If you’re reading this, you have probably already made the decision to minimize or declutter your home. If you haven’t, it might be something you’re considering or want more info about. Either way, consider this post a warning about some errors to avoid when decluttering or minimizing.
Not knowing where to donate or sell items.
One of the very first things I would suggest to someone minimizing is to know exactly where you’re donating items you get rid of. I had boxes in the hallway for weeks, trying to find out where I could send them, which just made my house look more cluttered. If you “declutter” a room and don’t actually get the items out of your house, all you’re doing is rearranging the clutter.
Not completing one room at a time.
Declutter one room at a time and physically get rid of everything before starting on another room! Whenever possible, take frequent trips to drop-off locations for items you donate, rather than keeping it to donate all at once. Without fail, other items will appear as you continue to declutter and you’ll have to go back anyway. You will be faced with piles of stuff you don’t want anymore if you wait to donate it and start on another room.
Buying items in bulk/purchasing multiples.
This one’s tricky because you can save money by buying in bulk, however, having multiples of any item can be a huge hindrance to minimalism. A good rule of thumb is if what you’re buying requires additional storage outside of where the item belongs, it’s too much. Instead of buying 8 bottles of shampoo and 96 rolls of toilet paper, make more frequent trips and buy 2 bottles of shampoo and the 24 pack of toilet paper.
Keeping things you get for free
Keeping things you get for free
It’s super exciting when you get cool things for free, but honestly, if you didn’t want or need a new pen, tote bag, notepad, water bottle, perfume sample, or whatever the item is, you do not need to keep it just because it was free.
Buying sale items.
“But it was on sale” is not an excuse to buy something unless you already wanted it. I am one of those people who feels like I HAVE to buy something I didn’t want or need because it’s cheap, or heavily discounted. Buy what you need or buy what you want, but don’t accumulate items in your home that are only there because they were on sale.
Keeping items out of nostalgia or guilt
Items that you received as a gift or that have sentimental value are often the most difficult to get rid of because of feelings of guilt or nostalgia. If the only reason you have something is because it was given to you, get rid of it! Keep only items that have significance to you AND a designated space in your home!
Being a brand whore
This is another thing I’m guilty of doing: buying things simply because they are brand name items. Again, these are items I didn’t want or need, but bought anyway only because it was whatever brand. I do this a LOT with the babies and Disney stuff, and myself with designer brands. Very often I didn’t want or need the item itself (sweater, purse etc.) but I saw it and bought it anyway “because it’s Kate Spade” or “because it’s Minnie Mouse”.
Keeping multiple collections
Lots of people have collections, even minimalists. Some collect vinyl records, others collect comic books or trading pins. One collection is cool but don’t make the mistake of having multiple collections. This will quickly make it impossible (or very difficult) to minimize. Do you need to collect coffee mugs AND shot glasses AND silver spoons AND antique mirrors? Pick one thing (or none) and make room for these items inside your home (NOT storage)!
Keeping items up for sale
Whenever possible, do not hold onto something you want to get rid of too long in the hopes that you can sell it. When decluttering, people often wait until they can sell an item to get rid of it on the principle of not wasting money. This is especially true with novelty items, antiques or rare collectibles. I know it sucks to take a loss when getting rid of expensive items, but the fact is you have already spent the money. Waiting on a buyer (who may not exist) is not earning you money, or sparing you from wasting money, you’re just wasting your space.
Hopefully this list will help warn you about potential hurdles if/when you start minimizing so that you can avoid them.
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