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Start Small to Maximize Minimizing

When you google minimizing, the results can be overwhelming. It's good to remember, as with any new thing, starting small is a great way to start on this path. First, think about why you want to make the change to a minimalistic lifestyle. Make a list of what's important to you. Does making this lifestyle change include those things?

Why is it important to you?

First, think about why you want to make the change to a minimalistic lifestyle. Make a list of what's important to you. Does making this lifestyle change include those things?

If you're considering the minimalist lifestyle, you probably fall into one of three categories. You're either all in, feel it's a space problem (not a stuff issue) or just don't know where to start. I started down this path when I started looking at minimalism vs consumerism here.

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How to start?

The best way to maximize minimizing is to get rid of something every day.  Start with the small things in your life that you know will make a difference and are easy to get rid of. Start by removing one item each day. If you have an overflowing pile, throw away or give away a few items and then go to the next item.

Try the 3-month plan. You can do it faster if you want, but small steps and baby steps are the best way to go in my opinion. Get rid of one thing a day or every other day for 3 months . This is going to give you time to adjust and not feel overwhelmed by this new lifestyle. It might be necessary to spread it out even longer.  

Use a “done” list for what is in your house now. Keep a running list of things you want to get rid of or sell. It will keep the clutter from building up and will give you something to refer back to later on if you are unsure about getting rid of something (you can very well change your mind later on). Another way to minimize is to say you have a certain amount of time designated for shopping and buying things. Three months might be too long, so I suggest one month. Then after the month, take it upon yourself not to shop until you need something. Without putting a time limit on it, you will find that you are still buying things on impulse and this will be harder to try and avoid. Another help in getting rid of excess is making a donation pile. If something is just not working out for you, get rid of it. I do recommend giving it away though if you can keep it away from your home. 

Before you know it, you'll have gotten rid of a few more things that are no longer serving you. See how good that feels? Then do it again tomorrow! Remember, if one day doesn't work for you, try two or three days.  

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to guide you on your journey:

  • What is the item?
  • How did I acquire this? (who gave it to me or what was the purpose of acquiring it?)
  • When was the last time I used this? 
  • How does it make me feel?

Other tips to maximize minimizing 

Don't feel guilty. The first step is hard. If it helps, throw it away in the garage and say out loud “I'm getting rid of this tomorrow” so you'll be more motivated to do it later that day or at least soon!

One thing I learned from minimizing is that stuff doesn't define me. Don't feel guilty about letting go of things you've had for years, gifts or other items. You are not letting go of that item, you're letting it go so it can assume its new purpose in someone else's life. 

Start at the top – this will maximize your time and allow you to move quickly as opposed to starting from scratch. Once you get going you'll be amazed at how much you can get done. 

Keep your shopping trips to a minimum.  If you find yourself going on frequent spending sprees, it might be time to maximize minimizing some more!  

Decide what's important to you – do not let anyone else tell you that family photos are as important as your couch. No matter what, keep what's important to you.

Remember that there are other ways to maximize minimizing the things in your life besides getting rid of them. For example, I have a desk that is completely full and I haven't added new items to it for over a year. If I don't use something on a regular basis, it doesn't make the cut. 

Be mindful of your thoughts – When you're considering holding on to something for one more season or thinking about how not having that item will affect you later (I've just started this step) remind yourself that we are only here for a short time and don't need to maximize life by maximizing the things in it.

What have you learned? (about minimizing, not stuff!)

I've learned that this lifestyle change isn't easy for everyone and there are lots of different ways to maximize minimizing . I feel very free from many things now but that doesn't mean I'm done.  Minimalism/minimizing is a process. It's an ongoing lifestyle change and a trail I'll walk for years to come!

Get started today!

Just start somewhere today, maximize minimizing . Start small but think big – you might be surprised at what you find! If you're thinking about making this change, maybe do it for the long haul. You never know where it will lead you.

Choosing a starting point is easy if you look at what is causing you the most stress or anxiety in your life right now. How would your life improve if you simplify that area of your life? Again, everyone's list of areas is going to be different.

If your relationships are causing you more stress than bills or clutter in your house, start here. Simplify your relationships. Is someone always negative with you? Does someone always shoot down your ideas or belittle you? Why let them continue to cause undue stress in your life?

If your home is causing the majority of your stress/anxiety, start here. Pick a room, drawer, closet and start decluttering. I found I was happier just seeing the extra items gone than I was having them. Start out with getting rid of duplicates and go from there. The general rule is ‘if you haven't used it/wore it in the last 6 months, you really don't need it'.

maximize minimizing

It may seem like an overwhelming task ahead, but breaking it down makes it much more manageable. Start somewhere today, maximize minimizing . Just write down what you want to do and go do it. You will get through this change. Don't give up! I believe in you! It's getting rid of the excess things that don't feel good and make you feel like a clutterbug but it's an amazing feeling when you are done.

Comment what your starting point is, where your life needs decluttered the most, and I'll help you focus on how to get through it. We're in this together now.

Keep it up and have fun with it!  Be proud of how far you've come, maximize minimizing !

Recommended reading: 

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own  by Joshua Becker  (this is a very good, easy read!)

The Power of Less , edited by Leo Babauta (for further clarification or if you want more in depth knowledge)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up , by Marie Kondo

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