“I’m working toward peace and prioritizing rather than pursuit and perfection.”
- Erin Loechner
I’ve been trying to Marie Kondo my life for, well, my whole life. As a child, I would spend a glorious Saturday locked away in my bedroom organising my two tiny shelves of fancy soaps, books and pretty boxes. Dusting, cleaning and rearranging my few worldly possessions, I’d while away the hours pondering the best way to showcase my prized Care Bear soap or whether to arrange my books alphabetically or by spine colour (I did have friends too, honestly!)
Even now I love a day spent organising my home, channelling my inner Monica. I dream of a life of simplicity, of a capsule wardrobe, of a minimalist home. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between and despite my desire for minimalism, I love stuff. Like really, really love stuff. The minimalist gurus would say I have a scarcity mindset – I’m always panicking I never have enough or that I should hang onto things as they will definitely come in handy some day (during the apocalypse, for instance).
Trying to be a minimalist, trying to live slowly, trying to purge my wardrobe, trying to say no to time away from my family, and trying to surrender my expectations about what life should be giving me is a process. A daily process. Some days I succeed and I feel wonderful, free and my wardrobe is neat and tidy. And some days, I fail, I second-guess my decisions, I feel like I’m missing out, and the laundry basket of dirty clothes runneth over.
But minimalism isn’t about perfectionism. It isn’t about ticking all the boxes, finishing all the tasks, purging every cupboard. You can still love stuff and be a minimalist. You can still live in a mansion and be a minimalist. You can still lust after the latest fashion and be a minimalist. No one is doing minimalism better than you (unless that someone is Marie Kondo, of course!). Minimalism is the journey, not the destination, if you’ll excuse the cliche. With that in mind, here are a few of my tips for moving towards minimalism.
01| Out before in
Try not to mindlessly add to your over-stuffed wardrobe with yet another purchase (guilty as charged!). Donate or clear out your unworn, unloved items before bringing new pieces home.
02 | Only buy the best of the best
Try to favour quality over quantity and buy the best you can afford. Cheap, fast fashion is cheap and fast for a reason – it always ends up in landfill. Save your pennies for the quality pieces you will cherish for years to come.
03 | Don’t stress
Minimalism shouldn’t be stressful. There isn’t a deadline to achieving minimalism – it’s often a long, slow process of clearing, evaluating and purging. But ultimately, embracing minimalism means you will no longer feel trapped and overwhelmed by your things so it is a goal worth pursuing.
04 | When in doubt, Kondo it
In other words, ask yourself does the item you are trying to get rid of spark joy? Do I need this? Does this enhance my life? Does it serve a purpose? Then depending on the answer, donate or bin it.
05 | Use the five-minute declutter technique
Set the timer on your phone and give yourself five minutes to declutter a drawer, then get on with your day. Or while you’re waiting on the laundry cycle to finish, give yourself five minutes to clear out a cupboard. Or while you’re waiting on the kettle to boil, sort the stack of paperwork on the kitchen table. Five minutes to minimalism – that’s all it takes!
As Zen Habits blogger Leo Babauta writes: “Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”
Amen, Leo, amen!