Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tips On Minimizing


Minimizing has been one of the greatest things in my life since Eliza has been born and has helped me in so many ways. I don't know about you guys but whenever I start to get stressed out/overwhelmed about cleaning, I automatically kick into decluttering mode. I've mentioned it a few times on the blog and got some comments on how I do it so I thought I'd share some thoughts and tips on minimizing/simplifying. 

For me, minimizing helps me gain control of my life and surroundings. Especially with a little one, owning a business, and going to school, I don't have tons of time to dedicate to keeping a clean house. But I am a bit of a neat freak and like my house to be neat!! Cutting down on our possessions, cuts down on the amount of time I have to spend taking care of them, and gives me more time (and freedom) to do more important things (like playing with Eliza!). I'm nowhere near being an extreme minimalist nor am I perfect at following all of my own guidelines. But I do think I have some wisdom to be shared and hope that it will help someone out there! Here are a few links I've collected related to minimalism and simplifying: 


A few tips on decluttering and minimizing: 
>Be realistic about your needs and things you use/don't use 
>Be careful of thinking "I might need that some day". If you could easily buy it at a store, toss it. Why have it collecting dust on your shelves when it can be at a store, out of your hair?
>If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it. 
>If you're having trouble with an item you have an attachment to, take a picture of it. You can relive whatever memory or sentiment you have with that item through a picture and get rid of the thing that is taking up space. This has helped me with many things. Even though I may never look at that picture again, at least I have the comfort of it being there if I do want to see it again some day. 
>When in need, get help. I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) that literally had a spare bedroom that you could not even walk into. One day I recruited the help of another friend and we went over there with trash bags and cleared that room out! With the help of others, it's easier to see perspective on what you REALLY need. And they can get tough with you when you are being a little ridiculous. I think Brandon and I help each other a lot with this, it just lets you see how unimportant something can be. 
>If you start to feel overwhelmed, limit yourself to one room. Or even just a corner. After decluttering you'll feel more motivated to take on the rest of your space!!
Things you can easily get rid of: 
old notes/cards 
cd's/movies you don't listen to or watch 
shoes you never wear 
pictures/frames (save pictures in a photo album)
do you really use all those lamps? 
books you don't read/don't plan on reading again 
decorative pillows 
toys that never get touched
random wires/electronics hanging around 
makeup you never use 
beauty products/lotions/other
clothes you don't wear 
candles you never light 
outdated hats 
pens/markers/pencils (we always have way too many of these)
home decor
appliances/tools you don't use 
things sitting on a back shelf somewhere, collecting dust for that one day that you "might" need it

Some ways to get rid of things: 
>Probably the easiest of all is goodwill! Or another similar place you can donate your stuff to. Simply drop off your belongings or better yet, get someone to pick it up!! We have two organizations that come about once a month and I always manage to have at least a bag of stuff waiting for them. 
>Have a garage sale
>List your expensive items on Craigslist
>Host a swap party! You can do clothes, books, or small household items
>Sign up for an online swap website like Swapstyle. I used to swap clothes like that after Eliza was born. 
>You can recycle things like electronics, cd cases & cd's, paper, cardboard boxes 
>See this article for What to do with old cards and letters
>Donate books/movies to the library. Then they will be there if you want them again (right?). 
>And last, just give things away to friends/family members in need! 

Some ways to keep your house clutter free- 
>Before buying books, check your library. 
>Whenever you acquire something new, get rid of something old. The old "one in, one out" philosophy. 
>Whenever you get to the point where you need to "organize", take a step back and really think about what you need. 
>Change your consumer habits. This is a hard one. It's been easy for me lately because I'm broke but if you need to, just don't go shopping. It's so much easier to NOT buy things when you're not out being seduced by all the "pretty things" that stores want you to buy. 
>And most importantly:


Any other minimalists out there? Got any tips for me? 

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