I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism lately and I’m actually really loving the idea of minimalising my life. I already know that there are two things that I could never part with no matter what. They have been a part of my life since the day I was born and they have also helped to shape me into the person that I today. I know minimalising is about a lot of things but it is also about getting rid of things that you really don’t need or use, etc. and these two things, or at least one of them, would 100% fall into this category so I’ve already started off badly. I hope that in the future I will be able to get rid of some of these things, or at least some part of them.
I have been searching through different blogs and websites to find tips to get me started and how to keep going and so far I have compiled a little list of 7 tips that so far have been helping me or add a bit of fun to the whole starting process.
Start small and work your way up
Start with the smallest area, like your sock drawer or your bedside table. You can start off by just emptying one drawer at a time or do about 15 minutes worth of an area and then stop. Take a break or break each area up into smaller areas and do a little section each day. It can get overwhelming at the beginning so spacing it out and allowing yourself breaks in between will help a lot in keeping you motivated. Leave the kitchen, attic or basement til the end. Those will be the longest and biggest areas to do and can dishearten or discourage you if you start in these places. Note that this won’t be the same for everyone. If you get a huge energy burst that goes all day then, by all means, tackle a bigger area but take breaks in between.
I am going to find this a little hard myself as I only really have one room to do and no one else in my family want to take on this challenge with me. I also have a tendency to hold on to pointless things like old plane tickets or movie tickets that just take up extra space, and some of them I will have a hard time getting rid of. I made a mini list of where I will start and where I will finish when I begin the physical process of de-cluttering although you can do them in any order of your choice.
I’m doing clothes first as they are all in the one place mainly so I don’t have to go all over the house looking for them plus I find it easier to throw out bigger things than the smaller ones since they are easier to see. If you have clothes that you don’t wear but still fit or are not worn but you still want to keep, then I recommend checking this app out. It’s an app where you upload pictures of your clothes and then you can make different looks for different days and occasions without the hassle of fitting on each item and running late for wherever you’re going. I’ve just started using it and so far it’s a little tedious but before you know it you’ll have all the photos up and will have your outfit for that big party on the weekend ready 4 days in advance!
- Make-up & Skin care
I think I will have a few issues with this one because even though I only wear the same 5 products, I love the idea of having more and having my own little beauty station. I don’t even really like make-up that much but I’ve always felt like I needed to have it just in case.
- Everything else
Earlier I mentioned that I only have one room to go through – minus the furniture – so everything that doesn’t fit into any of the above categories will just get done together. This will include my bedside table and the little nick nacks that have taken over my dressing table and the little trolley that sits in the corner. If you are doing your whole house or a bigger area then having more sections or categories would be beneficial.
Organising everything can be super fun and also a little daunting. Doing one bit at a time is a great way to stop any feelings that could inevitably make you abandon this part. Going through photos and files is also a really important part of this too. De-cluttering your filing cabinet or downsizing to a smaller cabinet or just a couple of folders will help to minimise the mess. If you have 50+ photo albums like my family does then a great idea is to go through each album and either digitise the photos first or just get rid of double ups and put them in smaller albums. Instead of having an album for each occasion, you could either make an album for each year/decade or an album per person. I read about one woman who threw out duplicates of photos and then made a single album for each of her kids. She made an interesting point too – why do I need 10 similar photos of my kid standing in front of a waterfall? She ended up picking just 1 or 2 of those photos and burning the rest.
Two things stick out to me when I think of organising that will help if you are a minimalist or not.
- Put away things used throughout the day – whether that be a toy your kid has finished playing with or just that book you are reading
- Clean up after each activity – this is very similar to the point above but in this case I’m talking about things like your hairbrush or put the towel straight in the laundry basket instead of hanging it on the shower. This also includes putting away clean laundry as soon as it’s ready instead of just leaving it on the bed until you go to your room later on.
- Do I really need this?
- Why do I need this?
- What will I use it for?
- When will I use it?
- Does it serve a purpose?
I’m 99% sure my mum has 3 spatulas – why does a person need 3? unless you’re a chef of course but still, 3 seems excessive for a family of 4.
What should I get rid of?
If you aren’t 100% sure about whether to keep something or not then these few ideas might help get you started.
- Does it work? If it doesn’t, chuck it
- Does it still fit? If it’s too big or small, or you are just keeping it because you will fit into when you’ve lost that weight, then get rid of it. If you don’t use it or need it right now then it has to go.
- Is it just collecting dust? If it just sits there and you don’t use it, or just keep it just in case you do need it but you are 99% sure you wont, then bin it – or sell it if its something that looks nice.
- Sentimental items – You know that super nice china set that your grandmother gave you but you’ve never used? See if another relative wants it or just get rid of it. If something is sentimental but it just sits there or you don’t interact with it in any way then what sort of value does it really have? There will be something smaller in your home with the same sentimental value from that same person that you can keep. Don’t keep something because you feel you are obligated to. Obviously don’t just throw out everything sentimental to you but if it’s just catching dust then consider thinking of alternative options for it. My grandmother passed away last year and I have a few things that are very sentimental but they are not big items that I can’t use or touch. I have things like a brooch that she wore and a letter that she wrote to me. I actually carry a bottle of holy water in my bag that she gave me when I was like 8. I don’t need anything like bigger possessions from her, a little necklace or a bracelet is just as good.
I quite like this last idea. I Like the woman I mentioned above, I would love to find old documents or photos that I don’t want to keep or even just smaller items that serve no purpose and throw them into a bonfire and watch them burn. It sound kind of morbid but honestly you will have a sense of relief doing it because now you are starting fresh. It’s like ending a chapter so that you can begin the next one.
Got anymore tips? Have you used any of these tips before? If so, how did you go? Let me know about your minimalism journey in the comments!