How to Own Less: Choose Your Ultimate Classics

Want to make decluttering your home easier?  Imagine your house filled with only the things you use and love, things that bring you comfort and convenience, things that benefit your life instead of making it cluttered, messy, difficult, and stressful. 

Choosing your ultimate classics can help you get there.

blue and white teacup

What is an ultimate classic?

It's the iconic representation of its class.

  • the little black dress
  • the white Egyptian cotton towel
  • a beautiful copy of your favorite book

What if we limited ourselves to ultimate classics?  We'd choose the best we could afford, the most useful and versatile, the Goldilocks just right items, and we'd leave the rest.

Thinking about this concept could help you streamline and simplify your life.

How it works – the example of the mug

My goal is not to be elitist.  My goal is to help you identify for yourself what best meets your needs and to be satisfied with that.

My daughter gave me a beautiful mug for Mother's Day several years ago (I'm pretty sure it was before COVID).  It's the just right size for my tea (I like big cups).  It fits perfectly in my hands, and the porcelain retains all that comforting warmth.  It's dishwasher- and microwave-safe.  And it's so pretty – blue and white with some tiny gold embellishments.  When I discovered all of these benefits, I immediately decluttered a bunch of mismatched teacher mugs, went to Target, and bought three more of these just right mugs.  That's my limit – two mugs each for Jon and I, meaning there are extras if a visitor wants coffee or cocoa.

Four or five years later, those are still the only mugs in my cupboard.  We use them every day.  They still look brand new, and they're still just right.

For me, these are the ultimate classic mugs, and I don't need more.

The best of the best – according to you

Want to simplify life and get rid of clutter?  Decide on your ultimate classics.

  • the perfect pair of jeans you'll want to wear every day
  • the just right ceramic skillet* you'll use to cook almost everything
  • the best chair with looks you love and comfort for hours

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.

As you choose these favorite, useful, and necessary items, you realize that anything left over is less valuable to you than what you've already selected.  Now you can safely declutter everything else.

Would you like to support my work?  Buy me a coffee.  I appreciate it!

MINIMALISM 1-2-3 book
Minimalism helps you find balance with the right-size house, the right-size car, the right-size wardrobe, schedule, vacation, and more.

My new book, Minimalism 1-2-3* (volume 2 in my "Minimalist Basics" series) can help you (or a friend) start to investigate a new way of thinking – not the "more is always better" mindset of our culture, but not "monk in a cave" austerity either.  You can discover what's just right for you.

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.


  1. Such a great post -- and I especially like how, when you found the perfect mug, you bought three more. As Jennifer Rubin says, don't overbuy, but also don't under-buy. Have exactly what you need -- no more, but no less.

  2. You come up with the best terms: The Goldilocks just right stuff.
    Linda Sand


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