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6 Ways To Gradually Start Minimizing (Without Ditching Your Lifestyle)

I often say I’m a minimalist….and I say that to sarcastically justify all of the crap I own. I especially said that phrase every time I moved into college with far too many things and no legitimate reason I needed all of them.

While it’s nice to go rogue and declutter (I’ve made an intense guide about decluttering for packrats if you’re down to go full force into minimizing), I also find a lot of value in the more gradual ways to minimize and simplify. Not everything in life is going to be insane and excessive. Sometimes you just need to throw away an item here and there and these tips will make it a little easier to do so.

So, really, we’re running a marathon and not a sprint with these tips. And unless you’re moving out or going backpacking ASAP, it’s totally fine to take things slow. Let’s get into it.

1. Finish What You Have

For some reason, this has always been difficult for me. I hardly used my favorite perfume and I never really used my favorite nail polish. I guess I was saving it??? But, like, I don’t know what I was exactly saving this stuff for because it’s meant to be used and enjoyed. I’ve gotten way better at using up what I have and it’s feeling good. Getting rid of a product is so much easier when it’s empty, let me tell you.

This is especially crucial for all of those damn Bath & Body Works body washes and lotions I’ve hoarded over the years. Oh, and the mini hand sanitizers. I have at least a dozen even though I haven’t bought a new one in about six years.

If it helps, follow a empties challenge where you challenge yourself to finish up a certain amount of products in a month or two months. I’ve started challenging myself to use up makeup and to make it easier, I put those products on top of my vanity so they’re impossible to miss or forget about.

2. Get Rid of Beauty Products You Can’t Remember Getting

Or if you remember getting them and it was more than four years ago. If you remember wearing that lip gloss in middle school, please throw it away. This has also been tough for me because I always think “But…what if I decided one day I want this exact product?!” but that never happens! I need to go right now and apply this tip to some seriously old body sprays and lipsticks.

Truthfully, old beauty products get gross and are bad for you. Also, chances are if you still have some of that eyeshadow or perfume left from five years ago, you don’t like it enough to actually finish it. And….if you do, why not add it to your pile from tip one? Unless it’s chunky or smells suspect, then just throw it away.

3. Put a Large Trash Bag in Your Room

No, really. Whenever I have a garbage bag I feel so inclined to fill it up. When I go through things, I feel more obligated to get rid of items and simplify. There’s something really satisfying about filling up a bag with stuff and then tossing it. If you’re seeking some motivation, try this. The trash bag can stay in your room for as long as it takes you to fill it. Sometimes I’ll put a bag in my room and over the course of a few days I’ll fill it up by tossing something every time I enter my room. Just don’t throw in food or perishables in there…it might be kind of gross.

4. Envision Your Future Self/Moving Out

When you move somewhere else or are living in tiny apartment a few years later, do you envision this stuff coming with you? Like, are you really going to take those books you read but didn’t like that much? Are you actually going to drag your old prom dress that doesn’t fit? Nope. Donate things! Sell things! Toss things! If they don’t fit into your future life or future self’s next home, toss them.

But, don’t be too harsh. There are some things I keep because I think they might fit into my future self’s life, like books I loved when I was a kid that I’d like to share with my future kids or my graduation hat that I think might be a fun keepsake. Be reasonable! Don’t be too ridiculous and save everything for the sake of being a keepsake or for your future family. Strike a balance.

5. Stop Buying Things You Don’t Love & Need

If you try it on and aren’t thinking “I LOVE this and I could wear to X, X and X!” don’t buy it! I’ve gotten so good at this. I usually end up finding clothes that I think look so good on me that I like. And I’ve stopped buying them because I realized I didn’t really love them and I didn’t need them. I have dozens of pairs of shoes and dozens of dresses to the point where I can’t justify any item on necessity, only on love. And it’s rare for me to love something enough to buy it ASAP.

And if you’re shopping and find the perfect painting or dress and can’t think of a place to wear it or to put it in that moment, don’t buy it and save for later. By the time you’ll need it, your taste might’ve changed and you’ll forget about the item soon enough.

….And also, declutter your wardrobe a little bit while you’re at it.

6. Store Things In A Way That’ll Help You Use Them More Often

Like I mentioned before, one of the easy ways to minimize is using products up, so putting beauty products you’re eager to use up on top of your vanity is a good trick. This tip also applies to clothes and shoes. When I’m trying to get use out of something, I try to put it on top of my drawer or in the front of my closet. Typically, when I’m on these phases of trying to find ways to minimize, I will put my most-worn items at the bottom of my drawers to force me to acknowledge things I don’t wear…and possibly get rid of them or actually wear them.

New Yorker. Lover of sharp wit and soft kittens. Blogger behind eyelinerwingsandprettythings.com.

Image via Pexels

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