Becoming a Minimalist │10 Easy Things You Can Declutter Right Now

The task of turning your life into a more minimal one may seem daunting. It is said that most households have 300,000 items in them. So, how in the world does one begin to pare down... everything?

In small steps.

It took you years to acquire what you have, so don't feel like you have to downsize in a day. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither do you have to figure it all out right now.  

As a minimalist who is still paring things down (I began my minimalism journey in 2017), I know for a fact that this takes time. Lots of time.

But since good things take time, consider your minimalist transformation as one of those good things. It's one room at a time, one closet at a time, and one drawer at a time.

Here are 10 things you can do right now to begin your minimalism journey today.

1. Sort the Mail Immediately. When you get the mail, look through it. Make two piles: one to save (or file) and one to throw away. Then, here's the important part: take the throw-away pile and throw it away! You think I'm joking, but I'm not. Get that junk into the trash. Do not leave it on the counter, do not hang it don't the refrigerator. Throw it away!

2. Do the Laundry. This seems irrelevant. But it's not. It has to do with the laundry you need to clean out your closet later. Plus, if you need a reminder to do a load of laundry, this is it. Don't bother separating darks and light: put it all together, save water, save energy, and get that laundry done. Hand wash delicates. You're welcome.

3. De-Junk the Junk Drawer. The junk drawer has way too much power in our home. Get that junk drawer, and dump it out. Save what you use, put those items where they really belong (like all the loose pens into a pen canister), and throw away the rest. You won't need that cord, you won't need those ketchup packets from McDonald's, and you won't need those twist ties from the bread bag. Save for a flashlight, a pen, a pair of scissors, and a tape measure, call it good, and get rid of the rest.

4. Don't buy any Clothes for a Month. This may seem like a huge challenge. But after you declutter and eliminate from your closet, you're going to find this is easy There's an 80/20 rule that's popular for minimalists because it's a true rule: we wear 80% of our clothing 20% of the time. How much is in your closet that you never wear? Imagine only wearing what you own right now for a month. Not spending a dime. You'd save a fortune and find clothes you love you'd long forgotten about, with tags on them and all. Go shop your closet and don't buy clothes for a month.

5. Go through your Sock Drawer. My mom loves socks. It's her weakness. I have a shoes/jacket/belt weakness. We all have one. But, let's be honest: do we really need 100 pairs of socks? Dump out that drawer, throw away any socks with holes, toss the ones that you don't wear, and donate the ones you won't wear and still haven't worn and are in their original packaging. Try for 20 pairs of socks. And if you need more, as you wear them, replace them. Done and done.

6. Go through your Shoes. As I just said, I love shoes. I had something like 65 pairs at one point. But, did I wear all of them? Nope. I had my favorites. While I'll never get down to like 10 pairs of shoes (I love a variety of shoes too much to pare down like that) I have been able to get it down to 25. These are all shoes - boots, heels, flats, sandals, flip-flops, and sneakers - that I love and wear. Get rid of duplicates. I have and wear all the shoes I love - my shoe wardrobe is as happy as I am.

7. Go through your Jeans. This is another weakness of mine. I used to have over 20 pairs. But, as simplicity expert Brian Gardner once said, "Twenty pairs of jeans is fifteen too many." While I'm in disagreement about this, I do understand his point. I'm good with seven. So, it's close. I had 20 pairs but wore less than 10 of them regularly. I got rid of the excess and guess what, I don't even remember the others now. Not one bit.

8. Go through your Tops. Again, minimalism isn't about living with as little as possible. It's about living with things that make you happy that you use. If you aren't using half of your tops, why are they in your closet? Clear out the crap, get rid of duplicates, and enjoy your closet again.

9. Go through the Rest of your Closet. Now that you've eliminated so many pieces of your wardrobe, it's time to go through the rest of it: dresses, skirts, shorts, and t-shirts. Purge, purge, purge. And when in doubt, pare down to love! If you don't love it, even if you paid a ton for it, let it go. Sell it on eBay if you want to recoup a few dollars. But if it's worth less than $25, donate it. Your time and money can be better spent on your future not buying more.

10. Get Rid of Kitchen Gadgets You don't Use. The deep fryer, the crockpot (the extra small one or large one you don't use), the Pampered Chef products, the backup coffee maker that you forgot you had... all of this is taking up space in person and space in your mind. Declutter your mind, declutter your surroundings, and create a peaceful home that exudes love and joy. If everything in your kitchen is usable and something you love, then great. But, do you really need eight whisks, when one or two will do? You know you have a favorite... admit it. (I know I do).

This is just a sample of things you can do to start decluttering your life. Take one of these to-dos every day and have it done in 10 days. Can you imagine how much better your home will look - and how much better you'll feel - when you minimize the excess in your life?

If you've done all of these ten actions, then why not go for broke (and not actually be broke - when you own less and keep less, you'll be amazed at how much money you have over at the end of the month). I did a 30-day Minimalism Challenge and the results were incredible.

What's the challenge?

Day one, get rid of one item. Day two, get rid of two items. By day 30, you have to get rid of 30 items. I chronicled my journey and it showed me this: being a minimalist is one thing, but maintaining minimalism is something else entirely. 

You have to daily remind yourself of your goals. Do I want to own stuff I don't use or be free from those constraints and own less?

Remember, less stuff means less stress.

I still declutter sometimes; I'm still going through my clothes every year to make sure I'm not storing stuff I don't wear. It's an ongoing process, but a worthy and eye-opening one. 

Let me know if you begin this minimalism and decluttering journey. I'd love to hear about it.


Fantastic books on Decluttering / Minimizing

Project 333 - Courtney Carver

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning - Margareta Magnusson

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