What square footage do you have in your home?
1,000 sq. ft.
How many people live in your home? (And were they on board/participating in the change?)
We have four children, and they have all always shared a room. We made the big life switch before our children came along, so they’ve never known anything besides a simple, moderated life. My husband has always been on board with minimizing possessions, as long as we aren’t talking about the tools in his garage. 😉
What was your motivation for embracing simplicity in your life?
Our simplification was primarily family-focused and financial. Before our first child was born we downsized so that I could be a stay at home mom. We wanted to be our children’s primary caregivers and made drastic changes to make that happen, which meant moving from our 1,300 sq. ft. “starter home” to a 450 sq. ft. apartment so I could decrease work hours. It would make the same decision again in a heartbeat because it truly defined the trajectory of our lives since. After nearly five years of living in the tiny apartment, we moved to our current home. It is a perfect fit and we are thankful for it every day.
How has minimizing your possessions made your life better?
I feel much less overwhelmed by owning fewer things, and I feel more confident in the items that I do choose to keep. Minimizing stuff brings inexplicable confidence, freedom, and sweetness to life.
What was your biggest challenge in the middle of decluttering?
Honestly, I don’t view our journey of decluttering as finished. Minimizing possessions is a process, and sometimes you can do a lot in one giant purge and other times it is a slow trickle. We have a “donate” pile in our laundry area which gradually accumulates before I make a run to the local donation center. However we did own a large storage unit of stuff, and when we went through all of that we were ruthless. I find that my hardest areas to purge are often books and textiles. (I love blankets, pillows, and towels for both comfort and practical aspects). Sentimental things, too, are a roadblock for many. I am no exception. 😉
What helped you get rid of the most? (Questions, thought process, etc.)
The two questions that help me the most in choosing whether to keep something or not are:
1) Has this already served its purpose? Is that purpose over? Is there a new purpose it can fulfill? This thought process is especially helpful with things like stuffed animals, which were comforting in childhood but really won’t be as special to anyone else and won’t be used in the same way in the future.
and 2) If I didn’t already own this, how much would I pay to replace it? This question really places the spotlight on the value of the item and makes the person reflect on if it is important enough to actually acquire anew. For most items, if you needed it again you could either borrow it or purchase a new one.
What unexpected reactions did you get from friends or family seeing the change in your home?
When we downsized to our apartment, I know that many family and friends felt sorry for us, or didn’t quite understand the reasoning behind our move. In our current home, I wanted very much to continue downsizing stuff even though we were upsizing our space. Of course, this is an ongoing pursuit.
Our home is not perfect, but it is a blessing and a haven for us. Visitors often comment on the peaceful, comforting spirit our home exudes, and I agree. This place serves us well. You’ll never see perfect “minimalist” pictures of our home–these shots are not staged or styled. These pictures represent vignettes of our regular life, in all its everyday mess and beauty.
Evelyn is a writer and speaker who encourages women to uncover their best by living with less. Her days are spent homemaking and home educating her four young children, and she is happily married to Dan. Evelyn is passionate about functional minimalism, faith, intentional living, mothering well, quality coffee, and earth tones. She blogs about “intentionally living small” at smallishblog.com you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Would you like to participate?
When you are thinking about becoming minimalist, the whole point of it is to keep true to your authentic self. What is important to you, the things you enjoy and the life you want to live.
I’m excited to share some real-life examples of what minimalism looks like in different homes around the world.
If you would like to share a tour of YOUR home, please email me with “HOME TOUR” in the subject line.