On To The Little Stuff…
Now that you’ve tackled the big stuff, here’s where we get into the nitty gritty. The stuff in the closets. The stuff in drawers. The stuff in the cupboards.
Depending on where you’re starting (or how much help you’re able to enlist) Day 3 could be a whole weekend project. If you’ve got a serious amount of stuff, this could take even longer. Remember that this isn’t a timed project. It will take the time it needs to take. The important thing is, you’re doing it.
Take it area by area, work as much and as long as you can. And don’t worry, this minimalism thing is catchy. Once you start, you’ll get excited to keep going. Maybe you get your storage and clothing done on one day. You’ll start to look forward to the next day when you get to move onto the bath and kitchen.
Plan Of Attack
Once again you’ll have your plans on hand or at least in your mind and refer to them whenever the urge to hang on to something strikes. Measure the item against the ideal. Does it help or hinder your vision of a clean, clear, spacious, uncluttered and unencumbered house? Does it actively help you meet your goals? If not, you know what to do:
Storage is a great place to start. This stuff that’s in storage — old DVDs, board games, tools you haven’t used in forever — the reason these things are in storage is because they don’t make it into your regular rotation of useful things. Ask yourself why you’re hanging on to these things. Is it because someday, perhaps, possibly you’ll need it again? If that day hasn’t come yet, do you really think it will?
Are you holding on to something for sentimental reasons? Remember that the special someone, or event is not the object. Your memory of those people or things won’t be affected if the object that no longer serves you is gone.
Often times we find that after we get rid of the “thing” that reminds us of a special someone, we can actually focus on the actual memories of that person. Instead of thinking, “That was my grandmother’s trunk,” we can simply remember our grandmother and the person she was, not the thing that she owned.
This often the place where we tend to have far more than we need: our wardrobe. Think about a typical week, a typical laundry cycle. How many pairs of pants is that? How many pairs of socks? Of course you’ll need seasonal stuff. But do you need 4 winter coats? Or just one?
Our wardrobe is a place where quality always rules over quantity. You can only wear one pair of jeans at a time. Instead of buying or owning 6 pairs of “okay” jeans, own 2 pairs of good jeans. Jeans you want to wear, you feel good when you wear.
Take the “okay” stuff (and the terrible stuff) away from your wardrobe and all you’ll have left is the good stuff.
For the size of the room, there’s an outsize amount of advertising trying to get you to put stuff in it. Shampoo commercials, perfume billboards, face cream advertisements. It seems everywhere we look there’s another brand offering better, younger, smoother if you just try their product. As a result, most of us have far more grooming and beauty products than we need.
All those products you’ve tried once and never again? Ditch them. That curler/straightener/shaver that you’ve used twice? Outta here. That shade of lipstick that really doesn’t work or that beard balm that smells awfuls. Gone and gone.
The same goes for towels, decorations, robes. If it doesn’t fit the home or goal plan let it go.
Skip the fridge and pantry for now… We’ll deal with food on Day 5. Start instead with that stand mixer you used once. The toaster that burns your bread every time. It’s time to clear those out of your life.
For dishes, there should be one place setting (dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, cup, mug and flatware) for each person in your house, plus 2 additional settings. Unless you regularly (like, at least once per month) have dinner guests, this should be enough. In the event that you have a dinner party, many minimalists borrow extra place settings (and extra chairs, etc) from a friend (preferably one who is invited to the party!)
There are also many compostable, fully renewably sourced paper plates and cutlery available for your less formal gatherings.
As for your food storage containers, get rid of anything that should have a lid but doesn’t. Toss anything that’s cracked broken or is known to leak. If you decide to take our suggestions on Day 5, you’ll probably want to hold on to enough storage containers for one week’s worth of food.
Those CDs aren’t getting any more current… Those DVDs aren’t getting any less obsolete. We live in a wonderful age for minimalism. Movies and music can be streamed. Your CDs can be digitized onto your computer quite easily. Digitizing your DVDs takes a few more steps.
You’ll need to:
- Have a DVD drive. New computers don’t have these built in any longer, so you’ll need to (hopefully) borrow an external DVD drive for this purpose.
- Download DVD “ripping” software. This is software that allows you to take a movie you own on DVD and put it on your computer or store it in your cloud.
- Get digitizing!
No one says you must get rid of every book you own. But consider thinning your collection so you just have the books that really speak to you. The books that you regularly reference. Remember that a library card is a minimalist’s best friend. You’ll have access to just about any book (and a ton of movies) you can think of without having to own any of them. And the best part is, it’s free.
No doubt there are other places in your home that you need to go through. Linens, tools, pet supplies. Keep your plans in mind and subject every last thing you own (yup, all of it) to the 3 steps.
Use the methods from Day 2 (donate/gift/sell/toss) to get the stuff you’re purging out of your life.
Congratulations! The “stuff” part is pretty much done. Now… onto the things that aren’t “things” at all.