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A springboard to minimalism

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Spring is synonymous with deep cleaning, decluttering and do-overs and the psychological and emotional benefits of clearing out clutter is well-documented.

Reasons to declutter

  • Decreased stress and lowered cortisol levels
  • Increased focus
  • Feelings of freedom and achievement
  • More time relaxing, less time cleaning and organising stuff
  • Environmental benefits
  • A house that is always ready for show day

Once you start on the journey of decluttering and experiencing the benefits, you may even find that it becomes a springboard for adapting a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism is a way of life

An intentional practice: it is the realisation that the things we own should not own us in terms of our time, focus and energy. The less junk we have, the less time we need organising it.

A mind-shift: from consumerism to an awareness of how what we buy affects the earth. Just look at the amount of plastic in our oceans. A simple decision to switch from plastic to material shopping bags (and sticking to it no matter what); or refusing straws can and will have a massive impact on the amount of junk that ends up in our landfills, and ultimately our oceans.

A method of prioritisation: decluttering your office, becomes the motivation to re-prioritise your daily tasks to prioritise more important aspects of your life, like your relationships.

Living for quality versus quantity: buying less stuff means you will save money, which in turn means you will be able to buy better quality products that will last longer, meaning you won’t have to re-purchase it over the short-term (do you see the cycle here?).

Freedom: as you peel back the layers of physical clutter, so too will you find emotional and psychological freedom in letting go – and even taking it a step further by letting others benefit from your unwanted goods (donating it where there is need).

How to start

The task may seem overwhelming at first – especially if you have years of accumulation to get rid of. You are probably not going to be able to get rid of a decade’s worth of stuff in a weekend, so settle on attainable goals. Here are some tips:

Make a decluttering schedule: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail – so once you have resolved to start the process, be sure to block out the time in your calendar to actually START.

Start with what you can see: you will know which part of your space has been bothering you for months. Start there, and once you have cleared or organised that specific section, it will become the motivation for tackling the next task.

Go on a purchase strike: vow not to bring any new items into your home until the process is complete. And remember: if you need to buy more stuff to organise the stuff you already have, you probably have too much stuff to begin with.

Find a method for the madness: there are plenty of creative ways to tackle your junk, and perhaps involving your entire family in the process. For example:

  • the 12-12-12 challenge where you locate 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to be returned to their proper home or designated space.
  • give or throw away one item every day: Colleen Madsen (365 Less Things) gives away on item each day. You will be surprised at the transformation that can be achieved by simply reducing one day at a time.
  • the closet hanger experiment: identify items of clothing to clear out by hanging all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After a couple of months, this will give you clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard after
  • use a box system when clearing out an area: clearly mark the boxes (trash, give away, keep or relocate).
  • don’t purchase plastic bags: get alternative reusable bags or crates or containers and keep them in your car. Vow not to purchase plastic bags when you go shopping - even if it means that you have to pack and unpack your groceries in and out of your trolley one by one. You will soon learn to stick to the habit of making sure you have bags readily available in your vehicle.

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Author: Leapfrog Property Group

Submitted 19 Sep 18 / Views 1010