Have you ever sat in a room surrounding by all the things you own and felt suffocated?
Or, maybe you haven’t and you just want to try out living a more simplistic lifestyle.
Either way, you’re not alone and there are real life changing steps that you are going to make to reach the end goal of ‘minimalism’.
But, wait a second, what does minimalism really mean?
Minimalism is way of lifestyle which you choose to live by. It’s a lifestyle that is simple and essentially only holds on to the items of importance.
That sounds hard, but in reality it is super easy to achieve. I’m going to lay out some steps which you can take to see if the lifestyle is for you. If at any point you find yourself majorly cringing at one of the steps, don’t fret. Minimalism is a totally flexible term. You make it your own.
Remember, these are the steps that I took, not so much a strict set of rules instilled by the movement.
Step 1. Go through everything you have.
Your drawers, your bathroom, your bedside tables, your storage units even your kitchen cupboards – everything. Write it down. Tally it up. Have a physical record of what you own. This can be time consuming, but it is absolutely crucial to successfully pulling this off.
Having a tally of everything you own, you tend to develop an idea of exactly how much you have accumulated over the years. You might have even noticed you have several double up items, or you haven’t worn that shirt in 3 years. It is absolutely mind blowing how long we can hold on to an item when it doesn’t really have any value to us anymore.
The mindset I attacked this with is – everything needs to have a purpose, it can be used for multiple situations, or it holds a very close sentimental memory.
Step 2. Repeat Step 1. With a twist.
This time when you are going through everything you own I want you to put them in piles. Label them as doubles, haven’t used in forever/might be useful one day., don’t like, and sentimental value.
Doubles. Now that we have done this, throw out your doubles. Or use it up if it is a make up brand. Try not to be wasteful. Also – hot tip. if you have doubles of cleanser etc, you could save some money in the short term but simply using the product, or maybe give it to a friend who might want it.gave all of my nail polish to my best friend. I worked in retail/hospitality, meaning I wasn’t allowed to wear it anyway!
Haven’t used in forever/might be useful one day. You’re probably holding on to this because you just haven’t thought about it or you think it might be useful in the future. Truth is – if you haven’t used it in the past 90 days and don’t plan on using it in the next 90 days, it is not of importance. Some things that may fall under this category are books, knick knacks, clothing, ornaments (let’s be real, these just sit there and kind of ‘look’ cool?) Most of these items you can donate, or repurpose – again, all about that minimum waste. For example – if you are good at sewing, maybe you can make those jeans into a skirt – or transform a few items into something completely different! A way I handle not having too many books is e-books (They last forever!). Don’t get me wrong, I have my few important life changing hard copies. For the most part, I will read a book and then donate it when it serves its’ purpose to me.
Don’t like. Okay – Why do you have it then? Donate it, repurpose it, do something with it so that it isn’t in constant reminder that you own this item that doesn’t make you happy. Simply the easiest decision with huge amounts of relief.
Sentimental Value. Here’s where it gets really hard. Some items may be an absolute must to stay in your life. For example your grandmothers’ engagement ring, or your family photo album (if the pictures are not transferrable into digital form). But, your partners jacket from 3 years ago? The shoes you wore to your formal that you have’t worn since? The cute little pendant you were given for your 15th birthday? What about that stuffed animal we got for valentines that one time? I know we all have attachments to items – I do, too. The human mind is a wonderful thing and you can recall the memories, if they aren’t impressionable enough to have left a mark in your mind – they don’t serve a purpose for your future self. It is okay to donate old birthday gifts. IT IS OKAY TO THROW OUT OLD CARDS! My goodness, PLEASE – you do not need to hold on to every card ever given to you. Maybe a couple if they are extremely important, but draw a line! My example is I have a card that says ‘Happy birthday Julie, love from Nanny and Pa.’ Typical card, wasn’t an important milestone birthday – BUT it was the year before my nanny passed away. Even now I still think that It may be time to let it go, because that memory is not as strong as the ones I have of her dancing with me in the backyard, or making me eat my vegetables. Memories that are worth keeping will be impressionable enough without an association knick knack.
Now we have accumulated a few piles of things for donation, maybe some repurposing DIY projects and we have some dear items that are close to our hearts and have value to us.
Here starts the clean slate. I have been a minimalist for a while now, the amount of money I have saved by painting/creating my own cards for family events etc, not buying that knick knack that will sit on my shelve and do nothing and fixing my clothes and even reinventing my old clothes is absolutely unimaginable. I have reduced my living load to fit in my car. I own a 4 door Getz, for that representation.
From here on out, all you need to do is think about your consumable waste, ie plastic bags, coffee cups, food that goes off, wrappers from foods etc. Also, think about what you want to feel by doing this. Do you want to feel free of ‘things’? Do you want to stop being materialistic? Do you want to be able to pack up your life into a suitcase? You can take this so much further than I have – you can create your own template of how minimalism looks for you.
For me, minimalism is being able to own few items of importance and live optimally. I currently live in a caravan on my dads’ property. I functional at a full pace – working two jobs and studying as well as creating content for my blog/Instagram and podcast (coming soon).
I’m not perfect, but I am making progress. I am creating myself. You can do it, too.