by Joshua Becker, author of The Minimalist Home
“The ability to simplify means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary speak. ”
Have incredible stories to tell by the end of 2020, not incredibly messy stuff in your closets. I sincerely wish this for my family and yours in the coming year.
So let me start here by asking you …
- Does your home serve you ̵
- Will your home give you the space you need to create happy, healthy memories and stories over the coming year?
These are not questions that most of us ask ourselves, but we should. After all, our homes are intended to serve a clear purpose in our lives – to be the space that we come back to, and the space we leave from every day . Our homes are basically the foundation of our daily lives.
If your home serves you well, it is a safe haven from the storms of life – a space to relax, rest and connect meaningfully with loved ones and friends. And it is a safe departure port when you are ready to lose life's choppy sea again. A home serves you best when it offers both of these benefits.
A home does not serve you when it complicates your life and takes more than it gives. When you own your home (and maintain the property in it) becomes your focus, you will spend your limited and valuable resources (time, energy, money) on taking care of it. That's when you know you're serving your home. You spend less time living the life you want, because you spend more time cleaning, maintaining and repairing – and maybe also pay a hefty mortgage or rent for the privilege.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. It is possible to live more by owning less. And that is the prerequisite for my writing in The Minimalist Home. It is a purpose-based guide to a simpler, decluttered, refocused life – one that ensures that your home serves you and not the other way around. It recognizes that each of us can love the house – the home – we live in.
Here are 19 changes I offer in the book to create a home that better serves you:
- Get your head right on what is important, and what in your home distracts you from what matters. For most of us, our exaggerated physical possessions do not make us happy. Even worse, they take us away from the things that do. Once we release the things that don't matter, we are free to pursue all things that really matter. And sometimes, minimizing physical possessions means an old dream must die. But this is not always a bad thing. Because sometimes it takes (mentally and emotionally) to give up the person we wanted to be to fully appreciate the person we can actually become.
- Remove decorations that no longer inspire you. Just because something made you happy earlier doesn't mean you have to keep it forever. Your life has gone on – maybe it's time for the decoration to do the same. Remove knicknacks and pictures that no longer inspire you. Or the decoration you bought it once because it was at stake. Keeping only the items that matter most to you will help them shine.
- Reject the convenience failure. There are some places in our homes that we usually hand out things for convenience – a bundle of favorite DVDs in the corner, appliances on the counters in the kitchen, toiletries next to the sink. By leaving these things we believe that we save time and simplify our lives. It is the failure of convenience. Sure, we can save a few seconds, but the other 99.9 percent of the time, these articles just sit there and create a visual distraction. If you do not use your convenience items at least 50 percent of the time they are out, keep them in a cupboard or box and out of sight.
- Distinguish between simplifying (or minimizing) and cleaning up. Just because a room is neat does not necessarily mean that it is clean or serves its purpose. Well organized mess is still messy. Never organize what you don't even use and can easily donate to someone who will.
- Count "clutter costs." It can be difficult to get rid of things you spent a lot of money on. But keeping things you no longer carry, use or love also has a cost – each item has a burden and an advantage. The burden or "mess costs" is the money, time, energy and space an item requires of you. If you have trouble dropping an expensive product that you do not use – or any item for that matter – remember to consider the relationship between benefit and burden before deciding to keep it.
- Free wardrobe space. One of the biggest complaints people have about their homes is that the wardrobes are too small. If you think you need bigger closets, maybe all you need to do is fix your wardrobe – and your wardrobe will feel bigger overnight.
- Donate clothes you don't love. Once you have decluttered your wardrobe, you will find more space and tranquility each morning when you are ready, rather than facing stress and determination. In addition, donating unused clothing to a local charity is a simple but meaningful way to help others.
- Declutter duplicates. I call this to minimize the accelerator because it is one of the easiest things you can do to make rapid progress. For example, open the linen closet. How many extra pillows, sheets and towels do you really need? Other good candidates for eliminating duplicates include cleaning supplies, garden tools, fashion accessories, home offices, toys, books and kitchenware. Keep your favorite in each category – the ones you actually use – and get rid of the rest.
- Clear your dining table. Is your dining room table a repository for mail, backpacks, keys and other things that are moving from one place to another? If so, the chance of using it for a meal may seem like more work than it's worth. Remove the items where they belong. Make your table top a clean, open and inviting space.
- Invite the right people to gather at your dining table, often. These are the people you love, who love and appreciate you and who encourage you to become better in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones that make you feel more alive and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and anchor who you want to be. In summary, your efforts have given you more room to share stories, experiences, hugs and laughter with family, good friends and close neighbors. Don't forget to make it count.
- Practice gratitude, in your home daily. At least once a day, it is good to pause in your pursuit of a simpler and more organized life, look around and simply appreciate the life you are currently living. As Marc and Angel shared in their recent New York Times salesman, "Look around and be grateful right now. For your health, your family, your friends and your home. Nothing lasts forever. ”
- Take down characters that don't genuinely vibrate with your current values. I know a woman with a sign in the laundry room who says, "It's tough to live in the fast lane when you're married to a speed bolt." I get humor, but I wonder how reading that sign every day can affect her approach to her marriage, even in small ways. If you are going to put words on your walls, do you not want them to inspire you and call you louder instead?
- Calm a space to read and be at peace. Even if you are not looking to declutter an entire room, you can "calm down" a space. You calm a space when you minimize distractions. Choose a favorite chair and declutter everything around it. Remove everything from the non-furniture floor. Clear side tables or coffee tables by removing or storing remote controls, pet toys, toys, hobby items, old magazines / magazines, mail, books, etc.
- Clean your entertainment center. These large pieces of furniture often have many small objects that we no longer need. Take out old electronic components, wires you don't need, and discs and games that no one uses. Get rid of them by reusing them responsibly, arranging the devices you use in an eye-catching display and hiding their cords as much as possible.
- Get your beauty and care supplies. I don't know how big your bathroom is, but get rid of the mess and I guarantee it seems roomier and quieter to be in. Empty the cabinets and drawers. Separate beauty tools (hairdryer, styling iron, saver, etc.) from beauty items (makeup, lotion, aftershave, etc.). Remove duplicates, throw out anything that is broken or old and get rid of things you no longer use. Then wash your storage containers and arrange what you will keep.
- Fix yourself with a junk. Most of us have one. It is the standard resting place for small objects that have no better place to be. Or for things we think may have some use but we can no longer remember what it is. Chances are you can throw out most of what's in there and never miss it.
- Clear space for your car in the garage. A garage does not work well if it does not serve its purpose, which is to house your car. That is not to say that there is something wrong with using a garage for storage, but it is possible to go too far with it – and many of us do. Get rid of all obvious candidates for decluttering – odds and ends and scraps, children's unused toys and sports equipment, duplicated tools, spare parts, etc.
- Set physical limits for your children. Give your children some space and let them handle it the way they want. For example, in our garage, my wife and I have a shelf unit and a plastic container. The children keep their outdoor toys on the shelves and keep balls in the compartment. When things start to flow, we ask them to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. The same principle applies to a bedroom or a toy basket.
- Also leave space between everything you do in your home. Clear some extra space between your personal information and duties. Take a break to stretch, take a short walk outside, drink a glass of water, maybe do some simple deep breathing exercises. Enjoy the (emotional and physical) space you have created for yourself in your home and breathe. Remember, your overall goal is to live a life that is unclear by most things that people fill their lives with, giving you room for what really matters. A life that is not constant busyness, rush and stress, but instead conscious contemplation, creation and connection to the people and activities you love.
- Be less "busy" and more purposeful 2020. – As Marc and Angel said in one of their newsletters via email: "There is a big difference between being busy and being effective. Don't confuse movement and progress. A rocking horse continues to move but never moves forward, so try not to be the rocking horse in your personal life by 2020. "😉
Obviously you may not be able to handle all 20, but How about two or three when you start in 2020? A home that will serve you well during the year to come is a beautiful thing, it is less distracting and more soothing, making it both a joy to come back to and an inspiring place to go Don't wait any longer to have a home that gives more than it takes.
Now it's your turn …
I'd love to hear from you in the comments section.
What part of your home needs a little simplifying 2020?
N Anything else to share?
Leave me a comment below.
Author Bio: Joshua Becker is the founder and editor of Become Minimalist, a website that reaches more than 1 million readers each month and inspires people to live more by owning less. He is a national best-selling author and his new book, The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life, is available now.