Minimalism has become a sort of buzzword over the past couple of years, but the concept has been around for decades.
It’s nothing new, but with growing commercial capitalism, more and more people are seeking out this way of life, including myself. You may have heard of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method or her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or many others. Everyone seems to have a new technique for de-cluttering. I’ve put together what has worked best for me. Whether it’s the headspace you should be in, or an actual checklist, I’ve got it here for you.
Alright, so you feel the urge to change. You can feel the pull of minimalism drawing you in. You recognize the stress and mess that years of accumulation has given you. You want a simpler life, so where do you start?
1. Understand your why.
Before you can jump into your new minimal life journey, you have to understand your why. If you simply, get rid of your stuff without knowing the reason, all that stuff will start creeping back in. I shared mine last week; if you haven’t seen that post, it may be best to start there!
Why did you find yourself here, seeking something to make your life more fulfilling? Only when you are fully clear in your reasoning’s, will it become clear what you have to do first. For me, it was a mixed process, and not a quick one! I’ve removed the bulk from our home in layers, pealing one layer away at a time, each purge being more thorough than the last.
When it comes to purging the most simple starting point is to get rid of ANYTHING you do not need or love. General rule: if you haven’t used something in a year, you should really consider getting rid of it!
Donate to someone who will actually use it. Keep in mind, that the more things you have, the more you have to keep track of and maintain. What we spend so much of our time doing is moving things from here to there, looking for things, and then taking care of things. Who wants to spend precious time doing any of those things?
• Start with your easiest room(s) first, where you are least attached to things.
• Include your family members as appropriate. Your children can help with their toys, etc.
• Make a list or a schedule to help keep you going and feeling productive.
• Turn off any and all distractions. It’s easy to get caught up in things as you find them. Stay focused on your goal.
• Discard any unwanted items quickly (donation center, sell etc.) Don’t just shove them in the other room!
• Be honest with yourself as you go through all of your belongings. Will you really miss it?
• Keep your end goal in mind. Picture your house clutter-free so you can stay on track.
• Purge often. You’ll likely have to do this process in rounds; slowly removing another layer of stuff each time.
• Download my De-Clutter Checklist and use it on your purging days!
Purge your entire home on a regular basis. At a minimum, once a year!
Here are some good places to get you going:
• Mail pile
• Under sink
• Junk Drawer
• Kitchen counter
• Linen closet
• Medicine cabinet
• Under beds
Keep only what adds value to your life.
You’re at a store because you just had the itch for new things. You find something new and pretty that you feel like you just HAVE to have. Take a breath and ask yourself, “Will this add value to my life?” Really think about it. In a month, will this blend into the noise of everything else that you just HAD to have? Will you find it dull because it’s not brand new anymore? OR will it bring your joy, or serve a major function in your life?
These are the steps toward a simpler life.
Look around your house.. even just the room you’re sitting in. Are the things around you pieces that were supposed to make you happy? Pieces that you received or bought and thought they were exactly what you ‘needed’? Well, how about now? Are they doing their job? Are they making you happy? If not… you should really consider letting them go.
An intentional life. Not a perfect one. But a simple one. A rich one. Richness that has nothing to do with money. When you clear out the clutter, you have more space, time and energy for the things that truly matter most.
It’s not about getting rid of all of your stuff. It’s about getting rid of the things that are weighing you down. It all depends on how much joy it’s bringing you.
Don’t keep something simply because you think you’re wasting your money if you get rid of it. Keeping it, unused, in a box or hanging in your closet indefinitely, is not ‘getting your money’s worth’ from it. You’ve already done the damage of spending that money on it. So let it go and be more thoughtful and intentional about spending in the future.
• Sentimental items
Think about it this way, when you have so many things, whether it’s an attic full of childhood toys or a closet full of shoes, you don’t see any one thing enough to appreciate it. If you had one small box of cherished pieces from your childhood or grandparent, you would cherish those few pieces and probably view them more often than if you had box, upon box, upon box. When you have so much, your favorites go less-appreciated. So clear out the noise and keep your favorites—the items that deserve your attention. If you’re already beyond this, you probably can wrap your head around this sentiment: Our memories are not inside our things. Our memories are inside of us. If that’s you, take some photos of the items and let them go. You don’t need to have the physical piece to remember.
• “Just in case” the 3 most dangerous words in the English language.
Are you keeping stuff for a hobby that you no longer practice? Do you have kitchen gadgets for food that you don’t cook? Are you keeping those candlesticks/place mats/insert-anything-here even though they match nothing in your home, but they looked so pretty in the catalog? Time to be a bit more critical. Ask yourself these questions when you’re purging:
• Would I miss this if I lost it tomorrow?
• If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?
• Don’t let the clutter back in.
Shopping is still something that I love to do, but
I’ve realized that so much of that ‘high’ that you feel happens because of the act of getting new things. It’s not from the actual things!
So, before you go out shopping, ask yourself, why am I going? Maybe you really don’t need to. Maybe you should get happy by baking some cookies for your family or cleaning a room you keep putting off. And if you do go out, take more time considering an item before putting it in the cart. Ask yourself, does this bring value to my life? Do I absolutely LOVE it? Does it serve a function that I’ve been looking for? Will I still love it in a week, a month, a year? I can tell you that it is a lot easier to do than you may think. I can now leave a store with nothing in hand, and feel proud and accomplished! I know it’s a healthy step toward the goal that I truly want to achieve. Minimalism.
What are you holding onto that should have been gone yesterday?
Stay in touch!