Have you ever been interested in minimalism but don’t know where to start? There was a point where I was very interested in it, but had a hard time nailing down any ideas or was too overwhelmed to even begin.
Get a pen and paper, or a word file, or any other way you feel like documenting your thoughts. Document your goals. What do you hope to accomplish by being minimal? What are your major life stressors? What do you think minimalism will look like for you? What is your end result? Will it be an easier to clean house? A less stressful environment? More time with family? I like to keep inspiration on my Pinterest account as well, but it’s not as easy to track.
2A. Assess Your Space
My go-to when I first started was “space”, or “stuff”. I felt like this was the easiest place for me to start because it’s something you can see. It’s tangible and was easier for me to manage because I could see visible progress. I made note of where I felt overwhelmed with it and why. Outgrown toys, clothes that aren’t worn, kitchen gadgets that haven’t been touched in years, all on my list. How should each space in your home function? What do you actually use each room for?
In the beginning it was toys and clothes for us, then with the addition of Søren everything has been chaotic and finding a good way for this space to function for our family has become more of a priority. I regularly clean out the boys rooms, but still fall behind in plenty of areas in the house (especially the garage). I’d really like to have everything more streamlined and functional.
2B. Assess Your Time
Do you always seem to be “busy” but never feel accomplished? Do you spend more time doing something you love less than something else? Are you dying to spend more time with your family? Write out a list of things you have to do, and a list of fillers. Make a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule about what your time should look like. Do you see any gaps? Are there things you can do differently? Does this mean less overtime at work? Less group activities for the kids but you’ll get to spend more time with them?
I think it goes without saying that I work a lot. I try to only work at night while the kids are asleep, but in the busy season often my work spills over into daytime. I’ve taken steps to limit the amount of work I do in certain areas so I can focus more on what the more fulfilling parts of work are for me, and ultimately so I can spend more time with my family. If you’ve noticed more sponsored posts on the blog, this is why. Often I can work on these without sacrificing time with my family, so I want to say a big thank you to you for helping to support these sponsors, and ultimately helping me to spend more time with those I love.
3. Make a Plan
Please keep in mind that minimalism is different for everyone. Just because one person might have less stuff or needs than another doesn’t mean that they are better at it. What does your minimalism look like? Is it to manage your house? Your schedule? Both? You will want to make a plan, for space I recommend a room-by-room plan, and for time I recommend a schedule. List out attainable goals, or goals that can be broken down and celebrated when you meet them. This not only makes it more simple, but also encouraging when you feel as though you’ve made progress.
Our current space plan right now is still playing musical rooms. I reassessed our needs as Søren grew into toddlerhood and the age gap between the boys became more of an issue. We’re still in progress, I’ll have a big update for you when it’s done, or you can follow along on my instagram. My time plan is really to just get work under control and back to reasonable hours, I think after the holidays pass it will be a more attainable goal.
Follow through. This is always the hardest part for me. Personally, it’s easier if I make small task lists with tasks I know I can finish within a couple of hours. I use my Gmail tasks for this and it works out well. I like to break it out by room or item too, for example “Office / File paperwork” or “Closet / Remove unworn shoes”. It helps me to visualize my progress, which is key for me to stay motivated. You can always re-visit your plan and edit as needed.
This is another area that I admit I have a lot of trouble in. It can sometimes be harder than simply getting started but will make life easier if you do pay attention. It helps to set a standard for items you bring in or activities you spend time on. As an example, I don’t buy toys for the boys that I know they will lose interest quickly, or that might break or get lost easily. I’ve curbed a lot of my shopping habits by simply asking myself if it’s something I need (functionally). Do I really need that chopper or will a knife do the same job? Be intentional about what you bring into your home, and what you devote your time to.
I hope that these tips will help you get started and on your way to a more simple life. This is the fourth and final part in my minimalism series. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments, or you can always contact me.
Closet Detox Sheet by Into Mind
5 Simple Steps to De-Clutter Your Closet by Mnmlist
How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe by Un-Fancy
Life / Inspired Pinterest Board by Jessica Doll
21 Benefits of Owning Less by becoming minimalist
TEDx Talk by the minimalists
Do you have any favorite reads or articles? Feel free to share them below!
“For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay