How To Be A Minimalist, And Still Have Nice Things

Our family lives a pretty simple and what most would call a minimalist lifestyle. But when I hear the word minimalism it makes me think we have to have no things, and live a very boring life.

That’s not how we live, and that’s not what being a minimalist is about to us

It’s about letting go of the things that don’t serve us and don’t bring us joy and keeping the things that truly make us happy. When I teach decluttering for moms so often I hear, “but what about _____? We love having so much of this!” to which I always reply, “Great, keep what you know you love and want in your space!”.

I write and teach about this, my intentions are never to tell someone what they should or should not have.

If you're up for it, I will challenge you to really take a look at what you are keeping ask yourself if you are REALLY keeping it. Because you love it, or are you keeping it because you just like the comfort, security, or void that it fills for you? Or “just in case?”

The follow up question I get to the answer I give is usually something along the lines of, “So then how to my collectibles fit into this whole minimalism thing?”

My answer is usually probably somewhat annoying and “however you want it to”. I wanted to write this up for you so you can have an on hand guide for all those things you keep and collect and display (or not). 

Just so you know, I am not above collecting things that I love – cute coffee cups are my weakness. We just finally moved into a home that we will be in for a while I have started my collection up again! 

My husband collects… ties, shoes, and basically fancy work clothes are his jam. He will never have a minimalist or capsule style wardrobe because he gets serious joy from dressing sharp and getting compliments for it. I will always have multiple and high amounts of pretty coffee cups because coffee tastes better when it’s in a pretty mug.

I could lie to myself and also say that I find joy in collecting art supplies I’ll never use, hats I’ll never wear, trinkets and knick knacks that collect dust on a mantle, spices I’ll never use, make up I’ll never wear… but I don’t.
It’s easy for us to trick ourselves into THINKING we are keeping things that give us joy when really, they don’t. We are just used to having them around and they fill a void for us in some sort of way, so we keep them.
When you are trying to figure out what things in your home that you collect serve you, or not, ask yourself the following questions.

Does this bring me joy?

JOY! Not comfort, not “I'm used to having this” or “Just in case”. Really joy.

This is a technique from Marie Kondo’s book where she says to go through your home item by item, hold that item and ask yourself if it sparks joy within you. While I love this concept and the intention it puts behind everything you have, I also don’t think it’s a realistic practice for the average person going through their home!

Do it for the things in your home you are undecided on. Most often you will find that while it’s something you have because you think you love it, you’re usually just luke warm about it. If you’re not super pumped up and excited by something – let it go. I know this can seem scary. When you start going through your stuff you might start to think you’ll have nothing left. That’s okay!! Let the stuff you feel mediocre about GO. Then you can start getting things you LOVE.

Would I buy this right now and does it align with minimalism?

If you were out shopping and saw that item on a shelf would you pay for it and bring it home? If the answer is no, let it go. Seriously! You don’t have time to be keeping stuff you don’t really want.

Would I pay full price for this as a minimalist?

So often we buy things because they are on sale, or because we were given them for free. That’s not a reason to hold onto things! If you wouldn’t go out and pay full price for the things you have now, let. It. Go.

So what do you DO with those minimalist collectible items?

If you are a true collector, you are likely collecting them because you truly love them. So what do we do with the things we love? Put them in boxes and hide them away? And minimalism doesn't mean you can't collect things!
We display them. And we share them with people we love. We keep them front and center so that we can enjoy them.
Find creative ways to store your collectible items. If you have too much, pare down what you have to your absolute favorites and donate the rest. Minimalism is cherishing what you want. 

Use display cases, shadow box frames, shelving, etc.

Not everything collectible is display worthy though. If you are storing it, try to store it somewhere that is easy to access.

My husband has a box of old comic books and sports cards he likes to pull out and let the kids go through every now and then. That is one of our favorite things to do. I would be really sad if we didn’t have those memories to revisit with him!

Remember that the entire point of simplifying and decluttering your home is to make it so you can easily focus on the things that matter most to you – and these kind of collections that tell your story and convey who you are to the world are important. Minimalism doesn't mean you can't collect things. 

Just be honest with yourself in your pursuit of minimalism when you are deciding what collectibles to keep. 


Even if you have little time, energy or day to day support