I call myself a part-time minimalist, because I’m a minimalist that literally has two of everything, considering we live part-time in Calgary and part-time in New York. I’m not flying back and forth with frying pans! So, sometimes two of things are required… Also, I haven’t committed to doing the stereotypical minimalist things, such as living in a “tiny home” or being able to pack all my belongings into a backpack.
Also, I have A LOT of hobbies. I choose to have things for my music making, for my photography, for my cooking, for my tennis, for my hiking…you get the point. My rule for my own personal minimalism, is that I don’t want anything in my space that doesn’t serve me…that doesn’t get used. I want everything to have a purpose, to have a home, to be appreciated.
And this journey continues regularly – for example, I used to be big into scrapbooking, and it took me a long time to realize those items were no longer serving me and they should be donated to someone that would love and appreciate, and use them! Once you get to the stage of minimalism that suits you, you will still always need to check back in, pair down more, and most importantly, stop bringing more into your life when not necessary.
Where to Get Inspired
The Minimalists are a great resource to get your started – they have books and a podcast (I will write a post about my favourite books about Minimalism soon). I went to listen to them speak live, and listened to their podcast – they can get you inspired quickly. Here is their first TedTalk. They have suggestions of things you can do to bring minimalism into your life, such as a Packing Party – the idea is you pack up everything as if you are moving and only take out things as you need them, and then at the end of the month, you see what is leftover and what doesn’t need to stay in your life. Or, the Minimalism Game, where on day 1 you get rid of one item, day 2 you get rid of two, etc. You can even do this with a friend to make it a friendly competition.
They do have some rules they live by, such as the 6 month rule – ask yourself, will you need this in the next 6 months or have your needed it in the previous 6 months? For example, if you’re doing this in the summer, you won’t need a winter jacket and winter boots right then, but at some point, you will. Don’t toss the winter jacket!
In addition to The Minimalists, Marie Kondo is a great place to get started. Her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – I read this book years ago, and heard there has been a show since (which I have not seen). This could get you inspired too. It’s all about asking which items bring you joy – if they don’t spark joy in you, you can feel free to say goodbye to them!
Where I Began
I took bits and pieces from these inspirations above, but mostly, I started one room at a time, I pulled everything out, and then I got started on my four piles – Donate, Recycle, Garbage, Keep. Then when I’d finished separating, only the Keep piles found a home back in my space!
I have the benefit, if you will, of moving twice a year, so I use those times to zone in on getting our house in tip-top shape, but you can choose any time that is good for you and do a “Spring Clean” or “Summer Shape-Up” or “Winter Pair Down” or whatever you want to call it. The idea is that as my minimalist journey has continued, it has become easier and faster, because it always stays somewhat minimal, by bringing in less that doesn’t serve me from the get-go, suggesting others don’t buy me physical gifts more often than not, and regularly asking if an item still works in my life.
And to answer the burning question that I’ll get asked – is my husband a minimalist? No. Can I force him to be a minimalist? No. I can only do me, and hope he follows suit when he feels it will serve him too. That isn’t to say that last summer I didn’t pull everything he had out of the storage room and tell him I needed him to decide what was worthy of me carrying back into there for him…but, you get the point. You do you, in the minimalist lifestyle, and let others choose their own journey!
Happy minimizing, y’all!