Real Life Minimalists: Ann B

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, Ann B tells us what she loves about being a minimalist, and how it helps her make time for her family and community.

Ann B writes:

Ann B

Ann B

I discovered minimalism in 2012 when Miss Minimalist was mentioned on The Simple Dollar blog. I happily read through all her archives and decluttering really appealed to me. I liked to keep a clean house, but was overwhelmed with cleaning, “organizing” old high school things and photographs, working full time as a Medical Laboratory Scientist, and supporting my husband as he went through Law School (and also worked full time).

I’ve found that being a minimalist allows me to do the things that I most enjoy: cooking-from-scratch, entertaining with dinner parties, bringing meals to new moms and building community. I can easily invite friends over for tea or a meal because I know my house is decluttered and clean. The dining room is snug when we feed more than 10 people, but we make it work. People are just happy to be invited over and have home-cooked food (often with a fun theme). I don’t keep books or knick-knacks (“dust collectors”) as decorations but keep things that help me entertain (serving ware, fun bowls). I decorate with succulents in colorful ceramic bowls. I build community by coordinating parties for my neighborhood, and it takes time to plan, advertise on our neighborhood’s Facebook page, make sandwich board signs and buy supplies for ice cream sundaes or glow sticks for Halloween parades. Being a minimalist gives me time to focus on these things.

I’ve been unburdened by incorporating minimalism into raising our son. When I was pregnant, I started asking friends about what baby supplies they found helpful and was thrilled to find A Minimalist Guide to Baby Essentials on www.theminimalistmom.com. I was blessed to have three baby showers and even though I didn’t register for any of them, I received 36 onesies in the 3-6 month sizes. I returned all but eight (I have laundry machines in my house) and other gifts and used the store credit later for a high chair and top of the line breast pump. Minimalism made life easier during a time of big transition (zero kids to one). To this day my 3-year-old son has a relatively small wardrobe and just a few cars and books in his room. I believe and frequently tell him, “You sleep better in a tidy room.”

A recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism has me reading everything I can on hypothyroidism and fatigue recovery. Many books and blogs encourage patients to decrease stress. Due to minimalism, when I look around my house, I already see a sanctuary for my family with minimal clutter, the things we love and use and pleasing interior design. I’ve learned to have no guilt when I say “no” to activities that are not my passion or subtract from my focus of building community.

Shout out to my husband of 11 years, who once he found out about minimalism, said, “I just want to get rid of everything!” We didn’t know about minimalism when we got married but it’s cool that we both have personalities that enjoy its benefits. I don’t think I’ll ever not be a minimalist. Thanks.

{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.}

7 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Ann B

  • As for me, being a minimalist has allowed me more freedom. I can definitely relate. It is as if you are letting go of baggages that you don’t need anymore so that you can focus on what really matters in your life.

  • Bellen

    “Due to minimalism, when I look around my house, I already see a sanctuary for my family with minimal clutter, the things we love and use and pleasing interior design.”

    Perfect description of what I’m working for. Initially I set out to decrease possessions so family would not have to deal with it when we pass (we’re in our 70s, live in FL with family in CT). Now that I have a name I can put to it, and a purpose, my family understands. Thank you.

  • Betsy

    Congrats to both of you! I wish I had known this when I was young……..I would have saved myself a boat load of stress not to mention money. Best wishes on your minimalist journey.

  • Allison

    I want to live in your neighborhood! How wonderful that you choose to use your time and resources to bless your community!

  • Jennlynn

    Thank you so much for your story. It really resonated with me. I have a 3 year old, hypothyroidism, work part-time outside the home and read the Simple Dollar and Miss Minimalist. I enjoy hosting and would love to have more time to create fun activities with the neighbors. I am also trying to eliminate stress in my life to help with the hypothyroidism. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I love your Monday feature of “Real Life Minimalists” stories. It is an inspiration to read how different people make minimalism work for them. I just started my journey (and my blog!) on minimalism. I’m hoping my journey can inspire others as you have done for me.

    Thank you!
    Jackie Thompson

    @ClutterMama

  • I liked hearing from the people in their 70’s. I am 67 and my husband is 70. We keep passing on things and the kids give us Netflix, restaurant gift cards, and movie passes. I buy maybe 1 or 2 articles of clothing each year and jewelry either 90 0/0 off or at rummage sales. I have costume jewelry from my grandmother, my mother in law, and some older friends of the family.

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