Minimalism is a style of living that’s growing in popularity. More and more, people are concerned about their finances, their debt, the environment, and the fact that it seems like we’re surrounded by stuff but it’s not making us any happier. People who are shifting toward a minimalist lifestyle get more out of having fewer items and enjoy increased simplicity and reduced stress. But how do you get started? Here are a few tips to get you walking down a minimalist path.
Start at your front door
If your house is disorganized and messy, you’re going to have a hard time beginning the process of decluttering because you won’t know where anything is. It also helps to see your belongings where they’re supposed to be before you determine whether or not you need them. Socks on your floor are radically different from socks neatly folded in a drawer, right?
So start at your front door and look around the entry of your home. Is anything out of place? Any clutter that needs to be put away? Start there. Once you’ve got everything in its right place, books back on the shelf, clothes hanging up, then you can begin to declutter.
Empty your closet
Closet clutter can creep up on you. You see a cute dress or a rad t-shirt and you think ‘hey, why not?’ But a few years go by and suddenly your closet door barely closes! A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t see yourself wearing a garment again in the next 3 months (seasonal clothes not included), donate it. While your closet might be awesome, there’s someone out there who would love to buy your old clothes second hand and put them to good use.
Declutter your kitche
If you have a few lazy days in a row where loading the dishwasher isn’t a high priority, that pile of dishes in the sink can add up really quickly. But it’s less of an issue if you restrict the availability of your glasses, dishware, cookware, and utensils.
A good rule of thumb for your kitchen is two of everything for each person in the household. So if you live alone, all you need out are two bowls, two plates, two glasses, and two of each kind of silverware. Do you have to toss the rest of your stuff? Probably not. It’s good to hang onto these things in case you have company. Just box it up and place it in a storage area.
Empty your drawers
The last two tips are a lot of fun. You get to see the fruits of your labor almost immediately with a nice, clean closet and a well organized kitchen. But now the time has come to start working on some hidden places. I’m talking drawers.
Draws are awesome. You can throw all the stuff you don’t want to look at in them and forget all about it. But the time has come to declutter your drawers. Go through each document, each item, and decide if you need it. Old documents that don’t have any more value can be shredded. Even though drawers take our clutter out of sight, and thus out of mind, you’ll find clearing out these drawers to be a relieving exercise.
Minimalism is about making your life easier, less stressful, less cluttered, and more meaningful. Making your life easier means you can focus up on healthy habits, like cooking for yourself. You can power up your minimalism as well by buying whole vegetables, fruits, and meats, thus cutting back on your waste. Your life is simplified and you’re doing right by the environment too.
Do it yourself
Part of being minimalist is relying less on things to give you what it is that you need, whether that’s an emotional need or a practical one. Once you’ve begun the process of becoming minimalist, you’ll find that a lot of things you may have just purchased at a store can be easily made yourself. Making things like your own laundry soap or apple cider vinegar cut back on waste and put the resources you have to work.
Whether or not you’re minimalist, everyone needs to make purchases sometimes. But you can make the choice to shop minimalist; to shop smart. Always bring a reusable bag and be absolutely sure that what you’re purchasing is something you know you need. If you’re at the grocery store, buy just enough food for what you need to cook for the upcoming week.
Clean up your desktop
If you’re like us, you probably work at a computer most of your day. Keeping a clutter-free desktop is key to having a relaxed, focused, and productive workday. It’s not just a matter of keeping your office supplies organized, but keeping your computer desktop organized as well. Be sure to delete any files that you no longer need to make those that you do need easier to find and access.
One of our favorite things about minimalism is saving money and reducing waste. Start digging through your expenses and bills. Consider whether or not that gym membership you never use is worth hanging onto, or if you really need 5,000 channels. And beyond that, call your billing companies and ask about going paperless. Fewer paper bills means less clutter at home.
Clear your inbox
If you’ve bought something online ever in your life, you’ve probably wound up on an email list. Hey, an occasional email from a favorite store isn’t much of a bother, right? But then the emails start coming in from other places. Within a few months, you’re being bombarded daily. Clearing out your email inbox is the last step on this list for a decluttered life.
If the email you’re receiving isn’t wanted or useful to you, unsubscribe from it. Getting rid of junk email can take a while but it’s worth it in the end. You’ll be more likely to see the emails you need to see and less likely to miss something important.