How To Be A Minimalist, Revisited

I wrote a couple of years ago about how tough it is to be a minimalist when you have too much stuff. I think I always have too much stuff, although it’s a relative perspective. The Hoarders on television are infinitely beyond me, but I still dream of rooms and closets like this:


and this:


There’s nothing holy or magical about minimalism, and I’m a live-and-let-live woman: if you like collections, and feel good surrounded by beloved objects, that is very cool. A lot of stuff around me makes me anxious, however, and I will probably need to move onto a boat (or into a Manhattan studio) to truly streamline my possessions.

Sandy’s parents recently moved from a (very full) 4,000 square foot home to a small apartment in Senior Living. It was hard for them to choose which possessions would make the journey. They have done it though, and are adapting well. The “extra” things have been given to loved ones, sold, and donated. The memories will always remain.

In my own minimalism journey, I’ve come across the “only one” concept. This calls for the paring down of our belongings to just one of each useful thing: one set of sheets, one spatula, one pen. Like many “rules for life” this one can sound crazy – why have one drinking glass per person, really? But there are areas where I could benefit from the power of one. Your life surely differs, and I’d love to hear your views, no wrong answers.

I could be happy with:

  • One great black cardigan.
  • One great purse (doing that now with my Coach).
  • Four beautiful wine glasses (one set), instead of the mismatched jumble I have now.
These are so pretty. From Bed, Bath and Beyond.
  • One car. We’ve been a one-car family for fifteen years.
  • One bottle of perfume, my favorite.

But not happy with:

  • One scarf. How could I choose? I love them for color and creativity.
So many beauties to chose from. This one’s from Nordie‘s.
  • One pair of boots. Well, I could do it, but where’s the fun? If only one, though, these by Stuart Weitzman might do.
  • One lipstick. More is more. MAC makes some gorgeous lipstick.
  • One pair of jeans (hello, laundry?).
  • One cat. It is my doom to have multiple cats.
Three cats and their shadows. King just bit Skinny’s neck and is licking his chops.

Have a splendid Thursday and stay fabulous,

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  1. I would love a more streamlined household. With a cat and a dog and a husband who loves working in a garden….it is hell. I like tidy, hoovered, clean. Bad luck for me.
    Maybe I should start giving a good example by clearing out my closets and get rid of all the clothes that do not make me look fabulous.

  2. Moar cats, moar! We have *no* cats and it's a source of sadness. We had to leave our cat on the other side of the world with my mother-in-law and we're not settled enough to commit to cat ownership.

    In terms of minimalism, I'm determinedly living with the landlord's stuff i.e. four of each kind of plate, ugly curtains, but a few changes are creeping in here and there.

    I have lots of perfume as I like switching it up. I always used to just have one handbag but I've got a few I go through phases with now.

  3. Yes, there are definitely items that "only one" just wouldn't do! Coats, rings, hats, bras, towels, all come to mind. Some day, I will get a handle on my clutter – it's an ongoing project.

  4. Well, having only one set of sheets would mean never having to fold that dang bottom sheet! That drives me crazy, LOL. I have been seriously tempted to ditch the 'everyday' dishes and just use my beautiful white and unadorned Wedgwood for every day, not just for those other four meals of the year. I've also been tempted to whittle down the dining room linens. But that's only because I want space to put my growing fabric collection. So kind of defeating the purpose. All said, I think I'm becoming a less is more person in most areas of my life. I'm with you Patti, an uncluttered space really does help the mind relax.

  5. Hoarders always makes me wanna lysol everything in sight!!!
    I love the picture of your furbabies!!!

  6. if one lives a one dimensional life then its possible to have only a few items. but i need clothes and shoes and accessories for work from gardening over renovating to business meeting and for fun from wandern to city tours, from country fair to cocktail party

  7. Where's the choice, the variety, the joy?! I take Sheila's point, albeit that she's jesting; I could have 5 purple dresses, but if they are all of a different shape, style, fabric, and length, then they all serve a slightly different function. I don't understand multiples of exactly the same item, but if every piece is unique, I get that!

  8. What an organized closet you have Patti – Oh, it's not yours! Oh well, that closet doesn't have enough shoes anyway: only eight pairs and three pairs of boots.

    One-of-a-kind works for some things, like a house, refrigerator and husband, but not for scarves, shoes or cats. Cats need friends! 😉

    You've added a smile to my day!!
    ♥ carmen

  9. I think about this concept a lot. Maybe not pens or jeans, but I do like the idea of simplicity and really using the things I do have to the fullest. I get real pleasure in 'wearing something out'–many of my things only go when they are literally falling apart beyond hope of repair.

  10. One glass? What happens when you want to invite friends round? Perhaps seriously minimalist people who adhere to this bizarre Rule of One don't have friends. Or maybe just one…
    Oh I couldn't do this, not at all! Where's the choice, the variety, the joy?! I take Sheila's point, albeit that she's jesting; I could have 5 purple dresses, but if they are all of a different shape, style, fabric, and length, then they all serve a slightly different function. I don't understand multiples of exactly the same item, but if every piece is unique, I get that!
    Actually, I do only ever have one bottle of perfume on the go at any one time; but cats are so much better in bulk! xxx

  11. Love this! I don't have a minimalist bone in my body! But I am spring-cleaning, and the purge is quite delightful!

  12. I'm a terrible collector! My husband would love me to just have one if everything! X

  13. I aspire to minimalist but not sure I succeed. I definitely could not manage with one pen or one pr of reading glasses I keep loosing them.

  14. I could live with only one lipstick, MAC's Candy Yum Yum, which you show, the vivid pink one. My home is very minimalist but my closet still seems full even after my extreme space-bagging. I wouldn't be comfortable any other way. As you say, where's the fun?

  15. Maybe there's a happy middle-road:not quite minimalist, not collecting… For me it is a work-in-progress, I am trying to keep my bulky items (clothes, shoes) to the minimum, mainly because I travel a lot and like to travel light. I am not very successful, though, as I shuttle between two countries with two very different climates. What passes for winter in the U.K. is just an autumn day in Finland, so I need different clothes for each country. That doesn't really work, either, and usually whatever I need / would like to wear is in the wrong country… Maybe I should do a post on that?

  16. Gads, I could never be a minimalist! I just wrote about my huge wardrobe, ha ha! Sure, I could do one: one short black skirt, one medium black skirt, one midi black skirt, one skinny long black skirt, one maxi black skirt…(all leather, of course!). I'm pretty sure that's not how it works, though.

    Love your kitties. I'm a minimalist there, right now. Vizzini is monster enough.

  17. I like to know what I have – so, not too much stuff that doesn't get used. I'm hovering on the edge with my wardrobe now. I forget what I have. I blame other bloggers!

  18. I couldn't live with only one cat either. But I'm pretty sure I could live with a whole lot less clothes, shoes, jewelry and books as physical objects. I think I'm a minimalist in training.

  19. I have never been a minimalist and never will be. Not hoarder status but probably close….I think I inherited this trait from my parents who don't throw anything away. She still has clothes from 40 years ago!


  20. Minimalism as a style doesn't appeal to me, but I do try to be conscious of how much I have, and not just mindlessly accumulate. I lean towards two of everything-two sets of sheets in case you have to go to bed while one pair is still in the dryer. I don't like clutter, or masses of stuff that has accumulated over years, but minimalist decor actually makes me antsy the way a more cluttered decor does for you. I need to be surrounded by things that have personal meaning and give me pleasure, not just random clutter.

  21. LOL-one pair of underwear! I'll bet even the most strident minimalist can't do that one!

  22. This is part of the reason I tried and failed at being a Buddhist. Everything in moderation? Can't. Just can't. Exhibit A: my most recent Mad Hunt that had me acquiring not one but seven kimonos of varying patterns and colors. Because you need at least one for every day of the week. ;p

    I do envy and am in awe of minimalists, though. Someday, when I grow up, i hope to be just like them.

  23. Oh, it is scary but at the same time, I'm thinking it would be so freeing. Great post!!!

  24. Oh man…the thought of only have one of anything freaks me out a bit. What if I spill on it? Ruin it? Lose it?

    Already I've broken so many of our good wine glasses and I bought extra knowing that would happen.

    I say a big no to the one pair of underwear right away! LOL

    I will say yes to one car and one TV. Those things have never bothered me.


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