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There are a lot of different tips and advice out on how to be a minimalist. The biggest obstacle to more people being a minimalist is that they have what I call broke mentality. They hold on to things because one day they may need this object. There is a massive issue with this type of thinking. This post shares the top 5 questions to ask when decluttering your home.
Everytime you decide to keep this one object that you may need many years from now you are paying for that object again and again and again. You put that object in a storage unit, or you need an apartment with lots of storage space, or you need a house with a garage to store it in. You are paying for more space to hold on to an object that you might need.
If you were to get rid of everything you might one day need and get rid of anything you haven’t touched in the past 6 months how much space would you need?
Take your kitchen for example, everyone wants a big kitchen because they have serving bowls and plates to store. Possibly china from their grandmothers, mothers, or first marriage. Maybe they have more than 2 different types of plate settings.
What about the silverware settings? Are you serving huge dinner parties that require two types of forks and two types of spoons? Is it necessary to have that much silverware?
These all may seem like small things but if you got rid of some if not all of these extra things you hold on to for the just in case would you still need a big kitchen?
Today we are going to analyze the things you own so you can finally downsize properly.
Check out my post How To Quick Clean Your Home In 10 Minutes.
5 Questions to Ask When Decluttering Your Home
There are five questions you need to ask yourself for every object. There are no right or wrong answers because the ultimate decision is up to you. I have my personal feelings on these things however you have to decide if your answers to these questions mean you keep an object or not.
Is this object useful or can I use something else in its place?
How many people have the deviled egg plate? While it’s a convenient and useful way to display deviled eggs wouldn’t a serving dish, a piece of tupperware, or a plate handle the job too?
I don’t know about you but the deviled egg plate is a plate that takes up valuable space, is awkward, and is not easy to stack with anything else.
This plate is just one example of many thing you possibly own that you can’t use anything else with but something else could be multi-purposed for. Take note of anything you own that is only used for one reason that something else you own could take its place.
Do I have more than one of these?
Cookie sheets. You can usually only fit one at a time in your oven. At most two cookie sheets would probably be good enough, you can bake with one while you set up the other with more cookies.
Another example of more than one is beach towels. People love beach towels except how often do you go swimming in the summer, is it enough to warrant 10 beach towels for 3 people? Now if you have 10 beach towels and a pool in your backyard where people often visit the beach towels can be justified.
Really think about the need for multiples in your home. You may find that you have multiples that aren’t necessary. You may also decide you want to keep certain multiples because they really are useful to have or make life easier.
Does this make me happy?
Does the object in question make you happy? Was it a souvenir from an awesome vacation that you like to remember? Was this object given to you by someone who hurt you or treated you badly?
If an object has bad memories tied to it you might want to consider donating it. Here’s how I look at it, if the object is tied to bad memories for you give it away so that maybe someone else can make good memories with it.
An object that makes you happy though doesn’t necessarily mean you should hang on to it. You still must decide if the object is work hanging on to just because it provides a happy memory. Photos of this memory may provide more happiness than the object in question.
Do I store this object and rarely look at it?
I had a crystal bowl set stored for 4 years. I never displayed it or used it and quite frankly it wasn’t even my style. I’m a plain white dishes, clean, not flashy type of kitchen decorator. Cut crystal is not something I enjoy.
This crystal bowl set was my grandmother’s. It wasn’t worth anything but I remember using this set at her house so I kept it for the memories. I kept it safely wrapped, in a box, in my closet.
What is displayed in my house are pictures of my grandma. Easters, Memorial Days, and Christmas gatherings. So when I unwrapped the cut crystal bowls I realized I had moved this box 4 times and never unpacked it.
If an object is only stored and never used is it worth holding on to it knowing that this box will get moved again, or put into a storage unit, or require a bigger place so it can be stored?
Would I buy this (again)?
How many times has someone gifted you a knick knack and you kept it out of obligation? Would you purchase any of those knick knacks if you had the money to do so?
If an object were to break would you purchase it again? What if someone never gave it to you would you purchase it? If you were in the store right now and had the money would you spend your hard earned money on this?
I’ve got a harsh statement for you about these things. Everytime you move them, pay rent on a bigger apartment to store or display them, or buy more dusting sheets you are spending money on this object and essentially buying it over and over again.
If you were to get rid of knick knacks that have only a purpose of collecting dust, how much time would you save cleaning? How much money would you save moving? How much furniture could you get rid of because it’s only purpose is to display items? Finally, how much money could you save getting a smaller place to live because you have less furniture because you don’t need to to display these knick knacks?
Minimalist Living Tips
You do not have to go to the extreme in order to live like a minimalist in your home. You will see people who have 5 outfits, a chair to sit on, one book, and barely anything in their kitchen. You do not have to go that far to be a minimalist.
Part of living like a minimalist is more than just getting rid of extras and things that you don’t use, it’s also learning to not buy things you don’t need.
Pay attention to what you are bringing into your home as well, or if you must learn to trade things out. If you buy a few new outfits donate a couple of outfits and use the new to replace the old.
If you want to stop the urge to spend try doing a no spend month. This is where you pay your bills and purchase groceries but you do not spend any additional money on anything else.
Your wallet thanks you when you start living a more minimalist life. You may find yourself splurging on experiences instead of things and your over all well being will be grateful for that as well.
Ultimately every item you choose to get rid of is your choice. You need to decide if you are attached to the item because you’ve had it for 40 years or if this item is somehow useful to you. You don’t love items you enjoy them. If you love items you need to take a cold hard look at if it’s the item you love or the person that gave them to you.
Getting rid of the item does not mean you are removing the love. Getting rid of the item also doesn’t mean you no longer love someone. Maybe by getting rid of the item you can save more money and then take that person on a trip and create an experience that you two will remember for the rest of your lives.
I’d enjoy hearing your experiences on minimalism and how you approach it, leave a comment below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and be sure to pin it to your declutter and minimalism boards.
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