When I first began my journey into minimalism, I had to learn how to conquer clutter. Honestly, I was darn near a hoarder considering how I liked to hold onto junk and the struggle for me to keep my clutter at a minimum seemed like an impossible hurdle to get over.I did three things to minimize clutter permanently.
Detachment from stuff
I believe I’ve touched on this in several of my posts, but I had to stop desiring so many things. No, it didn’t happen over night, but it is possible to do. When I started my journey into minimalism, I watched several YouTube videos that dove deep into the real reason we get so attached to things or feel compelled to make purchases. Videos like these forced me to question my real motives for buying as many things as I did and why I held onto so much junk.
Three years ago when I used to clean up my room, I’d finish it off by putting a pile of things into a bag or box and shoving it into my closet. I would sometimes go YEARS without even thinking to reach for these items. I didn’t want to get rid of them because of the “what if I need this” thoughts plaguing me. Once I finally detached myself mentally from things, one-by-one, I threw out every one of those bags or boxes. Since then, I’ve got two bags that have accumulated now because I have fallen off from my minimalism a bit, but I’ll be throwing them out next month.
Quit buying junk
One thing that made this part easier for me was the fact that I live in such a small apartment. Not to mention, once I got rid of about half of my stuff, it was easier to determine whether or not something had a place. If I had been living my life without an item and didn’t (absolutely) need it for something, The same thing went for things I already owned one of, things I’d only need for one specific task (and couldn’t borrow from someone), and clothing items/accessories that didn’t go with the majority of my wardrobe. I especially had to pump the brakes on buying multiple makeup and haircare products.
These aren’t purchases, but I also stopped saving things like bottles, cans, and containers unless I had an immediate use for them.
Plan (every part of) the big downsize
You either fail to plan, or plan to fail! This is how I made it through the storm! I wrote a physical list of each area of my apartment that I would do a mini-downsize in. This included every shelf, every drawer, and individual boxes/containers. It helps a lot to use a bag or box for what will be trashed, donated/sold, and kept. Things that are being trashed should be thrown away promptly. Items being kept should be put in their new, permanent place, and things being sold/donated should be rid of within 2 weeks. When deciding to keep things, unless it’s specifically something that you bought with the intention of seldom using, you should get rid of it if you haven’t used (or worn) it in the past 6 months.
If I had tried to tackle downsizing head on, I wouldn’t have made a fraction of the progress I’ve gotten done. Limiting the amount of time I spent at once also made this process a lot smoother for me.
So, I’ve officially begun my journey to minimalism.
Earlier this week, I decided that it was time I plan my downsize.
I’m beginning my declutter mission with a plan..!
Sell? Donate? Trash??
I started by taking time to determine if I should sell, trash, or donate the things I don’t plan to keep. Thanks to good old Google, and about a week to think, I came to the conclusion that, besides some electronic devices and maybe some books, I will not be selling anything. The reason was that I don’t have the time or the energy (or really the desire) to deal with selling. I just want this stuff gone. I know plenty about selling my stuff online because I’ve done it several times before in the past and I know I don’t want to do it now. Whatever I deem damaged and worthless, I will just put in the dumpster.
When in doubt, plan it out.. or something
I got some paper and a pen and decided to figure this thing out! First, I broke my clutter up by room, bathroom, closet, bedroom, laundry room. Then, I broke it up by location. In my closet, I have a rack, a shelf, and the floor. I decided what should be in each place, which would mean that everything else must go. I wrote it all down too.
I did the same thing with my room and bathroom and I actually went ahead and removed the items in my closet and bedroom and placed them in my living room. Once removed from my room, I separated the larger items that would be donated from everything else and I took them to my car. The remaining items have been stacked neatly in my living room.
The next steps for me are to remove the clutter items from my bathroom, planning the same way I did with my bedroom and closet, and clean my bathroom. Then, I’m going to pick a date to begin tackling the items in my living room.
I’d like to first separate the paper from the non-paper, then separate the paper into items I will keep, shred, or trash. As for the rest, I will separate them first into trash, donate, and keep boxes, then I will go through the keep box, categorize items by type, and decide where each item will go. Anything without a place to go is likely to end up being donated. If it’s something really important with no place, then I will designate a place for it. I’ve already purchased one shelf for items that had no place but needed one. I’m giving myself til August 12, 2017 to completely de-clutter.
The good thing for me is, since I have a while before I move, I can chose to hold on to a little more than I will when I repeat this process just before my move. So anything that I just can’t let go of yet, I don’t have to traumatize myself by ripping it away.
Already, I see a difference in my rooms that I removed the clutter from. I feel like I have so much space and it just feels nice to have a clean room. I can hardly even remember what the items were that I removed.