Monday, July 10, 2017

Almost Minimalist: How I am adopting a simpler lifestyle in 5 small steps – Part One

If you saw my house right now, you would think I had no knowledge of the concept of minimalism. 

We are in the process of packing up one house to move to another and we look like a bunch of hoarders.  I’ve already taken thirty-ish boxes made up of linens, out of season clothing, toys and craft items, books, and random closet stuff to the basement of the other house. It still looks like I’ve not moved a thing.


The pile of boxes in my living room and the almost empty bookshelves are the only indicators of a relocation.

This is real life, people.

Despite the mess that is my life right now, I am very interested in the concept of minimalism.  I desire empty tabletops and counters, minimal furniture and décor, capsule wardrobes, and a modest house that is not consumed by stuff. I’ve made slight changes in my life to push me closer to this lifestyle, but as this preparation to move has shown me, I am nowhere close to where I want to be.

I know what I want minimalism to look like in my life and I have a plan to get there.  It will take time, planning, getting my husband and family on board, and some self-motivation.  It’s not going to be the easiest of tasks because it takes dedication, but I have an action plan that I believe will work for my family.

1. Delete Clutter

The Idea

For a while now, while prepping for our move, we’ve been living in chaos.  I’m not even exaggerating. Boxes, piles of random items, and all horizontal spaces filled with stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  Stuff I don’t even really care about, but I feel frozen when I look at it. Where do I even start?

Minimalism encourages us to clear out the clutter.  If we remove the clutter from our houses, it will help us live in a cleaner, clearer, more restful home.

Our Solution

We’ve been filling bags with things to both toss and donate.  I’m not going to lie though, there have been times where I’ve just cleared out a closet and tossed everything in a box without even sorting.  I know I’ve made work for myself later, but I also know half the stuff sitting in boxes right now won’t make the cut.  They’ll be sorted out to live life in someone else’s home or, in some cases, the garbage dump.

2. Small Scale Living

The Idea

Tiny house shows fascinate me.  For a few years now, I have been enamored with the idea of getting rid of 95% of my stuff and moving into a small home, possibly on wheels, and living a streamlined, paired-down life.  Living like this seemed so freeing. 

Until I went on a recent vacation with my family, that is.

Our Solution

There is nothing like one bedroom, kids on the pullout couch, one bathroom (aka one toilet) living to bring you back to reality.  Now don’t get me wrong, I could totally live like this. In fact, scores of people around the world would love to live like this. But at this point in my life, it's just not feasible. 
For the Naaktgeboren family, it is important to create a space where people feel comfortable and welcome.  Although we are moving into a larger home, from approximately 1300 square feet into 1500 square feet, it is still modest compared to other homes in our town, and certainly other homes in America.  So, while we need the room to spread out, we chose not to build a large home so we can maintain a level of coziness for our family and friends.

While we could certainly survive in a smaller home, we welcomed the opportunity to build a modest home suited to our needs.  Not too big, not too small, but just right.

3. Streamlined Wardrobe

The Idea

Walking into a closet that has minimal, but purposeful clothing is a goal I have for myself and family.  I find myself drawn to Pinterest posts that show capsule wardrobes based on season or style.  I love the idea of less laundry to fold and put away, and fewer clothing items laying in the floor of my kids’ closets and rooms.  Less clothing also means the ability to get rid of dressers in my bedroom, possibly creating a nice reading nook.  A better use of space, for sure.

Our Solution

Slowly, I have been removing out of style and out of size clothing from closets and dressers around my home. We dropped off bags at the local thrift store and I sent things to an online website to be consigned (  Updating my wardrobe has been easy, especially since I shop second hand from online retailers.  My goal is to create a small wardrobe for work and play that uses the same color scheme (black) and can utilize the same few pairs of shoes for these outfits. 

4. A Calm and Cozy Space

The Idea

Sometimes people hear minimalism and assume stark, white rooms with a single chair and no comfort to be found.  Our house is a home that’s meant to be used by the two kids, the two dogs, the cat who loves to snuggle, parents who like to veg out on the couch and watch Netflix, and visitors who will come to enjoy a warm meal and warm companionship.

Our Solution

Minimalism and comfort can certainly coexist.  This involves rooms that are not full of furniture, counters and surfaces that are clear of clutter, décor items that have meaning, and an overall less-is-more approach. While we will not have clutter, we will have items that create a cozy atmosphere.  There will be nice smelling soy candles to create atmosphere, a basket of blankets next to the couch, and rocking chairs for porch sitting.  Our home will be a place of peace and comfort.

5. Simplify Life

The Idea

Simple living is a concept I admire because, in a world of stress and noise, it allows a slower, quieter pace.  When I think of simple living, I think of gardening, making homemade meals, playing slow, soft music (I love the Laid Back Beach Music Radio station on Pandora), reading a good book, taking an evening walk, and just adopting a slower, more intentional life.

Our Solution

Moving from a subdivision to 10 acres in the country has been a great motivator to slow down. We’re encouraged by a piece of property that will allow for some livestock and chickens, a garden and orchard, a pond with fish, and woods for exploring.  It practically begs for its owners to adopt a simpler way of living.  We have also built a house conducive to rest and relaxation with plenty of room for outdoor living.

Our hope is to use these minimalist concepts and apply them to our new life at Naak Acres. 

Have you thought about adopting a minimalist lifestyle in some form or fashion?  What steps have you taken to move in this direction?


Lindsey said...

Minimalism is a journey! It's amazing what taking baby steps and just being intentional about what you bring in (or out) can accomplish! Enjoy the process!

Ivette said...

I understand the feeling. At this time, I am decluttering my home and I want to live minimally also. Isn't it amazing how much stuff we have stored away?! It's insane. Hang in there! You will get it done. God bless you.

Stephanie said...

Minimalism is a journey and the outcome is so worth it! Thank you for your comments.