Hi guys! I am really excited to introduce you to Courtney Carver, who is guest posting on Seasons + Salt today. You might know Courtney from her work with Project 333, which she personally started.
Courtney is the founder of bemorewithless.com and has a new book Soulful Simplicity, coming out December 26th. In its pages she shares the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives.
I am a big fan of Courtney’s and she has kindly agreed to share some of her best, beginner minimalists steps with us today.
Over the last ten years, I made some big changes with my family. We sold and donated close to 90% of our stuff, paid off all of our debt and downsized from a big house to an apartment less than half the size. I made some changes personally too. I changed my diet and began to prioritize my health and my heart. That included creating a morning routine, moving more throughout the day, working less and sleeping more. I also left a long career in sales and marketing and created my own business. I’m still learning, changing, and growing, but a few of the lessons I picked up as a beginner minimalist may help if you are just getting started.
Start small. I mean really small, tiny even. If you want this to be a lifestyle change and not just another attempt at getting organized, consider a slow and steady approach. After all, if organizing worked, you’d be organized by now.
12 Tiny Tips to Help You Get Started
| 1 | Discard the duplicates. Walk through your home with a box and fill it with duplicates. If you have two sets of measuring cups, put them in the box. Copies of the same book or DVD? Put one in the box. Doubles on place mat sets? You only need one. Once you fill the box, label it “Duplicates” and put it out of sight for 30 days. If you don’t need anything or don’t remember what was in the box, donate it.
| 2 | Give books to your local library. If you aren’t ready to let all your books go, start small and bring a few that you’ve read or never plan to read to the library. If you change your mind, you can check them out later.
| 3 | Write it down. Make a list of all the reasons you want to live more simply. If you are sick of debt collectors, write it down. Mad that you never get any time with your kids? Write it down. Too stressed out to sleep at night? Put it on paper. Want to fire your boss? Yep, write that down too. These are your whys and your whys will provide great leverage when you think it’s too hard to keep going. Your whys will help you remember what matters.
| 4 | Donate clothes that don’t fit your body or your lifestyle. Dress for today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Holding on to clothes you don’t wear may be getting in the way of appreciating the person you are right now.
| 5 | Declare a clutter-free zone. This area could be a kitchen table, your nightstand, a countertop or a drawer in your kitchen. Use that clutter-free zone as inspiration to live with less. If you enjoy that clean, clear environment, expand the zone a little bit each day. A clutter-free countertop can become a clutter-free room and a clutter free room can become the clutter-free, minimalist home you’ve been thinking about.
| 6 | Keep a box by the door for odds and ends that don’t matter to you. The box will be a reminder to let go. When the box is full, bring it to a local donation center.
| 7 | Eat similar meals. When you think about how much time you spend thinking about what you are going to eat for lunch, make your family for dinner, or what you need to pick up at the grocery store, it’s clear that food is not always simple. Try eating the same breakfast and lunch all week and have 2 or 3 dinner choices that rotate throughout the week. If your family complains, let them know it’s an experiment and then talk about it at the end of the week.
| 8 | Experiment. Be curious and have fun challenging yourself to live with less.
- Minimalist fashion challenge Project 333: dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
- The Mins Game: Give away 1 thing on day 1, 2 on day 2, 3 on day 3 and so on.
| 9 | Save $1000. An emergency fund simplifies everything. If you are paying off debt, only pay your minimum payments until you can save $1000. Money for emergencies reduces stress and emergencies.
| 10 | Conquer your junk drawer. Don’t simplify your junk drawer, eliminate it. Find everything a place and stop holding onto junk.
| 11 | Give up one thing you think you can’t live without for 30 days. What is it? TV? Sugar? Complaining? Choose one thing and give it up for 30 days.
| 12 | Have a life. We don’t remove clutter, reduce stress, and reject busyness to have a simple life. We do it to have a life. Don’t wait until your debt is paid off, or every room in your home is decluttered to start living. Minimalism invites you to be intentional about how you invest your time and energy, and how you want to fill your heart. Start now.
Try these one at a time and continue to take tiny steps and lean into the life you crave. Even if it takes 10 years to get to where you think you want to be, the benefits begin immediately.
Courtney Carver changed her life by simplifying it after a devastating diagnosis in 2006. Her new book Soulful Simplicity is available for pre-order and will be published December 26th by Tarcher/Perigee, a division of Penguin Random House.