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Less is more Clear the Clutter!


Minimalism in action!
Seven ways to approach minimalism in your home. 

How many times have you walked into your home after a hard day’s work and had to clean, organise or pack away? Three times a week? Five? Seven? The truth is that it’s very difficult to keep your home in order when you have too much ‘stuff’, so you’re constantly going to be packing things away. If you’re tired of spring cleaning every single year, or spending too much time organising your space or losing your keys amongst the collection of items on your kitchen counter, then it’s time to join the movement and minimise your home.

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The solution is pretty straightforward and follows a similar concept to what we discussed in the capsule wardrobe. The less you have, the less you’ll have to organise. Makes sense, right? The idea is not simply to get rid of excess stuff, but to be able focus on your purpose and to take control of your life. Most importantly, you don’t want to be owned by your stuff or to be controlled by materialism. Sure, your things are (in part) an extension of your personality, but they do not define who you are.

Reducing clutter and minimising the home may seem like a daunting task. What if you chuck out something you’ll need in the future? What if your home feels empty? What are you going to do with all your extra space and free time?

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There are many ways to start the process of minimising so to make it less scary, here are our top seven tips:

  1. Choose a room and start there. Looking at the home as a whole could be incredibly overwhelming, especially if you live with little ones. Start in one place, even if it’s just the kitchen counter or the spare bedroom, and build your courage as you move from one part of the home to the next.
  1. Reduce excess items. You don’t need three braai tongs, 15 wine glasses, 10 plastic tupperware lids that may one day fit a Tupperware you buy, or five extension cables. Don’t make excuses for items by saying you ‘might use them one day’, rather focus on what you currently use or what you need right now.annie-spratt-44241
  1. Go digital. Scan all your paperwork and then get rid of it. There’s no need to store it in the digital age, especially if it just sits in your office or garage collecting dust. This goes for photographs too – not the sentimental ones you cherish every day but the school or holiday photos that live in albums and are never looked at.
  1. Get three boxes and label them as trash, donation/sell or keep. As you move through each room, fill these boxes with stuff that fit under the labels. The ‘keep’ box is only for valuable, useful or sentimental items.
  1. Be ruthless. Do you really want to keep the programme from a concert you went to when you were five? Or the plastic ring from a lucky packet? Don’t hold on to things that don’t serve a purpose anymore. By letting go of unnecessary stuff, you automatically free yourself of their memories which comes in handy if those memories are negative. Letting go will not only help to declutter your home but to declutter your mind too.4.-Label-boxes
  1. Avoid impulse shopping. Before you buy anything, ask yourself if you really, really need it and once again, be ruthless. Don’t only think about whether you’ll use it now, but also whether you’ll use it in the future. And for every item you do bring in, get rid of something you already have!
  1. Hold a Packing Party. If you’re in a hurry or want to make a drastic change asap, try The Minimalists’ Packing Party: The concept is simple – imagine that you’re moving to a new home and you only have one day to pack everything. This includes toiletries, clothing, technological things, photographs, etc. Then unpack the things you’ll need in the next week, like your toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, clothes for work or cellphone charger for example. After a week you’ll notice that you don’t need the majority of the stuff you’ve packed away. That’s when you can make the decision to either sell it, donate it or throw it in the bin.

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Once you’ve decluttered your home, you can make room for everything that remains; ie the really, really important stuff. It’s always good to start small and move from there. Remember, minimising is not about following a trend, it’s about decluttering your life, removing the stuff that ties you down so that you can live a freer, more deliberate and meaningful life.

Keeping yourself inspired is also really important. These blogs are great for daily minimalist inspiration: Exile Lifestyle, Becoming Minimalist and Zen Habits.

Mignon van Zyl
About me

Journalist, hiker and design enthusiast with a mild form of OCD and a love for storytelling. After completing my degree at Rhodes University, I moved to White River to work for a lifestyle magazine called Lowveld Living. Thanks to my job, I’ve visited some of the most glamorous game lodges and homes, met wonderfully weird but inspiring artists, fed and kissed a tame hippo, hiked the ‘sentinel of the Lowveld’ and realised my devotion to nature. Most happy when I’m writing, walking or road tripping.

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