It seems like everyone is going minimalist these days.
All over the Internet are testimonials about the benefits of cleaning out your closet and reducing your stuff.
The strategy goes something like this: Pull everything out of your overcrowded space. Sort it into things to save, donate, and throw away. Put back only the things you will keep.
And then do it all again next year after you’ve accumulated stuff again.
As much as I love watching someone else getting organized and seeing all the before and after pictures, when I face my own mess of a closet, junk drawer, or whatever, I feel OVERWHELMED.
For me, there’s a big mental work-up to tackling a big project all at once. Plus, it takes hours or even longer (garage, I’m talking to you).
So, I devised a simple alternative strategy. This strategy works great. You can sustain it over time and make decluttering an easy habit in your life.
Here’s what I do:
- Throw one thing out in the morning after I wake up
- Throw one thing out at night before I go to bed
It’s really that basic.
As I’m drinking coffee and getting ready in the morning, I look around the house for some broken, useless, old, no longer fits, no longer serves a purpose, never really liked item, and I throw it away (or put it in a donate box).
It’s not time consuming or mentally-fatiguing at all. Trust me, you don’t have to look far.
I do the exact same thing at night.
In addition to the obvious benefit of reducing stuff, this approach has amazing unexpected side effects.
First off, it gives a little boost of energy in the morning. I actually look forward to “finding” my first item of the day to eliminate. And you know what? Often I get rid of more than just one thing at a time.
Next, it sets a good tone for the day every day. It reminds me to live consciously with an ethic of conservation and not let junk invade, whether that’s material things, unhealthy food, or even negative thoughts.
As you’re examining your possessions each day, you discover things you forgot you had and use them again.
Then at night, the act of throwing something away helps mentally wipe the slate clean. Whatever you’re holding on to from the day (work stress or a regret) can also be let go and you wind down the day feeling more calm.
I’ve been following this approach for several months, and I’m still feeling really good about it.
I have noticed a change in my living space, a change in what I bring into the home, and a change in how I shop.
Most importantly though, I’m grateful for what I have. And shedding things I no longer need is a real shift in my lifestyle and not a dreaded chore.
Have you jumped on the minimalist bandwagon? What are your strategies for getting organized or reducing clutter?
Photo credit: Elledecor.com