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How to Live with Less and Turn it into More

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I like small & tiny houses because they offer us the freedom to live life how we want. For me, it’s all about less clutter/stuff, and more freedom/choices. Would you be willing to agree on that?

You can choose to spend more time with your family, do more of the work you love, and have enough money left over to enjoy life with the people you love.

Although more and more people are choosing to live this way, it’s not usually the most popular way to go about life in the everyday world. So here are three tips on how to deal with people who don’t agree with your lifestyle choices.

3 Important Foundational Beliefs When Choosing the Simple, Passionate Life

If you’re going to live life on your terms, you’re going to find these three foundational beliefs to be extremely helpful in your transition to the simple life. Afterwards share what you liked best and found most helpful in the comments.

1. Dealing With Unwarranted Advice

Friends, family members, and co-workers tend to give advice on subjects that they have no qualifications in. And sometimes, for whatever reason, we’re tricked/influenced into listening to this nonsense.

The first step when you find yourself in a situation when someone is giving you advice is to ask yourself, “Do I want any of the results that this person has?”

Belief: I will only listen to the advice of those who I believe arequalified and actually have the results that I want. Otherwise, this person (even if a loved one) is just blabbering to meet his/her own needs, not mine. At this point, walk away or redirect the conversation to something more productive.

2. Ruling Out Dogma

Nobody knows what’s best for you better than you. It’s true that other people can help give us perspective in situations where we’re blind to what’s directly in front of us. But allowing somebody to talk you out of something that you truly want to do usually leads to regret later on.

Family members care about you so much that they hate to see you do something that seems risky because they don’t want to see you hurt. Others might not even know it, but they might even be jealous that you’re doing something courageous.

Once you have made the decision to design your own life, go against the herd, march to the beat of your own drum, and build the life of your dreams other people might get a little bit jealous because they’ve taken the safe, and maybe seemingly less rewarding route.

Steve Jobs said it best, “Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thoughts.”

If you want something bad enough, it’s your responsibility to go and do the work to get it because nobody else is going to guide you or do it for you. It’s all in your hands. And if you don’t make your own decisions, the people around you will surely make them for you.

Belief: I know what’s best for me and I am the only one who is going to reach out for what’s really important for me. If I don’t, nobody else will do it for me because they just want me to be safe.

3. The Power of Less

Reducing the amount of clothing, accessories, paperwork, furniture, square footage, and in general- clutter in our lives makes room for new exciting people, things, and experiences to emerge.

When you reduce the amount of clutter in your home you are clearing up old, stagnate energy while making room for these new exciting happenings to occur. Old clothes are attached to old beliefs, same with everything else. Clear it up and make way for the new/exciting.

And not just that, but less = more focus. So don’t replace everything you get rid of and do a mental future analysis before acquiring anything new. If you’re going to end up having to get rid of it, why waste the time/energy?

Belief: The less unused clutter that sits around me the more powerful and focused I become. When I get rid of something that’s no longer serving me, it creates a magnetic effect towards what I really desire.

If you enjoyed this post, “Like” and share using the buttons below then talk about it in the comments. What did you like best about this article on living with less and turning it into more?

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Andrew Gilcheck
    April 12, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Great article Alex!! I think these are all great, but I really like “the power of less”. The rest is great tips for overcoming negativity/objections.

    • April 12, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Thanks Andrew!

      • Small Space Big World
        February 11, 2015, 9:14 pm

        Your tips and articles are always great and useful advice. I recieved huge critisism from my relatives over my choice. But I do understand there not living my life. But I have to say to all that are living the with less, Where not living the other people around us lives either. As you want to be treated treat those who live in a 5000sq foot home the same as your buddy in the 210 sq. Where humans with very diffrent ideal.

  • Dominick Bundy
    April 12, 2012, 6:18 pm

    I Think this is one of the best posts ever.. It goes to show there is so much more to the tiny house movement than just living in tiny small spaces.. It’s a way of life that goes way beyond tiny homes.. teaching people how to organize and get some structure in their lives. And in doing so learning to eat healthier, embracing a more stress free life style. the list is endless what the tiny house movement can provide.. Because less is really more, depending on how one applies it.. I found this quoit somewhere that reads ( I found that not needing anything more , than I have already….I want less__) and that happens to be true in my case.. Also possessions the more you own the more they own you…Hope to see more posts like this on tiny house talk As well as more interesting tiny dwellings . Keep up the good work…

    • April 13, 2012, 8:50 am

      Thanks Dominick I’m so glad you found it valuable!

  • Oscar
    April 12, 2012, 7:03 pm

    Oh man that was maybe the best post I have read.. It’s a big pick up when so many ppl are going the other way… I really like the “power of less” it’s so true
    Keep it up Alex

  • April 14, 2012, 10:08 am

    For me it’s getting rid of what I don’t need, want, or even know I have in order to enjoy what I do like and have more.

    • April 14, 2012, 10:12 am

      Oops, lost part of my post. Meant to say I like the first thought best. I’ve known it, but never heard it put quite that way. I am quite aware that my dad expresses “concern” in order to justify his own lifestyle, not to argue against mine. Thankfully most people in my life are accepting and even eager to see how it works. And several have begun their own reduction plans.

  • Romina
    April 14, 2012, 10:30 am

    I kept saying “so true, so true” as i read this. We’ve decided that downsizing our lives is the best thing for us and are embracing quality over quantity. We know that not everyone will understand our choices but that’s ok because we are happy with it.
    Great superb article Alex. I will be saving it for future reference/inspiration.

    • April 16, 2012, 2:31 pm

      Thank you Romina so glad that you found it valuable.

  • Andy Hawkins
    April 14, 2012, 12:06 pm

    Best post ever Alex for sure, something we can all relate to no matter how far along the process we are.

  • Peter
    April 14, 2012, 12:23 pm

    To pare down has been a struggle. I come from a long line of “pack rats” and have been developing similar lines of thinking over the years. My personal observations of myself and other family members leads me to realize that even though things are inanimate they can still be controlling (probably because one so willingly cedes power to things instead of reserving for oneself the power of self determination). Bottom line is things can be controlling by demanding too much of our time and attention. Life is too short for that!

    • April 16, 2012, 2:11 pm

      Thanks, Peter, I totally agree.

    • Small Space Big World
      February 11, 2015, 9:19 pm


  • Tonita
    April 15, 2012, 1:17 am

    Since you asked for comments…. I would like to say that not everyone believes their “stuff” is a curse or a burden. I enjoy my stuff, my clothes, my homes – both the large one and the tiny house also. I feel blessed to have both. I am blessed to be able to clean and care for my homes and my possessions/stuff. For me, I feel powerful having choices, -such as living choices, (my big house or my tiny house). I don’t see why a person’s choice of home size should make them more or less powerful. I guess it depends on if a person is defined by their “stuff”. I don’t look at my mortgage, land, homes or stuff as a burden, only a blessing. In the tiny house movement I have met more people that belive others should down size and reduce their lifestyles way more than large home owners pushing their way of life ahd home size on others as the way to go. I like what you said – Nobody knows what’s best for you, better than you. As a tiny home owner, I don’t like to see it become a movement. Minimalist lifestyle is not for everyone, and certainly not for this tiny home owner. I consider myself a powerful woman and I have time for people and activities that are important to me. I am also able to focus my mind and energy inspite of all my stuff and owning more than one home. Just wanted to share ‘the other side’.

    • April 16, 2012, 2:08 pm

      Thanks, Tonita, great perspective

  • sesameB
    April 16, 2012, 12:43 pm

    This is an excellent post and very, very timely.
    “Ruling Out Dogma
    Nobody knows what’s best for you better than you.” Well stated and I agree 100%.

    This past weekend a free copy of this DVD – IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline –Colin Gunn $17.95, was sent to me free by director himself of The Exodus Mandate Project. Today I watched the DVD and was further informed about this timely issue in our society. Since graduating from high ‘skool’ myself, I have never attended my high school reunion. After high skool, I travelled the North America continent, visiting and staying a length in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I had a lively time. In later life, very late in life, I went to college and finished Henderson State University not-so-recently. I have never liked public ‘skooling’ back then and now. Years ago, I read John Gatto’s books, and donated them to the local library when I lived in Bismarck, ND in an efficiency apartment. I also read, Escape from Childhood John C. Holt (Author), his other books years ago.

    This DVD – IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline –Colin Gunn sits alongside all of my small house books in my tiny home here in Arkansa.

    The Exodus Mandate Project is offering a one-year emergency plan to rescue Christian children from the godless, pagan public schools and to place them in K-12 private Christian schools or Christian homeschooling. This rescue plan, the “Call to Dunkirk ,” is named after the World War II event of 1940 in which 340,000 British and Allied troops were miraculously rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk in the face of the German Nazi War machine. State-run public schools have become destructive to our children’s Christian faith. They no longer educate but rather indoctrinate. Not only morally corrupt, public schools are unsafe because of the violence and crime that occurs in them on a regular basis.

    Barefootin’, drinking spring water and living tiny in rural south central Arkansas (I have no children in the public school system, EVER.)

  • Andy Hawkins
    April 27, 2012, 9:36 am

    Hey Alex, just wanted to thank you again for this post. Found myself re-reading it last night after I posted some tiny house floor plans that I had sketched up using Floorplanner to my FB page. I almost immediately got a load of flack from “friends” about how impractical it all was, how I’d never actually get on and make anything of it and what a huge mistake it was to even consider living in something so small. So I made the album private and deleted the comments but was stuck with this huge negative feeling about the whole experience and doubts about my plans.

    After re-reading the post, all that went away. It’s MY life, not theirs. This is MY dream, not theirs, and it will be MY home, not theirs. With any luck the prospect of visiting a home they so obviously disapprove of will be enough to keep them and their negativity off my porch.

    Thanks again.

    • April 27, 2012, 9:37 am

      Hey Andy thanks for sharing that, I’m so glad that the article was able to help you get past other people’s judgements about YOUR life. Rock on Andy!!

  • Donna
    June 1, 2012, 12:43 pm

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read. It really sums up the idea of the simplified life in such a concise way. Expressing what so many of us feel, but always haven’t been able to articulate, while validating that we aren’t wacky for our way of thinking. When I talk about living in a tiny house my entire family looks at me like I’ve gone insane, yet they don’t want to care for all the stuff either, becuase “there is too much of it.” I just found your website today coming over from Tiny r(E)olution. I’m so glad I did.

    • June 2, 2012, 8:40 am

      Thanks, Donna! I’m really glad and honored that you found it helpful. Wishing you the best, Alex

  • June 1, 2012, 1:05 pm

    I could not have said it better myself! Going against the grain is not easy especially if you care what others think. You have to ignore the nay-sayers! Only you know what you really want and it’s your job to go out and get it! I loved this article.

  • June 2, 2012, 8:41 am

    Thanks Melinda!! 🙂

  • June 2, 2012, 9:26 am

    Fantastic! All of it! Bizarre how the RIGHT words at the right time show up when you need it the most. Mark and I have just begun our journey toward the simple life and the Na-say-ers are coming out in force! We are losing our 3 bed house and it has forced us out of our comfort zone to follow our dream of a clean, sustainable lifestyle. We have come to find that there are many people with the same dream who can drowned out the negative talk! Family, friends, and even complete strangers have contributed to our fundraiser to build our Tiny House, we have decided to call the “Brumbillweed”. On our webpage at: http://www.gofundme.com/BuildOurTumbleweed, you can view our progress. A video blog of our building is soon to follow!

    • sesameB
      June 4, 2012, 2:16 pm

      The best to you Mark and Sheri!
      Case in point, in the past there were others who lived small, too: April 27, 2012
      100 Years of Staying Put
      “At first, the family lived in two rooms behind the candy store, which also sold toys, cigars, newspapers and comic books, ” Ms. Jacobs recalled. The family later moved to an apartment above the shop; Ms. Jacobs described the building as “a real tenement house.” The family had a washtub in the kitchen, and shared a toilet in the hall with neighbors. “Living was very modest,” she said, adding that it was hard to invite friends over, unless they were familiar with tenement life. “
      “They kept the building at No. 502 as a rental property; its rear cottage became a favorite landing spot for writers like Judith Thurman, the essayist, and later, the novelist Donna Tartt, who lived there for about a decade, until 2004. “It was a perfect retreat,” Ms. Tartt said, “like a tree house or a doll’s house you’d dream of living in as a child, with its own secret garden.” “It was also very quiet, and I could work there in perfect seclusion, reading and writing.”
      Living small in rural south central sunny Arkansas

  • kyla dearman
    June 2, 2012, 11:08 am

    Omg, my hero lol I especially loved #1. I have this problem all the time with my family and a few friends. Best advice ever.

  • Maria
    June 3, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Hi Thanks for your page, just made me realise more fully that the things you talked about are the things I am hankering after, less stuff, less work, more time to enjoy and be creative, instead of working to create more crap to be honest….x

  • Glema
    June 13, 2014, 6:50 pm

    A kinder way is to redirect those who love us by saying things like, “you know, what I could really use is how do you do ???? whatever it is that you need. Then they transition to the helping you and moving in the same direction as you are in support of your way. We don’t have to be what we own ever! Many were fooled into that way of thinking just as many today are fooled into a one world government and one world money dream so governments can control the people. We don’t have to do that, we can be the INDIVIDUALS that God made us and still be a Community of like minded people. It’s ok to need one another and it’s ok when we don’t need someone to walk on our own. Good article Alex.

  • Beverly Deardurff
    October 18, 2015, 12:41 am

    You gave great advice. Minimalism I believe is a theory. My family has given me and only me the chore off cleaning the entire house by Christmas. My husband has no room to talk. I’ll get it done. I need to downsize what I don’t craft with anymore. Getting rid of the material items will reduce my stress. Stress aggravates my rare, progressive, uncurable disease Stiff Person Syndrome with parkinsonism. Happy memories and faith reduces life’s clutter. I’ve planned for years to move and live in a Tiny House by myself and be my own boss. Free to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Did I get off topic?

  • Cate
    October 18, 2015, 2:19 pm

    I love getting rid of stuff. Makes me feel light & free. My goal is to have everything I own fitting into my Subaru Forester so moving is easy.

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