The Minimalism trend is EXPLODING right now all over the internet and media. Early 2016 is when I first noticed the idea being presented, but I never really payed much attention to it.
For those who aren’t fully aware of what “minimalism” entails… the idea is that in order to live a more meaningful and free life, you must live simply and with less clutter.
So, people use minimalism as a tool to rid themselves of unnecessary material possessions in order to put more focus on what is truly important — fulfillment, relationships, self care, happiness. The list can go on. But I know you get the idea!
Now, let me be up front… I have a LOT of stuff, and I love my stuff. I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a hoarder… but I do have a hard time parting with certain things.
I’m great at coming up with reasons as to why I just MUST keep a certain item. Especially when it comes to my wardrobe, decor, or functional items. Mainly because I have an irrational fear that one day (even years from now) I will just NEED that particular item that I tossed out or that I’ll find the perfect use for it.
Crazy, I know. But this is the reason why I never even considered that I would be able to achieve a more fulfilled life from “minimalism”. I didn’t think I even had a percentage of what it takes.
It wasn’t until I watched the documentary on Netflix called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, that I really started to think incorporating minimalism into my lifestyle. I wanted to find a way that I would be able to make it work in hopes of lowering my stress and increasing my satisfaction with what I already had. Lame, I know.
Anyways, the ideas discussed by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who are known as “The Minimalists” to the millions of people who they have reached are so inspiring. I strongly suggest that even if the minimalism journey isn’t interesting to you, that you still take the time to watch this documentary or read their book. They both contain so many life-changing ideas and topics that they has something for literally (and I mean literally) anyone.
Minimalism in Moderation:
Now let’s get to the main point of why I’m writing this: Minimalism in Moderation. That, my friends, is what I’m choosing to call what I’m doing.
What most people don’t get about minimalism is that you don’t need to narrow your closet down to only 20 articles of clothing. You don’t need to only own one set of cups or not own a television. You are able to own more than two pairs of shoes. You’re able to have decorative elements in your home. Hobby supplies, collections, sentimental objects are allowed.
While most things online about minimalism are on the more drastic end of the spectrum, that doesn’t mean you need to be on that end.
Minimalism isn’t some cult that says you can and can’t do certain things. It’s a tool to use when making the shift from placing value in possessions to placing value in life itself.
That’s why “minimalism in moderation” works, it’s all about finding the right balance of how to make minimalism work for your lifestyle (which is different for everyone).
How I made minimalism work for my lifestyle:
Like I said earlier, I have a lot of stuff that I place value in. I’m sentimental, I like to keep objects that remind me of certain people or times. I’m crafty, I tend to keep items if I feel like I can repurpose them and make a new DIY project out of them. And I’m resourceful, I hate wasting money, so I keep items that I feel like I will need someday because I don’t want to have to repurchase them. I also really like to have decorative elements in my home that show off my family’s style.
The biggest change that minimalism brought me really, was a change in mentality.
I still have a lot of stuff, but I think about my stuff differently. I quit asking myself what I felt like I needed to get rid of. Instead, I began asking myself what I really felt like I needed to keep.
You may not think that a simple change in thinking will make a large difference, but it does. When I made a change in the way I approached minimalism, I found myself to be much more successful in it.
I kept things for my crafts, I kept things that I still felt to be useful, I kept my favorite interior decorative elements, I kept most of my clothes, and I kept items that had extremely large sentimental value and brought me joy. However, I got rid of broken or unused items, worn out items, items that I felt would make someone else happier than they make me, and items that simply were taking up too much space or time to clean and weren’t worth the upkeep.
Below I’m going to discuss the ways I incorporated minimalism into my life to figure out what I needed to keep and what I could rid myself of.
Use this as a guide for your own minimalism journey to help you realize what you actually NEED in your life.
Minimalism in my family’s home:
1. Books/magazines: Books that you don’t love, donate. Books you’ve already read that you will never read again, donate. Books that you’ve had for years and never read, donate. ALL old magazines, toss.
2. Visual (decorative) clutter: The rule of thumb here is that if it doesn’t bring spark joy, it goes. Therefore, if you don’t notice and appreciate it on occasion, donate it. Toss broken and dirty items.
3. Kitchen: Kitchens are full to brim with excess. Donate duplicates that are not being put to use (keep the nicer/newer item). Toss worn out or dirty pots and pans that are irreparable. Donate extra cups, plates, and bowls that don’t go with a set. Throw away almost empty cleaning supplies, worn out sponges or rags, and expired food, tea, coffee, spices, etc.
4. Linen closet: Get rid of worn out throw pillows, torn up towels, blankets, and sheets or pillowcases that don’t go with a set.
5. Media console: Get rid of games/toys that don’t get used, old electronics not being used, and old cords or batteries.
Minimalism in my own possessions:
1. Wardrobe: Stained/worn out items get an immediate toss. Clothes that you’re holding onto to “fix someday”, donate (unless you commit to mending them within the week). Ill-fitting clothing, donate. Clothes you MIGHT need for an event, are where it gets tricky. If it’s a nice, high value item… keep it. If it’s something that you really won’t miss or could replace easily, donate it.
2. Cosmetics: Outdated makeup, skincare, and hair products get an immediate toss. Almost empty bottles or containers or products get an immediate toss. Products that you haven’t used in the past 2 months get an immediate toss unless you know that you use them for a specific purpose on occasion. Unopened products can get donated if you won’t use them, or kept if they are a backup of a product you use regularly.
3. Accessories (handbags, shoes, belts, jewelry): Worn out, tarnished, or broken items get an immediate toss. Donate items you haven’t used in the past six months.
Minimalism in my digital and office space:
1. Online/Device clutter: Go through bookmarked pages, apps, documents, emails, contacts, etc. and delete anything that is not relevant to your current life.
2. Photos: Go through your photos and delete screenshots, duplicates, and bad photos.
3. Office supplies: Toss any poorly working pens, pencils, markers, etc. Keep only a few extra items on hand.
4. Paperwork clutter: Shred anything that isn’t an important document or receipt that you need to file.
What Minimalistic living left me with:
Overall, finding a way to incorporate minimalism into my lifestyle was extremely successful. I’m not going to be dramatic and say that minimalism changed my life. Because it hasn’t. Yet. Who knows, someday I may decide to take minimalism to the extreme and get rid of all my stuff… Ha! That’s doubtful. But in all seriousness, minimalism has taught me valuable lessons. It is a very easy lifestyle change that reaps great rewards. Three things that minimalism improved in my life are:
1. I’ve become less overwhelmed by the visual and internal clutter.
2. I am less concerned with filling my house with “stuff” and more concerned with making my house a home in order to be fully present with my family.
3. I have a new appreciation of the material items that I do own. Simply because I know that they’ve made it through the decluttering process.
Now that you’ve taken a look at my list of what I decluttered, use it as inspiration to create your own. Feel free to add in items or categories that you feel you need to work on, or remove items or categories that you feel you already have under control. You can do this!
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