5 Ways Minimalism Can Change Your Life

How can minimalism change your life? Check out these five ways to improve your quality of life through minimalism - The Confused Millennial

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Minimalism might seem like all the rage these days, but its roots go back to the sixties where it first appeared in New York as a form of rebellion against the worn-out academic style in visual arts. Over time, its philosophy gradually spread beyond this medium to:

         Interior design – it was about uncluttered spacious rooms, natural and clean forms.

         Architecture – it brought basic geometrical forms, clean spaces, and a lot of natural light.

        Fashion – during the sixties, two French designers introduced minimalism, and Twiggy was the most famous model that popularized minimalistic approach with her mod shift dresses. One glance at the fashion in 2016 and you’ll see similar trends: monochromatic outfits, natural fabrics, simple cuts, and neutral earthy tones dominated the runways. High street fashion brands embraced minimalism, making it easier than ever for a wearer to show authenticity with minimum details.

In the simplest of definitions on minimalism, The Minimalists define it as “a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” Minimalism has allowed me to draw my focus from material things to the ones that really matter and cannot be replaced: family, friends, and real experiences.

Here are five ways minimalism changed my life and I think it can change yours too:


Realizing the things you own have nothing to do with your identity is liberating. Too often, we get emotionally attached to objects when in fact – they can get in the way of conscious living. Clearing the external space around you can give way to more space for internal serenity.  Minimalism has also supported me through my quarter-life crisis: even though I’m still not quite sure what I’m doing with my life, drawing focus to myself instead of my possessions, helped me realize I am a multi-potentialite.


minimalism the confused millennial sophia smith



My newfound minimalistic lifestyle reflected in the way I dressed too. I started with donating clothes I knew no longer fit my overall lifestyle. Next, I began building a wardrobe that felt more like me: simple. I felt at peace with myself and didn’t feel the need to draw too much of attention with invading colors or patterns. Not that there is anything wrong with colors or patterns, but I tried to adopt a style that was a bit more mature with pieces that could easily be matched together. I looked for simple black evening dresses as I’ve realized that I didn’t need to follow current trends but rather, choose pieces that make me feel confident and enhance my attributes. Black, gray, white, olive, and beige dominate my closet. I learned that when I started appreciating the fact I can look good effortlessly, I actually drew more attention to myself.

minimalism the confused millennial sophia smith



Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a concert ticket. Try turning to experiences instead of purchasing goods: adventures, concerts, and traveling. Alexa von Tobel, the founder of Learnvest, says this is called the “cost per happy“. That experience will likely bring you more hours of joy as you look back on the memories, compared to that bomber jacket you wore twice while freaking out if you are pulling off the trend.


minimalism the confused millennial sophia smith



Embracing minimalism has made me realize I don’t want to waste my life hating Mondays, just paying bills, while working for the weekend. To truly live, I needed to remember what’s important: laughing with friends, traveling, falling in love, even the everlasting life drama I was convinced would pass after high school. Minimalism helped me declutter the distractions and realize the essence of life.

minimalism the confused millennial sophia smith



Clutter has been found to zap people of their energy, myself included. Clearing up my personal space made me feel more in control and focused, as if I cleaned up my mental space, too.

This doesn’t mean you need to strip your room from any personal touch. On the contrary, some little things (e.g. photos or artwork) are what make one’s house a home. However, with minimalism, I realized that notion of home is much broader than a place I live in. Make sure objects truly have a purpose to make your space warmer instead of just collecting dust and making you anxious and trapped without you even realizing it.

minimalism the confused millennial sophia smith

My transition towards minimalism did not happen all of the sudden: it was a slow process that eventually took over my life. As I’ve continued along the this journey, I feel more free and happy.

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  • misslaughslot
    December 12, 2016 at 9:58 am

    As a minimalist myself, I can totally appreciate this timely piece! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Sydney Power
    December 12, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I love having all my things in decor and my house but I have notice my love of style is really changing and I have been doing at lot of analysis of what make me happy and feel good! There are going to be some changes!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      That’s so exciting! I think it’s good to focus on putting things in the home that bring you joy! Otherwise it’s just junk/clutter!

  • Natasha
    December 12, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Having moved cross continents 3 times with 2 little ones in tow, I was originally forced into a minimalist lifestyle. Now I can’t picture my life any other way. So liberating!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      I can only imagine! Sometimes our paths in life just find us!

  • Chelsea
    December 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Love this post, and am pinning for future reference! I really would like to take a fashion approach to minimalism. It would save me money, and I think ethically its a great concept. We don’t always need MORE like society tells us.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Agreed! I am not a minimalist, but my wardrobe definitely is since I travel a lot. I can really only bring so much so finding basic, neutral versatile pieces that can be revamped with some tweaks is such a win for me. It’s also a lot of athleisure haha

  • Jenny
    December 12, 2016 at 11:11 am

    What a great post! I have always been interested in minimalism but have never taken the plunge to do so. This is something I am interested in exploring more.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Glad you enjoyed Jenny! I think starting with one area is always helpful. I am currently transitioning my wardrobe to a minimalist one and find it liberating to have a few pieces that are super versatile.

  • Sarah Jean
    December 12, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I have DEFINITELY found more of a style since decluttering my apartment. I actually wrote a whole article on how it made me a better dresser too

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      No way! that’s so cool! Can you drop the link? I would love to read!

  • Tilley
    December 12, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I was on board reading all the reasons. Then I got to the last one about it boosting energy and SOLD!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      haha even though this is a guest post, I totally have found the energy boost to be true in my life too! whenever I get rid of a bunch of stuff in my office I am so much more productive and creative!

  • Summer @ Coffee With Summer
    December 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I have always been fascinated by minimalism and it’s my dream! It’s hard to do with where I live right now, but I can’t wait to unclutter in the future!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      I always considered you a minimalist from all of your photos and blog!

      • Summer @ Coffee With Summer
        December 13, 2016 at 10:56 pm

        Yay! I am on the right track then, haha. I truly am at heart…by convincing my husband to completely downsize is not realistic right now haha it’s my dream, though! <3

  • Anna Hubbard
    December 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Love this post! I like how she pointed out that she is more than just her possessions. Very good argument for minimalism!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

  • Kat Khatibi
    December 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I’m between a Minimalist and an Essentialist. I keep stuff that looks beautiful and makes me happy, but I toss everything else. Rather than just keep what I use I keep what’s beautiful to me and keeps me happy. Clutter makes me sad, so I just naturally keep it simple and have no issues tossing everything I haven’t used in a while. Love this movement! xo

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      I love that Kat! I need to get better at tossing things! I always hold onto too much stuff, but it all brings me joy haha

  • Erica Nicole
    December 12, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    I’m an aspiring minimalist and I found this to be very inspiring. Thank you for that!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      YAY! Happy it resonated Erica!

  • Barb Lina Dionicio
    December 12, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    This is motivating! I have been telling my husband that we need to live more minimal and get rid of a lot of our “stuff” just creating clutter in our home. I find that getting rid of our stuff and living minimal has actually helped with my anxiety and stress level. It’s amazing what it can do for your psyche. Thanks for posting this! 🙂

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      Totally can see that! whenever I declutter or clean house my anxiety and stress levels drop significantly! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Miss ALK
    December 12, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve actually been reading a devotional lately all about implementing minimalism into your life! It’s such a fascinating concept.

    xoxo A

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      Agreed! Maybe it’s a sign….!

  • Caitlyn Stone
    December 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I definitely think that clutter makes me more tired and unmotivated, which is why I love cleaning when I’m really stressed!

    Caitlyn | http://www.collegewithcaitlyn.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      It totally makes me tired too! I usually curl up and watch netflix instead of clean though haa! I need to get on your level!

  • Amanda | Maple Alps
    December 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Love this! I started my journey to minimalism a few months ago, and it really does make a difference! Great post!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Glad you enjoyed Amanda! would you add anything else to the list on how minimalism has benefited you?

  • Kirsten Ortez
    December 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    i love minimalism but have trouble implementing it in my daily life! I know clutter is my problem, so I think I just need better cleaning habits!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Me too! I think focusing on one area at a time could be helpful! like declutter your desk everyday until its habit, then declutter your car every day too, and so on.

  • Alex Lo
    December 12, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    such an interesting read! love the part about experiences over possessions. thanks for sharing!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      That’s my favorite part too! Glad you enjoyed!

  • Shane Prather
    December 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    As an avid traveler, I’m all for less material possessions to tie you down to a place! Such great points your present!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Haha i thought you would enjoy this! you kind of have to be a minimalist as a traveler!

  • Shannon Paige
    December 12, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Yes- love this! I literally cleared a whole bag of old makeup my mom gave me that I NEVER wore and it was sitting there for years.. it felt so good. And also yes, i am so glad when I meet people who also don’t know what they are doing with their life because i can so relate…lol even though I know how badly it sucks! *thegoodthingscomin.wordpress.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Lol glad you enjoyed Shannon! You totally just reminded me that I need to clean out my bathroom drawers! haha

  • Ashley
    December 12, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    I recently got rid of a ton of clothes and junk and I definitely felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders! However, at the end of the work week, my closet office is always a mess again. I think I need to really spend some time cleaning out and create a better organization system!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

      HAHA me too!!! What is up with that?!? My BFF always comes over in the middle of the week when everything is a mess, and I swear I said to her last week, “I promise I clean and organize! I just don’t know how it doesn’t stay that way!” haha

  • Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons
    December 12, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I do love cleaning and donating! There is something so freeing about getting your spaces organized!

  • Ali Mageehon
    December 12, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Great post! I recently went through a major move where we downsized a three bedroom house to a much smaller two bedroom house. Initially, I had a hard time parting with things but once I got into it, it was amazing how freeing of an experience it was.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

      I can totally imagine! It’s hard for me to start purging, but once I start I go HAM! haha

  • Bella B @ xoxoBella
    December 13, 2016 at 1:13 am

    This is such an awesome post! I love cleaning and donating to people in need. I always loving giving. even if its just something small.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

      That’s awesome Bella! I think giving back is always so important

  • Sara
    December 13, 2016 at 6:36 am

    This is a wonderful post! There are still things I am working on, but in many areas of my life I have embraced minimalism and am happier for it!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

      That’s awesome Sara! what areas have you embraced minimalism?

      • Sara
        December 21, 2016 at 8:39 am

        A LOT of decluttering lol. Paring down my possessions, everything from my wardrobe to my household “stuff.” Finding ways to buy less and make more when I can. Not getting things on impulse or accepting them just because I am offered them, but instead considering if they have a place in my life, if I actually need or truly want them 🙂

  • Kristin C
    December 13, 2016 at 7:27 am

    I am a “stuff” person, so I have had the hardest time purging, but I really do think that minimalism is a more healthy way to live and I would like to make improvements. Even if I don’t live a completely minimalistic life, I would like to get much closer than I am now.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Stuff with sentimental value is so tough for me to get rid of and I imagine for you too!

  • NaominDoll
    December 13, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Lovely post. I really enjoyed what you had to share.


  • Erica
    December 13, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I NEED a more minimalist life…my things need purging! But it feels SO good when I do.

    Coming Up Roses

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Haha you?? Noooo…! Haha How many boxes did the mail man deliver today? lol

      • Erica
        December 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

        HAHAHA HEY NOW. The PR life. Sometimes it’s just too much. LOL.

        …he didn’t come yet but he’ll probably come bringing goodies.

  • Silvia Marquez
    December 13, 2016 at 11:12 am

    What a great post! I’m trying to change some of my ways to live a more minimalist lifestyle.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Thanks Silvia! What changes are you making?

  • Nicole Booz
    December 13, 2016 at 11:59 am

    A clear space is a clear mind, at least for me. I find that I am so much happier by investing my time and money into the things that make me happy, even if it isn’t always minimalistic. Great post!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

      For me too! but then again that’s probably why I work from bed rather than my cluttered desk haha

  • Melissa Dow
    December 13, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Wow, I didn’t realize it goes that far back. I’m working on decluttering, buying less, and I’m all about giving my kiddos experiences over things.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Love the mentality Melissa!

  • Keating | Why Hello Lovely
    December 13, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Great post! We went through a HUGE decluttering phase when we moved to San Diego. My husband had been away for a year at that point and 85% of our belongings had stayed in storage that entire time. When we got to our new home and started opening boxes, we got to a point in the unpacking process where we just started throwing things out. There was sooooo much junk in those boxes and we’ve only been married three years haha but it felt great to start our life in our new home without all that clutter.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Yeah I bet! My husband and I have the opposite problem – when we move we own nothing! We have lived in fully furnished apartments for the last 5 years – so we don’t even own the essentials like plates or silverware! haha

  • Madeline
    December 13, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I love this post! Minimalism is huge to help live a stress free life and to declutter stuff! It’s harder than I would have thought to achieve, but worth it!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Glad you enjoyed Madeline! are you a minimalist?

  • Meg D. Gonzalez
    December 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Great post! I haven’t got full minimalist yet, but I’m definitely trying to cut back. I’m on my third round of the “Rid Yourself of 100 Things” challenge. It’s much harder this time around as I’ve already gotten rid of everything I was easily comfortable with getting rid of. But I think it’s good for me to push past the comfort zone a little on this one. I get way too attached to things–things I haven’t used in years–just because they’ve got a sentimental value attached. I’m trying to be better because I would love a clutter-free life!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:02 am

      I’ve never heard of that before! I totally need to do this challenge! I get wayyy to attached to things I haven’t used in forever too. That sentimental factor gets me every time. Even going through old boxes I start crying haha

  • Live The Prep Life
    December 13, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try minimalism, but sometimes it’s hard to let go of my things. This post gave me some great reasons to try minimalism!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Yeah I tend to agree! I always second guess myself, “will I need this again someday in the future?” haha

  • Taylor Smith
    December 13, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    I love this. I really need to clean out my makeup bag. LOL!!! I probably have a lot of expired makeup.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:00 am

      Haha! I would love to see a picture of how much you toss! It’s probably going to be more than I own lol

  • Adriana
    December 14, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Okay I LOVE this. I’m soo not minimalist but I want to be!! These are great tips – I always have such a problem getting rid of things. It’s got to change in this new year!!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Yay! So happy you enjoyed it! Good luck in the new year!

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew
    December 14, 2016 at 1:13 am

    I really like this post because I think everyone should focus on minimalism to some extent!

  • Jordyn
    December 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I don’t know that I’ll ever be a minimalist but I am working on minimizing. I’ve become so much better at only buying items I truly love and picking quality over quantity. It’s so helpful!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

      I am totally in your boat Jordyn, I could never go full minimalist, I love my sentimental clutter too much haha

  • Amber Myers Mamian
    December 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    This is a great post especially this time of year when everyone loses focus in the holiday chaos and turns to material goods.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Exactly! Glad it resonated and was timely!

  • Carly Ned
    December 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I love the idea of minimalist! I am definitely interested in trying –I just feel like I have so much to tackle first! I loved reading your outlook on it 🙂 Xx http://www.thecarlycollective.com/

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Haha I feel the same way Carly!

  • Karate and Caviar
    December 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I love a clean desk and I generally try to have less clutter and little things no one needs. Totally frees up my mind 🙂

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:57 am

      That’s the way to do it!

  • Alexis
    December 14, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I love this! We bought our home last summer and after merging together apartment items into one, we have gathered quite a bit of clutter. We are 24 years old and have a lot of junk. My goal for 2017 is to de-clutter this house and our closets and make more with less.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Love that goal Alexis! I can totally relate to where you are at! My husband and I merged his apartment and all the stuff from the last 23 years of my life into a one bedroom apartment! It was okay but then we moved to another one bedroom apartment with wayyyy less closet space so now we have boxes in our living room all the time lol

  • 30A Street Style
    December 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I’m slowly getting there and love the process. It’s very therapeutic!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:56 am

      I am so jealous! My process has been SO slow haha every time I get rid of stuff – i turn around and more appeared! haha

  • Lindsey at Blog Me Lovely
    December 15, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    My home has been a disaster. I always feel so much better once I purge and really get the space clean and decluttered. If only I could keep it that way!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Haha that’s my issue too! I guess that’s why she said it’s a process! haha

  • Ruya Kirac
    December 15, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Love this post! These tips were so useful and I could definitly use a more minimalist life!


    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Glad you liked it Ruya!

  • Allie Blaising
    December 16, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I love these tips! Over the last year I started my personal minimalist journey and I can’t tell you how much stress it has taken away from me. It is amazing what simple everyday changes can make to your life! http://www.allison-blaising.com/

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Totally agree! What are some of the changes you implemented?

  • Courtney Connolly
    December 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    This was really inspiring! I like to think I live an uncluttered life but you have shown me that I definitely have some work to do to clear my mind and my surroundings.

    La Belle Sirene

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Glad you enjoyed the post Courtney!

  • Laura
    December 20, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Great post!

    Minimalism is a real journey for me.. I’m good at purging but BAD about not restocking. I like the idea that it changes your personal style (probably decoratively as well as in fashion) to something more you.

    I feel a post-holiday closet purge coming on….

    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      December 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Haha I don’t choose to re-stock but the mail man keeps dropping junk off! haha I totally need a post-holiday purge too!

  • Kristin Thompson
    January 10, 2017 at 1:14 am

    This was a great read! I so need to work on becoming more of a minimalist!

    The Blush Blonde

  • crazycatlady331
    February 22, 2017 at 10:56 am

    As someone who’s looking to move cross country (and not rent a truck) I’m trying to become more minimalist. However, my wardrobe is not going. I like the concept but I like color and variety too much. Drab neutral tones do not work with my skin tone. Also when you have to pay $2 a load to wash your clothes, I want to avoid paying that very frequently.

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