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Back when I first read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I instantly became a Marie Kondo junkie. Before that, I was a Julie Morgenstern junkie. My favorite Julie Morgenstern book is When Organizing Isn’t Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life. I read it years ago and have carried it with me in the hopes that I might someday carve out the life I had been dreaming about.
I guess I have been an aspiring minimalist all along. I’m still at aspiring status but have reached a point in my life where my dreams of minimalism are starting to take some kind of shape and I’m feeling the momentum of the life-changing magic that Marie Kondo talks about.
We recently moved to a house with nearly half the square footage of our previous home. At a time when I was unsure of how we might pull off living with less space, or even if we should, these quotes helped me build the confidence I needed to know it was the right thing for us, even if it might not make sense to everyone else. Here are my favorite quotes on minimalism that I hope will inspire you to too!
1. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past. — Marie Kondo
Julie Morgenstern first introduced me to the idea that our stuff has its own energy. Hanging on to things for the sake of keeping them around has a very real potential to hold us back in other totally unrelated areas of life.
This is why I love decluttering so much. I love clearing out a space and letting go of things that aren’t meaningful to me almost just to see what good thing life has in store for me next.
Have you watched Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix? This is what those people are doing. They are confronting the people they were in the past with their hundreds of shoes and hoards of Christmas decorations, and learning how to let go of the bulk of it that maybe worked at some point in their life but no longer serves them. They are making room for their future self to grow and develop in that space. It’s a beautiful thing!
2. Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. — William Morris
I wanted to frame this quote and hang it on the wall, but then I realized that might defeat the purpose of the quote. This quote is perhaps my favorite one on the list.
Isn’t it empowering to think that you have the power to make the decisions that could lead you to one day being one of those people who has a home filled with only the things that you truly use and love? Ah, the dream. This quote reminds me that that dream can be my reality. It takes a lot of time and work, but it is entirely possible to choose what we are surrounded by on a daily basis.
3. Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination. — Christina Scalise
If there were a quote that should be scrolled on the walls of our home, it’s this one! I don’t know there are 11 words strung together more appropriately to target the source of our life challenges for both my husband and I.
Both self-proclaimed procrastinators, we struggle with physical manifestations of clutter. And digital ones. Oh the pictures, videos, scans, notes, ideas, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets. And the dream of one day having both streamlined physical and digital spaces.
I know in my heart that all the messes can be cleaned up. That we can and will someday live long enough to outlive all our clutter manifested by procrastination and indecision. So we keep on going.
4. Own less stuff. Enjoy more freedom. It really is that simple. — Joshua Becker
I see this quote as having dual meanings. The more obvious meaning to me is that by spending less money on things, we inherently are more free to do what we want to do in life with less financial constraints.
But the other meaning is that by having less stuff to maintain, you free up so much more than money. You free up the time investment in maintaining the stuff, or having to clean it or pick it up and put it away or whatever. And you free up mental space to see your life more clearly. It truly is freeing to let go of stuff in more ways than one.
5. Minimalism is not the lack of something, it’s the perfect amount of something. — Nicholas Burroughs
I love this because I think sometimes the idea of minimalism can seem like deprivation at first glance. Like doing without things is somehow a sacrifice.
I absolutely do not see less as worse. I see less as more, because less allows you to truly enjoy what really speaks to you. To appreciate what’s left after you have sorted through all the options of stuff you could own, but chose not to.
6. The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. — Socrates
Enjoying less can be so freeing. Less stuff might mean less stuff, but there’s a strong possibility that it equates to more time and mental clarity.
7. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness is in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. — Elise Boulding
My husband and I can certainly vouch for the truth in this statement. We believed that we would find more happiness in more house, but found that less house was far more suited for our personalities. I love the feeling of having less. It’s less overwhelming,
8. You know you have reached perfection of design not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Yes! That feeling when you get a drawer or cabinet exactly the way you want it. When you have gotten rid of just the right amount of stuff so that everything now fits just right in the space because the stuff isn’t overflowing.
9. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. — Lao Tzu
Wayne Dyer introduced me to Lao Tzu. At one point he let go of all his material belongings, including his home, and just walked away from it all to start anew. And live the principles of the Tao. This quote reminds me of him and his journey in minimalism, which inspires me always.
10. The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. — Hans Hofmann
Does clutter make you feel a little bit crazy? It does for me. When everything is put away in it’s place, I feel zen. When it’s scattered everywhere, my mind is constantly recalculating the fact that things aren’t put away and thinking about when I should take the time to clean things up.
Having less stuff and therefore an actual place for what we end up keeping allows me to appreciate our things so much more. And of course more time to do the things I actually want to be doing is the best benefit of all.
11. The moment I realized my stuff was the problem, everything changed. — Rachelle Crawford
When I see this quote, I think magic. The life-changing magic Marie Kondo was talking about is real. When you realize something isn’t quite right and what that something is, and then you start to see ways it can be fixed and change, magic happens. A domino effect that is barely recognizable while it’s happening. It’s a slow but sure improvement in things that once seemed impossible.
12. From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. — Marie Kondo
At first I was unsure if I could claim to be a “minimalist.” Even though we have let go of plenty of stuff, we still have plenty and I wasn’t sure if it would be inauthentic to use such a label. Then I read this post and was relieved to realize that being a minimalist is just another way of saying being someone who aspires to have everything in their life be purposeful, meaningful, and to bring them joy. To be a person who re-evaluates everything in their life on a regular basis and continually works on the skill of letting go of things when the time is right.
Being a minimalist is a lifelong process without a destination. It’s simply a word that can mean whatever you want it to mean for you. For me, it means carving out a life I love from all the possibilities of things that are so-so and don’t quite spark joy. It’s separating the junk from the real treasures, and being able to really enjoy the treasures.
I hope these quotes inspired you to create more of the life you love. What does being a minimalist mean to you?