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7 Common Struggles of Minimalist Beginners and How to Overcome Them

Let me paint a very familiar picture for you – you wake up, go to your bathroom and get a bit agitated because your family members misplaced all the hygiene products, which along with those that already don’t have a place make quite a mess.

Then, a bit agitated from the very beginning of the day, you enter your kids’ room to wake them up and can barely see them because of the piles of toys and school stuff scattered everywhere. Already feeling a bit nauseous, you decide to calm your nerves by having a cup of coffee in a clutter free room, so you can take a few deep breaths and not kill anyone, only to realize that there’s no such corner anywhere in your home.

Now, you can pull your hair out, yell at your family and have a nervous breakdown, or you can go minimalist. However, with each item you encounter the same thought will appear in your mind; to throw out or not to throw out – that is the question.

Going from being practically a hoarder to starting a new life as a minimalist requires a serious transitional period, so I broke down the whole subject into eight different dilemmas you will most probably face. I had to go through the same thing, so I’m sure you’ll find my pointers helpful.

Is it trash or a memory to me?

Getting emotionally attached to items[1] was the biggest problem for me. When a random object was in your life for years, even if it didn’t play a significant role, you can’t but become fond of it.

I’m not suggesting that you should become an emotionless monster here and throw out your children’s blankies right now – that should be kept safe and sound – but you do need to develop a realistic mechanism and be able to determine what needs to go. Otherwise, your home will become a pile of objects (if it hasn’t already) and you won’t have a place to sit.

How often should I declutter my home?

Purging isn’t something you can do once and be done with it for all eternity – random stuff has a way of finding its path to your home. And it’s not just you; each one of your family members brings items to your home every day, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a receipt or a huge stuffed bear toy, it still takes up space in your home.

As far as I’m concerned, extreme purging needs to be done at least twice per year and my family is on it around New Year’s and at the beginning of July. The first time you organize your loved ones to purge your home from unnecessary stuff will be a disaster, because everyone will probably refuse to give up their stuff.

However, after a certain period of time, after when everyone starts enjoying their new clutter free life, the amount of purging that needs to be done will decrease as everyone will stop bringing a lot of things in. And don’t worry, this will eventually happen, because they will subconsciously realize that all of that extra stuff will end up in trash eventually.

Should I keep the duplicates?

Well apart from the obvious – having enough plates and glasses – the answer is no. You don’t need two tooth brushes, unless you plan on growing another set of teeth and no, you don’t need three measuring cups unless you plan on starting a business and becoming a caterer.

Most of the duplicates you have in your home, and which you’ll start seeing as trash very soon, can be another man’s treasure. Therefore, get a nice clean box, pack everything up and give it away to a charity of your choosing – I’m sure there are a lot of them nearby that will gladly accept your clutter.

What if I decide to wear it again?

You won’t. That shirt that’s been hanging in your closet for a decade now will hardly become a permanent part of your style and, unless you’re going to a costume party that has some of the previous decades as a theme, you won’t feel comfortable wearing it.

The fact is that there is someone out there who won’t really pay attention to whether or not an 80s garment fits their style or not as long as it keeps them warm. So, do yourself and that certain someone a favor, clean out your closet and give those clothes to a person in need.

Is there any clutter free zone?

Other than cornering your kids toys, there are other ways to make some parts of your home free from unnecessary items by declaring them to be clutter free zones. So, you should call up a family meeting and make a deal with them never to leave random objects like pieces of clothes or bags or toys in your kitchen and living room, for starters.

The common space everyone uses should be completely minimalist and always without anything that doesn’t belong there. The thing is that clutter doesn’t only take up room, but it also burdens the human mind.[2] The quality of time you spend together will most definitely increase when there’s nothing bothering you.

Can digital form replace the hardcopies of paper documents?

Except if a document is mandatory in paper form, you really don’t need it. Every receipt or a certificate you need to hold on to can be transferred into digital form. Another suggestion is to upload them to a cloud platform – this way you will have your files ready to use whenever you’re in need of them.

Will “just in case” ever happen?

And another no. Just ask yourself this question – did this happen sometime in the past? Did you ever really think “God, I was so smart to save this, I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have this item at my fingertips?” Unless it’s medicine or duct tape, my suggestion is to get rid of it.

There you have it – all struggles you’ll face on your journey to becoming a minimalist and living a simple, clutter-free life. Just remember to insist on this lifestyle by not allowing anything unnecessary to pass over your doorstep, or at least make sure that it leaves your home the first time you see it, and I promise you it will get a lot easier in time.

Reference

[1] The British Psychological Society: The Psychology of Stuff and Things
[2] Psychology Today: Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies

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