12 Steps to Becoming a Minimalist in the New Year

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After the holiday season, you are probably exhausted from errands and buying gifts. Your closets, cabinets, and drawers may be suffering from overflow. This is one reason, among many others, why your 2017 resolution should be to live simply. Here are 12 steps to becoming a minimalist in the new year:

  1. Reflect on the past year and ask yourself some questions: Are there things in your house that never got used? Books that were never read? Maybe your life has changed and you don’t have time for old hobbies anymore. What items could be removed to let you focus your energy on what matters in your life right now.
  2. Looking at the items in your house, ask the questions “Could you live without this? Would you be just as happy without it? If you did need something later on, could you borrow someone else’s?”
  3. Let your mind wander into the new year. What would your life be like without certain stuff? What if cleaning were easier because you have less stuff? Imagine the work you could get done without all the clutter on your desk. What could be done with the time you previously spent cleaning and organizing?
  4. Start each day by making your bed. Studies have show the most successful people make their bed every day!
  5. Purge your closet. Do you really need six purses and five belts? Donate these clothes to charities or organizations like Good Will. Can’t decide what to purge? Here is a good test — if you walked into a store today, would you buy it? Another trick is after wearing an item, turn the hang the other way when you put it back. Any clothes hangers that are still facing the right way should be given away. See how long you can go without shopping. Try not to walk into a Target!
  6. Take a day to clear our your junk drawers, loose papers, and bedroom knick knacks. If you’re not sure what to pitch, here is another test: Is the item useful or sentimental? Think about it, do you really need four sets of sheets?
  7. Buy fresh ingredients — after using up your packaged ones in the pantry and fridge. Stop stockpiling cabinets and freezers full of canned and preservative goods. With the time you are earning by simplifying your life with these other things, you can use the time to go to the store more for healthy and fresh ingredients.
  8. Cut the cord! For extreme minimalist-wannabes, you can cut the cable. But a more manageable way would be to restrict your TV channels/subscriptions or hours on screens. Remove the TV from your bedroom. Read instead. Studies prove reading before bed promotes a better night’s rest than watching TV.
  9. Embrace the “one-in, one out” rule with all new items in your house.
  10. Give the gift of experience, not stuff. Encourage those around you to live simpler by teaching them minimalist principles. In 2017, give experiences rather than physical objects that take up space in a home. Example: Instead of giving your nephews toys for Christmas, take them out for a day at Chuck E. Cheese!
  11. Start a budget for the year. See where you can cut back on expenses.
  12. For more resources, take a look at this Minimalist’s 30 Day Challenge or read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up.

Reflecting back and imagining the years ahead gives us a chance to find a fresh perspective. When you realize which things you need, and see things getting in the way of what matters most to you, you may just realize there is more happiness in having less!

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