Minimalism: How to Get Started

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Tackling an entire house is a lot. I think we’ve all been the person who got fed up with a cluttered area, pulled everything out of the closet, then halfway through got sick of cleaning and discouraged by how much worse everything looked and didn’t follow through. I’m going to show you how to take your house from can’t-have-anyone-over to minimized, decluttered, and free without that feeling.

Stop the overwhelm.

Don’t think about all the rooms and all the drawers full of random stuff that you haven’t even looked at in months. Don’t think about all the things you have to do or how far off from a minimalist you are. Focus on the benefits you want to reap, then choose one area, and complete that before thinking of any others.

If you’re short on time, start purging as you clean.

Most moms who haven’t implemented minimalism yet spend a lot of their time picking up. To help save time before you really dive into purging, purge as you clean. When you’re picking up the living room, ask yourself questions about each item.

  1. When was the last time this was used for its intention?
  2. Do I really need this item?
  3. Is it adding to my life in a positive way?

If the answer is no to these questions, throw the item away or put it in the donation bin.

While you’re purge-cleaning, don’t let stuff stay in your house if you’re not going to keep it. If something is going to be donated, keep it in a bin in the back of your car, not the house or garage. First of all, having the donation bin in the back of your car increases the likelihood that you’ll actually make it to Goodwill to drop it off. Second of all, keeping a bin of donation items anywhere near your house is upping the odds of you or someone else in your house walking over and saying, “hey! I do want that after all.” And then you’re one step backward.

Decide to make the time.

If you think you don’t have time to declutter your home, I love what my friend Rachel of Nourishing Minimalism says.

“Your beliefs create your reality. If you believe you don’t have enough time to declutter, clean and organize your home, than you’re right - it won’t happen.”

Self-discipline seems to be something not a lot of people are capable of living out these days, but in this case (and in the case of getting anything worth working for), you have to be disciplined and decide that you want this.

Do you want a freed up life?

Do you want more time to spend playing with your kids?

Do you want more money to get out of the house and do things?

Do you want to stop cleaning up all the time and start being a more intentional person?

Okay then. You have to do the work.

Come up with a plan of action.

Minimalism isn’t something to be taken lightly. It shouldn’t be entered into on a whim, but it also shouldn’t be over-thought or dragged out. If you know you want the benefits of a minimalist home, let’s do it. You’ll need a plan, or a series of work rhythms in order to get this done soon.

Pick a day and a time of that day that you will work on minimizing your home every week, or several times a week. Pick something that’s realistic, but disciplined, and works for your family schedule.

Do you need to move some things around to prioritize your home? Whatever you need to do, find a way to make this happen.

At the very least, choose one morning a week, and stick with it. Maybe every Saturday morning you treat yourself to a Venti Starbucks, put a podcast on with headphones, and tackle one area. Progress, not perfection. Just do something!

Focus on your why

Why do you want this? Write it down.

Is it to be a more present mom?

Is it to fill your kid's’ childhood with happy memories that don’t involve you cleaning and stressing all the time?

Put it down on paper or note cards, then stick it somewhere you’ll be reminded often. Maybe you stick a note card on your bathroom mirror, one on the fridge, one above the kitchen sink. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the work that goes into this change. Focus on the good that’s coming if you stick with it. This is a very big deal, and it’s incredibly beneficial for the mom who goes through with it, and even more beneficial for her family.

Allie Casazza

Allie Casazza , Murrieta, CA