I wish that once you declutter your house is permanently organized and tidy. Unfortunately, there is always stuff coming back into the house and you need to declutter repeatedly.
I’m not the kind of lady who has her life together enough to follow some kind of decluttering calendar to make sure I keep on it. I love a good list, but I’m anti-checklist for the most part (ain’t no checklist gonna tell me what to do!).
When it comes to keeping decluttered I find myself getting a skiff of inspiration and suddenly deciding to go through my makeup or the craft hutch.
So the key for me isn’t to keep a checklist or a calendar but to keep motivated. For motivation, I turn to books, podcasts, and Pinterest.
There have been lots of great sayings I’ve come across that have helped me maintain a minimalist mindset. I have been gathering them in different places and thought I should give them all a home here.
ON GETTING STARTED
1. Day One, or One Day. You Decide – unknown
I talked about this quote on How to Start Decluttering. Being someone who can become sluggish in life, I need this kind of mental shift to prompt me into action.
2. Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful – William Morris (source)
This is criteria that lots of people refer to when they start decluttering. These are great questions to ask yourself, and you will see that minimalism extends far beyond this simple question.
3. The best things in life aren’t things – unknown
Things are taking up space in our home and space in our brain. When we are ready to declutter we have come to see the burden of clutter and can envision that life where we aren’t in a constant hustle to buy more stuff.
4. When will it be enough?
For many people who start decluttering, they have come to this point of saying enough. Enough with moving around boxes of stuff. Enough with storing the stuff, organizing the stuff, trying to make more space to store even more stuff. What are you saying ‘enough’ to?
5. If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always go.
The jury is still out on who coined this phrase but it is one most every person can feel the truth of. Once we see that we are sometimes our own worst enemy to making changes in our life, we see the places where we are on autopilot. We might even see that we are keeping ourselves in a holding pattern of waiting for ‘someday’.
ON POWERING THROUGH
6. Make space for the life you want to have – said by, well, me
As we started to clear out rooms and cupboards and desks it was clear that we were making space for life to happen. Instead of using our home for storage we could use it for living. Our basement is the best example of this.
7. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without – Boyd K. Packer (source)
I say this quote to myself most often when I’m at the drugstore. When I’m around so many personal care products I suddenly want to buy one of everything. I need to remind myself that I still have two half-full conditioners and face masks I bought last month and do I really need another face moisturizer??
When I am holding onto multiples of something I can let some of them go because I can make do with less, or I can use up something till it is gone and then get a replacement.
8. Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions – Barbara Hemphill (source)
Sometimes when we pass a pile of clutter in our home or a box we have to move to the thrift store we can say that something is wrong with the decluttering process. This quote is a little sassy punch in the ribs for me because it reminds me that I’m often the problem with the piles of school papers growing on the kitchen counter, or the accumulated bin of old kid’s clothes.
9. Would I buy this again?
As I was decluttering I found myself asking this question, probably the most out of all the questions out there. It helped me really get rid of a lot more and become a little stricter about what I am keeping in my home.
10. She who buys what she does not need steals from herself – Swedish Proverb
This saying has been really important in how I approach bringing more into my home, particularly when it comes to shopping. I love shopping and buying things, but if I don’t have a list to stick to and a clear intent on what I am buying and why then it is in vain.
It also helps me stay more focused on my big financial goals – the fun things I want to do with my home and family by saving up money. Every time I say no to things I don’t need (another shampoo, another shirt in the same colour, weird vitamins, extra linens, a new lamp, etc), I’m contributing to the bigger savings for the real stuff I’m really excited about.
11. Don’t buy things with money you don’t have, to get things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t know
This is another great quote to remember when you are at target….or scrolling Instagram and an ad pops up at you. It is also helpful to remember when you are deciding what you want to keep and what to let go of. Maybe there are things you are holding on to because of what others think of you when you own them/wear them/do them/use them. Maybe their opinion is the only reason you still have this ‘stuff’. Maybe that isn’t resting well deep in your heart and it’s time to let go of these things.
ON LIVING MORE SIMPLY
12. Once you want less, you will have more
Wanting less is a huge shift in our consumerist-driven nation. It is counter-cultural to seek out less when you could work an overtime shift and have more. I love stuff. I love shopping. I love getting something new.
Over the years I’ve seen the places where I ‘want more’ are places I need to work on gratitude. Doing something like the 30for30 taught me that I have more than enough and I need to be grateful and creative with what I do have instead of wanting more.
13. Own less, do more
This one feels counter-intuitive. I mean, if we own more toys we will have more games to play. There is a whole science around having too many options and how it actually paralyzes our decision-making, so we end up with decision fatigue and make ‘no decision’.
Too many options can be overwhelming, confusing and claustrophobic. If I have a full room I can’t use it to create something. If I have too many hobby supplies I will never get invested in just a few of them. If I have a closet full of clothes I will feel pressured to wear them all and will end up wearing the same outfit on repeat instead.
Having less of what we don’t really want the most – allows time, space and energy to do what we love the most.
14. Say no to the good so you can say yes to the great
This is so helpful when you are decluttering something like your closet or your kitchen. This even more helpful when you are figuring out how to spend your time or your money. This kind of goes along with the ‘you can do anything, but you can’t do everything‘.
When we think we can and should have it all, do it all, be it all then we forfeit our ability to make choices in line with our core values. We are meant to make choices. Make sure you like your choices.
15. The less you own, the less owns you
As I’ve let stuff go I’ve had to let parts of my identity go. Old clothes, old hobbies, old house decor. These were all things I was building up my identity with. I am not my things and I don’t need things to be me.
This has helped me get more in tune with the things that light me up from the inside rather than slap on the latest trend and ride that wave until the next one came along.
16. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt (source)
As a mom, I especially love this saying because it helps me remember that my kids don’t need all the gadgets and the latest toys and fancy trips. We can have an adventure right where we are with what we have.
I think they are more creative and crafty when we try to think of what we should do today. I also say this myself when I’m looking at the fridge and thinking I need groceries – we already have so much food on hand that I just need to get more resourceful.
These are some of my favourite minimalist quotes. I would love to hear yours if you have some.
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