Three Stages of Minimalism

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It’s been a while since the last update on my minimalist journey, so I thought I’d share what’s been happening in the decluttering department. I’ve come to realize there are three stages of minimalism, and there’s little point in working on one stage without the others.

I had a look through a box that made it through the Stage 1 purge and couldn’t understand why I had kept a lot of it. My emotional attachment to objects has changed since then, and I’m totally ready to get stuck into the more sentimental items I would have struggled with before.

three stages of minimalism pin

Although I haven’t removed as much stuff/volume from the house as I did at the start, I’ve made great progress with detaching myself from items that have no purpose, and have finally got my husband on board with the extensive but redundant CD and DVD collection.

A good friend of mine was telling me recently how much he loves “collections”. He went on to tell me about a family friend who collects jugs. They are now in their mature years of life, and this jug collection has become quite extensive. In fact, it now fills the walls of their house from floor to ceiling. Although I totally understand the enjoyment of seeking out a new jug for the collection, I can’t think of anything worse than carrying around 10,000 pieces of unused china for the rest of my life. I felt a wave of suffocation just envisaging the jug house.

The Three Stages of Minimalism

Like many others, my biggest challenge with decluttering is time. I’m a mom of three, a wife and a busy blogger, finding time to put my minimalist ideas into practice is tough! Therefore, keep it simple… don’t spend time grappling over that white blouse or cook book, just get on with it and do what’s easy. If you’re just starting out, stick to Stage 1, and by the time you’re done, stage 2 will seem like a breeze…

Stage 1: Purge and Sort.

We’re talking bulk here. The jobs you’ve been meaning to do for ages like getting rid of outgrown kids clothes, toys, and boxes in the garage that haven’t been opened since your move 3 yrs ago. Sort/shred old paperwork, empty the junk drawer, get rid of tired old bedding and shoes you don’t wear anymore. To understand the volume I dealt with check out my last minimalism post.

Stage 2: Deal with Sentiment

This is where Husband starts to get grumpy, after all, we’ve been together 13yrs, and this is his stuff too. Books are classically one of the trickier items to purge, and as a music lover, the 100s of CD he bought back in the 90s pose a major problem. It’s been a slow burn but he’s finally come round and is vaguely on board with my three stages of minimalism. Our latest decluttering involves:

  • Getting rid of half our books.
  • Investing in a home hard drive with cloud backup to upload our CDs and DVDs.
  • Condensing photo albums.
three stages of minimalism books
No judgment please… we have a lot of books on booze.

This is all still work in progress, I have sorted the books but haven’t physically got rid of them yet. They are in a rather sad pile as I decide which get the recycling bin and which I may be able to find a home for. I’m extremely excited to have all the music and movies on the hard drive, but it’s slow work uploading them and we still have a lot to get through. The photo albums are next in line… I have always loved photo albums and still make a photo book once a year. There was a time, around the turn of the millennium I was filling 3-4 bulky photo albums a year, they have to go. There’s only so many photos I need of myself drunk at a college fancy dress party.

Stage 3: Be Content With What You Have

I’m not here yet, but I hope to be. Minimalism is about more than getting rid of stuff, it’s about stopping the need to buy and hoard in the first place. A fab post by Joshua Fields & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists) lists a number of quotes from the movie Fight Club, explaining the main character Tyler Durden’s intentions towards minimalism.

If you remember the movie, Tyler Durden lives in an abandoned ramshackle of a house, wears the same clothes and doesn’t seem to have any belongings at all. He is the ultimate minimalist because his aim is to focus on what is REAL. What really matters? Is it replacing last year’s winter coat with this season’s bestseller? Is it buying another piece for the jug collection? Or is it living, really living, through experiences and adventure?

I love my home, and I love nice things. I’m not suggesting you set fire to your apartment and go and live in a squat or join a commune. Instead, make your life easier by remaining decluttered! I’ve got to the point where I find it easy to determine what items at home are important and which are not, however, I love to shop… who doesn’t?!I’ll keep you posted on my three stages of minimalism… what stage are you at?

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About the author

Katherine is an electrochemist, hiking enthusiast, and family lifestyle blogger. As a mom of three, including twins, she enjoys DIY, travel, and eating good food. British born, Katherine moved to the US in 2014, and now called Las Vegas home.

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