Minimalism as a lifestyle calls for us to reduce our possessions.
The goal is to live our best life focusing on the essential, which often are intangible things like memories and experience. Too many physical things can drain your energy and hamper your freedom. It isn’t difficult to see the value in minimising our lifestyle. After a long day at work, coming home to an apartment or house that’s cluttered can feel like you moved from one battleground to the next. Overflowing drawers and cabinets, kitchen utensils jangling every time you pick it out, and the never-ending mess can make you feel like you have little control when, in reality, it is often the opposite case. You have all the control over your space, claim that power.
What if the minimalist lifestyle is not for me?
Not everyone can commit to minimalism at its essence, and that is fair. What others might see as a burden can be security for others. In this case, it is valuable to view minimalism as a spectrum because the essential can vary, and the essential can change. Even if you do not plan on significantly reducing your belongings, these lessons can help you live your maximalist lifestyle with a renewed sense of control.
Create categories and sort your belongings
We often forget what we have on hand as things accumulate. Tackle the problem by decluttering. Figure out a method that works best for you. You can opt to do it by room so that the decluttering does not overtake your living space. Or follow the KonMari method, which declutters based on category: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and mementoes. While minimalism advocates living on less, practice discretion and refer to your ideal life when sorting. Discard rubbish that has gathered without your knowledge, and recycle items that you can.
With things that you no longer want in your life, but are perfectly serviceable, ask family and friends if they need any of it or donate these items to charities. If you believe that someone might need these items in the future, or you are torn between how you feel about it, look for self storage facilities in areas near you. A storage unit is a great way to separate your items from your living space either as a test run, to see if you genuinely need it, or to store for a later date.
What can store away while minimising?
We cannot declutter our lives overnight. You can set aside items you are unsure of and revisit them at a later date. The key to making decisions is time. When you have decided on what to keep, further segregate. Distinguish what you need now from what you need in the future. It could be oversized furniture when your family or partner moves away or off-season clothes. You can also store valuable books that you don’t reach for as often or fancy china. When you store these items, pack them securely, but keep them accessible. Label all your storage bins and boxes and keep an itemised list for reference. When you are at the storage unit, arrange the containers according to need. Put clothes near the entrance and the books and plates towards the back.
You can also store items that you no longer need, but haven’t figured out the right person who needs them yet. If you need the extra cash and are trying to resell your belongings online, keeping it in a storage unit can help prevent them from being destroyed by accident. When these items are outside of your home, you can begin to see your new space.
Storage is an excellent option for people who will spend periods abroad. A new internship or job opportunity in another country comes with all kinds of new expenses. When you give up your apartment, don’t burden family and friends, use a storage unit. As usual, keep the essentials near the entrance, so you can easily transition when you come back home.
Does self-storage count as decluttering?
When using storage units, you have to keep a minimalist mindset or else you end up accumulating more things. When you learn to ‘shop your stash’, or rotate different items regularly, you begin to buy less. It does not feed into the consumerist habit. If you find security in things, then be sure you use them. Treat your storage as an extension of your home and not an object graveyard. The right habits with your storage space mean you can live big in your small apartment without compromising on any of your hobbies.
Minimising is a process. You slowly learn to live on less and break bad purchasing habits. Self storage presents an opportunity, make the most out of it. Come home to a clean apartment filled with space and possibilities.