I will be the first one to admit that minimalism can be hard. I will also be the first one to admit that I have the maturity and dedication of a four-year-old. What does that mean? That means that I need constant rewards and "feel good" moments to get anything done. I know this may not be a good thing in some people's eyes but I get stuff done when I reward myself with simple things that make me happy (like making hot cocoa before bed, or watching one of my favorite movies). I think sometimes it's nice for adults to embrace their inner child.
The minimalist journey can be a long one, so I have to figure out ways to motivate myself. I wanted to share a few of them with you today. Often I will work on the weekend. Normally, it would take a day to finish a task because I had so much of one category to go through but now since I have been working on it for over a year, I can break-things down into smaller more manageable time chunks.
I will pick my task for that weekend, and I will assess how long I think that it will take. I subtract 10 minutes to add a sense of urgency, then I set the time and put music on in the background. No one is allowed to interrupt me for that amount of time. I work until the task is done, and if I win the game (finish before the bell rings), then I get the prize from my list. My list includes things like a bath with a lush bath balm, a mask, a treat at the grocery store, watching my favorite movie…things that are simple that really bring me joy.
Another really effective way that I motivate myself is the graph paper. Every time something leaves my house, I color in a square. I label the month that I am in and keep a tally of everything that I got rid of that month. I will have a limit of what I want to get rid of and anything over that I should feel really good about. At the end of the year I can see how much I have gotten rid of.
If you really want to make it fancy and much more accurate, on the other side of the graph paper I keep a tally of how many things come in (I usually label it so I know what the item is). That way I am held accountable and can really keep track of what I am bringing in and see if there are any patterns that I wish to stop. For example, on the tracking side of the graph paper I noticed that the things I brought in last year spiked in beauty products in January and July. Why is that? Is it because I run out in that amount of time, or does it take me that long to get bored with it, or simply I get tanner in the summer so my colors don’t match anymore? If it's because I get bored with it, I would say that is a problem for me that I need to address. However, if its because I need the change or to refill then I would think that is an acceptable spike.
At the end of the month or the year this really makes me feel good and keeps me motivated. At some point, I notice that there aren’t as many boxes filled in, and that is because I start slowing down. This means I finally hit my "happy spot" in my house and everything that I have will bring me joy or I know to be useful. That is the day that I will set the calendar for less decluttering sessions, and I will be very happy with all my hard work...just like my chart tells me so.