The title of this article is a quote from my father that was part of a lecture I received when I was 26 and my life was in shambles and my husband and I had to move back home to Tallahassee. Actually the quote went more like “What you need is a plan, Dammit! Are you listening to me?!” My Dad, the angry motivator. That line kind of became a joke between me and my brother and now anytime we have a problem we tell each other that what we need is a plan. And it’s actually true!
There is no one way to be a Minimalist and there is no one way to Minimize. I will give you some strategies that others recommend and tell you the plan I came up with.
First let me say, that setting a precise time goal is lofty. You won’t believe how much stuff you have accumulated until you start purging, therefore it is impossible to estimate the time it will take to purge. Not to mention, life happens, kids happen, friends happen and you don’t want to forego certain experiences for purging efforts. Going to your kid’s recital is time better spent than deciding which pair of shoes add more value to your life.
- Room by Room for however long it took. Sometimes even parts of room by parts of rooms. If I had 20 minutes to spare waiting on someone, I’d clean out a bathroom drawer. I actually re-accumulated and just did one (again) today waiting on my coffee to finish. This eliminates the pressure to meet self-imposed deadlines. Do what you can when you can. It took me a year and a half to do a complete home sweep. Now I will go back through and minimize deeper.
- Schedule a Day of Purging and Send the Kid(s) Away. I found that I could get a lot more done without a 2/3 year old following me. Imagine that. Plus, knowing that we had to pick him up at a certain time meant that we would have to hit the gas on whatever area we were tackling that day. The big chunks of my minimizing occurred on these days.
- The Tools (See Below). I found the bucket Idea on Pinterest (a digital hoarders paradise). Actually it was boxes with more categories but I modified it to meet my needs. The buckets were AWESOME because they have handles and they were easy to drag from room to room. Best part? They stack inside of each other and I housed them under my dining room table. It felt weird to buy something when trying to get rid of things but I figured when I finished, I could give the buckets away too. That’s never going to happen. They are far too valuable now. Since they stack I put the Give-Away bucket on top so that when I run across something in my daily life that I no longer need, I immediately just toss it in. Once it gets full off it goes to be donated or eliminated.
- Pinterest and the Interwebs are full of strategies on how to de-clutter and get rid of items. Even how to deal with odd items. You can always visit my Pinterest page for strategies I’ve found useful.
- Just Start Somewhere. Eliminating the stuff is the first part of the journey, what you discover during the process is the real reward.