8 Interesting Minimalism Tips I Learned While Moving Home
In March 2019, my little family and I relocated from our Melbourne unit to the country and in the process, we learned a lot about downsizing our belongings and embracing minimalism (even more).
From trading two huge indoor plants for smaller ones, living without our couch for a few weeks, keeping cupboards intentionally empty and giving away things we knew other people would enjoy more, we moved into our new home with less stuff and more space for the things that really matter to us.
Top 8 tips about minimalism (that I learned while moving home)
Tip 1: Swap big things for smaller things
Sometimes, it can work really well to create more space by keeping smaller versions of large things.
For example, I had two beautiful indoor plants which had grown quite large in the year that I’d had them. Since they were going to be difficult to move long distance and the space we moved into is much smaller, I decided I’d try to swap them for smaller plants.
I reached out to a lovely local nursery, who said they would be happy to swap and I now have two little plants which will be much more approporiate for our space.
Other big things you can swap for smaller versions to create more space:
-A big desktop computer for a laptop
-A wardrobe (this might also help you downsize the amount of clothing you own)
-A large couch
-A dining table (we actually now use stools at the kitchen bench instead of using a dining table)
Tip 2: Give away things you don’t use often to people who can enjoy them more
Do you have things you plan to use “one day” – but you’ve been keeping those things for years and you still haven’t gotten around to making the most of them?
Those are things you could donate or give away to people who will truly enjoy them.
Here are a few things I kept with good intentions of using, but knew other people would appreciate more right now:
-Journals and blank notebooks
-Pencils and pastels
-Cooking utensils (such as my food processor, which I’d had for several years and used 2 or 3 times)
Have a look through your own cupboards and drawers to find things you don’t really use and could give away, knowing that other people will appreciate them a little more.
Tip 3: Fold clothes using the Konmari method
One of the challenging things about moving house is you often end up living out of a suitcase while you get organised.
Fortunately, my partner Dec and I had watched Marie Kondo’s show, Tidying Up, on Netflix several weeks before the move and we learned so many great folding techniques for clothes.
It was so helpful to have our clothes folded properly in our suitcases when we were travelling so much and living out of our suitcases during the transition. Even though it might seem like a small thing, it actually made a big difference overall; our clothes were neat and tidy, they were less crumpled and easier to find in the suitcases (plus it was simple to keep clothing categorised!).
Of course, the other great thing we learned was about downsizing our wardrobe and letting go of clothing we didn’t really need anymore.
NOTE: there are lots of great folding tutorials you can also find on Youtube using the Konmari method!
Tip 4: Keep digital versions of physical things
Sometimes, having digital versions not only helps you save space and decrease clutter, but they can be cheaper, much easier to organise (and access) and less likely to become damaged.
For example, you might put all your CDs on an iPod (and keep digital files for back up, too). You could stop buying DVDs and subscribe to Netflix. You might like to save your photos on a hard-drive and upload your favourites to Instagram, rather than keeping lots of physical photo albums. Rather than buying books you will only read once and store on your bookshelf for years, you could listen to an audiobook or read the eBook version.
We actually went through our DVD collection and sold about a third of them, knowing that if we ever wanted to see those movies and tv shows again, we could easily rent the digital versions or find them on Netflix.
Tip 5: Rearrange things so you can use your home for meaningful experiences
We thought it was really funny that the day after we moved our couch, we started using the extra space for physical activities. For example, rather than getting out of bed, making a coffee and then sitting on the couch, I did yoga first thing in the morning on the lounge room floor. My partner, Dec, used the area to lie down and stretch out his back properly. Without the couch, we sat at the table to eat without watching tv at the same time (which created more opportunities for mindful eating and conversation).
The simple act of moving the couch and creating more space encouraged us to use that space for more meaningful things.
How could you rearrange things in your home so you can enjoy more meaningful experiences?
Tip 6: If something has been in storage for years and you haven’t missed it… Maybe, you just don’t need it
Sometimes, we put things in storage because it’s easier than deciding what to do with them. The problem is, we can end up with loads of “stuff” in storage that we don’t actually want (or need) to keep.
Go through your cupboards, attic, garage, or other storage spaces. Pull things out. Go through unlabelled boxes. Categorise the things you actually want to keep. Let go of anything you don’t really need.
It sounds simple, but it can be a little overwhelming. Try choosing just one storage space to go through and set a time limit of thirty minutes to help yourself get started.
Tip 7: Declutter cupboards and leave them empty
Do you feel compelled to fill cupboards or drawers because it just seems strange to leave them empty? I hear you!
I find it feels really weird to leave cupboards and drawers empty, but it’s something I’m now trying to embrace.
The problem was, when old things were nearly used up (especially bathroom things like shampoo, makeup, perfume etc), I left the almost empty bottles in the cupboards and bought new ones! Since I had the space to keep it all, I didn’t get rid of things when I should have.
If you do this, too, try organising everything you really need into as small a space as possible and don’t let things overflow into empty cupboards and drawers. If it does start to look a little crowded, that’s when you know it’s time to go through it and get rid of old things you’re no longer using.
Tip 8: Identify if things actually help you live the life you want to live
When you move house, you find out what feels necessary and important and you realise that it’s okay to let go of the other things. For example, even though I love books I ended up donating a lot of them because I’d read them once and would probably never read them again - those books weren’t doing anything for me anymore except taking up space. Of course, I kept the ones that really resonated with me and that I could see myself reading again!
Try walking around your home and notice anything which doesn’t help you live the life you want to live and maybe pass those things on. And if there are things which are really important to you, try putting them out where you will be more likely to use and appreciate them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my top minimalism tips! If you would like to embrace minimalism a little more, why not do a fun challenge? I wrote about some great minimalism challenges and created my own Mindful Minimalism Challenge over on this blog post: 10 Minimalism Challenges to Help You Win at Decluttering