Struggling to Simplify?

Here are a few tips & tricks I used to simplify my wardrobe, my things & my life!

I am not a minimalist by nature. In fact, by nature, I am the furthest thing from a minimalist. In complete honesty, I have a “memory box” full of movie tickets and special birthday cards that I just can’t seem to let go of because of their sentimental value. To some, like me, letting go of things can result in major anxiety. I mean who wants to throw out that baseball cap your friend got you as a present in the 9th grade? You haven’t worn it for years but still… 

I’m going to give you my tips on how I got over my own objections and fears and became a minimalist.

Tip #1: Start with your closet

This was the hardest thing for me. I absolutely live for fashion so you can imagine how hard it was for me to donate half of what I owned… I started by ripping everything off of the hangers and making a big ol’ pile on my bed. I tried everything on and I made some rules for myself to follow:

If an item didn’t pass all four of those qualifications, into the donate pile it went (depending on the quality… obviously I didn’t want to donate absolute junk). I couldn’t believe how many items I had sitting there that I never wore! Some still had tags on them! I was able to clear out quite a few bags of things. I also did this with shoes and accessories. The same rules applied. Now, as I mentioned before, I live for fashion, so I still had a lot in my closet when I was finished. Baby steps, though. I let myself have a month or so and then I went through everything in my closet again and repeated this process. As time progressed it became easier to let go of some things. I highly recommend doing this a few times rather than all at once… Way less overwhelming that way. 

BONUS TIP: When you’re finished, take note of what you may need to replace for the upcoming season. For example, in the fall I wear little black booties all the time. They finally broke last fall (after 4 years) so now I know that I need to purchase a new pair!

Tip #2: Tackle your office overflow

I have a lovely little desk area in my apartment! It has a lot of storage in the cabinets above. It’s gotten messy over time. I decided to organize it the other day and was shocked by how empty it was when I was finished! I found old agenda books… 2 years old. Didn’t need those anymore! I found old papers and notebooks that, if I’m being completely honest, haven’t been opened in a year. & oh my goodness, the pens. We had so many pens! Mitch loves them. There are so many that were out of ink or broken. I tossed all of those, too. By the end of my cabinet raid, everything was nice and neat and had a place. Some of the things that I decided to keep, I actually started using again because I realized that I had them! It was super refreshing. 

Tip #3: Manage your kitchen clutter

Okay, okay, okay… This one was pretty hard for me. We got a lot of kitchen related wedding gifts. Blenders, bakeware… you name it, we got it. & all of it was on my registry. Who sucks? Meee! 🙋🏼‍♀️I thought that I was going to be all wifey and make Mitch smoothies every morning. I thought I’d make my neighbors goodies all the time with my KitchenAid mixer. I didn’t. Not as often as I thought, anyway. These are things that I had to sell because I was moving into the van. Now, to be completely transparent with you, if we weren’t moving into a van I definitely would’ve kept these items. So, if you’re simplifying in your house or your apartment and you have the storage space, you don’t need to go this far. For very limited storage space, I did. I figured I can always buy another mixer when I have a home/apartment again. That made it easier to let go of. Just go through each cabinet and see what you use and don’t use. See what is taking up too much space to justify keeping.

Tip #4: Other objects floating around

Mitch loves his books. Before we moved, we had to get rid of three boxes of them. Three. That boy had his own freaking library! & we still somehow ended up with an overflowing bookshelf at our new place. This part was easy for me! I’m dyslexic. Reading for me is extremely difficult. So I don’t buy many books. I prefer audiobooks. Mitch however loves the smell and the feeling of turning the page. We started about two weeks ago and he’s still getting rid of them. I can’t blame him though. I’m the same way when it comes to my decorations. There are some things that you love so much that they seem irreplaceable! And some things are. Now, we didn’t get rid of absolutely everything. Special things are going in storage. But a lot of our furniture and decor have been sold to people that needed it more than we will (for the next little bit anyway)! Like I said earlier, if you have a home or an apartment and enjoy sitting on the couch at night and watching an episode of your latest Netflix binge with your lover, keep your couch! Keep your TV! We just aren’t going to be able to fit that in a 70 square foot van!

I hope these tips and tricks helped you find somewhere to start. When I first started, I was seriously overwhelmed. Now I find it fairly easy to let go of things. Also, I just wanted to say, there is nothing wrong with being “an average consumer”. You love fashion and want that Gucci belt you saw everyone rocking last season? If you have the money for it and it will bring you joy, get it! If you don’t want to get rid of your extensive selection of books because you enjoy flipping through them and re-reading, keep your books! This is meant for people that want to simplify but are struggling. I hope this helped, thank you for reading and I’ll see you next time!

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Hope Blanchard

Hope Blanchard

singer/songwriter. vanlifer. dreamer.

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