What You’re Missing About Minimalism (that makes you want to quit)

“I mean, he’s o.k. with the kitchen counters being clear and stuff, but he is NOT o.k. with us giving all this stuff away. Some of it we only use once a year, but we really need it when we need it, you know?”

I nodded with understanding as my friend shared her recent struggles with decluttering. She’s not the first to struggle with getting rid of items that her family only uses occasionally.

I wrestled with the same questions for a long time:

What about the things we only use occasionally?

Should I get rid of them?

What if we end up needing them later?

Thankfully, a book I read this summer gave me the clarity I needed to answer my friend’s question with confidence.

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The Best Place to Start Decluttering (When You’re Too Overwhelmed to Start)

how to start decluttering
Inside: Are you wondering how to start decluttering? Learn why this room is the BEST place to start decluttering, and exactly how to declutter it with super simple steps.

You finally turn the last page of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You slam that cover shut and jump up off the couch. Look out, House: you are about to get a complete and total makeover!

…but then you get up off the couch.

You look around at your real, live, so NOT-Marie-Kondo house – the one with a husband and kids and SO MUCH STUFF, so much clutter! You immediately shut down.

Marie made it sound so simple, but she didn’t have to declutter this house, with these people. She was single when she wrote the book for heaven’s sake!

You’re so overwhelmed that all that information you just read goes straight out of your head.

You want to give up before you even start decluttering a single thing. Just forget it.

If that’s you, stop. Breathe. Block out the rest of your crazy house, and make a beeline to the bathroom.

Why? Because the bathroom is hands-down the best place to start decluttering, especially when you’re too overwhelmed to start.

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The Best Way to Declutter Toys

When you take the plunge into minimalism, many books recommend starting with toys if you have kids. You’ll see a huge difference which will give you the momentum to continue. But when you have multiple kids (especially of different genders), decluttering toys can get complicated fast.

I started with toys after reading the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and it was an oh-so-painful process. I debated a long time over things like dolls and Little People and wooden blocks. Hopefully sharing my experience will save you some of the decision fatigue I experienced.

I’ll give you the simple questions that I eventually (after much debate) came up with in order to decide what to toss and what to keep. I’ll also show you exactly what remained after we decluttered. Your toy collection will probably look different, but I always find it really helpful to see what other families end up keeping when they finish decluttering toys.

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How to Declutter with a Sentimental Child

how to help your sentimental child with minimalism, minimalism and the sentimental child, sentimental children and minimalism
Inside: Are you trying so hard to declutter, but you have a kid who won’t let anything go? Minimalism with a sentimental child can be tricky. Try these tips to make it easier!

“Mama, what happened to my bear puzzle?”

Crap. What on earth made her think about that puzzle?! And 10 minutes before bedtime!

I panicked slightly. During our hectic move, the mod-podged puzzle definitely did not make the “must keep” list.

It was tossed in the trash without a second thought (we had no choice, promise).

I paused, choosing my words carefully. “Well, we had to leave it behind…remember? We couldn’t fit in when we moved, honey.”

That’s when the sobs started. They continued for thirty whole minutes.

All I could do was rub her shaking back gently.

How on earth did this minimalist, very unsentimental mom got stuck with a sentimental child like her?

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