I really want to be a minimalist. Or maybe I want to want to be a minimalist? (Yes, I meant to put the words “want to” twice!) Because, in all honesty, it is not easy becoming a minimalist.
What is minimalism? Basically majorly decluttering your home, and keeping it that way. Getting rid of all the excess junk that you don’t need. If you live in America, then chances are you have too much stuff. But when we try to clean out our houses, it can be difficult to get rid of things.
I have one parent who is sentimental and keeps everything. And I have another parent who is the opposite. Thankfully I take after the latter in this regard. But when it comes time to declutter, I feel more like the former. I am sure you know what I mean. You probably think to yourself that you might need that stray iPhone cord one day. Or perhaps you really like that figurine that you bought on vacation and you just can’t part with it.
But here’s the thing. It’s just stuff. Stuff that, in the grand scheme of things, is not all that important. Stuff does not last. What lasts is our relationship with God, our relationships with others, and memories. Those are the things to hang on to with all your might.
If you’re still not convinced, how about this? “Studies show that there is actually a link between clutter, stress, depression, and even the dissolution of familial relationships.” Yep, it’s true. So doesn’t that make you want to start packing? Clutter seriously makes me want to hyperventilate. You can ask my husband. I try to overlook our clutter for a time. But then one day I finally snap and start shoving things behind a closed door. Instead of having junk drawers, we have junk rooms! Ok I am being lighthearted about this topic, but it is true. And I do believe we can all benefit from some decluttering.
Are you ready to get started? If so, here are a few tips:
- You’ll need two separate piles. The first will be trash. The second will be for donating to charity. (You can also gift these things to loved ones that might want/need them. Or perhaps have a yard sale, if you are brave. But yard sales make me hyperventilate, as well!)
- If you are an average American, you can start with one room at a time. (If you are someone who has a lot more stuff, like you see on those TV shows, then you might want to start with one box at a time.)
- As you go through each item, categorize it in your mind as either a useful item or a non-useful item. Useful items are things you use – clothes, shoes, plates, pens, anything that serves a purpose. Non-useful items can be decor, knickknacks, etc.
- As you look at each useful item, ask yourself when was the last time you used that item. If it has been over a year, get rid of it. If it has been under a year, but you really don’t need it, I would still consider getting rid of it. How many pairs of shoes do you really need? (I have a sister who is now shaking her head, because while she agrees with me on the clutter, she really loves her shoes!)
- If the item is a non-useful item, ponder how much you like. Do you really love it? Does it bring beauty into your home? Does it bring joy into your home? If not, consider getting rid of it.
- For each item that you decide to get rid of, you will then have to decide if it should be trashed or donated.
- It’s simple really. But it’s not easy. You will see things that you really don’t need, but you don’t want to part with either. Stay strong.
- If you start getting tired of looking through all your belongings, take a break and come back to it another time. But don’t forget to come back to it.
- If there is something you want to keep for sentimental reasons, but you really don’t need it, consider taking a picture of it. You can keep the picture for old times sake, but you won’t have the clutter to go along with it.
- After your initial purge, you might have to cut back on your future purchases. Before you buy something new, give it serious thought. On the fence? I heard it said once that if it’s not an absolute yes, then it’s a no.
You can do this! I believe in you! Let me know how it goes!