By Tiffany Rowe, Seek Visibility
Most of us misunderstand the concept of minimalism. We see pictures of the lifeless rooms in minimalist houses ― the isolated furniture, the empty tables, the subdued colors ― and we assume that only stodgy people could enjoy such a sparse way of living.
However, minimalism isn’t about shedding all your worldly possessions and adopting a palette of white and beige. Rather, it is a world view centered on the removal of any objects or ideas that detract (or distract) from one’s values. Being minimalist is about intentional ownership, which ultimately helps a person become more focused and less cluttered inside and outside her home.
You don’t have to give up your car, your home, or your television to live a minimalist lifestyle. Even a busy family with a big house can enjoy the benefits of minimalism. Here’s how.
It Isn’t a Space Problem
Closets might be overflowing with clothes; toy bins might be bursting with playthings; shelves might be stacked high, and drawers might creak with the weight of their contents. Yet, you still might think to yourself, “If only I had more space.”
The fact is you don’t have a space problem ― you have a stuff problem. Millions of people live comfortably in homes smaller than yours, and they do so simply by owning only as much as they need. Usually, having extra space only encourages people to fill it with more useless stuff, so moving will never resolve your issues with clutter. Instead, you must accept that your belongings are the cause of your troubles, and you must endeavor to change that.
It Isn’t About Decluttering
While you might have a few bits of junk around your house that you can easily throw away, the vast majority of your clutter won’t disappear in an afternoon of cleaning. Your clutter problem stems from your stuff problem, which means a single decluttering session won’t be nearly as beneficial as a long-term endeavor to de-own.
There are several strategies to cut back your possessions quickly. For example, you might follow this eight-week plan that requires you to discard (or donate) at least 10 items per day. You might also play a few games of “Keep, Toss, Donate” in various spaces around your home, paying particular attention to storage areas like the garage and attic. After a few weeks with fewer belongings, you will notice how much easier it is to keep your rooms clean and organized when you de-own.
It’s About Re-evaluation
Minimalism isn’t just a design style; it is a lifestyle. Minimalists don’t just have simplified homes with minimal belongings; rather, they lead simplified lives closely in line with their values. Until you understand what ideas you hold most dear, you will likely have trouble adopting minimalism in your home. Therefore, as you begin thinking about minimalism, you must reevaluate your beliefs.
The easiest way to do this is to begin writing. You can dedicate a journal to inner discovery, and begin chronicling your thoughts. Eventually, you will find common themes in your writing, and you will learn what matters are most important to you. Then, you can use these values to guide your journey into minimalism. For example, if you cherish the idea of making a positive impact on the world, you can begin donating your big and small possessions, anything you find you won’t use again — including vehicles and old boats, to charitable organizations.
It’s About New Habits
Again, you cannot craft a minimal lifestyle in one afternoon, no matter how vigorously you clean and declutter. For true change, you must alter your mindset and your behavior to achieve a subtle, simplified home. This is true for everyone in your household, which means you might need to enact a few new rules to get everyone on-board. Here are some everyday solutions to keep everyone thinking minimal:
- Address mail immediately – If you discard junk, pay bills, and return correspondence as soon as you get it, there will never be piles on your counters.
- Put away laundry – Dirty clothing goes in the hamper as soon as you take it off. Clean clothes are folded into drawers or hung in closets straight from the dryer.
- Wash dishes individually – You cannot allow your dishes to stack up in the sink or dishwasher. It takes seconds to scrub a plate and everyone can complete this task as necessary.
- Clear off flat surfaces – Desks, tables, counters, and any other flat surface should be totally empty at all times which forces you to hide or handle potential messes posthaste.
It’s About Being Happy
If the idea of adopting a minimalist lifestyle causes stress, perhaps you are not ready to enjoy the simplification of fewer belongings. For now, you can practice simple techniques, like the few listed in the previous section, and save the true de-owning experience for another time. Life is too short to be anything but happy, so you should only make changes that will make you smile.
Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her strong ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. She enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content for various niches. You can often find Tiffany looking up new D.I.Y projects for the weekend or attempting to teach her pup new tricks. Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou