Have you ever just stopped, looked around your house and wondered how many things you own you don’t really need? On our journey to live a minimalist life, many of us still hang on to things we have a hard time parting with.
I’m going to show you how to get rid of stuff as a minimalist, plus 10 things you probably don’t need anymore.
It can be difficult to get rid of certain things in your house especially when some of the things you are holding on to are memorabilia from loved ones who have since passed on, or something that is still useful, even if you don’t use it anymore. Or maybe it’s those coffee mugs that are just too darn cute.
But what about all those other little things that mean nothing that are still hanging around?
Being a minimalist means living as simply as you possibly can, not about owning as few of items as possible. That means getting rid of things you really don’t need or use.
The opposite of minimalist is either intentionally choosing to have a bunch of stuff, or unintentionally living that way (even if it’s not your preference).
We’re going to sweep the house today and get rid of some unnecesary stuff once and for all.
Get rid of stuff (as a minimalist)
In our effort to become as minimalist as possible, oftentimes there are a few things we overlook or just save for a ‘rainy day’. We all know that ‘rainy day’ comes and goes many times and we still haven’t used that item.
There are probably many reasons why you hold on to this thing, but chances are it has sentimental value or it could be one of those ‘just in case’ things.
If items like family heirlooms bring you joy, then keep them! If something was a gift but you literally never use it, work on letting go of the guilt that is keeping you holding onto it.
3 simple tips to help you get started:
Tip 1: Go room to room
Do a room to room sweep to see what stands out to you that you know you can get rid of. Remember to check closets and that spare room that no one goes in anymore (but seems to gather stuff anyway!)
Grab the things you see that you can do without. Remember that old saying “someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure”.
These things are often easy wins and will help give you some momentum to move on to the more challenging things.
Tip 2: Have ‘the talk’ with yourself
Remind yourself why you’re doing this. Think of all the times you’ve moved that thing from place to place,
Tell yourself you can definitely live without this item. You’ve already gotten rid of so much stuff on your way to becoming a minimalist, getting rid of these last few items will liberate you once they’re gone.
Tip 3: Pick a date on the calendar
Make a date like you would a doctor’s appointment and commit to it. “On this day I am going to get rid of stuff that I am still hanging on to but no longer need”. Stick to this date and don’t let anyone interrupt you or your plans.
When we set a date to do something important it has more meaning and we feel more responsible to stick to it.
It also gives your mind a bit of time to mentally part ways with the objects you’re getting rid of. Sometimes getting rid of things instantly is helpful in the short term, but can sometimes trigger a fear response that makes it harder to get rid of things in the future.
Be gentle with yourself and know that continuous small-scale decluttering is a way of life for minimalists, not just an extreme cycle of accumulation and decluttering on repeat.
You might also like:
7 Minimalist Decluttering Tips to Help you on your Minimalist Journey
Tip 4: Give it away
Now that you have chosen what to get rid of, what do you do with it?
Obviously it’s easy if it’s recyclable or clearly garbage. It’s also decently easy to sell higher end things that are worth the time it takes to sell them.
The hard things are the ones that are still good, but of low value that wouldn’t be worth your time to try and sell or even donate. These are things like a spatula, a single t-shirt, or an unwanted bottle of shampoo.
I like to put them on the curb with a “free” sign. You’d be surprised how quickly it will go! Obviously this depends on your neighbourhood as well, like I’m sure your neighbours in a pricey gated community wouldn’t be picking up free stuff on the curb, but this should work for middle to lower income neighbourhoods.
I also have a few places scoped out for where to get rid of things that are within walking distance to my house. That way I can easily just get rid of things on my daily walk. This takes away the barrier of feeling like I have to make the trip worth it before I go to donate things.
For example, I put unwanted books in the Little Free Library in the park half a block away, and I put unwanted clothes in the clothing donation bin near the walking path.
Getting rid of stuff as a minimalist
How far can we go on our minimalist journey? That’s totally up to you but remember, a minimalist life is a simple life. The amount of things you keep should make your life simpler, not more complicated!
Remember too that minimalism is a journey and not a destination. There will always be new stuff coming in and stuff you no longer need or want. The process of assessing whether it’s worth keeping or not is an ongoing part of the lifestyle.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes you struggle to get rid of things that might come in handy later. While these things *might* come in handy, it’s more likely that they’re causing you to stress about clutter right now.
When you look at it that way, it’s clear that keeping something that is causing you distress now, that might only potentially save you a bit of future stress is not worth it. Let’s get rid of these things asap!
Here’s a minimalist list of 10 easy things to get rid of right now:
1. Condiment packets from take out
You don’t need those. You have condiments in the fridge!
Organize your fridge by incorporating those condiment packets into your meals this week, or pour them into the regular condiment containers.
2. Empty glass jars/containers
Do we really need all those empty jars? I know I’m kind of obsessed with taking the labels off jars and reusing them, but the number of jars can get out of hand from time to time.
I like to only keep jars that use the same size lids. That makes them into a set with interchangeable lids and saves a lot of effort in matching lids to jars!
If all your jars match and you still have too many, recycle them. You *could* save them for a craft project, but unless you do that project today, just get rid of them now to prevent yourself falling into the “save it for a rainy day” clutter trap.
3. Plastic straws or utensils
Garbage! Yes, you *could* use them, but if you were going to use them, you already would have.
Prevent more of these accumulating by requesting no cutlery when you order takeout or delivery and just use your regular utensils!
4. Reusable grocery bags
How many do you need, really? It’s not 50. Trust me on that!
Toss any that are not in good condition. Gather the ones you like to use the most and get rid of the rest.
5. Outdated spices and cans of food
If you notice expired food in your pantry, compost it. If it’s past the best before date but still good to eat, add it to your meal plan for the week so it will get used asap. This is one of the tips I recommend in my mini pantry purge challenge!
6. Tupperware lids with no containers
And also containers without lids! Do they have a pair? If not, toss or recycle them!
7. Old cables and cords
Most likely, you don’t even remember what they belong to.
8. Clothes you don’t wear anymore
Donate them or sell them in a lot (ex: they are sold as a group instead of individually).
I like to imagine someone else wearing it. It helps me feel better about getting rid of it when I know someone will use it rather than it just sitting unused in my closet.
9. Makeup and other toiletries
The vanity and medicine cabinet can easily become a holdall for new and old things. Time to get rid of old makeup you never use and cleaning brushes or supplies that are no longer useful.
10. Manuals/old receipts/magazines
All that papery stuff that already served its purpose. Books, cards, envelopes, etc. can all get recycled.
If you have important receipts, scan them or take a photo and save in a digital folder. I like to have a folder for taxes for each year and keep a copy of all receipts I need to keep for tax purposes in there. Digital minimalism takes so much stress away!
While this is a small list of things to get rid of, you can see the pattern here. It’s all those little things that take up space but no longer have much use to us. Each individual thing is small, but added up, they create a lot of clutter and overwhelm!
Keep reading: How to Get Motivated to Clean When You’re Overwhelmed by Mess
This list was simply a guide for you to follow and give you ideas of often overlooked items. Remember, fellow minimalist, less is more!