Embracing minimalism can lead to a decluttered life — but is it for everyone?

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As the movement to declutter continues to pick up steam, some people are taking a bigger step — experimenting with minimalism.

 What is minimalism?

Minimalism is a life philosophy based on the understanding that anything unnecessary should be eliminated. Instead of focusing on “stuff” — possessions and tasks, for example — a minimalist strives for a simpler life.

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Some minimalists try to strip down until their lives are clean slates. Others simply follow minimalist principles: decluttering the home, reducing obligations, and reassessing what’s valuable.

 Why go minimal?

Life can be hectic! Tons of stuff can mean tons of bills. A job that requires lots of time and energy is needed. There are probably major cleaning responsibilities.  It can be an exhausting cycle.

Living simpler removes some of this stress. That’s what makes minimalism attractive — avoiding the chase for “more.”

If I go minimal, would I have to give up all of my stuff?

No. Well, maybe. In order to go truly minimal, a person needs to eschew the unnecessary. That could mean no more TV, no more closets full of rarely-worn clothes and shoes, no more high school yearbooks and unread novels. Most of us aren’t willing to go that far. It’s just too hard.

However, there are suggestions offered by minimalists that anyone can try:

  • Fill a trash bag. This was an interesting idea from Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist blog. Take a large trash bag, go through your home and see how long it takes to fill it up.
  • Play 12-12-12. Another Becker suggestion: select 12 items to donate, 12 items to throw away, and 12 items to properly store. A few games of 12-12-12 will seriously declutter your living spaces.
  • Learn to say no. Leo Babauta, a well-known minimalist behind the Zen Habits blog, recommends that you find strategies to say “no” more often. Struggling to find time to clean? Maybe you’re overextended. This exercise helps you identify what is truly important to keep on your calendar — and what you can cut free (with a sigh of relief).
  • Break it down. Trying to go minimal all at once may be overwhelming and lead to failure. Instead, segment portions of your life — or home, even room by room — to minimalize. Learn what level of minimalism you are able to accept.
  • If you already have it, don’t buy it. Do you really need another pair of shoes? Are you going to eat those 17 jars of spaghetti sauce? Are you really going to read that hardcover you’ve been flipping through at the book store? If not — and be honest with yourself! — don’t buy it. This is a great money-saving tip, as well.

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The path to minimalism can be difficult and may not be for everyone. If you want to minimize (or at least simplify) your home without necessarily consigning a lifetime’s worth of beloved and valuable possessions to a landfill, Uncle Bob’s can help.

We have storage units for rent to fit every need — and it will be a weight off your shoulders to know your favorite things are safely stored for future enjoyment.

About the Author

Ben Kirst

Hey, everyone -- I'm a guest blogger here at the Life Storage blog, which, based on my lifelong battle against clutter, messes and household chaos of all kinds, makes this a bit of a dream come true. Best birthday ever? I got a Dyson.

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