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Minimalism Kick Starter List
Intrigued with the idea of minimalism yet unsure where to even begin to reduce items in your home?
I’ve created a list below for you to print and take into each room of your house. Imagine that you have a few hours to evacuate your home because of an infringing wildfire and you need to grab your favorite and most valuable possessions to take with you.
Okay, you don’t have to be as dramatic as I am, but it might help to put things in perspective. I created this compilation of ideas based on areas in our home that tend to collect items slowly. Keep in mind this needs to be adapted to YOUR needs, style and tastes.
Clean and organize while you go through each room, closet and drawer for an added benefit. Another wise idea is to record (create a video or itemized list with photos) your valuable possessions and store that list in a safe place for insurance purposes.
Socks – you know you always grab that favorite pair. And THROW OUT that lonely single.
Sheets – invest in 2 or 3 high quality sheet sets that you love to dive into at the end of the day. Have a set especially set aside for guests.
Hair Accessories – combs, hair products, clips and pins. These can collect without us realizing it!
Nightwear and Undergarments – Again, you know you have your favorites. If they are worn and stained, get something new and sexy! You can use all the money you make from selling unnecessary possessions.
Check under the bed – Why is THAT there? When did you use it last?
Jewelry – How often do you choose to wear it? Does it accessorize well with all of your outfits? Do you feel lovely in it? Does it express your personality or was it a gift you guiltily keep?
Makeup – Do you really need 10 eye shadows? Are more than 2 or 3 lipsticks necessary? Is it time to throw out that comb or brush and get a new one?
Closet – I won’t create a minimalist list for your wardrobe – you know what you will use. Your wardrobe should reflect where you spend your time.
When I first tested the capsule wardrobe theory, I printed out a list of basic staples that someone had written, and carefully purchased those items. The only problem is, I didn’t use a lot of them because they didn’t work for my lifestyle.
If you absolutely need ideas to start with, there are many ideas on Pinterest under “Capsule Wardrobe”. When I have perfected mine I may update this post. At this point I can decorate my home much more effortlessly than my body. You may enjoy this article by my sister on how to create a simple wardrobe.
Your closet should be a place to take your time and really cut back. Clothing and toys are some of the biggest culprits in the clutter department.
When declutterizing your closet, turn your hangers backwards – within 6 months you know you can also get rid of any items that have not been removed and worn.
Junk drawer – After we got rid of the extra items, it was SO much easier to find that spaghetti scoop, not to mention the guests whom we silently impressed with how organized our junk drawer was.
Flatware – A setting for 12 should be more than enough. (Be sure you love it.) We also have a small plastic set from Ikea for the kids, picnics or eating outside. Important note: disposable plastic ware is not for washing. It is for throwing out. If you need more flatware, then get a bigger set.
Food Storage Containers – Make you sure have all the lids for the containers you own. We buy two of the same set so that all the lids are interchangeable. Throw out the cheap ones or better yet, make someone a meal and give it away.
Appliances – This is personal. We use our crock-pot and bread machine a lot. Some people don’t touch them. Sell it if you have not used it in the past 6 months. You can always replace it, but you probably won’t regret it. Just to be safe, set that money aside in an envelope for replacement if you change your mind. If in 6 months you find yourself missing it, replace it with the cash.
Dishes – Do you love them? Do they fit your needs and personality? Do all your main dishes fit in the same cupboard? Throw out anything chipped or mismatching – unless of course, you are artistic with a funky mismatched china set. I’ve found a simple white set works well to dress up and down for the occasion.
Mugs – Who cares if it is from that company you worked for 20 years ago? You know your coffee tastes better in the cool mug from Santa Fe.
Serving Bowls/Platters – I have found that Pyrex does double duty – you can serve and store in them.
Pots and Pans – My Pa always said, “You always use the same ones, invest in quality!” and I have to agree. Personally I plan to eventually have a cool French copper set to hang on the wall. Figure out what sizes work best for your household and get rid of the rest – recycle or sell!
Measuring Cups & Spoons – Put the least favorite ones in bins with flour or sugar, keep your favorite in the drawer, and be rid of the rest! I like metal cups and spoons that have a stamped measurement on them, the painted ones wear off.
Spices – How many years have you had them? Good quality spices can last up to 4 years. In our house, they are lucky to last one! (I am a spice fanatic. Check out my favorite store, The Spice House!) Food coloring, coffee syrups and tea also fall under this category.
Kitchen Linens – I decided I’d better add this one in when my mom came for a visit and held up a washcloth with a huge hole and said, “Ummmm….” Goes to show you we always use favorites! Keep the favorites, get rid of the ugly.
Cookbooks – no need to keep a whole book for the one recipe you use. Copy it down, tear that page out, or take a picture of the recipe. I have all of mine combined in a binder.
Half used dusty bottles of products – cleaners, shampoos, toothpaste, etc.
Towels – Get a few sets you love. My husband needs dark towels. When we first married I registered for white ones, because I love going to a hotel and using the pure white fluffy towels, but they never looked that like at my house. Now we have 6 large plush favorites in neutral colors that can hide stains, and look great. Keep a few junky ones for camping and flu season, and throw the tattered ones out. Washcloths fall under this category. You may also want a set exclusively for guests.
Random spaces – studio, craft room, office & playroom
Books – This place is a brilliant way to make money from your unread books. You scan in your ISBN number and it shows you who will buy back your book and for what price.
Papers – Develop a filing system and shred and throw the rest away.
Fabric – how long have you saved that piece in the event you will someday sew it up or need it?
Linens – make something fun out of those doilies from Grandma, or donate to a good cause!
Knick Knacks – Personal opinion, I hate them. I have no patience for them. They look junky, collect dust, and are in no way helpful. Get rid of them all! Okay, drama coming through again.
Toss Pillows – Due to dust mites, these should be replaced every few years. I use protective covers underneath as well as wash and dry periodically to kill the mites. Choose cases that are removable and washable. I also love using feather pillows because they can be cleaned and dried and hung out, therefore reusable verses the small one piece style. Did I mention they are natural?!
Toys – I have a swap system in place for my children’s toys. I sorted them and threw out or donated everything cheap, plastic and worn out. They have favorites they always go back to. Then I put about half of them away in a box in storage. Once toys are left strewn around the house and they are not really playing with them, I swap the toys out.
To kids, it’s like getting brand new toys all over again, and they get so excited when they see favorites brought out. This helps keep the house in order (because they are playing with the toys instead of seeing how many places they can leave them) and it also gives about two days of solid peace because they are so contentedly playing!
I hope this list has helped you get a great start on cleaning and organizing your home. Please leave a comment below letting me know if this helped you, or other ideas you have incorporated into minimizing your belongings!