Making a large lifestyle change is daunting and is definitely a major decision to make. That decision is often the hardest step in embracing a minimalist lifestyle, because you are making a commitment to get rid of items and having to be very hard on yourself to do this. If you aren’t 100% committed you definitely need to do plenty of research to check it’s the correct lifestyle choice for you. Alternatively look into having a big spring clean first and see if that solves the problems you are feeling.
If you decide minimalism is for you, the steps I am following to reduce my stuff and embrace the lifestyle is listed below.
Step 1: Write a vision plan – determine what I want to do and how I can achieve this. Understand the mechanisms I want to live life through, and decide what I want to have in life as stuff. A must List is a great way of doing this, it gives you no choice but to follow it. Alternatively writing your thoughts, feelings and dreams as a list is another way to go. If you’re not like me, willing to post your plan publically; stick it to your wall, make it every screensaver and make sure you are reminded of what you are aiming for and what you are working hard for.
Step 2: Get rid of obvious clutter – trash, donate or sell the obvious clutter you know about. Go through the boxes of stored stuff under your bed or in your attic; decide which keepsakes hold memories or have been just kept for the sake of keeping. This is often the easiest part to do because the items you have been keeping because you can have little meaning or hold on your life.
Step 3: Empty out your wardrobe of stuff you haven’t worn – If you haven’t pulled something out of your wardrobe in 3 months, you don’t need it… if there’s old occasion dresses you haven’t reworn – you don’t need it. If you’re not sure on an item then keep it … for now… the next step will help you decide if you truly need it or not.
Step 4: Pack away anything seasonal – Be critical when you do this, it’s not an excuse hoard items with the excuse of wearing them in the winter. You need to hoard your winter loved items that you wear a lot in the winter; you’ll be surprised at what you don’t use if they aren’t around to be used.
Step 5: Put EVERYTHING you’ve still got out in a box – Seems a strange thing to do, but it’s a great exercise in determine what you do and don’t use from the items you have left over. The likelihood is items will go straight in and out again but some items will never be seen out of the box again. You can trash, donate or sell these too. The time limit for doing this can alter for each person. I aim to start with a month; then evaluated where I am and whether I should continue or stop.
Step 6: One in one out – Now that you are down to your essentials, this is where you need to adopt the lifestyle rules to keep the clutter at bay. The one in one out policy is perfect for me. It does what is says on the tin, you have to get rid of an item before you buy a new one. Using this method is a great way of making sure you don’t gather more stuff and have a clutter relapse, you’ll also find you think about your shopping purchases before you buy them, saving you money too.
Step 7: Start changing lifestyle choices – This is a funny one because it’s not really a 7thstep. It’s highly likely that you’ll make these changes as the process continues. Reducing your clutter will make you say no to shopping trips, or cleaning your space will allow you to start that project you have been dreaming of for year. The refreshed feeling of a clean life will inspire you to go for a run, or start exercising. If this has already started, Step 7 is designed to kick your as into gear. This is where minimalism becomes happy living.
This is the steps I will be taking over the next month to embrace minimal living and begin the process of developing a happy lifestyle. Follow the plan along with me or follow my journey by subscribing to my blog and following me on twitter.