5 Things I’ve Learned About Simple Living
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5 Things I’ve Learned About Simple Living

Do you own a fondue pot? I don’t know exactly when fondue went out of style.  With the exception of a truly decadent cheese fondue I shared with friends last winter, I haven’t seen a fondue pot in use since the early 90’s.

Now what I have seen over all of these years are fondue pots hiding away in friends and family’s cupboards.  And fondue pots for sale at those shops in the mall that sell kitchen supplies in brightly coloured hues.  They’re still for sale, which means people are still buying them.  They make a great gift right?.

After moving out on my own, I was gifted not one, but two fondue pots.  I never used them, but you better believe I kept them!  I moved them across the province in 2006 and into three different apartments I lived in.  They stayed, in their boxes, because I never considered the idea of letting them go.

In 2008 when I began to clear away what didn’t serve me anymore, those two boxes finally left my life.  It turned out to be one of many small, easy decisions that made more room in my life and paved the way to letting go so I could live happily with less.

Since then I’ve become laser focused on what I keep and don’t keep in my life to live simply and abundantly.  I’ve donated clothes, sold sports gear, said goodbye to toxic relationships and more.  Six months ago I even moved out of my home to live a nomadic life!

I’m excited to share the following five lessons about simple living I’ve learned over the years.  I hope they’ll give you some insight into the journey of living your best life with less.

1. Simple Living doesn’t mean going without

I want to shout this from the roof tops! There’s a sweet spot between denying yourself nice things and being extravagant and wasteful where simple living can be just enough.

We’ve been lead to believe that we need more to be happy.  More to show the world how successful we are.  Like clockwork, we give physical gifts to show love for others on specified days of the year. 

It’s a shame because so many of us who’ve been raised with safe drinking water pouring from multiple taps in our homes and a never-ending supply of any kind of food we can imagine, still feel deep inside that it’s never enough.

When your life is cluttered with stuff that you don’t love it just becomes a distraction.  You lose sight of what you really love in life until you peel back the layers of excess.

Travel is my biggest priority.  It’s what brings me the most joy in life and it’s where I choose to spend the majority of my money.  So less stuff means more travel!

Since I removed the extra layer of stuff in my life that weighed me down, I’m content and feel richer and more abundant than ever before.

2. Decluttering kind of never ends (and that’s ok)

There’s a common misconception that one day your life will be decluttered and you’ll be “done”.  Usually until that point, it’s easy to guilt yourself and think you’ve failed.  Because no matter how much you’ve done, you’re still working on it. 

What if I were to tell you that since I moved into a 112sq ft tiny home, I’ve donated 3 bags of clothing and housewares.  Does that surprise you?

It never ends because my needs are always changing.

I always ensure that what I own fits my life right now.  If it doesn’t, it goes.  I accept this process as necessary upkeep so that my life stays simple and focused.

There’s no invisible finish line.  There is however, a confidence in your decluttering decisions that develops overtime.  You’ll learn to guard your life’s simplicity with each decision you make.  It’s like a muscle that grows stronger with each repetition.

3. Less stuff means more time

The amount of time you have to spend on what truly brings you joy is precious.

We rob ourselves of time.  We commit to things we don’t really want to do because we think we “should”.  Our houses, garages and storage units get filled with stuff that needs attention and upkeep. 

Never forget that the one thing you can never make back is time.  Time to yourself, time to learn, time to explore, and time to be with loved ones.

This can’t be emphasized enough.  How you spend your time is up to you.  It may not always feel like it, but when you get intentional with your decisions and spending you’ll see how much control you actually have in your life.

I choose to have less physical items in my life so I can spend less time taking care of stuff, less time organizing stuff.  This intentional simple living  gives me more time with my family to travel, explore nature and pursue new exciting projects like my online business.

Think about it, what would you do with more time? 

Simple living lessons from a minimalist nomad

4. All that stuff you think you’ll miss?  You probably won’t.

My husband and I spent over a year sorting, selling and donating most of our possessions before we moved into our home on wheels.  There was nowhere to hide, everything faced the same decision- do we keep it or not?

It was both a liberating and painful process.  But we knew in the end it would lead us to our goal of being free to travel full-time. 

Do you have certain possessions in your life that you can’t imagine living without?  Not because you love them, but because you hold on tightly and can’t let go?

When you remove physical items, you essentially acknowledge your impermanence.  Nobody gets to live forever and you can’t take your stuff with you.

As for the items that we sorted, donated and sold?  I can’t even picture half of them anymore since we hit the road six months ago.  In the end, it’s just stuff and it will never define you, no matter how emotionally attached you are to it.

5. Simple Living looks different for everyone

I saved my favourite lesson for last.

Your life is your OWN journey.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your house is or if you have kids or not.  This is an individual process that is highly personal.  It doesn’t benefit from comparison, jealously or longing.

You don’t need to move into a tiny home or a Sprinter van to get the sweet taste of the simple life.  You don’t need an impeccably clean home 24/7, a Pinterest worthy kitchen pantry filled with chalkboard labelled mason jars or a capsule wardrobe with an exact amount of clothing articles.

These will be the results of some people’s intentional living efforts.  They may even be yours, but they don’t have to be.

Learn to recognize the beauty in your own imperfect life and enjoy the process of designing it exactly how you want.

The wonder of it all lives in the smallest of decisions each and every day. 

Anyone can benefit from simplifying their lives and there’s no perfect way to do it!

Now I’m curious, did one of these lessons strike a cord with you?  Let me know in the comments below!

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This Post Has 110 Comments

  1. I love the part about it never ending – that’s actually incredibly freeing!

    1. Yep. We’re so quick to be hard on ourselves and think we’re doing something wrong because it never magically stops. It DOES get easier but it’ll always be a work in progress xo
      Thanks for reading Em!

    2. I agree with Em. About it never ending becoming incredibly freeing.
      I have been letting go of stuff since January. At first I kept a count of everything I let go of. Then my count list became a thing I was holding onto. LOL
      Some days letting go of stuff is actually Fun,! What can I let go of today?

      1. Hi Donale, that’s funny about your count list! And good for you for finding the fun in letting go, everything is easier when we add some lightness and fun to it! Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  2. Great article! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Kelli, I’m glad you liked it!

  3. I like that you said it is different for everyone. I could easily live in a tiny home. However, I am married to a hang on to it all person and we love to entertain.
    I personally only hang on to what I love and use and find a place for my husband’s many things! 🙂

    1. Yes, there’s no magical formula for living simply!
      My husband also loves his things a bit more than I do and we make it work 😉
      Thank you for reading.

  4. I also loved hearing that it’s a continual process! We have 5 kids so I’m setting very small goals and trying to find joy in accomplishing them, knowing it’s going to take time and deciding to persevere for simplicity!

    1. Hi Kristi, one of my clients has two children aged 3 and 7. Once she acknowledged that the process didn’t have a magical “end”, she had so much success and enjoyed the journey/process even more! All great things can be accomplished in small, steady action steps. Best of luck to you and thanks for reading.

  5. Agreed! The one about it be an ongoing process. I needed to hear that. I have come so far but I catch myself thinking how much further I need to go.

  6. The less stuff = more time and that it’s going to look different for everyone. My clutter keeps me from wanting to have anyone in our home. All that time that could be spent with family and friends and I am too embarrassed about the condition of my home. The looking different for everyone is so freeing!

  7. LOVE, and so agree with, your final point that we each have to find what simple means to us. As the owner of the Self-Reliance & Simple Life Experience, we say the exact same and hope to encourage folks to simply get away from the noise and start their own conversation about what self-reliance means to them. It looks differently for everyone. That conversation though is the first step to a more intentional life. Thank you Jen…I hope our paths may cross one day.

    1. Hi Kiki, thank you for reading and I love what you’re up to with your project! Let’s definitely keep in touch.

  8. I like your lesson that it looks different for everyone. Living with less doesn’t mean living without anything.

    1. Exactly Jamie! Depriving ourselves doesn’t help anyone. Life can be simple, abundant and supportive of others all at the same time.
      Thanks for reading.

  9. It is a rare thing for me to find a person who actually has their finger on the pulse of LIFE. When we are not surrounded by stuff we can actually see the sunrise. When I was a young man there was a quip that was very popular, ” Whoever dies with the most toys wins!” I have found instead that whoever dies with the most toys just dies. You have found and expressed what this gift we call life is all about. Keep on living?

    1. I never thought of it that way. You gave me a new perspective on life. Thanks for sharing. Have a blessed day.

    2. Thanks Mike! I love my toys, but will forever make sure that I don’t have any rotting away in storage, what’s the point in that?? 😉

  10. Love the part of it never ending what we need changes.

    1. Yes Peg, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief.
      Thank you for your comment!

  11. I like the concept, that we’re never done bc we are always changing and that’s ok.

    1. The only constant is change, right? 🙂
      Thank you for reading Kathy!

  12. I used to beat myself up over the fact that I couldn’t get it done in one day or one week. I have learned that chipping away at it when I have the energy and time is “enough.” I also find that over time it does get easier and I see my progress

    1. Yes Suzanne! There’s no right or wrong way to do it, we all need to learn what’s best for our individual needs. Best of luck to you!

  13. I could really connect with each of the lessons you outlined, but less stuff equals more time stands out for me. The older I get the more precious time feels. Thanks for the inspiration Jen!

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment Tracey! And I completely agree about cherishing time more as each year of life passes 🙂

  14. Fondue pot is symbolic of useless items manufactured and purchased often for gifts – items that circulate around in different homes, thrift stores and eventually add to landfill mass. If the focus is simple living, soul-enriching travel experiences, relationships, what a different and less resource-wasting society we’d have. I admire that nomadic life. Pleasant journey to you!

    1. Thank you Valerie, living a nomadic life has opened up a whole new world of opportunity and challenge for me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do it and share my experiences. Thank you for reading!

  15. Lovely article and very uplifting! I work a little bit daily on the decluttering and feel so happy to be doing it. I am also glad that you emphasize that simple is different for everyone.

    1. Thanks Tiffany! I’m happy to hear your daily efforts are helping you feel good. Such a great feeling 🙂

  16. I love that the process is different for everyone, and that I don’t need to live in a tiny house to live a simple life. I am baby stepping my way to a much simpler life.

    1. Baby steps are all you need! Best of luck Kris 🙂

  17. I try to do alittle discarding the day before my garbage truck arrives! I start off great, then something sentimental comes by and I’m at a standstill. I’m torn! That’s when my decluttering process ends! I’m very frustrated.
    I applaud you all for being so successful.
    Ugh!

    1. May you find encouragement in knowing that your journey doesn’t have to end whenever you reach a sentimental item. You can save all the sentimental item and “put them to the side” and keep going! When I was a personal decluttering assistant for one who just lost both her parents and her now four kids were all out of the home, she had many sentimental items. I got to know her and which items really meant a lot to her and I would find places for those to be on display so she could see them and be constantly reminded of that wonderful memory(ies). The thought of others that were not as important simply sitting in a box was what got her to think of all the good they could do for others. Ex. she had some sets of friends who were going to be new parents and instead of keeping all baby blankets and clothes she was able to part with some and keep one outfit and blanket for each child. This meant the new parents got a gift that was useful for them, free monetarily for her, but very expensive in memories (and still in great condition) for the new parents to become part of the memory of those items. Sometimes you can think of the sentimental items you cherish less as a living thing in a way that has so many more memories it could be making with others and bringing joy to them, too.

      1. What a beautiful story Ann, thank you for sharing!

    2. The thing about simplifying is you get to keep the things that have meaning for you. If you can find a way to display those things so much the better. The things on the walls and surfaces of our small apartment are now all things that have meaning for us. Ten years into this process we still have one box of sentimental things in our closet. And that’s OK. Because we all get to do what is right for us.

      1. Agree agree agree with this supportive comment!

    3. We’ve been downsizing for 10 years and we still have one box of sentimental things other than what we have displayed. And that’s OK. After all, we each get to do what is right for us.

      1. YES Linda! Keep what you love – and only you know what’s right for you.
        Thank you for the comment.

    4. Hi L, looks like you’ve identified a wall you keep coming up against.
      If I can offer anything right now it’s this – as soon as you pick up a sentimental item, drop it! I assume that you still have items around that *aren’t* sentimental, so keep your focus there and keep your momentum going. Hang in there, it gets easier!

  18. Love the article!

    1. Thank you 🙂

  19. A friend takes a picture of a item she is donating that is sentimental to her. That way she can look at it anytime she wants. Her daughter died suddenly at age 21 four years ago and this method of taking a picture has helped her clean out her daughter’s room recently. I like this idea. I have my Mom’s things in a Rubbermaid container in my basement that has been setting in my basement since she died 14 years ago. This will be my decluttering project this Winter. I will take a picture of any item that will be hard to let go of, but I must let go.

    1. Hi Linda, taking photos can be an extremely supportive part of letting go of physical things. I wish you the best with facing your Mom’s items. That is not an easy task but it sounds like you are preparing well for it. xo

  20. I love the statement that we are never done and that is ok. I do think that for those of us
    who are serious about living a simple life, we need to have some sort of a time bound goal.
    However that being said, living a simple life no matter what that looks like for each individual,
    will always require some amount of maintenance. I found your article to be very reassuring
    and supportive. Thank you. Enjoy your travels.

    1. Yes, accepting upkeep as part of the process can be the mental shift some people need to stick to it 🙂
      Thank you for reading Suzie!

  21. So much of what you wrote struck a chord with me. We went thru a purge over two years ago–got rid of a car, an rv, a boat, motorcycle, sporting equipment, tools, clothing, kitchen gadgets, furniture, then the 2700 sq ft house and moved into a small, 800 sq ft cottage by the sea–and I only miss two things: a mint green sweatshirt and a hand mixer that was a shower gift back in 1968 and still worked like new. In fact, “Simplify your Life” became the first chapter in a book I just published on finding happiness. Getting rid of all your stuff and reorganizing your finances, real estate and schedules is absolutely cathartic. It frees up time, money and space for new experiences, ideas, relationships and a fresh perspective on life. Great article!

    1. Helen you are living my dream!

    2. Hi Helen, your cottage by the sea sounds absolutely dreamy! Thank you for your comment and I plan to check out your book 🙂

  22. Your article was inspiring! I am on the live simply journey. I continue to make progress then lose momentum but I am focused on letting go of all the stuff. Thank you for sharing, lots of wonderful nuggets.

    1. Hi Rebecca, thanks for the comment! I think it’s very natural to lose momentum sometimes, it’s all in how we adjust to finding our focus and coming back to it. The gentler we can be with ourselves when we stray, the greater chance we have to come back with renewed energy! Best of luck in your journey.

  23. So very helpful! My favorite is, “What I own fits my life right now. If it doesn’t, it goes.” After my retirement so many things changed, the least of which was my wardrobe. Now it’s leggings and running shoes or flats and jeans.

    1. Hi Ruta, it sounds like you are describing my current wardrobe 😉 Thanks for reading!

  24. Your comment about never getting back time, and thinking about the time we spend taking care of stuff, fixing stuff, and more, really gets to the point of it all. Thank you.

    1. I’m glad it resonated J, remembering this gives a whole new view on life. Thank you for reading!

  25. “Never forget that the one thing you can never make back is time. Time to yourself, time to learn, time to explore, and time to be with loved ones“. This quote resonated with me so much that I added it to my email signature (with your name)! It is good to remember this when making decisions about commitments, and how we use our free time.

    1. Wow Heather, I’m honoured that my words resonated with you so much! Thank you for reading and your lovely comment.

  26. “Learn to recognize the beauty in your own imperfect life and enjoy the process of designing it exactly how you want.” – I’m guilty of wanting to get to the finish line and peace, serenity will be waiting there. If I just….keep pushing. But that’s what we are lead to believe. Next, next, next. Instead of what’s here now. Thank you for this great article and sharing your journey.

    1. Oh Josh, thank you so much for this comment.
      Wouldn’t we all be happier if we could stay in the present moment more? After all, it’s all we really have…

  27. Ok – I rarely leave comments on blogs but this article struck so many chords with me that I just want to let YOU, Jen, know how awesome this article was/is. The following is what really resonated with me:
    First off you said there’s “a sweet spot between denying yourself nice things and being extravagant and wasteful” – you specifically said sweet spot and not ‘a fine line’ and I think that’s a really big difference. It’s not some hard-to-get-to place.
    You said “When your life is cluttered with stuff that you don’t love it just becomes a distraction. You lose sight of what you really love in life until you peel back the layers of excess.” – this is so true and the way you said it is perfect!
    “There’s no invisible finish line. There is however, a confidence in your decluttering decisions that develops overtime. You’ll learn to guard your life’s simplicity with each decision you make.” YEAS! Our lives are constantly evolving so our possessions should too if they are to support our lives. You hit the nail on the head for how we’re never really done decluttering but protecting our simple lives becomes easier and that confidence as you perfectly noted in our decisions is what makes the process less time consuming and more of a new natural skill in our lives.
    “When you remove physical items, you essentially acknowledge your impermanence. Nobody gets to live forever and you can’t take your stuff with you.” -THIS IS THE EXACT SAME THOUGHT I became acutely aware of in my own process of reaching a simple life. It really puts things into perspective and simplifying ends up becoming a more serious existential journey of what discovering for one’s self what life is really all about.

    I hope you keep writing – you’re thoughts are so right on key!

    1. Well Ann, you just made this girl smile SO much.
      Thanks for reading and yes, I plan on writing and getting my message out to as many people as possible who need it 🙂

      1. OH I’m so glad to hear that!!! Shine brightly far and wide!

  28. I liked what you said about cupboards – they do not need to look like a photo shoot. I look at the pictures of beautiful minimalist houses and then get discouarged because even if I get rid of stuff my house won’t look like the picture.

    1. Oh my gosh Ann, I used to get so discouraged as well!
      Imagine how many professionals it takes to make some of those pictures look like that, plus nobody’s really living in them!
      Again, I know some people do live like that, but it’s certainly not the definition of success.
      Thanks for reading!

  29. That last one, simple living looks different for everyone, struck me the most. I’m definitely a gypsy soul who would be perfectly happy living wherever feels like home at the moment. My husband and five kids however, like roots lol. While I may want to rid myself of almost every piece of furniture in the house (a house which in my opinion, is way bigger than we actually need), my family loves decorating and having nice things.
    I’ve learned that I can live simply with my own things, and allow them to define and revel in what it is that brings them joy. Maybe once the kids are all in college, I can convince my husband to hit the road with me! LOL.

    1. Oh Vanessa, I love your point of view so much.
      Different seasons in our lives will call for different experiences.
      I do hope you get your travel adventure with your husband one day!

  30. 2, 4, and 5 were kind of easy for me. Over decades of changing my life, decluttering and recluttering and decluttering; there are only 2 things I actually wish I’d kept: a beautifully hand-dyed tuxedo jacket (more subtle and beautiful than you are probably imagining) and my husband’s love letters the year we lived apart. I figured I had him; I didn’t need his letters – and we were moving across the country (with cats, a dog and a snake, oh my) in a pickup and a Nissan Sentra, so every item really counted. #1 means constant decisions and value judgements between wants and needs – where I struggle. #3 is tough because since becoming a (happy) empty nester and, moving again, I’m not sure how I want to spend my time. I’ve tried a few volunteer gigs, even got appointed to a board, enjoy my work and feed my creative passions now and then, but a meaningful pursuit of some kind has eluded me for a few years. Keeping my ears and eyes open and trying new things sequentially so I don’t over clutter my schedule by doing so much simultaneously.

    1. Hi Nicole, I love how you described keeping your eyes and ears open and trying new things!
      I 100% believe this is the best way to find what you truly want in life. Best of luck 🙂

  31. Oh what a wonderful article!!! The right words at the right time! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Loretta, your comment made my day!
      Thank you for reading 🙂

  32. Number 4-can’t agree with more! It is scary to take things out of your life. What if I need it in the future or for a super specific situation? I can’t recall much of what we have intentionally taken out of our lives and don’t miss the work it took to maintain

    1. Hi Matt, isn’t it amazing how we can forget about things we once thought we couldn’t live without?
      One thing I’ve gotten better at over the years is borrowing items when needed instead of keeping a huge pile of items for “just in case”. When we lived in our last home, we even shared a lawn mower with our neighbour. That may not be for everyone, but I loved the space more than anything 🙂

  33. Thank you for writing this article. It was very encouraging! I love this – “I always ensure that what I own fits my life right now.” I tend to keep things that I might need or that are special occasion items. They add clutter and stress I don’t need. I still have a number of “work clothes” saved even though now I’m a stay at home mom. By the time I head back to work, I’ll probably be excited to pick out a few new outfits that fit my taste then. No need to store them for years.

    1. Yes Rachelle! What a great take away.
      Thank you for reading 🙂

  34. ‘Learn to recognize the beauty in your own imperfect life and enjoy the process of designing it exactly how you want.‘
    Wise words throughout the article but this bit is gold!

    1. Glad it resonated with you Cathy 🙂

  35. This really resonated with me. Every statement is perfectly written and provokes thought. I think this article will help to clear the mental clutter because even though we want a simpler life, you still have those thoughts of “Is my simple good enough?”

    This reminds me that we are not just replacing the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality from a physical perspective to a simple perspective, but more who cares what the Joneses are doing because they are on their journey and I’m on my own and there doesn’t need to be a comparison. Thanks!

    1. Yessss Dani! You’ve hit the nail on the head. We’re such a naturally competitive society. Let’s not let our simple living paths fall into that same trap.
      Best of luck on your journey and thanks for the great comment 🙂

  36. Love point #2. I’ve been wondering about that. I thought as I decluttered I would stop spending. I’m still spending, but doing it differently. More on things that I love, and that are truly “me”. Overall still fewer items in my house and closet.

    And point #5 is TOTALLY freeing!!!!!

    1. Hi Connie, great to hear you’re being more intentional in your spending. The world really needs more of that!
      Thanks for reading!

  37. I left home at 21 and took a along our family fondue set. It moved to 13 different houses and even spent 3 years in storage
    when I travelled….finally at age 52 I got rid of it…never used it once. Felt great !!

    1. Ah Lynda, your fondue story is so similar to mine! What a great feeling to let go.
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

  38. Keep the encouragement coming. Simplifying is an ongoing process for sure, and a changing process as we change.

    1. Thank you Michelle, I hope to get my words and encouragement in front of as many eyes as possible 🙂

  39. We full-timed in a motorhome for 5 years starting in 2004. In preparing to do this, we sold/donated 80-90% of what we owned. To help with this, we used an estate sale service, selling our things almost as though we had died. It was effective, but we were disappointed at how little money many things brought that were like new. Oh well. Moving into an RV with no house left behind is definitely one way to minimize!

    Brooks

    1. Hi Brooks, what a great idea about using an estate sale service. It’s like you were reborn again 😉
      Did you travel a lot in the motorhome? Any travel recommendations?

  40. Had to laugh – we have fondue at least a dozen times each winter, a truly simple and minimal meal… so yes, I have and use a fondue pot (caquelon is the term).
    Such an individual thing, minimalism, and many forget it. I can‘t be bothered to have someone else‘s „essentials“ – toaster, coffee pot, huge refrigerator, but evaluate my own needs!

    1. Ah… I LOVE this comment.
      Everyone’s needs are very different! My friend who hosted us last year absolutely loved her fondue pot as well.
      Thanks for reading.

  41. Hi Jen! Thank you for such a resonating message – especially on de-cluttering being a journey. I have been downsizing my life for approximately two years now and I’m still (!!!) downsizing (career, home, relationships, space)… It’s reassuring to note that my particular minimalism journey need not be perfect. It just needs to reflect ME. 🙂

    1. Hi Sofia! You do you girl 😉
      I’m happy my words resonated. Who needs perfection anyways?!
      xo Jen

  42. I had a bit of a run in with what could have been a fatal disease and it changed my outlook completely. Material goods suddenly meant nothing and I started to give away like crazy. Very freeing and I am still a year later filling charity boxes and giving things to friends and just loving the process.

    1. Hi Georgia,
      Wow – what a powerful way to reevaluate what’s important in life. It’s amazing how these challenging moments in life provide clarity. Wishing you healthy and happy days. Thank you for sharing.

  43. My friend just inroduced me to this blog and I am grateful and hopeful. I have so many Things that I am overwhelmed. One day at a time, with help I can do this too. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I think overwhelm is one of the number one hurdles many of us face when we begin this journey.

      Remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take it one step at a time because that’s the only way anything will get done anyways! Good luck 🙂

  44. I loved this post, Jen! 26 years ago, my husband-to-be and I were filling out our wedding registry list and he insisted on putting a pressure cooker on our list, despite my protests. He does not cook; I do. But growing up, his mother used a pressure cooker often so he thought we “needed” it. My mom, on the other hand, never owned a pressure cooker so I was clueless as to exactly what it was and why-on-earth I needed this kitchen appliance. 9 years ago, we had a house fire and lost most of our possessions. Guess what was still sitting untouched in its box since our wedding? Yep – that blessed pressure cooker. Totally unused in 17 years of marriage (I admit when I read the instructions, I was terrified of it! Lol). And even more humorous was when my husband asked me if I wanted to replace it! WHY??? Going through what was left after the fire was a huge eye-opener for my family. We realized what was really important in life and that did not include material possessions. We did rebuild a rather large-ish home, but it is not filled with all the unnecessary items we had in our former home. While we still donate boxes of excess items from time to time, I’ve tried to keep our possessions down to a manageable level. Personally, I could live a much more minimalistic lifestyle but my husband could not, so we try to agree on a happy-medium that both of us can live with. I don’t recommend a house fire to purge your belongings, but it certainly was a wake-up call to me as to how much we owned that was not needed – aka: the pressure cooker!

    1. Well Shirley, I couldn’t relate to your comment any more!

      1 – I’m terrified of pressure cookers!
      2 – I “decluttered” our garlic press that we NEVER used 2 years ago and my husband still won’t stop teasing me about it!

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

  45. I loved the whole 5 steps Jen… It makes so much sense..

    I am currently in the process of moving house and decided to get rid of everything I have not used or do not need. I have had boxes of books, clothes and art work that has been sitting in the garage doing nothing… So, see you later stuff!!! I really love the process of moving because it makes me evaluate what I need and more to the point how much I don’t need in life. One of the hardest things I decided to part with was a bunch of books that belonged to my Mums when she was alive, but I figured that I’m not reading them so I would love for someone to get as much pleasure out of them as she did.

    Thank you so much for your beautifully put words and how inspiring you are to live an authentic life..
    Loads of Love gorgeous.

    1. Hey Sally!
      It’s so beautiful that you recognize those books will bring others joy, even though it’s hard to let go of your Mum’s things.
      Good luck with the move and designing your life exactly as you wish!
      Big hugs xo Jen

  46. I started my minimalist journey 6 months ago. Letting go of the obvious clutter was easy. Now I have learned to hone my declutter efforts to really keeping what I use and what I love. I do not miss what I have donated or sold. I still enjoy the earthy feel I get by looking at a vintage rummage store advertisement. I just know I can enjoy looking without making my home a haven for dust collectors. I can enjoy the French cottage look of a chippy piece of furniture and not have to own it. Just because I like the look of 7 different colored candle holder, I do not need to own them. I look now and store lovely thought in my mind and go home with nothing but the joy of having looked. I now have more time to read and play in my flower garden. Simple is better.

    1. Hi Vera,
      Yes! I remember going through that transition too! Knowing that you can love something without “having” to own it.
      I totally agree, simple is better, and time in a garden is always time well spent 🙂

  47. The one that struck cord with me was “The decluttering never ends.” We moved about 3 month ago. I got rid of a garage full of things before we moved and as I unpacked, I have almost refilled another garage full of things we are getting rid of! I have decided it’s really about the season of your life. A lot of the stiff I am getting rid of are building supplies. We will never build another house again, so why do I need 2 tubs full of PVC fittings? Do I really need to keep my deceased mom’s 1960’s clothes that smell like moth balls? Life changes and so does the way I choose what to purge. Great article- keep it up!

    1. “Life changes and so does the way I choose what to purge.” – love this Tammy, how true! Thanks for reading and sharing 🙂

  48. Great writing style in this. Easy to understand.

    1. Thank you for reading! 🙂

  49. Since joining this group I have made several conscience choices when leaving the house. One: take my shopping bags with me and don’t buy any more plastic ones. Two: look in the trolley before paying, what was the impulse buys, put them back and think about what I really feel like eating for the next couple of days. Three: If there is a big discount on something I would buy for someone for Xmas/birthday, buy it then and either gift it in advance or keep it in a special box for that time of year when required, it is the thought that counts. The quote I resonate with is the ‘never ends’, it is cyclic, and I do have gratitude for having too much now. Thank you Jen for your Blogs, please keep them coming so I can change more everyday. Can you please do one on ‘Tiny House Living’, daily routines like washing items etc because I want to be a ‘Gypsy Queen’, after most of my clutter has vanished over the coming months.

    1. Hi Susan, wow love to hear about you rethinking your impulse buys! That is NOT easy… you should be super proud. Thanks for the kind words as well, it’s amazing to hear they’re reaching people out there 🙂

      I’ll gladly write about Tiny Living Routines in the future too! For now, I post about my travels and daily life on Instagram @boxtrucktessa <3

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