Life, "I define minimalism as the 'intentional promotion of the things we most value by removing anything that distracts us from them.'"

Anyone can minimize their lives, but it takes special determination and wisdom to keep this lifestyle, long after the newness of owning less has passed. 

Minimalism encompasses the goal of living with less so you can love what you have.

To be a minimalist, the biggest shift for most people is understanding that we have too many things. We have so many choices from food, clothing, books, shoes, and even the bread aisle at the grocery store. Because of our options, we're inundated with the desire for more as if this is how we're supposed to be.

But, are we? Is acquiring and wanting and needing more the way we're supposed to live?

From social media to television ads, print ads, books, blogs, newspapers, and on, we're literally told we need to buy. It's assumed that we consumers are just supposed to keep on consuming for the rest of our lives.

But, why? Since when was it wrong to love what we already had?

I became a minimalist when I realized I had way too much of everything and didn't like what I had. It was depressing to turn around and see what I had accumulated, only to see that I wanted more! (I didn't appreciate what I already owned either.) 

I had on my fast-fashion, fast-living, I want-it-now attitude and was miserable.

I was also in a big contradiction. Back in 2015, in the earlier days of Instagram, I was promoting fast fashion on my social media ... but I loved vintage fashion (wearing and selling it). This began to grate on me. I already despised fast fashion, I hated the cheap clothing created at all the Targets and Wal-Marts, Sheins, and Forever 21s of the world. But I was promoting it because of money and popularity.

It was easy to buy something and then a season later, throw it away, because it wasn't trendy. But, this made me sick to my stomach. The tenets of slow fashion - which I loved- are the polar opposite of this. That was what I wanted.

I had to get out of that hole of desperation thinking I needed to be like everyone else to succeed. It obviously wasn't working, because I was not happy. It felt fake, forced, and lowly. 

I got rid of that social media account a couple years later and became honest. I loved real true vintage clothing and planned to wear, keep, and sell it for as long as possible. So, I chose that way of living and haven't looked back.

Minimalism is a way to bring back order and peace to enjoy what we have in our lives. Minimalism is about slowing down; about getting rid of excess and the superfluous stuff that we think we have to have.

Our society tells us we need to consume, buy, update, and be on trend. Instead, all this does is create stress, put us further in debt, and lie to us. There is no permanent satisfaction in consumption. There will always be the desire for more. Just one more this, just an extra that, just this thing...

In a way, these lies form our identity. We are so tied to what we consume, that we don't know how to live without it. Our things begin to own us, control us, and take over every part of our lives. Last time I checked, being the large-brained mammals that we are, we're supposed to own our stuff, not the other way around.

Two other minimalism experts, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, talk about this in their book Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists. Millburn says about everything he owned, "... they were a part of my identity. A part of me. And once something's a part of your identity - once it becomes a part of you - it's hard to shed."

Your stuff becomes you. And it is hard to shed what you think is a part of you. It's asking a part of yourself to die. But that death is what's going to bring new life. Like pruning a tree, taking off the dead wood, this trimming - or hacking, in my case - allows for new growth.

To bring control back to our lives, we have to let go of what owns us. Minimalism, at its root, is about order, reason, and peace. And becoming a minimalist is a way to regain control and focus on what really matters.

For me, minimalism is about paring down to love. What I love to have, love to be around, and love to have front and center in my life.

Here are examples of how minimalism affected each area of my life:

My closet: I had upwards of 150 items of clothing. I wasn't even wearing close to half of it. I got rid of what I didn't wear or didn't love,  and today I have a solid 85 items. I wear each item and love each item. It's simple, all of it is wearable, and I own nothing that doesn't serve me.

My kitchen: I got rid of all excess plates and dishes (I love vintage dinnerware and have been collecting for decades, so this was hard to let go, but I wasn't using most of it- I only saved what I loved the most) and lots of kitchen gadgets. I didn't use that air fryer after all, the plastic containers to hold food were out of control, and I only needed one spatula, not five.

My books: A lot of folks balk at giving up books. But unless they're your favorite books of all time, and you're rereading them semi-regularly, books are only for display. I downsized my library by hundreds of books and only kept what I loved the most. I love my library more than ever.

My social media: I went through and got rid of accounts I didn't use, and apps I didn't like, I even got off Instagram for two months to see what that was like. Less is so much more! I felt free; free to get off my phone and focus on what was important to me. Instead of scrolling, I was reading. Instead of shopping on an app, I was decluttering some drawers. Instead of wanting more, I was wanting less.

Becoming a minimalist is like waking up and realizing you've been living in a fake world. It's like Neo in the movie The Matrix. We aren't living, we just think we're living. 

The real living is when we give up the desire for more and appreciate what we already have.

Being a minimalist allows me to really live and truly love. And I don't think there's any higher calling than that.

Becoming a Minimalist │10 Easy Things You Can Declutter Right Now

The task of turning your life into a more minimal one may seem daunting. It is said that most households have 300,000 items in them. So, how in the world does one begin to pare down... everything?

In small steps.

It took you years to acquire what you have, so don't feel like you have to downsize in a day. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither do you have to figure it all out right now.  

As a minimalist who is still paring things down (I began my minimalism journey in 2017), I know for a fact that this takes time. Lots of time.

But since good things take time, consider your minimalist transformation as one of those good things. It's one room at a time, one closet at a time, and one drawer at a time.

Here are 10 things you can do right now to begin your minimalism journey today.

1. Sort the Mail Immediately. When you get the mail, look through it. Make two piles: one to save (or file) and one to throw away. Then, here's the important part: take the throw-away pile and throw it away! You think I'm joking, but I'm not. Get that junk into the trash. Do not leave it on the counter, do not hang it don't the refrigerator. Throw it away!

2. Do the Laundry. This seems irrelevant. But it's not. It has to do with the laundry you need to clean out your closet later. Plus, if you need a reminder to do a load of laundry, this is it. Don't bother separating darks and light: put it all together, save water, save energy, and get that laundry done. Hand wash delicates. You're welcome.

3. De-Junk the Junk Drawer. The junk drawer has way too much power in our home. Get that junk drawer, and dump it out. Save what you use, put those items where they really belong (like all the loose pens into a pen canister), and throw away the rest. You won't need that cord, you won't need those ketchup packets from McDonald's, and you won't need those twist ties from the bread bag. Save for a flashlight, a pen, a pair of scissors, and a tape measure, call it good, and get rid of the rest.

4. Don't buy any Clothes for a Month. This may seem like a huge challenge. But after you declutter and eliminate from your closet, you're going to find this is easy There's an 80/20 rule that's popular for minimalists because it's a true rule: we wear 80% of our clothing 20% of the time. How much is in your closet that you never wear? Imagine only wearing what you own right now for a month. Not spending a dime. You'd save a fortune and find clothes you love you'd long forgotten about, with tags on them and all. Go shop your closet and don't buy clothes for a month.

5. Go through your Sock Drawer. My mom loves socks. It's her weakness. I have a shoes/jacket/belt weakness. We all have one. But, let's be honest: do we really need 100 pairs of socks? Dump out that drawer, throw away any socks with holes, toss the ones that you don't wear, and donate the ones you won't wear and still haven't worn and are in their original packaging. Try for 20 pairs of socks. And if you need more, as you wear them, replace them. Done and done.

6. Go through your Shoes. As I just said, I love shoes. I had something like 65 pairs at one point. But, did I wear all of them? Nope. I had my favorites. While I'll never get down to like 10 pairs of shoes (I love a variety of shoes too much to pare down like that) I have been able to get it down to 25. These are all shoes - boots, heels, flats, sandals, flip-flops, and sneakers - that I love and wear. Get rid of duplicates. I have and wear all the shoes I love - my shoe wardrobe is as happy as I am.

7. Go through your Jeans. This is another weakness of mine. I used to have over 20 pairs. But, as simplicity expert Brian Gardner once said, "Twenty pairs of jeans is fifteen too many." While I'm in disagreement about this, I do understand his point. I'm good with seven. So, it's close. I had 20 pairs but wore less than 10 of them regularly. I got rid of the excess and guess what, I don't even remember the others now. Not one bit.

8. Go through your Tops. Again, minimalism isn't about living with as little as possible. It's about living with things that make you happy that you use. If you aren't using half of your tops, why are they in your closet? Clear out the crap, get rid of duplicates, and enjoy your closet again.

9. Go through the Rest of your Closet. Now that you've eliminated so many pieces of your wardrobe, it's time to go through the rest of it: dresses, skirts, shorts, and t-shirts. Purge, purge, purge. And when in doubt, pare down to love! If you don't love it, even if you paid a ton for it, let it go. Sell it on eBay if you want to recoup a few dollars. But if it's worth less than $25, donate it. Your time and money can be better spent on your future not buying more.

10. Get Rid of Kitchen Gadgets You don't Use. The deep fryer, the crockpot (the extra small one or large one you don't use), the Pampered Chef products, the backup coffee maker that you forgot you had... all of this is taking up space in person and space in your mind. Declutter your mind, declutter your surroundings, and create a peaceful home that exudes love and joy. If everything in your kitchen is usable and something you love, then great. But, do you really need eight whisks, when one or two will do? You know you have a favorite... admit it. (I know I do).

This is just a sample of things you can do to start decluttering your life. Take one of these to-dos every day and have it done in 10 days. Can you imagine how much better your home will look - and how much better you'll feel - when you minimize the excess in your life?

If you've done all of these ten actions, then why not go for broke (and not actually be broke - when you own less and keep less, you'll be amazed at how much money you have over at the end of the month). I did a 30-day Minimalism Challenge and the results were incredible.

What's the challenge?

Day one, get rid of one item. Day two, get rid of two items. By day 30, you have to get rid of 30 items. I chronicled my journey and it showed me this: being a minimalist is one thing, but maintaining minimalism is something else entirely. 

You have to daily remind yourself of your goals. Do I want to own stuff I don't use or be free from those constraints and own less?

Remember, less stuff means less stress.

I still declutter sometimes; I'm still going through my clothes every year to make sure I'm not storing stuff I don't wear. It's an ongoing process, but a worthy and eye-opening one. 

Let me know if you begin this minimalism and decluttering journey. I'd love to hear about it.


Fantastic books on Decluttering / Minimizing

Project 333 - Courtney Carver

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning - Margareta Magnusson

Maintaining a Minimalist Wardrobe │Live Your Life like Your Future Self is Watching

A woman looking at a field of grass and the ocean
I went to an estate sale about ten houses down from me last week. I didn’t know the lady who had lived there, but I recall seeing her getting her mail, and sweeping off the driveway as I drove by her house over the years.

She may have passed away but more than likely, she moved to an assisted living facility where she didn’t need most of what she owned.

Her home was maybe 2000 square feet. It was only she who lived there and I knew this because of her closet. The entire thing was hers. And it was overflowing with clothing.

I sell vintage clothing, so this is always a plus - finding old clothing at decent prices. Being that it was right down the street from me was a bonus.

But, as I went through her sweaters, an entire rack of slacks and jeans, and another whole row of long-sleeved and short-sleeved blouses - rack after rack of clothing - my biggest thought was: Did she actually wear ALL of this stuff? 

I’ve read that the average person owns about 148 pieces of clothing. There’s a great website that talks about the capsule wardrobe and includes a survey on what and how many items people own in their closets. It’s enlightening and also thought-provoking.

The capsule wardrobe is just a touch too restrictive for me. I have a minimalist wardrobe for sure, and I’ve got it pared down to exactly what I love and wear, but it accommodates as much as I like and want. Which is how people should have their wardrobes.

So, a few years ago when I battened down the hatches and began to seriously dissect my closet and get rid of what I didn’t wear - and won’t wear - I found that in my early days of minimalism, I had about 150 items of clothing.  I was close to average but it felt on the high side. 

Since then, I’ve pared my closet down to 85 items. This doesn’t include shoes, belts, accessories, jackets or undergarments. The capsule wardrobe is so selective that all of those particulars I just mentioned are in the total.  I’m not ready for that yet.

But, I decided to do a little experiment and see if this 148 average was right. I had my two sisters and mom assess their wardrobes. One had 200 items, one had 180, and another had 160. So, apparently, my family is above average (which I heartily agree).

There is no right or wrong number here. But from my point of view, 148 may be a low statistic.

Here’s the thing: I wear and love every single piece in my wardrobe. But I wear and love every single piece since moving down to 85 items. When I was at 150 items, I knew I wasn’t wearing everything. And I certainly didn’t love everything.

My sisters and mom all have said that they don’t wear everything; some things they’re waiting to wear, and other things they hope to be a different size to fit.

Here are three simple statement steps you can implement to make your wardrobe minimal but perfectly suited to you. These three steps are what I used to pare down my wardrobe.

Keep What You Love: This is the first rule (if you want to call them rules) that every minimalist will tell you. As master minimalist Marie Kondo says, “Keep only what sparks joy.” For me, joy and love are the same here. I have to feel the best in it, or it goes. I have to love the piece and wear it with joy. If it fits both of those parameters, it stays in my closet.

Keep What Fits Right Now: None of this “I used to be this size” or “I’m keeping it for when I lose weight” or “One day I’ll wear this when…” If it doesn’t get worn now, it’s time to let someone else wear it. Don’t feel guilty about it either. If it still has tags on it, oh well. The odds are good you’re still not going to wear it even though you’ve seen the tags!

Keep What You’ve Worn The Last Year: That’s it. If you wore it two or three years ago, it’s not a “go-to” piece. If you wore it once, hold onto it. And if you don’t wear it the entire coming year, let it go - give it away to someone who can wear it, or donate it.

There’s a little test you can do to assess what you’ve worn and what you haven’t worn. On the first of the month, turn all your clothes around backward so the hangers face the other way. As you wear clothing throughout the year, face the hanger forward the correct way. At the end of a year, you’ll see what you have and haven’t worn. Easy enough. 

I’m quite certain the lady whose home I was barging through during the estate sale didn’t wear all the clothes she had in her closet. I know she didn’t or the closet would’ve had nothing in it, or very little.

Would she have liked to know that everyone was perusing through her things? Did she know I was quietly assessing her items? And maybe assessing her?

When we go through estate sales, we silently assess - and maybe criticize - the items in the closet or house or wherever we’re looking. Maybe she wouldn’t have cared that we traipsed through her belongings like gorillas over a banana pile. 

I do know that I don’t want people going through my things one day and I know I don’t want to be a burden. My closet is simple and sparse, but exactly as I love it. My family can donate the few items I have when that time comes.

I’m looking at myself in the future and it looks like my closet is where I want it. That’s a relief to me, a relief to my family (they just don’t know it yet), and most importantly, I love living with a simple, carefree, and stress-free closet.