Major decluttering complete – now what?
Popularised in 2010 by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (collectively called ‘The Minimalists), the minimalist movement has surpassed the ‘hype’ phase and is now a long term lifestyle choice that is here to stay.
So you’ve taken your first step in embracing the minimalist lifestyle, keeping only the items that you truly need and spark joy in your heart, while donating everything else. Now what? Being a minimalist is more than just that initial decluttering exercise. You’ll have to keep being intentional and purposeful about your minimalism to sustain it.
Maintaining a minimalist lifestyle can be a bit of challenge at first because it requires a paradigm shift. You’ll have to trade old habits for new ones. We all know that changing habits is one of the toughest things to do. However, once you break those moulds and reshape your lifestyle, living as a purposeful minimalist should be a breeze.
One of the first habits you should adopt after that initial decluttering is to be very picky about the things you bring into your home. Ask yourself, “Do I need this?” “Will it add value to my life?” “Do I already have something similar?” Be firm about these criteria and do not bring in anything that you do not absolutely need. That’s the cardinal rule here. Do this every time you go shopping!
If someone offers you something like a piece of furniture that’s in good condition or a bag of clothes they can’t fit anymore (but think you might like), stop and think for a second before accepting them. If you don’t actually need them, politely decline or offer to take the items to the charity box. You do not want to reclutter your house with other people’s items.
To stay on track as a minimalist, you should also declutter your space regularly. Make sure to clean as you go and pick up after yourself. When you bring in the mail, sort them immediately and put them where they need to go – recycle or archive. Every item should have a home. Make sure that after you’ve used the items, they go back where they belong. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day to go around your house and clean up. Put things away and wipe down surfaces daily.
Another thing you can do is to designate a storage container as your ‘donation box’ and keep it in plain sight. As you clean, you might come across items that you no longer need or want. These can go into the box. You can also add items that you’re not entirely sure whether to get rid of or not. At the end of the month, if you’ve not reached for those items even once, then you definitely do not need them anymore. Send them to a charity shop or find someone else who might want those items.
One of the main aspects of minimalism is, of course, the reduction of material possessions. A great way to reduce the number of physical items in your house without sacrificing value is by going digital as much as possible. Things like DVDs, CDs, vinyl records and books can take up a lot of space and make a room feel very small. Instead, you can trade those for digital copies. You can get just about any book, movie, tv-show, or music online these days.
Now I’m not saying you have to stop being a collector completely. iI you have a special Harry Potter box set or a collection of vinyl records that make you happy, keep them. Just make sure to store most of them out of sight to maintain that minimalist vibe. Use only one or two items as decorative accents.
In terms of interior design, try to keep the colour scheme monochromatic and play with different textures of the same colour instead. This will help reduce the cluttered feel that a multi-coloured room can give and maintain that sleek finish that minimalist designs are known for.
Living a minimalist lifestyle takes a bit of adjustment and a lot of effort. But once you’re there, you should find it a breeze to maintain.