I'm very well convinced that I married a hoarder. Although, he's working on fixing his habit. And I'm pretty close to living as a minimalist, myself. I understand his reasons why, though. I grew to become a minimalist after losing so many possessions in my life, between theft and a few issues. As for him, he finds comfort in being surrounded by items, instead of people. He has taken almost a year so far, to get rid of the clutter. It's been a long tedious process, but I think we have it figured out...
A Few Tips
As much as it may sound cheesy/lame, we took this advantage to teach our son that it is not the items that matter in life, that it is the things you cannot buy with money... Like love. And to take it a step further, we taught him about charity.
As some may build up an excess of items in life, there are many others in need. Once you begin the realization that you can get rid of things you don't need, it starts to feel really, really good. Almost like breathing again. I always say that there could be worse situations out there, than what we ourselves are in.
Sometimes, the best place to start ridding of excess stuff is your closet. Everyone has that shirt, a pair of pants, or some article of clothing they have not touched in over a year. And we all have that outdated clothing item that we hope to fit in again, someday. This is the hard part... Being realistic. If you have not touched an item in at least a year, you are more than likely not to wear it again. It becomes outdated, in the world of trends. And even if it comes back into a trend again, it will not be anything like the first time that trend started. Trends are like an evolution. (Sure, they can be found as stupid and annoying to some, but to others it's a way of life, trying to keep up with fitting in.) When that trend comes back around again, if it does, it will not be the same. So, what is the best thing you can do? Recycle it.
If you are not fond of getting rid of clothing, do it one item at a time. Don't do a mass load of items at once. Eventually grow to getting rid of a few more items of clothing at a time. And every time you buy something new, get rid of something equal to it, and/or older. Just get rid of something you no longer wear. Just make sure it isn't in too bad of a condition. Like socks with holes or underwear with stains. Those type of items are best to be thrown away. Never be afraid to throw something away, if it cannot be reused.
After you get in to this habit, it actually does start to feel good. You are helping the homeless. You are helping a person in need. If someone lost their home or items to a fire, this helps them. And for each time you help someone, guarantee that equivalent of help will always come back to you at some point or another in life.
If you feel confident to get rid of clothing, or even if you don't feel ready to do so yet, but are ready to get rid of other items, then you can always move on to items that take up space in your home.
If you plan to remodel, or are getting rid of a couch that can still be put to use... Whatever it may be, if it is in good shape, it can also be recycled... As in that it can be given to someone who may need it, since you no longer do. Be it on Facebook, or another online website, there are free groups where you can advertise items being given away. Or if you really need the cash, you can try to sell it. (Although selling things aren't very much of a guarantee.)
You also can always remove pictures from a frame that just no longer is your taste, and donate it. Or any sort of home decorations. If you have a chair, or table that is no longer fitting into the space of your home, that too can go to a better home. Children who are leaving the nest can find that these items are helpful. Especially because as they are starting out, they are not really the richest in the world, and hey, as much as they don't want to admit it, they really need some sort of starter furniture. It takes time to build up to their own tastes, styles, of their own home. And that love you put into an item, for how much you have used it, can be passed on with hopes that it brings them a loving and happy home.
Go through your attic, or take a walk through your home. If you no longer like an item, or want to see it go to a better home, just donate it. Someone will love it, and enjoy it, in no time. (Although, it may take time, because patience is a virtue. Right?) We all have that something in our home that makes us question if we really want or need it anymore. That can be the feeling that it just has grown past our tastes, or needs, and that it just may need to be passed on to a new home.
If your attic or basement contains a broken item, or if there is something sitting around in your home that is not in an attic or basement and is broken, and it has been longer than six months, chances are that it more than likely will not be fixed. An item that has been sitting around that long, broken, usually gathers dust. It is best to toss items like this. And if an item is considered antique and broken, find a new home for it if you are taking a long time to fix it. Sometimes, it isn't about needing the money to fix an item. It can just be as simple as realizing it is an item you no longer care for, as much as you thought you do.
Also, if it is a broken item and you plan on reusing it for another use, such as finding an awesome way to reuse it by seeing Pinterest or an idea elsewhere, consider the same time line. There really are quite a few items that we realize just aren't as important or as amazing as they turn out to be. In all, it is matter of finding an importance and realization between what we actually need, and what we really do not need.
If you plan to get rid of papers that seem to be growing into large piles, it can be best to store some of those more important papers, and to toss to the recycling bin those old, unwanted papers, when the weekly trash goes out. If your area does not have a recycling program, which most usually do, you can usually find out where to toss your old recycled papers and other items worth tossing out to the recycling facility.
Many areas around the world can vary on how long to keep important papers for. It is best to search online, or ask around, how long to keep each kind of paper documented.
A filing cabinet, or folder, depending on how many papers you feel you need to keep just in case, can also be handy for storing away important papers. So can a safety box that can be recovered in case there is ever a fire in your home. Going that extra step can definitely give a sense of security! If you follow this route, keeping it out of sight is always best. But the choice is yours.
If you have children, and are building up a mass amount of art projects and anything worth for memories, keeping a large box or tote for each child can come in handy. Not only can you look back and remember who made what, but you can also pass this box or tote on to your child when you feel it is time for them to store it in their own home for memories, or for them to share with their own children about what they had done when they were children! It is a sort of memory box, best saved and organized for when the time is right in their adult life. And it saves you space from misplacing it among other unrelated items, and time trying to find that art project they did when they were in pre-school that they want to look back on twenty-five years later. The memories are definitely priceless!
As much as becoming a minimalist is a trend right now, it really is not about keeping a white home that is clean and clear and of what looks like massive amounts of space, or a very artsy design for the fancy and rich. Although, yes, there are many definitions. But... It really is about keeping everything simple. It is about living simple. It is about how less is so much more.
If you ever feel that you cannot do this, or are having a hard time, consult in a friend to help you out or be there for you as support. If arguments ensue and the friendship becomes strained, stop and consult a professional. Sometimes, while we clean and rid of clutter, we rid of excess emotional baggage as well. Cleaning can take a lot out of a person. Do not strain yourself, or your friends, in any way or form. Patience and love can really help out. But sometimes, that stranger, who is professional, can sometimes bring out that something we really need to get out. Don't ever be scared to seek out help if you need to. It really is okay.
One day, we will achieve a minimalist style home in the home I live in. Less really can be more and our child is learning that the material items in life may be necessary for survival, but we really do go above and beyond at needing way too much. But those excess items do not bring love, and they do not bring a true sense of happiness. My husband is now learning this lesson as well.
I hope these few tips have helped you, even if the tiniest bit. Enjoy your cleaning and decluttering, and I hope your journey through cleaning is a successful one!
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© 2015 Kryssy Bruckheimer