10 Ways to Minimize Your Home
If you're like me, you feel a sense of security with the more things you have. I totally used to be the same way! I remember being a kid and feeling less cool because I had less than my peers. I felt embarrassed and like I wasn't as good as them. It sounds silly, but we still do this as adults.
"Everyone else has a car, so I should have a car."
"Everyone else is buying a house, so I should buy a house."
It's not really your fault though, really. The media is powerful and they've been feeding us these lies since birth. We see millions of ads and hear millions of commercials every year telling us about the NEW product and how it will make our lives better. It can be overwhelming, and it can make us feel "less than" if we don't have those things.
The problem with this lie from the media is that there will always be more. We will never have enough, and if we chase temporary pleasures of "things", our lives and homes can begin to pile up with stuff and start to weigh us down - both figuratively and literally.
For me personally, I have noticed so much more peace as I've embraced minimalism. It's incredibly freeing to let go of items that are clinging to my identity and to let go of things from my past that I'm holding onto. It's also freeing to walk into a store and no longer feel the rush of "ohhh I want this." or "ohhhh I should buy this because it's on sale."
I rarely feel the inclination towards consumerism, and when I do, it's easy to stop and remind myself, "hang on - do I need this?" Nah, usually I don't need it, so I continue on my way.
10 Simple Ways to Minimize
1. Donate Unused Furniture or "One-Day" items
Let's be honest, we ALL have them. That cute dress you bought in hopes of wearing it for a girl's night out, but later realized it's not your style and it's too showy... Donate it! You're not going to wear it now if you haven't already. I'm guilty of the unused furniture one - my husband and I have a bedroom with an old bed in it we've been wanting to get rid of but still, haven't, but it only takes up more space and stresses us out! Unused furniture takes up so much space and adds more come moving day! Donate that guy!
2. Donate Unworn Clothes
Go through your clothes and donate items you haven't worn in 3 months (exceptions: formal wear & seasonal wear)
3. Clean out Your Kitchen Utensils
Surprisingly, a lot of us hold onto random kitchen utensils. You know, the ones that get jammed when you try to pull out the drawer, which causes you to un-jam it for 5 minutes. By the time you get the drawer loosed, you pull out the utensil and wonder "why in the world do I have this?"
A quick and easy way to make your kitchen feel light and clean is to do a sweep through and donate any kitchen utensils you don't need!
4. Downsize Your Toiletries
Use up or Donate all the soaps, shampoos and lotions in your bathroom and STOP BUYING MORE until you use everything up! Girls - especially you. I know that new lotion seems better than the one you just bought, but it's not..I promise! Stay strong :D
5. Minimize Your Mug Collection
You only need as many mugs as the maximum amount of people who will be drinking from a mug at one time. If you live by yourself but frequently host tea parties, it makes sense to have a bunch of tea cups. If you live with 4 people, but only one of you drinks coffee or tea, you don't need 10 different mugs. You know you drink from your favourite mug anyway, so just pick your favourites and give the rest away!
TIP: Mugs with candy inside is a really great birthday gift for office acquaintances!
TIP 2: Some cafe's accept mug donations and will even give you a free coffee in exchange! (If you're in Austin, Snow Monster does this!)
6. Donate Unopened Books
Everything is available on the internet, and mostly for free. I understand keeping a few good books around that you may frequently open or have significant value (IE: Bibles, Personal Journals, Family Relics, etc). But the rest is heavy and takes up lots of space. Try donating books to shelters, sidewalk libraries, schools, or goodwill!
7. Update Your Undies
For most of us, underwear is the first thing you put on in the day... So when the start of your morning consists of opening up a messy drawer with torn and unmatching socks, and old nasty underwear, that's kind of a gross way to start the day. It might sound odd, but when I threw out all my old underwear and socks, my mornings became a little more chill. Like I just pick up my basket, pick out ANY pair of undies without thinking about it (because I only kept my favourites), and then grab a pair of socks (bc again, I only kept my favourites). From there, getting dressed seems like a breeze. - and you'll feel a lot better wearing your favourite undies every day!
8. Use Up All Cleaning Supplies
This is a great opportunity to get some spring cleaning done! Use up all your miscellaneous cleaning sprays and scrubs, and when you're done with them all, recycle the bottles. Now, you can make an easy All Purpose Cleaner with just a few ingredients! It clears out the sketchy area under your kitchen sink, and by using a DIY cleaner, you save your home from a lot of chemical toxins.
9. Organize Your Mail as Soon as You Check it
On the way back from the mailbox, I'm sorting through what's trash and what I need to open. When I walk inside, I immediately walk to the recycling bin and drop everything I don't need to look at. Next, I open the important letters, read them, and then recycle them. If it's a bill I need to pay or something that requires action, I will set it on my computer keyboard, which will remind me when I get on my computer to take action and recycle it afterwards.
Whatever you do, DO NOT SET THE MAIL DOWN ON YOUR TABLE/COUNTERTOP. This is a trap from the devil. LOL Seriously though, papers start to accumulate and make your home appear and feel out of order. If you set it down, the reality is that it's going to stay there until you get a late notice (and it's going to make your house look chaotic in the meantime.)
10. Make a Re-Gifting Box
I have a small box in my closet specifically for items that I plan to re-gift. When I receive a gift that I really have no use for, I will place it in this box in my closet until I find an opportunity to give it to someone. Often, one of my friends will bring up in conversation how they've been needing said item, so it's great that I have one ready and waiting to give away to a friend. Every 6 months to a year or so, I'll donate all the remaining items to goodwill.