minimalist-lite | where to start

*Minimalist-Lite? What the heck is that? Click here to find out more!!*

Yikes! “Where to start” is always a scary question, right? Especially when the project entails overhauling the entirety of your home and habits. Don’t worry though. I’m not about to recommend you lock yourself inside for a week and do nothing but organize. I’m sure you’d crawl away from that experience with 50% the sanity (and hair) that you originally had and that’s definitely not what we’re going for.

minimalist-lite | where to start

Good ol’ fashion purge.

The best way to get started and ease into embracing a minimalist-lite is with a good ol’ fashion purge. You may have already done this if you kicked off 2014 with my 5 simple tasks to start the year refreshed, but if not, now is the perfect time. Grab a trash bag and go room to room, snagging things that you can say, without hesitation, are not destined to stay in your home. Think outdated and ill-fitting clothes, books you don’t plan on reading again, old and mismatched coffee mugs, etc. And don’t be afraid to get a little ruthless about it. If you find yourself hesitating to toss something you know you won’t use again, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you feel compelled to keep it?
  • Is the item from a family member?
  • Did you spend money on it?
  • Do you feel guilty about letting something go that still has potential use/value?

It might sound a little harsh, but non of those are great reasons to keep something you’ll never use. Think about it like this. Down the road, months or even years in the future, you’ll probably resign yourself to getting rid of whatever the it is and feel so much better about letting it go. Why delay? Holding onto something useless won’t get our money back and chances are you won’t wake up one day in love with it. Just let it go.

Beautiful, meaningful, useful.

Remember that the goal of living Minimalist-Lite is not to have the fewest possessions possible. It’s about every item that surrounds you being something you love and can actually use. Is it beautiful? Is it meaningful? Is it useful? Strive for two out of three for every item you keep.

A good example of how to determine what to keep is our stemware. We’re just not big drinkers. We were given all of these lovely wine glasses as a wedding gift, but in the three and a half years of our marriage, we’ve hardly used them. So yes, they are beautiful, but they are neither useful nor meaningful to us personally.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we own lots and lots of books. Probably more than we technically need. But we love to read! Josh and I both grew up as avid readers and that’s something we like to be reflected in our home. So our growing library stays.

A few hours at most

Please note that this task is not intended to take a whole day or weekend! This is more of a scan for those easily identified donation items. Please do not get sucked into the trap of spending four hours emptying your coat closet and sitting on the floor painstakingly sorting through everything. This is not that day! Today is about getting that boost of energy that comes from a good purge. At the end of this task, you’ll see a nice pile (or two!) of items to sell, donate, or trash and it will deliver a huge burst of energy! Just what you’ll need to continue this project throughout the year!

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the different and best ways to get this stuff out of your house. Then the real fun begins!
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7 Comments on "minimalist-lite | where to start"

  1. Hi Megan! I saw a comment in a forum, and immediately thought back to your post on minimalism and so I thought I’d share with you. You’ve been reflecting a lot on living simply, so I was wondering what your thoughts were:

    ” I left home and had to learn to support myself when I was barely 15. I worked through college, and then I’ve chosen low-paying philanthropic work ever since. Frugality has been a way of life for a long time. I thought I’d give my two cents for what works for me in a macro-sense. I’d also love to learn from you!:

    Frugality is about much more than saving cash, it’s about a vision for a life in which happiness simply doesn’t come from material things… it comes from people and experiences that bring us joy. Why is this important? When we are frugal simply because we are screwed financially, it’s easy to think of frugality as a burden. But when we are frugal because it reemphasizes a deeper meaningful vision for life, it becomes a choice and a truth we exercise.

    Frugality is a pattern that we reinforce with repeated actions that support us in choosing a frugal life. For those of us who’ve been doing it for a while, it’s easy to think it’s the only way. But it’s not. One look at the indebted American lifestyle, and we’ll see that it’s easy not to choose frugality. Frugality happens when it becomes important to us, and when we underscore that importance with repeated actions.

    I still need to inspire myself to be frugal. Usually we think about inspiration in the context of grand goals or beautiful women or whatever. But a lifestyle of frugality can be hard to maintain if we don’t remind ourselves why it’s worth it. I get collections of inspirational images in my inbox each morning like this: http://placeboeffect.com/rprescription?id=340 and about 10 others. They act as daily reminders of benefit of frugality, and help me to choose frugal actions and living throughout the day.” http://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/comments/1umkbz/macrofrugality_principles_an_overarching_vision/

  2. Accidentally Wonderful says:

    Great ideas! I’d love it if you’d share this at my link party, going on now! http://accidentallywonderful.blogspot.com/2014/01/accidentally-wonderful-wednesday-2_21.html

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