The next time you have a free minute, put down your phone. Take a walk through your home, room by room. Notice the cluttered areas.
Sit for a moment and reflect. How does it feel? Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of things in your home? Does cleaning and tidying feel like a chore with no end in sight? Do you have just too much stuff?
If so, a minimalist lifestyle might be worth a try.
Minimalism doesn’t mean giving up all your stuff and living as a monk. It doesn’t mean you can’t buy a pair of shoes that you love. You can still maintain a beautiful home and lounge on a favorite couch. Minimalism is the practice of making better choices. It means thinking before you buy, buying with purpose, and refusing to value material things. The concept sounds overwhelming at first, but you’ll find great relief in prioritizing what you really want out of life. And of course, we’ve got a few tips for you if you’re ready to dip your toes in. Name your “why.”When making a change like this, you’ll need a motivator to keep you on track. Especially if you’re beginning at the opposite end of the spectrum – like a shopaholic. Changing your habits will be hard work, and it’s going to take time and practice.
Make a list of priorities in your life, a bucket list if you will. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to get better at? What have you felt like you didn’t have enough time for? And is your spending holding you back from these? Once you have a list of goals to work towards, display them somewhere, you often see to keep them in sight when tested. Because you will be tested.
Is this the most fun part of the process? Maybe. Purging may be hard to wrap your head around if it’s your first time doing it in a long time, but you’ll realize the joy it brings once you start. Pick a room, and start going through your stuff to see what you can clear out.
Damaged stuff doesn’t need to be held on to. You’re most likely not going to fix it if you haven’t yet. Go through your kitchen and seek out anything you have multiples of. Do you need two whisks? How many measuring cups can you really use? Why are there so many different cleaners? Sometimes the hardest is getting rid of things we simply don’t use, because what if you want to use it later? A great rule of thumb is to reflect on how essential this item has been in the last year. Did you use it or wear it? If not, you can probably do without it. Nothing should exist just to take up space and hope to be valued later. Someone else could be using it!
Go Beyond Physical Items.
Once you’ve purged your home of things you don’t need or use, keep going. Where? Everywhere. Take a look at your calendar. Is it way too full? Do you feel that you need more time for yourself? Make it. Are you stretched too thin? Cut back on activities. When you prioritize taking care of yourself, you can take much better care of everyone else. Examine your relationships. Sometimes we keep friendships out of obligation, even if it doesn’t serve us anymore. Don’t carry around dead weight. There’s no need to labor over something that brings no good into your life. When you get home from work, what kind of mood are you in? Touch base to see if your career is something you desire. If not, start putting what you want first – within reason, of course. We can’t all up and quit our jobs, but we can search for new ones or start training ourselves for something that might light a spark within us.
Sharing is Caring.
Our culture is highly invested in having your own everything – your own lawnmower, your own DVD’s, your own vacuum. And for some items, that’s the most convenient way! But there are definitely belongings you use less than once a month, items that someone else has plenty of. Instead of buying, consider renting or borrowing. Most hardware stores have a tool rental program, so instead of buying a chainsaw for $250 to use one time, spend $30 and get the chore done in a day. Check out neighbors as well – plenty are willing to share what they have for free! Instead of buying your media, visit your local library. You can borrow books, DVDs, CDs, and more for free. What a deal!
Buy multi-use items.
Niche products take up a lot of space if you have one for each purpose. Buy items that have a little more versatility and can do more than one job. Think one cleaning product for most of your surfaces. Maybe a more straightforward shirt that goes with anything and goes anywhere. Shoes that interchange for both work and play. Washable cleaning rags instead of paper towels.
Don’t rush it.
Last but not least, your move towards having less stuff will progress slowly. It’s a marathon, not a race – and there’s no room for comparison along the way. Your journey to minimalism will look different from your neighbor’s, your mom’s, or your favorite blogger with the spotless white house. Don’t pressure yourself to find perfection – simply seek out a balance that feels right for you.