Building Minimizing Muscle

There are all kinds of minimizers in the world and minimizing habits fall on a spectrum. There are no hard and fast rules to minimizing your home and creating life balance. When I started minimizing, I thought I had jumped right in with both feet, I was so inspired and excited, I easily completed the Minimalist’s 30-day declutter challenge (day one get rid of one item, day two get rid of two and so on up to 30.) I kept doing challenges over the next three years with various friends and I learned some really valuable lessons about minimizing. (If you prefer video, scroll to the bottom of this post.)

One of the big ones, was that the minimalist mindset doesn’t happen instantly. Not overnight. Not with one 30-day challenge. It takes practice to build the muscle, just like any other habit we create in our life. I guess there should be no surprise there, but there was. Items I got rid of on round five, three years after my first go around, were things that I didn’t even think to let go of on the first round. But by the fifth go, it was easy to part with them.

It takes time to grow the mindset around those just-in-case items, sentimental items, and collections.

Minimizing shouldn’t be a grueling process of tears, hurt, frustration, and overwhelm. If these are the emotions you’re experiencing, then you’re not ready to minimize those particular items. You haven’t had enough practice yet. And that’s okay. Over time, one day you’ll look at these items with a more intentional mindset and will naturally be ready to part with them. It may not be an easy decision, but you will experience peace with your choices.

There is no rush to parting with items. The key is to practice donating or gifting your items regularly, to build the emotional muscle and feel the benefits of parting with items that don’t serve a purpose or you don’t absolutely love. Feeling the release of stress and guilt are the rewards of minimizing. This outcome helps build that muscle and strengthens your resolve to beat the battle of stuff.

So, if you’re struggling with the pressure of minimizing because you think there’s a “right” way to accomplish this, or because someone out there is sending the message that you “have” to part with everything, know that may not be your path.  Take the time to practice the habit, build your muscle, and take the pressure off. You’ll get there and it will be joyful.

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