To all my friends, I am the minimalist. I am who they text when they’re about to throw away all-the-things or who they text a photo to when they have successfully minimized and need to share their victory with someone.
I’ve already had several reach out to me about the new year and decluttering—I love it, and am hoping to reach new levels in my own minimizing.
As I start to think about the things I want to do, I’m a little wary as New Year’s Resolutions have a bad reputation. I don’t want these grand ideas to not work. I don’t like failure and I would assume neither do you.
But the itch to simplify and minimize possessions is not a new idea. It’s one that people have been pursuing and successfully accomplishing for generations.
Simplifying Your New Year
Here are ten ways—tested and true—to start the New Year off as you begin your decluttering, simplifying, and minimizing journey:
1. Just do it.
There’s nothing that helps the journey to minimize your possessions than to dive right in. When I first began, I didn’t have it all figured out. I didn’t tidy my entire house and had only read a handful of posts from Becoming Minimalist and Francine Jay’s The Joy of Less.
The first thing I decluttered was my desk and it felt wonderful. Having the “less is more” mindset and wanting a clean space gave me freedom—and seeing a little bit of success furthered the desire to clear out more areas.
2. Decide if it’s “all or nothing” or “slow and steady.”
In my opinion, these are the only two types of personality when it comes to decluttering. The “all or nothing” type needs immediate gratification. So if you’re that type, you’re going to want to choose and purge smaller areas.
If you’re the “slow and steady” type, you’re probably a very disciplined and methodical person. This means you can choose entire rooms at a time, which will allow you to consistently chip away at the clutter.
3. Know the benefits and obstacles.
You’re convinced and excited about the plan to minimize and declutter in the New Year—and that’s awesome. Keep in mind there will be plenty of benefits to look forward to, but be prepared for obstacles that might arise.
The reason I mention this is that, like all New Year’s resolutions, there will come a time where it’s difficult. Knowing what’s to come will allow you to navigate the obstacles and continue your pursuit of a minimalist lifestyle.
4. Keep reading.
One of my favorite ways to stay motivated is to read about the subject I’m pursuing. There are some really great blogs and books about minimalism. Read one post or one chapter a day to keep your mindset and grow on this journey.
5. Invite a friend to join you.
There are so many benefits of going on this journey with someone. You can keep one another accountable, help each other when you’re stuck, bounce around new ideas, and laugh through funny moments. Extra points if you get your spouse or roommate on board a journey towards minimalism.
6. Write about it.
My whole life I’ve kept a journal in one way or another. Whether you keep a personal notebook or decide to blog about your minimizing, it’s fun to look back and see the progress you’ve made and the things you’ve learned.
7. Give yourself reminders.
If you’ve been on my Facebook page, you may have noticed I love quotes and have mastered the art of creating quote images. These can help you stay motivated, inspire your readers, and give them something interesting to share.
8. Cultivate the inner journey of minimalism.
Shortly after I started decluttering my home, I realized it was more than just clearing out things. I felt a pull to simplify my mind and heart. Getting to the root enhanced the journey, and helped me stay even more committed. It solidified the desire to minimize and turned a habit into a lifestyle.
9. Join a community.
There are many Facebook groups out there for you to join. This allows you to ask questions and seek advice from other like-minded people. Some of the more active pages provide community as well through the posts and commenting.
In addition, there are a number of great courses offered to help you simplify. Many of them include Facebook groups, which provide an additional layer of encouragement and accountability for your journey.
Occasionally, there conferences and workshops you can look for as well. You could even consider starting a book club though friends and acquaintances who may want to learn more about simple living.
10. The usual resolution and goal keeping tips.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Goal tracking, habit forming, success measuring—all of these are helpful to keep you on track with any goal. Don’t overload on them, but there are some great tips out there which are helpful no matter what the resolution.
Depending on your level of attention and need for detail, focus on just a few of the points above. Be sure to pick the ones you feel might be most helpful and beneficial to you, and put them in place.