Happy Herbivore Blog

May 12, 2014

Minimalist Monday: Downsizing & Decluttering + 28-Day Live Better Challenge Update!

Not long after posting about Katharine's simple but effective way to downsizing & decluttering, I received this great email from a Herbie about their own "a ha" moment.

Spoiler Alert: It came when she decided to sell her house. Moving is always a great time to downsize, minimize, and otherwise face all your "stuff", but it wasn't packing up boxes that rocked her world and made her a minimalist. It was a simple comment from her realtor that changed everything.

"When I put my house up for sale the real estate agent wanted me to remove all "clutter." I was kind of insulted. I never thought of my home as cluttered, but I wanted to get top dollar for it. So down came all the shelves, knickknacks, decor, etc.

I found that I liked it clutter free. Just a couple of pictures on the walls, no shelves of things. The house was suddenly cleaner and brighter looking. I never took my clutter back out of the boxes...just made a trip to the Goodwill. Now I can't even remember what my stuff looked like.

Using that revelation, I keep eliminating more and more things. My closet has 10 tops, five pants and 3 pairs of shoes. Every time I go into my closet I find one more thing I don't need. Every time I dump another bag of stuff I cant remember what I gave away!

It has really opened up my eyes to how wasteful we are as a nation. We buy things to be buying things.

My new mantra is if you can't wear it or eat it, don't buy it. You need enough clothes to get you through the week. If you buy something new, give something old away."

My fellow minimalist and Herbie brings up a good point: sometimes you never realize how much "stuff" you have until you need to get rid of it.

And once you've finally decluttered, doesn't it feel like your environment is a lot less stressful?

If you’ve ever walked into a hotel room and felt an immediate sense of tranquility, that’s why. The clean surfaces and sparse furnishing make you feel calmer, more zen. Just cleaning off your counter tops in ONE room can make a world of difference in your home.

That's why on Day 7 of the 28-Day Live Better Challenge, I asked all of the participants to think about their environment and do something to improve it (even if it was something as simple as clearing off the counter) and see how they felt afterwards.

Just look at all the change that happened when they took a few minutes to put things away!

Jennifer R: "One set of counters done. It really does feel less stressful having less clutter"

Debi C: "I put my meal plans into a binder and made a home for my most used cookbooks."

Carolyn M: "Kitchen declutter, dining room not so much. Progress, not perfection."

Emily B: "With 4 kids, 2 dogs, a cat, and a husband you can only imagine how cluttered this family room was before I started it this morning. A winter's worth of toys all in the basement and sorted... also managed to get my youngest son and my room done. On to the kitchen and dining room. Def. needed this motivation to get slacking projects I've been avoiding done."

Marie R: "My son's room, ready for moving in." (Top) "Dining room before and after." (Bottom)

Remember: your environment is powerful! And it only takes a few minutes to make a difference!

Want more minimalist project ideas? Check out my minimalist book Minimalist Monday: Decluttering Your Way to a Zen Home.

Also, it's not too late to join the 28-Day Live Better Challenge!

Get daily tips + email motivation from me. Totally free! You got this!

Sign up here.

P.S. To celebrate the release of my new book, The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living (out tomorrow!), I'm hosting a virtual release party/live Q&A! Join me TONIGHT at 8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST! Check out the Facebook event for more details!

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