Things to Remember When Creating a Minimalist Home
Going minimalist is more than just decluttering: it's a change in mindset.
Going for a minimalist home, especially when you already have an established space and are looking to shift so something simpler, can be a difficult task. It takes time to sort things out especially when you’ve accumulated so many items through the years, and it takes even longer to decide whether or not you want to let go of certain items.
A minimalist home, in fact, is an extension of a minimalist lifestyle. According to Joshua Becker on Becoming Minimalist, “The minimalist lifestyle is about living with only the things you need. Minimalists are free from the desire to buy and accumulate more. Instead, they find happiness in relationships and experiences.” It’s realizing that you don’t really own so much stuff for the sake of owning them. It’s quite reflective of the KonMari philosophy of letting go of things that don’t bring you joy, because maybe, that’s exactly what is making you unhappy with your home.
It takes time to go for a minimalist space, however, and it does take a lot of soul searching. “The journey toward minimalism runs through the heart and soul” says Becker. “Correctly pursued, it forces us to ask some hard questions in deep places about our most intimate motivations in life. Why did I buy all these clothes? Why did I buy a house with rooms we never use? Why do I still flip through the ads every Sunday even though I own so much already?”
Minimalism means different things to different people, and it doesn’t require you to follow a singular template. Your goal shouldn’t only be that tabletops and cabinets are clean, but also that things you surround yourself with are functional and reflective of your lifestyle. Minimalism doesn’t necessarily equate to being Spartan. This doesn’t mean that you have to let go of that old toy or silverware collection. It simply means doing away or donating things that have outlived their purpose, and keeping those make your life better. More than clearing out your space, the mental and emotional exercise of taking control of your life through your possessions can do you a world of good.
Minimalist home: how to begin
1. Organizing your space
Sacha Strebe of My Domaine suggests, “Ask yourself what can be eliminated, what can be stored out of sight, and what items aren’t essential; then organize according to priority.” There are many ways you can start organizing your space, from the KonMari method to Swedish death cleaning. You can read more about them here.
2. Invest in storage
Going for proper storage is important, but you shouldn’t fall into the habit of keeping unnecessary things out of sight by simply throwing them in hidden bins and closets, because it defeats the purpose of going minimalist. Use your storage wisely and honestly.
3. Consider purchases well
More than taking out things that are unnecessary in your space, achieving a minimalist home is also considering well what you want to add in it. Look at store items carefully before deciding to purchase them by asking yourself, “Do I need it? Does it give me joy? Can I live without it?” You’ll find that most of the time, the items you wish to purchase are items that you will neither need nor will give you contentment in the long-term.
Minimalist home: colors
Minimalism is often attributed to neutral base colors such us white, beige, and ecru, because these are perpetually clean and fresh-looking. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t add colors to your space. Solid hues make for interesting accents in a minimalist home, which work especially well when you have a blank spots to fill in.
Unearth photos, pots, and other accessories you’ve kept for years—this is the best time to display them. As former Real Living writer Gab Buganan notes, “The goal of minimalism is to be able to own and showcase items that bring back good memories or set your mood right. Instead of buying a separate centerpiece for your dining table, consider gathering your favorite knickknacks and putting them on a tray to make an interesting vignette.”
Minimalist home: a continuous process
Shifrah Combiths of Apartment Therapy puts it beautifully: “Decluttering is just editing your home. And since your home story is always being written, decluttering is a never-ending task.” Keeping a minimalist home means you have to be constantly in the moment, as well as aware and appreciative of what you have. You have to keep on “editing” your space by making sure that you surround yourself with things that are truly of value, so that you can focus on the necessary intangibles such as relationships, self-love, and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t worry—it becomes a habit, and once you get used to it, you’ll realize that your life actually feels as clear and clutter-free as your space is.
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