- Let go of the urge to keep something “just in case.”
We often hang on to things because we think that someday we will need it. Here’s the best example I can give you: NAIL POLISH. Unless you religiously do your nails every week (if you do, I envy you!), you probably have a box full of old, stinky nail polish under your sink that is asking to be discarded. If it’s something that can be replaced by an occasional service (mani/pedis!), hang on to the basics and discard the rest.
- If it is to be kept, is it easy to access when you need it?
When I reorganized my kitchen, I got rid of a ton of stuff. I did NOT turn into the mom with a single set of dishes and silverware for everyone, but I did finally get rid of all the plastic stuff since our girls were old enough to eat on big people plates. What was awesome about this process is that it freed up space for the things that we use on the reg and everything is easy to access. Like items are stored with like items and nobody questions where anything is. It’s glorious.
- Has it gone unused for any unreasonable amount of time?
I defer back to the bathroom purge, where I encountered five-year-old containers of unused body scrubs I had long since forgotten, lotions, hair products, and other things that I bought probably because they smelled good. By the time I was done I had an entire garbage bag full of items that not only didn’t serve a current purpose in my life… they never really did.
- Don’t feel like you have to sell or find a home for every little thing.
As I sorted through my things, I came across several items that could have been sold or placed in the home of a friend or family member. I want to challenge you to resist this feeling that the things you are purging must find a worthy home or give you an ROI. More often than not, it is simply not worth the time and the effort, whether by holding a garage sale (OMG THE HAGGLING) or selling on Craigslist… a.k.a. Creepslist or texting everyone you know asking whether they want something of yours. High-value items are one thing. The Keurig you stopped using six months ago is another. Things to consider putting time and effort into include high-dollar items like furniture, electronics, jewelry or keepsakes that can be given to another family member.
- Does it cause undue stress in your life with its presence in your home?
To me, minimalism is resisting the urge to pack things away that you may pull out of a box once or twice a year. If it isn’t worthy of display or use in your home, you won’t miss it if it’s gone. I know one of my biggest sources of stress was the unseen items in my house (the visible stuff was bad enough) because it took up space that could be used for other things. I had a box under our bed full of a number of keepsakes of mine and my husband’s, including volumes and volumes of journals. Reading through those made me feel a bit of anxiety, and had me rehashing and reliving things in my past that I am happy to forget. It was a great relief to finally discard those mementos, knowing that I will remember what is important, and can focus on the present and building a meaningful future for my family.
How do you define minimalism? What are the first steps you can take toward a happier existence? What scares you about minimalism? Share in the comments below!