7 Minimalistic Ways To Declutter Your Life

7 Minimalist Ways To Declutter Your Life

There are basically two reasons why minimalism has become so popular these days.

The first reason is that a lot of people feel ‘trapped’ in the daily routine and society. Everyone works more and more to be able to buy more and more stuff that they can’t use because they don’t have the time. This means that a lot of people are overworked, underpaid and dissatisfied with their lives. To escape all this, people seek an alternative way of life: minimalism.

The second reason why minimalism is so popular is that we are now more aware than ever what we’re doing to this earth. With the melting of the ice caps and the pollution that’s going on, we see what we’re doing to this world we were gifted to live on. Everyone is questioning our future on this planet if we keep going like this. If you practice minimalism, there will be less trash thus less pollution.

 

Minimalism can be described in one sentence:

What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff — the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities — that don’t bring value to your life. – Colin Wright

In this article, I will talk about 7 little ways you can declutter your life with a minimalistic approach.

Get Rid Of Your Clothes

Not all of them of course, I don’t want you to be running around naked.

But seriously.

Get rid of all the variations of clothes you have, only keep 3 (or 4) sets which should cover all categories of your life.

Examples of categories may be:

  • Casual outfit
  • Classy outfit (for business)
  • The ‘chill’ outfit, sloppy clothes that you like to wear when you’re home.
  • (Gym clothes if needed)

Donate the rest of your clothes so someone else can be happy with them.

When you have these sets of clothes, you may want to buy 3 pairs of each outfit depending on how much you wear them, so you’re not smelling like a dumpster if you’re going to wear 1 outfit throughout the week.

Eat The Same Meals

A lot of people think that eating the same meals over and over is terrible and annoying. But it’s actually just simple. By having specific meals, filled with enough nutritious value and fantastic taste, you make it easier for yourself to stick to them.

A lot of people who are successful in the health area of their life apply this principle to their life. Bodybuilders also use this principle as it makes it easier to know what is coming in on a daily basis.

You basically need 4-6 to go to meals that you can rotate through on a weekly basis. Make sure that all these meals contain the nutrition you need. Think of enough proteins, legumes, and vegetables. Carbs can either be slow carbs (non-white carbs such as carbs from nuts and legumes like lentils) or fast carbs (white carbs such as pasta and rice). Also, make sure you consume healthy fats like avocado or fish.

Do your research and shuffle a bit until you find the right fit for you, everyone is different so that will differ from person to person.

An example of a meal (breakfast) could be:

  • 2 organic whole eggs
  • 20g of black beans
  • Salsa and guacamole for the taste

As for drinks, water should be your go to, always.

Get Rid Of Debt And Start Saving

I’ve never been in debt my whole life until I decided to go to college. The way college debt works here in The Netherlands is a bit complicated than the American debt.

I don’t have to pay the debt until I earn the minimum income of a 40 hour work week (which I can determine myself because I have my own business). If I don’t make that income within a certain amount of years (not sure how many) I won’t have to pay anything, ever.

Being in debt can be a pain in the ass, as I’ve heard from others.

The goal should be to either eliminate debt out of your life or never get in debt at all.

If you’re in debt, focus on paying that off as fast as you can. Hire a financial planner or another expert to help you.

If you’re not in debt, keep it that way. Start putting aside a certain amount of money every month and put it in your emergency fund. This is your backup if everything falls down, make sure you can live at least 3 months of that (preferably 6 months).

Once you have that in place, you can start investing in your own business, stocks, real estate or whatever you want to make money with. It’s crucial to have multiple sources of income instead of just your job. This way you’ll be more financially stable.

The next steps:

  1. Get out of debt and stay out of debt.
  2. Save for an emergency fund.
  3. Put money aside to invest.

The Walk Of Trash

I’ll explain what I mean with ‘the walk of trash’ right now.

It basically means walking through your house and throwing everything unnecessary away. All the small stuff you never use but think you’ll use ‘somewhere in the future’. Do you even believe yourself? If you’re not using it now, you’re never going to. And if you want to use it later, you could just buy it when the time’s right (unless it’s one of a kind).

Step 1. Put all the (really) important stuff at the same place or in the same drawer or even room.

Step 2. Pick up a trash bin or a trash bag.

Step 3. Walk around the house and throw everything away you don’t use on a daily basis.

Step 4. Look into your trash bin and trash bags to see if you can sell or donate some of the stuff, so it doesn’t get wasted.

Step 5. Feel free

The most important thing here is that you only keep the bare minimum, everything that you’re definitely using, like a knife to cut your food with or glasses to drink out of. Something like old shoes is not worth keeping.

Throw Your TV Out The Window

I’m serious, you know how much time a person spends watching TV on a weekly basis? According to statista, the average time spent watching TV per week by people living in the US was 24 hours and 24 minutes in 2017. The number for 2018 is currently forecasted to be 22 hours and 30 minutes per week. This still means that you’re having a second part-time job, watching TV.

Now, don’t think you’re an exception, you’re probably watching way more television than you think.

It’s a waste of:

  • Money, the upfront costs plus the costs of the cable and Netflix.
  • Time, imagine what you could do with 20 extra hours per week.
  • Attention, watching TV at a young age is proven to lead to attention deficiency when children grow older. Trying to multitask while watching TV also makes you less productive.
  • Awareness, if you’re watching TV, you can’t be aware of your surroundings and experience freedom in a way that you would experience in nature.
  • Relationships, if you’re watching TV on your own while you could also spend time nurturing positive relationships. Your relationships will suffer because you watch TV.
  • Creativity, if you’re watching TV, you cannot create thus your creativity will not get nurtured.

If throwing your TV straight out the window is too much for you. Try scheduling one day a week where you can watch as much TV as you want or try a whole week without TV.

“So, I can never watch TV again?” If you have a friend with a TV – which you most likely do – you can suggest watching a particular movie or programme at his place and talk about it afterward. Deepening your relationship while also watching what you wanted to watch.

So no, you CAN watch TV, just not at your place.

If you’re really serious about becoming a minimalist, check out this 21-day journey to minimalism post. It shows you the steps Joshua Fields Millburn took to become a minimalist.

Focus On Your True Needs

What are your life goals and priorities at the moment? Do you even have them?

If not, I recommend you read my post ‘Life Vision : HOW TO Create A Vision For Your Life’ on my blog and start setting goals for your life right now!

When you’ve set your goals and priorities, you know what to focus on. Focusing only on the most critical parts of your life will help you free your mind of all the clutter. 

Prioritize what’s most important in your life RIGHT NOW. For every goal you have, determine the main things you need and get rid of all the things you don’t need.

If your goal is to add 5 lbs of muscle in 6 months, you won’t have any lab material lying around your house because that wouldn’t make any sense. Minimize everything to the stuff you need to achieve or work on your goals, everything else can go.

This focus leads to less stuff lying around the house you don’t need. Believe me, this feels amazing.

Time Minimization

Minimizing time is also a way to become more of a minimalist. Time is one of the most valuable assets you have. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time. This is why you have to be very careful with what you spend your time on.

What do you spend your time on these days?

I hope you work towards a goal, nurture relationships or your peace of mind. Spending your time on low-value activities like watching TV is a waste, you could be doing much more fun stuff than that.

It’s important to know where you’re spending your time on, try to focus on the highest value activities (everything that moves you forward) in your life and minimize the time you spend on low-value activities (everything that keeps your attention from doing high-value activities).

Besides knowing what you spend your time on, it’s also important to know with whom you spend your time. Nurture the positive relationships (relationships that make you feel good) and get rid (or severely minimize) of negative relationships (relationships that are holding you back in some sort of way).

Time is of the essence here, be careful with it, before you know it it’s gone.

What Now?

Try applying at least 1 of these tips to your life right now and see how you feel.

If you’re feeling anxious, don’t be afraid, over the course of 7 days you’ll feel better and better. Believe me, you’ll feel freer than you feel right now.

Be free!


This post is written by Marnix Buijs who is a blogger, freelance content writer/marketer and online entrepreneur who helps people find their true selves on his blog. He also helps companies spread their message through their content as a freelancer.


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31 Responses to 7 Minimalist Ways To Declutter Your Life

  1. Maya Eadie says:

    Loved this article! I got into this minimalist lifestyle when I had to move country. Twice! Having only 2 large bags to put all your belongings focuses you to keep only what you love and use. Once you are free from all the clutter life is so much more enjoyable!

  2. Marnix Buijs says:

    Thanks for the comment, Maya! Good to hear you liked it. I think living a minimalistic life brings peace of mind. It takes away the stress you experience from keeping an overview of all the things you possess.

  3. Você está olhando para baixar alguma coleção incrível de mensagem de aniversario para cunhada então você pousou o lugar correto onde …

  4. Indira says:

    I also love your minimalist writing style. Goes right along with your wonderful suggestions 🙂

  5. catoosaflash says:

    __ Each morning, I watch about seven hours of TV programs in about one hour. I watch a one-hour local news show, a three-hour national/international news show, and a three-hour news/business/investment program. All are recorded. I fast-forward through the commercials, any speculation talk, and all but one weather presentation.
    __ That’s right, I said ABOUT ONE HOUR.

  6. Rose says:

    No one wants “stuff” anymore. The Chinese used to be a big market for America’s discarded clothing — the vast amount of it leftover from thrift shops that no one has purchased — but no longer. They have gotten wealthy enough that the create their own excess “stuff.” The world is being buried in “stuff.” Giving it away is not the answer. Not buying it in the first place is.

  7. Hlayisani Mamorobela says:

    Hi.

    I really enjoyed reading your article. And even though I had never considered this “Minimalist Lifestyle”, it’s a huge eye-opener. I specifically liked the part about debt. Being in debt does steal a lot of joy and peace from our lives. I’ll try out some of your suggestions…

  8. itsamystery says:

    Good article. I agreed with all but two: eat the same meals and give away your t.v.
    If you do not cook, then sure, eat the same meals all the time, but some people need variety and the creativity of cooking. As for giving away your t.v., fine, but don’t impose it on your friends and neighbors to watch theirs. Just sayin…

  9. I agree we have too much stuff. But wanting more of some things is good like: more tees, more bees, more fireflies, more clean air and water, more butterflies which we all can share. Problem is the 1 or 2% that want it all and want the rest of us to get it for them and enslave us by the notion that we can get it all too. So have a job that really helps others, really helps the planet, or both. Share resources and hand them down. The supposed economic leaders promote that consumerism is the engine that drives the worlds economies. That only works for the rich and the people that control the goods(usually the same). Thanks for a thought provoking article and a better way to live. Gerry

  10. Chip says:

    I have email provider hopped from,hushmail to Gmail and every provider in between including Optimum Online (Mid Atlantic mom and pop)several questions (now centruy link) as well as ComCast and Good ol’e Ma bell (AT&T). Only to return to Outlook.commas a primary and Gmail as a secondary email provider. As far as Cellular phone’s go I am A Verizon Wireless Subscriber.

  11. atterol says:

    Time spent before the TV watch programs is no longer the problem. The issue is the compulsion to carry around and constantly check cell phones and smart phones.

  12. WH says:

    Be brief.

  13. michael says:

    There a lot good filmmakers out there, so don’t throw out your TVs. Though, yes, I have eliminated cable. During the football season, I’ll pick up Sling. Otherwise, there’s enough content out there to watch something interesting.

  14. Claudia Davis says:

    I only watch tv selectively, and it gives me a lot of pleasure.
    But I do believe in a major declutter of your clothes/and stuff around the house.
    I don’t agree with eating the same meals all the time. You can cook many nice meals in less than half hour, and why should you deprive yourself of the joy of eating (healthy).
    And by all means, let’s drink a lot of water, but what about coffee and wine? Soda is out of course. – What is a high-value activity to some, may be of no interest to others.
    We all must try to move forward, but also have some fun doing so.

  15. Daizys says:

    A great article. One thing you did not cover is the internet and social media. I see people drowning their faces and whole personas into a tiny screen, a phone screen in a way and with such mindless madness one would think Armageddon is upon us. If you could please add an extension to your article and cover that, that will be very nice of you. Thank you so much.

  16. Ellen says:

    I agree with most of what you said. Eating the same type of meals gets boring. When I had only a part-time job for a while, I was eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch almost everyday. I still feel that I need to switch it up so that I don’t get tired of eating the same food. From my experience, when I get tired of eating a specific food, it is hard for me to go back to it because it’s lost its appeal. I realize that variations can be put into meal preps with the same category, but it’s good to have variety. I think that to be a minimize food, don’t buy more than what you will eat in about two weeks. I am working on that one. As far as TV goes, I probably watch between 15-20 hours. So, I can cut back, but I don’t want to get rid of my TV, at least not yet.

    I am starting to work on #4, Walk the Trash. For some time, I have had visions of doing that because I know that I don’t use most of what I have, and it is little things that pile up. I am also trying to resist accepting “token gifts” or free items at stores or places if I buy something, or if I donate money. More often, those free gifts are useless and definitely add no value to my life, so such items would just go in to the clutter pile. These non-profits who ask for donations and sometimes give gifts should think about more than just their own cause and think about the environment before distributing a bunch of junk items, like plastic bracelets, etc., and think about giving something else like a small pack of cookies or a 6 oz bottle of water, or just say Thank You.

    I did not know that the Netherlands has a loophole when it comes to paying back college debt. If you are working less than 40 hours a week, you do not have to pay it back. But what if you for a length of time worked 40 hours a week, are you bound to pay back that debt if you are making a small amount of money? Or what if working 40 hours lasted only three months, are you still obligated to pay the loan when you aren’t working 40 hours a week? I am just curious. So how many people in the Netherlands do actually pay back their college debts?

  17. UltraSkeptic says:

    What’s wrong with walking around naked?

  18. Mark Armstrong says:

    I use to practice most of this.

    I practiced these concepts as I prepared to return to college in my mid-twenties (I am 64). It helped me to blow through the goals I set for myself.

    My upgrade to the article is that you shouldn’t be a minimalist (sounds like you have to sacrifice happiness), rather, you need to be frugal, “Live the richest life you can afford”.

    It’s easier to do when you are single and without children.

    Until we bought our home and had children, it was easy to practice the basics of frugalism.

    A key element is to manage debt. Debt can be financial. Debt can be emotional or relationship. Debt can be time commitment.
    Getting married, having children, joining a club, building a career, having pets, ….

    I still have too much time debt – Leading our T&F Club. I have to step back and let others step up to make the club go. The Club is aware of it.

    The article is really good. It motivates me to get back to my plan to live a frugal life.

    I have shared this article with my three children.

  19. J.C. brooks says:

    Bravo! or is it Barf-O??
    Just another rehashed version of a good idea or is it?
    I especially enjoyed the paragraph pertaining to your own actions on how you have solved your DEBT problem or “So, if I don’t make enough money for long enough, I’m magically debt -free!! Yeah for you Little Dutch boy…. meanwhile back in the world of reality and responsibility, people that have morals and integrity pay their debts…. This new age spin is a virus that is eroding all societies globally. Stick to eating black beans and weight lifting food and re-writing others evolved works, rather than injecting one more tainted world saving PLAN . We are all full-up pal. Oh and maybe tune into The Andy Griffith Show at one of your dork buddies houses… so you can learn a little bit of what sensibility and honesty and integrity look like. It’s a FAKE show with REAL content. More real than YOU.

  20. Blade says:

    Keep in mind that “debt” isn’t necessarily bad. I think the problem is that people consider “debt” a big scary thing like college loan repayments. Yeah, you need to get that off of your plate. Do it. Totally just like this article says.

    But it’s ok to be in normal debt. That means having some credit cards and buying things on it. Reasonable things. Keeping a rolling debt like this is normal and fine as long as you have the means to continue to pay a reasonable amount monthly AND continue to put some money in savings. You’d scale this debt based on your ability to pay. So, based on location, job, etc.

    But don’t think being completely out of debt is the answer. Unless you’re completely broke and failing, you should manage a healthy debt.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Awful, give me my 5 mins back I wasted reading.

  22. Rodney says:

    I think with the meals he is trying to say: don’t have so much variety where you require excess ingredients that may go to waste. Just limit to what you will actually use. A 7 day rotation should give enough variety, similar to how school serves a set lunch on a particular day of the week. You can change it up from time to time or go out to eat every once in a while.

    I like variety, and have been trying to cook every type of recipe I come across, but it costs me time to get over the learning curve of a new recipe; and costs me in extra rare ingredients I may not use up or ever use again. I find that, having a plan and minimizing or controlling the food variety throughout the month can be beneficial.

    Of course if cooking up a storm everyday is what you like and can afford to do… don’t hold back.

  23. David says:

    I tried following these but I do not stick to the path. I come back to normal routines. Like I started eating same meals but then there was a time that I used to skip meals instead of having same meal and when I felt a lot hungry. I ate like a bucket of carbs at once :S
    *feeling shameful*

    _____________
    Hungry? Order pizza at discounted prices!
    Papa Johns Vouchers

  24. Who Cares! says:

    I don’t care. I just do as i like… And be happy…
    Don’t care what the know it all’s have to say..

  25. Marnix Buijs says:

    Thank you for your lovely comment Indira

  26. Marnix Buijs says:

    Good point there Rose! By not buying it in the first place, you save yourself a whole lot of time throwing everything away.

  27. Marnix Buijs says:

    Hlayisani Mamorobela, good to hear you liked this post. Let me know how it goes and if you need further help/resources.

  28. Marnix Buijs says:

    itsamystery, thanks for your reply! You don’t have to agree with everything I say because that would be weird. The reason why I put that piece about the TV in is that you will feel somewhat awkward and maybe even guilty when you go to your friends for watching TV which will eventually lead to taking it out of your life completely (if living a minimalistic life is what you want). As for the meals, if you need the creativity and variety, do whatever you like!

  29. Marnix Buijs says:

    Gerald Slezak, thanks for your detailed reply! I love your thoughts about consumerism and how we can improve this world together by having more of collective goods that benefit us all.

  30. Marnix Buijs says:

    I will put the rest of replies in this one message to make it easier to read, just search for your name 😉

    Daizys: You’re right, social media and internet are becoming the next things that will completely change how people live. In writing this article, I didn’t think about it but maybe for a future post.

    Ellen: Thanks for your lengthy response, you definitely took the time. Regarding the same meals, it’s just to make it simpler. You don’t have to do it as I said exactly but if a 2-week window is a minimum you can handle without losing the quality of life, then please do it.

    Regarding the college debt in The Netherlands, it’s a confusing situation. We used to get the money from the government and then if you finished within 10 years (I think) you wouldn’t have to pay it back. The first year I went to college they changed it to a loan system for the higher education. Nobody really knows how it precisely works and I would have to call the government to figure that out… So, I’m definitely not the expert on this, but I hear a lot of conflicting things.

    UltraSkeptic: Nothing’s wrong with walking around naked as long as you don’t disturb anyone (and don’t get caught by the police) ;).

    Mark Armstrong: I love that you shared it with your children! Regarding the minimalistic lifestyle, you don’t need to live it if it doesn’t fit you. But you can take some principles away from it, which you did. You should never sacrifice your happiness or health to live a particular lifestyle ;).

    Blade: You have obviously more knowledge than me about debt. In The Netherlands, we pay for everything with a debit card which is standard here. In other countries like the US, almost everyone pays with a credit card. So, in The Netherlands debts come usually from 3 things: house, car and student loan.

    I believe that a ‘healthy’ debt could be useful as long as you can pay it off, but you have to be aware of the interest that you’re paying when you do that. Again, I’m not the expert here; maybe this guy can tell more about it https://www.goodfinancialcents.com .

    Rodney: Couldn’t have explained it in a better way myself!

  31. Andrew Opel says:

    Really, really great read! Will be back for more!

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