Real Life Minimalists: Ahsha

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.

I think you’ll enjoy this story from Ahsha; her words just radiate the joy and freedom that comes with a minimalist lifestyle! Visit her blog to read more about her experiences.

Ahsha writes:


My name is Ahsha, bestowed upon me by my incredible son when he was a toddler. It is one of the few things I will never part with.

I grew up in a large country family. Our home was filled with furniture that had been passed down from many grandmothers. Closets and wardrobes were bursting at the seams because it takes a lot of clothing for six children and wash day was only once a week on a wringer washing machine.

When I became a young wife and mother, I inherited many of these same items and went into collecting mode myself. After my marriage was over, I developed itchy feet and moved several times over numerous state lines. With every move I discarded more and more stuff. Every apartment or house was sparse, bare and beautiful.

But when I bought a home in 2008, it immediately got filled to the brim. Even the 1500 square foot basement was piled up. Finally, it all got to me and my bone deep need for space took over and I knew all the stuff had to go. A friend and I held a huge yard sale out in the front yard one Saturday.

I sold anything that I could pull off the wall, out of a box or that would go through the door. I cleared my living room of everything but a sofa, my grandmother’s small writing desk and one table. The den was depleted of loveseats, television, computer desk and wall art. It is now wonderfully bare with only my son’s keyboard.

After the sale was over, I called the local thrift store to pick up the leftovers. As the two men were loading the truck, I was carrying out even more items from inside our home and shoving them into their arms. When that big truck finally pulled out of the driveway, I was literally dancing across the yard. I felt so free and like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I have never regretted one item that left that day.

Other bonuses have surfaced also. Our tiny 1200 square foot home now seems spacious and bright. My little boy who has always refused to give up any toys now is constantly giving away Legos, soldiers, action figures and the like. He loves the space we have now. The full basement is his playroom where he can run around freely without fear of tripping or falling.

We continually clean and find items to remove from our home. It is a lovely way of life and we have a new awareness about our environment. Without the chaos of clutter, we have time to focus in one another and our community.

In another huge step, nay leap, in my journey to simplify life, I decided to stop coloring my hair. That was a breathtaking moment as my hair was long. I let the roots grow out until they were several inches long then went to a trusted hairdresser and had her cut it boy short to remove as much color as possible. Now I have my very own personal silver linings that follow me everywhere I go and remind me that I do not needs things dictated by society to be a beautiful and wise lady.

With the free time I now enjoy (not having to clean and care for household clutter) I have even written several books that have been accepted for publication. It is amazing where a minimalist lifestyle can take a person, a family, a community and the world.

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

37 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Ahsha

  • “My little boy who has always refused to give up any toys now is constantly giving away Legos, soldiers, action figures and the like.”

    Now that is a feat. Not many children I know give up anything voluntarily. You are teaching a wonderful value.

    Dan @

  • I particularly like the hair story, as I am so very blessed with silver linings generally in my life and am in the process of growing my own grey out right now :) (I call my present winter look “snowed on”!)

  • Miss Mini

    What a lovely story. I can imagine how liberating it must feel. Congratulations on your books!

  • I love this post! I visited a friend last night and she had so much furniture in her living room that I felt claustrophobic. I will add that it looked beautiful it is just too much.
    I did the same thing with my hair. I could probably take a vacation to Europe or put a child through at least one year of college for what I spent over the years highlighting and coloring my hair. It is now pure white and I love it! Your hair looks beautiful.

    • Ahsha

      Hi Susan. I know what you mean. Just last night I was at a friend’s home and felt the same way. Their huge television took up a fourth of the entire living room.
      Thanks for the validation about my hair. I almost gave in a couple of times in the first few months. Now I am not only used to it but love my choice. It is beginning to get long again so I am feeling comfortable.

  • I can just feel the liberation you felt :)
    I can relate to that. And to having a child who will voluntarily donate some of her things. And to having stopped coloring my hair – I also lopped off my nearly waist length hair. It’s so simple now.

    • Ahsha

      Vappu, good for you. I like not having all the worry, concerns and issues that come with coloring my hair. You are blessed with your little one. Her heart seems to be loving and compassionate.

  • Maria

    What a motivational minimalist, who always inspires me with her writing. Ahsha is beautiful inside and out. This is wonderful!

  • Mike

    Ahsha, there is so much to be learned from this article. Well done.

  • Something similar happened with my son as well. The little sponges see what we do and how we act, and what better example can we put forth for them, than to be minimalists!

    I am currently contemplating cutting my hair as well. I only have a few grays, but I love the idea of shunning the commercialized idea of beauty and want to cut it all off. This is the last step I feel I need to take to complete my personal “liberation”. I feel that feeling of freedom as a minimalist as well and need to just let go and do it already!

    You are an incredible example of courage in so many ways…


  • I’ve decided to let my gray hair stay as it comes in. I’ve never been a fan of the maintenance involved with coloring and only ever colored my hair twice. I prefer my natural color best. I’m sure I’ll feel that way about my silver linings too. :) And tomorrow I’m cutting all my hair off!!! I’ve never had boy short hair and I want to give it a try! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • I love thinking of my gray hair as a “silver lining”. Thanks for that concept.

  • “Now I have my very own personal silver linings that follow me everywhere I go and remind me that I do not needs things dictated by society to be a beautiful and wise lady.” … absolutely love this! :)

  • Re: not coloring your hair – Your own silver lining wherever you go – I love that!

  • A

    I LOVE the idea of grey hair as “personal silver linings”! I joked to a friend once that my few sparkly grey hairs were like free silver jewelry! Now there are many more, but I’m not dyeing them!

    Thank you for your story, and for being another woman who refuses to buy the clutter, chemicals, and false promises of the “beauty” industry. Real beauty is not procured, it comes from within!

  • W OW AHSHA !!! Just WOW !!

  • I just found it funny that 1200 sf are referred to as “tiny”. In Europe such a house size is standard and families live in there with three children, etc.

    • Laura

      I know what you mean. I live in America, but used to live in Japan and now live in a 350sqft apt. 600 sqft would seem HUGE to me now! I guess I just got used to a smaller space.

  • Carolyn

    Wow, the hair thing struck a chord. My daughter says mine is not gray, but sparkly! Seems a shame to wear your hair long; you’d lose those pretty curls!

  • An uplifting story of your journey to minimalism, Ahsha. I totally agree with you when you refer to being free from the chaos of clutter. Love your hair – it really suits you :)

  • I’m here about the silver linings as well. I’m going to write that somewhere so I don’t forget it.
    Thank you Ahsha.

  • heather

    38…totally silver and loving it!!! I love your story about your simple life. LOVELY!!!

  • KBinMD

    What a wonderful story. I too am allowing my “silver linings” to show thru as well. No more of society telling me how I should look. I am beautiful the way God created me.

  • Oh, my goodness! Ahsha, I enjoyed your post so much! I just finished clearing four boxes of clutter from my basement, with the help of my 10-year-old son. Doesn’t it feel good! Good for you. I also am thinking about ending the relentless run to my hairdresser to color up my gray. I’ve been graying since I was 17 years old. I am not 51, and am so done with it all!

    You go, girl! Your silver lining story brightened my day!

  • Thanks for sharing! Your story about donating boxloads of items reminds me of our own “great purge.” And it’s never really done, is it? ;-)

    I quit dying my hair a few years ago, and LOVE my silver highlights!

  • Sue

    A lovely story. And your hair is absolutely beautiful.

  • Anna D.

    I’m a hairdresser and it always boggles my mind when women who are more than 50% grey (or more) continue to color their hair (especially if it’s DRASTICALLY off their natural color). My plans are to embrace my gray hairs (easier said than done with dark brown locks), but I think it looks more attractive than the skunk-stripe that comes back within a week or so:) Lovely post.

  • Mrs Brady Old Lady

    I feel encouraged by everybody’s responses.
    I will go to the hairdresser’s shortly and have my hair dyed its natural colour (a dark brown). No more highlights, no more caving in to colleagues and friends who don’t like my natural colour. I will no longer have highlights. Hah!
    I’m 52 but hardly have any grey hair. However, if it comes, it comes. I will treasure it as a sparkly silver lining.
    Thank you everybody.

  • Michelle

    Ahsha – I’ just discovering minimalism and your story is very encouraging and inspiring! I have many bags in my car to donate and it already feels wonderful!

  • Tina

    I’ve been gray for years. I can’t imagine taking the time or money to color my hair. I liked how you got rid of so much at one time. A friend asked me the other day how we moved from our house to a condo. I just told her we emptied the attic and the basement of everything we didn’t need first. We were always storing things for other people. Now we only have a few things that belong to other people. We buy very little and almost nothing new.

  • My son and DIL came over last night with some blankets to give away. I kept 2 and I’m adding the rest to the pile that is going to the veterinarian. They got new linens as wedding gifts so out go the old. I keep recycling papers and trying to produce less waste. The kids are getting dollar coins for gifts. I don’t buy cheap plastic junk.

  • Tina

    I spent some time yesterday making holiday cards for nursing home residents. I have a big bag of craft supplies for the kids’ art teacher. My neighbor gave me a stack of catalogs and magazines she was going to recycle. I tore out some beautiful ideas and either recycled or took the magazines to the library. Then I was given more catalogs and tore out a few pages and recycled the rest. Again, a lot of the gifts I give will be second hand or cash. I am making a few from free or recycled things.

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