It has been close to three weeks since I bumped on minimalism and I am taking slow but sure measures to declutter. Most of you must have seen my initial measures which I wrote about last week. I touched upon the topic of downsizing my stuff and also enforcing check points for reducing my time spent on social platforms.
Here are a few ways that I have embraced minimalism and gone about changing my life, slowly but surely.
Resolve to be happy!
The entire point of the change is for me to find more joy and happiness in life. Being a math driven guy, I can find more happiness by increasing the number of things I do that brings me joy or reducing those things that don’t. While the former involves a higher level of creativity, the latter is much easier to identify as your heart grumbles to you when you engage in things you don’t like. For example, I don’t enjoy tasks like ironing clothes, sorting out bills, organizing kitchenware, buying groceries etc. Doing nothing excites me more than doing any of these. So my first and probably only resolution is to be happy as I go about minimalizing everything around me.
Plan your pursuit
Probably the greatest risk of going back to our unproductive ways is when you realize that you suddenly have so much more time in your hands. If it has been years since you had a hobby, the extra time could drive you nuts. Our inertia would prompt us to move back to doing what we usually do – check our phones, dig our laptop or watch something on TV. Don’t blame yourself, our brain incentivizes us every time we find something new, so the urge to check your messages is biologically natural. As for me, I enrolled myself into a library and am 30% through with the first book I have held in my hand since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!!!!
And my blogs have become more frequent, so I feel the creative juice flowing in my veins.
Now focusing on the question of removing actual items, here is how I got about it. I looked at some of the ways many minimalists (and there are millions of them) went about de-cluttering their houses. The most popular one is the 333 project where you live on 33 wearable items for 3 months. Then there is the packing party where you basically pack your entire home and then only unpack stuff that you need over the next 3 weeks. Eliminate just about everything else that does not get unpacked. You could also create a list of 100 items that you want in your house and remove everything else. I found all of these too radical & hence have found my own two-step process.
Two step removal of junk
Have a designated store area in the house. Put everything that you feel is not necessary into a suitcase and keep the suitcase in that area. You are allowed to get items back in from the suitcase if you find use for the item. If not, eliminate all items after 2 or 3 weeks. The main advantage of this process is that you don’t spend too much time making decisions on whether you need the item or not.
“But why don’t we keep this as backup, in case there is an emergency?” – There is always this question ringing in our minds. In fact, this question is the sole reason for us having 20 towels at home 🙂
A rule that greatly helped me overcome this anxiety was one I found at theminimalists.com. It goes like this, “If you can get the item within 20 minutes of where you are and by spending less than $20, then you can throw the backup items out.”
If only I had come across this simple rule, I would not have burdened my parent’s place with 5 suitcases full of items that I wanted to store when I moved from my Bangalore house to Singapore.
Remove off packaging
A simple but effective way to store items is to eliminate the packaging. For example, perfumes are always covered with cardboard. So too are fragile items and mobile phones. We keep the boxes as they help when we resell the phone, but is the cost difference so significant to warrant the space these boxes take up?
Stop those bills at the doorstep: Open them, take a picture, email to your account, pay immediately if possible and bin the bill.
One in, two out: For every new item that comes in, I eliminate two.
No more clothes:Dont buy them. If you do, then follow the one in, two out rule!
After following these, have I succeeded in de-cluttering my things? I am not even 30% of the way there 😊
I am keen to hear some ideas from you regarding how you got the clutter out of your house… Feel free to comment your suggestions.