My husband is the one who started this whole minimalism journey for our family. When, finally, my eyes were opened to just how cluttered our home was, all the problem areas very quickly came into focus. And I wanted to do it all. I had visions of clear counter tops, capsule wardrobes, friends dropping in and no panic hitting, walking through my house at night to comfort a child without that dreaded lego finding my foot in the dark, and on and on.
The problem was every area was a problem. I needed my entire house to be purged of the excess, but with two small kids, this would not be a quick fix and I knew that. I was happy just to keep everyone alive and fed and relatively clean, never mind purging the overwhelming excess we were living in. But I also didn’t let that thought keep me from beginning.
Doesn’t that happen sometimes? We get so overwhelmed at the task before us that we don’t begin. Whether you’re just beginning this journey into minimalism or have been at it a while, but need to declutter some more, the first step is to pick an area to work on.
To help get an idea ask yourself these questions:
*Where are the problem areas (OR what area is driving you crazy?)
*What is a small area with little to no emotional attachments?
*What small area could I declutter that would have a big impact? (Basically, what area would you really see and enjoy the difference of it being decluttered and simplified?)
With your answers in mind also consider these guidelines:
Consider the time you have. Whether its a couple hours every afternoon or a weekend, its best to complete areas in that time frame. Leaving huge projects undone only add to our stress. It also leaves room for it get interrupted and messed with by others. Also know that it is most likely going to take longer than you think. I used to jump into projects thinking I could get them done in a couple hours only to be left with a huge unfinished mess.
Do NOT start with something emotional. If your pictures or bookshelves or clothes or keepsakes are one of the areas overwhelming you, its still not a good place to start. You’ll reach a point of decision fatigue much quicker when it comes to things that are hard to decide about. Working on things that we don’t care about, helps us build up our minimizing muscle and motivation and will carry you through the areas that hold harder decisions.
Be sure its YOUR stuff. So often it is our spouse’s never touched hobby things, or our kids’ toys, etc that really gets under our skin. However, with the exception of kids too young to decide, its best to start with your own things or an area that your spouse (or whoever you life with) approves. Reduce your clothing, your hobby stuff, the kitchen, etc. Have conversations with those you live with about why you’re wanting to simplify and your vision of what life will be when you’re not spending so much time and energy on stuff. If they’re not 100% on board, they may start to see the benefits from your things being reduced and decide to join in.
Here’s a few suggestions, but not the only places you could choose to begin in:
*your clothing (it could be just one drawer depending on your time constraints)
*desk (mine was desk drawer)
*purse or backpack
You can also take a Konmari approach by gathering similar things (like books) from all over your home. Again, for those of your not new to decluttering, but have the urge to minimize, you still need to pick an area. Do so by considering the time you have and whether its something you’re emotionally ready to tackle and if you have the approval from others you live with for working on that space.
If you, like me, have had your eyes opened to the necessary clutter and excess you’re living with, don’t let the overwhelm stop you. You’ve caught the vision that living more simply is what you need, so jump in! Its so worth it! Enjoy the journey! There will be obstacles, but it is so worth the work you put in.