Over the past few months, I have been dedicated to minimalism, decluttering and finding ways for simple living. I’ve put together a few pointers that will make your life easier if you also think that there is more to the saying LESS IS MORE.
Did you know, on average, a South African’s annual expenditure is R103 283! At a glance that may seem like very little but this number seems to be on the rise along with consumerism which fills our homes with ‘must-have’ items that we spontaneously create needs for. I’m guilty here!
Decluttering can push us past our boundaries of limitation, sometimes to something that knocks us off our comfort zone. It creates new neuro-pathways within our brain which allows us to become smarter, wiser and gives us more clarity. It can even provide us with a sense of life-fulfilment.
I’ve put together a few tips that helped me along the way. Here they are:
TIP 1: START SMALL
It can be rather overwhelming walking into a room and thinking of all the changes that need to be made. Start small by choosing a cupboard. If that is also too overwhelming, start with a simple drawer.
TIP 2: TAKE A BEFORE AND AFTER SHOT
This is important to give you a clear vision of what you’ve achieved. Comparing the two images allows you to appreciate the new space for the effort you put in and can give you a sense of accomplishment. It can even motivate you to tackle a new room or cupboard.
TIP 3: DON’T JUST MOVE THINGS AROUND
Moving items from one drawer to the next, cupboard to cupboard, room to room will be accomplishing nothing. The idea is not to clean but to chuck the items that serve no purpose. ie. decluttering.
TIP 4: GIVE EVERY ITEM A HOME
This one is important! If every item in your home has an allocated spot, your clutter will easily be minimised. Creating habits of placing an object in their homes will decrease clutter and you won’t have to clean as often.
TIP 5: SELL UNWANTED ITEMS
For sure, there will be plenty of unwanted items that can not be easily sold. But for the items that can be sold, be money-smart and get some cash back. The money you collect through selling unwanted items can be saved and is a great experiment to see how much unnecessary money we spent in the first place.
TIP 6: GIVE YOURSELF A SHOPPING BAN
Yoh! This one is definitely a bit extreme but I guarantee it’s worth the effort. By giving yourself a shopping ban, it puts all purchases on pause, allowing yourself to only buy the necessities. It highlights our compulsion to buy because we can or because we somehow justified it as a ‘need.’ Doing this for only one month is enough to gain super insight into your spending habits. I suggest reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders if this intrigues you.
TIP 7: FOLLOW THE DECLUTTERING RULE OF THUMB
What is the decluttering rule of thumb? It’s simple if you allow it to be. The decluttering rule of thumb is that if you have not used it in the last year, it serves no purpose. This one I found terribly difficult because I kept saying ‘What if…!’ What if I need it for the next time we have friends over? What if we will need it for when we have kids? What if my sister will want it when she moves back to South Africa? What if… what if… what if. The bottom line, you may ask? I have never ended up using those items.
TIP 8: BE COMMITTED
Just like everything else in life, if you want to reap the rewards, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort. Decluttering your home can make you feel lighter, help you focus on what is most important and can give you a few insights on your own behaviour. You may simply be in a space where you are intrigued by simple living. But being committed for one month is all it will take to create healthy habits and will certainly lift your mood as your clarity on what is important arises.