The minimalist movement is becoming increasingly popular. More and more people are opting to buy less and live more. If you’re new to this movement, however, it can be hard to get started. How can you let go of your possessions?
Many people find that when they start decluttering, they worry that they might need the thing they’re getting rid of or that they might really miss it and regret giving it away. Overcoming that instinct to hold on to things is hard, but it is worthwhile.
Simple Steps to Declutter
There are many gurus that promise to help people with their decluttering efforts. The FlyLady community, for example, is all about that very topic and is particularly useful for people who work from home who may struggle to get started on work for the day.1 Flylady is about building little habits from the moment you get up to when you go to bed. The idea is to do so little and often so that you slowly make progress, and never lose control of your clutter again.
However, if you follow the Flylady approach to a tee, it can seem a little over the top. There are other options out there for people who want a more relaxed approach to minimalism. The NEAT Method, for example, involves understanding your clutter personality.2 Do you buy too many things because you keep losing what you already own? Do you hate throwing things out because you worry you will want them again? If you address the flaws in your logic, it might become easier to prevent building up so much clutter.
Stop Adding Clutter
The first step to decluttering is to buy less. When you see something that you want, ask yourself whether you really need it. If you don’t need it, ask yourself if you really will use it. If you won’t use it much, ask yourself whether you are willing to sacrifice inner peace for it. Where will you keep it? What else could you do with the money? It’s much easier to say no to buying things when you start visualizing the problems that those things may cause if you don’t need them.
Spend a Few Minutes Each Day Throwing Stuff Out
Bringing fewer things in and throwing more things out will help you achieve balance over time. Allocate ten minutes a day, every day for a week, to throwing away things that you don’t need. You should notice a huge difference. Keep that routine for two weeks or even a month and your house will feel like a different place to live in.
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Ideally, you should use two bags. One for things to throw out and one for things to donate. Don’t waste too much time deliberating, just throw out things that you know you won’t use or that you want out of the house.3
Move Things Gradually
There may be some things that you just can’t bring yourself to throw out. Think about why. If they’re heirlooms or they have sentimental value, that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, they’re tools for hobbies you no longer practice or appliances you no longer use, test yourself.
Put them in a box and tape the box up. If you don’t think about the contents of the box and aren’t tempted to open it for a whole month, you can most likely get rid of those things safely. Of course, that won’t work for seasonal items such as fishing gear. Common sense applies here. For other things, this is a useful test.
Paperwork is a huge source of clutter in a lot of homes. This is where the idea of having a place for everything can really help. Designate a place that you put your mail when it comes in, and wait until you have some time to sort through your mail before you tackle it.
When you sit down to sort your mail, throw out the junk immediately. Pay your bills, and file them. Even better, ask to switch to paperless billing instead—this will save trees and time.
A minimalist lifestyle works well if you focus on the quality of the possessions that you do have. If you feel deprived when you aren’t buying little treats here and there, find something else to look forward to instead. For instance, taking a bath at the end of a long day or practicing yoga at home are both great ways of treating yourself at the end of a long day without buying more items that you can clutter your home with.
If you want to make this bath or yoga session even more luxurious, try incorporating aromatherapy with either a room diffuser or terpene pen. Personal diffusers are great because they’re small, portable, and reusable, making them great for a minimalistic lifestyle. Try FOCUS if you’re looking to boost productivity or Zen MONQ R to unwind at the end of a long day.
Wear What Flatters You
One area that people often neglect with minimalism is their closets. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is starting to gain traction, though. Many fast fashion stores sell clothing that is cheap because it is of low quality and often involves poor conditions for workers. Why support that when you could spend a little more to get quality clothing that will last for many years?
Pare your wardrobe down to the basics. You don’t have to have a fixed number, but try to have fewer than 50 items of clothing, with a formal, business, and casual split that suits your lifestyle.4 You’ll find that you waste less time figuring out what to wear, and you’ll be more confident and more comfortable too. Save some money up to replace items when they eventually wear out and focus on brands that make you feel good. Making your wardrobe a bit more minimalistic will be an important stride towards the optimal home organization.
Decluttering your home might seem like a daunting task because there are so many areas and items to think about, but if you begin to take small steps to declutter every day, it’ll make home organization lot more manageable. If you’re not sure where to start, try using some of the tips described above to get you on the path towards decluttering your home.
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