How to Minimize Your Belongings

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

Minimizing can be a daunting task. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile. Once you have finished, you will be one step closer to living your dream life.

Here are some expert tips to make the process easy and painless.  

Start by envisioning what you want your life, space, and style to look like. Consider what makes you happy, whether it be certain activities or colors. If it helps, create a Pinterest or vision board.

Now that you have an idea of what you do and don’t like, it’s time to start minimizing. Start early in the morning on a day that you don’t have any commitments. This will keep you from feeling pressured to finish quickly. Play relaxing music quietly in the background. Remember to keep hydrated and to eat if you become hungry. It’s important to take breaks when you need to, otherwise, you may become irritated and begin to resent the process. If you feel yourself getting tired or slowing down, play pump-up music and move around.

Tackle one category at a time –– for example, dishes, clothes or electronics. Gather all of the items in the chosen category and sort them into smaller categories if applicable. For instance, if you are going through your clothing, make separate piles of your shirts, sweaters, pants, shorts, etc. Once you have divided your possessions, identify one article you really like from each category. Next, compare the remaining items to your favorite piece. Don’t keep something if it’s not perfect. Remember, you can replace items with something that you will really love. If you don’t like how it looks, it needs to have a really good purpose and cannot be exchanged for something more aesthetically pleasing. Also, don’t feel obligated to keep anything –– that includes gifts! Part of the satisfaction in gift giving is in the act of giving and receiving. If you don’t want to keep a gift, be thankful, then donate the item. Hopefully, this will allow someone else to enjoy the item more than you ever would.

It’s ok to make maybe piles. Let them sit for a few minutes while sorting other things and you will have a clearer understanding if they are a yes or a no. However, if something is in the maybe pile, I’ve found that nine out of ten times it's a no. If you decide you don’t like something, put it into a bag to be donated. If it’s too worn, cut up the fabric for rags or find out if your city recycles cloth– if they don't, trash it. Take out the bags to be donated/recycled/trashed as soon as possible.

When you’re done with one category, move to the next. It’s best to finish sorting through everything you own in one day, but if own too much you may need to go through your things room by room. After you complete minimizing all of your belongings it is important to organize them. Keep surfaces clean and clear by having designated spaces for objects and leave things you use every day in the place where they’re most handy.

Congratulations! You have sorted through, minimized, and organized all of your belongings!