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FIRST STEPS TO MINIMIZING YOUR HOME

by adminL@cMQ@
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Often times beginning something new, taking that first step, is hard. We want to do it but many things can hold us back. This is very true when it comes to minimizing the stuff and clutter in our home. In recent months many people have asked about our family’s journey into being minimalists and I’m happy to share our first steps and a few tips for you if you are wanting to start.

When our journey began I jumped in and began drawer by drawer, space by space and room by room.  I made piles to keep, piles to pass on.  I threw away bags of broken and no good stuff.  I let go of papers that we “might someday need.”  I trimmed down toys and clothes and kitchen utensils.  It was so incredibly freeing.  Each day our home and our lives felt lighter.  Each day our home got a little easier to manage.

Photograph 058 by Ashley Schweitzer found on minimography.com

This is not to say there were not some road blocks.  Having two small kids definitely proves to add to the task. My three year old thought it was his mission in life to unpack whatever box or bag I had just packed.

One surprise as I went through our things was that I found myself unknowingly attached to some of the clutter areas. I also would get frustrated when areas I had minimized suddenly became cluttered or when I noticed “stuff” would so easily enter our homes. But steadily it got easier and the cleared off counters and flat spaces became the norm rather than cluttered piles.

The peace and the ease of cleanup are just two of the benefits that have made this journey worth it. If you’re ready to jump in, here’s a few tips to consider before you begin.

1. Knowing that this is not a quick and painless process is important. You can easily get frustrated if you start in a fury and want to accomplish it all in one weekend. Which leads to…

2. Start small.  I know you want to toss 2/3 of the kids’ toys or tackle the entire kitchen, but unless you have an entire day alone DO NOT START THERE.  Start with your desk drawer or one cabinet in the kitchen. Do one thing at a time and let that feeling of accomplishment feed the good feelings!  It gets addicting after a few small areas are minimized!

3. Whatever area or space you are working on, clear it out completely and ONLY put back the things that are going to “live” there. Don’t let something stay just because it has always been there or because you just “know” it will go back. Take everything out. You might find that once you get an item out and consider its place and use, that it might be better placed elsewhere.

4. As you’re clearing out, quickly throw out all trash and then have three piles. One is keepers, two is for things you will pass on whether its a yard sale or to a donation center. But plan to pass it on soon or it will creep back into your living space! Three is for the “maybes.” Be careful that you don’t have too many maybe’s. If you catch yourself thinking that most things “might” be useful or hanging on for sentimental reasons, stop right there and remember why you’re going through all your things. That will bring back your resolve to get rid of as much as possible.

Because most of us have to do this in small steps, strive to do a little bit everyday.  In my case, I couldn’t commit a whole day or weekend, or even a few hours to purging, but I was determined and that was the key. Consider making goals that are small and measurable, such as “This week I will spend 30 minutes every morning decluttering the living room.”

As you begin this process another important thing to remember is to have fun and to celebrate each little victory. Enjoy each little lightening of your load.

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