Surprising Changes from Extreme Minimalism

Don't worry, she took off her life jacket when she got there!

Don’t worry, she took off her life jacket when she got there!

Our family lives in less than 200 square feet of space.

We are trying to get rid of our car, but we own multiple bicycles.

We have a dorm fridge and no oven.

By every measure, life on Breaking Tradition could be considered to be “extreme minimalism.”  We no longer have truckloads to remove from our house.  We have no garage to empty, no attic to declutter.  All that we own is inside our sailboat.

For so long, I was absolutely obsessed with clearing out the clutter, with simplifying my life.  But in the end, our arrival in this lifestyle was so abrupt, that I barely had time to even envision what it would look like.  For that reason, it brought with it a lot of surprises.

Here are some unexpected surprises that extreme minimalism has brought:

  • There is no longer any doctrine to follow.  We no longer worry if having something is “minimalist” enough.  We don’t count possessions.  What we own is completely based on practicality.  We bought a television, because it made the most sense, for hooking up the Wii.  We no longer own a blender or electric corn popper, because there just isn’t room (and fancy cooking creates too much of a mess for our small kitchen!).
  • Everything is kept with the goal of not making a mess.  Small spaces get messy.  Simplicity defines our meals, because cleaning up in a small area with no hot water is a pain.  We own lots of storage containers and nothing that is messy to use.
  • Exploring and adventure take priority, when it comes to leisure time.  We live on a boat in a very bike-able area.  So for weekend outings, we go for bike rides, dinghy rides, and walks at one of the nearby nature centers.
  • Speaking of leisure time, we have a LOT more of it!  Housework takes 30 minutes a day, and we don’t spend as much time maintaining a yard, etc.  So we have a lot more time for adventuring, playing Mario Kart, or pursuing other hobbies.
  • Vacations have gotten cheaper.  When you live on a less-than-200-square-foot boat without many amenities, the cheapest camping cabin feels like a 5 star hotel!  For Thanksgiving week, we spend less than $1000 to spend the entire week in a small cabin.  But it had a real kitchen (with an oven!), two full-sized beds (we share a twin normally), and its own bathroom, complete with a tub!
  • That one vacation is all you need.  We loved getting away for Thanksgiving, but normally we don’t miss all of the fancy stuff.  Our simple routine is low-stress, and we love not having to spend so much time managing our home and our possessions.
  • This lifestyle works well for our daughter.  Beanie loves playing outside, and she respects the toys she does have much more than she did when she had many toys.  She looks forward to going to the park and visiting places in the community.

We’ve been living an extreme minimalist lifestyle for 20 months, and we have been living on the boat 8 months.  So far, I have to say it certainly has been full of wonderful surprises!


Are you working toward a simpler lifestyle?  Then I would love to share your story!  Please submit your original (not published anywhere else) story about how you are simplifying your life.  You don’t have to be an extreme minimalist–I would love to share stories of people who are just starting out of their journey.  If your story is selected to be featured, you will receive 50% off the the Simple Living Basics E-Course, after any other discounts.  Send your story to . 

New to Simple Living?  Then check out our Simple Living Basics e-course.  There are plenty of discounts available, and it will be an investment in a lower-stress more focused lifestyle!

One thought on “Surprising Changes from Extreme Minimalism

  1. Thanks, TJ! Dock fees are $370 where we are, but they are less in some “dockaminium” marinas, where people sublet slips. Breaking Tradition cost $5000 and our new boat is $12,000, but depending on the age and condition, they can cost much more than that. Utilities are less than $200 a year. We’ve got about 10 live aboard friends in the marina, but most people are weekenders. There are enough people here that we aren’t lonely! 🙂

Join the Discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s