Minimal Me…Maui Life

by Tania Ginoza on March 25, 2013 · 15 comments

Maui is an ideal spot to live a minimal life. While quite a few things are more expensive on the valley isle including gas and food, the casual lifestyle lends to a less is more vibe.

Palm trees Maui

  • Watching the sun rise or set is priceless yet cost nothing. The sunsets on Maui are spectacular, filled with vibrant colors. If you’re on the south side, you can also see Lanai and Molokini as a backdrop.
  • Most people could care less if you drive a BMW or carry the latest “it” bag.
  • Year-round mild weather means more time outdoors and less indoors, making small space living doable.
  • There are public beaches EVERYWHERE, nuff said.
  • Traveling twenty miles on Maui is generally three times faster than going the same distance on Oahu given similar circumstances.
  • A casual lifestyle means less need to dress to the nines, making it easier to rock a smaller wardrobe with less visits to the dry cleaner and cobbler. I confess I still have a huge closet, not very minimal, but I swear I’m working on it.
  • There are a ton of free or affordable community events including Friday town parties, festivals, films and music.
  • Local house parties are casual and outdoors with family style serving and folding tables in the carport. Elaborate place settings, centerpieces and a formal dining room are not necessary or common.

There a few things about Maui life that make a minimal lifestyle difficult. Businesses and homes are spread out here. It is not as easy to live without a car or to walk to dining and shopping as it is in an urban environment. Open undeveloped and agriculture land combined with strong trade-winds also makes keeping everything clean a challenge.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Roxanne Darling March 25, 2013

I am SO moving in this direction. My car is full at the moment – clothes, books, etc that I am moving on. I wish I had a better fashion/shopping sense so I could live with a teeny manini wardrobe. I am just not that good at combining things – but I am trying! Thanks for focusing on the positive, don’t need to spend money things!

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Tania Ginoza March 26, 2013

I always think you look so put together Rox! I’ve been writing a post about system dressing for part of the minimal me series. Eileen Fisher and Donna Karan are perfect examples of that. In the past I’ve always bought what caught my eye and since fashion is like art to me, it meant I sometimes ended up with a weird assortment of pieces. I’d really like to move toward a system of dressing where I think about clothes much less but still feel comfortable and ready for anything.

I’ve been going through a major letting go of things too but I do think it’ll be at least a year before I”m done.

Moving to Maui from Oahu is an adjustment too. Don’t you sometimes feel like you have things that seemed important on Oahu and not so much here?

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another jennifer March 26, 2013

I need to go back to Maui. I’ll get back some day. I’d love to be on a beach in Maui right now. We still have snow on the ground here!

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Tania Ginoza March 26, 2013

Wow, I can’t believe you still have snow. It’d be so much fun to meet you in real life!

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Sarah, The Ohana Mama March 26, 2013

This is why we moved here. Maui is thankfully the antithesis of So Cal, where we were born and raised. So Cal wasn’t always that way – we had large pieces of land and cows in our backyard but it soon got gobbled up and keeping up with the Joneses moved in. Bleh.

I LOVE the minimal lifestyle and it’s a must with our little house. But I need help…with two kids a dog and my husband and myself we tend to get a lot of “stuff”. I want to have a day with you Tania – to come to my house check it out (eeek, this is way out of my comfort zone!) and then go shopping – wouldn’t that be a fun series? :) I LOVE your outlook on design and Maui living. xo

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Tania Ginoza March 26, 2013

I’d love to do a project with you Sarah. And don’t feel embarrassed if there’s a ton of stuff. Accumulation is definitely something I have and continue to struggle with and you know from my FB posts that house cleaning is not the easiest thing for me either. I always love the pics of your outdoor space on IG and thought you must have a cute house.

It’s interesting how California changed too. I never knew how different the OC area was until you mentioned it. I guess everywhere changes but it does seem in areas that are desirable to live, like coastal areas, the evolution can be quite drastic as a different demographic that weren’t born and raised there make it their home too. I see it happening on Maui too but I don’t think Maui has lost its mellow laid back lifestyle even with more activities and development.

Btw, there is a husband and wife podcast that’s fairly new that I’ve been listening to that you may enjoy, Simple Life Together. The wife, Vanessa, is a professional organizer and they have a few kids. Each episode is part organization/minimal living and part tech productivity tips, I think you’d really like it.

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lisacng @ expandng.com March 26, 2013

Would you say you know people better on Maui, as compared to a big city? I loved that I used to know all my neighbors when we lived in the suburbs of Philly. Now that we are in Maryland, I feel like everyone is so distant.

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Tania Ginoza March 26, 2013

I think it depends on what area you live in. Maui Meadows has big lots (1/2 acre) so many homes are set way back. It definitely doesn’t have a suburban feel with people out in their driveway or on their lawn waving to each other. I could run into a neighbor somewhere and never know because I’ve never seen them. The neighbors we do know well aren’t in the closest proximity but are the ones that lived in that area in the early 70s when there was just a few houses on our street and a ton of empty lots filled with kiawe trees.

However, one of my girlfriends lives in an area that feels more suburban and it’s a development so all the units are very similar. On Friday nights, her and all her neighbors have their doors open and garage doors up. The kids are all outside playing and the parents visit each other’s homes to eat and have a cocktail. Totally cool, I often wish I lived near her so I could see her every Friday night.

In Honolulu, my ex-hubby and I knew all of our surrounding neighbors. We didn’t know their names and we didn’t socialize with them but if any stranger came and tried to break into one of the houses, they wouldn’t go unnoticed for long because the houses were all on top of one another and you could easily see and hear what was going on outside your neighbor’s house.

Maybe in Maryland, you could get out and about? It would’ve been very easy for me to feel isolated on Maui (and it still does sometimes quite honestly). Meeting new friends through volunteering, social media and wordpress classes helped me immensely. I feel much more comfortable going to events alone here because I forced myself to meet people outside my immediate circle.

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Elinor Gawel (Eli) March 26, 2013

Lisa- Where do you live in Maryland? I lived there for 38 years. I know people all over the state that I can introduce you to. Maybe even in your neighborhood. I am having trouble getting to know people well here on Maui. Lots of aquaintances, including Tania, but none that I know well. Eli

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lisacng @ expandng.com March 28, 2013

Hi Tania, I guess if I could make more of an effort to get to know my neighbors. The question is, do I really want to? Weird right?

Hi Eli! We live in Germantown. We’ve know a few families from daycare and a few families from church, but would love to know people right in our neighborhood so we could hang out easily and maybe swap babysitting :). Or call on them in an emergency.

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Elinocer Gawel (Eli) March 28, 2013

Germantown near Gaithersburg may be one of the few places I don’t think I have a friend. So sorry. It is a wonderful area to live near the train to DC with all the free cultural activities for you and the kids.

Elinor Gawel (Eli) March 26, 2013

I love the minimal clothes part especially. Tank top and skirt or shorts. I have a shoe problem though. I love shoes. We live near enough to a lot of things in Kihei so we can even get away with one car. The buses aren’t bad I hear. I also have a kitchen gadget problem. I just got a kitchen scissor with 5 scissors in one. They are smallish though.

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lisacng @ expandng.com April 1, 2013

No problems, Eli!! We are trying to take more advantage of the free stuff in DC and try not to be annoyed by crowds :).

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Sarah P March 26, 2013

LOVE love love! I feel like so much of this is true about…Kailua. I’ve definitely started to feel consumerism creep in as I’m shifting to work in town now. The blisters on my feet from real work shoes and so much time in the car – ugh. At least I have the weekends – during the week, I’ll live vicariously through you :)

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Tania Ginoza March 31, 2013

Being out of downtown Honolulu really made a difference for me. I no longer have “work” clothes and “weekend” clothes; I just have clothes that I pull on any old time.

I’ve always loved Kailua as it reminded me of Maui. I miss my Sundays at the Kailua Racquet Club followed by lunch at Mexico Lindo or one of the other great eateries on that side and holidays at my cousin’s house in Lanikai so I’ll live vicariously through you.

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