Have you ever felt as though you just have too much stuff? Or that you are wasting your hard earned money on useless things? Then maybe it’s time to give minimalism a try. Reducing the amount of things you have can help you save a ton of money, but it’s not always easy for everyone. Here is a guide to minimalism, and how you can do it even when you love having stuff.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism is living on the bare minimum. It’s escaping the excess of material possessions and clutter.
“Why would anyone want to do that?” you may ask. The answer may be different for everyone, but minimalism in general will give you less clutter in your home and more money in your pocket. You may also find yourself with more time because you will be shopping less, and even cleaning less since your home will be emptier.
How Do I Start?
Minimalism doesn’t have to be an overnight event. Especially if you love shopping and having things, it’s best to ease into it. Let’s go step by step.
A. Embrace Minimalism
Changing your way of life isn’t going to happen if you don’t really want it to. Just like with eating healthy or quitting smoking, minimalism must be accepted if you want to make a change in your life. Start thinking “downsize” rather than “supersize.” Really consider if you need something before buying it.
B. Remove Things You Don’t Need
If you haven’t purged your home in a while, chances are you have a bunch of things lying around that you don’t need. Start with one room, whether it is the living room, kitchen or bathroom. It doesn’t matter, the idea is just to start. Go through each shelf and cabinet. Separate everything into one of three categories: keep, sell or donate, trash. If it’s something you haven’t used or even looked at in at least a month, determine if you can sell it or if it just needs to be trashed. Do not put it in the keep pile! You are not rummaging through your old things to find stuff to keep. The goal is to get rid of things. If you have to think about it, then it should either be sold or thrown out.
C. Go Through Closets Too
Look for things that you haven’t worn in at least 6 months. Can’t remember when you wore it last? Put all your hangers on the bar in the opposite direction. When you wear it, flip the hanger to the right direction. This will help give you an idea of what you are and aren’t wearing. Also, things you will never fit again. You know the clothes I’m talking about. There are some clothes you can fit into if you lose some weight, and then are the clothes that fall into the “never going to happen” category. Clothes can be donated or trashed. Use your judgment; if it is old and dirty looking, just throw it away.
D. Attack The Toys
If your extended family is anything like you mine, you too have found yourself on the receiving end on a never-ending string of toys for your kids. While I am grateful that my kids are loved, it is getting out of hand. Go through your kids’ rooms and separate toys into the 3 piles: keep, donate or sell, trash. Throw out broken and really old toys. Donate those that are still good, but never get played with. Now is not the time to tell yourself that the kids may play with it someday. Just get rid of it. Out of the keep pile, you could probably reduce it even more. Does your daughter have way too many purses and dolls? Have her pick her favorites and keep just a few. Maybe your son has accumulated a ton of cars. You can probably skim that pile too.
E. Clean Out Storage
Basements, attics and hall closets tend to get the brunt of the clutter. These are the spaces that we continually shove things into until it becomes a mess of things from the years past. Go through your storage and decide what is absolutely necessary to keep. Old pictures of your kids? Probably. That glass vase you got when you got married that has never been used and will probably never see a flower? Get rid of it.
F. Simplify Even More
Once you have gone through everything, you can start to minimize your stuff even further. Do you absolutely need to keep 50 tops? Or how about 20 pairs of shoes? Minimalism is about getting rid of excess and living on only what you need. Pair down your wardrobe, books, kitchen gadgets and furniture to the essentials. Everything that you keep should have a purpose that nothing else can fill. Keep clothes that you can easily mix and match together. If you find you have 2 kitchen appliances that fill the same job, you can do without one of them.
G. Stop Buying More
By now, your home should be considerably less cluttered and you are finding you have much less junk to clean up and put away each day. So how do you keep it that way? The easiest and most effective way to just stop buying things. When you shop, really think about the item before you buy. Is it something that you really need, or are you merely thinking about it because it’s a good price? If you have something similar or you just don’t need it, then pass on the item.
Minimalism can help you reduce your clutter, save you money and help you live a much simpler life. It may seem like it’s impossible or that there is just no way you could be a minimalist, but if you take your time easing into it and follow these steps, you can be on your way to being completely free from all the excess and clutter.