Minimalism: De-clutter Your Life!
With each year that goes by, you accumulate more and more possessions. The media would tell you that the more belongings you have, the happier, richer and more fulfilled you are. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In some cases, spending money on too many material possessions can lead to stress, financial struggles and a home that is full of unnecessary clutter. This is why many people are turning to minimalism.
What is Minimalism?
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to throw away every single one of your belongings to practice minimalism. It simply means to live with less. Minimalism looks different from one person to the next, but incorporating aspects of it into your life can be greatly beneficial. Ask yourself these questions and reflect on the life you’re currently living.
- Does cleaning your home make you stressed?
- Are you always finding things laying around the house that you once lost?
- Do you feel overwhelmed when you open your closet?
- Which of your possessions genuinely add value to your life?
- Do you find yourself spending money on purchases that you quickly forget about?
When our homes feel cluttered, it can impact all areas of our lives. When you’re at work all day, there’s nothing worse than coming home to a house that only brings you more stress. So how can you practice minimalism and how can it help you?
How You Can Practice Minimalism
Don’t worry, you don’t have to get rid of your favourite blanket or your vintage record player. A great rule of thumb is this: If you haven’t looked for this item in 12 months, get rid of it. You’ll find yourself making excuses and rationalising why you should keep this certain item, but if you haven’t needed it in 12 months you probably won’t need it again. (This excludes tools and basic necessities).
Remove Rather Than Organise
You might have made attempts to ‘de-clutter’ in the past, which ended up being ineffective. Many of us try to de-clutter our lives by organising our belongings rather than getting rid of them entirely. Although this might make your house look cleaner, this is only a temporary solution. The house will once again get messy and your abundance of possessions will be visible, just like it was a month ago.
To save yourself this cycle of struggle, get rid of your unwanted possession completely. You can do this by having a garage sale, selling your things on Facebook Marketplace or donating your belongings to charities. Either way, not ‘owning’ things anymore can actually feel really freeing. When you buy items and you attach yourself to them, it’s easy to feel a sense of responsibility for this purchase. Once you completely get rid of it, it’s no longer your issue.
Forming Good Purchasing Habits
The whole reason we form clutter in the first place is that we don’t keep track of our purchases. Spending recklessly will not only result in more unwanted items, but your wallet probably takes a decent hit as well. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, but if this ‘treat’ is going to contribute to more stress, it’s probably not as good as you think it is. Next time you go to make a new purchase ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have space for this item?
- How often will I use this?
- Why do I need this?
- What value is this purchase adding to my life?
Asking yourself these questions might seem silly at first, but after a while you’ll be making these decisions in seconds.
Here’s where things get a little tricky. After you’ve gotten rid of all the unnecessary items that serve no purpose to you, you're left with the practical things and the items that have sentimental value. How do you know whether or not to keep these things? Sentimental items are typically accompanied with lots of emotions and memories. If your whole house is drenched in old memories and items from loved ones, although it might feel comfortable, it can also be emotionally draining.
Reserving a small box for the items that hold sentimental value to you is a great way to start. If you don’t want to get rid of these things completely, ask your family and friends if they would like any of them. This way, they are no longer yours but you don’t have to discard them completely.
Bringing any kind of minimalism into your life can be extremely beneficial. Minimalism isn’t a competition as to who can get rid of their things the fastest. It is a way of living that is designed to help you live with less stress, so do what works for you!