Embracing Minimalism: How to get started

Over the last several months, I’ve been on the journey of embracing simplicity in my motherhood. I came across Allie Casazza and just knew she was on to something with this whole minimalism thing.

Now I have more time with my daughter and my husband, I was able to start a blog (*finally*) and live with less stress at home.

When I talk to friends and family about how simplifying has really changed my life, the most common reaction from them is “Oh, I wish I could do that, but I don’t even know how to get started.”

Want to know the secret to finally getting started living a life you love?

Wake up and do it.

I saw this great post on Instagram the other day: “I stopped wishing that I would one day become the woman I wanted to be. I simply just woke up and became her.”

You can do this, just decide that you’re going to do it and get started!

5 tips to win at minimalism

1. Don’t let fear of the process keep you from getting started

Yes, your basement is a dark and scary place full of memories, cobwebs, and things that go bump in the night. But it’s only going to get worse unless you do something to change it. Start somewhere in your house that isn’t full of sentimental items like the bathroom to gain some momentum, then move progressively from room to room. When you finally get to those places where all of your stuff that you just don’t what to do with, you’ll be an old pro and ready to take it on.

2. Donate! Don’t sell.

This is a hard one for a lot of people, especially budget hunters like me, but it seriously in the best interest of your success to just donate whatever it is you’re trying to sell. You need the items out of your life. You don’t need to worry about taking pictures, posting, meeting up with people, having sales fall through, shipping, and on and on. If you really can’t bear to just take a particular item to a donation center, set aside out of your house or in your car and give yourself a couple days to find a person or organization that can put it to good use. If you can’t find someone after a week, just get rid of it!

3. Triage

During an emergency situation, medical personnel have to triage victims based on the severity of injury, I want you to have the same mindset with your stuff. Keep. Donate. Trash. This is your triage mantra. When you’re decluttering, only allow yourself three piles: keep, donate, and trash.

Example: Triaging your closet

If you love something and it’s still in good shape (no rips, stains, obvious signs of wear), it goes to the keep pile or stayed on its hanger.

If you’re not sure and you start to go “Well I haven’t worn this in forever, but…”, or “This dress was so expensive, but it’s uncomfortable/itchy/doesn’t fit, it goes to the donate pile.

If it’s in terrible shape, trash.

4. Schedule decluttering time

We schedule things that are important to us, that we want or need to take up time in our lives. So just like we schedule appointments, meetings, and family gatherings, schedule decluttering time. Whether it’s 30 minutes every night or 3 hours once a week, get it in your calendar and stick to it! You can’t make progress if you don’t get started.

5. Be ruthless

This might be the most important. Be ruthless. Don’t let old memories, perceived obligations, or societal expectations paralyze you. You don’t need to keep something that was a gift. You don’t need to keep a family heirloom that you hate. You don’t need a reason to get rid of something! This is your life. This is your home. Everything in our lives takes up our time and our mental energy. Only keep the things that you need, bring you joy, and add value to your life.

Minimalism isn’t about only having the bare number of items you need to survive. Minimalism is about living life with less, so you can enjoy life more. My minimalism will look different than your minimalism, and that’s okay! I can’t wait for you to get started so you can discover this amazing lifestyle for yourself.

I love connecting with other women who are making minimalism a lifestyle. Check out this post on tips to declutter and organize your home from Jen and Wendy at My Bubbles and Bubbly — a lifestyle and local guide blog based in the Windy City. Their blog is full of amazing tips and definitely deserves your time.

 

 

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How I finally slayed the laundry monster

Since I started down this path of simplifying our lives, I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how to get started with the decluttering process.

For a long time, I dreamt of clean counters, every object having a home, and actually being able to enjoy my evenings and weekends, but no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up running around like a crazy person, scrubbing bottles, cleaning up mess after mess, and fighting (and usually losing) to a never-ending mountain of laundry.

Laundry was a particular sore spot for me.

I’ve been known to go buy a shirt and pack of underwear at Target to avoid confronting the looming pile in the corner of our bedroom.

Every several days, once I mustered up the courage to slay the beast, the conversation between Evan and I went like this:

Me: Hey babe?

Evan: *mumbles* Hmm?

Me: I’m serious this time.

Evan: About what?

Me: We’re becoming nudists. I’m just gonna go burn these okay?

Evan: *shaking his head* Sounds great, hon.

Bless that man for keeping up with that running joke for 4 years.

I digress.

So when I started down the path to minimalism, I started with my closet. Between getting pregnant, growing a human, birthing aforementioned human, and then becoming that human’s mother while also working full-time and being a wife, I had gained and lost about 100 pounds, which left my wardrobe a hot.freaking.mess.

Even though I had gotten back down (and then some!) below my pre-baby weight, my body was just so different. Styles and silhouettes that used to be flattering, felt frumpy. I found myself with this hodgepodge of a closet that had clothes from high school and college, my first job, pre-#momlife in all shapes and sizes.

So one night after Ava went to bed, I popped in my earbuds, grabbed a few trash bags and cloistered myself in our closet.

And over the course of an episode of Wine & Crime, I eviscerated my side of the closet.

Keep. Donate. Trash.

Three piles. And I was ruthless.

If I loved something and it was still in good shape (no rips, stains, obvious signs of wear), it went to the keep pile or stayed on its hanger.

If I vacillated, even for a moment, it went to the donate pile.

If it was in terrible shape, trash.

Let me just say, that it was a stroke of good luck that I had taken the trash bags in with me, because by the end of it all, I had made piles of clothing that literally reached my waist and I’m 5’8”. I wouldn’t have been able to get out of our closet if I hadn’t brought them in. I had to tunnel out so I could get downstairs for more!

When it was all said and done, about ~15 bags made their way to the local donation center, 3 went out to the trash, and I was left with a wardrobe of clothing that fit and that I was excited to wear!

This change, coupled with my new laundry rhythm (1 load started every morning and then put away before bed), has really allowed me to breathe. I rarely have issues deciding what to wear, and I don’t stress about getting the laundry done because it’s just something I’ve put on autopilot.

So what’s holding you back? Don’t be paralyzed by the enormity of the task — tackle one area at a time and you’ll make progress.

xo- Sarah

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