Minimalism: How I Gave Myself More Time, Money, and a Better Life

When I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) we combined two households of stuff.  After a couple years we got engaged, bought a home, got married, and had a baby.  That led to A LOT more stuff.  Shower gifts, wedding gifts, baby gifts galore!  On top of that there were Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, just-because gifts.  We also bought a lot of stuff.  Clothing, home items, baby items, groceries, extras of anything on sale because I loved a good deal.

We were living the dream!

Only all this stuff didn’t feel so great, and I ended up using the same few things over and over while the rest just took up space.  I would waste so much time cleaning, organizing, and looking for my stuff.  I bought tubs to store my stuff, was looking into a label maker to label my stuff, and even spent money on a cleaning lady so she could help me clean our stuff.  Are you feeling the weight of all of this stuff?


One day, while trolling Pinterest for must-have baby items (do you see a pattern?), I came across a pin on a time capsule wardrobe.  I was intrigued.  No more desperately searching for something to wear every day and cursing all my black old navy shirts because they were dirty.  I looked at my collection of clothes.  Some were leftover from my single days, some were too big or too small, many were not my style.  It was packed full, and I didn’t really like any of it.  On top of that, I had tubs, bags, and other clothing items stored in various other places around my home I never saw, let alone wore.

I thought…

How nice would it be to love every piece of clothing I owned? 

To wear everything? 

To know it all looked nice, was my style, and fit well? 

To not have to spend so much time every day figuring out what to wear? 

I was about to give birth and was going to have to re-do my wardrobe anyway, so I added it to my maternity to-do list. (Yes, I had a HUGE list of stuff I was going to do with all the free time I thought I would have. Go ahead and laugh; I do!)

Many (many) weeks later, when I actually had some time, I looked again and discovered more than just less clothing, but a whole world of less, AKA minimialism.  Minimalism begins by decluttering your belongings and only surrounding yourself with the things you use and love.  It is maintained by being intentional with your purchases and selective in what comes into your home.

Over the last year I decluttered (getting inspiration from Ted Talks on this topic and Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and got rid of a ton of stuff.  I had so many things I kept for guilt, in case I needed it or because someone gave it to me.  Now that these useless items are gone, the weight of all that stuff has finally come off.  After decluttering you actually notice the things you have and you appreciate them more.   I found so many benefits to the minimalism lifestyle, but the ones I appreciate most are as follows:

More room.


My husband and I intentionally bought a modest sized home, and this ended up being such a blessing for my minimalism lifestyle and our budget.  You physically cannot keep bringing things in when there is just no room for them–unless you want your home to look like a hoarder house! Decluttering made our home feel bigger, cozier, and like the sanctuary it should be.

More time.


Cleaning and looking for things you cannot find literally takes up so much time! Research shows you can reduce housework by up to 40% just by decluttering. This extra time can now be spent playing with my son, relaxing with my hubby, and doing the things I really enjoy.  I don’t spend hours every week cleaning, organizing, putting things away, and choosing what to wear. Another amazing bonus: with less stuff, my house looks presentable 90% of the time!  It’s easier to keep a simple home up, and unscheduled dropins are not an anxiety bomb on this mom.

More money.


Minimalism was a great way for me to reduce my expenses and save A.TON.OF.MONEY!  After you declutter you see what you really need, use, and love.  So no more spending money on things I didn’t need or rarely used.  I had literally bought the same thing twice not realizing I had it (and I did this more than once).  I would buy a shirt but only wear it once. If I saw a good sale, I would buy things only because they were great deals, even though I really didn’t like them that much.  Not anymore!  In the last year I vamped up my savings game and finally paid off those student loans!  It’s easy to save money when you are simply not spending it!

More happiness.


I’m less anxious in an orderly environment with less stuff around. Research proves kiddos are, too.  Again, this is way easier to do with less stuff.  I worry less about all the things that need to be done, because there is just less to do.  I’ve noticed I am even sleeping better!  All of these things make me happier.

I have no regrets about the things I have tossed.  As time passes, I continue to go through our things on a regular basis to declutter and follow this lifestyle.  I make sure to surround myself with only the things that make me happy or that we need.  When you declutter you are losing, but you gain so much more than stuff. 


Megan, an Iowa native from West Branch, shares her home with husband Cody, their three kids (Charlie-8 Gwen-6 & Ben-2) and 2 dogs (Dottie- lab-basset mix & Ham-all basset). When she is not smooching on them she is trying to change lives as a social worker, taking walks around their Iowa City neighborhood or cruising in Rita her minivan looking to score deals at local thrift stores. Check our her finds on her Instagram page @megthethriftingqueen.


  1. I found ANOTHER cool resource y’all- if you are local check out this!

    Coming soon: a free 3-part series workshop on reducing clutter!

    What are we going to do with all our stuff?
    Meeting Room A, Iowa City Public Library

    This series is sponsored by Iowa City Public Library , ECO Iowa City and The City of Iowa City Recycling Center

    Want to de-clutter, organize, or downsize? This 3-part workshop on de-cluttering, organizing and “cleaning out” will run three Tuesday nights in a row, beginning November 1st. Join us as we learn how to take on the task of deciding what to do with all our stuff. Mary Lea Kruse is an experienced organizer and has taught a longer version of this workshop at the IC Senior Center.

    Session1: Where to start?
    Tuesday, November 1, 7-9 pm
    Discussions will cover room to room techniques for sorting and parting of items in this emotional process.

    Session 2: Papers, photos and memorabilia
    Tuesday, November 8, 7-9 pm
    This week covers the paper collection on top of our desk, file folders, financial records, photos and memorabilia collections.

    Session 3: Passing it on
    Tuesday, November 15, 7-9 pm
    Learn about recycling, estate sales, ebay and how to divide family treasures among family members.


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