I’ve recently noticed a lot of talk about trying to minimize your life or purging what you don’t use around your house. Minimalism, to me, basically means getting rid of life’s excess, which in turn will help your family focus on what is important.
Fortunately for my family, this has always come naturally. While we do not live in a tiny house, I am confident that we could. We have been slimming down our belongs nearly every year for the past 5 years or so.
Moving around as much as we do you learn to break down your belongings into categories. Depending on how far you want to simplify your life the only thing you really need are the necessities.
There are several different ways to incorporate minimalism into your life. You can still have a house, a car, a big family or a career. I love this perspective of There are Better Things to be than Rich from over at www.becomingminimalist.com.
What minimalism is really about is assisting you in finding freedom. Here is a great link to learn more about all the different ways people incorporate minimalism into their lives, www.minimalist.com.
In this post, I’ll talk about the categories my family uses and how to apply them to your families lives. I’m positive you will feel lighter by following these guidelines.
4 Decluttering Categories
The only category that is actually, well, a necessity. Items such as clothes, shoes, personal hygiene products, medications, personal documents or identification are all necessities. If you are going to pack all your stuff up and move to another continent this is the bare minimum that you can travel with. You can always buy new or secondhand when you arrive at your new home.
Items that fall into this category would be vehicles, furniture, toys, electronics, and appliances. While you may be thinking some of these items are necessities they really aren’t. You learn to manage with what you have and it’s no different.
Some luxury items can waver on a necessity like a vehicle. I’m from Omaha, NE where the public transportation is horrible and the city is growing every day. A twenty-minute drive to work (if you’re lucky, it could take up to an hour!) would take 4 hours or more on public transfer buses. So a vehicle is almost a necessity. There are ways around it though. For example, moving closer to work so you can walk or bike. Since moving around a lot I’ve lived in big cities with trains and trams and bus services that are spectacular. Not to mention bike lanes! Now that I live in a town of 6000, I can walk to the grocery store in 5 minutes time.
I’m not suggesting you always live with just necessities but you can slim down your luxuries. Do you need that new $5000 couch or is the one you have working just fine?
This, to me, is the hardest category to slim down on. Objects can have a special meaning to us and getting rid of that item can be a very difficult task. I try to use the “will I feel the same way about this next year, 5 years, 10 years?” rule. I use to have lots of childhood toys and memorabilia but the longer I kept it in storage the more I realized they are just wasting space and I needed to get rid of them or use them.
My husband is the worst with this because everything he owns has sentiment to him. I suppose when you’re living the most simplified version you end up becoming more attached to everything. I would start the process slow here and go back to these items every few months to make sure they still have a special place in your heart as they once did. Remember it’s only stuff in the end.
This is essentially any luxury items that are no longer used or working. Sentimental items that are no longer important (wedding dress from an ended marriage). It’s a pretty easy term to grasp, it’s junk, get rid of it. Items that don’t work that you’ve been meaning to fix, old towels, dishes you don’t use, paperwork that needs to be shredded and thrown out. Anything unused that is cluttering up your space needs to be purged.
I find these days I’m constantly purging toys and clothes that my little girl no longer needs. Our playroom only has what she plays with so it manages to stay clutter free (most days). A good tip to follow with your toddler’s toys is to rotate them out every few weeks. This is according to the Montessori way which you can learn more about by clicking the link.
Start your new life as a minimalist off right by selling all your purged belongings. You can sell them on buy/sell/trade sites or have a garage sale. Then you can use your money on that family vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Your family will have the freedom to make memories that last a life time. Just don’t bring home any souvenirs.
Have you started your minimalist journey yet? If so, what has been your biggest hurdle? Leave me a message in the comments 🙂