You have spent time carefully crafting your pros and cons list and have come to the conclusion that the minimalist lifestyle is the right fit for you. Great, but where do you start?
If you’re anything like me, big life changes have you both excited and confused. If I had to guess one of the major contributors to your decision to make the leap into minimalism, I would bet that your static, or excess and unnecessary stuff tops the list. It certainly did for me. While the process is going to be different for everyone, we can all gain some value from basic guides to make your transition a little less overwhelming.
The good news is, you’ve already taken the first step. You have your list of reasons why you are welcoming minimalism into your life. The next big step is talking to your family. I’m referring to your nucleus family, or the persons living inside your home. If you live with a partner, take some time to sit down and discuss this change with them. After all, it will be beneficial in creating a peaceful space if everyone in the household is cooperative and understanding. Keep in mind that minimalism looks different to everyone. We each have our own reasons and versions of the lifestyle. Find your middle ground. If it is helpful, go back to last week’s post and complete the “Why To” exercise together. It might give you a bigger picture of both your goals.
If you have children, make sure they understand that while things might change in your household, they are still in a safe space. I will discuss this in greater detail next week, but culling or purging the excess from your home is a large step that a lot of people may feel that they need. If you have children in your home, make sure they know you are not moving, and explain to them in the way that best suits their needs that you are looking for and keeping only your favorite things. Only the things that make you happy. You can tell them that you are giving the things that aren’t your favorite to someone else so they can find happiness in them. Coincidentally, happiness is a concept that is far easier to grasp for those that are younger.
Before we get you into the downsizing portion of the process, I think it’s important to complete one more step. That step is to do some research and decide what your idea of minimalism is going to look like. Remember that there is no uniform or specialty color scheme you need to follow. It is all about creating a space clear from static that brings you calmness, joy, and removes distraction.
My distraction was my kitchen. Every single appliance I owned and seldom used was taking up counter space. Dust would gather in, on, and around them. I’d have no free space for cooking, and when it came time to clean up, I would allow more stuff to pile up on the counters. Why? Because there was space left and there was already so much sitting out. What’s one more thing? This created an endless cycle of dirty items piling up and causing unnecessary stress. Now, we only have a few select items out. They are things that we use every day like our French press and kettle for coffee, and my coveted gold toned KitchenAid mixer. Everything has its place, and that place is neatly stacked away in the cupboards.
Of course, your inspiration doesn’t only need to be a solution to a problem. It can also be exciting and artful. Pinterest is of course, a fantastic resource for coming up with decorating ideas. Instagram and Houzz are also fantastic resources for things like color scheme, organization, and the vibe you want your space to have. However, you must proceed with caution when seeking inspiration. You are looking for an idea of what you want your space to look and feel like. You are not creating an IKEA or Pottery Barn shopping list. While you might end up purchasing a few key pieces to fill in gaps, like replacing a warm out table that cannot be repaired, you are not buying your new lifestyle.
You can’t buy minimalism.
Next week, I’ll touch on beginning the process of downsizing. If I were to assign homework, I’d say to find your inspiration in relation to what your version of minimalism looks like. I would also like you to think about some of your favorite “things”. Ask yourself what makes them your favorite things and how you would feel without them. With any luck, this will set you up for success when hitting the next stage in your journey into your new, more fulfilling lifestyle.