Friday, June 6, 2014

Tips to Help You Start Your Minimalist Journey

This topic, minimalism, gets me very excited!  I love to throw stuff away!  Funny, huh?  Why would that be?  Because it is a very freeing experience.  The more stuff goes, the more free and focused I become.  

When you get a new washing machine, usually it comes with a user’s manual AND a quick startup guide.  I wanted to give you a quick startup guide to minimalism, so listed below are a few tips to help you begin.  This is a process and a journey, so you will continue to repeat these steps as needed.  Let’s get started.

1.  First you will want to talk to yourself.  Why do you want to do this?   For me, I want a simple life.  We have a large family, so I want to focus on them, and not our stuff, as much as possible.  I want my kids to find the amazing in the ordinary. I want our family to be outdoors and exploring and experiencing life and not constantly maintaining what is going on in our house.  And, quite honestly, I can be a little lazy at times.  I don’t want to spend all day cleaning.

2.  Get a vision and set some goals.   Begin with the end in mind.  What do you want the final outcome to look like?  How will you go about accomplishing your task?  For me,  I want to feel like I am on vacation all the time.  You know that feeling when you travel somewhere and all you have to take care of is what you brought with you?  I want that.  I want that peaceful relaxed feeling so I can focus on my family and not always on stuff. How I am accomplishing this is by letting go of at least 1 item per day whether it be in the trash, or the special place I have set aside for stuff, which leads us to number 3.

3. Create a space to put items you want to get rid of whether it be to sell, or donate.  It can be in your garage, or a closet, or even a room if you have space.  I have a closet in a room we don’t use where I place my items that I want to sell or donate.  I put items in there, and wait to see if I need it again, or one of my children wants something from that place.  If it needs to come back out, no biggie, but I try to keep it in there.  

4.  Put like items together.  For example, put all toys together.  I find toys all over my house, often in every room.  It is important for me to put them all in one area to determine what we can keep and what can go.  

5.  Start the decluttering (minimizing, simplifying) process.  Go through your home and get rid of all trash first.  Trash might include the empty soap box under the sink, empty medicine bottles, empty shampoo or dish liquid containers, etc.   Next work on the easy stuff.  The easy stuff might be clothing that doesn’t fit anymore, items you don’t use, or stuff you don’t like.  Don’t start with baby memorabilia or things that have a lot of sentimental attachment.  Once you gain some momentum, you can work with those items.  Start putting those items in the designated spot.  Eventually, when the pile gets large enough, you will want to permanently get rid of the items via whatever way you choose.

6.  Stop the inflow.  This is a biggie. You cannot reduce the amount of stuff in your home if you continue to buy more stuff.  Give yourself some time to practice this new skill.  Pick a specific amount of time, something that is doable for you, and don’t buy anything new other than necessities (food, gas for your car, etc).  This will help you target those areas where you continually are spending.  Weak areas I have found in my own life were purchasing clothing and books.  Stopping the inflow is really important so you can visually see the progress and success!

I hope this list has given you a few ideas to get you going.  There is lots of information out there about minimalism and simplicity for you to research!  Many blessings to you in your endeavors!


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