Minimalism for Beginners | Tips to Start Decluttering
Beginning the journey of minimizing your home may seem like a daunting task. When I first started to declutter our belongings, I wanted a clean, clear space overnight. I thought I could purge our home in one go and be totally satisfied with the results - the truth is, it took us a long time to get our space to the place we are now, and I still need to do another clear-out soon. Simplifying your house will most likely be a constant process, but it’s so worth the effort.
I’m not going to tell you specific steps to take in cleaning your home - every family and space is different, therefore, the problem zones in every home are different. But I will tell you the prompts that were helpful for me when starting out - you can also check out my previous blog post: 15 Things to Declutter Right Now to get some ideas.
The main thing is: just start! It is especially helpful to begin in an area of your home that you can reap the biggest reward with the littlest effort. Think of a clutter zone that you encounter everyday - for me it was our closet - and set aside a specific time to clear it out. Always remember that being consistent with decluttering will reap a big reward. Setting aside a small amount of time each day or week will add up significantly over time.
TIPS FOR DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME
KNOW YOUR WHY
The first and biggest step is to establish your “why”. I’ll put a link to our why here, but it’s essential to understand that without a driving purpose, most plans lose momentum and fail. You need to have a driving focus for why you want to simplify your life, so that when you are approached with an opportunity to remove an item from your home, you can look at it objectively and say “no, this is not essential to my life, because of...” Lots of items are useful and should be kept, but not all of them are essential to the fulfilling the calling on your life. Clarify your life goals and the “why” behind them and ditch anything that does not align with it.
I personally get rid of anything that takes up valuable time that I could be spending with my family or the Lord instead. Think, large sets of dish-ware that need to be maintained and washed (how many do you actually need and how quickly could the dishes be done with just a few?), or items that just simply pile up in drawers that are a time sink to organize and reorganize and you never actually use them - for me, this was our art/craft drawer.
KEEP ONLY THE ESSENTIALS
Always begin with taking all of the items out of the space that they live in and only put back the absolute essentials. Sometimes I like to imagine if I could only keep five items in a drawer, what would they be? Or, if I was going on vacation, what would I take? It’s a great way to establish if something is truly an essential. Whether it’s your closet, a storage bench, or a bookshelf, always start by removing everything and only putting back what is most important.
RID YOURSELF OF A JUNK DRAWER
If you can replace an item in twenty minutes for less than twenty dollars, let it go. I like to think of it as a small fee I am paying a store to stock and keep items so that they are not cluttering my house. Basically, let Walmart do the job of storing your junk drawer for you.
3 MONTH RULE
If you haven’t used it in the last three months and can’t imagine a scenario where you are going to use it in the next three, let it go. I’ve found that most of these items can be borrowed in the event that you do need it anyways. We recently donated our air mattress because we realized we could just borrow one from our friends or family when we go camping once a year - which who knows how often that’ll happen now that we have a baby.
“JUST IN CASE” SCENARIOS
I never keep items for “just in case” scenarios. This is a huge one. I always kept dresses I never truly loved for weddings or Halloween costumes, and I don’t even celebrate Halloween. I felt the need to be prepared for any and every possible “emergency”, but never ended up using these items. Get rid of things that affect your everyday life, for things that might happen once a year, or never.
Obviously keep your fire extinguisher or an emergency flashlight people.
Let me know if you have started to clean out your home + what area of your space you have started to declutter first! Once you get started, it becomes easier and easier to let go the more you see the benefits.