Spending most of 2020 at home, you may notice that you have way too much stuff laying around everywhere. This is the stuff you have to clean, organize, and generally deal with on a daily basis, even if you never use any of it. And the excess affects us at times more than it gives us joy (shout out to Marie Kondo).
The idea of minimalism isn’t to live without, but to truly live with what you already have. To release the excess that weighs us down and have freedom. To not fall into the trap of trying to keep up with others, buying all the latest offerings whether we truly need them or not.
Think about all the things you’ve bought that have gone un- or underused in your household. What if you set those items free? What if you made a decision to stop buying new things frequently? Would that not only save you some money but also free up space in your home? We want to give you some tips for getting started on living a more minimalistic life. Even if it’s getting rid of a few things here and there, owning things that truly mean something to you, and shedding the rest will make 2021 a little lighter.
Stop Trying to Have it All
Minimalism is in direct contrast to consumerism. It’s not about constantly attaining, but rather just getting what you need and using what you have. To live this simpler lifestyle, you will have to shift your reality from paying attention to ads, shopping sales all the time, and constantly wanting more.
Evaluate What You Do Have
It’s time to look around and take inventory of what you currently own. What do you use? How often do you use these things? If they’re simply gathering dust and taking up space, it’s time to donate them to a local charity or women’s shelter. Ask yourself, when was the last time i used this? If it’s been more than a year (or six months for some items) it’s time to let go. If it has sentimental value, it can help to take a photo so you have a way to memorialize the item before letting it go.
Change is great, but it can also be overwhelming. There is no need to throw everything out when going minimal. Start small. This could mean starting with your closet or kitchen drawers and spreading out from there. You can go room by room at a pace that works for you.
Get Rid of Duplicates
Do you really need a hundred pair of shoes, or more jeans than you actually wear? Is it necessary to have several bottle openers and other kitchen gadgets, plus enough bathroom towels and sheets to host a visiting conference? We often keep buying such things, not realizing how much of them we have until we stop and do inventory. Pare down to the items you actually do use, and that are constant, loyal go-tos.
Make Keep, Donate, and Fix Piles
Once you start deciding what you want to keep and get rid of, you can create three piles to keep things organized. One will be things to keep. The other will be things that you can donate to a local charity. The last pile will be things that need repairs, such as a replaced or reset zipper, a button added, or hems taken up.
Digitize Papers and Photos and Read Digitally
It is really easy to overload your home space with papers, books, magazines, and photos. One of the great things tech has brought us is the ability to digitize these items. You can easily scan papers and photos using an app that lets you snap photos, or a scanner on your printer. You can also opt for buying and reading books on your smart device, such as a phone or tablet. The same goes for music. Not only does this save space, it also prevents your precious belongings being lost forever in an emergency such as a fire or flood.
Separate Your Emotions from Certain Items
It’s so hard to get rid of items you’ve had forever since you’ve attached feeling and meaning to them. But, once you can look past those feelings, and really analyze if you need to hold onto them, you can start decluttering your space. Honor what those things meant to you, and then release them. You can even take photos to remind yourself of that special sweater or childhood teddy bear. Be happy knowing someone else will use it and give it a new life.
Think About What You’ll Gain, Not What You’re Losing
Going minimal isn’t about going without. It’s about using and enjoying the necessary, and getting rid of the stuff that brings you stress. It’s about knowing yourself and what you really need to be happy (which isn’t a lot). Letting go of extra stuff, be it emotional or physical, gives you freedom. And we’re here for that!
Make Your Wardrobe Work for You (Not the Other Way Around)
Women often have a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear. This often happens when we buy too many individual garments that speak to us, but refuse to play nice with the rest of our wardrobe. That’s why it’s important to cut out the excess that just isn’t working in your closet. When you do go shopping, get things that you know will go with at least two other things in your wardrobe. Make mental outfits with the new potential garment. This will save you precious time staring at your closet each morning.
See How This Will Help the Planet
Not only will going minimal help you breathe easier on a day-to-day basis, but it will also help the planet breathe a little easier. You won’t be buying a bunch of new things, that will end up going into a landfill, polluting the earth, and using up its resources. You will be donating items so that others can reuse them, and may get thrifted/vintage items so you can do the same. The less you use and waste, the more you give the earth a chance to heal.
Seek Quality Over Quantity
If you’re going to pare down to the essentials in your life, you want what you do use regularly to be of quality. This may mean spending a bit more on those purchases, but if you divide what you spend by the number of uses you’ll get out of them, it will make sense. It’s better than getting a ton of inexpensive stuff that goes to the landfills sooner rather than later. Look for sales and other discounts on these tried-and-true investments, or you can buy them secondhand.