How to Declutter and Live Minimally

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by stuff? You look around and wonder where all your material possessions came from? You are tired of “managing” it all and instead want a minimalist house? Maybe you want to declutter your home and your life. If you are ready to declutter and live minimally so that you will have more time to do the things you really want to do, you’ll want to keep reading for tips and tricks on just how to do that!

First, I want to be completely transparent here – I am by no means a minimalist. I’d love to be, but I live with 4 other people in my home and no one else has that same desire. They don’t feel the need to keep everything, but they don’t actively want to live minimally, and that’s okay.

But that means I’m not just going to start getting rid of absolutely everything. Some battles just aren’t worth it!  That’s not the kind of minimalist approach I want to adopt.

That being said, we do have an element of living minimally in our home and we do periodically declutter to keep the stuff down to a dull roar.

I don’t like too much stuff, and I get overwhelmed when there is too much clutter. And I’m going to be real here – I struggle in the housekeeping department and let me tell you, housework is a lot easier to manage when there is less stuff to clean.

Right now we are REALLY living minimally as we live in a ’28 foot trailer until our closing date of our new, small home (more about that down below.)

In total we will have been in the trailer for six months after all is said and done and if there’s anything I’ve learned about living in a trailer, it’s that we really don’t need as much stuff as we think we need.

We can live with very few things, honestly.  All we need to do is adopt a minimalist mindset.

So, today I’m going to share with you ways you can declutter and live minimally. You won’t necessarily want to do everything on your list, but you may find some things helpful.

HOW TO DECLUTTER AND LIVE MINIMALLY

Every season, have a big decluttering session.

You don’t have to wait till spring to do some major cleaning. When every season hits consider doing a big purge in all or most rooms of your house. If four yearly decluttering sessions feels like too much for you, aim for at least twice a year. Get in the clutter free zone and get rid of stuff!

Focus on the kids toys, your clothing, and things that are too worn or broken that you keep hanging around. Go through your desk and clear out the stack of papers you keep shoving in there (or is that just me?)

Downsize your home.

Now, this one isn’t feasible for everyone, but for some of you this is a great option. Actually, our family is just in the middle of that process. While we ARE living in a trailer and you can’t get much smaller than that, the reason we are living in a trailer is because we sold our bigger home to buy a smaller one and we are waiting for the closing date of our new, smaller home.

So, how will downsizing your home help you declutter? Well, if you have a smaller home you can only fit so much in it! It always amazes me how, when we have more space we always find a way to fill it. When you have a smaller space you have to think carefully before making purchases. Will it fit? If it won’t you are more likely to not by it.

By the way, this is a great way to save money too! I have noticed I have purchased less items while living in our trailer since we don’t have the space. I think I want something but I stop myself because I have no place to put it right now. Wouldn’t you know it, it doesn’t take me too long to forget I ever wanted the item.

Keep your wardrobe simple.

Go to your closet. Pull out all your clothes you wear on a regular basis. I’m talking about weekly, or AT LEAST once every two weeks. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I bet there were a lot of clothes you left in your closet, wasn’t there? There were probably some you adored at one point but don’t quite fit just right anymore.

There were others that needed some fixing that you told yourself you’d fix one day but you still haven’t got to it. And there were probably a few articles of clothing you bought because you LOVED them in the store, but they just don’t seem to go with anything or look the way you want to.

It’s time to get rid of most of them. Keep your wardrobe simple. Consider keeping pants that go with multiple shirts, and dresses that can be worn for multiple occasions.

Want to know the other bonus of downsizing your clothes? Less laundry. Okay, so technically it’s not LESS laundry as you still wear just as many clothes, but I can’t be the only one who let’s the laundry pile up longer if I have more clean clothes I can wear in my dresser.

Before you know it you’ve got 16 loads of laundry to do because you have kids as well and you ALL have too many clothes and you let it get away from you again.

Get rid of those “one day” items.

You know the ones I’m talking about. Remember when scrapbooking was all the rage? I’d visit the dollar store craft aisle and swoon over all the little embellishes and stickers for scrapbooks. I’d toss them in my basket as I dreamed about my beautiful scrapbook I’d spend hours working on.

And after that first page my scrapbook never got any more attention.

Yet, for years I kept that scrapbook stuff. “One day, when the kids get older. One day when the weather gets colder and I’m looking for an indoor activity. One day when I have a little more time.”

Well, after about 7 years it was time to get rid of that stuff. I told myself I could get new stuff if I ever REALLY wanted to scrapbook again.

What happens more often than not is that we never attempt to take up that hobby again.

If you’ve got baskets of yarn or fabric, craft paints, or exercise equipment that has sat there for years, maybe it’s time to bless someone else who actually can and will use it at this time?

My rule is if it sits for a year untouched it goes. I know other people who’s rule is two years. Whatever it is, if it’s sat untouched for a VERY long time, simplify your life and let it go.

HOW TO START DECLUTTERING WHEN OVERWHELMED

So, you are ready to declutter. You want to live minimally and let some of your clutter go. However, every time you consider starting to declutter you are paralyzed by how overwhelmed you feel. What do you do?

Start small. Decide what room you’ll start in and spend just 15 minutes a day to begin. Take it one chunk at a time.

Today you might declutter just one drawer. Tomorrow you might do a closet. Whatever the case, don’t try to do it all at once. Just one step at a time will bring you closer to the end goal. That’s how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess that’s all around you, thanks to too much clutter.

Sometimes I play a game with myself when there was too much clutter in the kitchen. I’d say, “I’m just going to put away 20 items.” And then after that I’d say that to myself again. Somehow telling myself only 20 items and watching my progress along the way seemed to make it more manageable.

HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME AND YOUR LIFE

When it comes down to it, decluttering your home and your life to live minimally is all about a series of a baby steps. Make little changes. Take just a little time each day. And before you know it you’ll be able to breathe again instead of feeling stress under the weight of the accumulation of stuff in your home.

Also, don’t compare yourself to other minimalists. The goal isn’t to be the one with the least amount of stuff. We all have different lifestyles and what one person can live without another will struggle with.

It’s about being mindful of what we own, what we buy, and passing on what we no longer need to others who may benefit from it. A decluttered space can help everyone in the family feel like there is less chaos in the home.

Need a checklist to help you declutter?  You can find one here.

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