5% Less


There is no doubt that minimalism can change your life, but it doesn’t take a complete overhaul or radical shift to notice the benefits.

When change feels too big, it’s harder to get started, so I suggest small steps. Instead of the pressure of going all in, think about what it would feel like to live with just a little bit less.

Start with 5% less

Think about the time and space you could create for yourself and everyone around you if you cut 5%.

  • Send 5% less email.
  • Give away 5% of your stuff.
  • Tweet 5% less.
  • Go to sleep 5% earlier.
  • Worry 5% less.
  • Eat 5% less junk.
  • Spend 5% less time plugged in.
  • Make your to-do list 5% shorter.
  • Complain 5% less.
  • Cut your spending by 5%.

5% is just enough to make a difference and give you the momentum to edit more deeply.

5% sounds paltry in comparison to 50%, but if you compare it to 0% it sounds pretty amazing. Instead of comparing at all, just move forward with one area of your home or life and enjoy the benefits of 5% less.

You might experience …

  • fewer hangers in your closet
  • more space on your book shelf
  • a few extra minutes to read or do something you really enjoy
  • a better attitude
  • momentum and inspiration for another 5%

With each 5% you will become more focused and intentional and the quality of your work, relationships and life will increase exponentially.

It’s ok to start small and much better than not starting at all.


  1. says

    Yes, small steps are the best. I’m constantly reviewing what objects I have around me and which ones I’m better off without. I donate fairly often, and it feels good. Great post!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks Traci, I always find that when reflecting on a big change, it was just a series of teeny tiny changes.

  2. says

    Since we are always trying to squeeze in 5%- 25%, more if we try for 5% less, and succeed we’ll still be ahead of the game at somewhere between 100 and 120 percent. That works for me!

  3. says

    I love this because it provides an easy way in. I’ve done quite a lot of editing of my life. But, there’s still a bit more to be done so I appreciate your suggests. Today, I’m going to edit away a few books.

  4. says

    This is a very uplifting post. We can be tied to perfectionism and this is a wayto gradually change.
    Some positives changes are 5 per cent more walking; 5 per cent more time to volunteering; 5 per cent more vegetables to eat.

  5. Kathy Mader says

    Thank you for yet another useful, and, I think, brilliant post. Honestly, you are the voice of reason in a world gone materialistically (and other ways) mad. You have the gift of encouragement. Yay Courtney, we love you!!!

  6. says

    Thanks for such a helpful post. I’d like to focus on the “Go to sleep 5% earlier” ~ makes me feel more refreshed already. 😉

  7. Rose Park says

    Thank you for creating this website/blog. I cleaned out my closet and got ride of two BIG bags of clothing. I have been feeling overwhelmed with the amount of clothes I have and now I am excited about getting rid or more.

    I’m accumulated a lot of clothes, shoes and accessories in my 55 years – now is the time to start living simple.

  8. MelD says

    I like this approach, after all, I’d rather have 5% more of some things (cake, interest…) than 0%, so having 5% less encumbrance, stuff, whatever, sounds like a great start to a deal to me.
    You can always do another 5% less later, much less painful for some :)

  9. says

    Simple advice! And it works! I have been getting rid of stuff for 1½ year now, slowly but surely. I never knew I could live without so many of the things I was keeping. I am becoming addicted to getting rid of things. 5% less is not enough anymore. Loving it! :-)

    • says

      I honestly enjoy getting rid of things more than acquiring them. There is a feeling of lightness and spaciousness that comes with it —addicting! And I always make sure the things will be reused, which feels great.

  10. GoldenGal says

    I think the idea sounds good, but what most Americans do is clean out closets, throw away their clothes and then go out and buy more! What a waste!!! It seems everyone is hellbent on making more $$$ so they can spend more money buying more things they don’t really need and have less time to enjoy any of it. Especially time spent with their children. Just taking them to all their activities is not good enough. They need fewer activities and more family time. Make do with what you have, simplify, and enjoy. That’s my take on it all.

  11. says

    I love the idea of ‘doing it gently’ by aiming at just 5% less to start with. And i love that you’ve included all aspects of life in the list, not just material possessions.