Tips for Becoming a Minimalist
Over-consumption, materialism, and greed are out, and minimalism is in. Minimalism is a design and lifestyle movement that focuses on simplicity and removal of items that do not have versatile functionality. It prioritizes function over fashion and quality over quantity.
The general benefits of adopting a minimalist lifestyle are less cluttered work and living spaces, more mental clarity, more time to do what you absolutley love, a smaller environmental footprint, and a healthy relationship with your possessions. It is a choice to not go through the endless cycle of desiring more, consuming more, and wasting more.
If you make money only to consume disposable products, if your 4000 square foot house is bursting to the brim with junk, if your car no longer fits in the garage because of your pile of trinkets, and if you're constantly searching for your missing spatula, then let me offer you a few tips decluttering your life.
Tips for Starting Your Minimalist Journey
- Go through your closet and give away everything you haven't worn in one year.
- Give away any clothes that don't fit.
- Sell designer clothes on eBay.
- Give away anything you wouldn't take on vacation during each of the four seasons.
- Take all remaining clothes out of your closet, select the number of hangers you wish to remain and throw away the rest. Hang up the items you can't bear to live without until all hangers are full. Now, you can't buy more clothes unless you get rid of an equal number of items.
- Throw out every sock that has a hole or is missing its mate.
- Select no more than a week's worth of socks and undergarments and chuck the rest.
- Pare down your shoes until you have only one or two pairs for each category: dress shoes, boots, sandals, sports, hiking, and workout.
- Buy a shoe organizer, and give away anything that doesn't fit.
- Reduce your wardrobe so that it only takes one to three loads of laundry to clean.
- Declutter your surfaces. Clean lines are refreshing.
- Don't EVER throw dirty laundry on the ground. Put it in a hamper!
- Choose up to three or four of your most prized possessions to highlight.
- If you haven't participated in a hobby or sport in the last three years, sell any affiliated items.
- Create a filing system for important papers. I have found that a box with well-labeled folders is sufficient.
- Choose up to four furniture pieces and sell the rest. Fewer items make the room look bigger and feel like a clean hotel room.
- Take pictures of sentimental items, or turn them into something new.
- Throw out all cosmetics, lotions, and shampoos older than a year.
- Dwindle down items by category: shampoos, shaving creams, lotions, lipsticks, polishes, etc. Try to only keep as few of each as possible.
- Toss anything that is not your absolute favorite item.
- Create a daily hygiene routine, and keep all of those items together.
- Keep items rarely used (i.e. only for special occasions) separate from items used daily.
- Give away duplicates of any kitchenware.
- Give away seldom-used appliances that have limited uses: Waffle makers, snow cone makers, popcorn machines, etc.
- Most recipes can be made with just one large pot and a cast iron pan. Give away unused pieces of pot and pan sets.
- Select your ten (or fewer) favorite mugs, and give away the rest.
- Throw out old sauces, condiments, and expired packages.
- Organize your fridge so that all items are visible. This will decrease the stress of finding items, prevent you from buying something you already have, and will remind you to consume them before they expire.
- Follow a one-item-in-one-item-out rule. If you purchase something new, pass along something old.
- Focus on finding just one item you can get rid of. Repeat.
- Deal with clutter as it comes; don't let it pile up.
- Find a use for anything you bring into your home. If this isn't possible, you probably don't need it.
- Follow other minimalists for constant inspiration. Watch their videos, read their blogs, etc.
- Find creative ways to display the items most used and important to you. Pinterest can be your friend.
- Break down large projects into small pieces. Look at every item you out the door as an incredible accomplishment.
- Try living for a month without buying anything except the absolute necessities, e.g. food, water, and medication
- If you were vacationing in Europe for three months, what would you take with you? Consider the importance of every item left behind. If you can do without it for three months, can you live without it now?
- Don't buy anything on a whim or an emotional high or low. Plan out purchases in advance.
- Move towards paperless and automated bill payments and banking to avoid accumulating a bunch of papers.
- Clean everyday. Don't let dishes, cat hair, or dirty towels crash your minimalist state of mind.
Here are some of my favorite sources of minimalist inspiration. Each one of them has contributed immensely towards my decision to adopt a simple, joyful, and minimalistic lifestyle.
The Four Hour Work Week is a must-read for all aspiring minimalists. Timothy Ferris will teach you how to automate and simplify your lifestyle, top to bottom, so you can set your goals in motion. He's an Einstein of this generation and will make you think differently about the way you live.
builds space-efficient living spaces and offers floor plans for minimalists who want to build their own custom tiny house. As home prices and energy costs rise, living in a 200 square foot home is becoming an increasingly attractive option. If you only own around 100 items, a studio apartment-sized house shouldn't be an issue. Tumbleweed Tiny Houses
The Minimalists do an incredible job of discussing minimalism as a philosophy and offer helpful tips to get you started.
Here is a primer I wrote on how to emotionally detach from your objects and create a healthy view of your possessions.
How Minimalist Are You?
All of my possession would fit......
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Jennifer Arnett