I am not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, but every now and then I desperately want to be. The thought of all that empty space and free time is just glorious. I know that for me it's unrealistic to imagine total minimalism in my life, but there are a few ways that I have been decluttering recently. And you can do it too!
I get so much junk mail in my email inbox. And not just the enlarge-my-penis kind of junk mail. Junk mail that I have willingly let into my life by signing up for newsletters, notifications from social media sites and news digests. None of which I ever read.
Pressing 'unsubscribe' from all of those unwanted emails is a very satisfying feeling. Take half an hour and do it all in one go, or just do it every time one pops into your inbox. It'll free up time, virtual space and will prevent anything important getting lost in the depths of all that junk. Win win.
And while you're at it, you can implement all of those efficient-email-organisation tips that you've heard so often and never actually used. Create a folder and filing system which works for you, and actually use it. Use the flags in Outlook to prioritise your emails. Make decisions on what you're going to do in response to each email straight away and then actually do it. You get the idea.
As a woman, the amount of beauty products that you acquire across your lifetime is staggering. Birthdays and Christmases, well-meaning relatives let loose in the floral scented section of M&S, all conspire to fill your cupboards with things you will never use. So often things get hoarded out of guilt, but what is the point of that?
Now is the time to throw out, donate or regift these items. Note: regifting does not mean passing off your junk to someone else and letting them have the guilt; but if you have a moisturiser in your friend's favourite scent lurking in the back of the cupboard, why not pass it on?
The same applies for make up. For ages I hung onto all the glittery, brightly coloured eye shadows, blue mascaras and pink lipsticks of my youth. None of which I wear on a daily basis. Some of which I never wear at all. So why keep holding onto things that don't flatter you anymore? Not only that, but some make up items should be thrown away regularly anyway to prevent the spread of bacteria and other nasty things.
I spend far too much time on social media sites, reading updates that are not interesting or useful to me in any way. Everyone has their moments of banality when it comes to facebook, twitter et al. Some people have a lot of them. I don't know about you, but there are definitely people in my newsfeeds who always seem to have something negative to say. Not everyone can be happy all of the time, but some people are *never* happy. And whilst it may seem a little harsh, why do you need to see updates from the girl you sat next to in Year 3, and whom you have not spoken to since?
My preferred method is to 'hide' updates from the people you no longer want to hear from (especially if they are family and may be offended if you de-friend!). It's quicker and easier than defriending, and reversible. Of course, Twitter's slightly different, but you should take a similarly ruthless attitude! It'll make your Internet time a lot more enjoyable and worthwhile!
I am very bad at treating my handbag with respect. There are always receipts floating around in the bottom, and those unexplainable bits of fluff and crumbs (where did they even come from?!) It definitely pays to take a few minutes each day decluttering your handbag, you use it every day and it will make your life so much more pleasant to not have to dig around to find a pen!
Make a space for all of your handbag things to go in when they're not in your handbag. I have a little tub where my notebook, keys, purse and make up bag go every night before they get transferred into a new handbag. That way nothing gets lost and it's easy to grab and go.
One of the best tips ever given to me was to put everything into little make up bags so you could easily transfer them from bag to bag. I keep plasters, safety pins, a little sewing kit I got from a hotel and have never had reason to use, hair ties, a comb, vaseline, eyeliner and powder all in one little bag - it stops things from rattling around and getting messy at the bottom of my bag and means I always have everything I need!
The more I begin to declutter my life, the more I want to declutter! Having things clean and organised makes everything quicker and easier so after starting with these simple things I began a mission to declutter everything else. Bookshelves, wardrobes, paperwork. Like I said, I'm hardly a minimalist but I'm getting better at not hoarding things for no reason!
If these tips set you off on a similar road, check out these lovely links to help you on your way:
How to Purge Your Closet - perhaps one of the hardest things to declutter, for me at least!
15 Great Decluttering Tips - my favourite is 'don't let things into your house in the first place' - not picking up unnecessary junk mail and only buying things you truly love and need can be a great step on the way to decluttering. Say no the free magazines!
How to Feng-Shui-erise your Wallet - it sounds silly, but clearing out your purse and treating your money with respect are definitely good habits to be in!
Twenty Questions to Clear Your Clutter - An item may fail all your other criteria (practicality, versatility, etc.)—but if its presence truly brings you joy (the lei from your honeymoon, your child’s first drawing), it has a rightful place in your household. If it doesn’t bring a smile to your face, make room for something that does. Wise words my friends, wise words.