A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Experiments in Simplicity

You can only read so much about minimalism, simplicity, and living with less. At some point, you just have to jump in and try it.

I’m guilty of being an over thinker sometimes. When I’m faced with something new I like to examine it from every angle. The problem with this approach is that it’s too easy to talk myself out of trying before I even have a chance to get started.

For Toe-Dippers and Jumpers

The new approach I’ve adopted works well for people who like to take things a little bit at a time and for those that like to jump into something new with full force.

Experiment. Just try it and see how it goes. It’s up to you to decide how big or little of a change you experiment with.

If you’re dying to minimize your clutter or take back your over scheduled life, try some experiments and see how they go.

The great thing about experimenting is that you don’t have to have everything figured out at the start. You don’t have to commit to a life change or convince anyone about anything. It’s just taking baby steps and seeing where they can take you.

Experiments in Simplicity

Some of my own experiments include:

  • Get rid of the dresser in my bedroom – I now keep most of my clothes in the bottom half of a bookcase with doors.
  • Giving up caffeine – I didn’t stick with removing it completely but I’ve cut back a lot and I’m happy with seeing how I felt differently.
  • Eliminate video games – this experiment is still ongoing and it’s making a huge change in our family.
  • Sell most of our library – we don’t miss it.

Experiment by Eliminating the Extras

One of the easiest ways to test living with less is to pack up the extras and the duplicates in your home. Pack them away temporarily, hide them from sight, or take the plunge and get rid of them. There are very few things that can’t be replaced if you really need them. Here are some ideas of where to find extras:

  • Clothes. Pack up the clothes you don’t typically wear and see if you really miss them after a month. Visit Project 333 for inspiration.
  • Dishes. How many extra sets of dishes are clogging up your cabinets?
  • Toys. Most of the toys in your house probably aren’t played with anyway.
  • Linens. How many pairs of sheets and towels do you really need?
  • Books. Yes, books. As a recovering book-a-holic I promise it’s possible.
  • Video games. If you can’t stand the idea of eliminating all of them, keep out only the favorites.
  • Furniture. Try clearing out a room and see how you enjoy the extra space.

Beyond the physical extras, you can also try eliminating the extra indulgences taking a toll on your budget. Try experimenting with eliminating:

  • Cable/Satellite TV
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Starbucks coffee
  • Manicures
  • Car washes
  • Dry cleaning
  • Online subscriptions

I’m sure there are things you’ve considered eliminating but you just weren’t too sure about it. Give it a try. Experiment with a change. You just might like it.

If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living for families, please consider reading my book, Family-Sized Minimalism or  sign up for updates. Thanks so much for reading!

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Article originally published on 10/24/2011

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  1. Thanks Faith! I think it’s so important to experiment. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things a certain way because you’ve always done them that way. Or hanging on to stuff because everyone else does. You’ve done a great job of breaking to down for us.

    • Faith Janes says

      Thanks, Christine. I just checked out your blog…it’s great! Love the concept of getting rid of 100 things every day for 100 days!

  2. I made the mistake early this year of ordering several magazines for FREE using hubby’s frequent flyer miles (not enough to cash in for much else) I am so sorry I did. I cannot wait until the subscriptions run out. I used to love magazines but this has cured me for good, I believe!

    • Faith Janes says

      Oh yes, that can definitely be a pain. The tricky ones are the automatically renewed subscriptions. Sneaky and expensive!

  3. Last days I’m trying to find the best way to get free of expenses. Minimalize till the bone! Set what is mandatory and it’s not. As I read your problems with books, I just saw myself some weeks ago. With the bad experience of try to sell it, at the moment I’m getting a huge sucess when it comes to just exchange. It’s a pretty easy way to still read a good book (in paper) with a low cost.

    If you have any tips on this I would love to hear : )

  4. Mother Nature unexpectedly forced us into minamilism – so we dove in head first. After a wildfire claimed our house, we moved in to a 32 foot RV with a 3 year old daughter. Luckily, we didn’t have much left from our old life, so the only issue is keeping stuff out and only having things in the RV that we NEED/USE or LOVE. We’ve been in it for 1 1/2 months and it’s been a great lesson on all of this. It’s also an ongoing lesson in organization! This is not the way that I suggest folks to enter this lifestyle, but we’re taking the silver linings as we find them. I’m planning a post on this topic on my own blog soon… It’s an interesting journey at the very least!

  5. hi i found it very useful and healthy habit of being simple and minimalist, I am still coping with clutter in house, but its oing to be tough in case of books as i have great collection and have problem of storing it also i think its a good time to through it. wish me luck… 🙂


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