Millions have been made by self-help authors advising us how to declutter our closets, our homes and ultimately our lives, by embracing the ethos of minimalism, which encourages us to figure out what we value most and get rid of all that stuff that distracts from that. And while the notion of getting rid of all our stuff might seem frightening, here are some non-scary ways to help sneak minimalist concepts into your home.
Rearrange the Living Room
For a lot of Canadians, the living room is also the room where television viewing takes place, meaning the seating options are likely set up so as to face the TV screen. To embrace the minimalist ethos, try an experiment by rearranging the living room in order to facilitate conversation. For example, if the television is situated on the main wall, try moving it to a side wall, and have chairs and sofas facing each other instead of the television.
Clear Table Surfaces
Most homes have a surface area that becomes a sort-of catch-all where keys, wallets, backpacks, mail, purses, etc. are dumped, and this often winds up being the dining room table. One way to introduce minimalism is to ensure the dining room table remains free of clutter. If you REALLY feel the need to adorn the table with something, keep it simple – say, a single vase or candle.
Use the “Good” China and Glassware
Many people use inexpensive dishes and glassware for day-to-day needs while keeping the “special” stuff locked up in the china cabinet, only to emerge a couple of times a year for special occasions. Minimalists suggest using the “good” china regularly, which will not only add a touch of elegance to everyday living, but will also require less storage (get rid of the cheap stuff) – and it’s a great feeling to use something beautiful and meaningful on a daily basis.
Create Some “White Space”
For starters, pick one wall in your home and remove any photos, paintings or wall-hangings in order to create some “white space.” This allows for a less-busy, less-cluttered look that will shift the focus. Live with that empty space for a week, then add one thing – and only one – to the wall that holds some special meaning. You’ll be amazed how much more impactful the space will become.
Start an “Exit Drawer”
Before jumping into a full-on minimalist “purge,” try dipping your toe into it by starting an “exit drawer” – essentially a drawer that will become a first stage of departure for clothing or items that you want to get rid of. When the drawer becomes filled, pack it up and donate.
Make Your Bed
The first step in introducing minimalism into the bedroom is a simple one: get in the habit of making the bed every morning. Returning home and seeing a crisply made bed instead of a messy, unmade one will provide a launching pad for further decluttering efforts, plus you’ll enjoy the added bonus of feeling like you’ve kicked off your day with a productive start.
Buy Well, Choose Well, Make it Last
When shopping, try to following the mantra, “Buy Well, Choose Well, Make It Last.” Let this minimalist philosophy be your guide, and whether you’re buying clothing, furniture of household items you’ll wind up with less stuff, but better stuff. And isn’t that the whole point?
Clear Knickknacks from Window Sills
All those precious knickknacks and little objets d’art heaped on mantelpieces and windowsills are a minimalist’s nightmare. If the window sills in your home look like this one, try removing all the stuff and prepare to bask in the stark, clean, uncluttered look – which may even inspire you to do the same in other areas of the home.
One Room at a Time
Embracing a minimalist look and decluttering your life may seem like a daunting task, so try taking it one room at a time. You may want to start with the kitchen, and once you’ve transformed it into a clean, clutter-free space, think about “spreading the wealth” to other rooms in your home.
Store Stuff Out of Sight
It’s one thing to get rid of useless stuff you haven’t needed in years and likely never will again, but what about all that stuff you kind of DO need? For those items you can’t get rid of, look for creative storage solutions that will make it handy to get to when you need said stuff, but isn’t piling up on surfaces and contributing to a messy look. Store things out of sight whenever possible.
Attempt a Purge
Once you’ve filled up an “exit drawer” or two or maybe tackled a few rooms, take a first pass at a household purge of all that stuff that’s cluttering up your home without providing any enrichment to your life. Get the whole family to pitch in, with everyone letting of of their individual items, and you’ll be shocked at how much junk you’ve been clinging to because… well, that’s for you to figure out.
Buy Less, Experience More
Not so much a tip as an attitude adjustment, try to keep this philosophy in mind: rather than buying more stuff, thinking about spending your hard-earned money on some amazing experiences instead. Not only are unforgettable memories far more valuable than, say, household appliances or electronic gadgets, they’ll only clutter up your mind – not your home.
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