So you wanna be cool like me, but don’t know where to start- getting started with minimalism

I am naturally a messy person. I am CLEAN (toilets are cleaned numerous times a week, my hands are washed a million times a day, bedding washed regularly, baseboards are wiped down frequently), but messy. Funny story: When my little sister, Kristy, and I were little, we shared a room. It was basically always a tornado. When we would have a new friend over, we would clean it spotless and then pretend to be extremely tidy people when our friend came over. If a blanket fell off the bed we would freak out and act like it killed us to have one thing on the floor… but in real life…it was always a mess (Ariel and Crystal- you knew the real me), and you know why? WE HAD TOO MUCH STUFF! There wasn’t room for everything. That translated into my adult life as well.

Minimalism is truly changing my life and I just want everyone to experience it. So if you’re interested…here is a little start up guide to get you going. I am in no way an expert on the subject so if YOU are an expert I welcome your feedback! My method for step two is inspired by Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” which can be purchased here. I STRONGLY recommend this read.

STEP ONE- Decide WHY and try to get all residents onboard. Why do you need this? For me, it was postpartum depression, marital stress, financial stress, and anxiety. I felt like changing the ambiance in my home would help my mood and needing less stuff would help us financially. Sometimes having a full-on breakdown is a good place to start. That’s what happened for me. I had a breakdown and decided it was time to throw everything away. I was so overwhelmed. It helps to have whoever lives with you onboard, but if they aren’t down- just start anyway and they may change their tune when they see you go!

STEP TWO- PURGE BEFORE ORGANIZING! This is so so vital I cannot stress it enough! I would say this is the most important step. So many people go out and buy a bunch of containers and organizing crap and just change up how they store things. This is ironic because they’re just buying MORE stuff. I am going to break this purge down for you because it’s so important. Here is how to purge:

a- Do one category at a time. (i.e. Clothes), gather all your clothes in your home from every room, every drawer, every closet..even the hamper. put it in a giant pile preferably in a different room.

b- Pick up every single item and say out loud “does this make me happy?” It also helped me to ask myself “If I was going to go out to lunch right now, and the weather permitted, would I wear this?” If the answer was no, it would go in a donate pile. If it was an item of clothing that I’ve ever put on and taken off because it didn’t fit very well- it went in the donate pile. If it had any stain, small hole, or rip- donate. If I didn’t absolutely love it- Donate. Don’t confuse loving something with using something. For example: I had an old sweatshirt that I wore at least 5 times a week. But I felt no joy when I held it. It was stained and gross. So even though I used it a lot, I tossed it. There are exceptions- Nursing bras don’t bring me joy, but I need them and I cannot spend 60 dollars on a good one right now, so I had to keep them. Do this with every single category. Start with clothing because that’s usually fairly easy. Once you get on a roll, it becomes easier to part with things. Do sentimental items last.

STEP THREE: Put everything away in an organized fashion. When you have your “keep” pile you can start the organization process. Chances are you have enough (or more than enough) organization gear once you get rid of enough stuff. So start putting things away where it makes the most sense. Move through categories quickly. Don’t do one room every few weeks. Just keep this process going until you’re done. Your house will be a bit of a tornado for a while because you’ll always have a category in your living room being sorted through but doing it quickly is the only way you’ll feel such a big change that it’ll be more likely to stick. See my pictures in this post of our crazy mess during our purge- so worth it.

STEP FOUR: Live it! As you live your daily life you may come across items you kept, but realize you don’t need. Don’t hesitate to get rid of more stuff as you come across it. Try to live a minimally as possible. You most likely don’t need seven spatulas. You don’t need 13 samples of moisturizer or 3 almost gone bottles of shampoo. It feels so good to just have what you’re using. I have started saying “no thank you” to free samples at Sephora and Ulta because I’ve learned that my decluttered home > free stuff. Don’t even bring clutter into your home and you won’t have to declutter as often. Don’t buy unnecessary stuff!! You can life without it. we

Points to remember:

  • Don’t feel guilty during your initial purge. You are doing something amazing for yourself and it’s normal to feel a little wasteful.
  • Even kids can live minimally and be just fine. You don’t have to have 6 million toys for your kids. Remember my story about having too much stuff as a kid? Some kids today are so overstimulated and so spoiled in my opinion. I see so many ungrateful kids with SO. MUCH. STUFF. Parenting is hard and I am not at all judging parents who buy 54326 things for their kids because I know it is out of love- but from a minimalist point of view, it is unnecessary. People are surprised to hear that we are incorporating minimalism for Liam too. He is ten months old- he does not need an entire room full of toys. He has a few great toys that he loves and as he gets older we will donate those and buy more age appropriate toys.
  • If you get rid of something that you later realize you still needed/wanted don’t freak out. If you loved it that much, it will be worth it to get another one. If it’s not worth it- you didn’t really need it.
  • Remember things are things. The memories are in your mind, the experiences still happened even if you get rid of the material things that reminds you of it.
  • Photo books are life. We have decided to create a small photobook each year of family photos.
  • You don’t have to fill every space. Some shelves can be empty. Some corners can be clear. Walls can be plain. If you haven’t found something you love to fill a space, leave it empty.
  • If you keep only the things you love, your home will be filled with things that make you happy. Imagine what that will do for your mood when you’re home..being surrounded by things you love. This will also make it much easier to keep tidy. If you are born messy like me- having 75% less possessions is huge in keeping a picked up, organized home.

I have combined the Marie Kondo method of having things that spark joy and a minimalistic approach of having only things I need. I try to only own things that I both need, and love. If it makes me happy but is unnecessary, I don’t get it. I want to own the smallest amount of things I can. This has already begun to save my family money. I haven’t been buying unnecessary stuff the past month and my bank account is slowly mending.

Start with something you don’t feel too attached to. For me, clothes was the easiest category. Bring it all into a separate room and go through it one by one. Do an entire category to completion. purge it- organize what you keep- and take the donations to a donation center. See how it makes you feel. If you finish that category and feel happiness afterwards- continue. Move on to the next category. Share your purge with me! It brings me so much happiness to see people doing this. Post pictures of your purge and tag @makeroomforjoy on Instagram so I can see. Here are some photos of our purged, organized, joyful home.

I LOVE my closet now. This is everything(clothing wise) I own except socks, underwear, and jammies! This includes work out clothes, jackets, shirts, pants, scrubs…. all of it! All in one closet. Heavenly!

I tossed my placemats and napkins because I realized they just annoyed me and I enjoyed a simpler table..

these mugs are some of my favorites from my side. And that blanket…my Harry Potter blanket from my hubby that I’m OBSESSED with. And some wedding albums…

I went back and forth with the idea of a rug here…and I decided I didn’t want one. We seriously get SO much dirt tracked inside from the orange Grove that any rug I’ve had just gets gross too quickly.

Our fireplace is my absolute favorite part of our home. Also…Parks and rec 🙌🏼

empty shelves are ok in my book! May not look pottery Barn but it never looks cluttered and it’s not crap I don’t need. (Can you tell blankets bring me joy?)

sweat towels in that basket and all my dumbells and exercise stuff in that bag 😊 and some empty shelves again😊

notice how I brought all my dishes back out…

I hate having to deal with spices. I feel like I have way too much up here,but there’s nothing I hate more than having to pay 7 bucks for a full thing of a certain spice just to use a teaspoon in a recipe so I’m not tossing any of my spices.

Hopefully this gave you some good tips on how to get started minimizing your life. Even if you just take bits and can’t hurt to try it out 😊


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