While neutral colors and simplicity have never truly left the spotlight, there’s never been a time quite like now when millennials are not only living smaller, but they’re also opting for extreme minimalism. That’s not to say that you should grab a garbage bag and quickly get rid of everything you own, it simply means that younger generations are appreciating more about life than just collecting “stuff”. The desire to travel, the fear of debt, and environmental concerns are just a few of reasons why this way of living is stealing the spotlight, but even if none of those resonate with you, the calming nature of an uncluttered home should do the trick.
Minimalism in its’ simplest form means living with fewer possessions. The idea of having less “stuff” ultimately makes you happier, makes your home much less cluttered, and you’ll truly love and appreciate everything you have. A general rule to keep in mind once you’ve already gotten rid of some things, is to no longer add to your stuff, but rather replace. I like to stick to the “one thing in, one thing out” rule.
1. Start Small – if this all feels really overwhelming, start with just a drawer rather than a room. When I feel the need to reorganize but don’t have much time, I usually start with my bathroom. Depending on how much of a clothing or accessories addict you are, another great place to start is a closet. If that seems like too much, start with just shoes. My rule of thumb is that if I haven’t worn it in a year, and it’s not a special occasion item, it gets sold, donated, or given away immediately. There’s no sense in being attached to things you don’t use that simply take up space in your closet and crowd the items you love and use regularly. This will ultimately make your life so much easier when it comes to getting dressed.
2. Budget – Try to add up all the money you’ve spend on stuff you don’t really need and no longer really like. This will surely push you in the right direction. You’ll start to understand just how expensive a cluttered lifestyle is and how much more you could be doing with that money. Perhaps you use it to finally buy that expensive couch you’ve been eyeing for years, or take that trip you always thought was a stretch financially.
3. Think Twice Before You Buy – this rule applies to basically every aspect of life, but especially possessions. Do you really need another basket or throw blanket just because there are cute new colors out? Could you simply move things around and get the fresh new look you’re craving? Do you really love the piece you’ve picked up or is it just habit to buy new decorative pillows each season?
4. Get Your Time Back – Shopping online or in store takes time. Doing a ridiculous amount of laundry, reorganizing, and redecorating takes time. This is all time that could be spent with your family, on a hobby that brings you joy, out socializing with the friends that you don’t see nearly enough. Once you stop spending so much time and money on stuff, you start to see clearly what’s most important to you and it’s nearly impossible to go back to your old ways (not that’ll you’ll want to anyway!).
5. A Home Full of Joy – yes, this is the Marie Kondo motto, and she’s the queen of the uncluttered life. If you need serious inspiration, her show on Netflix is the ultimate eyeopener. It shows just how emotionally attached we can be to stuff for no real reason, and how decluttering your home really cleanses the soul. When you come home after a long day, you shouldn’t feel like you’re walking into chaos, that is a serious stressor, you should feel relaxed, surrounded by the people and the few items that bring you joy. That’s not to say that you can’t keep anything in your home, but really evaluate each item and determine why you bought it in the first place, how it makes you feel now, and does it still fit into your life. How much you spent on it at the time is a way that people justify keeping things they don’t use, when in reality, if you simply donate it for the tax credit, or sell it for $20 even though you paid $100, that $20 in your hand is worth way more than an item you have no use for and it just takes up space in your home.