I remember so vividly when I first discovered minimalism. I read a blog post that a friend shared on Facebook about minimizing one’s possessions and the freedom and ease that entered into their home and life.
I had two small kids, a house full of stuff, an over-worked and stressed out husband, and while reading that article, I realized I had found something I had been looking for.
For a while I had been feeling the friction everywhere: between our wants and our bank statement, our faith and our excessive accumulation, our time and energy and the requirements of keeping our house in order. Something had to change. There had to be a better way and minimalism looked to be it.
So I purged, and I purged, and I purged. I blazed through our home tossing out the broken toys not worth repairing, the dusty trinkets I never loved to begin with, the two-year old magazines, the kitchen gadgets I didn’t even know how to use. So. Much. Stuff.
It was freeing and addicting. I felt light. Our home felt more lovely and cozy without the things that were supposed to help enhance it. Beauty is often found in removing the excess, discarding the clutter so that the true heart and meaning and purpose of something is seen. All that excess distracts us.
Maybe you, like me, went through that first initial purge and minimized a large portion of your possessions. But maybe also like me, you’ve come to a point of again feeling a little bit of friction. Don’t be alarmed, this is part of the journey. Minimalism and simple living will look different for everyone and will look different for each of us at different times in our lives.
The initial purging I did was four years ago. I no longer have any toddlers—my youngest is in full blown big kid phase. My husband was overworked, and now has a more enjoyable job that allows him to be home more. Along with many other changes, it is time for our version of minimalism to change yet again.
So if you’re feeling stuck in what to do after you’ve already made some progress, here are eight ideas to kickstart another round of minimizing.
1. Reality Check.
Take a look around your home and see what areas frustrate you or where you feel like there is some clutter. Try walking in your front door and pretending to see it all for the first time. Sometimes we get so accustomed to areas that are piled up and cluttered that we just overlook them.
Read a blog or a book about minimalism that you haven’t read before. Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and Francine Jay’s “The Joy of Less” have very detailed methods for decluttering. Reading something different like one of these can give your enthusiasm a boost and new ideas to try. Or if you’ve had enough of the how-to’s, try one from this list of 12 books that will inspire a simple life.
3. Get some help.
Sometimes when we have someone helping us—whether it be a friend or hired help—we realize that something which seemed emotional, really does need to be let go of.
4. Try a decluttering game.
There’s various ideas of boosting our minimizing whether it’s the Mins Game of discarding one thing on the first day of the month, two on the second and so on until on the 30th day you’re getting rid of 30 items. Another one to try is pairing up with a friend and committing to get rid of one item a day and keeping each other accountable.
5. Declutter non-physical items.
Maybe it’s reducing some of the digital clutter or clearing your schedule for the next week and having a week free from the usual hustle and bustle. You could also do a week of early morning yoga or prayer or meditation.
6. Take the No Sidebar email course.
Getting daily inspiration and encouragement can help determine what’s next in designing a simpler life. Experience the happiness you truly deserve.
7. Gather similar items.
If you’re working in a specific area and aren’t making as much progress as you hoped, gather similar items and see what can be discarded.
8. Take a break.
Sometimes when we’ve been focusing on minimizing and organizing, we may still feel some friction. The best option might be to take a rest from it and come back with fresh eyes and energy after spending some time pursing something we love.
I think it bears repeating, this is a journey and such a beautiful one. Give yourself and those you live with and love grace as you figure out the next steps. Enjoy where you are even as you make changes that you feel are necessary.