Why wait until Spring to do a little decluttering? There’s not a better time to move towards minimalism than now. As most of you know (but we’re going to refresh you), minimalism is a way of living where anything unnecessary, anything that isn’t consistently used, is removed. Minimal often equates to “simpler”.
To get your ambitions high, we’ll remind you of the negative impact clutter can have on your life. Clutter can make it harder to relax, both physically and mentally. It can also distract us by drawing our focus away from what we actually want to be focusing on. And finally, clutter can cloud our mind with excessive stimuli, causing our senses to work extra on things that aren’t necessary.
How to declutter and transition to minimal living:
1. Create a clutter-free zone. This could be as small as a drawer or a coffee table, or as big as an entire room. Use your chosen clutter-free zone to inspire to live more minimally. If you’re not ready to declutter an entire room, start with a drawer, and that drawer will expand into another drawer, which will expand into a countertop, etc. Often, the easiest room to choose is the one you will entertain friends and family in, that way you won’t be deterred from having company.
2. Eat similar meals. Sounds boring right? Give it a chance. There’s so much time that goes into meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparing. Experiment with making larger batches at a time, and eating the same dinner a couple of nights in a row, or eating the same breakfast and lunch every other day. You may even find you’ll be spending less money and have more time to spend elsewhere.
3. Pack less when you travel. If you’re like most of us, you always pack more than what you need. Next time you travel, challenge yourself by packing less than what you need, or say, even half what you need. You may be surprised how it feels to carry less and spend less time deciding what to wear when you could be exploring a new place!
4. Get rid of the duplicates. Go through your house and collect any duplicates i.e. measuring cups, rulers, spatulas, sets of coasters, etc. Either donate them/give away immediately, or if you don’t want to be hasty, tuck the duplicates away for a few weeks. If weeks later you don’t need any of those items/barely remember what’s in the box, definitely donate them.
5. Declutter your computer. This includes getting rid of files and programs on your computer you don’t need, or could be put somewhere else. It’s always a good idea to purchase an external hard drive to put all your excess stuff on. Another way to declutter your computer is to get rid of most icons/files on your desktop. A cluttered computer desktop can cause stress before you even start doing what you set out to do on your computer.
6. Go through your closet. Having company over. Your place is a mess. So you pick it all up and toss it in the closet. Sound familiar? A closet can easily turn into a place to hide everything you don’t want out in the open. To combat this, take everything out and throw it on your bed/floor. Sift through it, and only keep the items that really bring you joy and you use often. A good rule for clothing is to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last 6 months to a year.
7. Clean out your drawers. Similar to your closet, empty out your drawers and sort. Keep items you love–tossing or donating everything else. Check out Marie Kondo’s book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” or watch her show on Netflix “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. Her folding technique will help you to enjoy folding clothes, and teach you to store them in a way you can see all of your shirts at once, instead of stacking on top of each other.
8. Plan a digital/social media freeze. I know, it’s painful to even read. Whether it’s a day, a week, or a month, take a break from the social apps on your phone. If you really want to be disciplined, you may even delete them. While there are so many great things about the digital world, it can definitely add clutter to your life. Focusing on others, instead of yourself and feeling the need to purchase things (how good are those Instagram ads?!) will distract you from the minimal lifestyle you are trying to lead.
9. Decorate with items that bring you joy. We mean it! It’s common to display things you were gifted or you’ve just had forever. Similar to the duplicates method, we suggest removing any knick knack or item in your home you don’t love, and putting it in a box. Come back to it later, and re-evaluate if you’ve actually missed any of the items, and if not, give them away. Decorate your home with plants and simple decor to make your space feel alive rather than cluttered. Books, candles, and blankets are useful items that can cozy up a space as well.
10. Unsubscribe from emails. Do we need to say much about this? Instead of scrolling past spam, simply open it and unsubscribe. Limit emails that entice you to purchase more things (coupons, deals, etc.). Set aside an hour to remove digital clutter so you can receive emails that you’re actually happy about receiving.
In order to maintain these in the long term, you’ll have to make a habit of staying on top of decluttering. This could mean setting up a method to keep clutter in check (laundry on Monday, declutter email on Tuesdays, etc). As you continue to transition towards minimal living, you will find yourself less stressed, more happy, and enjoying living in a clutter-free home. Oh and get rid of all those dusty bottles of alcohol you have stored away. You know you only drink Boochcraft anymore, anyway!