How to Go Through Your Stuff

How to Go Through Your Stuff

These days, it’s easy to see through social media that Minimalism is gaining more and more popularity online and the number of individuals turning to minimalism to improve their lives is ever growing. The promise of less cleaning and more free time is a pretty enticing one, but taking the first step can be pretty overwhelming and might turn a lot of interested people away.

Before we dive in here, I wanted to be clear that I’m not selling you anything; there won’t be any links to a book I wrote, I don’t want you to sign up for anything with your email, and I don’t have a podcast for you to purchase. There are no links to books written by other successful minimalists, or professional organizers, because the fact is you don’t need a book to become a minimalist. There is no guide, no challenge, no simple 5-step process you can purchase to make the process easier, or more effective. Going through your belongings and tidying your home can only be done by you and the method, or tool you choose to accomplish it with. Self-reflexion is a key part of the process, and without that analysis there won’t be any growth.

That’s what we’re talking about today.

That being said, I believe books, challenges and podcasts are useful solely as inspiration to help you accomplish your goals. Going through your belongings can be a very emotional process, depending on how you do it, and inspiration will help to carry you through to the end. I just want to make it very clear, that I believe you don’t have to spend a dime to go through your things. All the answers you need can be found at your fingertips; you just have to look.

Two Methods to Choose From

There are two methods that I recognize as valid methods for going through your belongings, and I don’t believe you should use any other method of tidying and decluttering. I seriously believe that if anyone is trying to convince you there is another way of doing things, its a scam.

As a friendly reminder, downsizing is free and should be done by you and you alone. It’s a process that no one can help you with, or guide you through, as there is too much self-reflection and self-discovery that occurs when going through your belongings. It’s an experience that changes how you view objects and material possessions. That being said, it’s perfectly fine to spend money on books that share thoughts and personal experiences, and even ones that give advice, or offer some sort of motivation and inspiration for you to keep placing one foot in front of the other on your journey to a more minimal life.

If you seriously find that you need help finding motivation to continue downsizing, finding an online community is your best bet and would be far more beneficial than hitting up your local book store. There you can easily exchange concerns, find others going through similar emotions, and meet people that have made it to the other side of tidying/going through their stuff to load you up with words of encouragement.

Feel free to leave comments below if you’re having trouble, or need a little motivation for your journey! Also, feel free to leave words of encouragement for others.

Packing Party

Pile 'o stuff

Ryan Nicodemus of theminimalists.com shared his method of a packing party at a TedX talk, which I found in winter of 2014. He spoke about it with such love and admiration; it had changed his life for the better in a short amount of time. This isn’t a process you need to purchase anything for–it’s completely based off you and your needs. A packing party is very simple and can easily cram the task of going through your belongings into a period of a month.

The Process

Do it by yourself, or find a close friend, to help you pack the entirety of your belongings in your home into boxes. When I say “everything,” I mean everything. Every single thing that you own in your home: clothes, personal care items, books, leisure items, sentimental items, decor, dinnerware, flatware, small appliances, electronics, shoes, seasonal items, furniture…every single thing. As you need items to function in your day-to-day life, you may reach into those boxes and add the item back into your home. Whatever is left unused at the end of your designated time frame, should be discarded from your home so you can move on with your new minimalist life.

Place all of the boxes in a single area of your home, and make sure you have a very organized system of storing the boxes, so searching for items you would like to pull out is easier to do. Perhaps keep all the kitchen items together, all the clothing boxes together, all the bathroom boxes…you get the idea.

Pros

  • Streamlines the process of going through your belongings.
  • You can’t lie to yourself. What you don’t rescue out of those boxes, you don’t need in your life.
  • Things you don’t need are already packed up in boxes to be donated.

Cons

  • Might be best while moving, as everything needs packed and unpacked anyway.
  • Seems as though you need a home with the space to have boxed items in their own space.
  • Seasonal items get overlooked in this process.
  • Sifting through boxes might be a turn-off for most people.

KonMarie Method

"Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up."

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” took the world by storm. Written my Marie Kondo, who has been organizing since she was a little girl, the book is packed full of helpful information. I discovered her book in winter 2014 from Jennifer L. Scott’s YouTube Channel, the author of the Madame Chic self-help books. Reading Kondo’s books isn’t totally necessary, as most of the information is given in the talk she gave at Google.

The Process

As quickly and completely as possible, tidy your house by taking every item you own in your hands and asking “does this item bring joy to me?” If no, remove it from your home. The method relies on first impressions and gut instincts to accomplish tidying your home and removing clutter.

Kondo calls for gathering all the like items from your home into one place. Tidying clothes today? Gather all of your clothing and accessory items from all over your home into one place. Go through that item group until you’ve removed everything that does not bring you joy. Continue addressing groupings of items until you’ve gone through your entire home.

Pros

  • Interaction with the things you own really causes you to treat and view objects differently.
  • The idea is to do it right the first time, and do it rarely from then on out.
  • Takes seasonal items and sentimental items into consideration for those that enjoy those items.

Cons

  • People change, which means you may need to tidy several times in your life, or more.
  • I found that it takes a lot of time to address every item you own on an individual basis.
  • Emotionally draining to face all of the negative emotions that items you don’t use and don’t want typically carry.

What’s the Best Way to Go Through My Belongings?

There really is no “best” way to go through your belongings. A lot of people have been changed by “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” because it allows you the chance to face every item you own. I’ve found I am more likely to hang on to things I don’t actually need using this method. Just because something makes me happy, doesn’t mean I should have it (this is just my personal view for my own life and my own belongings).

The point is to look at both methods and do the research required to find out exactly what you need to do–I’ve paraphrased in this article. Utilize the links below to watch the respective lectures, and try Google, or YouTube, for any questions you have on process. There are hundreds of people that have shared their journeys and thoughts on both of these processes; I urge you to be as knowledgable as possible.

Compare what is required of KonMarie and Packing Parties, and compare the requirements to your lifestyle. Which one do you think you would commit to? Which one would suit your personality? If you’re overly sentimental, take that into consideration. If you don’t care for your belongings, consider that. Choose the method that sounds scary and would challenge you, but also consider the possibility of combining the two to create the “Megazord of Minimalism” as that might be what it takes to help you accomplish your goals.

Useful Links

The Minimalists’ TedX Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgBpyNsS-jU

Marie Kondo Talks at Google: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1-HMMX_NR8

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