How To Become A Minimalist

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Now that you’ve read “Why You Should Become A Minimalist,” here are some ways to do it. Being minimal can mean different things to different people—for example, downsizing, owning very few possessions, or tossing outdated or unused items. Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, define it this way: “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” Keep this in mind as you figure out the best minimalist approach that works for you.

  1. Why Become A Minimalist?: Write out reasons why you want to become a minimalist. What are your end goals? More time for yourself, and less for maintaining your space? Less clutter? Save money? It’s important to have these goals in mind to reinforce why you’ve made this decision.

  2. Priorities: While slimming down your belongings, figure out the value that you give each item and what your priorities are. For some, books are the priority, and for others, makeup is something that they’ll struggle to purge. What matters most is figuring out what you’re keeping, understand why you’re keeping it, and decide if it’s valuable enough to take up space in your home.

  3. Categories: Look at each item and figure out what category it belongs in—keep, donate, sell, recycle, trash. Sometimes assigning a specific color sticker to each item that signifies what you’re doing with it can be helpful so you don’t have to ask yourself the same question repeatedly.

  4. Multiples: There are some items that you need such as cleaning supplies, cooking utensils, towels, sheets…you get the idea. While minimizing, it’s important to distinguish what you need from what you want. You may want all the different patterned sheets and towels, but how many do you really need? Be reasonable about it. We generally recommend two to three sets of sheets per bed (the third includes a flannel/warmer set for winter) and two towels per person.

  5. What if…?: If you’re struggling to get rid of something because you think “What if…?”, we recommend The Minimalists’ 20/20 rule: “Anything we get rid of that we truly need, we can replace for less than $20 or in less than 20 minutes from our current location.” Keep this in mind when you’re debating whether or not to keep items like articles of clothing, office supplies, kitchen utensils, and books. If it’s something that you know you can replace within 20 minutes or for under $20, the purging process should go faster and easier.

  6. Multi-Purpose Items: Ask yourself about items that aren’t multi-purpose. I see this a lot in the kitchen–think specific knives, different spatulas, avocado scooper, egg peeler. Try to limit all your items to ones that have multiple purposes, allowing you to have fewer items that can do more than one thing.

  7. Where To Start?: Having trouble on what to purge first? Check out this link that provides over 100 things we all have in our homes that we can easily dispose of. Start out simple.

  8. Memorabilia: Memorabilia can be a tricky thing to slim down. A quick and easy solution is to create an album on your phone labeled “Memorabilia” and take a photo of it. That way the memory can still live without taking up space.

  9. Digital Clutter: Digital clutter can be just as difficult to manage as physical clutter. Take some time to go through your overflowing inbox. Check out unroll.me to unsubscribe from those annoying emails you once subscribed to for discounts—after all, you won’t be shopping nearly as much anymore! Minimalism is a process involving every aspect of clutter in your life.

  10. Wardrobe: I know, this one is hard for me too. But seriously, how many sweaters, shoes and scarves does a person need? Start with any items that you haven’t worn in years—maybe because they don’t fit, are out of style, or need to be repaired. PURGE. When donating my clothing, I can’t even tell you what I gave away. The stuff clearly wasn’t as important to me as I thought. One trick worth trying is Project 333. Allow yourself to only wear 33 items for 3 months and see how it goes!

Less is more. Keep this in mind, and you can gain more time, money, and freedom. If you’re having trouble, give us a call. I cleared out my own closet recently with a fellow professional organizer, and I understand how helpful it is to have someone else hold me accountable and help me make decisions. Now get to it and live your best life decluttered!

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