If there is one thing we all learned from 2020, it is that life is too short to get caught up in “things”. Most of us spent the better half of the year indoors being isolated, not just from the world, but from friends and family. So as we enter into 2021, I am committing to living a minimalist life where I care more about experiences than the things I possess. Whether you are trying to declutter to list your house, or just agree with me that it is time for a change, these are the best tips I have gotten to put myself in the right frame of mind and get rid of those things that do nothing but weigh me down.
Look at the Space you Have and Determine Your Priorities
The best place to start when moving onto a minimalist life is to take stock of what you have, and then think about what you really need. If your closets are beyond full, and you have about ten of everything, but really probably don’t even need one, start to prioritize. It becomes a whole lot easier to get into a mindset of clearing out what you realize what you have and decipher if you have a need for it. Once you see that you can do without most of what you have laying around the house, it will become easier to let go.
Start in Steps
If you are like me, you have little nooks and crannies around the home that are filled with nothing but junk that you aren’t sure what to do with. But tackling it all at once can be overwhelming. Make a plan to go from one area to the next, purging and then moving along. You will probably find as you go from project to project that reducing will become more of a habit than something that causes you anxiety.
Box up “Valuables” you Can’t Part With
There are some things that we can’t part with, and that is totally fine. If an item means something to you, and you don’t want to get rid of it, put it away for safekeeping. It is okay to hold onto things that hold memories or that you want to pass along to the next generation. But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with it in your “space”. If you don’t have enough room in the basement to put it away, then consider putting it into storage. The idea of a minimalist life is not to let go of everything that you are attached to, it is just to live in the moment and to not be surrounded by “things”.
Try Not to Bring Anything More In
The key to minimalist living lies in not just getting rid of those things that we don’t need or use, it is in changing your mindset to not fill it back up. Once you get rid of those things that just weigh you down, resist the urge to replace them. Sometimes that is easier said than done. I know that when I go to Target, I have a hard time with impulse buys. But this year I am going to make a conscious choice to remind myself that I don’t need any more clutter in my life.
Spend Money on “Experiences” Not Things
I think one way to remind yourself that you don’t need stuff is to look at what you want to buy and instead of doing it; put the money away in an “experience fund”. The one thing that I want to keep in mind is that when I leave this earth, I can’t take anything with me but the memories that I cherish. So, for 2021, I am going to throw my energy into trading my time at work for experiences with my friends and family, not things to sit idle on a shelf.
Look Around and be Grateful
One of the key components of minimalist living is not only focusing on experiences, but also being grateful for the many blessings that we have been given. Being content is a state of mind where you realize that you have all that you could possibly want in front of you. And also, not just to be satisfied, but fulfilled in living in the moment and with feeling all the love that surrounds you.
Keep it Up
Purging is not a once and done thing. Once you go through your first go-around, the decluttering will probably inspire you to want to clear out more. As the months go on, look around periodically at what you saved, and think again whether you need it or not. Once you get into a frame of mind that less is more, you will be shocked at how much you don’t really care about those things that you used to think were so important.
Dissociate Your Good Feelings From Accumulating Materials and Attach Them to Accumulating Memories
We have been so conditioned to think that stuff makes us happy, but in the end, all that stuff does is make us want more “stuff”. When you dissociate your happy feelings from accumulating more and attach it to reducing the dependence on letting society tell you what you need, you will find a fulfillment that is better than anything you could ever purchase. You will be richer than you ever dreamed.
As we roll into 2021, I am committing to living a more minimalist life, and to stop accumulating stuff, rather I want to accumulate fulfillment in memories and experiences. I hope that you will join me to find a more satisfying and rich life in the New Year ahead and beyond.