LIFE | 5 Tips to Kick Start a Minimalistic Life
Back mid-April, I started a challenge, inspired by the guys from "The Minimalists". The challenge was to remove a bunch of items out of the house. (Their challenge: For 30 days de-clutter the house - 1 thing on the first day, 2 things on the second, 3 on the third and so on). I didn't really have a set number, I just knew I needed to give my home a good purge. I typically do some sort of cleanse every 6 to 8 months, but this time had to be different. I needed to be ruthless with the stuff in our home. Having a toddler has changed many things for the better. However, the addition of a tiny human to our lives added way more "stuff" than I had hoped for and anticipated. I was beginning to feel claustrophobic and more anxious with all the clutter around me. Even though on most days I relish the chaos and feel the warmth of a room well used and well played in...I have a lot of very anxious moments. I couldn't get my mind off the "random" paper clip siting on the dining room table, asking why we had cup coasters sitting on a shelf that we never used and the broken "whatchama-call-it" that has been hiding in the desk drawer FOREVER - What the heck are we saving all this for? It was driving me bananas and ultimately causing me mental harm.
The bigger question was, why all this stuff was causing me so much anxiety? (I do have to preface that the clutter was not the only thing causing all my anxiety, but it's a huge contributor). I have realized now that it's all revolving around my lack of control when it came to the organization and cleanliness of our home (toddler-life). This is why I needed to desperately de-clutter our space in the attempt to create a more minimal living space, therefore helping me better clear my mental capacity for what's truly important. For 30 days, I tried to remove at least one thing out of the house every day. The first few days were easy, I was on a rampage, going through drawers, cupboards, making cuts and slashes without blinking. But after 7 days, it started to get more difficult. In the first 7 days, I removed over 30+ items but I was determined to purge even more.
At the end of the 30 days, I officially removed over 90+ items out of the house and I didn't even get to the storage room, kitchen or the toys. I know there are a lot of you out there that need to purge, either because you have to make a small space more livable or perhaps you just want to start living simpler. Whatever the reason, here are some tips that helped me along the way:
1. PURGE BY ROOM - I was so hyped about starting I began purging frantically from room to room. I think this is why I burnt out by day seven. I had to re-group and I decided to try purging room by room. No matter how long it takes, clean out one room at a time and do not move to the next room until you have thoroughly gone through it with an ruthless eye.
2. GET RID OF DUPLICATES - A great tip for ruthless purging, take a good look at your stuff and see if you have duplicates or more of something that is NOT necessary. Was it necessary that I have 3 different sleeping masks, 5 different sets of ear buds, 2 ice cream scoopers or 4 travel umbrellas? No, no, no and NOPE.
3. CLOTHES & SHOES - Cleaning out the closet was the hardest part. Since our last move about 3 years ago, I parted ways with many of my clothes and shoes (not really by choice as the new place was much smaller, therefore I had no choice but to purge). I have found that getting rid of clothes was the most difficult - But I had to ask myself why?
Mamas, I hear you loud and clear. I'm a full time working mom, with little or no time for work outs. I've been beating myself up over this for too long. This year was a turning point, my mantra - Life is too short to worry about that little pudge on my tummy.
So those jeans that I've been keeping around for 2 years? Gone. The shoes that are too tight because my feet are about a half a size bigger now? Gone! Jackets that I can barely do up? Gone and gone. I know they will be loved by someone else and will find new homes down the road. It's easier said then done, so I hope these easy tips will help you kick-start your closet purge:
- If you have not worn it in over a year, you most likely will not wear it. #TRUTH
- If you have not fit the clothes in over 2 years, let them go. Invest in your new happy place. Focus on your #MENTALHEALTH not your weight.
- When buying clothes, brand new or old - Stick to basics, solid patterns, things that will not date or go out of fashion quickly. I know this sounds lame, but I have a very simple color palette and it's helped not only with getting ready in the morning but my bank account is loving me too.
- Mend your clothes whenever you can. Yes, pick up that needle and thread. Little tears and holes do not mean a complete toss and re-buy. Try to mend what you love and resist to buy a new thing in its place.
4. GIVE, SWAP & BORROW - I love giving, swapping and borrowing and this needs to happen more often between communities. You can start small with the community around you (neighbours) and amongst friends and family. Swapping and borrowing is such a great way to give stuff some good use. Especially for things that you may only need a handful of times, why buy it? In addition, if you do not know your neighbour, perhaps a good time to introduce yourselves?
5. PURGE FREQUENTLY - Kicking off the purge is always hard and it's even harder to keep the momentum going. Keep in mind, you will never it get it all done at one time. This is a gradual process which is a combination of removing things physically out of your home and creating new habits of not bringing more stuff into your home without first asking the question: Do we need this? However, once you start, try doing a bit every month and eventually you'll get to a point where the de-clutter becomes only an annual event.
I hope these 5 simple tips will help you along your way to living a more minimalistic life.