Minimalism: A style that is characterized by sparseness and simplicity.
It can take many forms and can be overwhelming to some. But for people who want to have less, maintain less, and spend less, it can be a breath of fresh air. There are mounds of tutorials and how-to’s to accomplish this.
There is one thing I can tell you: It is not an overnight process!
In the the spirit of keeping things simple (see what I did there?) I have listed my 3 Steps to Minimalism.
Whether you write it down on a piece of paper, in a notebook, or in your phone, identify the areas in your home you want more simplicity. I’d recommend starting in the home. Once the physical space begins to find simplicity it will begin to transfer into other areas in your life.
The beauty of minimalism is that it forces you to truly reflect on yourself and your needs. You just have to decide to begin.
Do you want a closet that isn’t overwhelming with shoes and clothes? Do you have kitchen drawers that are overflowing with items long unused? Do you have a room or garage or closet full of things that you are hanging onto, but can’t quite pinpoint why?
Write it all down! Getting on paper is the first step. Once you’ve got it written down then you can begin to prioritize. Which leads us to…
I would begin by picking your top 3 spaces you want to clarify. For me I chose my closet (clothes and shoes), my kitchen (too many unused items), and my office (I’m not even sure what half of the stuff in there is for anymore).
I picked a day to clean out my closet: I bagged up everything I hadn’t worn in that last year, and put it in the garage. After 2 months I donated those clothes. I repeated this process with my shoes.
Regarding the kitchen items I kept out the utensils, plates, bowls, a week’s worth of glasses and tupperware, two wine glasses, a spatula, my baking dishes, and my big items (mixer, crock pot, blender, coffee maker). What you keep will vary based on your household size and needs. After 3 months anything I brought back in from the boxes stayed, along with what I originally kept out, and the other items were sold or donated.
When it came to my “office,” it really was a matter of keeping the boxes stored under my bed or tossing them. I never used them. I had pulled out the printer, printer paper, envelopes, stamps, scissors, stapler, tape, 3-hole punch, my pencil pouch (which lives in my purse anyway), and a small container with paperclips, extra staples, and rubber bands. Everything else I didn’t touch, so it was brought to school so other teachers could use those materials in their classrooms. This actually eliminated my need for a desk since now everything I needed fit neatly in my night stand and I can work at the kitchen table, which I did most of the time anyway even after getting a desk.
Minimalism is a journey. If you’re like me, you’ll find that even after you’ve cleaned out an area that 4-5 months later there are still things you don’t touch, don’t use, or don’t even remember owning.
Ask yourself these questions: How long has it been since I’ve used it? What is the reality of me using it again? Does it hold major sentimental value?
The sentimental value things is tricky. For me the only things I won’t discard for sentimental value are tucked in a 15″x15″x15″ box that fits neatly on a closet shelf. It doesn’t take up a ton of space and I can pull each item out and tell why it holds a valuable place in my heart. Decide what is irreplaceable and find a safe place for it. Then in 6 months to a year pull it out and reflect: do you still remember why it’s important? Does it still hold meaning? If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, it needs to go.
Repeat after me: Identify, prioritize, re-evaluate. Identify, prioritize, re-evaluate.
Breaking things down into a simple process will help you achieve your goals of minimalism to whatever level you desire. Just remember: identify, prioritze, re-evaluate!