Often times it’s important for me to revisit old ideas and reassess my possessions to see if they bring me some type of value. So let’s dive into this a little deeper.
Something that really helped me when I first got into minimalism was guidance, and guidance on the Internet for that matter. I binged read and watched a lot of minimalists and what they were doing and by taking a little bit of all their insights, it guided me on what may or may not work best for me.
So my goal of this article is to hopefully be that guidance for someone out there who’s getting started decluttering or getting started with minimalism in general.
These are five tips for getting started decluttering. Let’s go through them one by one.
I don’t see this method talked about too often and I feel like it can help a lot of people with their clutter as it’s helped me tremendously. The idea is pretty simple. do I have physical things that can be digital things like documents or even physical photos I’ve been hanging on to.
I hate receiving unsolicited physical mail and thankfully in today’s day and age, there’s an option to go paperless with almost everything. Things like transcripts, resumes or even insurance cards can be digital. there’s always an option to print it if it’s absolutely needed.
Going digital reduce the amount of paper clutter in my life. but it wasn’t limited to paper clutter. there were times when I first became a minimalist and first started decluttering that I knew I didn’t want to keep something but I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to forget its existence completely.
In my opinion, one of the best and most underutilized methods of decluttering is taking a picture of something I’m parting with but not ready to forget. I usually only do this with something that I have a little sentimental attachment to or if I want or need to remember whatever it is.
I feel like this method may be very practical for some people out there going paperless when I can and digitizing items.
Set a tangible goal.
I want to having a tangible goal and I think this is really important for any part of a minimalist journey and that’s at least having a loose goal of where you want to be after a few days or even a few weeks of decluttering.
For a little bit of context, when I first started decluttering I wanted everything that I owned to be able to fit in a bin or large box, excluding my bed and desk of course. I wanted to be able to travel and move around more lightly and just have less baggage. but aside from the physical weight being cut down, I felt the mental baggage be reduced as well.
It was really just a lot less to think about the idea that I can fit everything I own into this one bin and move around if I had to really just brought this sense of freedom. and keep in mind I’m just using my scenario as an example. having a personal tangible goal helped me find a comfortable balance of things for me to own and what just works best for me.
The box method.
Now this is one method I have talked about before maybe a long time ago but this time it’ll be a little different. This is a really effective method if I’m struggling with decision paralysis or if I’m just feeling lazy. The box is a fairly aggressive way to start decluttering but helped me considerably when I was on the fence about a decision.
This just consisted of me taking a box and walking around my room to fill it with things off my desk or in my closet that I was on the fence about keeping or not. to be honest, in retrospect, if I’m on the fence about keeping it already the answer should be pretty clear.
I literally set a timer for five minutes or so and go around whatever area I’m looking to declutter to fill this box. this method was really effective for me because it didn’t give me a whole lot of time to dwell on a specific item. in rationalizing some reason for keeping it which I’m pretty guilty of.
Once I’ve had my box of items, I’d categorized into keep, sell or donate. this also gave me the opportunity to reorganize those few items that I would end up keeping.
Keep the better version.
I’ve dealt with decision fatigue quite often before I adopted a minimalist mindset. This frequently came with clothes I was deciding whether to keep or not. But it wasn’t just limited to that when I initially analyzed everything that I was looking to declutter. I found myself surrounded with so much redundancy a lot of which I didn’t care for didn’t use or I already had a better version of it. Less but better is common verbiage but this is exactly what that means when I was faced with multiple of the same or similar types of items. I chose to go with my favorite or the better version of whatever that was and a great example was a black pair of jeans that I had. These jeans I had because some very famous minimalist I used to follow had them. They were great in quality but for me not that comfortable and once again I live in a place where the temperature and I rarely agree.
My point in this story is to choose the better version when faced with a decision with multiple of the same or similar types of objects / the one that gets used more the one that brings more value or the one that makes life easier ease into it.
Starting small is something I wish I was told at the very beginning of this. I started out very strong when I initially began decluttering and I may have parted with things. I wasn’t really ready to get rid of just because that first declutter felt so good. While there’s some aggressive ways to declutter and then more conservative ways of doing it. I think it’s important to make all decisions carefully and not rid yourself of something important spontaneously. Of course again here I’m speaking from first-hand experience.
Unfortunately minimalism and decluttering specifically is an ongoing process and in my experience. It didn’t end when I reached a specific goal. It isn’t a race that declutter everything. It isn’t a race to get to absolute zero. So stop for a moment and ask yourself what’s the rush?
Just by reading a lot of fellow minimalist’s thoughts, it seems like many are in the same boat when it comes to certain struggles or decluttering. So I hope this writeup might have brought you some value or at the very least a little entertainment perhaps.
As always I appreciate the time you spent reading this and I appreciate you sharing thoughts and any comments down below. I’ll see you soon! 🙂