Your 5 Most Common Questions Answered
Starting a minimalist lifestyle is an exciting journey. Initially it is an exploration of matching your possessions to your ideal lifestyle. Minimalism is not about throwing away everything you own, depriving yourself of material goods, and sitting in a cold empty house eating raw carrots. Most newbies have a lot of questions because minimalism can feel kind of intimidating. I am here to welcome you with open arms and answer the 5 most common questions I get asked about Minimalism.
Where do I even start?
Starting is the hardest part, be proud of yourself for taking the leap. Many people get inspired by minimalism by realizing they have too many belongings. Drawers feel stuffed and closets are overflowing. When organizing and folding and sorting no longer fix the stress, it is time to minimize the amount of your belongings.
I recommend starting somewhere very easy. If you can’t immediately think of an easy place to start on your own, then start in your bathroom. This is a small space where we clearly use or do not use things.
From there, clean by categories or rooms. I would start small and slowly get bigger. Pick a small room in your house or a small linen closet before you tackle your large garage or overflowing closet. I call this a snowball method and help yourself start to build momentum.
What should I do with all the stuff I do not want?
Great question! Some of it will inevitably be trash. The items with use can be donated, given away in buy nothing groups, or given to community events. Understanding the life cycle of an item is a helpful tool when learning to minimize and declutter. Some stuff you purchase can be kept for decades and used regularly, but some items simply do not have that lifespan and you should part with them. For example, if you kept your first well-loved flip phone from 2004, I promise it does not serve a purpose in the modern day world anymore.
How do I get my family on board with decluttering?
Step 1: Explain why you want to declutter and minimize. I would encourage you to have an honest discussion on what values and goals lead you to your decision to declutter and minimize. Focus on why it means so much to you. Be clear and demonstrate your enthusiasm.
Step 2: Lead by example. Put in the work and do whatever you need to get in the groove. Focus on your own possessions, if possible. Give yourself a lot of praise for all that you have done! Even if it feels like no one understands, be your own cheering section. Join my facebook group @asprining minimalism and post your progress if you need a cheering section of thousands of other minimalists!!!
Step 3: Let it go. 99% of people tell me their family jumps in to help… eventually. I would let them come at their own time on their own terms if you want their motivation to be genuine and intentional. It comes down to the fact our job in life is not to control other people.
Can I do it all in one weekend?
The answer for most people will be a hard no, you cannot do it all in one weekend. You spent years accumulating your possessions, and it will take time and intentionality to pair down your possessions. Realizing that part of the success is a journey.
Why do I feel so much guilt and stress decluttering?
The decluttering guilt hit me hard. Give yourself some compassion and know that feeling guilty is just an unpleasant disguise for caring. You care that you may have wasted money buying too much stuff. You care that humans create too much waste on our planet. You care about your family and want to create a beautiful home to foster lifelong memories. You pass the test, you are human and you care. Listen to why you care and try to find the deep-seeded reason. Use this reason as a guide to help with your future purchase.
Note: If your clutter is stressing you out, causing deep anxiety, maybe even feelings of panic, I would consider putting stuff into a moving box in a place that is out of sight. Ask a friend or family member for help with this. If you feel like you have an underlying anxiety or panic disorder, I would urge you to work with a licensed therapist. If you already see a therapist (yay!!! everyone really should) discuss coping strategies to help you work through anxiety while decluttering.
Wow!!! You are now equip to start your minimalism journey. I know you will find a lot of peace and clarity cleaning out your belongings.
Comment below if you have any additional starter questions and I can add them to this post!