Reading about the minimalist lifestyle the other day, I wondered how this lifestyle could meld with the one we live here in the Five Towns. I decided to share some of the interpretations of a minimalist lifestyle with my readers, and then discuss the possibilities–or impossibilities, jumping from one interpretation to another. I think you will understand my dilemma as you read on with me.

“The minimalist lifestyle is one that is free from clutter and everyday distractions, complications, and confusion. The minimalist takes life and streamlines it to be as simple and efficient as possible. It is a world where people have grasped onto the concept of ‘less is more,’ creating the ultimate stress-free environment.

“Minimalism is focused upon doing away with all that is unnecessary, paring down material possessions so as to retain only absolutely priority items. When one rids himself of all the extra ‘junk’ and clutter that really is not essential to a happy and fulfilled life, he soon realizes that he wants the time and freedom to enjoy his new life.”

What it comes down to is cutting back to one of each item, retaining only what is crucial in your life. The concept alone was frightening. How could I ever be a minimalist with so many things are crucial to my life–and usually those things cannot be reduced to one item.

How, for instance, would an Orthodox Jewish minimalist deal with dishes? We know we have two sets, for milchig and fleishig, but then there are another two sets for Pesach and then the set we use for Shabbos or for company, and then all those Kiddush cups. What about two sinks and two dishwashers? Does having them automatically toss us off the list of being able to be called a minimalist?

I suddenly recognized that it did not stop there! When shopping for a house or apartment, the minimalist is going to get something sparse and with one bathroom, since more bathrooms and more rooms are considered unnecessary for a stress-free life, which is the reason minimalists choose this lifestyle–in order to live a more stress-free life by having fewer material benefits and comforts. Would this also mean that minimalists share space so as never to allow more space than is absolutely necessary into their lives?

You know what? I am getting more stressed just contemplating even attempting to become even a little more minimalistic in my lifestyle. So how in the world can the minimalist claim that less is more and makes them stress-free?

Alright, maybe I can compromise a little. I am going to go and change my clothes and start cleaning out my garage. A minimalist approach to my garage will be my attempt at a minimalist lifestyle! v

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to

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