Can you believe how fast time flies! We were just celebrating a new year and era January first and here it is March! It’s the perfect time to Spring clean and make your life clutter-free.
Read more from Michelle Thielen’s recent answers on what it means to be a minimalist.
What Does it Mean to be a Minimalist?
I used to be a sentimental person, this affected every area of my life as it was difficult to “depart” from items and memories of the past, but ‘things’ clutter our mind as well. Physically, I used to keep it all, not in a hoarder way, but like many, just kept moving things from one garage to the other – just to collect dust and never be seen or enjoyed.
When learning the great benefits of getting rid of stuff I began to show others how they can live life with more clarity.
I’m also a yoga and meditation teacher. After learning the benefits of a minimalistic life I began teaching others how to de-clutter their physical, emotional and spiritual life as well, living a life of complete freedom.
To Answer Your Question:
To live simply. In the words of famous architect Mies van der Rohe, “Less is more.”
What Are the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle?
If we are speaking only about physical objects, one feels lighter and more free. One amazing benefit is saving time. We spend so much time looking for things via digging through piles of junk or items we don’t use or need. For example: When opening a drawer you can see everything in it, nothing is hidden or buried, it only contains items in you use. A simple act of decluttering a junk drawer can save thousands of hours in your lifetime.
We can do this emotionally and relationally as well. Get rid of any toxic relationship or emotion that is weighing you down or taking up valuable time and real estate in your life. Send each one an “eviction notice” and clear your heart and head space for feelings, thoughts, and people that truly matter and bring you joy.
What Things Should You Get Rid of First? | How can you begin living a minimalist life?
I tend to hold on tight to things from people who are no longer living. I began taking a photo of the item which I then put in a file in my computer so that I can still remember it without having the actual item. I recommend getting rid of things that are typically stored in a place that you never look at – like a bin in the garage or an attic. If you pay for a storage unit holding items you never use or enjoy, do you really need these items and that extra monthly bill?
Dead things. Do you still have your prom corsage? How about your beloved animal ashes? I had an entire shelf dedicated to animal ashes. Two of them were not even ours! My husbands’ ex’s cat, my ex’s’ cat and a host of other dogs and my husband’s parents. I looked at this shelf and thought, why are we keeping these? These guys are romping the streets of heaven, they don’t care whether we have their ashes or not! We took them all to the beach and let them go. It freed up so much space not just in our garage but in our hearts. What a freeing decision!
Clothing and Shoes: Get rid of all that you no longer wear or use.
Toiletries: Donate or throw away unused or old toiletries. Who knew you would never use those hotel lotions and potions?
Knick knacks: these can clutter your space as well as your mind. Consider getting rid of these and see how you feel when you enter a clutter-free space.
Kitchenware: Any items you no longer use. Tupperware gets overwhelming and lids get misplaced or melted. Do you need so many? Consider replacing them with a few glass containers for health purposes as well as ease of finding and matching up again. Get rid of old and expired food.
Focus on the necessities, the non negotiable’s. If you can’t live without it or know that you will need it down the line, don’t get rid of it. If a year goes by and you haven’t worn a shirt, consider getting rid of it so it can bless someone else.
What Things Should You Keep?
Attempt to keep the necessities, the non negotiable’s. If you can live without it, then do.
Special items purchased on travels or from that special someone that holds meaning to you. Clothes: Become aware of the items you wear. If you never enter one side of the closet or touch anything from this area, ask yourself why you are holding onto it? Do you need 20 coats? Keep the items you [actually] wear.
Shoes: Keep the shoes you wear (donate the others).
How Can One Practice Minimalism on a Daily Basis?
When purchasing anything, consider what you will get rid of in its place. If you ask yourself, “What will I replace or exchange this with if I bring this into my home?” It will help you keep a healthy balance of items coming in. This helps you choose if the item is worth getting rid of another item.
You can play a little game when making purchases. If you purchase 2 items, you must get rid of 2 other items when you get home (do this immediately otherwise it will slip your mind and never get done), otherwise the ‘stuff’ will once again build up and decluttering is much more time consuming than it needs to be.
Another great practice is with clothes. Turning the hangers in one direction-perhaps to hang backwards. As you wear items you place the hanger back in the opposite direction, hanging regularly. What is still backwards after 12 months (or whatever time limit you prefer), can probably be donated.
Are There Any Downsides?
The only downside I sometimes see is when company stays over. Most people have too much stuff. If a family of 3 or 4 people are staying and each person is used to having 2 towels each day, it could be a small issue. When explaining that we ‘downsized stuff’ and you can have 2-3 towels for the week, people understand.
Very seldom, a memory or item comes to mind from someone who passed. It turns out that since I had it for so long, it remains in my heart. And I can still look at it on my computer (remember I started taking photos of items and donating the actual item) if I so desire. It turns out, just like the bin in the garage, I don’t look at the files on the computer either. Which brings me to a topic we haven’t discussed, the computer. Your computer can be a great source of mental and emotional clutter, declutter it often.
Cheers to living a life of complete freedom from clutter, toxic relationships and the ability to park your most prized possession IN the garage!