It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas…spring cleaning! As the bluebonnets start to pop up all over the Hill Country, our homes seem to mimic Mother Nature by requiring their own “new beginning.” Usually a big part of spring cleaning is decluttering. Nobody puts it better than the queen of Texas herself, Joanna Gaines. In her design book, Homebody, she says, “Our homes should be a source of happiness to the people who live there, so surround yourself with things that you love and let go of the rest.”
There are a lot of ways to view the decluttering process. If thanking your house and dramatically changing the way you fold clothes doesn’t appeal to you, no worries. There are other perspectives to consider, and I’m here to show them to you. I’ve compiled a list of my go-to simple living gurus and a brief synopsis of their philosophies. At the very end of the post you’ll find my takeaways. Pick and choose what resonates with you as you head into spring cleaning this year. Each person’s brand of minimalism varies slightly, and that’s OK. But one common theme is certain: less is more.
Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker
Minimalism gets a bad rep for being boring and plain. We all picture sterile white walls with one overly modern chair. Before you dismiss it, consider Josh Becker’s definition of minimalism: “the intentional promotion of things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them” (The Minimalist Home). That’s what minimalism is all about, my friends! Joshua Becker’s blog, Becoming Minimalist, is one of my favorite resources for information about and motivation for decluttering (or “de-owning,” as he likes to say). He has two kids, so I especially appreciate his family-friendly approach to minimalism. In terms of spring cleaning, some of his most popular posts may give you the pep talk you need. He has also written three excellent books (Clutter-free with Kids, More of Less, and The Minimalist Home) and offers a course if you really want to dive in.
Another parent who is a pro at the minimalism game is Shira Gill. She has a blog and runs the “Virtual Closet Makeover” program. Honestly, just looking at her pretty Instagram feed motivates me to clean up my life. Her tips are practical and easy to implement. In fact, that’s the bedrock of her brand: it takes five minutes. She says, “Clean out a drawer, donate an outfit you no longer wear, or pass on toys your children have grown out of. The most important thing is just to start.” Shira doesn’t ask you to plan on transforming your whole house; just take five minutes to make an incremental change.
Be More With Less by Courtney Carver
If clothes themselves are the root of your decluttering woes, Courtney Carver may be your solution. In 2010 Courtney started writing about Project 333 on her blog, Be More With Less. Project 333 is a minimalist fashion challenge in which you create a capsule wardrobe. Under this philosophy, your wardrobe would consist of 33 pieces (clothing, jewelry, accessories, outwear, and shoes) that you wear for three months. Then you switch out for a new capsule after that (though some staple items may be used in several capsules). This allows you to experience less decision fatigue when planning outfits while getting the thrill of “new clothes” quarterly without actually spending money unless it’s truly necessary. Courtney says that “you can remove a significant amount of stress from your life simply by reducing the number of items in your closet.”
The Life on Purpose Movement by Erica Layne
When Erica Layne realized that life was just plain too crazy, she made a choice to be more intentional. The Life on Purpose Movement was born and exists to help others slow down enough to connect. How’s this for a piece of minimalist mom wisdom: “Less time managing your stuff means more time engaging with your life”? Erica, a mom of three, has awesome mom-friendly decluttering tips, like using a tracker, and recently published her first book, The Minimalist Way: Declutter Your Life and Make Room for Joy.
Marie Kondo recommends following a specific decluttering order: clothing, books, papers, komono (aka: miscellaneous), and sentimental items. In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she explains why: “One reason so many of us never succeed at tidying is because we have too much stuff. This excess is caused by our ignorance of how much we actually own. When we disperse storage of a particular item throughout the house and tidy one place at a time, we can never grasp the overall volume and therefore can never finish.” Her methods of folding and organizing with small containers do wonders for cleaning up drawers and closets. You can, of course, watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. She also has a YouTube channel and Instagram account to inspire and instruct you.
Marcella the Minimalist and Kathy
Lest we take ourselves too seriously, Marcella the Minimalist and Kathy are here to keep it real. Even with the humble bragging, the pants mullet is pure genius.
Spring Cleaning Takeaways
Wondering where to start? A few of these tips may help you:
- Recognize how much stuff you actually have and think about what you really need.
- Start small: one drawer, your car, a cupboard, one outfit. Notice the difference, and let it motivate you.
- Go from the easiest to the hardest spaces so you’re able to build momentum.
- Intentionally de-own and discard instead of just organizing your clutter.
- If you’re not sure whether to discard something, experiment. Hide a questionable item for three months. If you don’t need it during that time, de-own!
- Going forward, be intentional about what comes into your home. You are the gatekeeper, the curator. Only select the most meaningful, valuable possessions to enter your home.
- Establish routines and systems that will allow you to keep things tidy and decluttered.
- Minimalism does not look the same for everyone. Do what works for you.
- You don’t need a lot of clothes; you just need the right clothes.
- Being whole isn’t about clothes or possessions.
- Gratitude and joy should be part of the decluttering process.