Working towards minimalism can get overwhelming. Thinking about all the stuff you have – and how you can have less of it – can be enough to deter you from starting the process at all. When I started considering minimalism, I decided on a pretty laidback minimalism philosophy where I let myself just tackle one thing at a time. A no-pressure approach has helped me analyze different areas of my life and home to slowly become more intentional with what I keep and buy.
I don’t believe that minimalism needs to be all-or-nothing, but that you can instead apply it to specific things or categories, like your beauty products. If you’re thinking “where do I even start with minimalism?” here are four steps to help you minimize one area of your home at a time. Starting with just one thing can help you avoid overwhelm.
how to minimize one area of your home at a time
step 1 – look at everything you own
If you’re minimizing a specific item like books, put every book you own in one place. Or if you’re minimizing a room, like your kitchen, open all your cupboards and drawers. Make sure that item or space is clearly and fully in sight.
Minimizing is not just about getting rid of stuff. It’s about knowing which items you need, value, and use regularly. It’s tough to figure out which items are essential when you can’t see all the nonessential items, too.
step 2 – look at the space you have
Think about what fits comfortably in your space. With your kitchen, for example: how much space do you actually have in your cabinets and drawers? Are things overflowing? Would you like your countertop to be less cluttered? Do you have a container cupboard that throws containers at you every time you open it? (No shame if you do – why is this the hardest cupboard to organize?!)
If things fall out when you open your linen closet, if clothing gets lost in your closet, or items start to creep into rooms where they don’t belong, it really helps to think about minimizing in terms of the space you have first.
Since working to be more minimal and intentional, my mindset has changed when I see empty space. I don’t see it as space to fill anymore. I now see it as having what I need, and giving the things I own space to breathe.
step 3 – think about what you actually use
Put sticky notes on things you can’t part with. Now, look at the items that don’t have sticky notes: do you actually use them? How often?
We tend to hold on to things “just in case” because we might use them “one day.” Think about the last time you needed that item. If it’s something you only use once in a while, could you borrow it from a friend?
Getting into the habit of only keeping things you actually use will make you value and use those items more.
step 4 – consider quantity
There are some things I really value having in my kitchen – like a spatula. But how many spatulas do I really need? Probably only one.
Consider the quantity of the items you do use and want to keep. Just because you use this item often doesn’t mean you necessarily need multiple versions of it. Thinking in this way will help you keep your essential items clutter-free, too.
When you’re aware of the quantity you need of a specific item, you won’t be tempted to purchase another one on a whim.
Remember, minimalism is whatever you need and want it to be. You might only want to minimize a couple areas of your home. Or, you might be working room by room, item by item. Whatever your end goal, following these four steps can help keep the overwhelm at bay.
Do you have a process you go through when minimizing an area or item in your home?