Less is More – Eight Steps to Declutter Your Life
Since the pandemic began, people have spent more time than ever before at home dealing with all their stuff, leading to a trend toward minimalism. The book Love People, Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works is helping people declutter their lives. Authors Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus call themselves the minimalists.
They say minimalism isn't living in a stark white house with empty walls and no furniture; it's about keeping what enhances your life and getting rid of what doesn't.
They are quick to point out that the average American home contains a whopping 300,000 items. People are starting to question what actually adds value to their lives and ridding themselves of excess stuff. Clutter has been linked to stress and anxiety and can even lead to overeating junk food and procrastinating. But it is more than just organizing, which they call well-planned hoarding.
By eliminating things that don’t bring you joy or that you don’t need or use, you make room for what matters the most. Are you ready to get started?
Fields Millburn says to ask yourself: “How might my life be better with less?” This can help you understand why you want to downsize, which is highly individual. For instance, some people want to quit their buying habit for more financial freedom, while others want fewer items to care for and more time to spend with family and friends.
To the Minimalists, “just in case” are three dangerous words. “If you look around your house, you'll likely find thousands of items you're storing just in case you might need them in some nonexistent hypothetical future,” Fields Millburn says. These items can usually be replaced, if need be, for less than $20 and in less than 20 minutes. The exceptions to this, Fields Millburn notes, are emergency items like first aid kits, which you should definitely keep handy.
It's about saving less. Give yourself permission to get rid of duplicate, similar or blurry photos, coupons or mailers you aren't using, bills and statements you can get online, old newspapers and magazines, and things you've ripped out of a magazine.
Holding onto a favorite mug that's chipped or necklace that's fallen apart? Time to let go. Be honest about what things are damaged and toss them. The same goes for things that are missing parts. For instance, if a storage container does not have a lid, say goodbye.
Maybe something was on sale, or you think you should own more of a certain item, but you ultimately get to determine how much of what is enough. Items that fall into this category, can include coffee cups, measuring cups and spoons, wooden spoons, wire whisks, handbags, sunglasses, and pens.
If you are holding on thinking, It's not hurting anything, think about it another way and ask yourself how it's helping or enhancing your life. If it's not, you don't have room for it. This often includes things like random spices and sauces, uncomfortable shoes, empty frames and containers, books you've already read or never plan on reading, junk drawer items (or the whole drawer), knickknacks, freebies, or gifts you were given but don't like.
If you don't have a dog anymore and don't plan on getting a new one, give yourself permission to get rid of the dog bed, bowl, and leash. If you're retired, pack up the majority of your professional clothes and office supplies. This will give you more space for items that serve the phase of life you're in right now.
Be realistic about which hobbies you've moved on from and toss the related materials you're not using. Maybe you have art supplies but never paint anymore, or sports equipment from a sport you gave up. If it makes you feel better, you can donate the items instead of throwing them out.