17 April 2020

How to get into a Minimalist Mindset



Whenever I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I look to my physical space. I usually find that my space is a good reflection of however I’m feeling, being chaotic or calm, or anything in between. Ironically, tidying up and staying organised seems to be the last thing on my mind amongst everything else in my busy life, and, if not resolved, can create a vicious cycle. 

Now is the time

Having all this extra time on my hands means that I’ve been able to tackle those tasks that have been nagging me for some time now. And this blog post is dedicated to the biggest one: decluttering miscellaneous items. I’m not referring to my clothes, just all of the extra stuff that I have somehow accumulated. And, although I’ve been at home for two weeks now, I have been struggling to find the motivation to get in and purge my house and mind of all the unwanted junk that occupies the space in my wardrobe and under my bed.

I found it easy to put off this task because I didn’t have a motivation big enough to actually do it. I also figured that it was too big of a task and I’d probably end up keeping most of it. All those excuses you tell yourself? Lies! How do I know this? I spent too long telling myself the same things. Enough with the procrastination, I say. Now’s the time to get your sh*t together. I mean, there’s never been a better time to sell your second-hand goods online. Everyone is sitting at home behind their screens, scrolling the web, looking for something to do, or something to buy. Websites like Facebook marketplace, Gumtree and eBay are booming, and it’s the perfect time to make some money on your old stuff. 

Minimalism

Living minimally is not a trend. I believe that it is a tool used to live intentionally and simply, ultimately saving you time, money, space and energy. (Read my latest article on minimalism, here). While that sounds great, and you’re ready to purge half of your belongings, it’s important to understand what a clutter-free or minimalist mindset is. There’s absolutely no use in throwing out old stuff if the clutter will slowly rebuild itself again in the following weeks and months. 

Minimalist Mindset

A clutter-free space starts with a clutter-free mindset. So we need to rid our minds of all those excuses we have made to sweep the problem under the rug and continue to mindlessly put up with draws and cupboards that are so full, you don’t even remember what’s in there. (No judgement, we’ve all been there). 

I believe a clutter-free mindset is based on four principles:
  • Every item in my home has a purpose
  • I will purge items that don’t serve a purpose
  • Every item has a relevant and accessible place
  • I will maintain order by keeping items in their place

I encourage you to download this image to keep as a daily or weekly mantra. You might like to store it digitally or print it out. Keep it somewhere you will see often.

Beyond these four principles, a minimalist mindset involves eradicating all of the excuses you tell yourself:

“I don’t have time”

This is the most common. The thought of what would otherwise be your down-time, being used to sort through your stuff? Boring, right? The good news is that with all of the self-isolation guidelines in place, we now have more time at home than ever before. I’ve often seen decluttering as a big task requiring massive chunks of time. Decluttering does not have to be a huge task that occupies your entire weekend. You might like to allow 15 minutes each day to decluttering a certain space. And although this will be lengthy, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of every cupboard in your house. Do what you can. You’ll notice an immediate increase in productivity and overall wellbeing. 

“I don’t know where to start”

Don’t start on your closet. You’ll end up with a mountain of clothes on your floor and will probably have a breakdown. Start with the smallest drawer or cupboard of the most used room. I say the smallest because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Once you’ve completed a small task, you’ll feel so productive and get a boost of energy to keep going. Small benchmarks help you to feel successful and will motivate you to keep going. Start small, and continue in the order that seems logical. 

“There’s too much to do”

You’re thinking about the big picture again, aren’t you? Stop trying to climb the mountain. Just take a few steps. You’ll be surprised how quickly a simple drawer here and cupboard there adds up. You might like to write down all of the areas in your house that you want to work on. If you’re writing down different rooms, be sure to include each different storage area. Use this as a checklist from which you can tick off as you go, and map your progress. Each tick will feel like an adulting gold star, and you’ll be on your way to a clutter-free home in no time.

“I’m not good at deciding what to keep, and I end up keeping it all”

I used to procrastinate so hard on this one. I worried that I’d doubt myself and pack it all away, leaving my space full of clutter, and my mind drained. I recently asked myself “If I were moving into a van, what would I take with me?” And as I thought of this, I wasn’t so focused on saving space. I was considering which items are useful or essential to me. I mean, I hadn’t used my boxing gloves in years. I can’t see myself boxing. I don’t need two watches, I mean, I’ll only ever wear one at a time and there’s one that never gets used. If you really don’t know what to get rid of, you’ll love my upcoming blog post - Declutter your home, fast.

“I can’t be a minimalist because I like my (insert collection here) too much”

If you’re a reader, keep your books. Remember, no one is forcing you to keep or chuck. The very first principle is ‘everything in my home has a purpose’. If your books are being read, they have a purpose. There have been things that I have recently donated, after telling myself for years that I would ‘find the time for it’. I’m a firm believer that I can do anything, but not everything. When I started to be honest with myself, I knew, realistically, that I didn’t have the time for all of the hobbies I was trying to pursue, and for me, it was better to commit my time and energy to excel in a few, than burning out trying to do them all. Keep the things that you use often, or find purposeful or beautiful.

I hope you found this post interesting and are feeling inspired to start your minimalism journey. If you’re feeling inspired, comment below which area of your house you plan to tackle, first. 

If you’re ready to commit a small amount of time decluttering the things that no longer bring value to your life, I encourage you to read my other articles on minimalism. Be sure to connect on social media to see my new posts, and engage with me as we venture into the journey of living simply, together.

Yours in all things sustainable, 

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