My family has been on a journey towards minimalism and simplicity in many regards; financially, work-wise, and with our home. With two kids (and the stuff that comes with them), this has been a challenge, but we have done a pretty good job.
We have gone through our home, one room at a time, and decluttered over the past few months. What’s left is a pretty “streamlined” and simple home with nothing in it that we don’t need. Since I believe that clutter actually takes up space in our heads as well as our physical space, I have found that a minimalist home has had a profound effect on my family’s life thus far. Here’s how I did it:
How to Begin to Create a Minimalist Home
Although I numbered these, there are no “steps”, per se. You just have to decide that you are going to pare down as much as possible. I don’t think I will ever quite “get there”, and create the perfect minimalist home, but here are some tips for anyone dabbling with the concept of minimalism:
- Try one room at a time. It’s overwhelming to try and simplify an entire house at once. Focus on one room, and then “spread the wealth” to others. I started with my bedroom; especially the closets. Use this room to inspire you to simplify the next room, and onward!
- Start with furniture. The fewer pieces of furniture, the better, for the most part. Think of which furniture can be eliminated without sacrificing comfort. Is there a piece of furniture you don’t even use? Consider removing it.
- Only what you need. When looking at stuff in a room, ask yourself if each item is truly essential. If you can live without it, get rid of it. Try to strip the room down to its essentials — you can always add a few choice items beyond the essentials later.
- Clear floors. Your floors should be completely clear. Once you’ve gotten your furniture down to the bare essentials, clear everything else on the floor — either donate it, trash it, or find a place for it out of sight.
- Clear all surfaces. All flat surfaces should be clear as well. This alone makes everything much more minimalist.
- Clear your walls. Clear your walls except for one or two simple pieces of beautiful artwork or mirrors.
- Store your stuff. Store everything you need out of sight, in drawers and cabinets. Bookshelves can be used to store books, but not much else. As you are storing stuff, this may be a good time to donate, sell or trash it!
- Investigate simple window treatments. Bare windows, or simple, solid colored curtains, or simple, wooden blinds are good.
- Subdued colors. Most of the room should be subtle colors – white is classic minimalist, but any solid colors that don’t stress the eyes is good. Throwing a tiny splash of bright color to create accent in small places is fine, of course.
- Edit and eliminate. After a couple of days, look at everything again. Ask a friend to take an objective look at the room. Most of the time you will find that there are things you can simplify even more towards a minimalist home.
- Find a place for everything. In a minimalist home, there is a place for everything. Designate a spot for everything in your home…even the coffee maker!
- Sit in the room and celebrate. Once you’ve simplified a room, sit and simply stare. Notice how peaceful the room is? It’s really a wonderful feeling.