A Simple Approach to Living With Less

How to Revive Your Minimalist Mojo

When I began my journey to minimalism two years ago, I thought it would be easy. It felt so great to watch the wide eyes of the Goodwill workers as we carried in yet another load of our belongings. I loved feeling lighter and lighter as our rooms and closets all cleared out. I was thrilled to finally be free of our storage units and the endless payments we wasted on them.

I did not anticipate how hard it would be to keep my minimalist mojo.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love clean closets, open floor space, and lots of free time. I also adore knowing where to find things when I need them, avoiding junk or physical clutter, and feeling confident in my priorities. Real life just has a way of knocking you off your feet.

Writing about minimalism has really helped me on my journey. Typically the pep talks I write are for me just as much as they’re for you. So far, there has never been a day where I let out a contented sigh and felt I had now achieved a true state of complete minimalism.

Minimalism isn’t something that ever feels “done” to me. As fast as I dejunk, clean, or simplify there is always something new that needs to be taken care of.

That constant battle can feel discouraging and overwhelming at times. The piles get bigger and things just start to become too much to handle. It’s time like that, when it’s nice to go back and remind myself of some lessons I’ve learned about minimalism:

How to Get Your Minimalist Mojo Back

If you’ve lost your minimalist mojo, remind yourself that doing something is better than doing nothing! You don’t have to declutter everything, just throw out something. You don’t need to have the least amount of something. Start by just eliminating things you don’t need. You’ll begin to make progress and find your groove.

If you’re looking for some simple ways to pursue less in an effort to live more, try some of these baby steps to get you started:

10 Minimalist Baby Steps

  1. Shop Less –> Save More
  2. Watch TV Less –> Read or Talk More
  3. Drive Less –> Walk, Cycle, or Rest More
  4. Schedule Less –> Pursue Free Time More
  5. Argue Less –> Discuss and Respect More
  6. Worry Less –> Seek Peace More
  7. Organize Less –> Prioritize More
  8. Store Less –> Declutter More
  9. Work Less –> Unplug More
  10. Consume Less –> Give More

Have you lost your minimalist mojo? What secrets do you have for getting back on track?

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Article originally published on 04/10/2012

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  1. Great post, I was nodding along in agreement as I read it.

    I don’t know if I would say I’ve lost my mojo exactly. But there is definitely an ebb and a flow of when I’m actively working to minimize my life further and when I just enjoy where I am now and focus on other things instead. I’ve learned not to worry about the times when I don’t feel like decluttering or minimizing more and not to force it. I know I’ll get the fever again soon enough!

  2. Ugh! A very timely post for me! I am trying so hard to keep wading on through the seemingly never-ending list of what needs to get done. I am looking to be inspired again. Thanks, Faith!

  3. I’m with Kym. We just returned from a month-long vacation, and I’m overwhelmed with trying to get everything back in its place, and to continue the purge. Definently losing my mojo!!

  4. I love this list! I just printed it out and pinned it to my office whiteboard. Thank you!

    My goal is to make a slow conversion to minimalism over the next year. It works well for me as I have a nine-month-old I care for full-time, plus a part-time online business. So taking six hours to clean out my garage just isn’t an option right now.

    On the flip side, it gives me more time to slip into complacency. Like you, I find writing helps keep my mojo up. But things like holidays with family visiting, work ramping up for a week or so or a sick baby can really zap me back into eating out or looking at Old Navy online for new clothes to buy (haven’t actually purchased anything since I started my experiment though, hurray!)

    I think I might try a speeding freeze next week as well as unplug again this weekend, at least one day. But I definitely agree – it is a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t have to be down to 100 items tomorrow. Or ever.

    Thanks again for the list, really helps with my perspective. 🙂

  5. Faith Janes says

    Maybe I need to do a follow up series to this post and break things back down into practical baby steps. Some days I feel like I’m beginning all over again.

  6. I’m like Candi as my work schedule as a teacher gives me summers off so I mostly focus on the decluttering part during vacation and maintenance during the school year. But every year I’m closer to my goal.

  7. Yes….I often feel like I need to start all over. I can walk in my house and wonder why I ever considered myself a minimalist. I had this feeling today – as I stepped over several pairs of shoes and other various items strewn all over the floor. I couldn’t help dreaming about what it would be like if each family member only owned one pair of shoes….. Then there are other days when I feel like we’ve come so far.

  8. Great post! Love the baby steps especially. Enjoy your weekend, Faith!

  9. Karen (scotland) says

    Hi, Faith, I haven’t commented for ages but still pop by to read your posts.
    I had to comment today as I totally relate to what you’re saying.
    Sometimes, reading more “established” minimalist blogs, I feel slightly discouraged as it seems so easy when they’re already “there”. Not sure where “there” is but it seems to be the place where grandparents no longer buy large plastic toys; where the digital photos have already been “done” and they are only dealing with current photos and not a 3000+ backlog; where the tricky sentimental stuff is gone and they now have a “system” for new sentimental stuff…

    I also love that your 10 Minimalist Baby Steps are life-oriented rather than stuff-oriented as it reminds us that’s the whole point – free-ing up time and energy. Every little thing simplified or minimalised is a step in the right direction.

    Thanks for a good post,
    Karen (Scotland)

  10. One of the things I’ve learned since I started down the minimalist road is that there has to be a mind switch for it to work. At some point it has to move from being a series of actions to a way I think. I am definitely still in that process. I have noticed many areas where I do think differently now, but then I can walk in my kitchen and it seems like nothing has changed! (clearly my mind has not clicked in to minimalism mode when it comes to paper clutter – that’s what my kitchen table is covered in!)

  11. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Bloggers Award because I enjoy your blog!!

  12. I agree with the ebb and flow!
    Even when my house does look overwhelmingly cluttered though (which is often) it is *much* easier to pick up and clean up now because there is a designated home for all items (except the papers, still having trouble with the papers, too) and there are fewer of them. What seems like an enormous clean-up job can be accomplished in half an hour.
    I have just decided to try the one-a-day idea and keep track of it weekly on my blog (keeping things in bags under the bed until there’s enough for a donation run). This technique always seemed so frustratingly slow to me, but when months go by and I haven’t spent time decluttering…well, just saying it would be faster than nothing!

  13. joanna @ I Won't Be a Hoarder Too says

    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve really gotten out of my minimalist groove lately to the point where I almost quit my blog, even as my apartment gets messier by the day. Thanks for the ecouragement!

  14. Jennifer G says

    I do great with minimalism (with my own stuff…hubby’s & son’s stuff is a completely different ball game) until I have to deal with my pictures/scrapbooking stuff and my family tree stuff. I literally only have about 12 pgs left to have my final scrapbook complete with no extraneous pictures, but I freeze like a deer in headlights every time I look at it. And the same goes for my family tree. I have most of the data entry portion online, but I have copies upon copies of family stories and wedding certificates, and military records, birth certificates, death certificates, adoption, name changes, etc that I have NO IDEA what to do with…so again, deer in headlights. And I hate that stuff now. I know hate is a strong word, but I really do hate it. It brings up such feelings of animosity that I often dream, one of those fantastic “I just won the lottery” type dreams, about just throwing it all in the trash. But then I think of the hard work I already put into it and my 4 yr old son looks at it and tells me “I find this stuff interesting, Momma” and I roll my eyes, sigh, and look away from the stacks and leave them for another day.

  15. I really needed to read this, thank you! I moved to a new home about two months ago and it has much less closet space. I unpacked and organized what little ‘stuff’ I had very quickly but I still have a pile of ‘whatever’-that-I-can’t-seem-to-part-with in my living room. It’s not very big but there is nowhere to put it. NOWHERE. I hadn’t even considered that I probably just need to go back through the rest of my ‘stuff’ and get rid of more. I’ll do it today though, because I’m tired of walking by it like it doesn’t exist. Thanks again!

  16. just today i’m digging through the recesses, peeling down another layer of memorabilia so that the clutter can go & we can show our house. we’re trying to minimalize as much as possible to move into a bus. the thought of putting anything in a storage unit makes my stomach turn, yet i want the kids to have a little bit from when they were little. ever the battle.

    thank you for this, & for encouraging us all to keep plugging!!


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