“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” ― Ellen Goodman
The recent trend of downsizing is only gaining momentum, as more families choose to do away with the clutter and live life more simply. Some even go as far as choosing tiny houses over regular sized homes. But whether you just want a cleaner home or want to eventually want to sell most of your possessions, there are a few things to be learned from followers of a minimalism lifestyle.
- Reducing consumption has financial and environmental benefits. Simply put, the less you buy, the less that ends up in our landfills and the more money that stays in your pocket. Consider recycling, repairing, and reusing items you purchase.
- Minimalism means a cleaner house. And cleaning takes time; is it worth it for the shelves of knick-knacks that need to be dusted among other things that have to be cleaned, rearranged, and reorganized? The fewer items crowded on the shelves, the easier they are to clean and keep organized.
- Changing attitudes toward materialism may mean more free time. When people buy less and consume less, they may find they have more money left over to spend on vacations or leisure activities. For some, it may result in small differences like extra entertainment money, but for others who choose to downsize, it may mean they do not have to work as many hours or that one spouse can stay home to raise the family.
For those interested in a more simple lifestyle, the changes do not need to be drastic, nor do they need to occur overnight. People are attached to their stuff for a variety of reasons and sentimental attachments cannot be undone immediately. Instead of going drastic and throwing away everything, only to feel remorse, it is better to take things slowly and consider your goals.
Consider these tips for minimizing your things:
- The hanger tip: At the beginning of the year, turn all of your hangers backwards in your closet. After you wear and wash your clothes, hang them back up the other direction. At the end of a specified time (a season or a year), see what you haven’t worn in that time, and consider getting rid of it.
- The one-in-one-out method: The idea here is for every item you bring in the house you take one item out. This works especially well for children and for people who like to purchase knick-knack type items. If you remove an item for each one brought in, your collection never grows.
- The Art of Decluttering: Based on the popular book, this is a more extreme method of decluttering. The method is to go through your house and seriously think about each item and the joy that it brings. If it has a strong sentimental value and brings you joy, you keep it. If you have no strong emotion toward the object, you sell or donate it.
If you start with reconsidering your purchases and begin getting rid of unnecessary objects, eventually the process becomes easier. You may find you want fewer things to start with or that you begin purchasing things with a longer lifespan. Minimizing and decluttering doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything. Instead, it’s about finding the right balance for you and your family.
You want your house to feel like a home. It’s important to hold on to sentimental items to reflect your personality and experiences. But, if you can’t enjoy your home because of its clutter, it’s time to take a lesson from minimalism, and downsize a bit.