A Beginners Guide to Minimalism

January 10, 2018

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Creating a minimal lifestyle doesn’t have to be overwhelming and difficult. My beginner’s guide to minimalism will help you take baby steps to declutter and simplify your life.

At the end of the holiday season, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m sick of having stuff.”  The decorations that I couldn’t wait to put up began to look more like clutter.   I couldn’t wait to take them down.  When I feel cluttered, I struggle to focus.  The clutter in our home seems to add clutter to my brain.  So this year, I’m making a conscious effort to simplify and minimize.  

Let’s backtrack for a second.  I moved in with my husband almost eight years ago (it will be eight years next month). He had already been living in our house for several years before I moved in.  I didn’t have much to bring with me at the time.  I stuffed my clothes in my car, along with a storage box or two, and moved in.  Over time, we’ve accumulated a lot.  For two people and a dog, it baffles me how we’ve ended up with so much stuff.

And that’s all most of it is.  Stuff.

So why do we feel the need to hang onto so much stuff?

How many items are hanging in your closet right now that you haven’t worn?  How many mugs are sitting in your kitchen cabinet that you never drink out of?  Questions like these have made me realize that there’s no need to hold onto things that no longer serve a purpose in my life.  So little-by-little, I’ve been cleaning out the house and finding joy in empty spaces.

Telling yourself that you’re going to be a minimalist is easy.  Actually doing it is another story and can be a little overwhelming at first.  Where do you begin?  Are you ready to let go of certain things?  At this point, we’re in this together, guys.  I’m just starting this journey into minimalism myself.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Tackle one room at a time

You need to have a starting point.  Choose one room to focus on or even one focal point in the room.  I started in our dining room.  Our china cabinet was a disaster.  So with a little inspiration from Pinterest, I turned our former disaster into a simple wine cabinet. 

Now, instead of the cabinet being cluttered with glass, I have a place to store wine bottles, wine glasses, and some of our cookbooks.  I’ve been tackling our kitchen next.  I mean, do we really need 12 can openers and an abundance of cookie cutters that I never use?

Use what you have

This step has become really important to me.  Before I bring in anything new, I want to use what we have first.  That especially means food in the fridge and freezer, toiletries and beauty projects in our bathroom, and craft supplies in the office.  Use up what you have.  Instead of bringing new items into the house, maintain what you have instead of replacing it.

Follow the “one year” rule

Of course, you probably have a few things that have remained untouched for quite a while, or even years.  Follow the “one year” rule.  If you haven’t worn it or used it in over a year, LET IT GO.  Whatever the item is, it’s obviously not serving a purpose in your life.  There’s no need to hang onto it.  Say good-bye to it and move on.

Donate instead of throwing away

I hate throwing anything away.  Not because I have hoarder tendencies, but because I feel like someone else might find use out of my so-called junk.  Like they say, every person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  Consider donating to a local organization.  I schedule a pick-up at least twice a year to get rid of knick-knacks, clothing, and more.  It makes me feel good to not only make room in the house, but make a donation to a charitable organization.

Stock up on storage bins

This is a great time of year to stock up on storage bins.  Storage bins are a great way to organize those things you just can’t seem to get rid of.  I just purchased a few clear storage bins to organize decorations in our attic.  Clear storage bins allow you to see exactly what’s inside while keeping clutter at bay.

Simplify your decor

I used to think that filling up every space with decor made our house feel like a home.  Nope!  It just made our house feel like a mess.  Now, I just keep simple pieces out.  Houseplants help clean the air and add a bit of green to our home.  A couple of candles and an oil diffuser help to keep our home smelling nice.  Picture frames display some of our favorite family photos.  And to keep certain items neat and tidy, I’ve set out a few decorative baskets.  Now, instead of just looking pretty, our decor serves a purpose.

Clean up social media apps

I bet you didn’t think to clean up your social media apps!  Being a blogger, it’s hard to stay away from social media.  That’s why it’s necessary to do a social media clean up every now and then.  Delete any apps you don’t use and unfollow pages you don’t interact with.  If you can’t bring yourself to unfollow friends, you have the option to hide their posts on Facebook.  It’s even a good idea to go through your profile and cover photos and delete old photos.

I’m only just beginning my journey into minimalism, but I feel so good about the progress I’ve already made!  I hope to make even more progress once the weather warms up again and I can get back into the attic without freezing my butt off!  But for now, I’ll continue to make my way room-to-room letting go of the things that no longer serve any real purpose to me.

Are you creating a minimal lifestyle this year?


  • Reply Bekah Walsh January 10, 2018 at 6:11 PM

    I’ve been trying little by little to go minimalist. It’s amazing how much junk i have. i think i’ve gotten rid of so much stuff, yet the house doesn’t seem any less cluttered. it’s definitely worth it to stop every so often and eliminate what you don’t need.

    • Reply Jessica January 11, 2018 at 10:13 AM

      YES!! I try to schedule a donation pickup twice a year, so we’re continually clearing out stuff. It’s amazing how much is leftover and brought back into the house during the gaps! This year I’m definitely trying to clear out more and bring in less!

  • Reply bysarahhalstead January 10, 2018 at 6:59 PM

    YES! My boys are finally going back to school tomorrow and I can not wait to start minimizing their toys. They have way too many.

    • Reply Jessica January 11, 2018 at 10:11 AM

      Isn’t it amazing how much they accumulate over time? We don’t have kid’s toys in the house, but we have dog toys and even those are getting out of hand! I’ve been donating what I can to other dogs in the family.

  • Reply ashley January 10, 2018 at 8:58 PM

    This is something I’ve been working on forever! It’s slow for us because I’m still trying to shake my emotional attachment to stuff!

    • Reply Jessica January 11, 2018 at 10:09 AM

      Only the past couple of years have I really gotten over the emotional attachment to stuff. Now, it’s definitely been A LOT easier to clear out! I’m loving the space and organization more than the stuff!

  • Reply laniderrick January 11, 2018 at 9:44 AM

    I am working on a serious house wide purge this week!

    • Reply Jessica January 11, 2018 at 10:08 AM

      There’s something in the air! I want so much of the stuff we’ve collected gone!

  • Reply Lisa Marie Heath January 12, 2018 at 3:38 PM

    Great pointers! We’ve been working on minimizing the stuff in our home

    • Reply Jessica January 13, 2018 at 9:17 AM

      Thanks so much! It’s definitely a process, but I’m slowly but surely getting what all the fuss is about a minimalist lifestyle!

  • Reply Linda January 27, 2018 at 12:40 PM

    I schedule a Salvation Army pick up for after Christmas, before the Holidays. This gives me a goal and I am so ready after I have satisfied my Christmas decoration insanity.

    • Reply Jessica January 27, 2018 at 3:34 PM

      Yes! I’m with you! I try to schedule a pickup twice during the year, but one especially after Christmas. It’s so nice to let go of the clutter when you’re starting a fresh, new year.

  • Reply minimalistboy.com March 21, 2018 at 5:32 AM

    I follow the 1 week rules instead of the 1 year rule. If I don’t need something I am able to figure out faster than 1 year. Decluttering is so easy when you want t olive with less mess around

    • Reply Jessica March 21, 2018 at 8:24 AM

      Oh wow! That’s impressive! Once you start to live without the clutter, it definitely becomes easier to let go of unused items within a shorter amount of time.

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