Deciding to step outside the cultural norm and become a minimalist is scary. People will probably talk about you behind your back. You will feel pressure to keep your consumer mindset. There will be days where you will question everything and wonder who gave you this crazy idea of becoming a minimalist. That's all part of the journey.
Become a Minimalist
If you've ever spent three minutes looking for your keys or wasted eleven minutes searching your closet for a specific outfit, it might be worth exploring minimalism. I had never heard of minimalism before. But thanks to the all-knowing Netflix algorithm, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, came up as a suggested movie. The very next morning I had a frantic few minutes dashing around the house trying to find my child's favorite stuffed animal. A lightbulb came on.
It was that day in 2017 when my google searches began. "What is minimalism?" and "How do I become a minimalist?" were some of my first searches. I read about some extreme forms of minimalism. I read horror stories about people accidentally purging extremely valuable or sentimental items. But then I read about the calm that becoming a minimalist creates in a home. That's what I wanted, the calm.
Minimalism My Way
Yes, minimalism is a concept beyond how I practice it in my household. But the only thing that matters is what is minimalism to you. For me it is calm.
Finding items is easy because the important item isn't hidden amongst 10 non-important things. Cleaning my house is easy because I am not having to put away 800 personal belongings to wipe down my kitchen counter. Letting my children play is safe because there are no broken or inappropriate items in their rooms. Working is focused because my desk is clear and ready for my laptop.
I still have sentimental items and things I spent too much money on that I'm not ready to part with. But I ditched the excess. My emotional connection to items has been reduced and re-directed toward my desire to have new experiences. Our society has glorified the concept of success to mean having lots of physical possessions. I've just stopped buying into that concept.
Getting Rid of the Stuff
You're willing to give minimalism a try but you don't know where to start. Start small. Your first step could be a kitchen drawer or a hall closet. Don't feel pressure to empty it out. You will undoubtedly run across broken items, things you no longer use, and even things you have never used. Those items can go. There are areas of my home I have cleaned out four times during my journey to become a minimalist. Each time you will look at your items with a new perspective.
Keep the items you use. By all means, keep the things that bring you joy. And defer decisions on sentimental items until you are deeper into the process. For me personally, I am motivated by not burdening my children someday with items they will have no idea what to do with. Anybody who has been responsible for cleaning out a deceased persons home will totally understand what I mean. Your kids or next of kin will be clueless as to what 98% of the items in your home mean to you.
Life on the Other Side
What is minimalism like once you're done minimizing? I don't know that you are ever done minimizing. Of course, at some point, there is nothing else you can reasonably purge from your home. But being a minimalist is more of a verb than an adjective. As a minimalist, you are actively choosing not to purchase items that don't serve you. Being a minimalist means regularly re-evaluating items you come across. You are never really done.
If you want to become a minimalist you can start today. My Vacay Visionary Facebook Group hosts a Minimalism Monday where we all post what we are minimizing this week. We all cheer each other on and offer support as people move from excess to enjoying experiences.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine what can be purged in your home?