Decluttering and Downsizing, is it for you?
If you read Finding Your Own Ideal Version of Minimalism then you now have an introduction to the concept of minimalism and how you can create your own approach. But you may still feel a bit overwhelmed by it all.
The idea of streamlining your life can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. I hope to relieve your mind today with some simple tips on how to begin Decluttering and Downsizing.
None of this must be done right away, and it’s not the end of the world if you backslide a bit.
The very act of getting started is enough to propel you toward a life of intention that you control. Read on to get started.
How to Downsize
- You’re Allowed to Take Your Time
While you don’t want to procrastinate or drag your feet about starting your minimalist lifestyle, it’s crucial you understand that everything doesn’t have to happen all at once.
You’ve already begun the process of identifying your priorities and your reasons for wanting to embrace minimalism. Taking actions toward those goals is going to be a process.
It will take a period of time to reach your vision, and your life of minimalism will evolve. Think of it as a journey with no deadline for reaching your destination.
- Start Where You Are with One Step
As with any journey, it all begins with taking one step. Sure, you can plan it in your mind and daydream all you want, but your journey doesn’t begin until you take action.
When you take one action, you begin to build momentum toward continuing to make progress. Making a small change over time with baby steps keeps you from becoming overwhelmed.
One easy way of getting started is to take out the trash. Most of us have things that we know we don’t need, but just haven’t taken the time to get rid of.
No better time than the present to toss old boxes, broken items you’ll never fix, or clothes that are in disrepair.
Another action that isn’t too terribly overwhelming is to choose just one room to tackle, rather than worrying about paring down your entire home.
Perhaps cleaning out even one cabinet is where you need to start. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just get started.
- Ask Some Tough Questions
Asking yourself some questions about each item you encounter on your path to minimalism can help you to decide which ones need to go. First, consider whether the item brings you joy.
If it doesn’t make you happy, toss it or give it away.
Next, think about how long it’s been since you’ve used it. Generally, you can afford to get rid of something if you haven’t used it in a year.
If you have duplicates of something, that’s definitely a sign you can probably scale back on that thing.
Finally, think about whether someone else could get more use out of the item. If you no longer engage in a hobby or activity, you might actually feel better passing that thing along to someone else who does.
Use the One Out – One In Rule
Once you get the hang of downsizing and decluttering, it usually becomes easier to choose purchases with intention.
You’ll learn to trust your instincts and priorities when choosing items that will be useful to you and bring you joy.
However, it’s possible to start gaining clutter again if you’re not careful. An easy way to avoid that is to follow the one out, one in rule.
- One Out, One In
The premise of this rule is easy. One thing must go out of your home before you can bring another in.
This maintains balance in the number of possessions you own and ensures you aren’t taken over by clutter.
Some people prefer one in, one out. In this scenario, they must get rid of something after they’ve brought home something new.
Generally, the items are in the same category such as clothing or kitchen gadgets. Both approaches work.
However, I like to take a proactive stance by deciding to remove something and rewarding myself with a new purchase.
It can be too tempting to skip the “one out” part once you’ve brought something in.
- The Benefits
The biggest benefit to this system is that it helps you to maintain the progress you’ve made with regard to decluttering. The hardest part is removing years’ worth of possessions and paring down to just the things that are most meaningful.
You certainly don’t want to backslide and have to do it all over again.
Another benefit to one out, one in is that it helps you to assess your priorities and to reinforce your purposeful decision making.
Knowing you must donate or sell an item before buying something new forces you to evaluate that decision.
You can save yourself stress, money, and time when you feel more secure in your purchasing decisions.
- Put It into Practice
This technique can be used in a number of ways. It often works best when you view your possessions as categories and pay particular attention to the categories that tend to be your most problematic.
If you are a clothes lover, you should take care to always adhere to the one out, one in rule when deciding to add another apparel item to your closet.
The same can be said for those who love jewelry, socks, toys for the kids, or whatever the case may be.
Conclusion to Decluttering and Downsizing your Home
Choose your top three triggers and strive to maintain a balance between your current possessions and any future purchases.
If you put this rule into practice in your daily life, you’ll soon see that you’re even more determined to make decisions that fit your lifestyle.
Your clutter won’t build up, and you’ll feel a sense of contentment with your things. Give it a try.
These are merely a few tips to get you started on your decluttering and downsizing journey. It truly does get easier once you begin.