It’s a slow process for me because it’s a life change. Sure, I could merely throw away 99.9% of my possessions and be done with it, and that would definitely work for some. I want minimalism to become PART of me, a natural way of life. This means I have to look at the things I’m going to get rid of and accept it’s absence and the nonsensical roles it played in my life. It may sound silly, and maybe it is – but it’s slowly working for me. Otherwise, I’ve found myself going out and quickly just buying something – even something unrelated that somehow subconsciously ‘fills that gap.’ I want the gap itself to be a blessing.
Anyway, for new minimalists, here are a few quick ‘How-to Tuesday’ tips to de-clusterfu*ck your life (a tad) that have been working for me thus far!
1. Cut the crap
The figurative crap AND the literal crap. Get the garbage out. You wouldn’t believe the amount of old papers, wrappers, etc you can find laying around if you just LOOK. As for the literal crap – clean the bathroom, kitty litter & outside areas. It sounds gross, but so is stepping in dog shit from the winter. Or even worse, fresh dog shit. PICK IT UP!
Organization really is key. It’s SO easy to use something, then set it down while walking away or in the most convenient place. Let’s face it – a lot of us really are too lazy to get something out and put it BACK. But I found for myself that there’s a REASON! You may think that ‘thing’ you’re using has it’s own place already, but it doesn’t. I’m telling you it doesn’t – unless you can tell me WHY you put it there in the first place. Oh, your clothes go in your closet? Genius. But does it have a specific space or section of your closet? A drawer it specifically belongs to? Color coded? Long-sleeve to short sleeve?
I know, it may sound like too much – but this is one of the reasons I’m taking my time on this journey. Looking at each item and making a ‘plan’ for it helps me to recognize my need for it (or lack thereof) so that I can either ORGANIZE it or get rid of it.
3. Collect MOMENTS, not THINGS.
Many believe that NO item should have any ‘sentimental’ value since it is merely a THING. An object. Maybe I’m not there yet in terms of that extreme minimalism, because I think a little differently. Ask yourself with each item: Does it serve a purpose? Does it awaken my soul? I believe some can. An old letter from my mom she wrote when I went away to college makes me cry every time. It makes me remember the day I left, and the car conversation we had beforehand. Maybe my mind would stumble upon that specific memory from time to time – but that specific ‘memory talisman’ is too important to me to get rid of. That’s OKAY. Just as long as you don’t inadvertently create a ‘memory’ or attach a useless sentiment to every single item to try to find a reason to keep it. My motto – if I have to DIG for it, get rid of it. Use your time that you would have spent cleaning or crawling over your crap to collect moments. Play with your dog and your kids (in that order 😉 ). Go for a walk – a jog even! Plan that trip you can afford now on which you can collect MEMORIES on instead of souvenirs.
*Make folders & files for papers you must keep/can’t upload digitally.
*Delete old emails, contacts, pictures, & files you haven’t looked at or used in 5 years.
* Donate & Sell! Make money during this journey! (MINIMIZE YOUR DEBT!)
Those are a few quick tips to get you started – They are helping me & I’m getting there! It’s amazing to learn about yourself along the way, to see yourself grow as a person, to learn WHY you act certain ways and WHY your mind creates attachments to items that may or may not exist. To me, it makes this process worth it. If you’re the other kind of person, well – throw everything away and say ‘fuck it – I’m done!’