In the past few years, minimalism has gone mainstream. Taken into the spotlight by popular advocates such as Joshua Becker and Marie Kondo, decluttering has never been more trendy as it is now. But while the idea is simple, the whole purging process can be a real emotional dilemma.
Getting rid of one’s material possessions does not simply take a day. It entails a shift in perspective that can take months to digest and live by. But before you bail out, consider these logical reasons decluttering can be good for your home:
- It’s where you spend most of your time in.
- It’s where most of your decision-making process takes place.
- Your room affects you personally.
Going home to a house in a state of topsy-turvy can totally flip your mood. Having a bad mood affects how you deal with people. Having a bad day also lessens your tendency to clean up. In the end, your home becomes a reflection of who you are.
This is the very rationale of minimalism—to create positivity where you have direct influence—and taking the first step is a decision everyone can make. It doesn’t have to be instantaneous. Execute at your own pace and use the following steps as a handy guide to successfully tidy up.
Set Aside Time to Declutter
Organizing your stuff can take more time than you think. You pick up your favorite childhood toy, and suddenly you feel the urge to call up your best friend, only to end up in a two-hour marathon about how you sneaked out of home to look for Santa when you were 10. Then comes the temptation to just store up everything in a box you shove under the bed.
Decluttering, while liberating in the long term, can take you on an emotional roller coaster in the short term. To avoid falling into the trap, do it room per room. Set aside a time to focus on what to dispose and what to keep. If you don’t dedicate a schedule for organizing, chances are, it will never happen.
Only Keep What You’ve Used in the Last Year
If you haven’t used something in a year, it’s very possible that you may never get around to using it at all. It’s time to junk that “I may use this someday” mentality. Otherwise, the minimalist mission is a failure. Keep in mind that the core of the minimalist principle is to keep only what you need, not what you may need.
Keeping only what you used last year is sensible for two reasons. First, most of your clothes probably fit and are already up to your style unless you’ve made a major transformation in the past year. And second, it doesn’t only apply to clothes but also to home decors that are seasonal in nature.
Say Bye to Duplicates
This is most applicable to clothing items. No, you do not need the same polka dot dress in two colors. You can do perfectly fine with only a pair of black jeans. And perhaps it’s time to let go of those lone socks whose pairs magically disappeared in the laundry.
Go through your wardrobe for duplicates and determine which ones are still in good shape. The rest needs to be let go off, either in a yard sale or donated to an organization in need.
Remodel or Replace
This is an expensive decision to make, and understandably, it’s not for everyone. But should you decide to take the full leap into the minimalist life, making a few tweaks around the home is a good way to make sure your things are good for the long term.
If remodeling is not within the budget, you can simply opt to make minor replacements while also getting rid of a lot of other stuff. Invest in good fixture replacements, and always have quality in mind while purchasing replacement items.
Keep Your Saved Items in a Container
And if everything doesn’t fit, go over them once more. Again, it doesn’t have to be a onetime process. Use separate organizers for different items.
You do not need to purchase new boxes and storage containers. Instead, get creative and find ways to repurpose existing organizers in the house.
Make Use of Space
Most people don’t realize there’s perfectly usable space their passing up in shelves and furniture with drawers and cabinets. It’s time to raid these spaces and make room for your core items.
You’d be surprised how much roomier your home could be after all the clutter is neatly kept. To avoid confusion, label your boxes, trays, and organizers to easily find whatever it is you need at any given time of the day.
Have years’ worth of photographs? Feel bad about letting them go? While keeping sentimental possessions is a personal decision, it’s recommended to have them scanned and stored in your computer. It’s a way to immortalize your special moments without risking them of accidental, irreversible damage.
After you have them scanned, store them in the cloud. This guarantees that your files aren’t lost forever in the event that the files are deleted by mistake.
Still, it’s never bad to keep the most special memorabilia.
Always Remember to Put Items Back in Place
Along with the decluttering decision is the necessary vow to be mindful of how you manage your things. It’s an important habit to practice if your long-term mission is to keep organized.
Just because you did it now doesn’t mean you don’t need to go over it again. It has to happen, probably in another three months or so after you’ve accumulated more stuff in the interval. And even though you haven’t and have consistently held up to your vow, your stuff will need replacing sooner or later.
Clothes get worn down, everyday items are subject to normal wear and tear. And sooner than later, you realize you’re back to square one. Schedule a routine decluttering period once or twice a year to make sure you don’t go off track.
Having fewer things makes cleaning a breezier activity—fewer things to lift, fewer to throw. Still, it needs to be done on a regular basis. However, cleaning is not limited to only sweeping dirt or brushing off dust.
You need to incorporate damage-mitigating procedures in your cleaning routine. For example, the constant change of humidity in the bathroom can easily rake paint off your walls. Perhaps, having a routine mold test can help you detect problems earlier and find fixes before they become bigger issues that are harder and possibly more costly to handle.
Going minimalist is not an easy process, but just like any good thing that takes time, it’s also high-return. Still, if you think the whole trend is not for you, don’t fret. These steps apply to everyone. Follow at your liberty, and only take the leap whenever you’re ready.