Going Minimal – How Less Can Mean More


We’re all downsizing, saving and living frugally. The reason for this is to live a life without too much consumerism and building wealth for the long term. We’re at it for about 2 years now, but in the meantime, our mindset has shifted 360 degrees around. We’re not saving money only because we want to get more of it… But because we have certain values that just don’t fit with owning lots of stuff anymore.

If you want to become happier, you don’t need all those extra things in your life. Better yet, you need to get rid of them. It can clear up space, remove worries and move you forward.

The big change is that we don’t feel the urge to save money. We just think of how we can live a better life, and additionally, we save the money we don’t spend.

There were several things that gave us a boost to start integrating a more minimal mindset. For starters, we wanted to sell items we didn’t use anymore in order to earn some extra money. But also we didn’t want to bring in any new items that didn’t bring any value to our lives.

Secondly, we noticed that by living a life that includes your own values, you will have fewer worries and stress and therefore can reach the next level of happiness. Minimalism isn’t only about reducing in material items, but also about creating room in your head.

In order to take things to the next level, there are certain topics in our lives that require some attention. We could tackle these topics one by one, or re-altering our current lifestyle in order that they fit better all in once. Either way, we will change step by step, moving forward.

I started listening to the podcast, The Minimalists, from name and name a few months ago. And got hooked on the aspect of integrating minimalism in our way of living. It already has gone down that path a bit so it wouldn’t be too hard to take some next steps.

And to set things straight, there isn’t 1 way to become a minimalist. It isn’t about owning the least as possible, or don’t spend any money. Often it is seen as downsizing to the least amount of stuff possible, the essentials. In essence, it’s true. But there is so more to it than this. There isn’t a magic number of items, that if you reach that you’re on a minimalist level. The concept of minimalism is about that you only do things or buy things that add a value to your life.

For instance, I wanted to drive a motorcycle for as long as I can remember and always stalled it to later. A few months back I finally did it and got my license. The thing is, it’s an expensive hobby to have. You need to pay for lessons and examination; clothing, helmet and other gear. And of course the bike itself… But, it also adds enormous value to my life as I love to do it and makes me happy. So, spending this money for this particular reason is worth it.

When following the minimal mindset, the goal isn’t about spending as less as possible. Or owning the least as possible. Better yet, owning less is a positive side effect is that you start needing and wanting only that what values. The true goal is to live a more happily and meaningful life.

Minimalism seems to become the next big thing that one should pursue. It fits right in with the mindset of many millennials. To favor experience over possession. And as we move slowly from a consumption society to a sharing economy, ownership isn’t the standard anymore. The effect of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses is losing its hold more and more. Instead, we set our own values and live accordingly. The society we live in is becoming more personal, adaptable and hopefully also more meaningful along the way.

For me personally, minimalism will help me to give structure to how I want to live my life. And on my own terms. It’s a conceptual view that connects with what I think is important and on which I can base my decisions. It’s not a set of rules to follow, but a mindset that helps me connect more to the values that I hold dear.

The first step: Decluttering

Inspired by all the mania around Kondo and other tips and books on how to clean up your home, I will start this journey with the obvious: decluttering my home.

We moved 3 years ago to the house we currently live in. Already leaving many things behind back then, we knew we wouldn’t have a stuffed house but rather a clean one. And compared to others we don’t have much stuff laying around. Still, we brought along things that we never used in the same three years. Or bought some new items to replace others but never got rid of the old.

Last year in January I started selling my books and DVD’s, of which I owned more than a few hundred altogether. Until now, that made me a profit of 572,38 euro.

And a few weeks back on Kingsday, where it’s a tradition to sell stuff on flea markets, I realized I could start selling so much more. My experiment began with selling a figurine for 30 euro, and 2 weeks ago a sports watch for 70 euro. Both were gone within a few days. This is some easy money.

So the coming weeks I will go through everything we have and decide on what to sell and what to keep. I will go through all of our clothes, our already slimmed down collection of books and DVD’s, our items that we never use and whatever else I can find along the way. To keep a bit of pressure on this experiment of decluttering, I will challenge myself to get it done within 30 days, starting from today.

What do you think? Did you ever declutter like Marie? Any tips or tricks on how to tackle this experiment?

22 thoughts on “Going Minimal – How Less Can Mean More

  1. Going super minimal isn’t for everyone but there is a sense in my circle of friends that consumerism is less and less important. Most of us aren’t big buyers of anything and prefer to live simply and spend money on experiences over things and I think that’s the trend with younger people these days. Part of it may be lack of money and expenses being too high to afford a lot of stuff but I think a lot of it is a sense of disillusionment with the whole buy for happiness mentality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. And I also gain more and more a belief that consumerism is becoming less important. Although we will never be super minimal, as that I don’t want to put a number on how much anyone should own.

      Then again, in a world where you can buy almost everything, the same things are getting worth less and less. Experiences are personal and will be adding far more value to one’s life than items will ever do.


  2. My wife and I are currently going through each room trying to declutter. We got a ton of clothes, toys, books for my son when he was born. We found that as much as we had good intentions to utilize all these things that it was just too much. So we’re going through and giving away what we can’t use and using the things that really provide value to my son 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Way to go! Sounds like you made some real progress. We don’t have kids, but I can imagine it’s bringing in a whole lot of stuff, additional of what you may want sometimes.

      Do you also notice anything different in how you son is dealing with this? Or is he still very young?

      I have a little niece who is overloaded with gifts every birthday, but her parents always donate almost half of her ‘old’ toys just so she can make room for the ‘new’ items. She herself decides on what goes away.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s hard to declutter, I’m not sure why it feels so “wrong” to give up something that you don’t use. I still have an old monitor and I’m always thinking that maybe I’ll need it in the future for something… but that’s something that I’m saying to myself to not sell it.
    How to get over this feeling of owning something, or that I may need it in the future?

    Liked by 1 person

    • On some items, I realize I’ve become sort of emotional attached. And I often think, what if I want to use it someday.

      Instead, I use a rule that when I haven’t used an item for an X amount of time, I will get rid of it. Clearly, it couldn’t be that important anymore.


  4. Selling old stuff or stuff we don’t use has been the last thing on my mind and your post made me realize I got to start doing this again. Too much stuff of the kids, myself that is no longer used. Which sites do you recommend to sell online old books or DVDs ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great, I’m sure it will free up a lot of space!

      I personally use bol.com for selling books & DVD’s and Marktplaats for selling all the rest, both Dutch sites.


  5. Once or twice every year I usually do a massive spring/fall cleaning. I basically toss out everything that I don’t need. Recently, I sold my iPad on eBay because I realized that the iPad wasn’t really making me more productive.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice that you were able to sell some items. Best of luck with more of that! We did a pretty big amount of decluttering a couple of years ago but I’ve still got more boxes to go through. Like you, it’s stuff we haven’t used in years and it’s time to just let it go.


    • Thanks a lot, Amy! Great that you already did this some time ago. I think we can pull something like this off every few years, just to make sure we don’t gather too much stuff over the years.


  7. Nice to read how you are decluttering. We started to sort out all of our stuff, one room at a time. We also alteady made more than 500 euros by selling stuff on Marktplaats. 🙂

    A house with less stuff feels so much better. And it also helps with not buying stuff we don’t use anymore, because cleaning up was a real eye-opener: we bought so many stuff in the past that we hardly use.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great piece! My decluttering efforts are sometimes very structured, other times they’re all over the place. I do notice that I get attached less to stuff, and that I don’t feel the urge to buy a lot. That helps in saving money. But most of all: I don’t have to clean it up all the time. Going through the attic right now, that’s still kind of a challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I don’t really mind letting go of things. However, it isn’t a high priority of mine either. It’s very nice to notice that the urge to buy or own less is getting less as well.


    • Who said a minimal mindset can’t involve a Tesla?

      The balance of what to own and what not is different to anyone. Everybody should decide for their own what provides joy and value.

      Although your wife might have a point 😉


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