Have you ever had that ‘shuddering’ feeling when you look inside your wardrobe or around your home? You have a sudden insanely strong desire to de-clutter your house but don’t know where to start. You just feel like chucking it all out and starting again so that it looks a little something like the homes pictured.
This urge is most common in the New Year and let’s face it, like most good resolutions if we don’t plan it right, it falls apart mid-cleanse. My declaration to my husband that I was now a (sort of) minimalist was met with a guffaw of: “Have you seen your wardrobe?!”
So who are these odd creatures that practice minimalism. And what exactly is it? A basic definition is looking at everything you own – deciding what is valuable to you and makes you happy – and all the rest is just stuff. Stuff that stresses you out. Stuff you have to dust and clean and fumble through when you’re trying to find the items you love. I mean think about it – all those things in your ‘man drawer’…do they make you happy?
The message preached by minimalists is that if we don’t spend so much money on ‘stuff’ then we don’t need to work as hard to earn so much money that we just fritter away on ‘stuff’. Relieving money pressures and a neat home? Sounds appealing.
But let’s be honest, being a minimalist sounds great but it also sounds like a hell of a lot of work and commitment. If you’re not ready just yet to part with the pile of clothes you swear you’ll fit into this Summer or the 20 pairs of jeans you can’t break up with, our version of Minimimalism is for you.
Here’s our Beginners Guide on How to Be a Minimalist-ish:
1. LET’S DO SOME SOUL SEARCHING Remember that last foundation purchase that you were SURE was the most perfect foundation you’ve ever worn? Only to find out in real life (or real light) that it wasn’t. What were you looking for that day? To look more beautiful?
Think about what you have most of and the reasons you have so much of it. Shoes? Make-up? Clothes? You most likely bought them to feel more confident & look beautiful.
Does every single item you own deliver on that promise for you or is that foundation you bought just a tiny shade off – or those shoes just a tiny bit uncomfortable. Everything you own should unconditionally do what you intended it to do – to make you look and feel fabulous. Anything that does not deliver this feeling is surplus. Accept that, eventually, you will be saying goodbye to some expensive purchases. They are worthless if they don’t give YOU value.
2. DECIDE YOUR STYLE Minimalism-ish doesn’t have to mean sterile or boring. Create a Pinterest board or save a few pics of the look you want to achieve in your home and in your wardrobe.
3. 10MINS EACH NIGHT Spend 10mins every night on one little area in your home. Ditch watching TV ads for a small chunk of time to chip away at the mindless clutter. And here’s a hack: start in the easiest; neatest area of your home. Plus only do one small area at a time so that you don’t start pulling down the bookshelves and collapse with exhaustion on top of some dodgy 1980s thrillers. (Been there.)
4. (FAKE) CULL YOUR WARDROBE: This is a less extreme version of Project 333. In that, you’re not getting rid of all your surplus clothes just yet. Lay out 33 of your favourite items of clothing (there’s a guide below). If you’re hyperventilating at 33 aim for 40.
Instead of giving away all your clothes on this first cull, put all the rest into a different part of your wardrobe or store away under your bed. Put a reminder on your phone to ‘go shopping’ in your ‘Clothes Store’ in 8 weeks’ time to switch up your 33 items so you don’t get bored. DO NOT BUY ANY MORE CLOTHES FOR 8 WEEKS! And if you do buy something, commit to donating something from your store.
5. SPREAD THE VIRUS If like me, you are living with a chronic hoarder – you will have resistance to your Minimalist-ish movement. There’s only so much de-cluttering you can do if your partner wants to cling on for dear life to random knick-knacks. I recently found a bicycle radio from the 1970s (what even is that?) that he’s keeping above the wardrobe “just in case”. There is merit in holding on to things that make you happy but a little bit of Minimalism-ish might just make your lives a little simpler.
If you’re looking for more info, check out the Netflix documentary ‘Minimimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things’.