5 Ways to Start Practicing Minimalism



1. RAISE YOUR STANDARDS

When you buy a new pair of shoes, is there an old pair that you can remove? When you bring home 5 new items of clothing, can you admit that there are probably 5 items in your wardrobe that you just never wear? When you buy a stapler that works so much better than your old one, do you actually pick up the old one and donate it? Or does it stay on your desk collecting dust because it's "still useful"?

Raise your standards on what deserves to be deemed "useful" or "valuable" when it comes to your space and start subtracting whatever doesn't meet YOUR standard.


2. SOME THINGS ARE JUST PASSING THROUGH. LET THEM.

The mindset here is that you don't need to give every little thing permanent residence in your home. Very few things deserve that placement.

I believe that a beautiful home is a place where things pass through like the seasons and room is always being made for new experiences and for the PEOPLE who live there. I don't ever want to feel like I'm being crowded out from too much stuff. Your stuff doesn't live in your home. You do.

Are you holding onto things just because they were useful once upon a time? Its value in your life has expired and you have permission to let it go. Your home is not a storage unit.


3. MAKE YOUR FUTURE BIGGER THAN YOUR PAST

This idea of making my future bigger than my past is the driving force behind my minimalist mindset. Whenever I find myself having a hard time letting go of something from the past because of the memories it represents, I realise that I'm falling into the "good ol' days" syndrome and I DON'T WANT THAT. 

I don't want to feel like I'm holding onto a past experience as if it was some special thing that I can't ever experience again. I want to live my life as if the best is always yet to come. I appreciate my memories, but I don't make them more important than the memories I have YET to create. The day I do that is the day I get stuck and stop expanding.

Try letting go of something that you never thought of letting go of before. It can be an old journal, a T-shirt from college, a book that you received as a gift and feel obligated to read (but you know you won't). Your past is important, but SO IS YOUR FUTURE. So make some room!

If this idea freaks you out, just say to yourself: "The more I let go, the bigger I grow."


4. KEEP A SPECIAL BOX TO PROCESS ITEMS THAT NEED EXTRA ATTENTION

On my shelf, I have a box where I put mail, receipts, notes - anything that requires me to take some sort of action before I can officially throw it away or put it away. Then I have what I call a "buffer day" where I go through everything in that box until it's empty. This keeps stuff from laying around and taking up my energy. With a "process box," I can have it out of sight and out of mind until I DECIDE to go through it all.


5. GO LAYER BY LAYER

Whenever I do a "minimalist sweep" of all my belongings, I think "Wow, I don't think there's anything else I could possibly get rid of. I went through everything." Then a few months go by and I find that I'm ready to dig even deeper and let go even more.

Recognise that minimalism is an ongoing process, a lifestyle, and a mindset. Your very first step might be to do what I did - which was to throw tons of stuff into trash bags and then to pack a lot of my other belongings into a big box that I hid away in my closet for a few months. Coming back to the box later showed me how much I didn't need the stuff in it and how much I enjoyed living with less. 

I could look at everything with a deeper level of detachment and go into "decision-making mode" again about what I wanted to keep or not.

So, be patient. Minimising takes alot of energy in the beginning because you are doing the difficult and important work of defining who you are and what you want and making sure your outer world reflects that. It's been a worthwhile journey for me so far and I hope these 5 tips help you with yours. :)