Easy ways to become a minimalist
Every year at this time, I seem to go through an intense period of decluttering and purging unwanted things from my house. But this year, I am in overdrive. MT actually asked if I was nesting again! And just to put it out there, no. I am not pregnant again.
More and more, I just seem to be fascinated by minimalism and having fewer possessions. My idea of minimalism is probably laughable to a true minimalist, as I am not one who can get by on one shirt, one appliance, and a book as my sole possessions. However, I seem to grow more anxious about having so much as I get older.
Please don’t get me wrong- I am thankful for all that I have and realize that not everyone is as fortunate as I am. There are plenty things worse in the world than having too many lipsticks, and what I am describing here is clearly a luxury problem.
But the excess stuff makes me feel unsettled, unorganized, and guilty (since most of it is just stored away collecting dust). I was actually kind of disgusted after looking through my lipstick collection recently. I have one pair of lips, and like 100 tubes of mostly unused lipstick. Sure, I could argue that makeup is a hobby and bla bla bla, but what’s the point in having things that I will never even use?
I’ll get back to the makeup overload in a future post, but today I really just wanted to share some of the guidelines that I am following as far as clearing out clutter. This is basically a minimalism how-to for those of us who just don’t find true minimalism to be very practical.
(I mean, my children would be pretty annoyed if I decided to get rid of all their toys…and I don’t think MT would exactly be thrilled if his electronics suddenly went missing.)
Rule #1: Think before buying.
Sometimes I find myself making purchases based on emotions. “This is cute!” just isn’t a valid reason for buying something. Lately, I have been considering whether I really need the item, if it serves a purpose, if I already have something similar, and if it will add any value to my life. Yes, it kind of takes the fun out of impulse shopping, but it also cuts down on clutter. Big time.
Rule #2: Donate or sell anything that I don’t use or wear.
Recently, I decided to remove at least three items a day from my home that I no longer need, use, wear, want, etc. I’ll either donate those things or sell them on eBay, Poshmark, or Craig’s List for a little extra cash. It has really been an eye-opening experience. I’ve seriously found things that I didn’t even realize I had! Those things are automatically donated and passed along to someone who can really use them.
Rule #3: Keep counter tops and flat surfaces as clear as possible.
This one is pretty easy for me to follow since I have never been big on clutter, but it is easy to go overboard with things like decorations and appliances. When there are too many of those things, a space just doesn’t look as orderly, and the important things tend to get lost or forgotten in the process.
Rule #4: Focus on quality and not quantity.
I’ve been following this one pretty well for the past year- especially when it comes to clothing. Personally, I would rather have one really well-made pair of designer shoes that I know will last me forever than 500 pairs of cheaper ones that hurt my feet and fall apart after being worn 3 times.
As far as decorations and knick-knacks, I have decided to keep and display only those things that are meaningful to me. For instance, I was dusting a bookshelf and found a piece of artwork that MT and I bought in Charleston a few years back. It was hidden from view by a cheap little tray that I got at IKEA. While it was cute, the tray had never been used and had no significance to me. I donated it, and now the artwork from Charleston is prominently displayed on the shelf.
Rule #5: Remember that I don’t need multiples of everything.
If you check out my Bath & Body Works candle stash, you’ll see that this one is a real problem for me. I honestly don’t know where I learned that I need to have back-ups of things, but it is such a bad habit. I mean, if the Winter candle is ever discontinued, I’ll live. I don’t need 15 of them to hang onto “just in case” that ever occurs. At least, that is what I am trying to tell myself. 😉
Rule #6: Use what I have before buying something new.
This is another difficult one- at least for me. I am a product junkie, so I love to try the latest and greatest cosmetics and skin care on the market. As you will see in an upcoming “Products I’ve Used Up” post, I am actually doing a pretty good job of using everything in my current stash before moving on to the next thing.
I would love to hear your thoughts on living with less, what minimalism means to you, and how you cut down the clutter. Also, please tell me in the comments if you’d like me document more of my minimalism journey.