I have heard a lot of people say “But where do I start? How do I declutter?” Does this sound familiar?
Or maybe you haven’t decided to declutter or adopt a minimalist lifestyle yet and are just considering doing this. Either way, Minimalism is something that will CHANGE your life.
And while a lot of people think it’s just about owning less, but that’s not it. Minimalism is a way of life.And the benefits of minimalism go far beyond having less clutter to deal with.
And if you are debating whether you should try Minimalism or not and how to even go about it, let me help you.
I was in the same position as you a couple years back. I’ll admit, I even had a slight obsession with online shopping. But then we had to shift homes and cities and we had to pack up all the stuff we owned.
And we realised that we own too much “Stuff”.
Too much of everything. Things that are duplicates, things that we don’t need, things that we haven’t used in years and probably never will. And we made a decision to go Marie Kondo on all our stuff before packing our life into boxes and moving.
We decided that we only want to take things that sparked joy, into our new house. I mean we still needed some furniture even if it didn’t spark much joy lol! (It just wasn’t the right time to ditch that furniture and buy new.)So, the next 1 month was spent in decluttering, donating, selling, and throwing away things that we didn’t need. And it was one long hectic, exhausting month.
Now, of course you don’t have to declutter like we did. In fact, I’d advise against that. It is way better to start slow and to allow yourself to adjust to this change in your life. It will help you make minimalism a habit. And it will allow you to see the change in your life during the process as well.
We have put together some ways in which you can get started with minimalism. These are not ways to declutter everything that you have, but to cultivate a minimalist approach, which will help you in your declutter and minimalism journey.
Ways to get started with Minimalism:
Start with the Right Intentions:
Just like starting anything new, you need to start with giving yourself the reasons. Justify to yourself why you need to make this change in your life and how it will affect you. Minimalism has no many benefits and while it can change you entire life, it is still a big change.
And all big changes need enough motivation to go through with. And having the right reasons will keep you motivated through your journey towards minimalism. Whether you are doing it as a couple, as a challenge, or as a family, you need to define reasons. And the reasons could be:
- You need a Clutter free home
- You need to stop buying more stuff
- You need to save more money & get out of debt
- You want to be more environmentally conscious
Whatever your reason(s) is, write that down. And also write down what accomplishing this would mean to you. How do you envision a minimalist home and how do you think it would affect you. In the future, whenever you feel like you lack the motivation, refer back to this page.This will remind you why you want to do this.
Cultivate a Intentional Mindset:
Being a Minimalist and living with Intent goes hand in hand. For me, Minimalism is all about being more intentional with the things you want in your life.
Of course, it isn’t just limited to physical things. It also means being intentional with the kind of people you spend time with, or being intentional about the things you buy, the food you eat, how you spend your free time.
Now, making a mindset shift and cultivating a habit takes time. And that’s totally okay. you just need to be more aware of the things around you. Awareness about the clutter in your home or in your life in general will help you declutter later on.
It helps when you are buying new stuff as well. Being more intentional with your purchases will help you reduce the clutter you accumulate over the years. Hence making the decluttering process easier.
MAKE RULES & Stick to them:
Rules are Important. Humans are creatures of habit. And if you are not taking time to cultivate a habit, chances are your home will get cluttered again really fast.
That’s why it is important to make rules for yourself when you are starting with minimalism. And it is important that you stick to these rules, no matter what.
Whenever you are decluttering, you make 3 piles, as we all know by now: Keep, donate and throw piles. Now, decluttering and making piles won’t help if you never donate the “donate pile”. We often tend of keep some things that we THINK we will get repaired, but we never do.
So, make a rule that you will get the things repaired within the next 2-3 weeks from the declutter date. And if you do not get it repaired in this time frame, you will get rid of it.
Replace, don’t add:
This is the most important rule that has helped me gain more perspective on minimalism. We often buy clothes/accessories etc “Just because”, while leads to more clutter.
So I have this rules for myself that I never buy anything just because it looks cute or just because it is on sale. I only ever replace the items that I have. And it’s simple. I have build a wardrobe for myself with quality items and I only ever buy something when I need to replace something. It works great if you build a capsule wardrobe with essential time-less pieces.
There are some exceptions though. If I really LOVE a dress or a tee, I allow myself to buy it, but only at one condition. I need to remove one of the same item from my wardrobe. So that the total number of clothing pieces I own remain the same.
Declutter your Kitchen:
I say kitchen, but you could start with your living room. The idea is to start with a room in your home that you use most often. And that’s because these are the rooms that get cluttered really fast and cause anxiety.
And the reason why you should start with kitchen is because of all the horizontal surfaces available. Horizontal surfaces tend to accumulate clutter really fast. And decluttering these surfaces makes the most difference.
So, starting with your kitchen is a great idea. It will help you create a small win for yourself. These wins are important because they keep you motivated to declutter the entire house.
Ask for experience over things:
Two years back, for my birthday & for Diwali, I made it a point to ask my family to not get me any gifts, but experiences instead. And I have never looked back ever since. Investing in experiences over materialistic things is a great place to start.
This way, you will end up with a lot less clutter after the holiday season or after your birthday and have experiences to look forward to, instead. It could be anything from a family day at an adventure resort, or paintball day. And they are so much better than gifts that you don’t really need because you end up creating everlasting memories.
If going to theme parks etc is not your gig, you could also ask your family to buy you a course that you really want to take. On one birthday I asked my husband for my annual tailwind membership (Bloggers will understand). And it was the best decision EVER!
Understand that minimalism looks different for everyone:
Minimalism is not one size fits all. And just because someone sold everything except for a backpack filled with essentials, doesn’t mean you should too. Minimalism shouldn’t feel like you are living extremely frugally or that you can’t own stuff that can’t fit in a backpack.
Minimalism looks different for different people and that’s the beauty of it. It means being more intentional about the things you own and being more aware of the things you NEED in your life and eliminating what’s not needed.
So, feel free to explore Minimalism and see what works for you. If my capsule wardrobe is 30 items and yours is 60, it doesn’t mean I am right and you are wrong. It just means that we are different as humans and what we consider essential for us, is thus different too.
Consider a weekly reset:
Doing a weekly reset has been crucial in my minimalism journey. A weekly reset helps me start the new week afresh. It helps me reduce my mental clutter as well and thus helps me get my priorities set for the coming week.
I created a routine for myself and did a few things to shift my mindset, so that I see Mondays as a day to start working even harder towards my goals. And while some of it is mindset shift, but there are still some things that you can consciously do, to make your new week a whole lot better. It is called a RESET.
Adapting a Minimalistic lifestyle has helped me be more intentional with my money, my time, my relationships and my life. You often read or hear about these things and you think that they don’t really make a big difference, but it is only when you try it out yourself, you realise, how impactful Minimalism can be.
Let me know in the comments, if you have any other questions about minimalism or intentional living, I’d be happy to answer them! not that I am an expert, but I could share my experience and perspective! 🙂