We have all been through a similar situation, we are desperately looking for something, and we can't find it even when we turn the house upside down.
Imagine this scenario, you need your scissors but can't find them anywhere; it's so much your frustration that you end up going to the nearest store (and hopefully not by car because that would be one more expense) to buy a pair of shiny new scissors.
You take them home, and a few days later, you find the old scissors in the second drawer of your night table, buried under a bunch of shopping receipts.
That was a bit of a lightweight example of what happens when we are unable to declutter our possessions and let them take over the house because duplicate scissors are not the end of the world.
But imagine that instead of scissors, the lost object is your passport, house property title, or credit card.
Minimalism is useful for clearing our minds and reducing stress levels by being aware of all we own and where it is.
It will also save us a lot of money, preventing us from buying multiples or spending cash on paperwork for essential documents that we have lost.
And what is more valuable than money?
Time, being aware of all our possessions and where they are, we will never lose time in activities that do not contribute to our lives, such as looking for the comb or getting duplicate credit cards.
I used to be that way throughout my college years, and to this day, it bothers me to remember how much extra money I wasted buying duplicate liner pens, scales, or retractable knives, to name a few.
If you have this problem, the best solution is to take the bull by the horns and start cutting back, the organization is good, but the sad reality is that if you have too many things to organize, you will never finish that task.
You will feel overwhelmed by everything you own; and if you don't live alone it is even worse, add all your possessions to your partner's, your children's, and even your pet's belongings. Learning easy tips and ideas on how to declutter your home will free your mind from unnecessary extra stress.
Minimalist lifestyle + design
I am interested in minimalism from two points of view, lifestyle and design. And in cases like this, they go hand in hand because we are using the minimalist lifestyle to attack the physical space, so in the end, we will get a pleasant home open to change.
Wouldn't it be great to know that if you want to leave one day, you can pack everything up that same day and set out on your own?
When you grow old, you will not be able to organize, and your loved ones will inherit all that physical burden.
To me, that is a selfish and inconsiderate act, they do not have to bear the consequences of our bad decisions and habits that we adopted until old age.
Depending on the number of objects you possess, this work can be more or less complicated, but as the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day.
If you want to know how to declutter your home, this is a general guide of objects you may have in your house, which you can start decluttering now.
1 DVD's and Blurays
I had many DVDs before embarking on this minimalist path (between one hundred and two hundred).
Currently, I own five (which are the only ones I have seen several times, and since they are movies that I have not found on platforms like Netflix, I decided to keep them).
You can apply this idea to your physical movies, have you seen them several times? Do you like them? If the answer is no, you can start thinking about getting rid of them. And as I mentioned before now, with Netflix and other online rental services, it is no longer necessary to carry hundreds of movies that take precious space in our houses.
2 CD's, Cassettes and Vynils
Just like physical movies, I had many CDs, which annoys me to remember how much I wasted and how little I earned when I sold them. Still, the truth is that unless you are an unconditional fan of a particular artist, I do not recommend buying CDs and collecting them as a hobby, CDs devaluate fast. Very few are willing to pay for them, less second hand.
Keep the ones you love and get rid of all the others, if you feel too much guilt, digitize the content, but it is not necessary now when everything is on platforms like Spotify.
Do you have towers of unread magazines, and keep putting them off? Or are there some recipes you're saving for that special occasion. The truth is, it's unlikely you'll ever read all those magazines.
The best thing you can do is take a look at all the magazines and put those that are not useful to you in the recycle bin. If you feel sorry for any article or recipe that you want to read, do not save the magazine or tear out the page, take a picture of it with your cell phone.
It is the same as the magazines' concept but, in my opinion, much worse because the newsprint tends to yellow and acquires an unpleasant smell, and the newspapers attract mold and insects like silverfish, just get rid of it for your health's sake.
Do this for safety, check expiration dates, and throw away anything that is expired, always look for information on how to dispose of this type of waste according to the regulations of your commune.
6 Personal Hygiene and Beauty
Do you have a collection of body lotions that have lost consistency or smell funny? This is one of the worst habits we have acquired as a society.
We are buying more products than we need because we want new packaging or discovering new fragrances. This lousy habit leads us to spend unnecessarily when the truth is that most products last a long time when you use them appropriately.
If you have a lot of products, discard everything that is expired or looks and smells weird or has lost its texture if you have products that are good but do not love to consider giving it to friends or family or donating them to shelters.
And make a rule where you buy a replacement only when the one you currently own is empty.
7 Craft Items
In an ideal world, you may be able to DIY everything, so that you are not dependent on others for various needs.
The truth is that not all of us are capable of doing things from scratch and if your ideal self made you buy a lot of products that you never used, be honest and do those projects once and for all or donate them to some institution that can use them.
Do you have a cell phone collection that has grown since you were fifteen years old? or shelves full of televisions, radios, printers, or scanners accumulating dust worthy of a museum on the evolution of electrical devices.
It's time to say goodbye to all those electronics because you will never use them again, sell them if they work, or take them to an electronics recycling place.
You have lots of vases, ornaments that you receive at a christening or wedding? Decorations for every season of the year, and throw pillows that overflow the bed and sofa, it's time to make a change.
I'm not saying you throw them all away, but you don't need a decoration for every occasion or celebration, just focus on the main celebrations or the ones that mean the most to you.
You'll save time moving things around, plus cleaning will be a lot easier.
Now there is very cheap furniture, but my advice is to look for the right quality of furniture within the price you can afford, especially big furniture like the sofa and bed. Look for furniture that will not go out of style, can be maintained, and is of good quality.
Do you feel that your closet is full of regrets? You are not the only one, most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time, that tshirt which fits you so well with those comfortable jeans, that you are wearing until they tore apart while the rest of the clothes remain forgotten at the bottom of your closet.
Fashion is not my strong suit, but I have to admit that I used to buy anything because I thought they would look good on me when the sad reality is that I wore said clothes once and disliked them.
You know what colors and styles suit you, just buy when you need them within that range, your pocket will thank you.
In the same line as clothing, duplicates are the biggest problem, I used to have three pairs of each type of shoe, and the worst thing was that they were all similar in color.
Look for classic models in neutral colors that go with all your outfits, try to reduce your shoes to one for each activity or occasion.
13 Jewels and Clocks
Do you have real or fantasy jewelry everywhere, gather it, and keep the best if you have a hard time getting rid of your authentic jewelry, at least do it with the fantasy jewelry.
The same goes for watches, it's a matter of taste, but I find them unnecessary now that smartphones do the same job and can give multiple timezones. If you like watches, keep one or two with different functions (one for the office and another for sports).
14 Bags, Backpacks, and Suitcases
I had many backpacks when one broke, I kept it and bought another. I ended up with many bags over the years.
Try to have a backpack or bag that serves several functions, mine is a black Samsonite, is compact but has enough space to carry my laptop and even serves me to travel, and although it was not cheap so far has not given me a problem.
15 Towels and Bedding
You have lots of towels that were given to you or bought to get you out of a jam or you just never took the time to discard the ones that are crusty or torn apart, this is the time.
If the towel no longer feels soft to the touch, has holes in it, or has frayed, then donate it to a pet adoption home or use it to dry your pet. The same goes for beddings.
16 Office Items
Does your desk look like a war zone? It's time to put everything in order, take all the pens, and toss the dry ones. If you have a lot of office supply multiples, consider donating them to a children's library.
17 The Refrigerator
I'm talking about the outside, the only thing I have on this surface is a little whiteboard where I write down the list of foods running out for the next visit to the supermarket. No magnets everywhere, it just invites you to fill up the refrigerator with papers.
We all have them for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and so on. The truth is that once you read them, you don't have to keep them, this is one of those products that displeases me.
It is a waste of energy and raw material for something so extra when you can now send greetings digitally. If you feel guilty about getting rid of those postcards, digitalize them.
19 Cardboard Boxes
The ones that come with the appliances or other objects Keep them for some time in case there is a factory failure but do let them pile up, if you leave them empty, they will turn into spider nests, and if you fill them up, you risk forgetting what you had in them thus increasing the clutter.
If you own toys, ask yourself which ones are worth it, sometimes nostalgia stops us from moving from situations that are no longer there.
If there are kids at home, it's a good idea to let them choose their favorite toys and let them know you will be donating to kids who are not as lucky. They will learn two valuable lessons, to be considerate of others and to appreciate what they have.
21 Stuffed Toys
I never really owned stuffed toys, not a fan of those either, they bring in a lot of dust and mites. If your kids have a lot of them, let them pick their favorite five, donate the rest, and avoid buying this toy as I said they are mite magnets, easy to clean toys with smooth surfaces are always better.
22 Bath Toys
Same as toys in general, if you have kids and they do not use them anymore, its time to recycle them, those tend to grow bacteria and mold, besides the bath time is not playtime, this is something I feel children should learn, this way they will learn to save water.
23 Pre-School, School and College Stuff
If you have kids and they have finished that time in their lives, move on and donate or recycle and if those papers are yours... what are you waiting for?
24 Duplicate Kitchen Utensil
How many spatulas do you need? Or slow cookers? We tend to collect more stuff in the kitchen than what we need, pick up all those duplicates, gift, donate, or recycle them. Your kitchen will be easier to organize, and you will be more productive whenever you are cooking.
25 Your Wallet
Take out all those receipts, old gift cards, bills, coins. Also, clean your wallet with some antibacterial wipes and organize everything, I like to sort my bills from lower to higher and my cards by color, this may seem much. Still, I like knowing everything is tidy when I open up my wallet, and I won't lose any vital card or my ID.
What can you do with all these decluttered objects?
I did four things, sold a bunch of stuff, and got some money back that way, and what couldn't be sold I gifted or donated. And other already useless items I recycled or threw away.
I hope this guide will be useful to you, and soon I will make a decluttering guide for specific rooms.
Here are some other Minimalist Lifestyle posts you might find interesting.
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