I just… Can’t
I cannot… I am absolutely incapable of living a minimalist lifestyle.
When reading other articles online I fell in love with the concept, and a close friend of mine maintains a minimalist living space adamantly. About a year ago when all of this sparked up for me, I tried. I did the steps to declutter the living space and become a minimalist. However, in less than three months everything was back to where it started and I seemed to have also taken on a shopping habit of replacing most of the things I had taken out.
This was, backwards minimalism except I’m not the only one who’s gone through this process and most of us aren’t raised in a household that prepares you for this. So, after reevaluating we can construct a sort of plan. A series of creating habits, and stopping old ones so it’ll take a while. The process may be slow but definitely worth it. As easy it is to become attached to the clutter, to just buy a new something small instead of putting in the effort to find whatever it was you lost; you’ll fall in love with this new environment that doesn’t destroy your lifestyle.
The idea of being a minimalist is to live with the bare minimum. None of the excess that has worked it’s way into all of our lives. Well, I don’t enjoy all of the excess but I really need some once in a while.
Step One: Evaluate Your Living Space Couple of Questions for Yourself
Do you have a small or shared living space? If yes, then you already know how difficult it is to keep a small space uncluttered. The shared living space is worse, because now you’re accounting for multiple people. When living in a small or shared living space you need to be able to differentiate from the needed items and whether you have storage space for anything else.
Are you a generally untidy person, or get cleaning done in waves? Well, I get all of my cleaning done in waves, so the house looks great for a few days then destroyed the rest of the time. What we’re going to be checking out if this is part of your current lifestyle is blocking off the things you don’t need all the time. This way the general build up between cleanings doesn’t have anything you haven’t used in the last three months.
Final question, do you have the time, dedication and focus to finish this? It happens pretty often that projects get started, and not completed. We’re going to make this a quick project even for a larger house, but make sure that you’re committed to doing it properly. The cleaning out and finding everything a home part can wear you down but it needs to be done in one go.
Clean Out, Sort, and Process
Pick a room, any room, and start. Nothing can ever be completed if you’re planning it out the whole time. There’s lots of guides on the internet or daily sheets of what rooms to bring to a minimum first on Pintrest. Those are helpful tools, when they get used. Otherwise don’t worry about the planning, just go.
Step Two: The Purge
You’ve already picked which room you’re going to start with, I always go for the bedroom. I feel that’s where most trinkets and unneeded paperwork ends up. If you’re room is messy fantastic, make one clear surface. The bed or the floor works great, but your really want enough room to have a couple of piles and also grab a trash bag.
Start in one corner of the room, don’t worry about getting the room cleaned up first everything will eventually end up where it belongs. Savor your last day of not being overtly organized and just go with it for now. As you grab things place them on your one cleared space in the following options: Need, Need sometimes, Really Really Like, Decorative, Sometimes I Use It, I Only Used It That One Time and Get Rid Of It. Seven piles and once you start going through and making a circle through the room from the corner you started in, you’ll see how easy it is that the first three piles are not anywhere near as big as the other.
Couple of things to keep in mind, things that you need or need sometimes should not include: decorative items, clothing(except undergarments), or documents. Documents if important should be immediately filed. If the documents are unimportant but still have use, scan them into your computer and throw it out. Clothing should really be dedicated to one of the last four piles. With decorative items as we all rotate through our decorative choices in various room take some time to evaluate if it’s still present in the room. If it was not on the wall or where this particular decorative piece is designed for then it wasn’t doing it’s job, get rid of it.
Everything Needs Only One Home
While you have everything sorted into their respective piles, find it all a home. Some of this is easy, homework goes in binders, clothes go in drawers or on hangers. Other things like tweezers that get easily lost need a dedicated place that they must always be returned to. Dedicate time to determining where everything will go. Don’t try to place anything where it will be difficult to find later either. Your best bet is to put it where the first place is that you typically look for it. Often we end up purchasing multiples of smaller, easily replaceable things because we can’t find it more than half the time.
After you’ve gone through your first room go ahead and venture out. One idea that I really advocate is to do this in one day. Utilizing the one day off as a full reset will dissuade you from becoming distract through the week and also lets you mentally prepare while you wait for coming day.
Sticking To It
This is by far and away the most difficult part. Where you have to constantly monitor and check whether you put something back or not. The first week will be the most difficult however since you just cleared everything else out, including doubles, you won’t have much of a choice other than to go through and find what you were looking for. Don’t be afraid to change up where you decided to keep some of your things. Plan on going through this process about once a year. Even if you are successful in keeping your living space to its kind of minimum needs, as people we accumulate things. That’s the okay part, you don’t want to stress about being over cluttered but you will still accumulate stuff. A once a year clean out is spaced out just right to keep the clutter at bay.