It is one thing to organize your space, it’s something completely different when you are also trying to create a minimalist lifestyle. Becoming a minimalist is not about finding all the right storage containers, matching bins, and lidded tubs. Instead, it is about removing the need for all those containers, drawers, and tubs in the first place. Making a de-cluttered, minimalist home become a lifestyle choice requires that you set some boundaries and develop some informal, but non-negotiable, rules.
Here is how to start
Make “no” a positive word.
It is easy to bring something into your home with the idea that you will see if you use it, and if not, you will pass it on. Instead, make your first options pass on it. The challenge with bringing it in is that you have accepted it. Now, if you decide you cannot or will not use it, you are stuck with the feelings of guilt for having taken it in the first place. So, turn down those gift bags, nix the value-added freebies, leave behind the party favors and mementos.
Cull with consistency.
Going through the items you do allow into your home regularly to weed out some of the stuff that crept in, or that you no longer use keeps your new lifestyle in check. Create a location in your home (box, basket, bag, cabinet) where you place items you need to consider for culling. If you do not love them, do not use them, or are not sure, but them in the consideration container. Every month or so, look at what is there. If you know you will not use it, drop it off at a charity donation center.
Pause before a purchase.
Just because there is a sale, you do not have to buy something. Moreover, if a salesperson is pushing, just walk away for a breather. The truth is, if you did not need it before you went to the store, you do not need it now. So, the real question is, do you genuinely want it, or are you responding to the sales tactics and marketing ploys meant to part you from your money. Of course, if you do decide you either want or need it, you should still pause long enough to learn if there is a better deal someplace else.
Learn to become detached.
Homes filled with sentimental items that came from Grandpa or Aunt Suzy or your first-grade teacher or your children’s school projects can quickly overwhelm you. Although it is difficult, learning to retain the sentiment rather than the item can help you steer your minimalist life on track. Instead of keeping the thing, consider taking a photo of it and storing it in a digital memory book. Then, feel the freedom of giving the item to a family member that has always wanted it, or pass it on to a charity.
Once you have embraced the minimalist lifestyle, use these boundaries to help you keep it there. If you are paring down to facilitate a move, your real estate agent can help you find the perfect minimalist home for you.