Declutter like a minimalist
Accumulating materialistic things like clothes, shoes, bags, tools, and ― yes ―even cats can eventually become a problem when there isn’t a balanced flow of things leaving your house as there is coming into your home.
A minimalist approach to decluttering might be just what you need to keep your living space, well, livable.
What is minimalism?
Understanding that you don’t need a lot of things to live a fulfilling life is the first step towards becoming a minimalist and living a minimalist life.
The truth is, there might be a lot of unused junk piling up in your closet that at one moment in time, you thought you absolutely needed. Since it’s been sitting in your closet untouched, it turns out that you really didn’t need that thing you just had to have. You fell for a marketing scheme that was aimed directly at you.
Minimalism teaches you that you don’t need to have that handbag with all the frills or that shoes with the bulky heels and studs that would go perfectly with the leather pants on the next rack. It instills in you that if it serves no purpose and you can only wear it once, then it’s not needed.
What makes a person a minimalist?
A minimalistic person strives to have the least amount of personal belongings. The fewer things you have, the less time you’ll be wasting trying to find something to wear, this is why most nomads are minimalist. They understand that if they want the freedom of picking up and moving whenever they get the urge, they cannot have a ton of things to lug around.
I don’t consider myself a minimalist but I do have minimalist tendencies. A house with the least amount of furniture where every piece has a specific purpose and is absolutely needed appeals to me more than a house that is filled with lavish things. I don’t need a lot to make me happy. This kind of thinking was instilled in me at a very young age. I was basically a young nomad as a child and with every new place we lived, something always got thrown out.
My grandmother was infamous for decluttering. If things were piling up, one day out of the blue, they’d be gone before I got home from school. This also taught me a valuable lesson on placing significance on a piece of item. Here’s the story of what happened…
I had a pair of Nike shoes that I absolutely loved, they were my favorite color, baby blue, and looked gorgeous on my feet. At one point, someone tried to steal them because they loved how they looked on my feet but, nine or ten years old me plainly told him to come and take them off my feet since he so badly wanted them. Turns out he was shocked by my response and rode away on his bicycle because he now had to work to get the shoes instead of them being handed to him. Yup! I was a badass!
One day I was getting ready to go out and decided to wear my favorite shoes but to my dismay, I could only find one foot. I turned that whole room upside down and inside out, neatly of course, but the other foot was nowhere to be found. I decided to ask my grandmother if she saw the next foot because I searched tirelessly and came up with nothing. I found out that while I was at school one day she had one of her decluttering sessions and grabbed all the shoes that couldn’t fit my cousin anymore and threw them out.
The realization hit me like a cement block, she threw out my favorite shoes and there was no way for me to find them ever again, they were gone, gone.
Years later when I migrated to America, I did try to find the shoes again but turns out they were a pair of shoes that Nike never re-released.
After that incident, I learned to never attach my emotions to a material object because you could come home and everything is gone. Which is why I now enjoy not having a ton of things that cannot fit a small bag and carry with me wherever I go.
“Minimizing can be exhilarating. If you continue decluttering, you just might find a zest for life that you didn’t know existed under all that stuff!” ― Lisa J. Shultz
How to get started with decluttering
Letting go of things that you’ve placed value on takes time. You have to be willing to let things go in order to accept other blessings that are waiting for you once you declutter your life. The act of decluttering evokes the feeling that it’s okay to let go of the things that are holding you down and filling up your house. To never declutter again, you have to be willing to purge things from your life regularly. If you buy something new, something old has to leave, it’s a never-ending cycle.
Accept letting things go
The first step to decluttering and minimalism is to accept that things have cycles. Once that cycle is exhausted, it’s time to move one.
Stop buying things
If you’re not willing to get rid of anything right now, stop buying new things to add to your home. When you’re ready for something new in your life, a purge of the old things is a must.
Remove at one Item a day
Creating a pile of things you want to get rid of didn’t take one day to build, so getting rid of it slowly is an effective strategy. Remove one thing that serves no purpose to you a day, especially if you haven’t used it in a year. If you went through four different seasons and didn’t touch it once, you no longer need it.
Start with the easy stuff
Identify the things that are old, ripped, and hanging on by a thread. Get rid of them.
Don’t let guilt force you to keep things
If someone gifted you something nice that no longer brings you joy, and it’s not an heirloom, get rid of it. They’re not the ones looking at and living with it. If they want to buy you something next time, tell them to get you something useful that serves a purpose beyond being aesthetically pleasing.
Return things back to their rightful owners
Sometimes the things taking up the most space in your home don’t even belong to you. If you borrowed it for a specific reason, there’s no explanation in the world you can give why you still have that thing six months later. Give it back!
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” ― Joshua Becker
Minimalist declutter checklist
- Is it old or falling apart?
- Do you use it often?
- Does it serve a purpose other than aesthetics?
- Has it served its purpose?
If it serves no purpose and you don’t use it often, get rid of it.
If it’s old, you use it often, and it’s still serving its purpose, decide if it’s best to keep it or to replace it.
Decluttering is a choice you have to be willing to make. If you want an organized life where you can easily find everything you need then you need to start decluttering today.
“Clutter steals energy and joy.” ― Monika Kristofferson