Tips to keep your home tidy and habits to form from a minimalist mom.
If you’ve been interested in minimalism for even 3 seconds, you probably understand the basics… or, something along the lines of: only keep the things that spark joy!
This mentality is incredibly useful when it comes to getting rid of your stuff, but how do you maintain a tidy home? How do you live minimally in your day-to-day life?
I’ve been working on living as a minimalist for the past year (seriously, still a work-in-progress!), so I want to share some of the practical things I’ve done to transform my home so it’s easier to manage and takes up less of my time.
Don’t Stockpile Household Stuff
I never thought of myself as someone who stockpiles, but even subtle stockpiling can cause serious clutter. Do you go to the store and by 2 for 1, just because of a deal? Unless you’re using all of it within a week or two, I call stockpiling!
I have been SO guilty of this! I would buy 3+ cartons of almond milk at a time because it “lasts forever” and “we’ll use it eventually!” However, storing all of that in my fridge took up SO much room. I’d get overwhelmed by my over-stuffed refrigerator. So, I only started buying almond milk if we needed more in the next week, and only as much as we use before the next time I go to the store.
The same goes for all other household items – chips, soda, soap, toilet paper, etc.
Simply keep your storage space in mind. If you have a good place to store toilet paper, then buy the big pack! Just don’t buy so much toilet paper that it lasts you 6+ months. Your house is not a storage warehouse. 🙂
Creating modules has been one of my favorite parts of minimalism! This idea is two fold. First, store all related items together. So, don’t have 3 different spots for extra cables throughout your home. All extra cables should live in one container. This can be called your cable module.
Second, create modules for different activities. For example, if you sit down and pay bills on a monthly basis, create a bill paying module. Get a clear plastic box with a lid and put a pen, calculator, important bank information, and any anything else you need in it to pay bills. When you sit down to pay bills each month, you’ll have everything you need ready for you in the module.
If you enjoy a hobby like knitting, create a knitting module that includes your yarn, needles, scissors, and other knitting accessories. Not only does it make it convenient to start knitting by having all your items together, it keeps them organized so it’s easy to store.
Your surfaces need room to breathe. If they’re always covered in stuff, they’ll feel heavy from holding all the stuff. A few months back I started keeping my kitchen countertops and all my tables tables completely clear. My mind doesn’t have to do the, “this stays, this goes,” dance. Whenever there’s anything on them, I know I need to clear it off. It’s harder for stuff to get lost among the abyss of decor and appliances when there’s nothing there!
My motto here: Clutter begets clutter!
I hate to break it to you, but decluttering your home isn’t a one-and-done thing. Even as you’re living minimally, your habits and needs will change over time. Something you find incredibly useful right now might not be useful for you in 6 months.
With this in mind, it’s been incredibly handy to keep a minimalist basket. It’s essentially a basket where you can put things you want to donate. By the door is a good spot. Once the basket fills up, it’s time to stop at the donation center!
By having a dedicated spot to donate stuff, it will make the decision to donate non-useful things easier. Instead of thinking, “Where should I put this until I can donate it?” you already have a dedicated spot!
How often should I purge?
I like to purge-as-I-go, but it’s usually about once per month, or whenever my home starts to feel cluttered again.
Only House the Stuff You Use
When you bought your home (or rented an apartment), the cost of it was partially determined by the size. As you’re paying your monthly mortgage/rent, you’re paying money for every square foot of your living space. You following?
To make the most of the space you’re paying for, it should be livable. Otherwise, you’re literally paying to store your stuff. You might as well be paying a storage facility. Except it’s your home, which is the place where you should live.
That’s why I can’t stress this enough: Only keep the stuff that you’re using to live.
Is it worth it to store paint you haven’t used in 5 years?
Is it worth it to store clothes you haven’t worn in 3 years?
Is it worth it to store 6 months worth of food (or food you’re buying “just in case”), when you go to the grocery store 20+ times during that time?
Would you rather live in a cluttered home? Or an uncluttered home?
Minimalism doesn’t have to be scary, cold, or all-white. It’s simply choosing to live with only your necessities. Only the things that you need, and not store excess. Something that has helped me loads with this is…
Stop Worrying About Regrets
Your stuff is literally just stuff. They’re just things. They don’t have feelings, emotions, or memories. A shirt is literally just a piece of fabric stitched together.
Have I ever gotten rid of something, then wished I still had it? Yes, but that doesn’t stop me from letting it go. Just because I got rid of it doesn’t mean I should have kept it.
If I need something I don’t have, I either borrow it, buy it, or find a work-around. Seriously, living in an uncluttered home is 100x worth the few regrets that I’ve had about stuff I “could have” used.
I’ve learned to hold on loosely to my belongings, and it’s pretty freakin’ freeing.