My minimalism and decluttering journey were very hand in hand, so you might wonder why decluttering is different from minimalism.
They are both about cleaning and having less stuff, right?
But it’s a lot more complicated than that. I think a lot of people see photos of a “minimalist home” that’s white with clean lines and an empty floor.
And they think that in order to be a minimalist and live a simple life they have to get rid of all their stuff.
Empty rooms, empty closets, and drawers full of white button down shirts.
The Differences Between Minimalism And Decluttering
What Is Minimalism?
Minimalism is more complex than decluttering.
It is not about getting rid of as much stuff as possible.
Minimalism is about getting rid of the extra stuff in your life so that you can enjoy what truly matters to you.
And I am sure there is a more technical definition out there for minimalism, but that is what it means to me at its core.
It is not necessarily about having less, though it usually looks that way.
It is about only keeping what we truly value.
Why Be A Minimalist?
I started a minimalist journey when I started practicing self care, and was exposed to a 30 day minimalist challenge.
But it did not stop at 30 days.
It was an introduction to way of thinking more simply, and getting rid of the noise.
It was really critical in easing my anxiety and making me a healthy person.
What Is Decluttering?
You do not have to be a minimalist to declutter.
And you can be a minimalist with a cluttered home.
Clutter is defined as “unnecessary disorder.”
So when we declutter we are removing unnecessary items from a room.
But in the beginning it seems a lot harder than that.
When we first start to declutter, we have a lot to start with. Decluttering involves organizing and then putting things in their place.
That is the rule: everything in its place.
Clutter and the physical mess around us can actually cause anxiety in our lives.
Maybe you are wanting to change your work habits, are about to move or want to create better habits for yourself.
Decluttering is an action, and it is an ongoing process.
It is good for your mental health and having less will save you time. You have less to clean, less to take care of and less to pick up.
5 Ways Decluttering Is Different Than Minimalism
1. Decluttering Is An Action
Decluttering is an action step that you can take.
It does not have to involve a large mental shift.
It can be a weekly chore or something that you do regularly.
We collect stuff in our homes so easily, so decluttering regularly is a good idea.
Decluttering can be a simple choice that you make in different areas of your life.
Maybe you just want to declutter your desk or your pantry.
You can make these important but minor changes one space at a time.
2. Minimalism Is A Lifestyle
Minimalism is not just about picking up your house or getting rid of stuff.
It is a mental shift in the way that we think about things. And this mental shift impacts our decision making in all areas of our life.
Minimalism is about living simply to only enjoy what we really value.
It impacts out choices at home, in our careers and in the way that we choose to live entirely.
3. Decluttering Is A Physical Step
Decluttering is a physical step that you can take.
It is an ongoing process.
It is a continuous action.
Everything is in its places, everything is reevaluated.
Things are organized and you know where things are and what you have.
4. Minimalism Is A Mental State
With minimalism, there is little physical distraction to pull your attention away.
You can focus, achieve better mental clarity.
It is a form of meditation with much more opportunity for a clear mind than someone whose space and mind are swimming in things and thoughts.
Minimalism involves a lot more intention.
5. Decluttering Is A Part Of Minimalism
People get minimalism and decluttering confused a lot because they pair so well together, and it’s not because they are the same thing.
It’s because decluttering is a vital part of a minimalist lifestyle.
It is easy to get them confused.
If you are a minimalist, decluttering is going to be an organic part of your journey.
You are already making decisions and paring down.
Decluttering offers a huge lifestyle improvement without a huge mental shift required.
You can enjoy the benefits of decluttering parts of your space or your entire home and not adopt a minimalist lifestyle.
10 Ways To Practice A Minimalist Lifestyle
(For more tips on starting a minimalist lifestyle.)
- Determine your goal. Minimalism is different for everyone.
- Take an inventory of all your stuff.
- Honestly assess their value and meaning to you.
- Decide what you love.
- Get rid of the rest.
- Stop collecting.
- Only purchase quality items that you love from now on.
- Borrow, don’t buy.
- Digitize as much as possible.
- Declutter your space.
10 Ways To Declutter Your Space
- Declutter your office, or start with the desk.
- Declutter your wardrobe.
- Start with the junk drawer.
- Organize your fridge and pantry.
- Go through your kids toys.
- Organize the bookshelves.
- Clean out your dresser.
- Declutter your car.
- Get rid of digital clutter: emails, apps, etc.
- Organize your bathroom.
Decluttering And Minimalism
These are just some suggestions on how you can start practicing a minimalist lifestyle.
If that is too big of a step, start with decluttering.
Take a look at the list and set small goals for yourself. Don’t forget digital clutter, mental clutter and social clutter as well.
One of the first places I go to declutter is my wardrobe and clothes. I created a simple guide to help you declutter your own closet, and make your own capsule wardrobe.