Welcome

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The Minimalist Mom started as a place for me to document my family’s journey to a minimalist lifestyle. Fed up with clutter stealing our dollars and time, I took the plunge in September of 2010 and donated, sold and recycled five car loads worth of house wares, electronics, clothing and furniture. Months later my husband was offered an overseas job opportunity. We sold all of our furniture and donated another car load of belongings before moving.

Minimalism continues to be one of the greatest gifts I have given myself and my family.

What can Minimalism give you?

  • Time: less time cleaning, tidying, shopping, fretting. More time living, connecting, pursuing dreams and sleeping.
  • Money: we paid off $80,000 CDN in debt in just under two years. By far the biggest thing that helped us beat debt was embracing a simpler lifestyle.
  • Space: you don’t always need to move into a bigger home to get more space. Once we reduced what we owned we had spacious closets and rooms. And we didn’t have to increase our mortgage to get them.

Want to know more? Here are some posts to get you started.

Want more inspiration and ideas? You can find some recommend books on the Tools and Reading page and you’ll find new posts here on the blog.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your minimizing efforts. I promise it’s worth it!

Cheers,

Rachel

Disclosure: some guides and books linked to on this website have affiliate codes in them. Should you purchase one of the guides I will receive a percentage of the sale price.

Comments

  1. theminimalistmom says

    Hi Janelle,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I too had a lot of the same roadblocks when I got rid of stuff. Particularly because we had a mountain of consumer debt at the time and it was sad to see things we may still owe money on walk out the door. My mantra was ‘the money is already gone’. This helped me get through the really tough first few months of decluttering. In the 1.5 years+ since then I haven’t missed any of those things I donated or sold but I have found more time and space for my family, health, sleep and hobbies. And we are finally out of consumer debt :)

    Hope that helps and have a look through the archives to see my first posts if you need more visuals on what we got rid of.

    Cheers,

    Rachel

    • Janelle says

      Thanks for the reply. This is tough! But so far I have unsubscribed to over 20 email commerce lists, rented a table at a baby swap to sell my unneeded items and gathered over 100 pieces of baby clothing and gear SO FAR, cleaned out 3 kitchen cupboards and 4 dresser drawers! Not too bad but my closets and cupboards are still over flowing so a little bit more tomorrow! Having a bit of trouble with kitchen items and What to do about items I use rarely but might need “if” we have that big party, and imagining potentional hypothetical situations where I would use that item. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration! :)

      • Paige says

        Janelle, do you have many friends and family close by? I’m also struggling with decisions on *stuff* in the kitchen, but it is helping me to say *if* I need that, I will borrow it from Mom! Or if it’s a BIG party, I will be better off just renting that many wine glasses or dishes, ha!

  2. theminimalistmom says

    Hi! Actually, even crazier, my mom had been to the Isle of Man as a teenager (she is from Glasgow). She actually has a photo of her getting out of a plane on the Isle of Man when she was 16. But I have met very few other Brits that have been here. Even when I went to visit aunts, uncles and cousins in Scotland over the holidays, none of them had visited the IOM.
    Nice to meet you :)

  3. mommaj9 says

    Forgot to list the unnatural (only on special nights out) one: Almay clear complexion (if someone knows of something more natural that can cover well TELL ME!) — has Salicylic Acid (bleh), but it covers so well for those 4hrs out. ;-)

  4. christine brody says

    I have been following your blog for almost a year…it has been so inspirational. Can you give any tips on minimalist food shopping and minimalist entertaining…I seem to go a bit overboard in these categories. Thanks!

  5. Crystal says

    Hi, I just found your blog today! :) The link for Taming The Toybox does not work. :( I’ve tried searching the site for the article and cannot find it. Please direct me to this much needed source!!! :)

  6. Kerry says

    Hi!

    I came across your site about a month and a half ago when your write up on the diva cup was brought up on my facebook feed.. I don’t blog or read anyones blog but I have been back to yours a number of times now and I am forever changed! Thank you for taking the time to share your life and your journey with others like me! My husband and two girls ages 2 (almost 3) and 7 weeks are in the midst of packing to move (from vancouver island to Calgary). We have never lived extravegently but I have always struggled with “stuff’”, my mother is an insane packrat (she keeps anything and everything, literally) and it has always turned me off but i feel some of it in my bones so it has been a struggle. But through finding your blog i have been reminded that life is not about having it “all” and I have been inspired to change the way I ‘naturaly’ am for the kind of house and life I want for me and my family (simple, loving, tidy, good quality but much less clutter). I know this will take time as it is a process but I am excited for it, it is so so freeing!!

    Thanks again for inspiring people like me, you have encouraged me in a way no one else has and I look forward to my less-cluttered, less stressful life as I continue down this path of de-junking my home and life!

    Since I’m not an expirenced blog reader, I have a question: is there a way I can read your blog from the very begining? I would love to read your journey right from the start.

    thank you so so much!
    Kerry

  7. Carolyn says

    Thank you MM (Minimalist Mom)- you always have such great ideas and you are an inspiration. I subscribe to you emails and always look forward to getting them. Thank you.

  8. Kim says

    I’ve been getting your weekly emails and really enjoy them. We are a family of 5 in 950 square ft, no garage or basement. I’m always looking for ideas, thanks for your wealth of them!

  9. Shelley says

    I really enjoy your weekly emails they sure inspire me especially since my husband and I are downsizing. Would love to win the Verselette, it loos fashionable and versatile. Blessings to you and your family

  10. Esther says

    Hey I just found this blog, and you’re from Vancouver as well~! Very cool! My biggest pet peeve about “stuff” is “free stuff,” gifts I get that I don’t want, that’s why I try to convince people not to do gift exchanges during holidays and birthdays because most of it ends up in the garbage or junk you don’t want.

  11. MIchele says

    Thought of you yesterday while listening to NPR’s Diane Rehm show on your local public radio station. Interviewed an author who wrote the book WAIT. What made me think of you was the topic of being busy…and generally busy for no good reason. Interesting.

  12. Heather says

    I really prefer to buy products made in the USA, Canada, or Europe. I am hoping that the people are paid better wages, and that the items, particularly toys, are made responsibly and with better quality materials. We’ve been able to do this fairly often with food, with cloth diapers, and we’ve been able to find SOME toys (Tag Toys and Green Toys, some things on Etsy). But clothes..man that is a whole other story. It is HARD to find stuff made here. Of course there’s Frye, like you said. I bought some of their boots used and they are in great shape. And I have found one children’s brand that is 100% made in the USA (Brooklyn to be specific) right down to the thread, it’s called Winter Water Factory. Great stuff. You have to pay more but honestly the clothes last SO much longer and are way better quality. If you find other good brands I hope you’ll post them, as I really have searched and have not found much.

  13. Jordana says

    Hi, just wanted to share a link you may find interseting. I’m an American living in Germany and also mom, also clearing out the junk, also focusing on buying handmade, ethically produced, long-lasting, etc. etc. :) I came across this site while looking for vegan shoes (am also reducing our dependency on meat since it’s such a strain on our world). They seem to have larger sizes on sale right now. Italians are short folks! (big laugh)
    Have a great night. Link for Noah Italian Vegan Shoes is below.
    : http://www.noah-shop.com/

  14. Katie says

    I think it’s wise to wait on the double stroller. My sister bought one and, even at 3 kids now, rarely uses it. She’s found an ergo for the baby in the basket is enough. Baby starts in the stroller and if someone else needs a ride they switch it up. I also know she’s popped her 3 year old in the ergo on her back occasionally if the baby was asleep in the stroller (obviously this only works for shorter distances!). I only have one kiddo but I’ve noticed in my neighborhood a lot of the older siblings seem to use scooters to get around. Another commenter suggested a balance bike, which is the same idea. Either of those might be the ideal option, especially if you can find something small enough to stow in the Bob basket.

  15. Haley Ross says

    In September, after hearing a cute little rhyme, I decided to get my kids just four things for Christmas this year (Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read). It is by far the most minimalist things I have ever (half-assed) committed to doing. I shared my idea with no one, to be honest I didn’t think I could do it, I just liked the idea of it: With less, they would appreciate more. Then, in late September, my husband got a fantastic & unexpected promotion. Suddenly the commitment I made, to buy my deserving family less for Christmas seemed harder. With money in the bank I hit the malls, this would be the first Christmas where the purchases would be made with cash (and not financed on credit cards for the next couple of months). Fast forward 2 months and here I am reading your blog. Not only did I not buy anything that day at the mall, but with only a month to go, I have stuck to my guns and followed my new sing-songy little Christmas shopping mantra. I came across your blog today & suddenly 2 hours of my life are gone. But not wasted. Thank you so much for all the inspiration. While my challenge may seem paltry to some, I am bursting at the seams. I am so proud of how it has played out & seeped into my (our) everyday life. I am so excited to have discovered your blog at this point on my journey (I was googling ‘Ethical clothing’ for a completely different journey). Thank you!!!

  16. Paige says

    Hello! I’m a young mom of one little girl (hoping to add more asap!) and have never really lived on my own. I’ve been a live-in nanny for over a year, and lived at home most of the time prior, but I’ve finally found the live of my life and we’re moving into an apartment in February! In November I paired down my and my daughters belongings so we don’t have much. We’ll need to purchase a lot because between my fiancée and I we don’t have much household items.
    I’m wondering if you have a post, or know of any resources for STARTING out as a minimalist household? There are so many for getting rid of stuff/de-cluttering but I haven’t found any for ny situation! I don’t want to get wrapped up in buying too much, etc. Or am I going to be fine going at it in my own way?
    Any advice or info is much appreciated!!!
    Love the site- keep up the encouragement :0)

  17. Linda says

    Wow, love your blog. I’m excited to try some of your ideas. I’m currently getting organized, simplifying, finding ways for my twins grow up with “less” and more. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Stephanie says

    Hi! I’m from Ottawa and I found your blog while googling “decluttering”. :)

    I love your blog! Right now, my house is full of kids toys and un-filed bills and mail (that is the worst thing for me). I feel crazy for asking people to “not” buy my kids toys for their bday (they are only 2 and 1 yrs old). They have no idea what’s going on anyways. But your blog makes me feel better about that. When Link turns 3, I will ask family to buy only outside toys (if they must).

    I also can’t believe how much debt you’ve paid off, congrats! Also, congrats on the new arrival!

    You’ve found a fan forever in me!
    Stephanie
    P.S.: Canada is still really cold. :)

  19. Susan Lambrix says

    I love your blog! I have always been once to “purge” as I can’t stand clutter, but do save things of meaning from my ancestors which I have organized in photo (CD) boxes with the person’s name on it………..grandkids love looking at these.
    But……..to the frig point. I love a non cluttered clean frig and am trying right now to empty my freezer by eating all of it and starting over. I think this was your idea. The one thing that came to mind reading this was my feeling that we need to be prepared for disasters and that does take up 2 closets in our garage. I have enough food for at least 6 months in case that day ever comes. It is one of my most important goals………..I would never want my children (now grown) to have gone hungry or not have water to drink. If they day were to come we would gladly feed our wonderful neighbors. (formula and diapers for babies……..sanitary products for women also)
    We have always paid off credit cards in full………….or we wouldn’t sleep at night! We also give 10% of our income to charities we feel close to and know all our money is going to the cause. I just wanted to mention how important I thought using space to take care of our family in the event of a disaster is so important. Here in California if we have an earthquake that closes roads the grocery stores would be empty in hours. No grocery stores carry stock in their back rooms anymore. Having food and water is a great comfort to our family. Thank you for all your wonderful thoughts.

  20. Robin says

    Im so inspired by you! We moved to Canada from California and I joined a co-op so I wouldn’t have to go to the store with the baby in the snow so much. I was always so proud of my “stash” which we purchased in bulk. Now that the kids are older, and I am trying so desperately to declutter the home and simplify many times over, it’s interesting to think about the pantry and fridge this way. I never considered that hoarding food also complicates things and may lead to clutter or waste. I like what the other reader said about having a back up for emergencies, but I’m going to try to use up the extra of what we have and keep the fridge more simple with better meal planning. thank you!

  21. Tara says

    Really interested in the book giveaway. Reading the site and trying to implement for my own life…now how to get my husband and kids on board.

  22. Laura says

    I love your blog!!! You’ve saved me (and maybe my hubby and son… I’m working on that). Hopefully I win that giveaway #2! = )

  23. Ines says

    Hi! I’m from Italy and I really love your blog! I found a lot of suggestions here and I feel very inspired by your experience. About myself, I can say that I feel better with less stuff around me. I like living in a home with just the essential things. I lived abroad one year with just a suitcase of clothes without missing that blue skirt left at home. Before buying something, I ask to myself if I really need it, in the last times the idea of shopping is not more so attractive for me. Thanks for your ideas, I’ll continue reading about your news!

  24. Rhonda says

    I just found your blog. Love it! I’ve added it to my blog list. I will have to get my husband to read it. I would love to take a “vacation” from our satellite TV bill. Maybe this will convince him to give it a try. Although maybe I shouldn’t ask because…he does host a show on TV. lol

  25. Erika says

    Hi. I just finished reading “The House That Cleans Itself”, which started me on my journey of having less stuff. Then today I came across your article in the globe and mail and saw your blog for the first time. This is really something that I want to aspire to. It is hard to let go of stuff and I dont know how far I will go but I also have the belief that all that we need will be provided and I need to have faith in that. Anyway, I have a husband and 3 kids ages 18 months, 6 and 8. I know your son is still young and I was wondering if you could give me any resources for parents of school aged children trying to live with less. I just dont know how to help my kids understand that living with less will benefit them, and help them want to get rid of toys, books and clothes. Thanks!!

  26. Louise says

    Hi Rachel, there seems to be a problem with the RSS feed. It’s no longer coming through (I use Yahoo) and clicking on the RSS link at the top of this page led to an error message. Hope you can look into it. I enjoy your blog and would like to keep reading!

  27. Theresa says

    Hi Rachel, I just wanted to say hi. We’re a minimalist family in Calgary: 400 square foot apartment, one baby, and no car (and no lots of other things too). We meet a lot of skeptics, but we really enjoy what we’re doing. It’s nice to find some like-minded people! We’ll be moving in the summer so my husband can start his PhD and his research on essentially what motivates people to buy too much stuff and how to want less. Keep doing what you’re doing! We’re in it too.

  28. The Guide says

    I just started down this path, myself. I have a long way to go to simplify and declutter, but it’s the journey, the “purge” that I think I’m most excited about.

    I’m sure I’ll get tons of tips here. Can’t wait to dig in!

  29. Holly says

    Rachel,

    I can’t thank you enough for your sight. You have been truly inspirational to me. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I just sit down at my computer and read some blogs from your website and almost instantly feel at peace. I am looking forward to your book in May. Thank you again, you are an inspiration.

    Holly

  30. Tali says

    Good Morning,
    What a wonderful surprise I got this morning when I sat down to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the April edition of Alive – Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine in which I flipped open to page 138 and found your story. It must have been fate as I have gone through a lot of changes in my life over the past 3 years (2011-2013) both personally and professionally. By the end of 2011, I had “de-cluttered” friends that I felt weren’t “good” for me or my family, this de-cluttering of friends continued in 2012 to where I can now say I surround myself with people who are positives in my life. In 2013 I saw 4 job changes….I left a 8+ year job I absolutely loved and thought I would never leave (left because of co-worker and cut backs to my hours), went to a full time role with a 1/2 hour commute (great pay – missed the social interaction with customers/patients) and then went back to my college roots after a 20 year hiatus (huge pay decreased while increasing my time away from home to 10 hours a day in which my family finally vocalized that they missed me) and finally got offered a job at our local hospital (in which I am back dealing with patients and able to walk to work) in December. However, during all this commotion, as I like to call it, we put our house up for sale which then triggered my brain to think….less is more! We cancelled our land line telephone, cancelled cable television (we play on the WII instead) and sold our 1200 sq. ft home and will be moving in 3 weeks to a 998 sq. ft home. We just had a garage sale on Saturday (during a snow storm) and any remaining items went directly to our local Thrift Shop (profit goes to Hospital Foundation and Cancer Patient Services). With this move, we hope to decrease our debt by 50% (of course, the banks are hindering us to do so in one lump payment without huge penalities). The home we will be moving to will be renovated with minimal in mind. Our biggest concerns is how much storage we lose – including a double car garage and a 10X11 foot shed. It is exciting as well as scary -we have 2 daughters (age 12 and 13) in which one daughter lives a minimalist lifestyle (purges clothes like you wouldn’t believe and her room is ALWAYS tidy and organized) our other daughter is involved in so many activities (her choice) that she gets overwhelmed with her room and I have to step in to help organize it (last summer I surprised her when she got home from camp to a newly painted minimalist room and she cried with joy – that’s when I realized she gets overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to start to purge). The past 2 weeks I have spent debating about “the stuff” I have kept from my childhood (grade 7 – college) you know, photo albums, prom glasses, sweatshirts from grade school, cabbage patch figurines and yes, even a Band jacket from High School. After posting pictures of these items on facebook and reading the posts from childhood friends I realized there was no reason to hold onto these items…felt like I was living in the past. So much so that maybe that’s why I’ve struggled with so many other aspects of my life….I won’t bore you with the details. Today, being a Monday and hubby’s off to work and kids are at school I have a new found sense of freedom….a new beginning so to speak. Tasks for the day include contacting the bank and cancelling credit cards we no longer need (and that have a fee attached to them), calling the antique dealer to see if he’d be interested in some other things we have and finally, walking to work on this gorgeous day. Cheers to you Rachel and fate having brought me to your blog, it’s nice to know I’m moving in the right direction…even if it’s 40 years in the making.

    • theminimalistmom says

      What a wonderful thing to read! Thank you for sharing here. I am always excited to hear of other families downsizing and deciding to live smaller or simpler. Good luck with the move. All the best, Rachel

  31. Jenny Esdaille says

    Hello! I read an article about a man who became a minimalist, and then saw a documentary about tiny houses. While my family is probably not one that can handle living in a tiny house, I do love the idea of living with less junk and having more time and money. I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to try this and he seems willing as well. This lead me to research a bit more and I stumbled upon your website! I’m loving your blogs and advice so far and I can’t wait to get started. We are a family of four so I know it’s going to be hard at first but the idea of less junk and more time to enjoy each other seems wonderful! Thank you for this website/blog and sharing your advice with us!

  32. Ranee says

    i was so excited to find your blog. Several reasons come to mind. The first being that my husband and I and another couple are going to be vacationing on the Isle of Mann in October of this year (2014) and I am looking forward to the whole experience.. Also, having lost my job to economic situation, in 2009, and coping with osteoarthritis in my knees, have found myself to still be unemployed outside of the home. Frugal efforts have kept us going (and savings) and reality of not going back to my old job, have found myself thinking about life differently. As a result I have gone through several stages (rounds) of purging – downsizing – simplifying and currently packing up my next load for pickup donation. It seems to get easier and easier – if I don’t love or use it regularly – it goes. It’s taken time, but my husband has been putting more effort into the concept and has started to add to the pile. The feel of freedom is unbelievable – I can breath again. Look forward to selling our townhome within next 3 years and hope to find forever home within our size and means and room for a garden. Oh, I hope and pray it is in the cards for us. I think your blog will continue to help me on this endeavor. Thank you so much.

  33. complete fail says

    Those customers were genuinely rude and disrespectful, anyone would agree with you.
    Or you have a bad day which means you end up eating chips,
    donuts and chocolate while watching a film and all the time your self esteem drops lower and lower, in fact if it went any lower it was
    hit the opposite side of the world. When this day doesn’t deserve Bengals tickets,
    I don’t understand what does.

  34. ALice says

    Hi! My name is Alice and i am currently a fashion student in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Ever since I stumbled across your blog i have been so intrigued by the minimalist lifestyle style. I am now in my fourth year of design and currently researching markets that i could possibly design for my final graduation line. I was wondering if i could potentially ask you some questions regarding your attitudes, beliefs, and views. I know you’re incredibly busy with being a mother, maintaining your blog, and upcoming projects so if you are unable to i completely understand. I really look forward to hearing from you!

    Kind Regards,
    Alice Lam

  35. Sara says

    I LOVE your site. Thank you. I’m Sara. I’m your new follower. :D I want to be more of a minimalist so bad.. it seems like such a mental battle.. Your blog is an inspiriation for me.

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