Minimalism isn’t a one time event or a one trick pony, it doesn’t suddenly stop once the decluttering is over. It is an ongoing process and requires practice.
If you are midway through your minimalist journey, just at the start or perhaps you have reached your minimalism sweet spot- this list will help you to stay focused on some of the things minimalists do to keep themselves on track.
Remember decluttering never ends: You may think that once you’ve decluttered your home, that’s it- you never have to touch it again and you can put your feet up. Sadly, this isn’t the case- new things enter the home every day and need to be processed in some way from mail to food shopping, gifts to dirt. It all needs to find a way back out of your space or be stored appropriately and something else let go in its favour.
Shop mindfully: Don’t grab something on your weekly food shop because it’s on offer. If it’s not on your list- don’t buy it and if you see something other than food that takes your fancy, avoid the urge to buy it until you have given it some consideration.
Think about each purchase you make carefully first and give it 30 days before you commit to it. It’s important to ponder over how you will use it, how it will fit in your space, how you will pay for it and if you can actually afford it- in other words- will you need to put it on credit? Thirty days will allow the initial rush of buying something new to fade and your practical side to kick in once your impulsiveness has been given a breather.
Keep surfaces free of stuff: Visual clutter can contribute to mental clutter and one of the easiest ways to minimise this is to keep surfaces clear. Most things you use in a day are only for a few minutes so they don’t need to be out all the time- think the toaster and kettle in the kitchen, your toiletries in the bathroom and the book on your bedside table.
They all have a short life span in terms of usage each day so they don’t need to live on surfaces when they are not serving a purpose. This will help with cleaning too as there are less things to move when you want to wipe down your surfaces.
Quality over quantity: Always, always, always shop for quality pieces over quantity. While a cheaper garment might give you instant gratification, it will fall to pieces far quicker than a more expensive piece, thus costing you more money in the long run as you need to buy replacements more often. If you can’t afford something- better to save the money over a few weeks or months and buy the better quality item rather than an inferior alternative. Good things come to those who wait!
Exercise gratitude: Things will not bring you happiness. There, I’ve said it. No matter how much you buy, if you feel your happiness muscle is weak- shopping will not exercise it for long. Appreciating what you already have and seeing joy in the small things are more fulfilling because they help you to realise that what you have is enough and what you yearn for is in fact superfluous.
Are you unhappy with the look of your home and want to redecorate? Think about the people who don’t have a roof over their head and be grateful that you do.
Do you want some new clothes for your wardrobe when you already have so many? What about those who have to wear the same outfit everyday because that is all they have? Or people who can’t afford sufficient layers for the climate in which they live?
Do you insist on bringing more food into your home when your cupboards are overflowing? There are people across the globe who don’t have that luxury and need to depend on food banks to feed their family.
There are many things to be grateful for- so every time you want to make a new purchase, put it into perspective and be grateful for what is already in your possession.
Come up with a system that works for you: If that is the one in and one out rule, doing the 30 Day Minimalism Game a few times a year or having a donate box in your home for when you come across items to discard- it’s up to you. Some people use containers for creating boundaries around maximum numbers of items- such all books must fit on one book case and any that don’t fit must be purged. Everyone is different.
Once you identify this rule to live by, it will make life so much easier because you have some structure and guidance to manage your space and everyone you live with can be on the same page.
Little and often: This could apply to cleaning, decluttering or organising- whatever it might be- don’t let managing your space take over large chunks of your time. If you do little jobs regularly, never again will you have to dedicate a weekend day to clean your house or a number of days to spring clean at the start of each year because you will be on top of it.
So there we have it- seven minimalist principles you can adopt today to simplify your life and the things within it.
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