8 Ways I'm Slowly Becoming a Minimalist (and How You Can Too)
Since January, I've found myself slowly, but surely transitioning into a minimalist. Now more than ever I realize that less truly, truly is more, and it makes me a much happier human. Having less gives me more space to breath, think, move, create, and best of all, connect with what I already have and truly value it.
How I Came to This Realization?
It took becoming a blogger and getting a dozen packages every week to finally realize enough is enough. Yes, I am extremely grateful to be in this situation and I definitely do not take it for granted. I've been gifted really valuable products from brands I love that I couldn't afford otherwise (like my Airweave mattress and my Away suitcases). HOWEVER, I value my space and my time, and I just don't have the bandwidth to try out products just for the heck of it. Unless it's a brand I'm really excited about and want to work with, I won't accept gifts. Learning to say no and being very selective has really helped me and now I only get maybe one or two packages a week.
How to Transition into a more Minimal Lifestyle
1. Work on seasonal closet cleanouts... or better yet, MONTHLY cleanouts.
Opening my closet used to stress me out beyond belief. I didn't realize how on edge I was until I finally took care of it and literally felt a physical weight lift off of me. I am now making a point to perform bi-monthly closet clean outs.
My advice: Set aside 2-3 hours and take EVERYTHING out of your closet. Make a pile to donate and pile to keep, and make sure to be a really tough judge! The goal is to get rid of as much as possible and keep only what brings you happiness.
2. Declutter one area of your space at a time.
Take your time and choose one space to tackle at a time. I chose to start on my workspace, because this is where I spend most of my time. I worked with a professional organizer (@horderlynyc) back in May, who frankly set this all into motion and helped me rewire my brain. She helped me realize I don't need to keep everything out on my desk, and that really changed my life. I can focus SO much better now.
3. Always think before you buy... but really.
You've decluttered, now the real challenge is to keep it that way. So, next time you're looking to buy something, make sure you really love it or it adds value to your life. If you are upgrading, then donate the old one. It's easy to fall back into old habits, but after seeing your space so clean and tidy, you'll work hard to keep it that way. Also, remember buying more storage is not an answer for clutter... it's just storing it.
4. Unsubscribe from marketing emails.
I mentioned this in my past blog post "5 Healthy Habits to Live Your Best Life", and I think it's worth mentioning again. It's information overload to constantly have to sift through what's important mail and what's junk. If you're minimizing your purchases, you don't need to know when the next 20% off sale is anyways.
5. Stray away from trendy seasonal purchases.
I know, it's so tempting to buy holiday-themed dish towels and throw pillows, but I personally don't have the space to store it after the holidays. If you're looking to add some festivity to your space, consider getting an oil diffuser and use essential oil blends that feel warm and cozy (I love Saje's 'House Warming' blend of orange, vanilla, and cedar wood). You can also get some little pumpkins and squash to scatter around and when you're ready, turn it into dinner!
In general, if you're looking to add some color and personality to your space that's good all year long, invest in PLANTS. Plants clean the air and make people happy. (P.S. are you following @plantladiesofig? If not, you totally should.)
6. Avoid bringing home flyers, pamphlets, papers, etc.
We live in a digital age, so why are people still wasting so much paper by printing out pointless flyers that people look at for 2 seconds before they throw it away? Half of my kitchen clutter was junk mail, flyers, documents, and I didn't need any of it. Set up all of your bills to arrive digitally to save paper, and if someone tries to hand you something on the street just politely decline.
7. Get comfortable with saying 'no' / stop overcommitting.
Being a minimalist doesn't just refer to material objects and things! It's also decluttering your calendar by saying no to events or meetings that don't bring value or joy to my life. Overcommitting yourself is setting you up for a messy week which will just stress you out. I realize I don't need to go to every single workout event I'm invited to. I love attending to connect with the NYC fitness community while also getting a workout in, but lately I've been laying low and saying no to crank out an exciting project I've been working on. (...soooon to be revealed!)
8. Turn off your notifications.
Declutter your mind by not being distracted by who's following you or liking your photo on social media. It's not urgent. In order to stay sane and get work done, I keep my phone in a drawer while I work and take breaks to catch up when I have time.
How I feel now since beginning my minimalist journey?
I feel free, less attached to 'things', and more clear. I don't feel as weighed down and distracted, and I've been able to channel a wave of creativity and productivity like never before. I've become significantly less wasteful, more thoughtful about my purchases, and overall more grateful for what I have. It's a big transition that does take time, energy, and emotion. I still have a long way to go in my minimalist journey, but I keep moving forward every day because I know it has already brought me so much joy.
I hope this helps you and gives you actionable takeaways to start minimizing clutter in your life!