Anyone can do it, and everyone has done it before. The problem is the lack of continuity and consistency.
I think minimizing is a three-step process, but contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just getting rid of stuff for the sake of getting rid of stuff. Getting rid of stuff must follow a process of letting go, and you have to be ready to do it, that’s the difficult part, getting yourself into the mindset to purge “a drawer”. Hoarding is just the way someone lives when they are not ready to let go, or use accumulation of stuff to fill an emotional and/or psychological void.
You’ve been a minimalist before, the problem is that you didn’t stick with it. You did it a few times in your life and then you quit as soon as you found your new comfort zone.
If you’ve ever moved from one house to another, if you’ve gone camping, if you went away to college, if you’ve lived with a partner and then split up, if you’ve ever gotten married (or gotten divorced), you’ve done some minimizing before, but more importantly, you know what it feels like to let go and move on with a purpose.
There are two ways of moving. The first way is just boxing all your stuff and moving all of it to a different space. No mental or emotional change occurred, the only thing that changed was the GPS coordinates where your stuff lives.
But there is a second way of moving away, and you’ve probably done it before: you gathered all of your belongings, and then you looked at them all. You probably had to put your stuff in boxes. Those boxes represent something else, but that’s topic for another blog post. Then you realized that you have stuff that you definitely do not: 1) need or 2) want, or it’s: 3) obsolete 4) not working, 5) something you no longer value, or 6) something that no longer brings value to your life.
For example, while you were packing your stuff, you found pictures of your ex-partner from years ago, or you found an old cellphone that doesn’t work any more. Found a CD that no longer works because it’s been scratched up and you haven’t listened to it in years, and realized that you have emotionally moved on, it no longer fits your lifestyle, and it makes no sense to take it with you to your new place. It then becomes easy to part with them, you realize you’ve outgrown it or doesn’t match your current taste and lifestyle. It is then that you find the nearest trash bag, and throw it away. Lastly, you take to your new place, only the boxes containing whatever you consider worthy of living with you in your new place and in your new life. You literally and figuratively moved on.
If this sounds like one of your experiences, then something special happened, even if you were unaware of it. Three things happened inside of your mind, and that is what minimalism is (or should be) all about. First, you found an area of your life to work on, then you evaluated the content and cut out what doesn’t work for you anymore and you should no longer have with you, so you threw it away. You moved on and focused on what’s truly important to you.
But where do I start?
I. Identify the area of your life that needs work.
We all have that drawer, you know the drawer, the drawer you don’t think much about, the drawer where you put stuff just in case. The drawer where you put stuff in, and when you are looking for something, all you do is move stuff around but you can’t find anything.
That is your drawer, you have identified the area on which to focus.
You should definitely start there.
First, figure out what doesn’t work for you so you can fix what bugs you about that area, in this case, we’re talking about my kitchen drawer, so let’s say that what bugs me is the fact that I don’t even know what’s in the drawer. Let’s fix that, the contents should be obvious and easy to remember after we’re done.
This is part 1 of a 3 part series.