Real Life Minimalists: Marianne

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.

This week, I’m happy to feature Marianne, who tells us about the variety of changes she’s made to simplify her life. To learn more, surf on over to her blog.

Marianne writes:

I came across Miss Minimalist several months ago and was inspired by the posts that were written. I like to keep my home uncluttered, but this took things to a new level. I think that it takes time to find balance in your life and for habits to stick.

Growing up, my dad kept everything it seemed. It was probably from having lived through lean times in his life. I didn’t learn about minimalism until the past year or so. There is no right or wrong way to be a minimalist. I decided to just take it step by step until I feel like I am where I need to be. I am consistently cleaning out clutter from our home. There isn’t a whole lot left to go through now. It is much easier to clean a home that doesn’t have a lot of clutter.

We are trying to eat healthier foods and avoid the processed foods and junk foods. Instead of going to garage sales frequently, I figure out what I really want and need and save my money and buy just that. I found that when I went to garage sales, it was so easy to take home much more than I needed because it was so inexpensive. We are trying to change how we do Christmas and spend less, give mostly gift cards and consumable gifts, and focus more on being together instead of the stuff.

I think that finding the right balance is different for everyone. Some people like having more stuff than others, but what really matters is finding the right balance for you regardless of what others do. And, that balance seems to change as you get older or you have kids or if your kids leave home for college. I don’t want my home to look cold and stark, but I do want to have minimal possessions so it is easy to clean. I don’t want things around that I don’t need.

When you focus on your needs and on the things that are a priority in your life, it also blesses other areas of your life. I find we have more disposable money because we don’t buy a lot of extra things we don’t need. I cut down on my cleaners and plastic bag and paper towel and napkin usage, and don’t spend as much on those things any more. We use containers, cloth napkins and rags instead.

I am trying to include more vegetarian meals because they are healthier for you, and try to cook things from scratch and eat less. I save money on groceries, which is a side benefit. I like the idea of finding one item that can take the place of two or three. For example, if you buy body wash that you can also use to wash your hair, you can buy just one bottle, and use it for your whole body, instead of two.

I think the minimalist movement has helped us to realize that we can let go of things and that it isn’t things that make us happy in the end. I am going slow and steady as I make the journey into minimalism, but the habits I make will stick. We can’t take our material possessions when we leave this earth, so we had better develop the proper attitude about them now. Miss Minimalist has been a real inspiration to me in my journey to find out what I really want and what it takes to get there. Thank you!

{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.}

17 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Marianne

  • “When you focus on your needs and on the things that are a priority in your life, it also blesses other areas of your life.”

    Yes, the focus and the clarity bring a richness and depth into your life that is hard to explain. Life becomes holy again, which is what is was all along, but we didn’t have the room to recognize it.

    Dan @

  • Kathy

    Very nice story, thank you for sharing. We are moving to a house with much less storage and a little less space in the next few weeks. I’ve already cut out so many things so many times. I hope I have time for a garage sale before we move to get rid of more. If not, Goodwill is going to get a large donation. I really want to get to a place where my house feels peaceful, not cluttered. It’s getting close, if only I could get my family to the point where they help keep things picked up–things that aren’t clutter except when they are left scattered about after being used. I love moving, it really forces us to deal with our possessions and really think about what we have and if it’s really being used.

  • Hi Marianne! It is a slow process, but SO worth it. With each step, we figure out what else we can let go of. I too am a fan of multi-use products!

  • “There is no right or wrong way to be a minimalist. I decided to just take it step by step until I feel like I am where I need to be.”

    I agree, Marianne. This is the way I have been trying to operate. It sounds like you have done some holistic thinking and I like it :-)

  • Hi Marianne, I am at a similar place to you on the minimalist spectrum (if there is such a term. I don’t like my home to be cold and stark either but I love having a more ordered home and simpler life. Minimalism can give you so much freedom. I look forward to checking out your blog. Good luck with your minimalist journey :)

  • Runi

    Marianne: Good for you. You are right, there’s no “wrong way” or “right way” to be a minimalist. Good luck with the vegetarian meals. I went veg in 1967 and vegan later. Am still very much alive, and it surely helps the budget.

  • Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

    I love the fact you are defining your own style of minimalism.

    I am going to check out your blog now!

  • “We can’t take our material possessions when we leave this earth, so we had better develop the proper attitude about them now.”

    Love it! Couldn’t have said it better. It’s very true! And we need to keep the right attitude about “things”: they ARE just things, after all. Nicely written, Marianne.

  • I agree, everything in life is about balance. It doesn’t really matter how much or how little someone has. If we are trying to keep up with one another, it is no different than keeping up with Joneses, minimalist or consumer. Everyone needs to find their own minimalism; there own balance.


  • Lovely words, like you I have been trying to find my own form of minimalism. I have been decluttering for a while now it is a slow steady process but like you I am getting there. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • Thank you to everyone for their kind comments. Wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

  • I’m late commenting on this, so hopefully you’re still checking. :-) Anyway, you seem to really get it! Minimalism isn’t an arbitrary set of rules; it’s being intentional about what works for you. Thanks for sharing, and I am definitely going to check out your blog.

  • Ahsha

    I love that last statement about developing a proper attitude concerning possessions. So many people clutch onto the anchor that is causing them to drown. While it is so true and vital. It really is an individual journey to living happily with less, learning what is important is a foundation. May you be blessed with all the good that life has to offer.

  • Tina

    I like posts about finding our own way. I’ve given away most of my craft and hobby materials. I’ve kept some tools and instruction books in case I want to make something in the future. I did altered books, quilting, crochet, and beading. I tore some instructions out of magazines I got for free and copied other patterns. I have some boxes to go through still. Your readers are right, it is an ongoing process.

  • Tina

    I have given away a lot and now my husband is starting to give things away. If he wants to buy 2 shirts he has to give 4 shirts away. He also has been giving away hobby equipment and books. I thought this day would never come. I want to give away some bookcases and he wants to display pictures on one of them.

  • Tina

    I am giving 2 of my sweaters to my mom. She let me give away some clothing I had never seen her wear. I still have 3 dressy sweaters and a shawl. I have gray and black shirts, too. There isn’t much I need or want except for my kids and grandkids to all be happy.

  • I like to read your older letters

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