The Green Crunchy Mother
Congratulations on making the decision to declutter and make your business and your personal lives ones of minimalism and simplicity! Downsizing things, reducing debt, letting go of toxic relationships and overbooked schedules are all part of minimalist living and you’ll reap huge benefits from all of it. But first, you have to get there. The question is, where exactly is “there”?
The truth is, your destination is completely up to you. Minimalism isn’t a one size fits all solution. Your definition of minimalism probably isn’t the same as it is for someone else. Some people choose an extreme shift, (giving up cars, not having a TV, downsizing to a basic cell phone or not having one at all), while others opt for a more laid back approach. It’s an individual choice how extreme or moderate you go in your minimalist journey.
One thing’s for sure though – you have to start somewhere. That begins with purging the possessions and clearing the clutter, and that alone can be overwhelming. In order to keep your sanity and avoid burnout, here are three tips:
1. Make a Plan
You may think you don’t need a plan. After all you know you need to just get rid of things to clear the clutter and free the space around you of junk. That’s true, but if you go into this lacking a plan (or vision), you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed, stressed, not sure where to start, and find yourself burnt out.
Instead, spend some time visualizing what minimalist living means to you. Will you downsize your home? Cut back on your wardrobe? Spend less on Christmas and birthday gifts?
Now transfer that planning to your business. How can you consolidate processes, inventory, and staff? How can you and your business work most efficiently without wasting time, money, and resources?
These decisions and others will help you evaluate the things you can and can’t live without. Once you have the vision/plan, you’re ready to take action!
2. Start Small – Pick One Room
The fastest way to confusion, chaos, and burnout is trying to do too much at once. Take it one room at a time. Start with the smallest room first so you can see progress quickly and don’t move on until this room is completely finished.
How exactly do you declutter? This goes back to having a vision for what minimalism means to you. But here’s a general tip that is easy to follow regardless of how much you’re keeping or getting rid of:
Make four piles – trash, sell, donate, and keep. As you go through the room, every single item you pick up should immediately be put into one of those four piles. Once you have everything sorted, get rid of the trash pile first because it’s the easiest one to let go of.
Then create a plan for getting rid of the sell pile. Consider how will you do it—online listings like Craigslist.org, local newspaper, or eBay are all great options. Then move to the donate pile – load it up and drop it off at a local resale shop or wherever you decide to make the donation. The last pile, keep, can be set aside for now. More than likely you’ll need to go through this pile again to keep whittling things down.
3. Don’t Let Emotions Make the Choices
As you start sorting through your stuff, you’re going to come across possessions with sentimental value. For instance, maybe you just found your high school varsity jacket. The high school years hold fond memories for a lot of people but that was perhaps 20 or more years ago. What are you really going to do with that jacket after all this time? Nothing. Get rid of it. You don’t need it, especially moving into a minimalist lifestyle. This doesn’t mean you to have toss it in the garbage, though. Consider donating it instead; you never know who can use it!
Follow these three tips and you’ll find the act of decluttering and moving towards a life of minimalism doesn’t have to result in overwhelm, chaos and burnout. Instead, these tips can help it be a less traumatic experience.
What tips do you have concerning decluttering and moving towards a minimalist lifestyle?