I’ve collected a lot of stuff that I don’t need in midlife. Here’s steps to get rid of that extra stuff and become a minimalist.
Do you know what the hottest trend is right now? To be a minimalist. With the popularity of the best selling book, the life changing magic of tidying up, decluttering and simplifying your life is the ” in thing.”
My husband and I officially declared that we were minimalists long before the book became popular. After spending our 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s acquiring all the stuff that comes with raising a family, we decided enough was enough. With the kids grown and gone, we just got tired of all the stuff and at this point in our lives, we wanted to free ourselves of said stuff. Becoming a minimalist just fit our midlife ideal.
Do you have what it takes to be a minimalist?
First, you need to realize that you have too much stuff. Most of our cupboards and drawers are overflowing with stuff we haven’t used in years. Long gone are the opportunities for “someday I will need-use-want this item.” If that someday hasn’t happened yet, face it, it probably never will. Midlife is the perfect time to come to terms with having more stuff than you will ever use as you develop your new midlife-lifestyle habits.
Then, you have to decide to get rid of that excess stuff. There is a generally accepted rule to help you decide what to get rid of on your path to becoming a minimalist:
Once you come to terms with these two points, you too are ready to live the decluttered, simpler life of a minimalist.
Where do you begin to be a minimalist?
Just like with everything else: start slowly and build up your minimalist confidence. Make a list of areas where you can downsize. Have four boxes designated to put your discarded items in: trash, charity, re-purpose, and keep. Start off spending as little as 5 minutes a day adding to the boxes. But beware: you might get second thoughts about getting rid of your stuff. Once you make up your mind to become a minimalist, stay focused and carry on.
Some of the stuff I knew I had to get rid was hard to do because of its emotional value. Becoming a successful minimalist has to include dropping the emotion out of your downsizing decisions. Push aside the memories and forge ahead with clearing out. My new minimalist lifestyle began with getting rid of clothes.
I used the one year rule and ended up giving a lot to charity which made me feel better about getting rid of so much.
Probably the hardest items to let go of are books and your children’s stuff. If you are an avid reader like me, you have acquired lots of books over the year including those college textbooks from 30 years ago.
Seriously, am I ever going to use those books again? So why hold on to them? Except for a very limited few, most of my books can be given to a used book store or better yet, the local library.
Our attic storage is 65% kid stuff. How could I possibly get rid of ALL THOSE papers, projcets, and pictures from my children’s growing up years? Will getting rid of them label me an uncaring, non-sentimental parent? NO!! What might have seemed necessary to hold on to to chronologically remember their growing up years really has zero relevance to the people they are today. Thanks to technology, I can scan a few representative pieces and put them in an online memory book. Even better, I can enlist my kids help in my quest to be a minimalist and have them choose what stuff they want and give it to them. Whatever they don’t want NOW goes in one of the four boxes.
Remember, becoming a minimalist isn’t just about doing the ultimate spring cleaning and getting rid of stuff. It is also has to do with deciding what to keep. A good question to ask is, What makes me sparkle now? In other words, in my current lifestyle, what do I have that will embrace where I am at? If it doesn’t support or represent my current goals, out it goes.
Lots of stuff creates lots of unwanted stress. Becoming a minimalist resolves any added midlife stress, opening up opportunities to live in an uncluttered world–both physically and mentally. That’s why my husband and I are overjoyed being midlife minimalists.
Are you ready for a minimalist lifestyle?
What is the hardest thing for you to let go of to be a minimalist?