I recently learned that the first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week. Now I know there are national days and weeks for just about everything, but a little late-summer simplifying will be a great excuse to declutter as fall approaches. However, as I talked about in the minimalism challenge simplifying your life isn’t just about removing the physical clutter out of your closets and cabinets. Minimalism pushes us to examine our lifestyle and eliminate the things that keep us from truly enjoying life.
While there isn’t just one way to simplify your life, I’ve pulled together a list of blogs that may help you in a pursuit for a simpler lifestyle. First up are a few of my blog posts to get you started:
If you’re going to start anywhere, I would suggest The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They’ve got books, a podcast, and a documentary that will help you understand what minimalism is all about.
Un-Fancy was one of the first blogs I found on the topic of simplifying your wardrobe. I’m still battling with this because I love clothes. However, if you’re interested in capsule wardrobes – this is the blogger for you.
Ok, one other area to consider simplifying – finances. Sherry, of Save. Spend. Splurge , managed to pay off $60,000 in just 18 months. So if you’re looking to live more minimally when it comes to financial aspects this is the blog for you.
Lavendaire is a lifestyle youtuber and podcast host. She writes and vlogs about ways millennials can embrace their true potential and create their dream life. She has some great organization and minimalism videos that I love.
I’ve pulled together a challenge for the month of March to tackle some physical decluttering needs that adds adds on some decluttering of items that are using up our mental energy as well. While I’m calling it a decluttering challenge, you can also think of this as start to your journey to minimalism. If minimalism isn’t your thing, consider this a spring cleaning challenge.
“Sometimes, the only way to figure out what is really important is to get rid of everything that isn’t.”
Click here or the image above to print off your own copy of the challenge.
I’ve explained that minimalism is a journey, and I am taking baby steps into my new lifestyle. Consequently, I’m still in the long process of decluttering. In my own defense, I’ve lived in my apartment for three years. You can accumulate a lot of stuff in three years. No worries though. I have a plan!! Today I want to share some tips on the art of decluttering in the hopes that it’ll help someone jump start their own process. It’s probably easy to think of your major problem area. If you’re going with my worst first productivity tip for the decluttering process – you are my hero. However, if you need to start smaller, that’s fine too. Below are some places you can start with and build up to the areas you’ll need some extra time on.
Decluttering: Where to Begin
Pick a small spot: Sometimes an easy win is the ultimate motivation. I decided to start small. One stool around my table is dedicated to junk. That’s where my mail automatically gets thrown, where the stickers I used in my planner and never put away end up, and where the magazines I want to read reside. Seriously, everything ends up there. So I made it a goal to completely declutter this stool. Seeing the stool clear motivated me to move to the counter and then a side table. What area you can use as your easy win?
The junk drawer: Do you really need five Chinese food menus…to the same place? Get rid of any of those random items that really don’t have a purpose. I finally threw away my Team Jacob magnet that no longer stuck to anything. So much for imprinting. 🙂
Other people’s stuff: Let go of your ex’s stuff or items that remind you of them. If you’re holding on to a bunch of your relatives things, kindly remind them that you’re not a storage company. Hey Ace, your rainbow table has to go!
Pantry and fridge: Go throw away all of the expired items. If there are things that are still good, but you don’t want them anymore feel free to drop them at a homeless shelter.
Beauty/Health Items: That lotion bottle that has maybe two more squeezes of lotion. Chuck it!! The dried up mascara – let it go. Go through everything in your medicine cabinet and look for the outdated medicines and things that you can no longer use.
Once you’ve moved on to a bigger space experiment with the Four-Box Method. As you set out to declutter an area, bring out four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Every item must go in a box to curb the possibility that you’ll keep more than you need.
The Six-Month Box Method
If you have an emotional attachment to items like me – you may want to try the The Six-Month Box method. I still have the dresses I wore to my college graduations. I won’t be wearing them again, but even after my awesome closet declutter they still remained. Here’s what you can do. Put anything you haven’t used in a while, but can’t give away in a box. Close the box and put it out of sight for six months. If, in six months, you haven’t retrieved an item from the box, donate the whole box.These things clearly aren’t as important as you thought, if you didn’t need them for half of a year. I’m on month one of my six month box trial. Wish me luck!
Something else that may be helpful as you decide what to keep or giveaway is to ask yourself the following questions:
Is this item something I’m currently using?
Is this something I love?
Am I holding onto this for sentimental reasons?
If I were moving to a new home, would I want to pack this item and make the effort to bring it with me?
Do I have multiples of this item?
Could someone else use this more than I do?
Hopefully, one or more of these methods will resonate with you. It’s important to remember that decluttering won’t work if you keep buying more stuff. I’ll leave you with a quote:
Decluttering is not the end result—it is merely the first step. You don’t become instantly happy and content by just getting rid of your stuff—at least not in the long run. Decluttering doesn’t work like that…It is possible to get rid of everything you own and still be utterly miserable. – The Minimalists
Are you an organizational pro? Leave some tips on reducing clutter below!
If you read my 30 Before 30 list you may have noticed that one of my goals is to live a more minimalist lifestyle, but True Life:I’m a Hoarder. I’m the type of girl that buy an item just because it’s on clearance. I’m not talking just clothes. I’ll buy anything on sale and find a coupon to use with it as well.
Hmm, that bread pan is on sale. I should get itbecause I may want to bake bread soon. Ooh a colander with pineapple outlines. I love pineapples. 300 yards of yarn on sale for a mere .50 cents, what a great find! Unless you count monkey bread, I’ve never baked bread in my life. Also, I already own a bread pan. I have three colanders of varying sizes. Why do I need another? Who knows maybe one day I’ll learn how to knit. My current apartment is 812 square feet. I don’t have room for multiple colanders and random baskets of yarn.
I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up earlier this year as a part of my book club. Through Marie’s tips, I was able to rid myself of a number of items. However, my life still felt pretty cluttered. I thought this feeling was stemming from a lack of organization, but quickly realized that simply organizing my junk was not the solution. I started researching and reading about minimalism.
A minimalist is someone who strives to remove much of the clutter from their lives and focus on life outside of physical possessions.
Benefits of Minimalism
One of the first blog posts I found during my research phase was The Top Ten Benefits of Being a Minimalist. All of the items appealed to me: lower stress, less debt, less cleaning and maintaining. Additionally, those items leave more time to create, to spend with friends and family, and do things that make me happy.
Minimalism is simply a tool to get of life’s excess so you can focus on life’s important things, things like relationships and pursuing your passions and personal growth and contributing to others in a meaningful way. Joshua from The Minimalists
So here’s the truth. I’m looking at this transition to minimalism like a college course. I’m currently in Minimalism 101. Which means, I’m still learning the basics and using blogs and books to guide me through the process. A minimalist lifestyle is not for everyone and there’s not one way to do it. Someone’s definition of minimalism could be to live in a tiny house, with one bowl and one set of utensils, five articles of clothing and a mattress. To each their own. I will tell you right now, my goal is not to live in a tiny house.
Personally, I just want to have less, spend less, and need less.
My main goal is to get rid of as many items as possible before I move. I want to start off in my next living space having only brought the necessities. However, right now I’m taking steps to really put my closet on a diet.
2. Begin to declutter
This is what I’m currently undertaking and it will be a slow and intentional declutter of everything. For me, the most obvious place to start was my closet, which brings me so much anxiety. I’m working on a post which will discuss this in detail. However, you may want to start with something as simple as email subscriptions.
3. Stop buying unnecessary things
Truthfully, minimalism is not just about owning few items and continuously getting rid of things. It’s about getting rid of the bad stuff or the stuff that drains your energy. Rome wasn’t built in a day, y’all. I’m realizing that minimalism is a journey.
Does living a minimalist lifestyle appeal to you? Why or why not? Leave your comments below!