Why do we own things? The reasons are far less than the actual items we surround ourselves with. Some things are sentimental, given to us by loved ones; other things are mementos that remind us of who we were and how far we’ve come; still others are ego-based possessions that help us feel like we are “Keeping Up With The Joneses”; the rest of it either makes us happy or is so instrumental in making our routines and lives easier that we can’t imagine living without them. Keep those things. Everything else needs to go!
But before you go and donate your life’s belongings or hand them down to someone who will consider your “trash” treasure, realize that living minimally does not have to translate into barren walls and empty closets. First, you’re going to want to evaluate your space and examine your priorities. For example, are there any things in your surroundings that make you feel stressed and frustrated? Perhaps you have too much art on the walls or too many dusty knick-knacks on display. Maybe all those extra kitchen tools are making it harder for you to find what you need to whip up that feast you’ve been plotting?
Has living more minimally piqued your interest? The first step to getting your hoard monster under control is to stop feeding it with the “I just gotta have it even though I don’t need it” mentality. Ignore the 50% OFF SALE promo on whatever item catches your eye and realize the TRUE cost of adding that item to your life. For many, the struggle to tame the spending dragon is very real. In the end, more stuff equals more chaos. Unless, of course, you’re investing in a quality piece that will serve you — and your life — for years to come.
Perhaps the single worst culprit when it comes to clutter is our wardrobe. Most of us are guilty of holding on to pieces with the hopes that they will one day come back in style — or that we’ll lose those extra 15 pounds and be able to squeeze back into them by next season. The age-old rule of thumb still holds true: If you haven’t worn it in the past 12 months (or if a piece of clothing has become too worn from regular wear), it’s time to toss it. Letting your clothes take up much-needed real estate in your home is just inviting misery and a reminder that you’re probably not the same size you were in high school. Instead, you might want to consider investing in a clothes rental companies like Rent The Runway, Le Tote and Style Lend for women or The Mr. Collection, The Black Tux and Trendy Butler for men. When you do the math, you’ll quickly realize you’ll be that gal or guy who never wears the same thing twice for a fraction of what it would cost to get a whole new wardrobe every few months.
When it comes down to it, trimming away at the unnecessary in your life comes down to one tried and true piece of advice: Learn to be grateful for what you have. The more you appreciate what you already own, that pesky desire to own more things will gradually disappear. Still not convinced you’ll be able to satiate your inner shopaholic/hoarder? Practice makes perfect. Start by promising yourself that for every new item you bring into your home you get rid of another. You’ll reach maximum minimalism in no time.