by Leo Babauta
You can become a minimalist overnight, by not only changing your mindset but renouncing all possessions.
Of course, that’s not a realistic approach for most of us. We have families, jobs, lives, and unless we’re willing to give up those lives, our approach won’t be so drastic.
Slow change is best for most people.
And so I recommend you do it in steps, as I’ve done. Here’s what these steps might look like:
Stop buying unnecessary things. This step was important for me as I was trying to get out of a mountain of debt (achieved, btw). Only buy the necessities, and always ask yourself: is this truly necessary? Stop the bleeding first.
Get rid of the obvious things. Stuff that’s getting in your way, that you rarely ever use. You can often fill up a few boxes immediately, put them in your car, and donate them to a thrift shop or to friends and family the next day.
Get rid of more obvious things. Now that you’ve cleared up some of the clutter, you can take a look around and start seeing other things you rarely use. Box these up as well.
Clear the clutter on your floors. If your floors are barely visible because you have clothes and boxes and different items all over the place, start clearing your floors.
Clear other flat surfaces. Shelves, table tops, counter tops. They don’t have to be completely clear, but should only have a few essential objects.
Start going into closets and drawers. One place at a time, start clearing out clutter.
Cut back another third. At this point, you should have simplified drastically, but you can revisit what you still own and see things you don’t really use that often.
Start letting go, emotionally. For emotional reasons, there will be things that you “just can’t part” with — clothes or shoes or books or mementoes or gifts, childhood items. This is difficult, but given time, you’ll learn that such attachments aren’t necessary.
Get rid of another third. At this point, you’re pretty minimalist, but you can cut back more.
Et cetera. The process will never end, until you actually give up everything. I’m not there yet.
These steps are just a rough outline of what I went through, but it’s a look into a process that might help.