For every minute spent minimizing possessions, an hour is earned.
As a result, there are many who wish to minimize their possessions, but can’t find the margin to do so. If that’s you, this blog post is for you. First, to provide encouragement. Second, to issue a challenge. And third, to offer practical ideas on some ways to find time for decluttering your stuff and enjoying more of the benefits of owning less.
First, some encouragement:
As you declutter, you will almost magically find more time in your schedule. Our possessions are more of a distraction and drain on our time and lives than most people realize. As you move through lived-in spaces, removing items you no longer need, you’ll be surprised how quickly time seems to come back to you.
Your effort is an investment. Accomplish a minute of work, receive an hour of freedom on the other side. Minimalism always works that way.
Time spent removing possessions is never wasted. (tweet that)
But there is an important reality I need to issue here as a challenge:
Each person needs to make minimalism a priority in their own lives. Possessions won’t remove themselves. We need to find the time to push through the initial investment that is required to accomplish this in our homes and lives.
There is an oft-cited proverb that goes like this, “A person being too busy is a myth. People will always make time for the things that are really important to them.” There is truth in that statement. Any busy person who wants to declutter their home, must be willing to make it a priority.
How then, can we find the time to experience these benefits?
Here are 7 Ways to Declutter on a Busy Schedule:
Find one or two that work for you.
1. Wake up early / Stay up late.
When I first started minimizing, there was a two-week stretch when I woke up every morning at 5am, accomplishing 45 minutes of decluttering before my day even started. I didn’t necessarily like getting up early. But I knew, for a short period of time, I could do it—especially for such an important cause. If you are more of a night-person, choosing to stay up later for a period of time is also an option.
2. Turn off the television / Internet browsing.
The statistics concerning our screen time are really quite unbelievable: nearly 10 hours/day. Reclaim control over your life and home by choosing to set aside your electronic device for just 45 minutes/day. Again, this doesn’t need to be a permanent change (though you may like it more than you think). But for a period of time, it can provide the extra time needed to declutter your home on a busy schedule.
3. Make it “family-time.”
One reason finding time to minimize our possessions can be difficult is because we value the time we spend with family—after being away all-day, spending time with our loved ones is important to us and them. Rather than seeing the minimizing of a room as isolating yourself, bring them along and do it together. I realize, of course, this may be easier said than done. But don’t you think these are important skills you want to pass on to your children (and maybe spouse)?
4. Postpone one hobby.
Hobbies are important. They energize us, educate us, and provide a valuable distraction that allows us to re-engage our responsibilities with a fresh mind and body. Make minimalism your hobby. This does not mean you have to give up painting, reading, gardening, mountain-biking, golfing, quilting, baking, or woodworking forever. It simply means you are postponing that hobby briefly… to craft a new life where you can enjoy them more in the future.
5. Take a staycation.
Rather than leaving town for your next week (or long-weekend) vacation, decide you are going to stay home and minimize instead. You’ll save money—in more ways than one. You’ll be able to almost entirely reinvent your life. You can still enjoy fun and unique outings in your own hometown. And most importantly, it may be the most life-changing vacation you ever take.
6. Send the kids away for a short time.
Removing the day-to-day parenting responsibilities for a period of time will likely supply you with the needed hours to accomplish much toward minimalism. On a grand scale, see if the grandparents would be willing to host the grandkids. Or, coordinate summer camps. If neither of those options are possible, don’t discount the amount of work you can accomplish by sending the kids out for an evening alone with your husband/wife.
7. Pass off one responsibility.
This is not always possible in every situation or relationship, but it may be in yours. If you and your partner are in-sync about your need to own less and take back control of your lives, passing off one responsibility for a period of time is something to consider. Could your spouse commit for a few weeks to handle the meals, the laundry, the bedtime routine, the mowing, or cleaning up the kitchen in the evening? Just be sure to use your newfound time efficiently and wisely if he or she agrees :).
Minimalism is not an easy change to make. If you’ve been accumulating possessions in your home for the last several decades, it’s going to take more than one evening to remove them. But as you progress, you will find caring for your home becomes much easier and less time-consuming—resulting in more space in your schedule to minimize other places.
For tips on getting started, begin your journey with easy steps, focusing on the most lived-in rooms in your home. You’ll notice the results and experience the life-giving benefits quicker.