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There are all types of minimalists out there. You will see people who know exactly how many items they have and how they all fit in a back pack. Then there are people who have downsized to live with less clutter (that’s me!!!). There is a large spectrum and it is up to you to decide where you fall and what your goals are. Intentional living is one thing that comes to my mind when I think of downsizing and living more of a minimalist lifestyle. To me intentional living is truly focusing on your lifestyle which might include your belongings, money, surroundings, people encountered in my life. Furthermore, I think when you start to become more intentional with the way you spend money, the things you have and with your time, then you will see that it becomes freeing and you have more money, time and space where you don’t feel cluttered.
6 ways to begin a life of a minimalist
1. Cut the clutter-
This was my first step and truly I just downsized of all the clutter. I went through each area of each room and decided if I loved it or not. I will admit that this isn’t easy but SOOOOO worth it! I have heard and watched people who live with a house full of clutter, who are constantly trying to tackle it but never actually getting rid of anything. It’s mostly just moving stuff from one area to another. Instead if they would deal with the paperwork or get rid of the exercise machine that they haven’t used in 5+ years they would see that the stuff is holding them back. I remember going through my house and being like why do I have 5 rubber spatulas???? I think one would be more then sufficient! I had 6 cutting boards in all different sizes, same with multiple glass cooking bowls and glasses and don’t get me started on tupperware! For myself it was almost like it had just stacked up over time. I didn’t NEED all of this!! I paired down to my grandmas glass antique bowls that I loved and two cutting boards in different sizes. I was very realistic with what I would need in this next chapter. Another helpful idea is to have someone with you that is not so tied to everything like you are; a family member or friend is what I had and by far they helped me make the decisions on the tough items to downsize. I recently read a book called, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
I highly recommend that book! She really breaks down how to pair down! Once you cut down on the “stuff” you will feel such a relief! I think this also goes in hand with freeing up more of your time because you aren’t spending so much of it dealing with clutter.
2. Sell unwanted items-
I recommend trying to sell the unwanted items. I was in more of a rush so I only sold the bigger items where I knew I could make money but there has been times in my life that I sold smaller items and made extra cash. This depends on how much time you have. I sold all my items on Offerup, Craigslist, Facebook buy/sell groups and for clothing I sold quite a bit on an app called Poshmark which I still use today. I know that there are people who might do better with a garage sale and that is totally fine. I think its helpful to get money for your items and then the items that don’t sell I donated to the Salvation Army.
3. Find a home-
After you downsize and sell the unwanted items be sure to find all your items a home. This truly means that when you get home your purse has an exact location its suppose to go and same with your keys. Your shoes get put back and your coat gets hung up. Those mixing bowls you decided to keep get stacked neatly and go in the cabinet. I am sure you guys get the point. To me this is one of the most important steps because after you did all that work at downsizing, you don’t want to have your house cluttered because you don’t know where you want items to go.
4. Stop buying things you don’t need-
Okay this one may seem like a no brainer but I swear people feel the need to reward themselves with stuff once they downsize. You do not want to go back to the life of clutter…remember you are moving forward in this freeing lifestyle so don’t get stuck in your old ways and fall back into more items you don’t need. This isn’t to say that you just downsized and have a home that your proud of with only the things you love but there is a cabinet that needs some type of organization tool…sure go buy that! If it will make your life easier and is going to help you reach your goal then perfect! If you find that you are struggling with this then I recommend using a list when you go to the store. Maybe you are someone who buys unnecessary items at the grocery store because they are on sale, yet you just cleaned out your pantry and had tons of expired items or things you realized you would never use…then make a list and STICK TO IT when you go to the store. Maybe your going to TJ Maxx to buy a birthday gift but you know this is a store you go crazy in for clothing or shoes or yes more dang spatulas. Then you make a list of items you only need to buy for the gift. I personally started a list that I keep on my phone and it is items that I would like, I named it my Wish List. Basically I put all sorts of items down which include things I need and just would like to have. When I reach a financial goal I am able to purchase one of those items. In other words, I know that I am so close to reaching my goal when I refrain from buying those super cute pink sheets for my bed during my Target run and I solely get the items I need. In return, I know I will have the items on my wish list eventually as long as I keep working towards my goal.
So I know most people hate budgets because you feel restricted with your spending. I understand and truly have felt that way before. It was when I realized that I was living with blinders on and spending WAYYY to much and I really had to be more aware of where my money was going. Once I actually changed my lifestyle I then realized I don’t spend as much as I used to, making budgeting a lot easier. I know that there are tons of great apps, excel spread sheets or just using a paper and pencil to simply write things down to visually see where the money goes! I personally use an app called Everydollar which is created by Dave Ramsey and I find it to be very user-friendly to track your money and budget daily. When I was selling items I actually made a folder in this app called Sales and I tracked everything I sold. This way I knew exactly how much money I made when I finished selling all my items. I love items that make my life simpler!
6. Make a dream list-
This is a list of life dreams. What have you always wanted to do?? Maybe you’re wanting to get those student loans paid off or get out of that credit card debt. Maybe you have dreamed of traveling or buying a house. Now is the time to make this dream a reality! I find it so inspiring when I hear of people who started this process and end up making $5,000 from selling unwanted things and they pay off that credit card. Or people who focus for 6 months and save save save and then make the jump to take the job on the other side of the country or buy the RV and start traveling across the country and find ways to make a living online. Maybe they decide to start running marathons or take those Italian cooking classes that you have always dreamed. The list just goes on and on!! Their time isn’t held up at home dealing with clutter and their money isn’t being spent randomly like it has always been spent. They can focus on things that truly matter!
Remember that minimalism is an ongoing process, mindset and lifestyle. Its a lot of work at first but you will get to a place where you’ll see areas you can enjoy life with possibly even less by detaching from items with time. I hope if you are interested in giving this a shot that you begin going for it!! Please feel free to comment below with any questions or comments!