Minimalism isn't for everyone. That much is obvious. It's just not appealing or desirable for everyone to live with the "bare essentials," and that's completely OK. It's a personal choice, though it's becoming the new "norm" quickly. Simply: people are seeing through the façade that is excessive consumerism, and realizing how much more calm and relaxed — not to mention financially stable — their lives become when they give up on the need to constantly "get." The benefits to a more streamlined, less cluttered life are as obvious as they are endless, though the extremism of "minimalism" surely isn't everyone's cup of tea (or Pinterest aesthetic).
I'm here today to illustrate the middle way of sorts. The reality is that there is a way to reap all the benefits of a decluttered space and more streamlined routine without having to toss all of your belongings out the window (or, more realistically, into the Goodwill donation bin). While I would still recommend taking an inventory of everything you own and organizing what you need and parting with what you don't, that doesn't mean that you need to go full-fledge Kondo to achieve the same health (and emotional!) benefits of having a tidy space. Here, a few ideas to get you started: simple ways to declutter without having to throw out everything in one fell swoop.
Make Organization The Prime Focus Of Your Nighttime Routine
Organizing, cleaning and decluttering should always be a night time activity. You should start your day feeling calm and clean, not in a hurried or anxious rush to straighten up while you get ready to take on all of your other responsibilities. Not to mention: organizing at night (putting everything back in it's "home") is extremely calming.
Get Into The Habit Of Putting Things Away As You Walk Around
As soon as you come in the door, have a spot to hang your coat and place your keys. As you walk around your room, apartment, house, whatever — make a habit of putting things away. If you're walking to the closet to grab a coat, put away the shirt that's on the ground as you do. This may seem minuscule, but it's actually how you'll get things organized and then keep them that way.
Organize Your Clothing By Color And Use
Keep your tops, pants and dresses all together but separated from one another. Everything that you want to wear within a week should be within your view when you open your closet or a drawer. When you create specific places for your clothing, putting things away becomes a lot easier, and so does getting dressed.
Wash Dishes As You Dirty Them
This should be a no-brainer, but it's not as easy as you'd think. Often after a meal we just want to toss our plates aside and go relax, but that's how a week-long buildup of gross, rotting food stuck to an hours-worth of dishes to wash becomes a complete burden on your Sunday morning (and uh, a major annoyance to anyone else you live with).
Practice A "24 Hour" Rule On Purchases That Aren't Essential (Food Or Medicine)
Waiting 24 hours between the time you see the shoes of your dreams and the time you spend 1/6 of your paycheck to own them considerably reduces the likelihood that you're buying it on an impulse. Let your emotions simmer down before you make any big buys.
Do One Load Of Laundry Per Week; Always At The Same Day And Time
If you have to separate whites from colors, then two loads of laundry is fine. The point is to make this part of your Sunday routine (example: organize your space, cook for the week, do a load of laundry). It will ensure your linens are always clean, you're never looking for a dirty shirt by the end of the work week, and you're not trying to squeeze in a time to do laundry.
Keep Surfaces As Clear As Possible — And Wipe Them Off Frequently
If anything goes on a surface, make sure it is an object that either serves a purpose (as in, it absolutely needs to be in that spot for daily convenience, such as a phone charger next to your bed) or is something that really brings you joy (such as a photo of your sister on your bookshelf that makes you really happy to look at). In the kitchen, make your counters as clear and open for cooking as possible, and clean them regularly. (You'll be more inspired to cook at home, really!)
Never Let Your Email Pile Up
I'm not saying you have to answer every email the moment it comes in — that's often not feasible — or that you have to maintain inbox 0 at all times, because that's often not possible. What I am saying is that you should streamline what comes into your inbox (unsubscribe from everything that's not essential) and if you have a 500+ email buildup, go through and delete everything so you aren't in a constant state of email overwhelm.
Clean Off Your Phone And Computer Once A Month
Delete random, unimportant photos, downloads you no longer need, and clear your cache before it slows your browser down. The tools we use the most in 2016 — our electronics — need as much maintenance and upkeep as anything else.
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