By: Pearl Maalouf BS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
Getting ready for a baby (my life right now) or any other big change can cause you to think of all the unnecessary stuff you have in your house. My husband loves routinely cleaning out “junk” in our house and I have to say, after 8 years with him it’s rubbed off on me too.
The thought of going through your entire house/apartment/garage or even just your closet can be a bit intimidating. If you can get over that initial hesitation, once you’re done de-junking you will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders!
Joshua Becker, creator of BecomingMinimalist.com and author of The More of Less, has five easy steps to practicing intentional minimalism, which he refers to as the “intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts you from living out your purpose in life.”
“By practicing minimalism, I found a life with less stress, less anxiety, and more contentment. Once the burden of physical possessions had been removed, I discovered more time and moneyfor the things that matter most,” Becker says. “Ultimately, this is what minimalism does for us: It provides opportunity to pursue our greatest passions — however we choose to define them.”
Try out these 5 simple steps and kick your junk to the curb, clean out every nook and cranny, and get rid of all the things you don’t really need.
1. Declare Your Why
Becker says it’s really important to define why you’re de-cluttering. If you don’t have a good reason to do it you’re probably not going to follow through.
2. Start Small
People trying to simplify their lives often make one big mistake: going too big too soon. Becker says it’s much easier to start small.
“Maybe even begin with your car — so often a home for loose change, ketchup packets, receipts, and old pens. A clutter-free vehicle will not only feel cleaner, but much calmer,” he says.
3. Go Through Your Book Collection
This one can be tough especially if you attach sentimental reasons to certain books. But there’s no use in having rooms or shelves of dusty, unread books.
“Tackle the stacks of books in your workspace by removing outdated reference books. You can find anything you need to know on the Internet, and any book ‘you should have read,'” Becker says.
4. Know You Can Be Unsure
Some things are really hard to get rid of — so if you aren’t sure if you’re ready to say “goodbye” to some things yet, have a place where you can put aside these items for a short time period. “When you come back to it, you will likely have a renewed sense of what you can and cannot part with.”
5. Make It a Family Project
The process of cleaning out junk is always easier when you get the whole family involved.
“Get the family in on the effort — establish boundaries for your kids about what’s OK to buy or keep and what’s not,” he says.
A great rule we have in our house: if it hasn’t been used in 1-2 years then we probably don’t need it! This can apply to clothes, electronics, books, kitchen appliances…just about anything!