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How to become a minimalist

Now that we have a basic idea of minimalism, let’s dive into eight easy steps to living a minimalist lifestyle!

1. Set your rules for minimalism

writing list with pen

Minimalism is different for everyone. Some people define their minimalist lifestyle by only owning a certain number of items (like a capsule wardrobe).

Other people achieve a minimalist lifestyle by minimizing the actual space that they take up in the world, and may seek out smaller living arrangements like a studio apartment or tiny house.

And that’s the beauty of minimalist living: you get to look at your life — your job, the number of people in your family, your lifestyle, your needs and desires — and determine what minimalism looks like on a personal level.

Maybe it’s simply decluttering your home. Maybe it’s moving to an apartment that’s 200 square feet smaller than your current living situation. Or maybe it’s completely downsizing your life.

Whatever your definition of minimalism, make sure that it’s something sustainable and achievable for your life.

“No need to cannonball into the minimalism pool. It’s ok to dip a toe in first.” — Asha from Adventures with Asha

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2. Start with a clean slate

cleaning the kitchen sink

As much as we all hate to admit it, there are some items in our homes that are just junk. The box that your Amazon order came in. Your favorite sweater that shrunk in the wash. The broken items that we say we will get around to fixing but obviously never do.

In reality, these items are wasted space, and minimalism is all about maximizing space. So the first step is to start with a literal clean slate and throw out all of the trash.

3. Use it or lose it

just the essentials shoes notebook sunglasses pencils

Remember how we learned that minimalism is all aboutadopting a less is more mentality and only living with the things that you need?

Put that to the test by implementing the Use It or Lose It Rule.

In the midst of your initial cleaning, you may come across some items that you have used before, but haven’t used recently. I call these “once upon a time items.” (As in, “Once upon a time not long ago, when people wore pajamas and lived life slow, I thought I could pull off patterned leggings.”)

When you find these items, use the Six Month Use It or Lose It Rule. If you haven’t used it at least twice in the last six months, then it’s time to toss it.

If it’s a seasonal item, like your winter coat or a swimsuit, then ask yourself if you used it regularly last season. If so, you can still temporarily remove it from your space with a pickup by MakeSpace, and have it delivered back next season. Eventually, try to work up to tossing things that you haven’t used in the last three months, and then items from the last month.

And remember, keep only what you need now, not what you think you’ll need in the future.

4. Organize items by category

folded towels stacked in cabinet

The next step in your minimalist journey is to organize and declutter your home.

Some people like to organize everything by location. In this scenario, everything in the living area gets organized, and then everything in the kitchen, and then everything in the bedroom, etc.

But think about all the places in your house where you might keep a writing utensil. At quick inspection, I found five in my living room, one in my kitchen, three in my bedroom, and there was even one in a drawer in my bathroom. If I organized each location individually, I would still end up with 10+ writing utensils.

That’s where the KonMari method comes in. It’s one of the hottest cleaning, decluttering, and organizing methods out there right now, and one of the golden rules is to organize items by category, not by location.

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