Moving Towards Minimalism

|||Moving Towards Minimalism

Moving Towards Minimalism

By |2018-07-13T17:05:06+00:00March 1st, 2011|Categories: Personal|16 Comments

As I write this I’m just getting home from handing in the keys to my photography studio after an afternoon of hauling two car-fulls of stuff off to the local thrift store. This change in my life has spawned a lot of questions, pretty much the same one over and over, so I apologize if you asked and I didn’t respond. The general question I keep getting is: Why? Well, here’s my answer: No, I’m not closing my business; no, I’m not having financial problems … yes, I’m still doing stock photography; and yes, I’m moving (eventually, but no solid plans yet). Nothing in my life has changed other than the fact that I now no longer have a studio.

I’ve been working towards minimizing the “stuff” in my life over the past few months and my studio was one of those things that just needed to go. A big part of that decision was based on the fact that I do plan on moving far enough away to where I won’t be able to use it. Also, a lot of my photography lately has been food, something I can easily do from my living room, so having a studio just slowly started to become more of a burden than a benefit.

But, outside of my professional life I’ve been trying to get rid of as much stuff as I can. You wouldn’t know it by the looks of my apartment at the moment … my living room is cluttered with tripods, reflectors and food props, not to mention the addition of two tables I still need to strategically position around my couch so I don’t have to squish around them to get to the kitchen. I’m also programmed to keep almost every product box (TV, computer, etc.) for when I move again, which seems to be much more frequent than I expected (I think that carries over from my “move every three years” military days). I basically still have way too much stuff in my life.

Clearing my life of clutter has been something that has been on my mind for several months now, but it really hit home with my studio. I had all this stuff leftover that I needed to get rid of and badly wanted (needed?) gone. All it was causing me was stress. Stuff was causing me stress. Excess, random bits of things that I was no longer using and had no attachment to. Not only was it was causing me stress but it was also costing me time, precious time that I seem to have less and less of these days.

One thing that I’ve learned is that being a photographer is not a good profession to be in if you don’t want to turn into a hoarder. As a stock photographer I would cling to anything I might use in a photograph, and most of the time it just ended up on a shelf collecting dust. Thankfully with my focus on food photography my collection of props has dwindled to silverware, dishes and napkins, all of which are a lot easier to organize. A storage shelf full of food props and a corner filled with camera gear and lights won’t bother me … the rest has got to go.

Maybe I’ve watched one too many episodes of “Hoarders”, or maybe I’m just trying to physically, maybe also metaphorically cleanse my life of all the excess baggage that I have that’s weighing me down … because once it’s gone it feels sooooo good. It will take time, but every box that gets hauled out to the thrift store is one less weight on my shoulder to carry around. I’ll never be an extreme minimalist (and don’t want to be) but I’ll definitely have a very clean house, mind and soul when I’m finished.

Wish me luck :)

About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer and published author whose love of photography and teaching has grown into an online business where she creates training materials and resources for other photographers. Nicole is best known for her books on food photography, but is widely versed in a variety of photographic genres, including landscape, travel, lifestyle, and even underwater photography. You can learn more about Nicole's work on her website,


  1. Brekke March 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I say good for you because I know exactly how you feel! I cling to things I can visualize in a shoot but 80% of it I use once, or never get around to using and then it just sits there taking space. I should really follow your example. :)

  2. Nancy March 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm - Reply


  3. Nicole March 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Hooray! I envy you a tad. I’m facing a move myself in not so distant future and keep looking around wondering how I ended up with SO MUCH STUFF. 2 big boxes went to the thrift store just yesterday. And every time Friends of MS calls me I’ll leave something out for them and yet I still seem to have so much stuff. Having 3 kids doesn’t help. Esp since my 3 yr old is a burgeoning hoarder. Seriously.

    But I LOVE the feeling of having less stuff!!!! thinking of ditching the tv completely in my next move. We already ditched cable and just have Netflix, which we can watch on the computer. So who needs to lug around the TV and big entertainment center? Not me! I really think it’s going to go!

    Ok-long comment, didn’t mean to hijack your blog post. :)

  4. Breztech March 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    I can totally relate to this. I have lots of computers and spare parts and stuff that I have been wanting to get rid of. This rekindles my original passion to set this stuff free. Thx.

  5. Jami March 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    totally relate! good for you! I actually started the same thing. We got a self-storage shed over the weekend and while I started getting stuff ready to move into there I realized that I have too much stuff! So I’ve already taken 2 boxes to the donation bin and have really begun to organize. My problem stemmed from my boyfriend’s parent’s house which we have to clean out of all stuff. So the shed is a staging area between the two where we will be slowly clearing out the excess junk.

    I find that it is getting easier to let go of some of the “props” I’ve picked up if I’ve used them at least once – that seems to be my main problem and now I have a bunch of props lined up to use at least once before I ditch them! haha!

  6. Paul March 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Great post Nicole! I thought I was the only one to keep my gadget boxes. :)

    I too am trying to get rid of stuff and so far it is working. I probably can get rid of more stuff, but owing a house somehow acts as a magnet for attracting “sh$%”.


  7. Carolyn Rauh March 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Isn’t it therapeutic to “clean house”? Great post, Nicole. Really enjoyed it!

  8. Sean Locke March 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I dunno. I use most of the stuff in my studio repeatedly. If I had to go re-buy it everytime, that would cause stress :). However, if you’ve made a commitment to not do that kind of work anymore, I can see how it would make sense for ya.

  9. kyla March 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Nicole, you will love getting rid of extra ‘stuff’. I moved three times last year and each time I got rid of more and more things. When I moved for the last time, I got rid of anything that couldn’t fit comfortably in my closets and cupboards and it has felt sooo good! I don’t miss any of it and now it helps me think twice before I buy things I think I ‘need’.

  10. Pat Wright March 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Good for you and I totally agree. When I was trying to make a studio in my basement I had to get rid of lots of stuff and continue to do so now. We kept boxes for products for a long time as well but now are getting out of that habit. If you move often just go to grocery stores and ask them for there old cardboard boxes they are usually willing to give them away and they work well for packing. :)

    Good luck on removing more stuff!

  11. Vince Scanlan March 2, 2011 at 5:39 am - Reply

    Thanks Nicole for a great post. You have inspired me to see the light and minimize. And what timing! Spring is just around the corner.

  12. Brycia March 2, 2011 at 7:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your reason Nicole! I was concerned that it hadn’t proven feasible since you’ve had the studio for less than a year, but didn’t want to ask. I’m all for decluttering though!

  13. Tim O March 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Been watching this progress over twitter and the like for the last few weeks – and I’m very happy for you — it’s a wonderful feeling as you purge things that collect dust & add stress… Good on you :)

  14. Tim Buckner March 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Good luck Nicole i know all will turn out great for you.

  15. Chris March 9, 2011 at 9:30 am - Reply

    The book “It’s all too much” by Peter Walsh was a real eye opener for me…

  16. Dave May 25, 2011 at 7:16 am - Reply

    I’ve been getting rid of “stuff” for a while, including collections that I hadn’t even looked at in years. It’s a great feeling! The trick, of course, is not buying more “stuff” to fill the space!

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