10 minimalist things you can do to declutter this week
Here are ten ways I moved closer to minimalism this past month. Perhaps these will kick off ideas you can use to become more minimal (or just plain declutter) in your home:
One daily coffee cup
Think about your favorite coffee cup. Everyone usually has one, right? Consider making that your only cup. I packed away all but my favorite cup, a squat little black one with a handle that seems made to fit my hand. (I kept a generic set of six on the top shelf for company use.) I was surprised to find I missed none of my other cups so they are going in the donate bin. In fact, I loved the extra space around my favorite cup in the cupboard and my kitchen counters were clearer. Francine Jay, author of Joy of Less, calls this the joy of one.
Remove all your ad preferences on your facebook page. Go under settings, the little icon in the far right corner and poke around looking for a section on preferences. It's a visual reminder of how much information social media has on us all. This is a good activity to do while you are waiting in line somewhere and getting restless.
Use discard/keep station to clean out community stuff
Make cards that say “discard” and “keep”, set out the pile in a visible space and let everyone sort through it when it’s a good time for them. Accept the results without comment and get rid of the discards right away. Recently, I pulled all our teas out of cabinets and drawers, piled them onto our kitchen table; by the end of the day, everyone had sorted through what needed to go back into the cabinet.
Go bagless no matter what
Bring your own bags to the grocery store and, when you forget, find a way to still achieve the trip without accepting the plastic bags. (Cloth bags are strong and soooo quiet; now I can't stand the plastic one-use bags.) One day this month, my husband and I swapped cars and it wasn't until I was in Aldis on a major grocery haul that I realized I didn't have my bags. My work-around meant putting my Aldis purchases directly into my car, then using a laundry basket when I got home to shuttle everything into my kitchen.
(Casually) Watch your word count
Minimizing words is a powerful bringer of peace. Over-communicating, then overthinking over-communication is tiring. Okay, maybe this is just me. A few weeks ago, I was overthinking the silence that followed a far-too-wordy reply I made to a friend. Rather than chase the situation with more words, I just released the matter and choose the reality that the silence was nothing more than the end of a conversation. Emotional energy is finite and realizing where to spend that energy is good mind housekeeping.
Release unemployed hobby supplies to find other jobs
Consider your hobby supplies to be your staff. If you are not putting them to work, give them their release papers and show them to another enriching employment opportunity.
I had two craft projects this past month: painting a few mirror frames white and making beeswax food wraps. Because I was not particular about what shades of white I needed, I easily found two used cans of gray primer and a few cans of white for free at my city’s environmental center. I finished the project within a week and, once the paints were idle, they went straight back to the environmental center. When my beeswax project was done, I texted a crafty friend a photo of my remaining supplies and asked her if she would like what I had. She said sure and we made the handoff an excuse to have a coffee and chat. If both of us were pressed for time, I would have left the supplies on her porch.
Be a museum curator. Move your art.
If you have decor in your home, move it around as a museum curator does. By rearranging it, you’ll likely find pieces that no longer work. Replace them with nothing. Get used to wall and shelf spaces staying empty for a while and you just might love it.
I had art above our bedroom doors in our hallway. I had hung the decor almost a decade ago and I just stopped seeing it there. I pulled it all down, as well as the hooks on which it hung. Every piece was filthy with dust … remind me why I would want to make housekeeping a harder job? They are getting replaced with nothing.
Pretend you are moving away.
This is simply a thinking-ahead category rather than an action item. Pretend you are moving a great distance in a month. Evaluate the “travel-worthiness” of your biggest furniture pieces. Would you take those or would be cheaper to replace them in your new locale? This is the first step towards either saying goodbye to these things or keeping alert for more dual-purpose, transportable replacements. For me, I found that our table and six chairs were something I was just enduring rather than enjoying so it is getting replaced … someday. We have no indicators that we are moving but it’s good to keep light on our feet.
For smaller possessions, limit surfaces to three items or less when at resting position. This philosophy was borrowed from a minimalist on youtube whose home I admire. Simple and inspiring.
Fighting the paper tiger
I made a casual effort to chip away at incoming junk mail. Rather than mindlessly tossing junk mail in my recycling bin, I paper-clipped them to a note that told me to unsubscribe. For a few concentrated minutes each week, I requested removals from mailing lists, usually by online means but sometimes via a standardized snail-mail letter. This was completely worth the (small) effort. I’ll elaborate more in a future blog post.
My incredibly-shrinking book collection
Check out my post about reducing my physical books to 15. Private book collections should only include already-read-it favorites and no more.