If you were anything like me during the COVID shutdowns, then you did more online shopping than you thought was humanly possible. (Seriously, at one point I could barely get out of my apartment door due to all the cardboard boxes that were piled up to be taken to the recycling bin.) If you’re still like me, you now realize how much of a mistake it was to fill up your apartment with somewhat useless junk that you really didn’t need in the first place. I mean come on, who actually needs yet another decorative pillow…. Much less 20 of them? After my realization of this, and seeing my final credit card bill, I decided I was going to simplify my life, and give the whole minimalist thing a try. I had seen a ton of influencers on social media rave about the benefits of living simply, and after the 100th time of making my bed with a million pillows every morning, I made up my mind I was going to do this, even if it killed me. As it turns out it didn’t kill me, although it was extremely painful to let a lot of them stuff I had bought over the years go, rather it brought quite a bit of serenity into my life. And if you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the minimalist lifestyle, I would love to be able to share a pointer or two with you on how to make the transition.
Tip number one. Find a friend who can be objective about your things. Let’s be honest, sentimentally is where neat spaces go to die. Sometimes it’s hard to be truthful with yourself about what is and is not truly “junk”. For instance, that slap band you had when you were 10 and haven’t worn since but kept because you’re sure they’re going to be cool again someday should be the first thing to make the junk pile. (Seriously, they’ll never be cool again, throw it away.) A friend, however, can come alongside you and help you see what should and should not be kept.
Tip number two. Donate as much as you can. Just because you’ve decided to go minimalist doesn’t mean you need to just throw everything away. Plus, it’s not good for “going green”. Instead, start a donate pile. Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and ask them if there’s anything they’d like you to set aside for them. Then, whatever is left overtake to your local homeless shelter or goodwill.
Tip number three. It’s ok to keep things you don’t use all the time. Some minimalists would disagree here, but there are going to be those certain items (Christmas decorations for instance) that you won’t use often but are still ok to keep. Just pack them away neatly and safely in some sturdy cardboard boxes and put them on a shelf in your closet or slide them under the bed. Out of sight, out of mind, but still there when you’d like to use them.
Tip number four. Just do it. It’s one thing to talk about simplifying your life. It’s another to actually do it. And cleaning your house or apartment and getting rid of things here or here does not count. If you’re going to be serious about minimizing the amount of stuff you have, you need to just bite the bullet and do it. It may be a little painful at first, but I promise you, if you’re anything like me, you won’t regret it. Unlike all those online shopping bills.