When you are seeking to have more minimalist intentions, you’re actually focusing on the things that you really value and removing the things that really distract you. And a lot of times when we start to get into that space of being more of a minimalist or minimalizing things, you’ll notice that a lot of your relationships and things in your life will start to actually get better. And again, it’s because you’re focusing on what matters most.
In this episode, you’re gonna learn how to get started with a more minimalist lifestyle. My guest shares some things to consider and some ways you can start to declutter. In addition, your gonna learn some of the benefits of decluttering and living a minimalist lifestyle.
Now, I’m not saying get rid of everything. But definitely during the summertime, we can start to accumulate a lot of things that can really start to bog us down. And not just physical things, but also some things that take up some of the space in our minds. So let’s learn how we can reduce the clutter and really enjoy our time this summer.
Megan Dahlman is a certified trainer and nutrition coach who’s passionate about helping moms love and thrive in their God-given bodies. Through her immensely popular podcast Self Care Simplified and online fitnDiane Boden is the voice behind the top-rated podcast, the Minimalist Moms, where she spreads her ideas and interviews others in regards to living a life in the pursuit of less. Her goal is simply: think more and do with less. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three children.
Connect with Megan
- Website: http://www.minimalistmomspodcast.com
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/minimalistmomspodcast
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/minimalistmomspodcast
- Book: Minimalist Moms: Living and Parenting with Simplicity
This episode is sponsored by Cozy Earth. Experience the luxury with Cozy Earth and get 40% by using the code REALHAPPYMOM40 at realhappymom.com/cozy
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Transcript of this episode
Toni-Ann Mayembe 0:00
What do you think about when you hear the word minimalist or minimalist living? Is it an empty room? A room that doesn’t have kids that come in there? And because you and I know these kids in their toys they seem to get everywhere? Or is it someone that just doesn’t have a lot of things. Now, minimalist or minimalist living isn’t something that I really want you to shy away from, but something that I really want you to kind of step into. And the reason why is because when you are actually seeking to have more minimalist intentions, you’re actually focusing on the things that you are really value, removing the things that really distract you. And a lot of times when we start to get into that space of being more of a minimalist or minimalizing things, you’ll notice that a lot of your relationships and things in your life will start to actually get better. And again, it’s because you’re focusing on what matters most. And if you’re thinking okay, Tony, like That sounds really great. That’s really cute. But I don’t even know where to start. Great, great question. Great, I’m glad that you’re saying that because I have someone today that is going to help us with just that. In this episode, you’re gonna learn how to get started. If you are wanting to begin a minimalist lifestyle, some things to consider some ways you can start to declutter, and also you’re going to learn some of the benefits of decon be. And also you’re going to learn some of the benefits of decluttering. And being more of a minimalist. Now, I’m not saying get rid of everything. But definitely during the summertime, we can start to accumulate a lot of things that can really start to bog us down. And not just physical things, but also some things that take up some of the space in our minds. If you’re like, oh, Toni-Ann you’re getting kind of deep. Trust me, it gets there in your wanna make sure that you listen to this full episode to learn how it actually affects all of these things. So let’s go ahead and jump on it. You are listening to the real happy mom podcast, the weekly podcast for busy working moms to get inspiration, encouragement and practical tips for this journey called motherhood. My name is Toni-Ann. And you are listening to Episode 186. All right, today, we got Diane on the podcast. Welcome to the podcast.
Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be here. Yes, yes,
Toni-Ann Mayembe 2:42
super excited to talk to you because we have a really fun topic. I’m really excited to access a lot of fun questions about but before we jump into our topic for today, I just want to do to share a little bit about you and what you do.
Yeah, so my name is Diane Bowden. And I’m the host and creator of the minimalist moms podcast. I’ve been doing that for about five years now. And it’s it’s been a whirlwind, it was started as a creative project. And now it’s kind of taken off to this platform where I try to encourage people to become more minimalist in their day to day life, living with less is what I like to say. And I would say that there’s all types of people listening from beginners and minimalism, people that have been practicing it for quite some time. So I think today we’re going to talk more about beginning stages and how we can start mood, being more motivated to live this kind of lifestyle. But yeah, that is a little bit about the podcast. And then I also wrote a book called minimalist moms, living in parenting with simplicity that kind of goes along with that. And then for my personal life, I am a mother of three little kids. I have a two year old, a four year old and a seven year old. And we live in Columbus, Ohio. And we just started homeschooling for the first time ever, which I think we kind of like this lifestyle we’ve created. So hopefully we’re gonna move forward doing that for the foreseeable future. But that’s a little bit about me.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 4:04
Nice, nice. And I was just curious how you even got started into the whole minimalism or was this something that you grew up in or something that you started when you became a mom, or what’s the story behind that?
Yeah, so I would say that. Okay, let me read let me go back to the very beginning. When I was 1819, I was definitely the opposite of a minimalist, I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the trends. I always had to have everything that was new and shiny when I’d walk into Target or Macy’s at the time. And then I found myself in a lot of debt and felt very buried by that. So once I was able to pay that off, it wasn’t a ton, but it was enough to make you feel very weighty as a late teen, teenager early 20 year old. So anyways, flash forward moving through that I think that kind of started spurring me thinking about finances, which I do think finances are very connected to minimalism and wanting to pursue a minimalist lifestyle. By So I ended up meeting my husband and we were married just out of college. He was a first year teacher, I was still in college. And I would say that we kind of started pursuing minimalism, just because we were trying to live frugally, and we didn’t have a ton of money. And then there was this one pinpoint moment that I can look back to and say, we were in my parents basement, and we were looking for something. And we couldn’t find we’re looking for and my husband turned to me and said, look at these things that are on boxes that were once your dad’s hard earned working hours. And we didn’t really have a conversation post that moment. But it really did get the light bulb working in my brain to say, Okay, I was in all this debt were frugally living now. And now, like if I’m trying to combine all these things, and looking towards like, what am I working towards, and I’m creating this like money, I’d rather have that towards experience says and be really intentional about the way that I’m living. So it was kind of organic, how it all happened at the at the beginning. And then yeah, we’ve just applied this foundation into a parenting which obviously brings its own challenges and trying to control I guess what other people are bringing into your home, but also like trying to figure out boundaries of allowing that without being too rigid. So it was definitely not something that I grew up with, it was more so we stumbled upon it, and my husband and I, without even really knowing that that’s what it was at the time.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 6:26
Nice, nice. And I’m glad you shared that story, because you brought up something that definitely kind of made a light bulb go off for me. And it’s that how minimalism a lot of times we think about it, it’s more so, you know, in our homes and with the things that we have inside, but you said it can show up in our finances too, which is something that I think a lot of times we don’t think about, and in our relationships as well, if we got a whole bunch of stuff, like or doing a whole bunch of stuff, I feel like it can show up in a lot of areas in our lives. So I’m glad you brought that up. Because I think a lot of times, like I think that, at least for me, you know, when I think about minimalism, and like well, I like all my stuff, I don’t want to lose all of it. But I think that you can still have, like you said that quality of life where you’re doing the things that are most important to you. So I was just wondering, you know, what are some of the things that we can think about if we’re wanting to kind of get rid of all the things like you said, like, we’re in the basement that we never will probably use in our hard earned money, but are just sitting there in boxes? Like how can we get away from that and start to live a more minimalist life?
Yeah, I would definitely say that. The thing that’s been most impactful to me is to really know myself, and I think what motivates me. And I definitely, as I said, am a frugal person, which frugality isn’t minimalism. frugality is being more intentional with your finances, which I guess minimalism is too. And that’s why they’re intertwined. But you can be very frugal and have a house full of things, whereas minimalism is attempting to have fewer things. So all that to say, I think that when you know your personality, and can really be honest with yourself, it’s been very helpful for me to move through my things, knowing myself. So for example, example, I know that I can sometimes be very sentimental, but when I step back and gain perspective and say, Wait, like sentimentality is an emotion, and it’s not necessarily, if I’m parting ways with this thing, it’s not really that I’m hurting with that memory, I’m parting with this object. And so therefore, I can take a picture of it, or I can journal about it. Or if there is something that is very special to me, like a my grandmother’s sweater, or something I could turn it into. Like, have you seen those quilts where people have t shirt quilts made out of their favorite T shirts or even animal? Yeah, they’re definitely outlets on how we can remain appreciative or just remember those moments without having to keep the objects because that object is not your memory, you’re not parting with your memory. And so that is a hard thing to do in the moment. And like I said, if you’re aware of what your tendencies might be, or if you’re, you just need to be more logical and rational with yourself. And I think that sentimentality is what really will trip people up when it comes to minimizing their things. I don’t know if you’ve experienced that in your past.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 9:23
Ya know, when you were talking, the first person that came into my mind was my husband like, he has things that he has never used, but because I gave it to him, he won’t let it go. Yeah, no, like, it’s okay. Like, I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you let it go. Like it’s fine. But yeah, I’ve seen that for sure.
Yeah, and I think with that, too, so again, if you are being honest with yourself and saying, Wow, I have this thing that I spent money on and that stinks, but the money is already gone, and I’m not using it so it’s just taking up space. down to taking up space in our mind, because we have to manage these things like, we have to inventory the things really that we have in our house. And it’s what, especially as we start adding people with children, or even if a mother in law or father in law, or someone comes to live with you, you’re taking on more things. And so it’s really important to just figure out what you actually need and use. And I think to save things, just because, oh, we already spent money on them. That’s, that’s true regardless, like, so why are we keeping the object moving forward? When it just weighs us down? You know?
Toni-Ann Mayembe 10:31
Yeah, definitely. And it’s funny because like I said, I’m, I’m the type of person like, I will just go and declutter and get rid of a whole bunch of stuff. And my husband is the complete opposite. So I’m just thinking about the the moms who are listening, who are kind of in that situation where we want to, you know, start being more minimalist in our lifestyle, but we have someone or maybe it’s our kids or spouses significant other, that is not so what would you suggest, as doing like to make it work so that we are respecting them, and you know, what they want to do, but at the same time, we’re not living with a bunch of clutter?
Sure. So when it comes to children and your spouse, it’s gonna definitely look different for my children. I as Charlotte, my daughter has gotten older, I understand that she has more say in the things that we’re keeping, whereas for my two year old, it’s easier to just declutter because he has no idea of what it what is his and what’s not. So for Charlotte, setting boundaries have, okay, these are the spaces in your room, you can fill these spaces however you want. But once they you run out of space, we have to start going back through if you’re going to have new things in your in your space. And so visually, it could be a big box. So she does have one like keepsake Memento box, and we’ll throw artwork in there, or just special letters from friends or just something that she wants. And then as she gets older, we can go back through together and see what she still wants to keep. But in her room, it’s like, okay, you have this shelf and this space. So how do you want to go about doing this, and even with clothes, it’s like once your dresser gets to filled, we need to probably go through here and see what you don’t need anymore. And so it’s giving her the ability to make those decisions herself. But me I get to dictate like the furniture and the space that’s in her room. So that’s been very helpful with children. And then with my husband, we do have the, we were fortunate enough to both be pursuing this mentality, lifestyle all along. But I would suggest if you do have someone that has more of a sentimental personality, or that does tend to hold on to things, definitely leading by example, like if they see that you’ve started cleaning out your side of the closet, or that you’ve cleaned up your workspace, and that you are thriving in that way. Just casually suggest like, hey, maybe you could get rid of a few things too. And I think that when we force people to try and be like us, at least for me, I am very much opposite of that. And I want to rebel against whoever anyone wants to make me be. So I think just leading by example is really helping again, depending on the type of communication you have with your household and how you guys run your household together. My husband has his little workshop area in the basement and he can do whatever he wants with that space. I do not dictate what it looks like. But it’s the common spaces. Because I’m here more often than he is he’s allowed me to have a little bit more control. So I think just getting honest with the roles and how often you both are in the space is like maybe I have more control over the spaces but allowing one another to have that space where you can totally be yourself. And if you are someone that has that clutter I think that is important but living by example has been huge with other women that I’ve talked to.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 13:44
Yeah, I love that I definitely have seen how that helps not just with the with the hubby but with the kids too. So definitely gonna go in and clean the closet and see if he follows suit. Let you know.
Yeah, for sure. And it definitely I mean you may just be living with someone that is not interested in that but you can only control what you can control you know and so if the things that you’re constantly managing and and on the daily managing are put together a little bit more even if his space is different than yours, it is going to feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders because you know the things that you’re encountering on that you can control that you have taken control of if that makes sense.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 14:26
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Oh, yeah, absolutely. So I would just say, I feel like, well, when I’m going to clean my home, I have fewer things to pick up. So I feel like I can do a quick run through. And if you told me you were on my way to my house, I would have my house looking pretty presentable within 10 minutes, it wouldn’t take me very long if it were a little bit more chaotic over here, because we’ve curated that type of space to where it’s easy to clean. So I would say that’s a huge part of wanting to get rid of things and to live with less, because it makes cleaning much easier. And then I just feel like because I’m not. Okay, so let me give you an example really fast. So when you go to target, typically, anytime you step into a target, there’s something that catches your eye and say you go to Target once a week, and there’s something new each time that you go to Target Well, being aware of that like, hey, every time that I come here, I’m wanting to impulsively spend or I’m wanting to buy something new or get that new dress. And target is hoping that you do that because that’s what they’re in business for. So when you can kind of pull yourself out again, like get that perspective of saying this, these are corporations that want to do this, and I’m not anti Corporation, I’m just pro you taking control and having intentional purchases, I’m pro that, but when you can kind of see what their intention is to get you trapped and get you hooked. It kind of makes you want to say hey, like, I’m not going to play your game. So I feel like it’s given me minimalism has helped me to kind of be more aware of there are 52 weeks in a year, and each week, there’s going to be things that are I find enticing, and therefore I can’t keep up with 52 weeks of new clothes or getting something every single week. And so therefore, I’m not going to keep up with the trends because I can’t possibly dedicate enough time and spend enough money to where I could maintain those trends. Does that make sense?
Toni-Ann Mayembe 18:00
Yeah, no, definitely. Because I know that. Yes. When you said target. I was like, Yeah, me too. Definitely me. And that’s why I don’t take the kids because they are even worse, because they want everything when they go in. So yes, totally makes sense.
Yeah. And so those are just two silly little examples. But yeah, I just feel like minimalism has helped me be more intentional in every area of my life, whether it’s, again, with finances, and just knowing how we want to spend our money or even in my relationships. This is kind of a fun thing to do, which sometimes I hope no one thinks I’m a jerk by saying this, but I have my friendships that I was going through. This was a few years back. And I was like, wow, I am seeing a lot of people and I have a lot of acquaintances. But I feel like every time I’m meeting with some of these acquaintances, it’s just kind of surface level things. And I’d rather meet with friends that I have deeper connections with, and really grow those to a deeper level. So I wrote down, this is so silly. But on a piece of paper, I wrote down tier one, tier two and tier three. And I wrote down all the people I was regularly hanging out with and tier one people. I was like, I want to see them at least once a week, tier two people I would see once a month and then tier three people I was like I can no longer take the effort to reach out to these people if they reach out to me, and I’m free. Sure. But I was just like, I want to take my time and attention because, again, as moms, especially when we’re moms of multiples, and we have just so much that we’re juggling, I didn’t I couldn’t invest in all these acquaintances when I wanted to just really grow that tier one and tier two friendships. So I would say minimalism, like being intentional. And living with less it bled over into something as crazy as my relationships as well.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 19:42
Yeah, no, definitely. And it’s funny that you brought that up because that was actually about two and so this is perfect, because a lot of times like I said, we think about oh, minimalism like I’m just gonna not have so much. Like for me right now. I’m looking at my craft stuff like I have a ton of different people. was over there. So instead of having like, 50, I’m just gonna have like two. But I love how you brought up how it, it bleeds over into our relationships too, as well. And I’m just thinking about the mom that’s listening to once it gets started, and especially right now, at the time of this recording have now we’re getting into summertime and things like that. And it’s a little bit harder when the kids are home a lot more. But what are some of the steps that you would say, you know, start here first, to go ahead and get started with, you know, making this more of a lifestyle?
Sure. So I will say two things that have been really helpful with either friends or with myself in the past. Number one, I would say start in the bathroom, if you’re looking for a room to start in the bathroom is perfect, because we typically don’t have a ton of sentimental value in there. And so when we’re going through, we can build that momentum to move on to other rooms in our house. But it’s like, typically the bathroom, it’s just we can go through we can see what we’ve what’s expired, what’s you what we what we don’t use anymore, but we don’t feel that like emotional connection to things in our bathroom. So that’s been really helpful. And then to, even when you’re in that bathroom, pull everything out, when I’m going through a closet, I pull every single thing out, I want to start completely fresh with a clean slate. And when I did this, I had a pile for for sure keep maybe and then like a donate pile, donate slash sell if you want to get into selling on Facebook marketplace, but that’s a whole nother story. So my maybe pile what I ended up doing with those things is I had my husband go through them with me, and he helped me and then the ones that he was still a maybe on I had my friend who was very direct and very honest, come over and she helped me go through those last things. So it may sound like a lot of work to listeners, and that’s okay, like you, this doesn’t have to be done in a weekend we are. This is a lifelong pursuit again, especially when you have kids coming in and bringing things into your home. And we’re constantly going to be acquiring things. So it’s you don’t arrive, it’s something you’re constantly gonna have to do. But yeah, I was able to put those things back that I knew that I wanted. And then after I whittled the other things down, I was able to say no to all these other things. And now I know when I go into my closet that everything that I have is going to look good on me because I’ve made it that way. I’ve gotten rid of the things that don’t make me feel good that don’t fit me anymore that don’t that fit my pre baby self, but they’re not realistic to right now. And that’s totally okay. Because change is inevitable. And so a lot of this, you might be listening. And you might think that this sounds so overthought or that I’m doing way too much thinking and you just want to go through life more casually. But really, once you know yourself, like I said, and what motivates you in that you can be honest in these ways? It’s, I don’t have to think about it so much anymore. It’s just something that comes naturally to me, because I’ve been living this way. And so it’s easy to make these assessments just really off the cuff as opposed to taking so much time on the on the front end. I guess it’s that front and back end. Yeah, it just, I don’t have to think about it anymore.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 23:01
Gotcha. Gotcha. And, Diane, I love that you said the start in the bathroom, like when we’re talking about the home? Because yes, it when you said I was like, Yeah, bingo, that will take me like 10 minutes, like there’s nothing in there, that’s gonna get me hung up. But at the same time, I know I have a bunch of stuff in there that I probably need to let go. So one last thing. We started in the bathroom, we’re working our way room by room throughout the house to start getting those things out that we are no longer really serving us or no longer really helping us at all. And we have gone room by room. We’re good now. But how often would you say that we should like go back through and check things because I did this for my son’s room. And it was one bring this up. I did my son’s room. Like I literally took everything out of the closet, like everything out of the room and did what you said and separate it into three different piles. And that was what last year maybe. And, Diane, if you go in there now, it’s better than what it was when it first started. But I’m just like, really like I did this. And now I feel like we’re getting back to what it was when we first started. So I’m thinking about like upkeep, like how often do we need to go back and like reassess.
I think with kids, I really like to do it at the beginning and an end of a school year. I feel like those are good kind of bookends on the year for, I guess starting a new year for our kids. I know it’s not like a January to December type thing. But I think that there’s so much change that can happen from a September to a following. Like August, September to the following May, June. And so that gives you a whole year of growth. And what have you learned this year and what are you into this year. And so it’s helpful to go back through those times of year as opposed to like I’m doing this in the new year. Yeah, you can go back through and tidy in the spring. But I found that to be more helpful. And again, I know that we’re homeschooling now but we still follow like the school year and so that has been helpful to me and even with something that doesn’t involve my kids. I just went back through our What is it not the pantry, where we keep all of our soap. And I can’t even think what it’s called right now. It’s our hallway closet, I guess. And I hadn’t gone through that, and a couple of years since we moved in. And it was starting to get completely out of control. And now I’ve made it much more manageable because I’ve gotten rid of far less than we even had. So I just try and keep up with it in the day to day like if something is in there, I try to have a home for it. Like I want to make sure that nothing really, that sounds really rigid. Again, it doesn’t it doesn’t have to be rigid. It just is like kind of a way that I approach things. But yeah, I think as long as you’re just like constantly, or regularly going through things, it doesn’t. It doesn’t get overwhelming, I guess.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 25:44
Yeah, definitely. And I like how you said the beginning and the end of the school year, because that is definitely helpful. So I like all of that. Now, this has been really, really good. I’m ready to go and like get everything all situated here. After talking to you, I’m feeling a lot more inspired. So thank you for all of these tips and helping us see how you know decluttering and living a minimalist lifestyle can be so much more beneficial for us, especially as busy moms. It definitely is something that I like I said, I’m ready to get started with. So thank you. Thank you for this conversation. And before we signed up, I just wanted you to share where we can find you online if we want to learn more about you connect with you all those good things.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I hope that this was helpful for people and that they can pull one or two little tips to get them get their life started with living with less. But if you’re looking for more tips, follow me at minimalist moms podcast on Instagram and on Facebook. I believe it’s minimalist moms. Yeah, I need to double check that but I think it’s minimalist moms are Muslims podcast. And then as I said, I wrote a book last year it’s minimalist moms living in parenting with simplicity. And you can find that wherever books are sold.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 26:53
Perfect, and I’ll make sure to have all of those links in the show notes. This has been really, really good. Thank you, Diane for coming on. I appreciate you.
Thank you again.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 27:04
Now that does it for this week’s episode of The Real happy mom podcast. To find the links and show notes head on over to Real happy mom.com/ 186 And make sure you come back again next week for another full episode. We’ll be talking about how we can plan a staycation or vacation that’s gonna be fun and memorable and will not break. So stay tuned for that one. Take care and with lots of up