When a Minimalist is Messy

When I record a video or take pictures of my home, I make sure that the house is tidy.
When I share my home in any way, of course, I pick it up first so it’s pretty.
But just because I tidy up and it’s nice in my video or on Instagram, doesn’t mean that it’s like that all the time.
In fact, our home looks very lived in most of the time, and nice when I do a video or on Saturdays, after we get our weekly reset done.
Today, my house is a mess, at least by my current standards. And if you’re ready to see what that looks like, watch the video:

The beauty of minimalism is that we can live in our home, we can do these things that we need to do and our home doesn’t consume all of our time and energy just to maintain it.
Minimalism does make our home look nice, but the point is not to have a perfect, immaculate home and to a minimalist aesthetic.

The point is to make your home easy for you to maintain

Easy to take care of.
We have stuff in our house.
We have a lot of stuff because we have a fair amount of people (5 in the home now).
Reducing the amount of stuff has meant that the house is nice, it’s enjoyable, it’s not a cause of stress for me.
But it certainly doesn’t mean that my house is perfect.
When you look around our home, you can tell that it’s lived in.
Things aren’t always put away, but there’s not so much out that it’s going to be difficult to manage.

Weekly Resets clear it up

On Saturdays have our weekly reset. So all these things will be put away, all the surfaces and floors will be cleaned, and
the house will be reset.
We use our house throughout the week, and then we reset it on the weekend before another week starts.
It’s maintained because we have the daily resets. We always do the dishes, we always wipe the table, we always wipe the counters.
But it doesn’t stay perfectly tidy.
And so by the end of the week, it’s messy.
But a week’s worth of mess isn’t much now that I’ve reduced the number of items we have in our home.

These days, it takes about 30 minutes to tidy up and then I can clean everything.

Before minimalism, when I had a messy house, it was days of trying to stuff things in corners where they didn’t fit, in closets and rooms that no one would see.
And it was exhausting.
Don’t beat yourself when you visit a friend and their home is beautiful and tidy, it’s like that because you’re visiting!
They wanted to have it nice and tidy for someone coming over.
I do that too.
I do that for my videos or if I take pictures of my home.
When I invite you into my home, I tidy it up first.
We all do that.
But our everyday home life looks a bit unkempt.
Would I like an im
maculate home where everything was always tidied?
Of course, I would!
But I have learned to be content with just tidying it up on Saturday and getting it cleaned and things put away. And the rest of the time, I let myself live life.

The house is meant to be used.

The things that we have in our house are here because we use them.
I definitely have surfaces in my home that I maintain as clutter-free, especially in the kitchen, because I want to be able to work at a moment’s notice.
Because of that, my main kitchen counter is pretty much always clean and clear and ready for work.
But the rest of the house, we just use it.
We use it for living.
If I’m reading a book, I can set it on the end table. It’s okay if it lives there all week.
If Naomi’s working on an art project, I’m okay with it being out. I’ll have her put it away at night before we eat dinner so we can all sit down at the table together.
But in the meantime, it’s all right.
So as you’re on this journey and you’re anticipating getting your home in order and clearing things out so it’s easy for you, remember that the point is ease, but it’s also use.
You’re going to use your home.

No one wants to live in a museum.

We want to be comfortable.
It’s for us to use, to live in, to enjoy.
And with that is going to come stuff, because we paint, we read, we watch movies, we knit, we sew, we bake. We do thi
ngs in our home and it’s going to get messy.

But with minimalism, it’s going to be easy to clean up.

My husband Brian explained minimalism in this way: “If you just have one shovel full of dirt, it’s easy to clean up. It’s easy to manage. You can move it wherever you want and do what you need with very little effort.
But if you have an entire wheelbarrow full of dirt, it’s going to take a lot more work to move it. You’re going to need a shovel instead of just a dustpan and you’re going to have to have places to store it. You’re going to have to have a garden bed prepared or containers.”

And he’s absolutely right.

When you have a small amount of anything, it’s easy to take care of and move and do what you need to with it.
But if you have an excessive amount of it, it’s going to take a lot more work, energy, effort, thinking, planning, organizing, and everything.
It’s SO important to let go of perfectionism.
Do you feel like your home should be beautiful all the time?
I know I did! But that’s completely unrealistic.
We can’t expect ourselves to have a perfect home all the time.
It would be exhausting!
But we can have a home that’s easy to manage and a limited amount of stuff is so much easier to maintain.
If you would like to join me in decluttering, I have the Clutter-Free Army Newsletter, where every week I send out a PDF with 6, 10-minute missions, an area to focus on, and questions to ask to help you decide what needs to stay in your home, what serves you, what adds value to your life and what needs to go because it doesn’t.
Click here to find out more.
Minimalism does make our home look nice, but the point is not to have a perfect, immaculate home, the point is to make your home easy for you to maintain.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. purpleslob on 11/05/2021 at 6:31 pm

    My daughter and I are both messies! But the big problem we have right now is, my husband emptied her storage shed into the living room, and her bedroom! He got tired of paying it every month. Can’t really blame him, but now we have a huge problem! Both of us are disabled, and can’t physically empty the boxes. And I only have disability. Since husband got tired of paying for storage, he won’t pay for help either. Nor will he help to get it done. He just continually gripes. I contacted the local high school counselor, but she never answered back. I guess I need t reach out again. We are both exhausted, trying to think of a way to get help!!

    • Emie on 10/31/2023 at 6:18 am

      Thank you for this! I really needed to read this.

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