A version of this post originally appeared on The Michigan Beer Show blog.

Minimalism & Decluttering: Inspiration

· The Minimalists blog and podcast
· Everything That Remains book by The Minimalists
· The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book by Marie Kondo

The Minimalists: Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff.

It’s finally spring in Michigan: the snow is melting once and for all and residents are hopeful that they won’t see it return for at least six months. Spring symbolizes a fresh start, a chance to lighten the burden that the short, dark, cold days of winter can bring to your life.

You might be inspired to start spring cleaning: it might be a necessity—where’s that part for the lawnmower again?—but it’s definitely contagious.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
My process of decluttering and minimalism started about a year ago. I spent most of May through September 2015 traveling by plane, train & automobile to Michigan, New York, all over the West Coast and through various cities in Europe. It was an exciting summer—I spent time in 12 airports, drank a lot of excellent beer, took dozens of Instagram photos all while living out of a suitcase at various Airbnbs, hotels and friends’ houses.

I donated several car loads’-worth of belongings that I haven’t used in months (or years!)
When I was finally able to unpack and settle back into a more predictable schedule, I realized that my apartment contained a lot of stuff. Stuff I hadn’t touched or worn or used in months—even years in some cases!
I took all of the books off of my bookshelf, advice from Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of decluttering.

I began sorting through my belongings with advice from Marie Kondo and The Minimalists. I didn’t have a packing party like Ryan did and I did not declutter my entire apartment in one day as Marie suggests, but over the course of several months, I got rid of at least half (probably more!) of my belongings. I only kept things that I actually use and donated the rest.

KonMari sock rolling technique — they remind me of little sushi rolls. So cute! This way, the elastic doesn’t stretch out.

“My criterion for deciding to keep an item is that we should feel a thrill of joy when we touch it. Items that we can’t bring ourselves to discard even when they don’t inspire joy are a real problem.” — Marie Kondo

My bedroom, post-decluttering. Everything has a place and stays well-organized now!

Our main dining area, right off the kitchen. We still have “stuff”—three people live in/use this space—but everything we kept was intentional. We use all of it—yes, all of those cookbooks, booze, and art supplies—we entertain frequently!
Listen to the podcast for more about my process!