Minimalism is a broad concept that encompasses fashion, design, and lifestyle movements. For myself, minimalism means a place for everything and everything in its place. Keeping an organized and simplified home has a calming effect and helps me to enjoy my time there. I started practising minimalism in my early twenties when I got tired of moving junk around from flat to flat, but I had to break down some psychological barriers and dispel my own excuses before I could let things go. Here are the biggest excuses we make to keep things we don't need and how to overcome them.
But this is worth something
If the only reason you are keeping something around is because it doesn't belong in the trash, find a purpose for it in someone else's home and make some money while you're at it. My favourite way of selling things is through local Facebook buy/sell groups. If Facebook is not your thing, try Craigslist, eBay, or other community pages. If you can't sell something for a couple bucks or don't have the time, donate items to a local thrift store or try to give it away. It can be very satisfying to know that you made some money off your things or gave it to someone who needs it more. Sharing is caring!
What if I need it one day?
This myth keeps us from throwing things out that we haven't used in years. For example, when was the last time you used that slow cooker or food processor? Single-use kitchen items like these can be handy but will clutter up your space when you can often find alternative methods. Everyone should make their own rules, but if you haven't used that kitchen utensil or worn that clothing item in the last six months (with seasonal exceptions), you probably don't use this thing enough to justify keeping it. Let it go!
This will fit again some day
If you are keeping clothing that doesn't fit you right now but you hope will in the future, don't. Today's changing fashion dictates that even if you do lose or gain the weight you want, your clothes will probably go out of style before they fit again. Your new size may also give you the perfect opportunity to purge your clothes and start fresh with a wardrobe of things you love. Do your closet a favour and stop keeping things you don't wear.
But this reminds me of the time...
So you find something under your bed from childhood, or in that box in the closet from the trip you took last year. Immediately you are awash with warm memories associated with that thing. But when was the last time you actually thought about the item that you're holding? If the only time you think of these objects is when you rediscover them in a box, it's time to let go. If you're a softie like me and you need to keep the memories alive, take a picture and save it on your computer so it is still around in case you want to reminisce. If piles and piles of old pictures IS your clutter problem, pick a few of the best photos from the bunch to reduce the space they take up, or you can digitize these too.
But it's in good shape
Sometimes you end up accumulating lots of similar items because they still work or are in good shape. Eventually all of your storage places like kitchen cupboards, desks, and closets get stuffed to the brim with things you don't use but are still use-able. The solution is to pick a reasonable time frame to use up these things and do away with the excess. For example, in my kitchen I cut down to only eight of each utensil, six mugs, four glasses, four bowls and six plates. For my partner and I this is about two days worth of dishes, which is all we need. The same idea can be applied to clothes if you consider how often you need to wash them. You may find that you don't actually need thirty old T-shirts for sleeping and fifty pairs of socks. Pick the best and scrap the rest.
I hope that when you start the process of cleaning and simplifying your space, you can use these points to dispel any excuses for keeping unnecessary items. Your home will thank you for reducing things you were keeping around “just in case” in favour of a more harmonious living space.