In my previous post, “How Living More Minimally is Changing My Life“, I wrote about how living more minimally is helping me reign in my crippling anxiety. It’s seriously been a game changer. Today, I wanted to share some of my most useful tips for living more minimally. I hope they help you as much as they have helped me.
The 15 minute before bed tidy-up.
This one is HUGE for me. After all the rugrats have retired for the night and you’re finally ready to enjoy some time to yourself, set a timer and clean for 15 minutes. Clean your sinks (there’s something about a sink full of dishes that keeps me tossing and turning at night). Clear your countertops. Even if it means stuffing something into a drawer (which I’ve been known to do – I won’t lie). Clear countertops = clear mind. Fold a load of laundry as you watch your favourite mind-numbing reality show (it almost feels effortless this way).
Simplify your mornings.
Lay out your clothes the night before. Lay out the kids’ clothes. Seriously. Pack lunches the night before – preferably right after dinner. Wake up a bit earlier if you can (I’m struggling with this big time right now, I must admit). Set a strict bedtime for yourself and ADHERE to it.
Declutter a bit at a time.
I don’t recommend huge overhauls when it comes to decluttering. The truth is, things get bad before they get worse, and many people give up before they even begin. The major impetus for our most recent overhaul (I would say we turfed in the ballpark of 100 bags of ‘stuff’) was a move to another province. Otherwise, I would not recommend dragging every item out Marie Kondo-style, especially if you’re like me and struggle with anxiety.
Utilize the ‘decluttering’ bin
We have a bin that sits in our dining room area. Every day, I’ll toss an item or two into it. Once a week, I’ll haul the bin away to the donation centre. If I haven’t used it, if it’s not in its correct place, if it’s been missing but we didn’t even notice – it goes in the bin. Sort of my Marie Kondo compromise.
Involve your kids in the process
I don’t advocate minimizing anyone’s belongings without their consent. One huge benefit of minimalism for young children is – I truly believe – humility. I involve my four year old in discussions about how much we have as compared to what others may have all of the time. Weekly we’ll go through her items and she’ll pick a few things out to toss. The key piece of the equation is we do it together. When she’s a bit older, I’ll get her even more involved in the process – coming with me to donate her toys to someone less fortunate, etc. It’s absolutely critical in my mind to involve your kids in the process.
If you’re stumped, tackle one category at a time.
I’ll be starting a decluttering challenge soon, so we can all work through the clutter together. Keep your eyes open! One night, sort through your towels. The next night, it could be blankets or mismatched coffee mugs. And so on and so forth.
Use a bin for each family member
Lawd, this is my biggest pet peeve. As soon as my kiddo heads to bed, I start noticing little ‘trinkets’ she’s left behind. Or I’ll spot my partner’s tools laying where they’re not supposed to be. I simply toss them in their respective bins, and they’re responsible for putting them away the next day. It’s quick, it clears the clutter, AND it still enforces the importance of cleaning up. Pro tip: use cute bins that work with your décor.
These are only SOME of the things I’ve noticed have made a significant difference in reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ in our home. BUT, I’m nowhere near perfect, and I definitely need to keep reminding myself about these tips from time to time. My home is nowhere NEAR as ‘minimal’ as I’d like it to be, and I have to admit I use my drawers and cupboards to hide clutter much more than I’d like to… but I’m getting there. And at least I can sleep at night. 😊
Stay tuned for my decluttering challenge – coming soon!