A little ago I posted on my journey into Minimalism and what I’ve noticed in benefits. I’ve been asked how to start for those who wish to. So here is how! 🙂
1. Setting Up Some Rules
Minimalism is different for everyone. Some people define their minimalist lifestyle by only owning a certain number of items like a capsule wardrobe or decluttering your home.
Other people achieve a minimalist lifestyle by minimizing the actual space that they take up in the world, and may seek out smaller living arrangements like a studio apartment or tiny house. Determine what minimalism looks like on a personal level.
Whatever your definition of minimalism, make sure that it’s something sustainable and achievable for your life.
2. Clean Slate & Visualize
As much as we all hate to admit it, there are some items in our homes that are just junk. Although my cats would disagree but the box that your Amazon order came in. Your favorite sweater that shrunk in the wash or that tank top with all those holes in it from the time you let a friend borrow it and their dog chewed on it. The broken items that we say we will get around to fixing but obviously never do.
In reality, these items are wasted space, and minimalism is all about maximizing space. So the first step is to start with a literal clean slate and throw out all of the trash. Yes that means that jacket with the buttons coming of and patches of cloth ripping off.
This step is key. Before you start tossing papers in trash bags or stuffing old sweaters in cardboard boxes because you just can’t stand it anymore, take a moment to consider your goal for the space. Close your eyes and visualize your dream room. What does it look like? What will you use it for? Where is your stuff? How does the space make you feel?
3. Don’t Buy While You Organize
This is a hard step I know but don’t buy anything until after you finished organizing and minimizing your space. Why should you wait until after you finish decluttering? Because you have enough to deal with already.
4. It takes Time
Just remember baby steps. This will take a lot of time and it will seem like it took ages! Mine took months but I also work 80 hour weeks away from home. SO you can imagine! Every step in the right direction is a good one! You’ll be much closer to your end goal.
3. Use or say Bye
In the midst of your initial cleaning, you may come across some items that you have used before, but haven’t used recently. I call these “once upon a time items. As in, Once upon a time not long ago, when people wore pajamas and lived life slow, I thought I could pull off patterned leggings.
When you find these items, use the Six Month Use It or Lose It Rule. If you haven’t used it at least twice in the last six months, then it’s time to toss it.
If it’s a seasonal item, like your winter coat or a swimsuit, then ask yourself if you used it regularly last season. If so, you can still temporarily remove it from your space but putting it in storage or having a bin just for those items, and take it out next season. I hold onto jackets that I haven’t worn in the last month during those seasons but I did wear it regularly when i did.
The next step in your minimalist journey is to organize and declutter your home.
Some people like to organize everything by location. In this scenario, everything in the living area gets organized, and then everything in the kitchen, and then everything in the bedroom, etc.
That’s where the KonMari method comes in. It’s one of the hottest cleaning, decluttering, and organizing methods out there right now, and one of the golden rules is to organize items by category, not by location.
Doing so allows you to easily get rid of the duplicates. You’ll see exactly how many spoons, towels, blenders, sunglasses, shoes, and books you have. Then you can make more educated decisions about what to keep and what to toss.
5. The Hardest Part
Sometimes we are too emotionally tied to our sentimental items. Minimalism forces us to let go of those emotions, and focus on functionality.
When you find yourself struggling to decide if an item should stay or should go, ask yourself these three questions:
- Is it useful?
- Is it the only one I have?
- Does it bring me joy or love?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions, then it can stay.
You wouldn’t throw away your only blender if you use it weekly, and you don’t have to toss your grandma’s old photo albums. But you could throw out the second blender that you have, or that old postcard from grandma that is nice, but doesn’t quite tug at your heartstrings.
Struggling to minimize items? Minimize the space they take up instead.
Hang your paper towel roll or mugs under a cabinet. Get wire shelving to maximize space in your cabinets. Instead of keeping all your old photo albums, scan the pictures to your computer. Your family will probably appreciate a slideshow of photos way more than crowding around one photo book.
7. Take less things
Once you’ve minimized the amount of things you own, make sure that you start to limit what you bring into your home. You didn’t do all this work to be undone by a few impulsive shopping sprees.
Try removing one piece of clothing from your closet for every new item that you purchase. Set yourself a spending limit for new items each month. And be sure to cancel those magazine subscriptions that you don’t read or those other subscriptions you don’t use.