A Minimalist Approach to Cleaning House

With spring cleaning season upon us, it is the perfect time to start making the entire living space a yogi-minded setting. 

While there isn’t a magic formula for emanating the calm tranquility of a meditative healing center throughout the home, utilizing a little minimalist thinking will bring out some of those qualities.

Living a minimalist lifestyle can do away with a lot of life’s worries because our possessions are one of the major things weighing us down. Not only do they hold us back from pursuing certain adventures in life but often fill up the openness of our homes in ways which close us in.

What results is hindering of creativity, lack of realizing full potential, and eventually irritability from feeling stuck and unable to just live.

That’s why although clutter can come in all shapes and sizes and is often overwhelming, finding ways to think like a minimalist can be a great tool for downsizing. Just keep in mind that fear will always be the main thing holding you back and part of the process will be overcoming certain apprehensions.

Emotional fear of letting go

When we have the intention of downsizing and open a box finding reminders of personal relationships, trips we took, or achievements we worked hard to reach the emotional attachment weighs heavily on what to give away.

Old greetings cards, pictures, trophies, and random tchotkes all fall into this category and none are easy selections to clear from our lives.

Nevertheless, if we consider how much fear plays a factor in our decisions and how guilt traps us into keeping more than we want, we may be able to sway the pendulum in the other direction and truly make a change.

So as your hands sift through that shoebox of old love letters try to be as in the moment as possible. Recognize any fear, realize it’s only natural and healthy, and decide which pile to put them in.

Fear of Financial loss

How many times was something either on sale, given to you by a friend, or found on the street and after bringing it home you stashed it away in the attic or basement—and it’s still sitting there today? We’ve all been there, yet when it happens in enough instances a sizable collection of unused junk piles up.

On certain occasions you’ve probably had good intentions to go through it all and downsize but didn’t get far for fear of some kind of financial loss. After all you’ll probably need x, y, or z at some point and it will cost money to purchase a new one, right?

When it comes to fear of financial loss, tame that apprehension so you can allow new things to flow into your life as easily as everything else did.

Yes, replacing it may cost a little but ask yourself: When looking at the big picture does the amount of time all those things sit in your home and cause aggravation outway trashing it all, spending a few dollars when it’s really needed down the line, and having a more zen-like home?

Fear of never finding it again

Fear of getting rid of something because of financial loss is one thing but when holding on to an item because you may not find one again is another. It’s a step deeper but without the emotional connection to, say, a family heirloom. 

What minimalistic formula can be used to deal with such scenarios?

One idea is to categorize the object in question in terms of level of importance by juxtaposing it with other more sentimental possessions. Does this change your perception of the item or reinforce its importance?

Another exercise is to look online and see how many more of these might be out there. The internet is a great way to gauge such things and make a smart decision.

The bottom line: When it comes to fear of letting go, financial loss, and never finding something again all of this advice is easier said than done. Nevertheless, if we don’t try to take a few steps forward, however difficult they may be, we’ll never know how far we can go.  The key is being honest with ourselves and hopefully we can make big strides this spring.

Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for Networx.com. From roofers and flooring contractors, to painters and handymen Networx helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with reliable home improvement professionals.

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ashaeb1202, posted on August 16, 2013

I loved this article; I'm developing a strong love for the minimalist (in a materialistic sense, anyhow) lifestyle as I shed more and more of my belongings.

flowjlemyoga, posted on April 10, 2013

wow! thanks! perfect timing for Spring :)

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