Becoming minimalist mainly started with my move to London.
There's really nothing like an international move to make you reassess your belongings. In this particular case, I was moving from a rented apartment in New York to a rented flat in London with no family anywhere near either city.
This meant that all of my belongings had to either come to London or be shipped home. In other words, everything I owned – from art work inherited from my dad to the "wear once every three months" H&M dresses suddenly had a price tag.
Was it worth it to literally pay to ship a bag of street-soiled sandals from college across the ocean?
I got rid of a lot on that move but upon unpacking in our first flat in South London, then re-packing and moving six months later to North London, I started to realize that I had moved with hundreds of things, and only about 20 of them really meant something to me.
A Slate article inspired me to take action. The article features an interview with the two dudes behind The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They started on their path to becoming minimalist by getting rid of one item, every day, for thirty days.
What The Minimalists discuss in their interview is the same thing that I'm discovering: once you challenge yourself to donate one item, every day, it becomes not so much a challenge and more like a fun project. As soon as you start getting rid of things, you pick up momentum, and your plastic bag of old books and leggings turns into a garbage bag full of stuff you never needed in the first place.
I plan on continuing my "challenge" for as long as I can until the only things left in my wardrobe are pieces of clothing that fit, that I actually wear, and enjoy wearing on a regular basis. Books with family/historical value will stay, but other books that don't give me real pleasure to see every day will go. Same with trinkets. The important things stays. Otherwise? Forget it.
Of course, step one to becoming minimalist is donating what you're giving away and recycling what you can't donate. Throwing your crap in someone else's pile doesn't do a lick of good.
As for those $19.99 H&M dresses? They don't stand a chance.