When I first started this blog in 2015, I did so because I believe in the power of sharing stories. I think it’s almost magical … when we connect with the right person, it can open our eyes to entirely new opportunities that we somehow never noticed before.
This is why I decided to put together this collection of real-life minimalist stories for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about the minimalist lifestyle (or you just need some motivation to keep going with your own journey!) then I hope one of these amazing women will inspire you. Here are three powerful stories about finding your way to minimalism.
Melissa’s Story: An Overwhelmed New Mom
My journey to minimalism didn’t begin by intentionally setting out to pursue a minimalist lifestyle. Instead, it started from a place of feeling completely overwhelmed as a new mom.
When my daughter was a young toddler, she was very curious and started getting into everything. Although I’ve always been fairly organized, I had A LOT of stuff. It was all neatly organized but filled every available cupboard, closet and space in our home. And my daughter made it her life’s mission to explore all of it!
I quickly started getting very tired and frustrated with wasting so much time, energy and patience picking up the same stuff day in and day out after my daughter got into it. Eventually, it dawned on me that we didn’t even use, need or like most of the “stuff” I was spending so much of my day picking up.
This lightbulb moment led me to start radically decluttering our house, getting rid of anything I could find that we didn’t use, need or love.
The more I decluttered, the better I felt. I immediately noticed I had more time, more energy, more patience, could be more present and felt less stressed overall the more “stuff” I removed from our house. I even noticed we had more financial freedom to put our money towards our priorities when we stopped buying so much stuff!
I truly didn’t realize what a burden the stuff we owned added to my life until I started experiencing life with so much less of it.
Eventually, as I sought out more information about decluttering and how to do it better, I was introduced to the idea of minimalism. And I knew it was a lifestyle I wanted to pursue.
Decluttering and embracing a more minimalist lifestyle hasn’t been a quick process for me. It actually took several years and many rounds of decluttering to get to a point where I feel content with the amount of “stuff” we own.
Each time I did another round of decluttering, I was willing and able to let go of more and more. Simply because I realized I loved the benefits of living with less “stuff”.
Getting rid of the clutter, the excess and the distractions from our home gave me the chance to focus more on what matters most to me. (And it’s definitely not managing all the “stuff” we own!)
Over time, my minimalist journey has led me from decluttering and simplifying our home and the stuff in it, to simplifying our lives as well. As a family, we aim to keep our schedule simple and clutter-free, with plenty of white space to rest, recharge and reconnect as a family.
For our family choosing to live with less has been such a wonderful way to live!
Candace’s Story: Single Parent + World Traveller
I am a simple person. I thrive in orderly environments. From my earliest memories, it has always been so. However, growing into adulthood, my focus became accumulation. A car, a house, things to fill the house. Clothes to show the world I had finally arrived. Then I got divorced. Everything changed.
I took stock of what I had and wanted a simple life again. Leaving my marriage, the car, the furniture and practically everything else. I took only what I loved, like books and what I needed, basic clothes and home supplies.
The birth of my daughter was surprising and unexpected. I wasn’t prepared but, I knew I wanted to continue to follow a life of simplicity.
I bought almost nothing for her except cloth diapers, onesies and a couple of bottles. We didn’t need much more. As she grew older, we prepared to move into a new apartment. I wanted the move to be as inexpensive and easy as possible.
I looked at the things I owned and what I wanted to take with me. Around that time, I found a blog about exactly what I was doing: finding joy in living life rather than accumulating material possessions. I learned that people like me were termed minimalist.
The discovery freed me. I quit making excuses about how I lived.
I gave others a reference when I failed to find the words for my life choices. I received permission to get rid of things I carried around since the divorce.
Minimalism attracted me for the freedom of mind I received. While it is similar in many ways to simple living, for me, it has been more freeing. I spend a large portion of my life as the only person who does things as I do. Minimalism helped me to embrace this.
Practicing minimalism has been the gateway to a new life, a clear mind and unlimited opportunities. I overflow with gratitude for minimalism.
It can not be stressed enough how minimalism changes every area of your life. Throughout my minimalist journey, my life changed in profound ways. Getting rid of stuff is only the beginning.
My health and body are better than ever. My relationships are authentic. I see people for who they are. My finances are in order. My mind is clear. When challenges arrive, as they will, I can go back to the basics by examining whether I am living in accordance with my values. Minimalism cleared the way to know what those values are without a doubt.
I continued to give away things. My daughter and I live a full and happy life as world travelers. She is a free spirit in a way I don’t remember being. I embrace new loves, like dancing and hot yoga, and practice them with boldness. I speak up without trepidation. I design my life on my terms. I live without shame and with great joy. Minimalism did that for me.
Jen’s Story: Tiny Living on Wheels
Do you ever feel like you’re treading water in life? That you just can’t seem to get a hold on your schedule, finances and state of your home? Your life isn’t a total disaster, but deep down you know you’re capable of more.
Well, that was me in 2009. I had an amazing partner, a nice apartment and a great job. But – I had big dreams to travel the world, squashed by my $9,000 consumer debt previously racked up in my early 20’s. Even though I asked for more responsibilities in my job, I never advanced. I was told to get more organized and stop missing deadlines in order to succeed.
I was tired of being unorganized, flustered and behind. It was as though my ideal life was inches out of reach, so close but I couldn’t quite grasp it.
Then, I stumbled across Joshua Becker’s blog Becoming Minimalist. Next, a friend recommended I listen to The Minimalists podcast.
I was hooked.
Using their wise advice, I prioritized what I valued most in life. For the first time ever, I removed belongings from my life rather than always adding them. I decluttered layers of useless stuff from the ten years of my adult life. It didn’t happen in a weekend, but clearing space became an integral part of who I was. I even stopped shopping out of boredom and as a social event with friends and family.
I acknowledged that paying down my debt and travelling the world with my partner was priority #1.
After that, all my spending decisions became much easier.
The exciting thing was even though I wasn’t born organized, once I had less stuff in my life, organizing was easy! Decluttering freed up precious headspace and I was more decisive and successful at work. It completely transformed my life at home and my career.
In 2016, my husband and I took our minimizing a step further and downsized into a 112sq ft home on wheels. We both took a 6-month sabbatical to adventure and just be together while travelling full-time.
We created time to spend together, in nature focusing on what we value the most. And although minimalism comes in all shapes and sizes, values-based living is at the heart of it.
We’ve now upgraded to a 300sq ft home on wheels (which feels like a mansion after our first rig!) We love living tiny and only owning what we use and need.
Now to be honest, I don’t publicly declare myself as a minimalist. It’s not on my website or Instagram bio. But even now when I work as a professional organizer in people’s homes, I bring in minimalist practices to help them clear their clutter for good.
My Minimalist Story: From Shopaholic to Minimalist
If you’re new here, you might also enjoy reading about my minimalist story too!
I’m Jennifer and I’m a reformed shopaholic turned minimalist. I’ve been writing about my journey for over four years now so clearly, I’ve got a lot to say! But here are a few stories to help you get started:
- How I Became a Minimalist (My Story of Living With Less)
- Minimalism Before + After (How Minimalism Changed My Life)
- How Minimalism Has Influenced My Career
- How Minimalism Helped Me Become Debt Free
Minimalist Living Resources
If this post has inspired you to start writing your own minimalist story, then here are a few resources to help you begin!
First and foremost, I invite you to download a copy of Mindful Declutter, my free decluttering guide and workbook. Simply subscribe using the below form and as an added bonus, you’ll also get my regular newsletter with more tips, personal stories and special offers!
Next, check out these popular posts:
- Minimalist Lifestyle Guide: How to Have More of What Matters
- Minimalist Lifestyle Checklist: How to Get Started With Minimalism
- 20 Ways I’ve Simplified My Life
- 6 Powerful But Unexpected Minimalist Lifestyle Tips
Do you consider yourself a minimalist? If so, what inspired your journey? Feel free to share your story in the comments! x Jen