Real Life Minimalists: Natalie

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 pleased to feature Natalie. She tells us how minimalism helped her family reclaim not only their space, but also their time. Read more about her new “unbusy” life on her blog.

Natalie writes:



I’m Natalie, a 36 year old married mother of 3 kids from Melbourne Australia.

Being part of a family of five means that there is a lot of “stuff” in our home–toys, clothes, paperwork, food, junk, junk, junk.

My minimalism journey began by accident around mid-2013. I had heard the term minimalism and was curious to find out what it meant so here I was, in the middle of the night, researching minimalism while my family was fast asleep. What I discovered rang alarm bells and made me realise that this was how I wanted to live my life: this would be a new beginning for our family.

Our first home declutter session yielded 16 garbage-sized bags of items that we donated to charity, and countless items that were discarded or given to friends.

I found myself with not only less items in our home, but a tidier house, which meant less cleaning for me! This gave us more time to spend together as a family–summer 2014 and we spent many weekends down at the beach, at parks and playgrounds and also hiking with our kids. My husband and I had time to spend as a couple, and we spent less time and energy worrying about money, work and other everyday stresses. Some challenges were still there, but we had changed our attitudes and views and we had different priorities.

Fast forward 10 months and what I had learnt by creating a more minimalist lifestyle for my family was that part of what contributed to the “maxi” lifestyle we once had was that we were too busy–spending too much time, energy and money focused on those things that are not important. Our busyness had contributed to a house full of “stuff”, and a mind full of “stuff”. It was more than just the physical elements of a crazy lifestyle that made us reach a breaking point–it was taking a toll on us mentally.

In May 2014, I decided to create a blog “Unbusy Me” which focuses on helping others and sharing advice on how to create a less busy life, and also shares with readers ways that I spend my time now that I am less busy (for example, travelling and healthy cooking).

I live in a very family-oriented community, with lots of young families and couples just beginning their life journeys together and I do see many who struggle with keeping up a level of lifestyle that I can only imagine involves lots of sacrifice of time, health and wellbeing. I hope to be able to reach out to some of these people and show them a different way of living which has helped our family become more happy and healthy.

{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: Natalie

  • I hope some of those young families are looking to you as a positive example! I think one of those most important things you can teach your kids is to know when enough is enough.

  • Natalie, what great gifts you are giving to your kids: spending more time together as a family and teaching them that stuff is just stuff! Look forward to reading your blog. :) Karen

  • Some families are crazy-busy! Exhausted kids and bad tempered (well meaning) parents are sad to see. Well done for noticing and making changes and good luck with your website Natalie.

    • Thank you Freda, and yes I think most parents are well meaning in the way they raise their children. I think we are all doing the best that we can with what we know. Thanks again!

  • “Life is what happens when we’re busy making plans.” ~John Lennon Glad you discovered minimalism Natalie, I will be checking out your blog :)

  • What a wonderful post, thank you Natalie and thank you Miss Minimalist for sharing it! I got rid of virtually all my posessesions a year ago – now, everything I own can fit into my van and I love that. My sister seems to believe that minimalism is something only single people can do – but she is a keen blog reader and loves blogs about family life, so I will point her in the direction of Unbusy Me! Thanks again!

    • Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing some tips and inspiration with your sister. It can be harder for families to live a minimalistic lifestyle, but definitely not impossible!

  • […] of you have found me via Miss Minimalist, but for those who didn’t, here’s a link to a profile I wrote for her. […]

  • Elaine

    Thank you for your inspiring words. I love your blog!!!

  • Tina

    Steadily removing as much as we can. We never had much and now we have less. Got rid of a lot of craft and hobby materials. We just had our condo painted and by moving things around, we found more to get rid of. Besides hoarding shows, I like to watch the shows where the couponers fill rooms of their houses with soda pop and cereal. We have 6 bars of soap, a 6 month supply.

  • Tina

    Every week we give away a big bag of things to Goodwill. A pile of books and magazines goes to the library. We recycle 2 bags of paper, cardboard, and plastic each week. Slowly our home is looking better. There is always more that can go. Pencils and crayons go to the library or the park district for craft programs. My goal is to get rid of 2 bookcases soon. When I am my mother’s age I want to be surrounded by only things I need and love.

  • Tina

    I come from a family of hoarders. I like to get rid of things I don’t need. I like the idea of keeping all surfaces clear. I like that I keep things picked up and put away except when they are being used.

  • Tina

    It is so much easier to live in a house where everything has a place.

  • To raise money for charity, I help people declutter for 4 hours. So far, I’ve done 3 closets, a craft room, a basement, a garage, and a bathroom. Mostly, I tell the people to sit on a chair and decide if they want to keep, give away or sell, or throw away what we find. These people aren’t hoarders. Hoarders don’t want to let you in their homes. People just have a lot of things. Some are unopened or they still have the price tags on them.

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