Becoming Minimalist: What Happened When I Got Rid Of One Thing, Every Day, For 30 Days
By Second Floor Flat on July 09, 2014
It's been just over a month since I wrote about my plan to "become minimalist" by getting rid of one thing, every day, for 30 days.
It sounded like a lofty goal at the time, but once I started on my minimalist mission, something interesting happened.
I couldn't stop getting rid of things. Once I took a hard look at what I owned, I was shocked at just how many things I didn't really, truly want. Here's how I did it:
1. Start With Clothing
Maybe you're already the type of person who keeps a close watch on their wardrobe. If so, congrats! You're better than the rest of us.
For everyone else: Take a good, hard look at your wardrobe and get rid of everything that you don't really wear, don't really enjoy wearing, and that doesn't fit properly. If it doesn't fit and doesn't make you feel confident and amazing, it's gone – no exceptions. This will be easier than you think.
2. Move On To Footwear
Follow the same rules as listed above. Any shoes that don't fit properly, hurt your feet, or that you just don't wear are out. No questions. Continue this same step with jewelry for women, and accessories for men. You'll be shocked at the sheer number of things you have that you don't completely like.
This is a tough one. I'm happiest in a home that's filed with books – real ones, not electronic ones. But I noticed that I had a lot of books lying around that didn't hold a significant place in my life. There were plenty of books that I'd read, liked ok, and kept just to have. If you didn't love the book, don't plan on re-reading it, and don't have an emotional connection to it, why are you keeping it?
4. Everything Else
It's time for both the hardest part, and the part that's the most fun. After I'd already given away all of my polyester el-cheapo pieces (I donated one shirt with a material that was so cheap it made my skin crawl. Why did I buy that?), I took a good, hard look at everything left around me. Quite literally, I'd start and end my day just standing in a room in our flat, looking at everything. After a few minutes, something that I didn't want would almost always pop out at me.
5. The Snowball Effect
When you're looking for things to give away, you'll discover that oftentimes once you find one piece, you'll find another…and maybe even another. Before you know it, you'll have a mini-pile of things ready to be donated. This is The Snowball Effect.
6. Sleep On It
Not sure about that shirt, or that book? Put it aside and go about your daily life. After a few days of looking at it and realizing how much you don't (or do) use it, you'll make a decision once and for all.
During my little month-long experiment, I donated at least one large garbage bag of items every single week. And my god, did it feel good.
It felt good to make a decision about something I had and realized I no longer needed. It felt good to drop off a bag at my local thrift store (charity shop), and it feels good now to be able to look through the clothes in my wardrobe and dresser, see what I have, and know that I really want them.
But the best part of this experiment – aside from the fact that it's opened me up, mentally – is that it's made me a much smarter consumer. I think about every single thing I buy now. If it's going to end up in another garbage bag on its way to a charity shop, why even do it?
So: now it's your turn. I totally, completely, definitely challenge you guys to get rid of one thing every day, for 30 days. Do it! And let me know how it goes.
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