Minimalism is an intentional living strategy that can assist you in finding freedom from many of the things that stress us in this modern consumeristic society. It can provide freedom from worry, overwhelm, finances, depression, comparison, over consumption, regret and so much more. I like to share what I call “practical minimalism” and how to really clear the clutter to make room for what matters most in your life! In my writing and videos, we explore how minimalism is an extension of living a more simple life and a tool under the umbrella of intentional living. Minimalism has a lot to do with the elimination of stuff to clear space and gain clarity and as Joshua Becker puts it so nicely, “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” Intentional living is any lifestyle based on an individual or group’s conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs. The key word is ANY. What may be of value to one person based on the season of life they are in, their age, their culture, their beliefs is all relative.
Minimalism is a lifestyle. It is not something that is tangible. It is a way to live that allows the focus more on relationships, time, impact, generosity, and things that matter to us and less on what other people are doing or what is the next best trend. The most obvious way to talk about minimalism is to talk about it in terms of stuff, but it is so much more than that to me. What is it NOT to you? What is your overall impression of minimalism. If you are looking to live a more simple life that brings about freedom from so many of the above mentioned things, you have come to a great decision point. To get started, here are ten minimalist habits that will transform your life:
- Be Intentional with Accumulation – this is something I do before I shop. I look around my home, give myself some time, use an online cart or wish list in a notes app and just be patient. Before I know it, the feeling subsides and I can think clearly if I really need to get it. Shopping my home has been a great tip for this. You would be surprised how much you already have in your own home that you may have forgotten.
- Everything Has a Home – giving everything a home really helps when I bring something in my home. However, an even better tip is to make sure we have a home for the item BEFORE we buy it and if we don’t perhaps think of an item that can leave before we get it…which leads into my next habit…
- One in One Out Rule – before we get something, ask ourselves is there something we can donate, trash or sell? It really helps with accumulation and clutter. This isn’t always possible so in that case refer back to habit #2.
- Do a Quick Tidy – In addition to giving an item a home, daily habits need to be practiced with putting items BACK in their respective homes during regular “tidy” times. We like to have a time in the AM and a time in the PM to help trigger that habit. For example, after morning teeth brushing, we put away all of our tools for that and after breakfast we clear our place settings, do a light sweep and wipe down the counters. It begins to just feel like this is what is the norm as you do it more and more.
- Declutter Consistently – giving yourself a declutter mindset really helps not only with keeping up on it but avoiding it altogether. Give yourself weekly small tasks and even put on your calendar regular “declutter sessions”. These can be as small as the weekly tasks (drawer, counter, paper pile, etc.) or as large as a quarterly purge such as going through your kids seasonal clothing or cleaning up digital clutter by backing up photos on your camera roll to google photos. Getting into a regular habit will prevent feelings of overwhelm so common with HUGE decluttering tasks.
- Turn Hangers – every season consider turning a hanger every time you use an item. By the end of the season you can see what hasn’t been touched and consider if those pieces still need to be taking up space.
- Keep Counters Clear – having items on a counter doesn’t necessarily equate clutter, however, these items should be items you use or need to have quick access to and have a place (habit #2). If things are just piling up out of their respective “homes” then it is time to reevaluate the habit of putting things back in their home which can take time for all of us – especially in a busy family.
- Keep a Donation Basket / Bag – keeping a bag or basket handy in a closet, mud room or even the trunk of your car can help you to put items out of sight yet give you some time to think on whether you use them or need them in their absence. I usually give myself a few weeks or up to 30 days to think on whether I want to finally “get rid” of the item, but you make the call on that. It is amazing how much you DON’T NEED something when it isn’t in front of your face.
- Rotate Toys – this is a trick I have been doing since my kids were wee ones. I would rotate toys and put some away to make them think that they were NEW again when I would take out the ones that were away for a while. IT WORKS! Get the kids involved as they get older as they will have an easier time seeing what toys they don’t like anymore or grew out of and one word of wisdom as a mom to now “TWEENS” – ENJOY the toys…they will be GONE before you know it 🙁
- Seek Gratitude and Contentment – enjoy the space you are in. Seasons change. Time will move forward. Live in the right now and seek contentment with where you are right now. Your space may not be PINTEREST worthy but it is YOURS and whether you rent or own or have a large or small space, take care of it and be thankful for it. Gratitude goes a long way.
Now remember, this is just my take on Minimalism as a mom and wife who seeks a slower and simpler life with her family. For more, check out our MINIMALISM SERIES ON YOUTUBE, as well as some other explanations of minimalism from some well known experts in the field: