Minimalism looks incredible on Instagram and everyone who chooses that lifestyle is always talking about how freeing it is to live with only the bare essentials. It seems like such a cool idea to live with nothing but furniture, your favourite clothes and a cute little cactus. Plus, your home would always be picture-ready for when you’re really feeling your look and need to snap a quick selfie.
For most of us though, it’s just not possible to throw out that much stuff and live with that little. Especially if you have kids who need buckets and buckets of toys, sports equipment and other paraphernalia. Not to mention the storage space you have dedicated to hand-me-downs that are in between kids at the moment. Let’s be honest, the minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but we could stand to learn a thing or two about decluttering from the masters of no clutter.
They say that a clearer space means a clearer mind and that’s the general goal of living a minimalist life. Here are a few minimalist tips that can help you clear your space and mind without going overboard.
Get rid of clutter
That seems obvious and general, but we mean it. Get rid of that extra cluttery stuff that makes a space feel smaller. That means papers that need to be shredded, little trinkets you picked up that have no value, expired coupons that have been on the fridge for months, nickels and dimes that are just collecting dust and those dead pens you think you might be able to squeeze more ink out of. Either find a place for it, or get rid of it. That simple.
The 90/90 rule
Here’s a good rule for evaluating if you really need an object. Have you used it in the past 90 days? And do you intend to use it in the next 90 days? For seasonal stuff, you can bump that up to a year. Did you wear that sweater last winter? No. Then you don’t need to keep it for next winter. Say bye-bye to all those items that sit in the bottom of your drawer because they might be exactly the thing you’re looking for at some point.
This works well for electronics too. Have you used that boombox in the past 90 days? Do you intend to use it again… ever?
Does it serve a purpose or have sentimental value?
Look at everything you own with this question in mind. If it has a function, great! If it doesn’t, then why are you keeping it? Is it because of sentimental value? That’s a fair argument. If an item doesn’t have some kind of function or meaning to you, chuck it.
Get rid of duplicates
Well, not every duplicate. You can have more than one shirt (imagine how often you would have to do laundry!). But get rid of things that are either exactly the same, almost identical or serve the same purpose in the same way. If you have two pairs of rubber boots but only wear one of them, you know what you need to do. You don’t really need two umbrellas either. Use your discretion, but you’d be surprised what you have too many of for one person.
When you get a new one, throw out the old one
Prevent duplicates altogether by throwing something out when you replace it. If you got a new winter jacket because the other one is looking a little worse for wear, throw out the old one. You’re probably not going to wear it again anyway. You got a new one for a reason.
Be intentional with clothes and makeup
How can one be a minimalist and a fashion icon at the same time? We’re not sure, but there’s something to be said for eliminating the clothes you will literally never wear. Be more intentional with the clothes items you buy and the ones you keep. You might even find yourself loving your wardrobe more as a whole because it’s just full of things you love.
The same goes for makeup. Obviously, throw out dried out mascara and years-old nail polish, but also get rid of the stuff you’ll probably never wear again. Did you go through a blue eye shadow phase that you can never see yourself returning to? Get rid of it. Keep the makeup that really makes you feel good and discard the rest. It was just taking up space.
Play the minimalist game
If you’re interested in a bit of a challenge, The Minimalists (of Netflix fame) have created “The Minimalist Game” which consists of throwing out or donating items every day for a month. On the first day you get rid of one thing, then on the second day, two things and so on for thirty days. Sounds almost impossible (that’s 600 things!) but it’s the most fun and effective when you do it with a friend (or even the whole family). Maybe modify it to one thing a day for thirty days if you’re not looking to go full minimalist. At the end of the month, you’ll notice quite a difference and you probably won’t even miss the stuff you got rid of.