Real Life Minimalists: Dee

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, we have a lovely contribution from Dee, who tells us about her sweet family and simple life in small town Minnesota. What an inspiration!

Dee writes:

Dee and her family

Dee and her family

Growing up I learned more and bigger is obviously better. If you like a top for example, you must buy every color. If it’s on sale there is even more compulsion to buy. And if it’s from a thrift store every item should be considered. All this in a subconscious attempt to feel good, more complete and safe.

I moved out of the house at 18 years old with way too much stuff. I got married 2 years later to my childhood sweetheart and 4 1/2 years later we had a bouncing baby girl. In a frenzy to prepare for our baby I never thought I could have, I bought all the thrifted clothes, blankets and trinkets I could find. According to most families it didn’t seem like much as we didn’t have the large baby gear. But her closet told a different story. It didn’t feel right. Once she arrived I realized I had justified too much garage sale, on sale, thrifted, and ‘must have this’ items. I realised at this point I could of gotten a handful of nice outfits and things for her when she actually needed them, if she needed them. I felt wasteful and silly.

This is when we started getting rid of most of the things in our home. It took 2 years to make our 1,200 square foot home hit its clicking point. Since then we’ve moved to a 650 square foot townhome to our wonderful 850 square foot home, with a big back yard. I’ve learned enough really is enough. I don’t have to live in a poverty mindset, hoarding belongings for the unforeseeable future.

One month after moving into our new home we brought our sweet son home. Having a simple home made this an easier transition for everyone. Their combined closet is more tidy than my daughter’s was alone at birth. I am no longer swimming in baby things.

Choosing to live small has allowed us to be debt free besides our home. It has also helped give me the desire of my heart of being a stay at home mom and hopefully homeschool our children. We are engaged in our vibrant community almost daily. We have 5 parks and a library within walking distance, a membership at the YMCA and are active members at our local church. We also have time for building relationships with family and friends.

Life is better with room to breathe and space to let life happen. Whether it be in your schedule or in your home. It is so much easier to never let things you don’t need into your life, then have to figure out what to do with them after the fact. Boundaries are healthy in every area of life and I like that minimalism enforces this.

Our life still gets crazy but we like to hit the ‘RESET’ button often. This means we put everything back in its place. I just started a brand new Instagram account @cozycolorfulminimalist. Please join me as I share about everyday life as a minimalist family in small town Minnesota. The best is yet to come!

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

22 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Dee

  • Enjoying outdoor spaces and being active on the community is very important. Enjoy the occasional resets. LOL.

    • Dee

      I agree, being outside and with people is so important. Although not always easy. We actually like to reset rooms daily, just not usually the whole house at once ?.

  • Tina

    Staying out of debt is the best thing you can do for yourselves. Live below your means. If you can, live well below your means.

  • Sophie

    So cool that you realized all that while young.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  • Jenn

    Sounds like you are creating a wonderful life for your family.

  • Mary

    Loved this story. Especially the “reset button”. I feel this way often, but especially at the holidays! We are a family of 9 in a newly 1,300 sq feet. (As opposed to 1,000 sq ft) And this feels like the right amount of space, although it goes along with being continuously intentional about our things! Blessings on you and your family!

    • Dee

      Being intentional about your things is key! Especially during the holidays ☺. Do you have a blog Mary? It sounds like I could learn from you, having 9 people in 1300 square feet and all ☺!

  • splendidcakes

    Dee really hit the nail on the head when she said she acquired things to feel complete and safe- add “good enough” and you have described me. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to read that you are slaying that dragon so young- thanks for sharing your story.

  • Dee

    I had my husband read this tonight and he informed me our home is actually 750 square feet.

  • Dee

    Thank you so much for the encouraging words Mary and splendidcakes! God bless you!

  • Mary

    Yes Dee,

    I blog at We are in the process of adopting four children from foster care that we took last winter when our house was still 1,000 sq ft. Unfortunately, this has been the craziest year of my life, so I haven’t blogged much!

    • Dee

      Congratulations Mary on your new 4 children! Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ for those children. What an awesome blog! But don’t feel guilty you are doing the most important work of loving your family. May God’s joy fill your home this Christmas season.

  • Susan M

    Dee, Great story. Tried to find you on Instagram but it said no posts yet.

  • Another great and relatable story :)

  • When it comes to buying, I found that putting those items in a 30-day list really helps a lot. This way, it is off your mind for a moment. It is where you put items in a list for 30 days and figure out if you still need it after the 30-day timeframe. It works all the time.

  • I really needed the inspiration, I need to cut back on spending and take control of my family finances I have found these posts and feel they will inspire me to budget, save, be debt free and live better with less. it is all about choice, not being overwhelmed with stuff, having more security an time to enjoy what matters.Thank you

  • Living on very little enabled us to retire at 55 and 53. Save all you can and avoid debt. Encourage your kids to be responsible for their own “wants”.

  • Tina

    A neighbor told me when my kids were little that I would have to spend more when my kids became teenagers. My son wanted $100 gym shoes in high school. I told him his father wore $35 shoes. He could pay the difference because his father wasn’t growing and he was. He got a part time job when he wanted “brand name” items or brand new items and he paid for them. Now he is 43 and buys clothes at thrift shops. So does my daughter. My younger son wears T shirts and hand me downs to work. He was wearing torn clothes until I told him not to.

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