Real Life Minimalists: WellHeeledBlog

Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details. (Note: the schedule is now full through January — but if you don’t mind waiting, feel free to send me your submission!)

This week, we have a wonderful submission from WellHeeledBlog. She explains that for her, minimalism is not about placing arbitrary limits on her things, but rather being mindful of what she owns and the choices she makes.

WellHeeledBlog writes:

As a personal finance blogger, I am often searching for ways to make my money work for me. That’s how I discovered minimalist blogs – minimalism and saving money often seem to go together – after all, the fewer things you buy, the less money you spend. I have a fairly clear idea of what my relationship is with money. After reading a string of minimalist blogs (Miss Minimalist, for example!), I was inspired to think about what type of relationship I want to have with “stuff.”

I, for one, take no particular pleasure in joining the 100 Things Club, although I do hold the highest admiration for people who can whittle their possessions down to the double digits. In looking around my apartment – in my closet, on my desk, and inside my makeup box, I realized that what I want isn’t an arbitrarily small number of belongings. Instead, I want each and every piece of my possessions to be useful and appreciated. I don’t want the mindless accumulation of stuff just for stuff’s sake.

We go through life with limited resources (limits in financial resources for most of us, and limits in time for all of us). The choice to spend our time, money, and energy on one thing usually means that we must forgo something else. In pursuing a more streamlined and purposeful lifestyle, I hope to carve out room in both my budget and my time to spend on experiences and yes, even things, that bring me the most joy.

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

21 comments to Real Life Minimalists: WellHeeledBlog

  • This is a great view – I think that the minimalist philosophy is so much more to me that then number of items I own.
    It is the mindfulness, the awareness and recognition of each item I possess – purpose, environmental impact, usefulness, emotional significance, and even just beauty – that to me is the foundation of minimalism.
    Great post!

    • “It is the mindfulness, the awareness and recognition of each item I possess – purpose, environmental impact, usefulness, emotional significance, and even just beauty”

      Can I steal this line sometimes? :D Seriously though, you capture what I am trying to say so well. Thank you.

  • I think the idea of only owning what is “useful and appreciated” is so much more meaningful than an arbitrary number of possessions. Not to say that those items aren’t special, but I’d prefer my life to be about life, rather than what, and how little I own. I also think frugality and minimalism go together!

    • Hi SimplePoppy,

      That’s exactly what I think when I think of minimalism. This is what I ask myself: does it matter if I have 1,000 things rather than 100 things if they are all things that I can afford in a financially responsible manner, if they are all things that are useful or beautiful to me, and if they are all things that bring me joy? You put it perfectly when you said “I’d prefer my life to be about life, rather than what, and how little I own.”

  • I believe minimalism is not only about “not owning stuff” but understanding your relationship with the stuff you do own.
    For me knowing when things are necessary to have is what’s important. I think the minimalist concept helps people to understand that the things they have doesn’t constitute their level of happiness in life. Understand that sometimes things are needed but realize those things are just things and what’s important is your individual happiness, that’s the true minimalist. Check out my post on a similar subject at

  • […] Taking only what you need has been my model on life. As you can already see, I don’t have room for much and I like it this way. This helps me from tugging unneeded stuff and having my attention averted from the things happening around me. I guess you can say I’m a minimalist.” […]

  • I am striving toward 100 things mostly as a guide to get rid of my junk! I want to recycle everything and you know what? letting it pile up here is not the same.
    Very nice, well written post – I do want to be more conscious about what I buy or keep, give away or sell. I am striving, within the next year by September (my birth month), to have my home clutter clear, painted and well appointed. Now, the well appointed part includes managing room for my dog sanctuary, most of whom are in the house at least part of the day – all 19! I will never be up for House Beautiful but do hope to be ready for The Bark with a dog friendly home and environment while giving myself some personal space as well.

  • Ashley

    I’ve been into minimalism since discovering this blog several months ago, and I’ve noticed something. There seems to be increasing commentary about how minimalism should not simply be about owning very few items, but should instead be about loving all the items you own and being aware of all the items you own. While I (really do!) agree that loving and appreciating all your items is a healthy way to live, I’m not sure that’s actually “minimalism”. I was initially (and still am, of course) crazy about the Miss Minimalist blog because of Francine’s fantastic vision of minimalism: culling your belongings to the bare minimum, in order to use the bulk of your time and attention on living.
    So, I just want to give a shout-out to the good old “100 items list”. I know it’s not super popular but it seems to cut to the bone of what minimalism is.
    Also, while I’m ranting :) I should mention that I actually don’t think frugality and minimalism necessarily go together! I think of frugality as buying in bulk, cooking instead of dining out, and keeping things around “just in case.” Francine once mentioned that she enjoys going out to a coffee shop rather than making it at home, and I have to say I agree. While it may be more frugal to stay home and make coffee, it lacks the atmosphere and social aspect of going to a coffeeshop. And, of course, you have to own and maintain a coffeemaker, mugs, coffee, etc.
    Well, that’s my two cents, anyway! Thanks Francine for your awesome blog. I love reading all the comments and the stories of Real Life Minimalists.

  • Thank you to Miss Minimalist for putting up my profile! I love reading your blog and all the other Real Life Minimalist stories.

  • […] was featured as a “Real Life Minimalist” on Francine’s blog, Miss […]

  • Ruby Dellson

    I appreciate what the “100 items” peeps are doing, but I also think it can be discouraging for the average person to even attempt minimalism if they feel there being held to such a standard. I love that minimalism is gaining momentum and even if this movement causes people to THINK about what they’re buying BEFORE they buy it, it’s a start. Still, it’s good to see these individuals and hear their take on things — to see that this IS possible do to without and not even miss what you’ve given away. Baby steps.

  • This is absolutely true – “I want each and every piece of my possessions to be useful and appreciated.”

    I also like your closing – “In pursuing a more streamlined and purposeful lifestyle, I hope to carve out room in both my budget and my time to spend on experiences and yes, even things, that bring me the most joy.”

  • I am also finding that it is the experiences that nurture me the most.Thank you for putting it so well.

  • This is exactly my take on it. I’m not trying to get down to a set number of things as I know I wouldn’t succeed and would therefore be defeated before I even started but I want to have things that mean something in my life and aren’t just there because I thought I ought to have one, or was given it etc. I’ve started my journey and so far the charity shop are doing very well!!!

  • I think there is not doubt that minimalism and finance go together. If more people would embrace minimalism it’s a simple matter that they would need less money. Needing less money means needing to work less. Working less means you have time to do what you want.

    Of course you’re right too, 100 us just a number and can’t be applied to everyone. We do own less than 100 possessions ourselves but it’s also because what we do allows it to be that way. I love finding tools that can do multiple things, but only if it does them well.

  • Yael

    For me, the whole idea of being frugal and minimalist is to then have enough to bless others. I don’t like taking the idea of saving and modest living and having it make me introverted and self-absorbed. If the goal is to be free from the shackles of debt and lack it is a worthy goal.
    But if it’s drawing me away from people and focus more on self, then it is a negative goal. Christmas is about giving. I don’t like the ideas listed above that try to change what makes Christmas such a blessing. But giving comes in many forms. Making things, or promising to do a special chore, for example, are ways to not spend money and still keep the Christmas giving spirit.
    But the ideas of accepting gifts, hoping the giver will catch on and not give anymore-that’s pretty selfish and callous!! Is that the Christmas spirit??? NO way. One year I had to let everyone know I couldn’t afford gifts. Everyone was understanding and gracious. But instead of running away or dissing them, I just explained that, when things improved, I was looking forward to exchange gifts again. Everyone admired how I handled my financial setback at that time. Things did eventually improve, and I was able to bless others with gifts again the next year. So, recapture the joy of giving to others. Yes, be frugal with yourself, but generous and lavish with others.

  • Tina

    I am still working on living with less. I give away a big bag of clothing and lately, jewelry every week. I am trying to get my craft materials into a smaller space. There is not much I buy and even my husband has been giving away clothing and hobby supplies. I am grateful we never had a big house or a lot of consumer goods. Mostly we get movie passes for gifts or gift cards for restaurants.

  • Rather than spending a fortune, I try to buy the most perfect gift I can. I saw a coloring book of Renaissance masterpieces and felt it was perfect for my DIL. I saw a platter at a thrift shop in my other DIL’s favorite color so I picked it up.

  • My son is running the Chicago Marathon. He has pledged to raise $1500 for the Food Depository. We have already contributed, but I told him if he was running short we would gladly contribute more. Charity is a major aspect of Jewish culture and it makes me happy to give.

  • Tina

    I have more jewelry to give away. If I haven’t worn a piece of costume jewelry in a year, I pass it on. I basically wear the same colors over and over and a lot of what I have is second hand.

  • Tina

    I am noticing that drawers are now half empty. I had 4 big shirts to sleep in and now I have 3. I gave away 2 sweatshirts. I have a few tops my DH gave me so I gave away some of mine. I gave away some shoes and didn’t replace them. We will give away a big bookcase when my son and his wife move. I do have a lot of plants because every winter, I bring the plants in from the balcony. I will be giving away 60 to 75 plants in the next few weeks because I am doing a presentation on growing plants indoors. Then, after New Years, I get a lot of sad poinsettias, cut them back and keep them on the balcony the next few summers.

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