Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. —William Morris
I’ve been pursuing a minimalist lifestyle for well over a year now. I’ve had great success in some areas, and massive failure in others.
This past January, I moved into an apartment for a few months while Matthew did some construction. This was an eye-opening experience in terms of my minimalist progress (and lack thereof). The moving process required me to pick up everything I own and transport it from Point A to Point B. There isn’t a better way to take stock of your worldly possessions. Especially when you’re carrying it uphill. (I was adamant about moving my things myself.)
I still have too many/too much:
- beauty items (perfume, lotion, etc.)
I’ve done a great job of paring down/getting rid of:
- old notebooks
- trinkets & decorations
- kitchen/cooking tools
I plan to make progress with the “still have too much” list this summer.
A Dumpster on Wheels
The moving process caused me one major headache that I didn’t anticipate. My Jeep became a nightmare. I literally did not clean it from January until June. The outside was gross from months of dirty snow & road salt accumulation. The inside looked like a second, filthy home. There was so much crap in there and I just kept adding to it. Empty bottles, empty bags, sweatshirts, boots, shoes, napkins, books, hats, gloves, garbage. It looked like a dumpster.
While the move added to it, the real problem was me. I simply didn’t take the time to do what needed to be done. And that’s really what minimalism and decluttering is all about it: simply doing what needs to be done.
I can’t quantify the negative impact that having a dirty car had on my health & spirit over the course of six months. Every time I got in my car, I felt stressed. There were countless times when I was mortified for people to even take a peek inside of it. All of this unnecessary emotional pain because I was simply too lazy/unaware to take an hour to clean!
No sense dwelling on the past, but I’ve learned my lesson. A couple of weeks ago I emptied out the contents and then took her to the car wash for a thorough scrub down. Afterward, I immediately felt a tremendous weight lift from my shoulders. I am not exaggerating when I say that I could actually breathe easier. Now, getting into my car every day is a joy. And I have been vigilant to ensure it stays this way.
It’s a simple matter of being aware. When you bring something in, bring it back out. Don’t leave anything behind and there will be no clutter. It’s truly that easy.
Simple Ways to Battle Clutter
These tips will work at home, in the office, in your car, and so on.
- Designated space. Make sure that every single thing that you own has a designated space.
- Keep it there. Keep every single thing that you own in its designated space.
- Put it back. When you finish using something, put it back in its designated space.
- Quarterly sweep. Do a quarterly sleep of unused possessions. Get rid of what you don’t use. As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t used it for three months, it needs to go.
- Three piles method. Use three piles to sort everything out. a. Keep, b. Sell/Donate, and c. Trash. After you’ve sorted, trash or recycle the items in the Trash pile immediately. Then reevaluate the Keep and Sell/Donate piles. Are there any items in the Keep pile that you really should donate or sell? If so, move them to the appropriate pile.
These tips may sound basic, but if you implement them, you will never have to worry about clutter again.
Alright, now it’s your turn. Have you ever let your car/closet/kitchen get to such a point? Or am I alone in my shame?