5 Places You Can Minimalise Today

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What is minimalisation you say?  Well, let's start with what minimalising is not.

It does not mean an organised home.  Organisation is about keeping your stuff orderly and rearranging your junk again.  And again.  And again.

It is also not about owning nothing or living in a spartan home with zero personality.

It is not even really about decluttering, which is concerned with the how, but not the why.

Minimalising is about de-owning; removing the excess "stuff" so that you can really appreciate the things that you value in life; freeing up your dollars, your space and your time.   It is about living more deliberately with less - less stuff, less clutter, less stress, less distractions.  People, I'm talking less cleaning; more time for our kids and more time for us!

Minimalising is not about restriction it is about freedom.  We have an insatiable desire to have our needs fulfilled from the outside, but we don't want the thing - we want the feeling that thing brings us; security, whole, content, excited, better than the next person, achieved.  Consumerism is a hedonic treadmill.  We want more, something bigger, something better and yet that gaping void within us is never fulfilled.

Minimalism teaches us to view our possessions with intention – why am I buying/keeping/feeling about this thing?

Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have at it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately.

The Minimalists

LETS START WITH HOW

You need 4 bags or boxes.

  1. Donate Box: Reuse or up-cycle anything in good condition by donating it to charity or passing it on to friends and family.
  2. Throw Away/Recycle Box: If it is not in good, useable condition then dispose of it appropriately.
  3. Sell Box: Sell items at markets or online.  I'm very against selling things online unless they are worth more than $100-$200.  The time taken to list, answer queries and arrange pickup is not worth anything less than this.
  4. Holding Box (optional): this is where you keep items you’re unsure about. Put the box in storage for six months and decide (based on whether you missed or needed the items) if you keep or donate the contents.

I always recommend doing one area at a time (ie. one drawer or one shelf) and doing it completely before moving to another area.  Not only do you feel a sense of achievement but it breaks down an overwhelming job into achievable chunks.

You’re not looking for perfect. You’re looking for done.

5 places you can declutter today!

1. The Kitchen Utensil Drawer

If you love cooking (or even if you hate it) you'll understand how annoying it is when you can't find the tools you need quickly.  I don't know how many times I've tried to grab out a pair of tongs only to have them get caught up in the other hundred utensils..cue swearing and yanking them out with an angry force.

Tips and tricks;

  • Pull everything out of the draw.
  • Throw away anything that is broken.
  • Donate - anything that is gimmicky (like that pizza cutter you might use for that pizza stone you've never used)
    • Donate anything that has only been used once or twice.
    • Any duplicates items (I mean really is it necessary to have 3 whisks and 4 wooden spoons in your utensil drawer?)
    • Holding - Anything you're not sure about (the 'maybe I might use this one day' items)
    • Keep - Only keep things that you use frequently and only one of these.
    • Clean the draw out and put everything else back.

2. Drop / Junk Zone

For me, this is a bowl by the front door and is a dumping ground for miscellaneous keys, sunglasses, paper clips, batteries, business cards, and basically anything I'm not sure about and am confident I'll discover it's purpose one day (such as odd screws or random black plastic things).

Tips and tricks;

  • As with your kitchen drawer - pull everything out of the drawer/bowl. Throw away anything that is broken or obviously rubbish. This area is mainly about rubbish so you will throw most stuff away.
  • Batteries and stationary - put in the office or throw away.
  • Random keys - try and figure out what lock they belong to and put a key ring on them with its name.
  • Business cards - store the contact details on your phone.
  • Keep - Nothing! Junk drawers and drop zones are a breeding ground for clutter.  I recommend you totally remove the bowl or area and resist the temptation to keep crap.

3. Wallet

Are you met with resistance from the piles of cards and receipts each time you close your wallet?

Tips and tricks;

  • Excess credit/debit cards - If like me, you have different cards for different things then there is no need to keep them all in your wallet.  I only keep my cards for daily expenses and personal items in my wallet.  My travel, business and house accounts stay at home.
  • Loyalty cards - store your loyalty cards on Stocard - an awesome app that records the shop and barcode all on your phone.
  • Receipts - file important receipts or bin them.  They are no good sitting in your wallet.
  • As you put everything back into your wallet make sure you think about whether it has a place there and that where you are putting it makes sense to you.

4. Toiletries

Start with one section of your bathroom - maybe the shower/bath or one shelf. Regardless of the room I always recommend doing one small area of the room at any given time.  Don't try to tackle the whole bathroom in one hit.

Tips and tricks;

  • Throw away any loofahs, gloves, brushes that you have had in there for more than 3 months.
  • If you don't use it, lose it. Don't keep that face scrub you may use one day. Or those random bars of soap your Nana gave you. And is it really necessary to have 24 shades of lipstick?
  • Get rid of duplicates. Why do you have 3 bottles of half used shampoo and a backup tube of toothpaste in your drawer?
  • Cosmetics have a shelf life and are a breeding ground for bacteria - if you can't remember when you bought it then get rid of it.

5. Kids Toys

This is a big area to attack compared to the others and I could write about it all on its own (and I probably will eventually) but I had to include it here because OMG it was the best thing I ever did.  I attacked this area first and it saved me so much time cleaning and reshuffling, not to mention the stress and energy I use to spend just looking at all the toys and the mess and the clutter.

With my son's birthday being so close to Christmas the quick influx of toys was overwhelming for both of us.  He would head over to his play area pull everything (and I mean everything) off the shelves and walk away.  It was frustrating having to constantly pick up his toys and when he wouldn't play with anything for any length of time.

Observe and see what your kids play with the most and get rid of everything else, try not to decide what you want them to play with and focus on what they actually like.  For my son (all kids will be different) it was his cars, books, some animals and a hammer and peg block set.  I boxed these up and also some occasional play stuff (e.g. paints, balls) in their own tubs (from Bunnings).  He would pick one box and we would open it and I found he would play with that one box for HOURS.  And a bonus for me was that I spent less time cleaning (as it was only a box at a time rather than his entire play room) and visually my room looked tidier as everything was neatly tucked away.

Most of his toys I either donated or sold at my local car boot market.

If you are interested in learning more I highly recommend watching the Minimalism Film free on Netflix.

Once you've had a chance to read, I'd love to know:

What is one area of your home or life you would like to minimalise today and why?  Has minimalising added value to your home and lifestyle?

Leave a comment below and let me know. Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply.  I want to create a space where people can come here each week for insight and inspiration, and your story may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.