We live in a consumerist society so we are used to accumulating stuff in the basement, the garage, or the attic. People tend to pile up big cardboard boxes believing they are valuable stuff and can’t be thrown away under no circumstances. It doesn’t mean people are mean but most of us attach ourselves to material possession.
No matter if it is our kid’s toys, clothes, old DVDs, books from school, or a collection of cards, everyone has an assortment of whatever comes to mind hidden in the closet or warehouse. There are many people who unconsciously live cluttered lives.
Minimalism is a clear change of mindset and lifestyle which helps to live simpler. This new philosophy consists of living as simply as possible by discarding unnecessary stuff or buying items that really contribute value to you.
Once we move out or move in is when we realize how much we accumulate. The amount of random items we store on wardrobes, drawers, and boxes is unbelievable. The unpalatable truth is that we discovered how much we’ve accumulated in a couple of years when we don’t find important files or when all that stuff falls out from the shelves.
Minimalist tips for beginners
In order to make a drastic change in your life you need to recognize you live in a cluttered house and that you don’t want it any longer. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle is not easy since it takes time and implies persistence. However, changes are real and sustainable.
If you are interested in this lifestyle change and don’t know how to get started, there are few tips which will help you to envision a final product and start living more organized and free of worries.
A minimalist mindset is based on having less materialistic possessions and gaining more time to spend on bonding with family and friends or to do what you like the most. Nobody will ask you to discard items that have a sentimental value for you. All the contrary, the main target is to get rid of unnecessary stuff so as to have more financial freedom, no more debts, and more spare time to focus on what you are really interested in.
Taking into consideration the following steps will help you live simpler, more relaxed, and without anxiety. If you can’t fulfill your objectives right away, it’s okay since it takes time to adjust to a minimalist lifestyle. If you are overwhelmed because you have a big house full of stuff you don’t even remember having or a tiny apartment cluttered with unneeded items, a minimalist lifestyle is for you.
Have a plan in mind
Before embarking upon this simple lifestyle, you should envision the final product so as to have in mind what’s your goal. Make a list of what you value the most in your house and which items you don’t mind. In this way, you’ll be reflecting on what really matters in your life and what areas of your life feel cluttered or stressful.
At this stage of the process you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Ask yourself which items you can’t live with and which ones you don’t even care about. This is the hardest part of the process. Evaluate every item in your drawers and think if you’re truly going to wear all those dresses again in the near future.
You can start by writing down or making a calendar so as to decide when you’d like to start decluttering your rooms and how long you think this process will take you. Minimalism is a personal and unique experience. There are not even two identical individuals, so the process is different for everyone.
Don’t freak out if you take a step back or if you don’t follow exactly the list you’ve made. It might be frustrating to change the habits of a lifetime. Be also realistic and consider your duties and responsibilities. If you have a full time job or kids, you’ll need to organize your schedule based on that.
Categorize your items
Once you’ve made a list of what you cherish the most and those items you don’t care about, designate categories to the stuff you are sure to get rid of.
The first category could be Keep. Focus on what you want most to include in this category. Dig deep down in your heart and think about those items in your house you really appreciate and you are not ready yet to discard. Minimalism is a personal experience so there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to prioritizing.
Sell. If you come across items you no longer use and seem almost brand new, you can have a garage sale and make some money out of it. Or you can donate them to The Salvation Army or homeless children or to an orphanage. The sky’s the limit.
You can also repurpose and Recycle old stuff or Trash them if you think they don’t contribute to your life.
Once you have decided on your categories, you can get started. You don’t become a minimalist person by throwing away everything that you bump into and having 100 items left. It’s not a matter of owning a few things if you don’t feel like it, it’s a matter of giving small steps by discarding everything that doesn’t make you feel happy or at peace.
Letting go is the first step to get into minimalism. This process requires time, don’t expect a massive cleaning in one day. Discarding a couple of items each day is a big step.
Declutter a room at a time
You can also choose any room in your house to get started. It’s no convenient to start out with the garage, the attic, or the basement since they are considered to be the most cluttered rooms in a house and you’ll end up frustrated in a couple of hours.
Start with a room you don’t feel comfortable with. Categorize any item you find and keep only those objects you and your family use regularly or that have a sentimental value. Once you’ve finished with a room, reflect on your achievements so as to continue with another room.
Go through your wardrobe
People tend to accumulate shoes and clothes everywhere( in closets, drawers, and boxes) just in case they’d need them for a special ocassion. Others don’t dare to get rid of almost brand new clothing since their younger kids would need them when they grow up.
Loose pairs of sneakers and big leather jackets take place in wardrobes and a lot. Believe it or not, they accumulate very fast cluttering any drawer or closet.
You don’t have to get rid of everything but think about which garments you wear the most. You’d probably need a couple of outfits to go to work, another one to go running or to the gym, a couple more to go out or for special occasions, you’d also need clothes to stay at home or go to the store.
You don’t need to discard absolutely everything. Just keep what you really wear quite often. If you haven’t put a dress on in six months. Is it worth it to keep it in the closet? Are you sure you’re going to wear it in the near future? We are used to buying evening clothes for one or two special occasions and then they end up dangling in the closet for years.
Think also about socks and undergarments. You don’t need for sure 30 pairs of socks or 20 pairs of underwear. You don’t wear a different pair of socks and underwear every single day in a month. Once you do the laundry you start wearing that clothing again.
Eliminate unused kitchen appliances and trinkets
Kitchen drawers and counters are for sure cluttered of unused items we have bought because they are cute or seemed to be useful. But, most of these trinkets ended up at the bottom of a drawer almost brand new. We all have bought tenths of plastic bowls and we always use the same one, or, a lot of wine glasses in case we have many guests but that never happened.
Don’t get attached to material belongings. You don’t need to throw away the electrical oven or the toaster but think about those appliances or kitchen trinkets you hardly ever use. They are taking up the counters without even noting it. Drawers are so cluttered that you barely find the everyday silverware.
The kitchen is the room where people accumulate stuff the most. They think that every single gadget is worthwhile having just in case they’d need them. The truth is if you haven’t used an appliance more than once or twice or it’s been four years you haven’t used it; it’s time you discard it and make it in your counters for stuff you do use.
Get rid of doubles
You probably moved with your partners a few years ago. Both of you had your own silverware, pie pans, chairs, appliances, plates, cups, Christmas ornaments, and Christmas tree. You need to eliminate doubles so as to make space for the important stuff. You won’t use two Christmas trees or 42 plates, for sure.
Doubles are not that common but once you start digging into the cabinets you realize you have many appliances or trinkets that perform the same purpose. You won’t use four spatulas at the same time. So get rid of doubles to double your drawers space.
Use storage containers.
If you don’t feel like throwing away at first, it’s okay. You can use storage containers or wooden crates to store your kid’s toys, books from college, or anything you need to keep out of the way. Minimalism is not only having less but also to have peace of mind by living simpler and organized so as not to get distracted with unnecessary stuff.
You’ll find peace of mind in an organized house. Use containers or crates to store school books or winter clothes during summertime, or your Christmas decoration for the rest of the year. It doesn’t mean having to pile up a lot of storage containers. The main idea of minimalism is to live simple with a few items. However, this is a good idea to get your room organized.
Minimalism implies a simple life, free of stress, and free of debts. To avoid cluttering your house again it’s necessary to budget your money. If you go to the shopping center and buy everything you like you´ll be stepping back. What’s most important is to acquire quality appliances and gadgets that last forever. You’ll be investing money only once instead of wasting money every two or three years in electrical devices.
Clear out every few months
Once you have finished decluttering every room in your house, it’s time not to step back. Behold what you have gained so far and how your lifestyle has changed with minimalism. Anyway, since it’s a process which takes time you may need to repeat the process every few months.
Don’t get stressed or frustrated if you have to declutter often. It’s totally natural to pile up things. We do so unconsciously until we turn minimalism into a good habit.
It’s okay if you realize you have been accumulating unnecessary stuff again. Check every room and start all over again. However, this time won’t be like the first one. You have learned to let go so you´ll find it easier to discard unneeded items.
Each time you decide what’s important and what’s not, you’ll make decisions faster and with no regrets. In this process, you’ve gained confidence in yourself and peace of mind.
Following these suggestions will help you out to take your first steps in minimalism. This new way of living will bring freedom of mind by eliminating unnecessary stuff that distracts you from what really matters in your life.
You´ll be enjoying its benefits before you realize it.