How to reign it in this holiday season
13 tips to have a more minimal and merry Christmas
The holidays...a time of what, really this year? We aren’t gathering (if we are smart and understand science). The usual gluttony is turning me off this year as so many are out of work and/or struggling due to COVID-19..
13 tips to have a less cluttered Christmas and reign it in this holiday season!
For me, 2020 was the year I walked my minimalism talk.
I had become enamored with minimalism a couple years prior. I’d discovered the minimalist corners of YouTube, Pinterest, and even devoured everyone’s minimalist Bible by Marie Kondo. (Which I didn’t buy, but checked out from the library, how’s that for minimalism?)
I had a charity come pick up all the furniture I didn’t want anymore and suddenly, like that, I met space again. The sound of my home changed. Every sound echoed off the walls and I vacuumed each corner finding earrings that had fallen behind furniture. There was a Christmas ornament my late cat had batted underneath oversized furniture that hadn’t been moved in years.
You don’t realize how it all stacks up slowly and organically — the stuff. It’s underneath, it’s in nooks and crannies... It’s like a set of Russian dolls. Each time you think you’ve seen the last of it, another one pops out...
So how do you start? How can you begin to become more minimalist?
First of all, you have to ask yourself why.
The essential first step in any journey is to check your motivation. I wanted to feel different — lighter and more free. I wanted to have less distractions. I became minimalist because I wanted to become more mindful of how I spent my money, time, and energy. I had somehow unconsciously become a “stuff” person in my early years. I wanted to consciously undo that weird habit and figure out what void I was trying to fill with “more.”
Even after becoming sober in 2013, I fully didn’t understand how much I’d become a believer in “more” in all areas of life.
I finally began to understand that “more” doesn't fill the void or make me happy. “More” is wasteful and never enough — and I finally wanted to strive for just “enough.” While “extra” can be nice, it’s hardly “essential.” This was the year I finally got it down to “essential.”
Reducing down to “essential” items saves money and time.
Having only the essentials means you know what you do and don’t have.
I was horrified in my early minimalism journey to find how many duplicate items I owned. I learned that when there’s too much clutter, it’s hard to remember what you have, so you end up going out to buy things you already have but can’t find or forgot about... What a dumb cycle to be in.
Then you end up with too much...
I ended up with too much cold medicine on hand and it all expired. I’ve had too many black leggings (hasn’t every woman)? Why does someone who hates fixing things own two hammers and three levels? Because owning stuff at some point had become unconscious collecting.
Some things can be sold, others trashed, many given away.
There are things you give to friends. Then there are the car loads of things you pack lovingly in boxes and bags to take to Goodwill (or whatever charity of choice is close to your home).
This is where the procrastination comes in every single time for every single person. I can’t tell you how long the piles of “giveaway” items sat in a pile or stack of boxes before I took the 20 minutes to load them up in the car and dump them off at Goodwill. I don’t know what the rule is right now due to the pandemic or which charities are still taking donations; do your own homework on that. But if a charity is open and accepting items, just do it. It’s not like there’s much else to do right now...
Give yourself a deadline.
Do it one room at a time with a deadline for each room. Put it on your iCal or Google Calendar. The key to getting it done in the beginning it to set appointments with yourself like, “On Saturday, I will clean the hall closet and drive whatever I don’t want to the donation bin.”
This is my weekend to get rid of socks. I have somehow accumulated an entire drawer or horribly mismatched socks that are falling apart. Yes, me, the chick writing a blog about minimalism. It’s a journey, not a destination. I love the people who are extreme minimalists and who brag about having only 50 possessions. That’s not me. I have probably more than 50 books! Come on!
So here are my simple tips to become more minimalist:
1. Just trash things — while you bust your own balls trying to decide what to do with things, I guarantee you, much of what you’ve been storing is stuff no one wants. Put it by the dumpster and come back in an hour. If it’s still there, it will still be there the next morning too. Trust me.
2. If you can’t stand to trash things, donate. Also, when you realize how much of your stuff no one wants, it teaches you how useless and wasteful most things are. Over time, you learn to buy less.
3. Give things to friends. Books you read already or clothing you’ve barely worn can be passed on to the next person.
4. Sell things online — but only if you understand how Facebook marketplaces work (for example “ppu” means “porch pick up” which I was never willing to do). Have boundaries with buyers, be firm on your price, and only meet people in public spaces like gas stations or store parking lots during the day.
5. Find a charity to pick up big items like furniture. I am very conscious of what I can and can’t physically move. I’ve thrown my back out enough times in my life. Call for help. You don’t have to drag it all off yourself.
6. Anything that is falling apart or in disrepair goes into the trash.
7. You don’t have to keep anything just because someone gave it to you as a gift.
8. Less stuff always equals less expense. Before I buy anything new now, I ask myself, “Do I have a place to put this?” Then I think it through and realize it’s more trouble to have it than not, and I don’t buy it. I save my money.
9. Remember: having fewer items of greater quality is always the best thing to do. The second something starts looking raggedy now, I can replace it, rather than “take it out of rotation and store it just in case.” Let me tell you, there really is no reason to keep a home full of “just in case” items. I keep cloth grocery bags and toilet paper now as my “just in case” items. I actually use them! But little else falls into the category of “useful just in case” items.
10. Don’t procrastinate. Follow a schedule and put it on your calendar. Commit. Don’t leave piles for donation lying around. That’s just dead energy stagnating in your home. It blocks your growth. I’m a Reiki Master and I live my life around how energy feels. A clean, unblocked, and energetically-blessed home is a creative one. It’s a productive one. Junk blocks your blessings. Get rid of it!
11. Figure out who you are NOW and self-reflect. Do the pictures on the wall reflect your life today or your past? Are they outdated? I mean, no one has avocado green stuff from the 70s anymore, but styles change. Does your home look dated? It’s fine if that’s what you're into. But I have found that I don’t LOVE some of the art on the walls anymore so it’s time for it to go. I am still comforted by the memories in the family photos, but frames that are from the 90s aren’t my vibe these days. They look old. Dated. There’s a time in life where it’s just time to up-level from cheap old stuff you bought when you were young and broke into things you can really treasure. Few things from my first apartment are still around. That’s the idea.
12. Dump the duplicates. The room where this was hardest for me was the kitchen! How did I have so many pots and pans? So many serving dishes — and I am NOT a serving dish woman. I could care less. That mandoline I bought on sale at Aldi; the picnic basket with plastic dishes and cups; the double-walled French press; the many baking dishes and pans; I barely or never used any of it. Same for too many plastic containers for lunches or leftovers... I stopped buying cheap Ziploc brand containers and bought ONE stainless Pyrex with a locking lid for lunches. Then I bought a bento box. That’s it. I no longer have an ENTIRE CUPBOARD of cheap plastic containers that fall apart, crack, or stain, or get those weird white spots from the dishwasher.
13. Keep only what you LOVE. There’s a Kondo version of this that you’ve probably heard of where, if an item doesn’t “spark joy,” it must go. But I’ve become more definitive and exact. I was really poor when I moved out on my own...and probably each time I moved. Ever. So I was more than happy to accept things people were giving away when they moved. My old AA sponsor gave me a ton of stuff when she moved; my sister gave me tons of household items when she moved; when my neighbor moved across the U.S. in a Fiat to Washington, she gave me LOADS of clothes, housewares, and home decor.
A pivotal moments for me was when I realized how much in my home was given to me instead of what I had chosen myself.
I decided that was energy that needed to go. I would rather pick out two nice things I like than fill my life with others’ cast offs. I was grateful for ALL of those items at the time. But I can’t drag my stuff along with everyone else’s into the life of my dreams.
Spoiler alert: the life of my dreams has nothing to do with accumulating stuff.
The key to minimalism is changing how you look at “stuff.”
Stuff always has a cost. It’s money, time, and energy. There’s storage, upkeep, and organization of stuff. Some people love stuff and get great comfort from it. To those people, I say keep your stuff. But I don’t know one person who hasn’t become overwhelmed by stuff at some point.
It’s something to remember this holiday season. Before we go out and buy others a bunch of stuff, we have to ask ourselves why?
Are we buying someone something we know they will love or use? Or is it something we are giving out of some pressure to give a gift? Is is something they even want? If we don’t know what someone wants or needs, we have no business buying them stuff they will have to deal with later. Think before you buy for yourself and others.
A step-by-step guide to becoming more minimalist in just 30 days!
In this 30-day minimalism ebook guide, you will find a quick, easy-to-read format with 30 days of tasks and guidance. You can use it to practice minimalism one day at a time or you can merely scan through for ideas. You don’t have to go in any certain order and can skip anything that you don’t feel applies to your situation.
Contains tips for handling tasks that overwhelm you when clearing your space.
Learn to become more of a minimalist from the standpoint of a very conversational coach.
There are energetic tips from a Reiki Master (Coach Heather Larson is a Usui Reiki Master). The “energetic bonus” tips will help you become more conscious of how energy shifts in your home and other areas of your life represented by your stuff.
There’s a time to power through the tasks of clearing clutter — and also a time to reach out for help. There could also be a time when it’s best to call your therapist… That’s in here, too.
This ebook about engaging in a more minimalist lifestyle will also take a look into digital minimalism and tackling your social media habits.
Take action steps to bust through your procrastination.
Read tips on what to keep and what to get rid of — plus tips on HOW to get rid of it all safely.
Certified Transformational Life Coach Heather Larson wrote this book full of encouragement that is tough but still friendly.
Digital Download: 675 KB PDF
Purchase this ebook and receive a link to download that’s good for 24 hours.