So, I’m pretty sure you have seen the Netflix documentary Tidying up with Marie Kondo, right? I’m sure millions of people have, which would explain the huge influx in donations at thrift stores.
Or maybe you’ve heard about The Minimalist and the idea of, living a rich life with less stuff, sparked something inside you. Whatever it is, I am excited you are here.
Marie Kondo’s approach (the Konmari method) is simple to follow. It encourages you to connect with your belongings and only keeping things that spark joy in your life.
The Minimalist approach takes your decluttering journey to a whole new level. It teaches you how to escape excessive consumerism. It teaches contentment and helps you learn how to let go.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. Aren’t minimalist hippies? Don’t minimalist sleep on the floor and live in a tiny home? What if I give something away and I need it later?
Listen, I feel you.
I felt the same way at first. But guess what, there’s no right or wrong to this journey. Minimalism looks different for everyone. You don’t have to live off the grid, or only own 50 items, or only wear black, or only have white walls.
YOU define what minimalism is for you.
I decided to embark on my minimalist journey a couple years ago.
I can recall countless weekends where I stayed home to clean and organize which caused me to miss out on quality time with my family. Funny thing is, it never seemed to be organized. No matter how much I tried, it would still look cluttered. I felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I had.
Anyone else feel that way?
I encourage you to assess your day to day activities for a week. How much time do you spend cleaning or organizing? Do you really like expending your energy maintaining all your belongings? How much money you spent on the thing, was it worth it? Do you use the thing or is it stored away somewhere never to be seen again, collecting dust?
I want to share some tips that helped me cut down on the amount of stuff I own.
Tip 1 Mentally prepare yourself
This is the most important step. You should first ground yourself before starting your journey. To do this, start by closing your eyes and visualize how you will feel once your house is to your liking. Explore your why during this time. Why are you doing this? What brought you here? Whatever it is, find your why power. Allow your mind to feel what it feels. If you cry during this time of reflection so be it. Shift your mindset, tell yourself there is no right or wrong to this journey. Once you know your why, it’ll help you throughout this process.
Tip 2 Go at your own pace
I had to ground myself a few times because I would get stressed about the process and thinking there’s a timeline. There is no timeline. Don’t feel rushed, take as much time as you need. The process of letting go will be easy for some, but for others it may be a grueling process. Go at your own pace.
Tip 3 Prepare donation bins and trash bins
Now, that doesn’t mean go out and buy new containers. Look around your house, what can you use to store donation items. I used boxes, empty containers, and paper bags. For trash, it’s important to have a trash bin near by so you can easily throw away any crap you find.
Tip 4 Recycle, Donate, or Give away items you no longer want
RDG is the name of the game. When you are going through your things, ask yourself is this R, D or G. What items can you recycle or up-cycle? What items are you able to donate that won’t end up in a landfill? What items can you give to a friend, a shelter or even sell?
Hey, did you know that animal shelters are more than happy to accept your used towels? Say what?! I know! I didn’t know this until I did more research.
Tip 5 Find a home for the things you decide to keep
Your keep pile can be as many items as you like. However, you will need to find those items a home. Where do they belong? Give it a place in your home. For seasonal items be sure to store them in a clear container so you can easily locate them.
Tip 6 Store away your maybe pile
For the maybe items, store them in a bag or container. Label the container “maybe”. Tuck the containers away for 2-4 months. After the 2-4 months, you can reassess the items. Did you really need those items? Did you even open that box after a few months? Can you even remember what’s in those boxes? If you haven’t used them in a while, you more than likely do not need it.
Tip 7 Preserve sentimental items
This was definitely the most challenging part for me. This process took me almost a week to get through. I cried the entire time. I wanted to keep everything. I especially wanted to keep items that my late Grandma owned. I felt guilty at the thought of donating her stuff.
I think when we associate memories with certain items it brings the item so much value. However, I came to realize that having too many sentimental items can quickly turn into a burden.
In this part of the journey, evaluate each item. Do you need these items to keep the memories alive?
When you are ready to let go, take some time to reflect with that item. You can then thank the item before placing it in the donation bin. One thing I did before donating any sentimental item was take a photo of it. You can then display that photo in a family album or heirloom frame.
I believe that we can find contentment if we focus on what truly adds value. Living with less helped me redefine my views on success and allowed me to have more time to do what I love. I have become a lot more intentional when it comes to purchasing a new item.
I hope you found this guide helpful. If you would like a 30 day guide to keep you on track you can find it here. Wishing you love and light on your journey!