A reader asks:
Would you please do a blog post listing/highlighting those items we all have in our house, but simply don’t need? The ones we keep because we think they are, or might be, necessary, but really are not. I figure you would know this all too well having been minimalist for so long. Love the blog! ~Shaina
To be honest, we’ve lived without many of these things for so long, I don’t know what’s “normal” to own! Many of the things on this list, I do own and it works for us. There is no “right” or “wrong.” But here are a few things that I could think of that aren’t “must-haves,” but there is nothing wrong with having them. When you embrace minimalism, it just means that you intentionally keep things that work for you and your home/lifestyle, not because “everyone should” have it. So here is what I could think of:
Crock Pot. Controversial, I know. Ok, I like the idea of a crock pot- fix it and forget it. But for whatever reason, crock pots and I just don’t get along. I can make a soup in it, and sometimes a roast comes out okay, but everything else I’ve tried tasted awful. If you use it twice a week- keep it. If you use it twice a year… just ditch it and use a pot instead.
Bread Maker. If you want to make bread every day, consider doing traditional no knead sourdough bread or Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, neither of these methods require a mixer, they are very simple and take very little time.
Kitchen Aid Mixer. If you use it regularly, I’m not going to argue with you. There was a time when I made cookies, cinnamon rolls and bread several times a week, one summer I even baked for our local farmer’s market and used my mixer constantly. And then I had to give up gluten a couple years ago and, I have to say it has simplified my cooking! For the majority of people, the mixer is used less than once a month.
Microwave. I’m not vehemently against microwaves, but they take up a ton of counter space and stunt your cooking growth.
Knife Block. We really only need a chef knife, bread knife and paring knife- put them in a drawer or a magnetic knife strip.
Food Processor. I use my food processor. I made mayo, peanut butter bites, chop nuts for granola and occasionally make scones. If I didn’t cook so much from scratch, I wouldn’t hesitate to give this one away.
China Hutch. And pretty much everything in it! Click here to read my post about getting rid of the china cabinet.
Any Sort of Plug-In Appliance: Wok, Rice Cooker, Sandwich Maker, Deep Fryer, Espresso Machine, Toaster Oven, Blender, etc. They all have uses, some more than others. Most can be replace by a pot, pan or oven. Live simple: make sure it’s not a “one use wonder.”
TV. Yes we can survive without a TV. Most things can be streamed through your computer screen and if you just have a laptop, it’s easy to set the laptop up on a coffee table or chair in front of the couch and sit back to enjoy your show.
Entertainment Center. If you don’t want to get rid of the TV, it can hang on the wall or you can get a thin cabinet so you can close it up when the TV isn’t in use.
Coffee Table and End Tables. These just collect clutter.
Lamps. Matched sets aren’t necessary, and unless you just love the mood that a lamp gives off or your living room doesn’t have any ceiling fixtures, you don’t even need one.
Book Shelves. Shelves, though attractive in magazines, aren’t friends of an aspiring minimalist. Shelves draw clutter, like a magnet.
Knick Knacks. Seriously- all they do is require dusting and sit on the shelves you don’t need.
Overstuffed Closet. Having too many clothes takes more time, more laundry and a more stressful time when you get dress. Click here to read about how to declutter your closet or here for how to make a capsule wardrobe.
Dresser. If you have removed all that you don’t wear from your closet, then you will have plenty of room for all your clothing items there, and a dresser won’t be necessary. Consider a closet organizers to hold things like sweaters, socks and undergarments and remove the dresser (which in turn removes the clutter collecting surface!)
Nightstands & Lamps. They collect clutter and dust. If you do find you need a nightstand- select something simple and the right size for what you use it for. The bigger it is, the more clutter it attracts.
Desk & Chair. Yeah, that’s right. Unless you work from home, this isn’t necessary. I work from home and find that my posture is bad when I sit on the couch with my laptop and I get into poor posture positions when at the table, so I have a standing desk. It’s enough room to hold my laptop and my planner, it takes up much less space, and I can wheel it around to anywhere I want to work.
File Cabinet. Go digital. Scan all your documents, get paperless statements, etc. Then all you need is a small file holder with birth certificates, SS cards, etc.
In the Yard:
Garden. If you love it, then do it. But don’t feel pressured to use your yard space to grow your own food. I personally do love working outside in the garden, but I have to keep it scaled down to a manageable size. Smaller than I want, but it gets taken care of.
Flowers & Shrubbery. A simple yard with just grass is perfectly acceptable. As long as you can keep the grass trimmed nicely, don’t worry about making your yard look like it should be on the cover of a Home & Garden magazine.
Note: these are just things are assumed to be necessary, but are not actually “must-haves”. I consider myself a minimalist, and I do have a cabinet for my TV (8 people, watching a movie on a laptop isn’t fun), everyone’s home is going to look differently and that’s ok. There is no right or wrong way to be a minimalist.
Would you add anything to this list? What are you currently living without that many people believe to be necessary?