Minimalism: 3 Methods for Beginners

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Minimalism as a lifestyle means conscious relinquishment in order to make space for the essentials. Despite this, letting go of things is often difficult. These tips will help you become (more) minimalist in just a matter of weeks – and in our next post, to stay minimalist moving forward.

Minimalism: Less Is Happier

Getting rid of things is freeing – and feels nevertheless totally impossible. Too often we hold onto things that we don’t need, because we think that they could still be useful someday. Yet that rainy day rarely ever arrives. Utopia has collected a few simple methods to help you cast aside your unnecessary ballast. How radically you choose to apply these methods remains entirely up to you. A minimalist life should make you happier, so don’t stress too much.

Eat that Frog: Do the Worst First

You’re not the only one who finds it difficult to get rid of stuff. This method should help you across the threshold of discarding possessions so that each additional sorting process in the future is that much easier.

Pick at least one thing you love from among your possessions which you know you can live without. Don’t throw it away, but rather give it away or sell it. While this first experience may prove difficult, it underlines that while we love to possess many things, we only need very few things to make our lives happy. And in the future, it will be easier to separate the things you simply want to have from those you actually need.

The KonMari Method: Keep Only What Brings You Joy

Marie Kondo is a Japanese lifestyle expert and organizational guru. She advises her clients on organizing and discarding and became even more successful following her recent bestseller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Her method is easy to understand and implement and could just change your life, too.

In principle, she advises keeping only those possessions which bring us joy. That was, of course, the idea behind acquiring most of these things in the first place – to make us happier in some way.

Gather similar items together and then sort them at once: books with books, clothes with clothes. You touch each item individually and ask yourself whether it brings you joy. If yes, then you keep it; if not, you toss it.

You start with less important items like pots and pans or cleaning implements, working your way up through clothes and books. Various mementos come at the very end, once you’ve acquired a thicker skin and better sense of where your joy lies. Most importantly, you always finish one category before starting on the next. Over time, your home is filled only with things that truly bring you joy.

The Basket Method: the Anti-Shop

In this basket method, you grab a laundry basket, a large box, or some other similarly sized container. Then you proceed through your home and start poring over your things, much like you would at a clothing store.

In this basket, however, you place only items that you don’t like, that are unnecessary, and that are simply taking up valuable space in your home. Once the basket is full, you’ve reached your daily requirement. If you do this for an entire week, you’ll eliminate a lot of unnecessary stuff from your home.

It’s easiest to begin in one room and then continue working your way through your home room by room. Depending on how large your home is and how much stuff you have, this can take more than one week, but it is worth the effort in any case.

Advanced-Level Minimalism: the Box Method

For this more radical method, you need moving boxes. The more things you have, the more boxes you need.

It goes like this: You pack everything you own into moving boxes. It’s best to sort everything carefully so that you can find things more easily when you need them. These boxes live alongside you in your home. Over a period of time, you live only out of these boxes. Everything you need during that time can be replaced on a shelf or in a cupboard. Everything else is discarded.

Using this method, you quickly realize which things you actually want and need and which are unnecessary. Most of your possessions are easily forgotten once they’re packed away. It’s an easy way to figure out what can be eliminated.

How do you cull the excess? Share your ideas in the comments.

– by Stefanie Jakob

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