Since I stumbled across the ideal of minimalism 6 months ago, I’ve learned a great deal about the philosophy behind it and a bunch of different peoples views on how to go about adopting this lifestyle.
I’ve read quite a few books in an effort to really get the best grasp on it that I could, because I really loved the idea of living with less and being thankful for what I already have.
When I started blogging, I was heavy into consumerism. I was buying things left and right trying to “stay relevant” to the fashion world all the while feeling like I was doing too much and this wasn’t really ME.
By nature, I’m a messy person. Not slob messy, but I would tend to leave a trail in my wake. I’d leave things on the counter in the kitchen, leave my purse on the dresser, my hair products out on the bathroom counter. My husband would complain although he’s just as bad as I am.
I used to get irritated that there just wasn’t enough space. But we live in a pretty large apartment (almost 1200 sq ft), so THAT definitely couldn’t be the issue.
Let me drop a truth bomb on you: You don’t need MORE SPACE or MORE STORAGE, you need LESS STUFF.
When I got serious about decluttering our home in January 2019, I realized JUST HOW MUCH stuff we really had. And how much of it was shoved into closets and cabinets never seeing the light of day for months at a time. Things we never used but kept anyway for a variety of reasons.
The more stuff you have, the more chances you have to be messy. Having stuff you don’t need stored in your home means that the things you actually want to use are forced out onto the counters to take up space and make things look messy.
One specific example that sticks with me and makes me laugh is when I was cleaning out our kitchen, we had 4 coffee makers. Yes, FOUR. Two that we actually use, and two that were sitting in the laundry storage closet never to be touched again.
We got a pour-over coffee maker and a Keurig for our wedding, the first for Jake (a self-proclaimed coffee snob who is all about ‘the experience’) and the latter for me (I prefer the ease and convenience of my re-usable K-Cup). The other two hadn’t been used in quite a while, and I knew it was time for them to go. They were both pretty big and took up a good amount of space!
Now that I’ve gotten rid of those, as well as a whole myriad of other things, our house stays tidy.
So, how did we both just BECOME tidy people?
I’ll tell you, it wasn’t an overnight transformation. I didn’t just read those books and *POOF* become tidy. It became a habit over time.
THE BEST STARTING POINT
My favorite book that I’ve read so far is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You’ve no doubt heard of her for her awesome Netflix show, but the reason that show came about was because of her books. She is a world-renowned tidying expert. This book made ALL the difference for me. I would definitely say life-changing.
She is one of the only people who encourages you to do all of your tidying in one quick burst. That can take 6 months for some people, but that’s much better than drawing it out over a year or more. Although it can be overwhelming to say you’re going to declutter your whole home in that time frame, the results are astounding.
She has never had ONE client slip back into being an over-cluttered mess. She calls it “rebounding”. Although she never mentions the world minimalism, the idea is still there: living only with the things that spark joy for you.
Once I read that she has a 100% success rate for people not falling back off the wagon, I knew I had to give her way a try. There are tons of people who say you can declutter slowly over time, but I disagree.
The reason her KonMari method works so well is because it shocks you into seeing just how much you have ALL AT ONCE. It requires you to touch and handle every single item in your home in a certain category. The categories can be done at different times so it doesn’t overwhelm you, but just seeing all that you actually have in your home, hiding in boxes and storage containers, drawers and cabinets. It’s shocking.
The categories she separates things into are Clothes, Books, Papers, Miscellaneous and Sentimental. By doing each category all at once, you can make serious progress. Since clothes are typically the easiest way to start, and the most fun, that goes first. You can also break things down into sub-categories if you have a LOT (shirts, pants, accessories, etc.).
Now that I’ve gone through all of the categories in our home, the things we have left are things I want to keep. Although, it’s funny…the further I get into decluttering, the more things I’ve found after my initial purge that I’ve decided I can let go of. I think of it as a snowball effect.
The idea of minimalism is to rid our lives of anything (physical things, ideas, relationships, etc) that doesn’t bring us JOY. Living with less leaves room for the important things in our lives like people and our favorite things that we love.
I’ve gotten my wardrobe down to my favorite pieces now, and the best part about that is I don’t feel the need to “save them” for a special day like I used to. I wear them often and feel great in every outfit.
I also don’t feel the need to BUY things anymore. I don’t even want to go shopping or look around online. Jake is THRILLED. But so am I, because I don’t feel that need to buy anything to feel good anymore.
When I got a new job recently, my first instinct this time last year would have been to go out and buy myself something to celebrate. Instead, I felt perfectly content just how everything is and just chose to be thankful instead.
Since we have less stuff, our house just STAYS tidy.
I took almost everything off the counters and gave it a proper “home” or storage place. Now, after we use something, we put it back where it goes instead of leaving it out.
When there are already things around it on a counter space, it doesn’t look as bad to our mind. But when the counters are bare, the thing out of place LOOKS out of place and we want to put it back to maintain the clean look.
Tidy spaces ease anxiety.
As a typically anxious person, I love coming home to our home feeling tidy and put together. I used to just buy things to buy them. I had a whole hodgepodge of knick-knacks that didn’t go together that I bought on impulse at TJ Maxx that were scattered everywhere. I also felt the need to have something on every wall in our home.
Now, the I find the white spaces on the walls comforting. We still have plenty of decor, but it’s not overdone. Simple is better for us.
For decorating tips, I recommend The Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith. She gives great tips for how to make spaces look amazing and cozy with less STUFF.
Your house will not be EMPTY when you finish decluttering, I promise you that. A lot of people are hesitant to look into minimalism because they think it means all your walls will be blank and you’ll have 3 chairs in your living room and that’s it. Quite the contrary.
Our living room has plenty of decor, I have quite a few throw pillows and blankets, we still have all of our furniture.
We just have less stuff we don’t love or didn’t use, mostly in the hidden spaces. Because there is more room to store the important things now, the counters stay clear and everything has a place.
HOW MINIMALISM CHANGED OUR BUDGET
The simple way to say it is we’re buying less stuff because we simply don’t WANT to buy things.
We don’t feel the need to replace things we already have or add anything to our home. The things we do buy are things we actually need.
Does this mean we’ll never again buy something frivilous that we don’t need? Absolutely not. There will be times when we want to get things just because. But we are MUCH more intentional now with our spending.
I’ve re-vamped our budget and scoured it for things that cost us excess money. I recently cancelled ALL of our subscriptions except Netflix and one for my contacts.
When I went through our bank statements I found a bunch of unnecessary charges we were racking up and decided to declutter our subscriptions. This one act is saving us over $2000 a year. Yea, that stuff adds up.
When I grocery shop now, I mostly get my groceries online and pick them up at the store. This helps with no impulse spending because I’m hungry when I’m shopping or I see something I like. I plan out our meals for the week so that we use all of the stuff we get and have, which cuts down on the cost of food waste.
I’m trying to go as long as possible without buying new clothes which used to be a good portion of my spending a month. It makes me sad to look back on it now and realize how bad it was. I’m very happy to be looking forward to saving all of that excess money I was spending to pay down our debt and save for a house.
Minimalism has helped us go from messy to tidy and from a tight budget to realizing where our money was going and becoming intentional with our spending. It’s by far been the best lifestyle choice I’ve ever made and I hope if you’re considering looking into it or have any questions, you’ll reach out to me! I’d be thrilled to talk to you about it.
Until next time,