Creating Clean My Space videos really makes Chad and I think about everything that we do and everything that we let come into our house. We’ve been thinking a lot about clutter over the past couple of years, especially because we seem to be getting more and more “stuff” sent to us because of the business we’re in. In turn, we’ve developed some informal rules about how to manage clutter and live a more minimal lifestyle. Here are our best minimalist living tips.
Prune on the Regular
Pruning your items on a regular basis shouldn’t just be something that you do once a year around spring cleaning. It’s something that needs to become part of your daily routine. Over the past couple of years, Chad and I have really tried champion this concept in our home. We actually have a little weigh station in our basement where we take items that we don’t love, or we don’t need anymore, and we just put it in that bin. Every couple of months we’ll take the contents of the bin and drop them off at a donation center.
Learn to Say No!
Learning to say no can be hard! But, it is one of the best skills you can develop when it comes to keeping clutter under control. I’ve found that saying no to free samples, souvenirs and hand-me-downs can help me reduce the amount of clutter in the home. I was recently in a store and they were giving away gift bags and I just turned it down. The same thing happened to me when I was recently in Palm Springs, we did this really cool tram ride up to the top of a mountain and they were handing out these little keychains. I said thanks, but no thanks, I’m just not going to use it!
Keep Surfaces Clear
Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a spa, they don’t have a bunch of crap everywhere? That’s because a spa is designed to be a calming, relaxing environment. Your brain feels most calm and most relaxed when there’s no visual clutter. Keeping your surfaces clear is a great way to remind yourself that you live in a clean, clear, uncluttered space. What I like to do when I’m looking at an item on a surface is ask myself: is it really beautiful? Do I want it there so I can look at it and enjoy it? Is it really functional and do I need it there? If that item doesn’t fall into one of those categories, the item doesn’t belong on that surface.
Think Before You Buy!
It’s so easy when you’re at a store and something is on sale, or your friend just talked up this great new gadget, or you just see something you think could be useful in your home—so you buy it! The truth is, being a critical shopper is really going to help you reduce the amount of clutter in your home and help you live a more minimalist lifestyle. We’re all guilty of going out and buying things that we don’t really need. You often end up not using them, or you meant to return them but never did. Rather than getting caught in this situation, just be critical when you’re out shopping. I’ve been doing this lately with clothing, stuff for the house, and even groceries! I can tell you—it really has been a great way to reduce all the “stuff” that comes into the house.
We all have some inherent sentimental attachment to certain items which makes it feel practically impossible to get rid of them. Think letters from family, tickets from concerts, children’s toys, books from school… that kind of stuff. These are things that you’ve kept with you for a long time, or it’s been handed down to you by someone special. These items are typically associated with a lot of guilt, so when we get rid of them it’s like we’re getting rid of that memory. We’ve actually done a whole video on how to get rid of sentimental clutter, and trust me, I’m not ruthless! I know what this feels like because I’ve got a bunch of stuff that falls into this category that I need to deal with.
Stick With It!
According to research it usually takes two months (or 66 days to be exact), to create and really solidify a new habit. This means that you’ll have to stick with these minimalist decluttering practices for 66 days before it starts to feel natural. It’s sort of like healthy eating, you have to make it a lifestyle choice, not just go on a “diet” that will inevitably result in gaining all that weight back. You’ve got to decide that you want to live in a space with less clutter and live that minimalist lifestyle, and once you do, determine what that looks like for you and work toward it slowly. Like I said, it’s taken Chad and I almost two years to really develop these habits!