I knew something had to change when my garage was so full of stuff (Pentium 3 computer anyone?) that it could no longer accommodate a car without serious dents ensuing. I decided that enough was enough.
Clearly others feel the same way. Blogs, podcasts and videos encouraging everyday people to adopt a minimalist lifestyle are everywhere. It seems minimalism is the new black.
5 Steps to minimise your life
Step 1: Find your motivation
Brooke recommends that before you start throwing out all your worldly possessions, you should stop and consider exactly why you want to be a minimalist.
For me, the simple fact that we chose to live in a small apartment was the forcing function. You can read about that decision in another post I wrote if you are interested.
In such close quarters I only want things that I love. I have no room in my life for things that I don’t need or that are not of high-quality. It’s a simple fact: a few nice things brings more satisfaction than loads of cheap junk.
Here’s an example, we needed a fan at the beginning of last summer. I considered a nice fan that a neighbour had raved about. But, the big price tag put me off. So, I bought a clunky, $40 fan from a discount chain store. We spent the summer boiling alive. Four months later the fan lost the plot completely and I threw it away. I began to notice that same fan at curbs all around my suburb. I must’ve seen 20 of the things – all headed for the dump.
And next summer? I’ll be faced with the same choice again. Here’s the thing. I live in Sydney. Hot summers are part of the deal. So what’s my choice? One $600 fan that lasts fifteen years which I love vs. 15 $40 fans which I hate?
Step 2: Take small steps to de-clutter success
There’s some pretty radical methods out there to de-clutter your home.
One method I’ve read about involves packing up all your belongings in boxes as if you’re moving house. When any item is needed, you remove it from its box. At the end of three weeks, any items that remain in a box are either disposed of, donated or sold.
Sounds a bit full on, right? Maybe…
Pro tip: If you are about to move – seize the day. A move is a golden opportunity to de-clutter. [Click to tweet]
If you are not up for a mock-move, Brooke endorses a step by step approach. She found that by tackling small jobs each day, she could successfully simplify in gradual increments.
At last count, Brooke had gotten rid of over 20,000 possessions she knew she didn’t really need. I’m not quite at that level yet but am well into the thousands after adopting the minimalist mindset.
Step 3: Only buy the new when you’re happy to get rid of the old
Brooke suggests allocating a certain amount of space for your possessions. For example, all the shoes you own should fit on one shoe rack (sorry ladies). If you want a new pair of shoes, you have to make room by getting rid of one of your old pairs.
Simple, but devastatingly effective. I’ve found it really makes you think carefully about each and every purchase and whether the new is actually better than the old.
Step 4: Beat re-cluttering with a simple brown box
You’ve done the hard work and the house is looking clear and completely uncluttered. But we all know keeping it that way is the hard part.
Brooke recommends keeping a donation box handy to avoid re-cluttering. Give the house a quick scan each day and add unwanted items. Once the box is full, simply take it to the local charity shop.
This simple strategy really works a treat, particularly in keeping those trouble spots (think kitchen bench and dining room table) clean and clear.
Step 5: Really enjoy the perks
Okay, you’ve mastered the de-clutter, avoided the re-clutter and are living the minimalist dream. What now?
Brooke believes that with more time and money on her hands, it’s all about living life to the full and ticking items off the bucket list.
I’ve got my sights set on a NZ trekking adventure or possibly finally getting that SCUBA certification. People regret buying things, they hardly ever regret spending money on experiences. Whatever your dream experience might be, minimalism could well be the ticket to get you there.
Check out these great sources of minimalist inspiration:
- Slow Your Home blog
- The Minimalists
- Discovering Simplicity Podcast
- Minimalism video: How we live + house tour (by Aussie minimalist couple Natasha and Luca)
- Stuffocation book by James Wallman
April is Simplify month at Aussie. Don’t forget to check out our other articles in this series for practical tips on finding simplicity: learn how to simplify meal planning, declutter your home like an expert, and find happiness in simplicity!
Are you a minimalist? Feel free to share your experiences with our readers in the comments below!
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