Minimalism: Less Stuff = Less Cleaning

I discovered the personal finance blogosphere in January 2012. I had just graduated and started my first “real job” and I knew that I would need to budget my new and much higher income responsibly. Just kidding. I was trying to figure out how to make my student loans go away without any effort. I have yet to find a blog that teaches me how to do this. If you know of one, please link to it below. Kthanx.

Anyways, while my intention was to learn about debt payoff, I ended up coming across a much more interesting concept — minimalism.* Minimalism, in short, is getting rid of things that do not fulfill a need or add joy to your life. Looking at the definition, you would think that everyone would be minimalistic. Not the case, Annie. For whatever reason, our society focuses on stuff and having excessive amounts of it. A lot of this stuff is completely freaking useless.

Knick knack gif

There are a million and one reasons to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, but if we are being honest with ourselves I think we can openly admit that the #1 reason to be minimalistic is laziness. Do you know what happens when you have lots of stuff? You have to clean it. Well you don’t have to, but if you don’t keep it in respectable order the folks from Hoarders might come knocking so you should clean it.

I hate cleaning. Like, loathe it. It is awful and tedious and the house is just going to get messy again tomorrow. When I was younger and Mom would ask me to mop the floors, I would rubber band wet rags to the bottom of my little brother’s feet and make him skate around the kitchen. It was dangerous AND hilarious. As an adult, I happened to marry someone who is much more of a neat freak than myself. So he does most of the cleaning. Did I mention I’m the luckiest girl in the world? The point is, I HATE cleaning and that was a huge factor in my decision to become minimalistic.

Let’s start with a prime example — the huge home. McMansions are insanely popular for exactly one reason, they look good. It looks good to have an insanely large house because it gives you the appearance of being wealthy. Which you probably aren’t because you are super duper house poor. But I digress…

Large homes mean large amounts of cleaning. But the problem goes deeper. In order to “afford” said large home, you are probably working a lot. Thereby not having time to clean the large home. So you decide to hire someone to clean it for you. And then you have to work more to afford a housekeeper. It’s a vicious cycle and it could be avoided by buying a home that is more realistic for your family and your income. DINKS don’t need five bedrooms, I promise you.

So we all know a big home takes a long time to clean, but what about the little things? The knick knacks and trinkets and thingamabobs. (“I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty. I’ve got whoosits and whatsits galore. You want thingamabobs? I got 20. But who cares, no big deal, I want more!” – Ariel, the original hoarder — and no, I didn’t have to look up the lyrics) Have you ever dusted knick knacks? It is the biggest PITA ever. Like EVER. *starts singing TSwift* And do you know why they are dusty? Because they’ve just been sitting there. You haven’t even touched them. General rule of thumb: if it is not a table or a TV and it’s dusty, get rid of it.

You know what else is fun? Moving all your crap around every time you want to vacuum. If you have excessive amounts of stuff (or any stuff, really), you will have to move it whenever you want to deep clean. Who wants to do that? Masochists.

For the sake of your free time, you should look into minimalism. Because cleaning sucks and being lazy is awesome. I rest my case.

*Shout out to Baker and Bridget, who taught me what minimalism is and why it’s the cat’s pajamas.

[Image from Xfinity]


  1. “Ariel, the original hoarder” – oh my goodness, that is completely hilarious!! I agree – I hate cleaning, so the less stuff to dust, the better!

    • She was a hoarder! Gotta love her though, she was my ginger role model as a child. Well her and Lindsay Lohan, but since Lindsay’s nuts…

  2. I’m IMPRESSED you didn’t google the lyrics first lady! And I don’t get impressed easily, unless it’s a fancy thingamabobs 😉 I haven’t yet hopped on the minimalist train, but I’m no longer hoarding makeup and trying to shop my stash 🙂 I’ve had to stop watching those darn beauty you-tube videos though lol

    • I’m trying to give makeup away! None of my friends are into it and my mom can only take so much. It’s ridiculous really! And I totally had to stop watching beauty videos. Especially hauls and makeup collections. It just made me want to keep up with the cosmetic Joneses!

      And of course I didn’t have to Google the lyrics. I can’t memorize my own mother’s phone number but I know the lyrics to every Disney song :).

  3. It’s amazing the stuff people have, I was able to completely furnish my apartment with “extra” stuff that friends had in their homes/garage/storage units after my divorce. I actually received a compliment from a friend on the almost new Lazy-Boy recliner in my living room that was actually given to me by his wife that he didn’t even recognize as being his.

    • That’s priceless, Josh! Isn’t it sad when you have so much crap you don’t really know what all you own? Craziness, I tell you :).

  4. I’ve been meaning to become a minimalist for a long time now, but I haven’t had much luck so far. The piles of “stuff” just move from one room to another, and back. At least I’m not hording a lot of new stuff.

    P.S. I’ve been following your RSS feed for awhile and I like the way you write. I’m adding you to my blogroll.

  5. I also hate cleaning, which is why I tend toward more minimalist habits even though I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a minimalist. I have to disagree on the house though, one of my goals in life is to have a ginormous house (because I like having company over, and still have a lot of space). But with that house is the understanding that my girlfriend and I are developing enough passive income to pay someone else to clean it. No way I’m working harder in order to pay someone to clean my house! I might as well have just cleaned it myself.

    • Ah, I don’t think I could handle a huge house! But I’m also not a huge fan of having people over. Our apartment is like 700 square feet and we don’t use an entire room.

      Cleaning sucks. And if I wasn’t in so much debt, I would pay someone to clean my little apartment. Thanks for stopping by, Kyle!

  6. My house is way bigger than we currently need (1900sq-ft plus a full basement), but since it was my grandmother’s house it had a little bit of sentimental value. We are working on selling / giving away a lot of the crap we don’t need, but it is a slow process. Something about kids taking a lot of time and energy.

    • I hear kids are quite the time/money/energy suck. That’s awesome that you are working through the excess, Brian! Slowly but surely :).

  7. Heather T. says

    I just want to say I love your expressive style of writing. I just started to read you a couple of weeks ago & while you are extremely funny you have wonderful points as well. Keep up the great work!!

    PS-what are DINKS?

    • Thanks so much, Heather :). *blushes*

      DINKs are Dual Income, No Kids. My husband and I are DINKs and we can’t even fill up 700 square feet of space let alone a whole house!

  8. Yes, I’ve moved around pretty frequently and minimalist living just sorta developed on its own so I wouldn’t have to throw away as much stuff — especially furniture. Still, when I look around, I’d much rather have a few things that I value rather than lots of crap. In terms of design, the Scandinavians seem to do this very well…

    • Hmm, I will have to check out Scandinavian design. Minimalism is freaking awesome because it allows you to pack up and move without much headache. As someone who doesn’t like to be tied down, I appreciate this freedom.

  9. AHAHAHA that is an awesome GIF!

    Minimalism rules, especially in the home. I keep so few possessions (and the ones I do have technically belong to a friend) that I can clean my house in 20mins. It’s amazing. Whenever I think, “my god it’s messy in here” I set the timer on my iPhone for 20mins, start a playlist and get cleaning — I usually finish with a few minutes to spare, even.
    (for thorough cleans that involve scrubbing floors & walls I set the timer for 20mins per ROOM and take breaks to watch TV in between…)


    • I know! Pretty much all of my friends hate getting rid of stuff (out of fear of having to rebuy it) but I am constantly purging. I have developed an immunity for attaching sentimental feelings towards stuff and it feels freaking great!

      And I have you to thank for a lot of that! I didn’t know minimalism was a thing before you wrote about it. Now it’s my homeboy :).

  10. Yes, Arial truly was the first, before any of these crazy TV shows came out, glorifying the heck out of it. And it was targeted to kids, let’s hope nobody took to her tendencies because of the song…

    Anyway, it seems that younger people, aka students and early 20-somethings, have a tendency to be minimalists at heart due to constantly moving or traveling. It really tends to be after people settle down and have a kid or two that they accumulate all the dust catching uselessness. It definitely saves a lot of much needed money and headaches cleaning.

    Btw, you are so lucky to have someone who enjoys cleaning. LUCKY!!!

    • Yes, I would imagine it’s more difficult to be frugal with children and a house. I am determined to raise minimalistic children!

      And I don’t know if I would say Steve likes cleaning. He is just less tolerant of messes than I am, so he cracks first. Plus he’s one of those clean-right-afterwards people, while I’m more of a but-I-just-cooked-and-now-I’m-tired-I-can’t-clean-yet people. Yay for procrastination!

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