A couple of months ago I decided that I had enough of my house constantly being cluttered. I had followed a few minimalist blogs on Facebook for a while, but never really delved that deeply into the idea. Once I knew it was time for a change, I was ready to jump in feet-first.
Becoming a minimalist and the journey to simplify my home did not happen over night. As a matter of fact, it is an ongoing process, and probably always will be. I went room by room and did a major purge, but the heart of the clutter issue isn’t always what is already in your home, its stopping the influx of more things coming home.
While the journey to simplifying your home is individual, there were a few basic steps that really helped me to stop the clutter from coming in the house in the first place.
Magazine subscriptions are the obvious culprit here. I don’t subscribe to a lot of magazines, but the two or three that I do add up to a big stack of unread magazines quickly. Switching to digital subscriptions not only got rid of the clutter, it means that I can read them on the go, so I am a lot more likely to take advantage of the content.
I have posted before about our Groovebook subscription, which prints a book of photos from my iPhone pictures every month. This was neat, and a very cheap way to print pictures, but it had to go. The little booklets were stacking up with pictures that I didn’t know what to do with. From now on I plan to store photos digitally, and possibly do a photo book once a year.
Sorting The Mail
Is there any steadier source of clutter and junk than our mailboxes? My best defense against piles of mail sitting around is to sort it as soon as I take it out of the mailbox. Thankfully my apartment recently put a garbage can by the mailboxes, so I don’t even have to bring most of the junk in my apartment. I immediately throw away ads and mass mailings. I remove any personal information from credit card offers so I can shred it, but the enevelope and extra stuff goes straight in the trash. If I don’t have time to sort the mail, I don’t go get it out of the mailbox until I do.
You can go online and unsubscribe yourself from a lot of junk mail, kind of like the government do-not-call list. A couple of these websites are www.dmachoice.org, and optoutprescreen.com.
You aren’t going to go from a mess to totally clutter free in one pass. While I started off with one big purge of my whole apartment, I STILL find things to get rid of daily. I have actually designated a basket for donations when I find items to get rid of, and then when my husband gets home from work he can take them straight to Goodwill, which is right down the street from us.
As you start to simplify your home, you will find that even though you THOUGHT you needed 4 extra blankets, you can probably live with two. Or those extra drinking glasses you were hanging onto, just in case are starting to bug you.
Think Quality Over Quantity
If you are having trouble narrowing down a certain area, quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb. We had a LOT of extra blankets, and as I was decluttering them, I got rid of the small, scratchy ones, and kept the soft, luxurious ones. We also had way more computers than any family of 5 needs. We kept the Apples and tossed the Acers.
Maybe you don’t have any quality items in a certain area. Its certainly ok to toss everything and buy a quality piece you will love for years to come. I have quite a few kitchen knives and they are all roughly about as sharp as my fingernails. To the garbage they went and I ordered one, very nice kitchen knife that will last me for a lifetime.
Forget About What Stuff Is Worth
Whether you try to sell or donate your excess stuff is a personal decision. But don’t get too wrapped up in what something may or may not be worth. Something is worth only what someone else is willing to pay for it, and your time is valuable too. I had a few pieces of designer clothing I was going to try to sell on a local Facebook swap page. After the hassle of haggling back and forth on price, and then having someone nopt show up to purchase, I ended up donating them to a church that helps the homeless get back on their feet. Someone in need got some nice clothing, and no more of my time was wasted. Having a clutter-free home is worth more to me, and by donating I was able to get rid of the items quickly.
This definitely isn’t a comprehensive list of how to minimize your home, but a few tips to get you started. What is your best tip for those looking to declutter?