Learn to do more with less. Live free of clutter and confusion. This is what you can expect from a minimalist lifestyle, says professional organizer and owner of DClutterfly, Tracy McCubbin.
“Being a minimalist means less stuff to organize, deal with and be responsible for. Ultimately, less stuff equals less stress,” says McCubbin.
In other words, when you don’t have as much to worry about, you’ll feel more relaxed and at ease.
Also, consider this: Having fewer possessions probably means you have more cash, because you’re not spending money on “things.” That can translate to a larger savings and an increased budget for fun experiences –traveling to that country you’ve always wanted to visit, finally trying that new restaurant in your neighborhood or taking a scuba diving lesson, if you’re so inclined.
You won’t just have more money to do these things – you’ll have more time, too. Living a minimalist lifestyle can really simplify your life. You won’t need to spend as much of your free time cleaning the house and trying to tidy up unruly messes. Cut the clutter in your home, and you’ll live a more open, enriched life.
If you are ready to make the leap, McCubbin recommends taking an honest and realistic look at the items in your life and how often you use them.
“Spend two weeks paying attention to how much of the stuff in your life you use on a regular basis,” she says.
How many pairs of jeans do you own, and how often do you wear them? Do you use the same coffee mug every day but have 10 more hidden in your kitchen cupboard? Keep the objects that you use most, and rid yourself of the ones you don’t. And try not to fall into the I might use this someday trap. Be an objective editor!
If the idea of taking on all of the clutter in your home at once sounds alarming, start simple. Pick a room or even a section in your home that needs the most clearing. Maybe it’s your desk or your kitchen cupboards. Small steps will eventually translate to big rewards.
Sometimes letting go of things can be difficult for reasons we don’t expect, explains McCubbin.
“My client meetings always start with a conversation about why they’re hanging on to things they don’t use or need. Often, it’s emotional, or they feel guilty letting go of something they paid money for.”
In this situation, McCubbin tries to help people understand how clutter is getting in the way of the life they want to be living. Together, they work on why the client is hanging on to things, and then it’s on to the physical work of sorting and learning to let go.
“Living a minimalist lifestyle is all about being mindful of what we buy and what we throw away,” she says.
Remember, just because you don’t need certain items doesn’t mean someone else can’t find good use for them. McCubbin encourages minimalists to donate the things they don’t need to small, local non-profits in their community. That way, your things go toward helping a neighbor in need.
“It’s much easier to get rid of things when you know it’s going to someone who will appreciate it,” she says.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katarina Kovacevic is a freelance writer specializing in travel, spa, and beauty and wellness. She’s the author of The Food Lovers’ Guide To Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about fashionable travel. Her work has appeared in publications like American Spa, The Knot, The New York Post, SheKnows.com and more. Follow her on Twitter @Little_K.