How to Become a Minimalist

Sometimes less really is more.

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Comments (25)

(19) Anonymous, February 17, 2014 12:07 AM

letting go of stuff

I agree that there's great value in getting rid of things. It's not an easy thing to do because "What if I'll need it later?' I'm starting on the road to reduction.

(18) Anonymous, February 16, 2014 2:44 AM

Nothing left to give but....

......time, love, and advice. : )

(17) Gabriel, February 14, 2014 7:11 PM

If your work is affecting you that bad, then yes, you need to minimize. But what is the commandment that says you shouldn't give away everything that you have so that you yourself need charity?

(16) SusanE, February 13, 2014 11:45 PM

Minimalist people have been around forever.

It's easy to get free of stuff if you have money. When you get bored you can fly to the islands, or buy something back that you got rid of. For us poor people it is different. I like to keep spares and pairs and 'in case I need it' stuff. Simplifying life while driving an expensive car and giving this seasons beautiful clothes to charity while buying more beautiful clothes to fill the closet....isn't being minimal. That is extravagant living. - - - - Clearing out the clutter in your life is freeing. That clutter can be friends, family, things, and thoughts. We can be poor and get rid of this type of clutter that keeps us down and unfullfilled. Working 80 hours a week signals more wrong with a mans life than a little clutter and minimalizing. God wants us to enjoy our time here. Good for him that gets uncluttered, and we can all try it. The sign over my back door says "The Best Things in Life...... Aren't Things" Thanks Rabbi for the video.

(15) Richard, February 12, 2014 5:38 PM

I'll try

I'm that guy. I work 80 hrs a week and have accumulated "stuff". I'm going to try to shed at least one thing a month. Thank you.

Anonymous, February 16, 2014 2:42 AM

Not so quick.

At the cost of things today, don't be too hasty. Pick up some cardboard boxes with covers (your local department store/stationary store), some lined-paper, and a marker.

Number your boxes. Start a list for each box. Put an item on a list for that box number, put the item in the box, and repeat for each item you need to store.

Son, you sound like a nice, busy young man. You must have had a good reason to buy what you did, and it is ok to give away; but, it is probably time to create purposefulness/thoughtfulness to both your buying and your giving.

Going through the exercise to cateloging and putting away your purchases will not only give you a sense of the scope of your purchases, it will also allow you to take the time to write out a thoughful list of people you can give things to. Family, friends, rabbis, students, shul, schools.

(14) Anonymous, February 10, 2014 3:06 AM

correct book title is "Everything that Remains"

"All that Remains" is a crime novel. If you are looking for the book he refers to, it is "Everything That Remains"

(13) Moriah, February 10, 2014 1:26 AM


Thru my 60 yrs of living I have acquired and sold off/gave away much... and I would agree... once I overcome my emotional attachments, it is always surprisingly so uplifting to reduce one's possessions [load] and trust that G-d will continue to give you what you need.

Might I tell you, Rabbi, as I listened to your encouragement while looking at your "busy" library/office in the background - I had to chuckle a little, as it seems that we all have the capacity to accumulate things we feel are important . At any rate, thank you for the encouragement... I plan to weed through my "things" one last time! Blessings

Anonymous, February 11, 2014 2:07 AM

reply to Moria

There's no need to chuckle. It's quite simple, the "minimalist" idea refers to gashmiush, physical things for their own sake. But to have a room file with books of the Holy Torah, the more the better! When it comes to ruchnius, spirituality, the more the better, and by no means should one be a minimalist in this area. On the contrary, as it is taught, real happiness is only found in spirituality. So when you use physical things for the sake of spirituality, thats real happiness and a real aliya.

(12) Anonymous, February 9, 2014 9:00 PM

The book is called "everything that remains" not all that remains

(11) Anonymous, February 9, 2014 8:24 PM

getting rid of thinkgs

Here in UK in most cities we have a lot of charities shop where we bring clothes, books, CD's ,toys . DVD's, kitchen things, even furniture. These shops are shops running mainly by volunteers and belong to hospices, different hospital department, cancer research, heart research, pet sanctuaries, children departments , old people etc. In my small town of 30000 we've go 8 shops like that and each gives their proceeds to their designated charity. Believe me, I've got no problem ever what to do with my unwanted items . One even takes small electrical items so after I cut my hair short and found no need for electrical hair dryer it found a place in that shop. I have now a rule : if I want to buy a blouse, one has to go. The same applies to shoes, coats etc. But twice a year I do much bigger clearance...and the feeling after is great and it helps to others.

(10) Nieve, February 9, 2014 7:58 PM

I already do...

I've lived most of my life in a minimalist way, probably with less than this guy. I can't get rid of much more because I'd be left with practically nothing -let's say all I own in this world fits inside a 1 x 1 m box. I'm happy with it although I would like to have a bike. I would live in this way too if I were a millionaire... It's the natural way for me.

(9) Anonymous, February 9, 2014 7:17 PM

The Flat

Watch the movie " The Flat" ( on Netflix) about a Jewish Lady that immigrated to Israel and lived in thesame apartment for about 65 years. When she passwd awy, her children needed to clean out her apartment ( estate sale). Boy did they ever find tons of things no one needs.

(8) Miriam, February 9, 2014 7:17 PM

Timely suggestion

Thank you Rabbi Salomon. My husband and I are downsizing to a smaller space for our retirement years. It is the perfect time for us to get rid of decades of accumulating collections of stuff. I visited the website as you suggested. It is full of helpful ideas we hope to put to use.

(7) David, February 9, 2014 6:28 PM

In principle, it’s a great idea. But what happens when you are not the only one affected? If you have kids, you want to give them a good education. You want them to have nice vacations. You don’t want them to be at a disadvantage compared with their friends. What happens if your spouse gets sick and needs something beyond basic medical care? This all costs money. Maybe minimalism is good when everything is good. But maybe a little more is better.

(6) hallaren, February 9, 2014 5:43 PM

Pleae repeat the two torah values you mentioned in the talk?

I was not able to catch the two Hebrew phrases: live a minimalist and the more we accumulate the more worries we have. Could you post those two phrases in Hebrew and transliteration (I am still learning.)

I really like your web talks. Please do more.

Thank you.

Rivka, February 9, 2014 8:35 PM


Live with less = mistapek b'muat

The more possessions the more worries = Marbeh nechasim, marbeh da'aga.

Jewish Mom, February 9, 2014 9:00 PM

The Hebrew phrases

Others may have already responded but I don't see their posts, so here goes:
One is "mistapeik bemu'at - to be satisfied with little" a well-known value in Jewish ethics that we would do well to remember in these materialistic times.
"Marbeh nechasim, marbeh de'agah - more possessions, more worry" is actually a quote from Pirkei Avot, Chapter 2, Mishna 7, which was one of the teachings of famous Jewish sage Hillel.
Good luck with your learning!

Mordechai Shuali, February 10, 2014 2:02 AM


Mis'tapaik b'mi'ut - being satisfied with less.
Marbeh nechasim, marbeh da'ageh - the more property, the more worries.

(5) Nancy, February 9, 2014 5:27 PM

I too believe that less is more. However, what one chooses to get rid of and what one chooses to keep is a highly personal decision.

(4) Lisa, February 9, 2014 5:14 PM

Does it take a move across he ocean?

My friend who just made Aliyah had a huge pile of stuff on her lawn....she said "once I thought I needed all I realize I don't! "
Purim is around the corner.....lets see if we can all have that great thought that Less is More!!

(3) Yonit, February 9, 2014 4:24 PM


I'm working on divesting myself of excess stuff. It's easy to accumulate much too much when you haven't had to move since 1977. I agree completely with our sages that more possessions=more worries.

(2) Lowell Nigoff, February 9, 2014 4:22 PM

Minimalist extremist

Here is a young man working 80 hours a week to acquire more stuff choosing to quit his job, get rid of all his stiff, and move to Montana. IMO, both life styles are lacking. Life should be lead in moderation.

Mati, February 12, 2014 5:53 AM

Both lifestyles are lacking?

As a former cowboy who has made aliya, I will have to say that the opinion of "a simple lifestyle in Montana is lacking" is not a healthy attitude. I have everything and I have nothing. This is such a blessing to me. I feel sorry for those of desire everything and are afraid to get rid of things. I think a lifestyle of humbleness as "being lacking" is not the right thing. Who said that the guy didn't make his decision "with moderation?"

(1) Shoshana, February 9, 2014 4:17 PM


This works; my husband and I did it! TY for the viseo and we are so much closer to HaShem now. The other side is also beautiful but trying so be prepared. Without material stuff to keep you occupied, you will be left with TIME to face yourself. It's not easy but an opportunity so many people ignore to become everything HaShem knows you can be.


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