So often in our minimalism journey we find that releasing ourselves from many of these cheap material pieces, clothes and toys and pens is easy. In fact its freeing! But when we get to the part of our journey where we are digging through boxes, of old photos, our old dolls, medals, tickets, this release is so much harder. For many of us these are items we rarely look at, sometimes not for years at a time, but we still have such a emotional response to these items. Its not because the items themselves are sad, its not because the doll, or the photo, or the medal. Its simply the memory we attach to it.
The trophy reminds us of our first year playing soccer, the doll reminds us of our old room and the crib we would put her in. The items carry with us the memories we have had with them.
The key to letting go of these things is being able to separate these things from the memories attached to them. Recognizing that these items are not the memories, they are just a piece of them. We can still have all of these beautiful and important memories without saving a hair from all of our haircuts.
Take a deep breathe, remind yourself that letting go of these things can give you a freer life and more balanced life, you are not letting go of the memories just the physical items.
Also remember this doesn't mean you have to get rid of all of your sentimental items. Keep the important ones, the ones you will look at often, and that add value to your life. But free yourself from carrying all the ones you keep because you feel an obligation to.
Here are some extra tips to get you started:
1. Take pictures of sentimental items you want to remember but don't necessarily keep this way instead of having a box of old artwork you can have a beautiful slideshow of images.
2. Thank your items for the memories and the way in which they have served and added value to your life, this can help give you closure
3. If you don't remember or recognize who wrote you the card, its probably not terribly important to you, I finally stopped feeling an obligation to hang onto every card I owned, and have reduced the amount specifically.
4. If you like journaling try doing digital journalling so you can keep the memories without the clutter.
5. Give them to a family member, is there a family heirloom or childhood piece someone else may want? keeping it in the family can remove it from your life but you can still enjoy it when you see them and know that it has a valued home.
6. The things you keep should be things you value and want to look at often, so find places for these things, perhaps framing your diploma, or displaying your graduation cap, if you value the item and memory so much give it a home where everyone can see it in your house.
Letting go of sentimental items is hard. Its different for everyone and its a process. Don't feel pressured to throw everything away. Just decide what is going to help you live the most free life you can. When letting go of the item remember you can keep the memory in your heart it will always be there.
Getting dressed in the morning used to always be incredibly stressful for me, I would stare at a closet full of clothes and think, I have nothing to wear. I realized that something must be wrong if I only feel like I have a few outfits in a closet full of clothing. This is when I started to really explore minimalism and how it could change this for me.
The idea around minimizing your wardrobe is personal for everyone. So the first thing you have to do is decide what your priorities are. Is it having a wardrobe that everything pairs well together, is it having lots of variety? Then you have to decide what types of outfits you like to wear, are you most confident in pants, or do you love dresses or skirts? The ultimate goal will be to fill your closet with only pieces you love and that make you feel good, unlike most fast fashion trends, the goal will be quality not quantity.
So now that you have decided what your goals are you can begin to assess what you want in your closet. So my goals were to have no maintenance outfits, I began to favor more neutral simple colors and cuts that would not go out of style. Personally as I am moving towards my career in teaching, I committed to only buying clothes that fit into my teacher appropriate wardrobe.
So I decided I wanted a few staple easy dresses as I love the comfort, ease and put togetherness of them. I didn't want tight uncomfortable items but rather easy pieces. I also knew I wanted to have easy jacket pieces I could throw on and layer, this meant cozy cardigans, and army green jackets. As well as limited number of shoes, that could be multipurpose.
Now you can evaluate what you have. Ask yourself, is it a staple item? does it make me feel good? When was the last time I wore it? does it need to be repaired and will I actually repair it?
What I have and what I need: What pieces do you need to buy to round out this wardrobe? I suggest buying quality timeless pieces when adding to your collection.
Things to remember!
1. Quality not quantity
2. What are your wardrobe goals, and lifestyle needs
3. Less is more
4. appreciate your basics
For most of us minimalism, just means white walls, and very bare rooms. But unlike most of our misconceptions, minimalism isn't a esthetic, its a mindset.
Minimalism isn't about only owning 10 shirts, or not having a car, it doesn't mean you cant wear makeup, or enjoy your shoe addiction. Minimalism is about having items in your life that you love, want, and need. When you put it that way it doesn't sound all that crazy. The items in your life should bring you joy, not stress. Every thing in your life should contribute positively to your wellbeing and happiness. Some items are more fun then others, like your favorite dress, that undoubtedly makes you feel good when you're having a bad day. And then there's your toothbrush, and your soap; not as exciting but they add value to your life and they make you feel good (because feeling clean is good).
Being a minimalist is going to be different for every person that does it. For some of us its owning 50 items and not shaving. For others it just means pairing our wardrobe down so getting ready in the morning is less stressful.
So if your not convinced yet, here are some benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.
1. Less stuff = less stress
~ When everything in your closet goes well together, and makes you feel good getting dressed in the morning is much easier
2. More free time
~ instead of spending hours rifling through junk drawers and climbing over boxes in our basement to find what we are looking for we will actually know what we own. Making it easier to find the things we need, and not waste time and energy searching for them.
3. Less time cleaning= more time living
~ We all have felt the pain of Sunday cleaning, and having to finally pick up all the stuff you threw around the room over the week and try and jam it into our overflowing drawers.
~Instead of spending so much time cleaning, you can actually enjoy life, spending time with friends and reconnecting with yourself.
4. Time to focus on you
~ The journey of minimalism teaches us so much about ourselves, by looking through our items, we learn about the things in life we actually value. We also can learn a lot about why we feel we need to hang on to things we know we don't need.
There is so many reasons to simplify your life! Think about it!