What Does a Minimalist Home Look Like In Real Life?

I would love to tell you about what a Minimalist home is like to live in. But, I’m not a minimalist. The idea is appealing to me, having only what you need, but I don’t know quite how to get there.

So, I thought I would take a peek inside the homes of some real life Minimalists and see what it looks and feels like.

And I mean real life Minimalists. Normal people like you and me who just decided to change their lives. Not someone from a magazine who hired Marie Kondo to come over and set all of her junk free.

What Even Is Minimalism?

Ok, I find this fascinating. Minimalism, if you look it up in the dictionary, is:

a trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s and used simple, typically massive, forms.

That’s interesting to me that Minimalism is actually derived from art. It gives me a different appreciation for the purpose of living minimally. It’s not just about the stuff, there is an art to it.

Art gives feelings. Minimalism evokes a feeling?

But What About Minimalism at Home?

Over at The Minimalists they say this about the Minimalist Lifestyle:

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

Uhhh, what? Really?

I’m writing in real time as I’m researching, I’ll have you know and this is again truly unexpected. In my mind, Minimalism was going to be about “having a place for everything” and knowing where everything is and “decluttering”.

Freedom, though? This is not as I had expected. I’m going to have to ask my Minimalist friends about this definition and see if it fits for them.

My 5 Minimalist Home Dwelling Friends

I get to work with some amazing business owners in my day job and several of them live in Minimalist homes.

They were kind enough to give me a peek into their homes and give me an idea what it’s like to live the minimalist lifestyle.

Judy

Judy from You Can Live Rich On Less went from a sprawling 4 bedroom home to an RV. Here’s what her life is like in a Minimalist Home.

After returning home from a month long vacation to the US and Eastern Canada in our Fifth Wheel RV, we realized that we really didn’t want to live in our large suburban home anymore.  It was a lovely home, 4 bedroom, 3 bathrooms, but in reality we spent most of our time in the family room/kitchen area. And for the most part all we did was sleep there, and commute three hours every day to our jobs in the city.  Well my job, since by then my husband Mark had retired.

So we sold the house, got rid of a ton of stuff, and now live in our Park Model RV in Cottage Country.  It’s about 400 square feet (10 X 40) and we couldn’t be happier. We still spend most of our time in the family room that has theatre seating in front our flat screen TV, and of course the tiny galley kitchen.

We don’t miss the spaciousness, maintenance, or the expense of carrying a large home. Our RV is paid for and I can clean it in under 20 minutes – 30 minutes if I really want to scrub. 

My two favorite spots are the kitchen and the spacious outdoor deck.  As a baker and blogger, I can create amazing desserts in my tiny kitchen shown here, with the help of a combination convection microwave oven.  

I have one set of utensils, baking pans, and pots. There isn’t room for more.  We don’t shop at Costco anymore, because we simply don’t have the space, and now support local businesses by buying just what we need instead of stockpiling it.

My other favourite spot is our deck.  It’s almost 300 square feet, and this is where I do most of my writing, and my favorite place to write is sitting in a deck chair, balance my laptop on my lap, with my coffee beside me.  I have a window on the world, and can say hello to my neighbours as they walk by or stop for a chat. Another important perk of living small the way we do is the community we enjoy. Pure simplicity.

Even after 4+ years I’m still amazing at how little space we need. 

Check out Judy’s post on Full Time RV Living.

Kristy

Kristy from Money Bliss is a busy wife and mom who was spurred to Minimalism by a remodel of her home.

When we remodeled, it was more about creating connections with those who we care about. We tore down two walls to open up the kitchen and create a 10 foot long countertop / seating area. This high bar seating area is the most popular in our house for our family as well as visitors.

On a daily basis, it is where stories are shared and so many memories have been made.

Through the remodel process, we got rid of half of our belongings. This allowed us to have more time together rather than cleaning up our stuff.

Kristy wrote about what it’s like to own less stuff after living for 6 weeks without the family’s things.

Marissa

Can you imagine picking up and moving your family to Europe? Everything you own is in 8 suitcases.

Marissa from Squirrels of a Feather did it.

We recently decluttered our entire home down to 8 suitcases and moved overseas to Europe, where we now live in a minimalist one-bedroom apartment.

Living more minimally has helped our family become happier and closer than ever. My children have less toys, but play longer and more independently (with less fighting!) and I spend less time cleaning up and stressing out!

We love our minimalist home life.

Check out Marissa’s post on Minimalism with Kids.

Cath

Cath of Random Cath calls herself a Minimalist in progress.

She’s a proponent of living a Zero Waste lifestyle and is conscious of the “stuff” she brings into her home.

Her beautiful blue bedroom is calming and serene.

Check out Cath’s Apartment Tour to see more of her “Minimalist in Progress” home.

Joelle

Joelle who is a member of the Bogoten fam (you can see her post on how to Declutter Your Home) struggled with letting go of things.

My husband and I liked the idea of minimalism, but were struggling to implement it. We struggled to let go of our ‘stuff’. 

What worked?

Moving from our 2 bedroom garden apartment to a VW van for 6 months.It made us properly evaluate what we really needed, and what was really important to us. We are more conscious now of what we bring in to our current home, and focus on how useful it is, or if it really makes us happy to have it.

The paintings and pictures on the wall might not be useful, but looking at them every day makes us happy.

Laura

Laura from Life Between Two Dogs runs her business out of her minimalist office. It’s not a typical image of Minimalism, but it is very efficient. To me, efficiency must be very important to minimalism.

I can definitely say that the less clutter your work station has, the better it is to concentrate and avoid unnecessary distractions.

Besides, during the day I can see a part of my eucalyptus tree which is a nice view to feel not so lonely 🙂

It’s a constant effort to keep a minimalist approach but it helps to remind yourself of what truly matters. Be it time to write, spend time with loved ones, or go through your book collection 🙂

Back to That Freedom Thing

So, what did these ladies have to say about The Minimalists’ definition of Minimalism? Remember this?

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

The consensus was that, yes, Minimalism does come with a sense of freedom.

Kristy feels “... freedom from overwhelm and freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture. We are happy to have more time back in our lives and money in our pocket for experiences.

And Marissa said, “…Minimalism has freed my family in so many ways.

It has freed my time because I spend less time cleaning and tidying. That in turn has freed me from a great deal of anxiety and stress from being surrounded by clutter.

Perhaps most importantly, minimalism has also helped me move on after decades of grief from the early deaths of my parents; finally letting go of that sentimental clutter and passing items on to people who could actually ENJOY them has been so freeing.

And Judy and Laura had similar takes:

Judy: “I mostly agree with the definition, but would challenge that minimalism would make you less depressed – I guess in a non clinical way. And it can certainly reduce fear, overwhelm and worry but not eliminate it.

However I definitely feel that I have achieved freedom from the trappings of consumer culture that you define. I think that freedom as a result of minimalism will be different from one person to the next. Like someone who no longer pays a mortgage feels differently from the person who is independently wealthy who’s never had a mortgage.

For me freedom is something that will be a work in progress as I live my life. That’s why I’ve embraced “Hygge” and simple living and write about them extensively on my website. “

Laura: “I don’t agree with the “easy” definition. I believe minimalism is not a tool for freedom – it’s more of a mindset to make room for things that actually matter.

It won’t automatically free you from depression, guilt or fear. It will help to feel less overwhelmed, which in turn can help with lowering your guilt, making depression easier to manager and pay attention to what can be done to over come a fear. It’s a constant effort to keep a minimalist approach but it helps to remind yourself of what truly matters. Be it time to write, spend time with loved one, or go through your book collection 🙂

I believe I achieve the sense of freedom when I see around a less cluttered room with things that make me happy and it’s like a plug being removed from my brain and the static inside my brain clears abruptly that I feel like I can breathe.”

Could You Be a Minimalist?

Now you’ve seen a small peek into what a Minimalist Home can look like and you’ve heard from some real life minimalists who are living the lifestyle.

I think seeing it this way makes it a lot less intimidating and helps to see that Minimal can still cozy or homey.

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