by Olivia Youngs, Simply Liv & Co.
One of the biggest reasons people have for not living simply is that they think they’re already too far gone to start downsizing. The clutter is too overwhelming, your schedule is impossibly full, your closet hasn’t been decluttered since…well, it never has.
If this is your story, don’t worry because you’re definitely not alone. Minimizing your stuff and refocusing your life to exclude the “excess” is a daunting task– I won’t say that it’s always easy. However, simple living isn’t meant to make your life harder. On the contrary, at its heart, minimalism should make your life hundreds of times easier, more fun, and more you, regardless of how sizable that pile of old band t-shirts in your closet is.
At Simply Liv & Co., my passion is to help people see that simplifying in every aspect of life has benefits for everyone and that it’s a goal anyone can achieve — not just people with a propensity for downsizing (which I do not have, for the record).
Whether you’re looking to create a capsule wardrobe that will make getting ready a breeze, downsize the amount of knick-knacks (do people still say that?) on display in your house, or just remove a lot of the stress from your life, embracing a simpler lifestyle will help you do all of that and more.
The first step is oftentimes the hardest though, so if you’re looking for an easy jumping off point, you can use these simple, actionable tips to help you create a life, closet, and home that you’re excited about.
1. Start Saying No
I know, the first tip doesn’t have the glitz and glam you were probably expecting but hear me out. More often than not, the excess in our life comes from saying yes when we should have said no. An overwhelming calendar, an overflowing closet, and an overly stuffed house happen when we lose the art of “no”.
Instead of saying “yes” to everything, practice using “no” as your new default. Unless it’s something you really need or something you actually want to do, don’t feel obligated to say yes.
2. De-Clutter For 20 Minutes Every Day
Taking on your entire house at once is impossible. Instead, go room by room, working for small bits of time.
If you carve out 20 minutes every day, or even 10 minutes, to de-clutter, you’ll start to see results very quickly. Start with the place that most stresses you out (as much as you just want to avoid it altogether), and move on from there.
Maybe your closet needs a serious detox. Take it one shelf, or one season at a time, slowly making your way through all of the clothes in your closet until you’re left with only the pieces you truly love and feel great in.
Need some help on knowing what to get rid of? This list of ways to simplify your closet is a great place to start.
3. Use The One-In-One-Out Rule
Implementing what I call the “one-in-one-out” rule is a great way to ensure your space stays decluttered after you’ve gone through the hard work of getting it to that point. In short, it means that whenever you buy something new (unless it’s filling a true need, like soap or a closet staple), get rid of something else. If you really want another sweater, but already have three or four, get rid of one of them to make space for the new one. That way, things don’t continue to pile up.
4. Toss Everything You Haven’t Worn or Used in Six Months
If you haven’t worn or used something in half a year, chances are you don’t need it at all. You should be constantly using things that are usable year round, unless it’s something that is truly seasonal, like your winter coat or your bikini. If you’re not using or thinking about it, toss (or responsibly donate) it.
5. Think of Simplifying as a Process, Not a Destination
One of the most common misconceptions people fall into when they embark on a journey to simplify their life is the expectation that they’ll “arrive” somewhere. In truth, simplifying is a process — an incredibly liberating and exciting process, but one that doesn’t have a definitive end point.
Continually check in with yourself and your stuff to see if you’re in a comfortable place, or if there’s more purging that needs to be done.
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to minimalism (and what fun would that be if there were?). Making sure that the choices you make and the possessions you keep both serve a purpose and bring you joy is what matters most.
About Olivia Youngs
Liv, (Olivia for long) is the founder of Simply Liv & Co. an online resource and community for women looking to live a more mindful, simple life. She shares tips about capsule wardrobes, ethical fashion, and simplifying your whole life. When she’s not blogging and networking, she’s busy with her two toddlers and husband, with at least one cup of coffee in hand.