You’ve probably heard the term minimalism floating around. And, with millennials foregoing the large subdivision homes for smaller spaces, apartment living, or suitcase lives, it’s only going to get more popular.
Minimalism is the idea of living with only the things that you actually need. No extras. Nothing fluffy. No decor. Few pieces of clothing, etc. Well, I don’t know about you, but I like things. I like clothes, and shoes, and makeup, and products. I like new what-nots and decor items. But, I also like having nothing to pack or move. Nothing to take care of or store. Nothing in my way when I’m walking through my home. That’s why I’ve deemed myself a pseudo-minimalist. Essentially, I hang onto the things that are important to me, and I purge my life of all the things that I don’t really need. Simple.
There are a few benefits to becoming a minimalist. Packing is easier (if you’re moving to a new home), you have less clutter in your life and your mind, and you know exactly what you have because you only own a few things. So, how do you take steps to becoming a minimalist or pseudo-minimalist? Easy:
- Figure out what is important to you and what isn’t. If you keep birthday cards or Christmas cards because of sentimental value, great. But no one is hanging on to spatulas because they are important. If you have more than three of an item, throw all but 2 or three away. Chances are, you aren’t using more than one at a time, so having a few backups is generous.
- Throw away clothing that you haven’t worn in a year or no longer fits. Keeping pants that are too big or too small just takes up space and chances are, they’ll be out of style before you can wear them again. Every three months, I remove items from my closet and donate them. I don’t try to sell them either, because unsold items end up back in the closet. I create a capsule wardrobe that I can mix and match without having a hundred things to choose from.
- Digitize paper documents, books, and videos. There’s really no need to hang onto a ton of paper documents or even DVDs when you can so easily transfer them to a computer. Scan your tax documents or important papers onto a flash drive, download digital copies of your favorite movies, etc. Get all your bills and other documents sent to you virtually to get rid of clutter.
- Stop buying things you don’t need. And, I know that’s easier said than done. If you already have a baking dish at home that you use, don’t just buy another one because it’s on sale somewhere. Don’t buy an entire set of knives when you only actually use one or two. Not only will this cut down on things you own, but it will save you money.
- Do the one in, one out rule. That means, if you buy something new for your closet, shoes collection, kitchen, etc. choose something else to get rid of. Of course, this isn’t always true, but if you’re buying new jeans because your old ones don’t fit, throw the old ones away. Chances are, you’re only buying it because what you have isn’t cutting it, so why hang on to that defective item.
- No more souvenirs! Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re traveling, that’s great. And, buying an item here or there to use in your home is fine. But, if you’re buying souvenirs everywhere you go that just end up in a drawer or box somewhere, that’s not okay. Not only is that wasted money and suitcase space, it’s also wasted space in your home. We haven’t bought a souvenir in years except the occasional Christmas ornament.
- Pretend you’re moving once a year. Yep, even if you aren’t. Take everything out your drawers, move furniture, clean under your bed, etc. Not only will you find things you forgot you had, but you’ll be able to throw away things you haven’t used in a year or more. And, don’t keep things just because you think you may need it again. Chances are, you won’t.
- Organize your life! Go to the Dollar Tree, buy some bins, and organize everything you have left after de-cluttering and downsizing into easy to locate, use, and store bins. I do this in my fridge, under my cabinets, closes, everywhere. You’ll use what you have more often and spend money on things you don’t need less.
- Throw things away immediately. It’s kind of like when you’re on a diet and someone gives you a cookie. If it’s in the trash, you won’t be tempted. If you’re de-cluttering and letting things sit around instead of throwing them away, you’re more likely to just thrown them back in a drawer or pick them out of the pile to keep. Have a trash bag with you as you clean.
Immediate next steps:
Look around the room. Find three things that you haven’t used in a while, don’t bring you joy, or that you don’t need anymore. Throw it away. Do this everyday until you’re able to tackle an entire room at a time.