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Stuff… it is sooooooo overwhelming! You have all of these things and you try to find new and improved ways to organize them. You spend entire weekends dedicated to going through and organizing your closet, or your garage, or your cabinets. Yuck! Who wants to do that when you could be doing something fun with your family?! Not me, I bet you don’t either. So, the solution? Less stuff.
We were so tired of organizing our stuff. So, so tired. No matter how hard we tried, it just wasn’t enough. We could get it halfway organized into boxes and cubbies and next thing we knew, it was an overflowing mess again.
We were constantly trying to get our kids to clean up their 50 million and one toys. Constantly having to unstack boxes to get to something we actually used. Constantly having to dig through cupboards to find this or that. It was so tiring. We were spending more time organizing stuff and then finding it than we were actually using said stuff.
That’s no way for anyone to live. If you’re spending more time and money trying to organize your things, you need less things, it’s that simple. It took me a while to embrace that fact, it actually took my husband a little longer to embrace that fact. But, once we both got on the same page and started getting rid of stuff instead of finding new places to put it. It was amazing!
I thought I’d give you some helpful tips on how to live with less, become a minimalist. And what better time than right around the time the birds are chirping and the weather starts breaking?? Spring cleaning is in the air! Lets go through and get rid of that stuff and learn to live with less!!
32 Tips on Becoming a Minimalist
- Toss anything that is torn up. If it has huge gaping holes, it isn’t doing anyone any good, get rid of it.
- Pick out anything you haven’t worn in a year and donate it or sell it on a local garage sale group (or eBay).
- Sell or donate anything that doesn’t fit. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t belong in your closet!
- Decide how many clothes you really need. How many shirts do you really need? Pants?
- After you decide, keep only enough hangers to accommodate the amount of clothes you need. If you think 5 shirts and 3 pairs of pants is enough, then you need 8 hangers. Maybe 13… because you could keep 5 short sleeve and 5 long sleeve, colder weather type shirts.
- Go through and pick the clothes you can’t live without. Keeping in mind that you limited yourself to x amount of shirts and pants.
- Shoes!!!!! Shoes are insane. Decide what you really need and donate or sell the rest. You honestly don’t need 25 pairs of shoes…. Think 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of yard shoes, 1 pair of workout shoes, 1 pair of dress shoes. IF that.
- Keep enough undergarments to last one week. Socks with holes, underwear that should have been thrown out with last weeks trash… yeah, toss those. Any more than a weeks worth, get rid of that too.
- Throw out any chipped or cracked dishes. Honestly, I am thinking of going to metal. They don’t break and they last forever. For now, we have glass.
- Keep 1 mug per person and a couple extras for company. You really don’t need 100 coffee mugs. One will do the trick. It will wash, after all.
- Sell or donate any appliances you don’t use. This is hard. I don’t use my pressure canner year round, but it gets a hefty use in the fall! I may not use my food processor every day, but it’s nice to have a few times a month. Look at it like this… if you’re going to use it enough for it to take up space, fine. If you bought some contraption you used once and never looked at again, let it go!
- Throw out duplicates. I had three sets of measuring cups and spoons! Three! That’s insane. I had crummy plastic ones that the dishwasher had chewed up. I recently invested in a nice stainless steel set and tossed the plastic out! Less is more! They’ll wash!
- Invest in heavy duty cast iron skillets and stainless pots. Throw out those chemically coated teflon things. This is the only time I’ll tell you to throw out something perfectly good and buy new. Try some yard sales or flea markets and get you a couple of sturdy pots and pans! These things will last you a lifetime and you don’t need 100 different sizes. About 3 pots, 3 skillets (including a deep skillet), and a dutch oven will be fine.
- Toss expired food. I’m always amazed when people start going through their cupboards and find expired canned goods and such. Go through, toss out what is expired. Donate anything that your family won’t eat. We all have this stuff.
- Toss out any broken stuff. This doesn’t apply just to the dishes listed above. Have a broken appliance, a bent knife, whatever it may be, get rid of it!Toys
- Get rid of anything your kids don’t play with weekly. If they’re old enough, let them in on this. Just go through and make it fun. Say “oh, we don’t hardly ever play with this, let’s make another little girl or boy happy!”
- Toss anything that is broken. Anything. I know my kids have this attachment to anything broken. Doesn’t matter, I’ll be the “mean mom” if it’s broken, it’s gone
- Donate or sell any toys that aren’t age appropriate. If your kids have outgrown it, it goes. At the very least put it in storage if you really think you need it for the next child. Remember, though. You can always buy a similar item at a garage sale.
- Pick toys that don’t take a lot of space. Blocks, legos, manipulative like that. A couple of dolls and viola.
- When you purchase, buy quality, not quantity. Something that will outlast your child and bless another child once yours has outgrown it.
- Stuffed animals. I should put this in a category all its own, because my kids and I struggle with this. We have so many stuffed animals. They drive me crazy. I don’t have a lot of room to talk on this subject, but make a limit and stick with it.
Related: 117 Things to Declutter Right Now
Related: Minimalist Approach to Kids Toys
- Toiletries. Donate any extras. Keep only what you use. Don’t keep a bunch of extras. If you don’t use it and love it, give it to someone who will.
- Medicines. Make sure you go through and check all of your bottles. If they’re expired, call your county government office to see what regulations your area has, if there is a local med disposal program, take them there. Otherwise, this article explains how to properly dispose of them.
- Towels. Keep a few, of course. Just don’t go overboard. Honestly we use extras as shop rags/outdoor rags. Anything beyond that, donate.
- Appliances. Hair dryers, curling irons, straightening irons. If you don’t use them, donate them. If you do, one will suffice.
- Makeup. If you don’t use it, toss it. If it’s ancient, probably time to replace it.
- Get rid of your movie and music cases. We have a decent collection of movies and music. We ditched all of the cases and put them in some cases like these. What a huge space saver! Just recycle the plastic things they came in.
- Go one step further and digitize your music and movies! If you put it all on your computer, it will take up even less actual space. You might need an external hard drive, if you’re anything like us!
- Donate books you don’t love. I’m not going to tell you to digitize these. A lot of books aren’t available digitally and if you’re like me, you’d rather hold it in your hands.
- Use your library. My kids love going to the library. I think it is an incredibly underused resource! You can just borrow books you want to read and let your kids pick out their stories. Keep a few tried and true books at home, ditch the rest.
- Decrease your knick knacks. I have a few collectibles that I won’t get rid of because they are sentimental to me. The rest of it, sell it or donate it.
- Ditch cable if possible. With services like Netflix and Hulu, it’s pretty easy. You can also just use the movies you have. Unfortunately, for us, we live so far out we have limited resources for data and it’s slower than ancient dial up so Netflix isn’t an option anymore (boo), but we have the smallest package possible and DVR everything so we can skip the commercials that entice us to buy more junk.
These are just a few tips on how we are decreasing our possessions. It’s a work in progress, but I feel confident about it! Every time I donate something or sell it, it’s such a liberating feeling. The best tip I can give any of you on how to minimize your life, is take it slow. We don’t have a lot of time to get used to the idea, but we’re making it work.
And if you want to know more about minimalism and how to shop like a minimalist so your belongings don’t just start collecting all over again check out this article from my friend Heidi over at the Healing Harvest Homestead on How to Shop Like a Minimalist!