If you want to be a minimalist, you have to declutter! Mainly you’ll need to declutter your home, but minimalism also includes decluttering your life and relationships as well. But how exactly do you declutter your home, life, and relationships with minimalism in mind? Because you’ll need to approach it in a different way from how you would approach traditional decluttering. If you want to start practicing minimalism, but are stuck on How to Declutter for a Minimalist Life, then read these tips below!
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Not sure minimalism is worth the bother of decluttering? You won’t feel that way after reading about the benefits of minimalism!
How to Declutter for a Minimalist Life
Minimalism and the Home
If you want to declutter for a minimalist life, then you’ll need to successfully declutter your home first. Because while minimalism is about much more than just what stuff you have, having minimal possessions is a big part of minimalism!
That’s because it’s hard to have a simple, focused life if you’re surrounded by stuff. You actually don’t know how distracting everything you have is until you get rid of it. Something as simple as an unwrapped DVD case in your family room can complicate your life in its own little way. Maybe you only got the DVD because of a fear of being left out and not seeing the hot new thing. Or maybe you feel guilt every time you walk by it, thinking of the money you wasted on this thing you never truly intend to see.
But what if that DVD wasn’t in your home? What if you’d decluttered and kept only the things you truly liked and needed? What if you walked into your family room and only saw a small row of DVDs on your media console, and they were all your absolute favorites? You’d be able to walk into the room without any extraneous feelings and focus on what you really wanted to focus on.
Because if we’re all honest with ourselves, the problem isn’t usually that we don’t have enough time for what we want to do. It’s just that we put our time toward other things. Even productive things, like reorganizing the linen closet, take time away from our goals. If you were a minimalist and only had the few linens that you really needed, you wouldn’t have to constantly reorganize, and could instead put that time toward something that brought more value and richness to your life.
So if you want to be a minimalist, declutter! Keep only what you truly need and what you truly want. Donate/sell all those books and movies you plan to read/watch “one day.” Throw out the half finished DIY projects you started months ago. My list of 100 things to throw away today would be a good starting point. And get rid of the big stuff, too. Does your family have 3 cars, but you really only drive 2? Sell/donate the third one! Sell excess cell phones and laptops. Get rid of video game consoles you and the kids don’t use. Get rid of everything you’re holding on to because of fear of possibly needing it one day (if it’s not a first aid kit, it’s unlikely that not having it would cause any major problems). Simplify your life down to the minimal amount of stuff you need to live happily (which is probably a lot less stuff than you think).
You might have to do this in passes, because getting rid of so much stuff in one go is usually too big of a step for some people. So if you need to, every 2 weeks do another decluttering pass until you’re finally down to the minimal amount of items you think you need/want.
Minimalism and Your Life
When you set out to declutter for a minimalist life, don’t just stop with your home. You also need to declutter your life. This is made up of two parts: your activities and your digital life.
It’s important to declutter your life’s activities if you want to truly have the free, peaceful, and focused life that minimalism can provide. That’s because it doesn’t matter if your home hardly has anything in it, if you’re still stressed with all the stuff have plan to do each day! So you need to cut things out. If you’re the type of person who hates saying no to events, clubs, and activities, then putting “no” back in your vocabulary can help a lot very quickly. If you already feel like you’re pretty good at turning down invitations to do things, then you just need to take a second look at all the things in your schedule. If you’ve joined some groups, think about if they’re really critical to your happiness. Also take a second look at all the activities and classes you do voluntarily. Some people complicate their lives with too many hobbies or by trying to achieve too many goals at once
If you want to declutter for a minimalist life, you also need to include your digital life! That means taking a good long look at all the forums and social media sites you belong to. It may be hard to cut those out of your life, but think of how much time you’ll get back! You should especially make a point of leaving any site that doesn’t make you feel good (there are a lot of toxic communities out there). And don’t forget to delete some social media apps from your phone. All the time you spend checking your phone when it chimes is time you could be putting toward better things (plus, it ruins your focus on whatever you’re working on).
Minimalism and Your Relationships
To fully declutter for a minimalist life, you may also need to declutter your relationships. This sounds harsher than it is. Really all this means is cutting out the toxic people in your life (those that just cause trouble and upset), and reducing how obligated you feel to distant relatives and acquaintances. Some people won’t have to do anything regarding this aspect of their life. But for very social extroverts, this may be tricky. Just remember, you don’t have to make a big deal out of it. You don’t need to make some sort of formal statement, or even unfriend the people on Facebook. Just start slowly becoming more distant. Don’t start as many conversations, and be busy more often when asked to meet up. The whole point of this is to simplify your relationships so you can put more energy toward the relationships that really matter- your relationships with close friends and family.
This all may seem like a lot of work, but it’s only for a short while. If you plan to declutter for a minimalist life, you just need to be ready to spend this time and effort up front for a little bit, and in return you’ll have a simpler, freer life full of only the things that really matter!
Have you ever tried to declutter the non-home-based aspects of your life? Was it difficult or easy?
You might also be interested in: What are the Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle?