What’s inside this article: 12 tips for people looking to live a minimal, clutter-free life so they can get organized, declutter, and prevent clutter from building up again.
The more things you have on the go in life and the more stuff you own, the harder it is to keep everything tidy and organized.
If you’d like to declutter, and live more minimally – these tips will help you achieve that goal.
Follow along, start small, and maybe consider this 14 day declutter challenge as well.
How to Start Living Minimally
1. Stop Procrastinating
If you see something that needs to be done, don’t wait.
Don’t use the excuse “I’ll do this later” because procrastination leads to clutter, which makes tidying up a lot more work.
If procrastination is an ongoing struggle for you, read about the two minute rule from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits – he explains how it works here.
2. Evaluate Your Belongings
Create a monthly evaluation where you walk around your house and peek through the drawers and closets, and ask yourself some questions.
- Do I use this often?
- Does this make me happy?
- Is this taking up too much space?
- Are there too many things in this area already?
- Will someone else get better use of this than me?
- I like it, but do I NEED it?
- Can I sell this to make extra cash?
- If I remove this from my home, will it reduce clutter?
3. Donate every month
Sure, donating makes a great way to help others out, but it really helps us declutter.
Keep a large box or bag in your home and attempt to fill it and donate the items to goodwill each month.
4. Just Throw it Away
It took me a while to actually get this because there were so many things in my house that I figured I should keep because I may need it for something later on.
That’s not a healthy way to think and I was always wrong. It stayed there and never got used. Just throw it away.
If you’re going to take anything from these organizing tips, this is going to head you in the right direction.
The 14-day declutter challenge is really going to give you a head start on this task.
So take a look around and figure out what you can donate or toss. Anything that doesn’t have a place in your heart, can go.
I know it sounds silly, but unless it really means something to you, or you use it regularly, it doesn’t need to be there cluttering up your space. This rule will make cleaning and tidying a heck of a lot easier.
5. One thing comes home, one thing is tossed.
If you don’t want to accumulate clutter, then when you bring something new in the home, toss (or donate) another item immediately.
This is the best habit you can form because it prevents you from becoming overstocked again.
When you buy a new outfit, donate one of your old ones.
6. Things Don’t Make Us Happy, Moments & Experiences Do
If you look back on a fun time you had, you don’t remember the item that went along with it – you remember the people you were with and where you were.
So if you’re looking around your home and wondering if you should keep this for its sentimental value, ask yourself if you need to hold on to it to remember down the road.
I recently purged what I didn’t need, like my old Dallas TX plane ticket (which was just a business trip), and some old Easter hunt tickets, and then I scrapbooked a lot of the other little things that I couldn’t part with.
So, don’t let those things cloud your judgment when it comes to keeping them around if they don’t need to be. Memories are just that – memories. You will always have them, and if you can’t part with them, add them to a scrapbook or a memory box.
7. Create space-saving limits
These are self imposed limits you need to set for yourself in order to save on space.
- Only keep as many books that will fit on your bookshelf neatly, and the rest can be donated.
- Pick a number of towels that fit on the allocated shelves, and if you have more than what fits – donate the rest!
- If you have a DVD rack, (do you really need DVDs anyway?) then donate what doesn’t fit. The same goes for the games.
- Only have as many spices that fit on your spice rack.
So in every spot of your home, pick limit of what can go there and how much is allowed to be there, and don’t ever change that number.
8. Designate a place for everything.
There needs to be a spot for everything in your home and if there isn’t, maybe the spot is the garbage or the donation box?
The papers, tools, books, and pencils, all of it.
Create a spot for everything you own and when you’re done using it, put it back.
It sounds so simple, but it works – as long as you squash that procrastination.
9. Never Say “For Now” – instead use the One-Touch-Rule
Keeping organized and clutter-free is a mindset too you know. You need to create better habits, and kick the old ones!
We had a really bad habit of saying “I’ll just leave my sweater here for now, and I’ll put it where it goes later.” – but somehow several items kept getting left around.
Kick the ‘For Now’ habit by using the one-touch-method!
The one-touch-method is actually how it sounds – you touch something once before putting it away. Rather than taking my sweater off, laying it on the couch, moving it to the chair, and then hanging it up (that is 3 touches) – the minute you take it off, hang it up!
That’s one touch!
10. Don’t hoard
You don’t need the butter container after the butter is gone
. It was hard for me to toss those containers because I always felt like I would need to pack lunch with it one day.
Get rid of it, and use your plastic Tupperware made for that.
Just look at it this way: if you won’t use it immediately, don’t save it.
11. Purge often.
Purge your things weekly (or even daily)! There will never be a time when you don’t find things that you can chuck away or donate. If you make it a habit to toss things, you’re on your way to a clutter-free life.
12. Adopt A Zero-Waste Lifestyle
If you’re consciously living a lifestyle the produces zero, or little waste, you will be living more minimally by default.
But that’s not all – You’ll also be doing your part to help the environment, reducing your carbon footprint, and minimizing the amount of trash piling up in landfills.
Zero-waste living can seem like a huge undertaking – but it doesn’t need to be. Read 7 tips for zero-waste living here.