Where to Begin...
Have you ever found box full of stuff you forgot you had, in a closet that you never go in?
Do you hold onto things that you plan to re-purpose one day but the day never comes?
Do you have Pinterest boards full of DIY crafts that lets be honest, you're never going to do? Is your kitchen table where mail goes to get stacked in piles and forgotten about?
Do you feel like your mind is cluttered, your house is cluttered, your phone storage is running out, and you just don’t have enough time for all of it?
I feel your pain. I was raised in a home where we saved everything. My mom is super crafty and creative and was always stopping us from throwing things out that we could somehow re-use. I think twice now before I throw anything out.
Side note: I am very proud to have a parent that taught me about recycling and reducing waste, and it's something I wish every one would make a priority.
BUT my purse feels like its full of bricks, this is hurting my shoulder.
We can not hold on to everything.
Sometimes you just need to throw shit away.
What is Minimalism?
If you have the time, you seriously need to watch the documentary titled Minimalism. These two guys explain what minimalism is and how we can be happier by having less stuff.
Within the first 5 minutes of watching I was like, YESSS, so much yes.
If you don’t have time for that, here is a good old one sentence definition:
What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff — the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities — that don’t bring value to your life.
- Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle
So, it’s really not about getting rid of everything you own and living in a tiny house.
For a lot of people, owning a lot of things can give them a false sense of security. You might not even realize that you are overwhelming yourself and making your day to day living more difficult by simply having too much stuff.
For me, owning less things feels like less obligation and seeing less things on my counters helps me feel more focused and less overwhelmed.
How you can benefit from Minimalism
Free up time and space
More focus on what’s most important to you
Decision making is easier
Makes house cleaning easier
Create a smaller carbon footprint by consuming less
What you need before you start:
Crap you don’t need
A practical mindset
Storage bin or empty boxes
Laser like focus, remember the goal
Let the purging begin
This challenge really only breaks the ice. Its so easy, and wont take long so just do it.
The numbers of things to get rid of are just loose suggestions. I recommend getting rid of at least the number of things I listed, but by all means feel free to chuck more if there is more to chuck!
This is where I always have the most stuff to get rid of. Buying new clothes makes me feel good, and I struggle with being realistic about what I really need.
In this category, get rid of the following:
5 clothing items you haven't worn in the past year
Socks with holes
1 pair of shoes
Any uncomfortable underwear (life's too short for uncomfortable underwear)
The goal here is to make the counters easier to clean.
3 things from bathroom counter, tip: try to ditch the ones with the most toxic ingredients!
3 things from underneath the sink
Any medications more than 2 years old
2 pieces of makeup
1 beauty/grooming item
Lots of gadgets and expired food hide here.
3 kitchen tools/utensils you never use
All expired pantry items
Any tupperware with missing lids
Half of your junk drawer
Remove anything that doesn't belong here to its appropriate home
Just because digital clutter doesn't take up a lot of physical space, doesn't mean it's not distracting us and wasting our time.
Delete or back up pictures and videos from your phone
Clean out your inbox and unsubscribe from marketing emails.
Unfollow anyone on social media who doesn't inspire you, or make you laugh.
Turn off notifications
Recycle or trash: Anything with holes and/or stains, anything that is broken beyond repair, and everything that is expired.
Take your gently used clothing, jewelry, and accessories to a consignment store, thrift store, or swap with a friend. The girls at work love when I bring them in boxes of my unwanted things, and I love seeing those items get a new life.
Keeping it out:
As much as I love getting rid of stuff, I must confess, I really love buying stuff. When I’m feeling down, I like to be my own personal Santa Clause. This is really counter productive for me, and the area I struggle with the most when it comes to minimalism.
I try to ask myself the following questions when shopping.
1. Do I really need this?
2. Am I choosing quantity over quality?
3. Will this add value to my life?
It can be helpful to evaluate the situation before even going in a store in the first place.
As, I mentioned before, I like to go shopping when I’m feeling down. If that's the case for you too, consider other things you could do to improve your mood, that don’t cost a dime.
Maybe a bubble bath, some yoga, or curling up with a feel-good book?
Shopping less means more money in my pocket for true experiences.
After you clear the clutter, there is much more you can do to simplify your life.
Consider these other ways of practicing minimalism:
Define your top 3 priorities for the month, stay focused on them.
Implement a morning or evening routine
Replace a hour or two of TV time with yoga, meditation or journaling
For the girlie girls, take a step or two out of your makeup regimin, or consider going bare faced.
If you actually read all of this, congratulations, and thank you, you are probably the only one.
If you actually try the challenge I will be impressed and downright thrilled.
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