Let it go. A millennial’s guide to minimalism.

Updated: Jul 25

“Minimalism” A practical lifestyle approach, eliminating unnecessary structures, objects and devices? Yes.

A twenty-first century buzzword? Certainly.

I’d say that I’m a minimalist by nature. My ability to focus is dependent solely on the absence of any ‘mess’ or ‘clutter.’

I don’t find myself feeling attached to particular objects, and I rarely act on impulse when it comes to my purchasing habits.

Clutter. Disorder. Things. Unnecessary trinkets.

It triggers my anxiety.

Minimalism keeps me sane. It grounds me.

The more cluttered my space, the closer I am to my tipping point. The more simplified, the less likely I am to unravel.

I crave structure. Order. Sweet, uncomplicated simplicity.

When I’m disorganised, I’m overcome with angst. You see, for me, it’s not just ‘trendy’ to adopt more of a minimalist lifestyle. It’s therapeutic.

Here are a few of my minimalism tips if you too, are thinking about paring back and stripping down (sounds kinda sexy, doesn’t it?).

Your closet

The old or ruined: Throw out anything that is damaged or that has any holes, and donate or sell items that you haven’t worn in a long time.

The ‘too small’: Sell or donate anything that doesn’t fit. These are usually the smaller clothes of our past selves that we hold onto because we’re “going to fit into that dress again soon.”

The unnecessary: Decide how many clothes you really need. We usually only wear a handful of outfits and the rest are just taking up space.

The hangers: Cull the hangers. You only need as many hangers as you do clothes (plus a few extras).

The shoes: I once owned way too many shoes, that I had worn way too few times (or worse, NEVER!) Keep the good, versatile shoes and donate or sell the rest.

The jewellery: I once had so much jewellery, and almost all of it spent its life collecting dust because I’d forgotten it existed, and therefore, never wore it.

Keep the good staples and the valuable items, but donate the rest. I managed to palm off a heap of jewellery to some of my close friends.

The accessories: Bags, Purses, Belts, Sunglasses, watches, scarves. You guessed it: Keep what you love or that you regularly wear, and toss, donate or sell the rest.

Your bathroom

The toiletries: Skin, hair, oral hygiene and hair removal products. You don’t need all those different-branded, half empty shampoo bottles - or anything for that matter. You only really need one thing at a time.

The fragrances: Please don’t hoard perfumes. They expire faster than you think. I recommend only having two different fragrances at any one time (one bottle of each). Keep good quality perfumes rather than cheap drugstore fragrances and celebrity scents - even if Britney Spears’ “Fantasy” was total boy-bait in 2007.

The towels: Like most things, invest in quality and you’ll only need a few. This also applies to bath mats, hand towels and face cloths. To satisfy my OCD, make sure they’re not all mis-matched (this tip also applies to your sheets and bed linen).

The hair-torturing devices: Hair dryers, curling irons, straightening irons. If you don’t use them, lose them. If you do, one will generally suffice.

The makeup: If it’s past its expiry, toss it. If you don’t use it, toss it. If you’ve never been able to quite make that colour work, toss it too.

Your kitchen

The crockery: Throw out any chipped or cracked dishes. Again, my go-to advice is “invest in quality and you’ll only need a few” … you only really need one plate, bowl, mug, etc for each person in your household, plus a couple extra for guests. Cutlery is different, however. Keep more cutlery sets than you do plates... ok, add a few more mugs because… tea (obvs).

The appliances: Get rid of the appliances you don’t use. This is hard. I have appliances that get heavy use at certain times of year that sit and collect dust the rest of the year (slow-cooked lamb shoulder, anyone?)... Look at it like this, if you’re going to use it enough for it to take up space, fine. If you bought some odd, ‘As Seen On TV’ contraption that you used once and never looked at again, let it go.

The tupperware: Plastics. Ick! Make sure you get rid of all of the gross, pasta-sauce-stained, microwave-damaged plastic containers in your cupboard. Keep only a few good-quality plastic containers (that you 100 percent, definitely have the lids for) and invest in some glass containers too.

The food: Toss expired food and clean your fridge. REGULARLY. Give your fridge, freezer and pantry a good spray down and organise that sh*t!

Your Digital Space

The filing: Delete all of the files that you do not need. Do it now. Back up all important files to an external hard drive or cloud space - And PLEASE, for the love of God, assign all of your files to organised folders. Any files you’re currently working on should be saved to cloud storage such as iCloud, Google Drive, One-Drive or Dropbox so that they can be easily accessed from any device. Do not keep anything on your computer’s desktop/home screen. Not one thing. I mean it. If files must be housed locally, file them away neatly in your ‘documents’ folder.

The software: Clear your trash/deleted items. Update any apps and programs, and run a software update to ensure that your machine is running the latest operating system. We want optimum performance, people! Oh, and delete your internet browser history regularly (wink, wink).

Your ‘Things’

The books: Of course, some books have sentimental value and you should keep the books you really love… But the ones you don’t love should be donated to an op shop or passed on to a friend for them to enjoy.

The trinkets: I once had stupid decorative ornaments, vases and random trinkets in my house. Get rid of them. Just do it. You won’t even remember you ever owned any of those $5 Kmart items in a few months' time.

The electronics: Charging cables and old devices. Get rid of them. I had a bunch of old chargers from old phones and other devices that I obviously no longer need. I also had an old macbook computer that died two years ago, and an ipod touch from 2009 which was kinda broken. You can take old and broken Apple devices to your closest Apple store to be recycled and places like Officeworks and JB HiFi will also responsibly recycle your old mobile phones, chargers and batteries for you.

The cleaning products: Simplify your cleaning products. All you really need is a large jug of vinegar and a few essential oils - lemon and eucalyptus are really easy to get your hands on. A mixture of water, vinegar and a few drops of lemon/eucalyptus in a glass spray-bottle is a really easy and affordable cleaning solution for disinfecting and removing stickiness, dirt, grime and food from any surface… and this stuff never seems to run out. I also keep an eco-friendly/non-toxic glass-cleaner in my cleaning cupboard. Now, I do keep a domestic bleach cleaner and hospital-grade disinfectant in here too. Of course, bleach is extremely toxic, so only really use this for cleaning the toilet. Let’s face it, toilets are disgusting and germ-infested, no matter how clean they are.

Don’t forget to keep all of these products out of reach of children and animals.

Final Tips

Conceal: You’ve decluttered your space and it is so much tidier, but please make sure everything you’ve decided to keep has its own place. Most things should be concealed and tucked away. If you still have any unoccupied cupboard and drawer space (you should) put away things like perfumes and cosmetics, rather than having them displayed on your bathroom vanity. Clothing should be hanging in a cupboard or folded in your drawers - and sugar and teabags needn’t be out beside the kettle. They can be kept in the pantry.

Maintain: I recommend decluttering every couple of months (or as frequently as possible).

Control: Try to control the urge to impulse-buy. Especially when it comes to homewares, decor and clothing items you’ll only wear once.

Clean: Keep your newly decluttered space fresh by cleaning regularly. Try to vacuum at least once a week, wipe down basins and benchtops, mop and disinfect hard surfaces and properly clean/disinfect around the bathroom sink, bath, shower, and (of course) the toilet.

Got any tips on minimalism? We’d love to hear them! Let us know in the comments below.

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