Minimalism is having a moment right now. It seems like everyone and their neighbor is kicking their junk to the curb, cleaning out every nook and cranny to get rid of the things they don't really need. But the thought of going through so much stuff can be a bit intimidating.
Joshua Becker, creator of BecomingMinimalist.com and author of The More of Less, has five easy steps to practicing intentional minimalism, which he refers to as the "intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts you from living out your purpose in life." And the best part? You'll get way more out of it than just a clean home.
"By practicing minimalism, I found a life with less stress, less anxiety, and more contentment. Once the burden of physical possessions had been removed, I discovered more time and money for the things that matter most," Becker says. "Ultimately, this is what minimalism does for us: It provides opportunity to pursue our greatest passions — however we choose to define them."
1. Declare Your Why
Becker says it's really important to define your reasons for de-owning and de-cluttering. If you don't have a good reason to do it — whether your stuff is causing you stress or you simply need a fresh start — you're probably not going to follow through.
2. Start Small
People trying to simplify their lives often make one big mistake: going too big too soon. Becker says it's much easier to start easy and small.
"Maybe even begin with your car — so often a home for loose change, ketchup packets, receipts, and old pens. A clutter-free vehicle will not only feel cleaner, but much calmer," he says.
3. Go Through Your Book Collection
We know, we know — this one's tough. But there's no use in having rooms of dusty, unread books.
"Tackle the stacks of books in your workspace by removing outdated reference books. You can find anything you need to know on the Internet, and any book 'you should have read,'" Becker says. "Clutter — even intellectual clutter — can get in the way of accomplishing your goals."
4. Know You Can Be Unsure
Some things are really hard to get rid of — we totally get that. But there is a method that allows you to have a little more time to make up your mind about something you might not be ready to say goodbye to.
"If you're struggling with a 'high value' item that you're not sure you can part with, consider an intermediate step – leveling where you can put the items aside for a designated time period," he says. "When you come back to it, you will likely have a renewed sense of what you can and cannot part with."
5. Make It a Family Project
The process of de-cluttering is always easier when you get the whole family involved.
"Get the family in on the effort — establish boundaries for your kids about what's OK to buy or keep and what's not," he says.
Becker says he lets his daughter have as many toys as can fit in her closet. Hmm... maybe we should use the same logic when it comes to our beauty products...
Ready to try intentional minimalism? Check out Becker's new book.