The holiday season has come and gone, but we are still anticipating and excited for New Year’s Eve! Along with the preparation required for all the night’s festivities — carefully selecting a designated driver, buying the perfect outfit, fully charging your phone, etc. — we lovers of order and simplicity must prepare for the new year in another way.
So get out a pen and paper and start making your list! This one won’t be full of gifts you need to buy for friends and family. Instead, this list will make your life a little easier as you head into the new year. The list is called “Minimalist Resolutions for 2018.”
1. Start each day by making your bed.
Making your bed is an easy habit that will take only a few seconds each morning, but it is sure to make a significant impact on the rest of your day. So it’s simple — make a vow to start each day in 2018 by making your bed. But don’t just take it from us! Apparently, the most successful people are daily bed-makers, as there is a correlation between the habit and increased productivity. The action can spark “chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.” We think this theory is worth testing!
2. Declutter your wardrobe/closet.
This resolution should be expected from us, as we’ve been talking about decluttering closets for years now. But it’s likely that several of Marie Kondo’s fans have just read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” without putting the concepts into action. But what is the purpose of inspiration if you don’t act upon it? It may seem like an unattainable goal or unrealistic expectation, but you can’t dismiss these ideas until you attempt them yourself!
It’s likely that you have a long weekend ahead of you with the New Year holiday, so this is the perfect time to start fresh in your home. There’s no better way to enter a new year than with a clean slate and a lack of clutter.
3. Donate unwanted items.
If you fill garbage bags with stuff you no longer need or want, make sure you put them in the right place. And no, we don’t mean in the garage or attic! We’re talking about donating to the less fortunate. Not only will your space feel cleaner and brighter, but you’ll feel better knowing your unused items are going to someone who will use and appreciate them.
Simplify this process by placing a cardboard box designated for donations inside your garage. This will remove all excuses of donation avoidance!
4. Remove the TV from your bedroom and read instead.
There’s something counterproductive about the flashing lights of a television in an area you’re expected to find rest and solitude — the bedroom. We aren’t promoting the absence of entertainment altogether, as there is of course a place for that. You just might want to consider relocating your television in your living room or entertainment area. Instead of falling asleep to the lull of a TV, you can wind down with a relaxing book in bed. Studies prove that reading before bed promotes a better night’s rest than watching Netflix does!
5. Focus on quality not quantity.
It’s easy to make a drastic change only to revert to old habits and end up exactly where you started. How many times have you vowed to work out 3-4 times per week starting on January 1, only to give up completely halfway through February? It’s so easy to let the same thing happen with your home, as you might start to gradually replace those items you discarded of. Be intentional in avoiding this trap by setting up a strict filter for yourself while at the mall or shopping online.
It’s simple: don’t allow anything that doesn’t bring you joy to enter into your home. And if it technically does “bring you joy,” ask yourself another question — “Do I actually need this?” You’ll surprise yourself with your sense of self-control if you begin to think this way while shopping. The tremendous progress you’ve made towards a minimalist lifestyle will not be in vain.
6. Give more to charities.
Similar to resolution #3, getting in the mindset of giving instead of getting is important for maintaining a minimalistic lifestyle. If you’re spending less money in stores, you’ll have more money left to give to some local charities. Now just imagine if everyone in the community thought this way! That snowball effect and like-mindedness starts with individuals. So let that individual be you in 2018! Yes, you may be happier if you give more. But it’s more than that — it’s about the people you can help with your monetary donations.
7. Gift experiences, not stuff.
Encourage those around you to live simply by extending some of these minimalist principles to them. In 2018, give experiences rather than physical objects that take up space in a home.
What do we mean when we say give experiences? Give someone tickets to a concert. Give gift certificates to one of your favorite local restaurants. Organize a date night for a couple’s anniversary. Whatever you do, it will be a memorable time for the recipient and they won’t be stuck with yet another mug to add to their crowded kitchen cabinet. Plus you’re purposefully adding soldiers to your minimalist army. The more the merrier, right?
8. Revisit your finances and re-organize your budget.
A common New Year’s resolution is to make some sort of budgeting goal or financial shift. We would encourage you to do that very thing this year, as you will be able to see your budget in a whole new minimalist light. There may be categories you need to do away with, ways you need to cut back, or categories you must add (such as giving or saving). There is an enormous peace of mind that comes along with financial organization. It’s not completely satisfying to have your home completely in order while your checkbook is out of whack. So get organized — in every corner of your life! Review a guide for budgeting or download a budgeting form, courtesy of finance guru Dave Ramsey. If you’re feeling really extreme, you might consider practicing a “Buy Nothing Year” in which you — you guessed it! — buy nothing but the essentials for an entire year.
9. Clean up digital clutter.
Speaking of getting organized, we suggest cleaning up your digital life as well at the start of 2018. Can you not even see your beautiful computer desktop background because of the messy array of files obstructing your view? Or do you have thousands of emails sitting in your inbox, with spammy emails adding to its number each day? Do you have useless apps on your phone that you’ve hardly ever used?
Now’s the time to get serious about cleaning up all that digital clutter. Start a system for how you deal with files and documents on your computer. The first step is creating lots of folders, and begin naming your files with helpful titles, rather than the default title that is sometimes irrelevant or uses a bunch of numbers. You can also unsubscribe from emails with services like unroll.me, which allows you to remove yourself from unwanted email lists, or add some email subscriptions to a “Daily Rollup,” so you can receive all promotions you might be interested in all in one convenient daily email.
Next, go through your apps and simply delete the ones you never use or forgot about completely. Don’t worry — you can always re-download Angry Birds if you decide to get sucked back into it.
10. Try a full month of minimalism.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you might consider trying a full month of minimalism. This would wrap up all of the above ideas into one neat package. There are several directions you can go with this, but it might include buying nothing but the essentials, doing some intense decluttering, spending more time reading, spending more quality time with friends and family, or actively saving money. Whatever you do during this month, you might find that those habits will continue into the following month, and the month after that, and so on. Because, as mentioned, this is a lifestyle change that has the potential to become a new way of life rather than simply a phase you go through. So fully immerse yourself in the minimalist world during an entire month, and see what incredible results you find on the other end. Maybe you will save a surprising amount of money. Maybe you’ll have a greater peace of mind. Maybe you’ll be inspired to give to others more.
Either way, 2018 already sounds like a promising year.
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