Is the thought of downsizing stressing you out? You are not alone. While many people consider the tiny life a simple one, downsizing is no easy task. For many, the transition to minimalist living may be their biggest challenge while chasing their tiny home dreams.
If you are considering moving into a tiny home, you are probably drawn to the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle – you may have even started trying to declutter! And if this is you, you probably also discovered that decluttering your world for a minimalist lifestyle is not exactly the easiest task in the world.
However, there is freedom in a clutter-free space. The freedom to appreciate the things that truly add value to your life. The freedom to understand your wants versus your needs. The freedom to detach from items that no longer add any value to what you need and want in your life.
Here are a few decluttering and downsizing tips to jump-start your transition into a minimalist lifestyle!
1. Identify Wants vs Needs
While some needs are more obvious than others, like clean water, food, and a place to live, some may be a little harder to identify than others. However, we can break down our needs into 2 categories: 1. Things we need to survive (water, food, and a roof over our heads), 2. Things we need to live comfortably. For example, we technically don’t need a phone in order to survive, however, it is more practical to have one in order to function comfortably in today's society.
In contrast, our wants are the things we desire simply because we like them. Just like our needs, we can break down our wants into 2 categories: 1. Things we want that add joy to our lives, such as a new pair of Nike tennis shoes, and 2. The things we want that do not benefit us, such as buying a second…a third… and a fourth pair of Nikes because we wanted 4 different colors.
2. One category at a time – Use Marie Kondo’s Method!
Have you ever heard of the KonMari method? Created by Marie Kondo, the world’s #1 expert in helping people declutter their homes and create inspiring spaces, the KonMari method encourages people to keep items that speak to the heart and discard items that do not “spark joy.”
One other key principle of the KonMari method is to declutter by category, not by space. It can be extremely overwhelming to clean out an entire room – where do you even start? Instead, Marie Kondo explains that choosing a category such as books, papers, or clothes, can help us set a more realistic and attainable goal.
If you are interested in learning more about this method, check out “Sparking Joy” on Netflix – watch and learn as Marie Kondo teaches others how to declutter their homes and find items that truly add value to their lives and “spark joy.” For more information about the KonMari method, you can also read Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.
3. Backpack Trip trial run
If you have been dreaming about a cross-country backpacking trip, now is the time to pack your bag – emphasis on BAG. Two words: resource management. Take a trip and only allow yourself one bag and pack only the essentials. This is a great opportunity to discover what items take priority while on the go! For those chronic over-packers out there, this may be a bit of a challenge. But hey, there is no better incentive to consolidate items than having to carry them all on your back.
4. Eliminate Multiples
Let’s talk about multiples. Remember the four pairs of Nike shoes we were talking about earlier? Maybe we don’t need four pairs of the same shoes, but we can keep the pair that we love and wear the most – but we know this is easier said than done. If you, like many, have an emotional attachment to your closet, maybe an easier place to start would be with the kitchen utensils – it may be easier to get rid of that fourth whisk than those Nikes!
5. One Item a Day
In the process of decluttering your home to downsize, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. We mentioned setting realistic goals with the KonMari method, however, even choosing one category of items to tackle may seem overwhelming. If this is you, you are not alone. Decluttering is a daunting task – one that seems endless with no great place to start. Take a bit of the pressure off of yourself and try taking one step at a time. A place to start would be to let go of just one item a day. This could be a pair of socks that you haven’t worn in two years because they have holes, or that old phone case that you’ve been holding on to that hasn’t fit your phone since 2015.