How to (not) be a Minimalist in 44 easy steps

Find minimalism coming too easy for you and need more of a challenge? Craving more clutter in your life? Want some reassurance that it also takes others nearly a decade to be no closer to minimalism? Then this is the guide for you.

1.Get married and combine your mildly pack rat tendencies with your new spouse’s loathing of organizational tasks into a 750 square foot closet house.

2. Spend 2.5 years in your tiny rental only to realize that you are two laundry loads short of suffocation.

3. Decide you will not take unnecessary items into your impending move.

4. Buy more books anyway.

5. Manage to successfully donate two huge bags of clothing yet end up moving with the same four boxes of random papers as last time, a shed’s worth of who-knows-what, and still enough clothing for a small country.

6. Arrive at new location with 400 more glorious square feet than before.

7. Enjoy actual storage space with doors that close, pretend like your clutter does not exist, and forget about minimizing for a year and a half.

8. Get pregnant.

9. Have baby shower.

10. Buy all the baby things.

11. Snap out of it less than a month from due date of first child and wonder where that nesting urge is that everyone talks about.

12. Realize that you still have a nursery stacked to the window sills with unorganized baby clutter, closets that are over flowing, and a bedroom that is a disaster.

13. Have a melt down because your belly has its own zip code and you need a crane to get out of a chair.

14. Be rescued by your sister-in-law who has the whole place sorted in 36 hours.

15. Realize you are not remotely a minimalist but now you’ve just had a baby so you don’t give a crap.

16. Finally emerge from baby fog a year later and determine to give it another go.

17. Remember that you are moving again in less than 9 months.

18. Rope spouse into wasting the most beautiful Saturday in September putting on yard sale in your obscure, low-traffic neighborhood.

19. Put prices on every little thing and use copious signs.

20. Have neighborhood kids be your best customers.

21. Realize their parents probably hate you now.

22. Make enough money to order take-out all weekend.

23. Stuff loads of junk back into garage to collect spiders.

24. Read an inspiring minimalist article right before Christmas.

25. Make New Year’s resolution that you must cut back and post in on blog so that it will actually happen.

26. Collaborate with friends for a yard sale in their high-traffic neighborhood at the beginning of yard sale season.

27. Price in groups and use two signs.

28. Buy beer and pizza and let the kids entertain themselves with all of their toys you are about to sell.

29. Get swarmed by professional yard-salers who speak very little English and out number you 4 to 1.

30. Make enough money to feel pretty good about this whole yard sale thing.

31. Stuff remainder of junk back into garage to collect more spiders.

32. Give final attempt at yard sale a month before moving. This time collaborate with three other families in same high-traffic neighborhood and be ruthless toward the contents of your closets.

33. Price almost nothing and plan to take every offer.

34. Sit in scorching sun with toddler while husband plays golf.

35. By second day, shove items on unsuspecting passersby for free.

36. Be wildly successful because you donate every last leftover item to charity rather than move it.

37. Have military pack up 85% of belongings to a storage facility you cannot access and do not know the location of so that you can pretend you’ve gone all “tiny home living.”

38. Fit all of your chosen items into two bedrooms and feel minimalist for three days before clutter sets in.

39. Find out you are expecting baby number 2.

40. When storage time with navy is up, receive all of your items into a local storage unit of your choosing, but end up renting second storage unit on move-in day because one is not enough.

41. Decide to have radical garage sale in height of summer on parents’ super high-traffic road during 3rd trimester because things. must. go.

42. Write lists of items to sell and feel like you might succeed this time.

43. Spend 3 hours adding unnecessary stuff to baby registry.

44. Consider hiring a professional. Or your sister-in-law again.

I really do want to be a minimalist. Deep inside my cluttered soul is a suffering minimalist just waiting to sort her way to freedom. For a solid five years, I’ve been trying to get to even a basic minimalism. Looking around, I keep coming to the conclusion that I’m not cut out for it. But if I’m being honest, every run through has made life less overwhelming and keeping up more simple, even down to my email inbox. I’ll probably never be a classic minimalist, but if the effort of getting there keeps making life better, I see no reason to stop my efforts at reducing. Or at least making room for new stuff.

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