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The Benefits of Minimalism

The Benefits of Minimalism

And five steps that will get you there


Internet commerce and disposable goods with short shelf lives fill our homes with ever-expanding messes and piles of junk. Our closets are crowded and heavy with clothes we never touch. Our garages are full of piles of cardboard from Amazon orders. Though we spend more and more of our lives absorbed in smartphones and iPad screens, we somehow amass incredible amounts of physical stuff.

The clutter is stressing out folks in homes across the nation. When our homes get messy and crowded, we fall behind on the routine things we need to do to have happy, healthy living spaces. Next thing you know, every room has its own small mess that you were sure you were going to get to last weekend.

We do have more stuff. And the endless shipments shout out the fact that the cardboard is going to continue piling up. One organizational method continues to beat the rest. It’s difficult to install but many find the destressing and decluttering benefits of minimalism to be worthy rewards for their sacrifices.


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Why does a minimalist lifestyle work?


For starters, you will gather and keep less stuff. Less junk coming into the home in the form of temporary or vanity goods means less junk filling each room. A keystone of the minimalist lifestyle is working with what you have in creative, innovative ways. You don’t need to buy a new weight lifting bench, you have an old picnic bench and a foam mattress. Or you don’t need to buy cups and glasses, because you reuse candle tumblers and spaghetti sauce jars.

Decision making is kept to a minimum (pun intended). If you’re spending even a moment wondering whether or not you truly need to keep an item, the tenets of minimalism quickly answer the question for you: Get rid of it. And don’t toss it away. Recycle it, repurpose it into something you need, give it to a friend, give it to a stranger.

The rewards of minimalism are worth striving for. When we institute change, we have to always remember to reward the desired behavior. The rewards of minimalism aren’t external. They are inherent in the activity. You will feel less stress, you will know where everything is, and you will have an easy to follow system for making decisions that frees up valuable headspace.


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How do I get started?


Step 1: Get the Household Involved

The whole house has to be in on it. If you think you’ll create your own little minimalist oasis amid a home of chaotic messes, you are kidding yourself. You will quickly grow to resent your roomates or family, and you cannot blame them. They need to know Why you are making this change, and they need to know what is expected of them. Attack the new mission as a group, accepting everyone’s input as you make new changes.


Step 2: Clean

If it cannot be sold or given to a friend, and if it is not essential to you health or happiness, get rid of it. We use Go Trashy, the junk hauling app. If you can get rid of unneeded junk by yourself, great. If not, hire pros or enlist friends to help you out. You cannot move on to step three until you’ve cleaned out every bit of the unnecessary clutter.


Step 3: Organize

Now that you are down to only the things that have utility or that contribute to your happiness or health, it’s time to put everything in the best place possible. There is one best place for each and every item. Talk with your roomates and family about where shared items should be kept, and make sure that everyone knows it is not put away until it’s placed in the exact spot where it was found.


Step 4: Take Notes

You want to jot down two types of things. First, keep a sheet of paper that has “wishes” on it. It might read, “I wish we had a small table to set our keys and wallets on.” Or “I wish the TV was visible from the kitchen.” Share these with the household and work on innovative solutions together. All the while, keep a second sheet of paper and write down “successes.” This might read like, “I love the way I can make dinner much quicker in the organized kitchen.” Seeing your wins in print will go a long way in re-enforcing the minimalist behaviors you need to maintain.


Step 5: Repeat

Each weekend, spend an hour repeating all five steps. Once every year, spend a whole day going through the process. You will have no trouble finding more stuff to get rid of. Life is always bringing junk to our doorsteps. Remember to always start by working with the household to be sure everyone is involved in the process.


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