A minimalist Home

A Minimalist Home

A minimalist home requires a minimalist mindset. Minimalist philosophy isn’t about throwing out all your things. It’s about throwing out (and avoiding buying) unnecessary things that take up your time, cost you too much money and add to your stress. It’s about being free from material objects and the urge to buy for the sake of buying.

If you’re considering adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you might find the prospect daunting. Indeed, anytime we find ourselves faced with major decluttering efforts, we tend to feel anxious or unmotivated. Minimalism is more than just removing the excess possessions in your home, though. It’s a mindset you adopt to structure your life. In this article you’ll see ways to achieve a minimalist home, as well as the benefits and challenges of minimalism.

What is a Minimalist Home?

The minimalist home has only the essentials. You choose to keep things you use often, and that you love. Having one solid table for your family to gather at is better than several pieces of cheaper furniture scattered throughout your space to make it feel “full.” Minimalist homes are often as individual as he owners themselves, and there is no right or wrong. What works for you is best.

There are a few characteristics though that all minimalist interiors share. These are the strategic uses of light, space and texture as well as the avoidance of clutter.

Light is a super important factor in minimalist interior design. Minimalist interiors are intended to be calming and de-stressing. Since natural daylight is proven to have a positive effect on mood, it’s no wonder that minimalist interiors have huge windows. It is also somewhat Zenlike but these large windows allow you to appreciate the changing atmospheric conditions. By viewing sunsets and rainstorms from the comfort of your cozy home, you can de-stress by feeling connected with nature.

Texture is an important element that adds visual interest in minimalist interior design. Because there are so few individual objects in a minimalist home, the surfaces of those few objects should contribute to the overall beauty of the space. Think stone countertops, hard-wood floors, interesting wall textures and luxurious textiles. While these things can be quite expensive, many find ways to afford it though DIY projects or (in true minimalist style) spending less on other things.

Finally, minimalist interior design strives for open space. This goes hand-in-hand with avoiding clutter like the plague. Having clutter in your home is a known stressor, particularly for women. The daily struggle of finding a place to put all your “stuff” is real. But with minimalism, you need very few things to get the look; just essential furniture and maybe a few plants and maybe one (also minimalist) work of art to get a minimalist look. Then you can just let the beauty of your home’s materials take center stage.

 

How to achieve a Minimalist Home

Taking your first step toward decluttering your home and life is the hardest. That’s why you should plan before you start throwing things away. Make a list of the things you really need – there are dozens of minimalist guides out there giving you examples of essentials. Keep in mind, you don’t have to get rid of everything, you just have to be mindful about what you have and realistically reduce the clutter in your life. Here are some simple steps to help you along the way:

 1. One room at a time. Unless you’re just moving into a place, it’s hard to simplify an entire house at once. Focus on one room, and let that be your center of calm. Use it to inspire you to simplify the next room, and the next. Then do the same outside!

2. Start with furniture. The biggest things in any room are the furniture, so you should always begin simplifying a room by looking at the furniture. The fewer pieces of furniture, the better (within reason, of course). Think of which furniture can be eliminated without sacrificing comfort and livability. Go for a few pieces of plain, simple furniture with solid, subdued colors.

3. Only the essentials. Whether looking at your furniture or anything else in the room, ask yourself if the item is truly essential. If you can live without it, then it’s time to let it go. Try to strip the room down to its essentials — you can always add a few choice items beyond the essentials later.

4. Clear floors. Except for the furniture, your floors should be completely clear. Nothing should clutter the floor, nothing should be stacked, nothing should be stored on the floor. Once you have 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 (however don’t be tempted to keep it ‘just in case’).

5. Clear surfaces. Same thing applies to all flat surfaces. Don’t have anything on them, except one or two simple decorations (See Tip 9 below). Donate, trash or find an out-of-sight storage spot for everything else. It will make everything much more minimal-looking.

6. Clear walls. Some people hang all kinds of stuff on their walls. This is not possible in a minimalist home. Clear your walls except for one or two simple pieces of nice artwork (see Tip 8 below).

7. Store stuff out of sight. This has been mentioned in the above tips, but you should store everything you need out of sight, in drawers and cupboards. Bookshelves can be used to store books or DVDs or CDs, but shouldn’t have much else except a few simple decorations (not whole collections of things).

8. Declutter. If you are clearing flat surfaces and the floor, and storing stuff in cabinets and drawers, you’ll probably want to declutter your storage areas too. You can do this in a later stage if you want. It’s important that you don’t overload yourself, and then lose motivation.

9. Simple artwork. To keep a room from being boring, you can put a simple painting, drawing or photo, framed with a subdued, solid color, on each wall if you want. Leave some walls bare if possible.

10. Simple decorations. As mentioned in the above tips, one or two simple decorations can serve as accents for a minimalist room. A vase of flowers or a small potted plant are two classic examples. If the rest of your room has subdued colors, your accents could use a bright color to draw the eye and give a plain room a splash of energy.

11. Plain window treatments. Bare windows, or simple, solid colored curtains, or simple, wooden blinds are good. Too much ornate stuff around the windows is clutter.

12. Plain patterns. Solid colors are best for floor coverings (if you have any), furniture, etc. Complex patterns, such as flowers or checkers, are visual clutter.

13. Subdued colors. As mentioned in Tip 9 above, you can have a splash of bright color in the room, but most of the room should be more subtle colors – white is classic minimalist, but really any solid colors that don’t stress the eyes is good (earth colors come to mind, such as blues, browns, tans, greens).

14. Edit and eliminate. When you’ve simplified a room, you can probably do more. Give it a couple of days, then look at everything with a fresh eye. What can be eliminated? Stored out of sight? What’s not essential? You can come back to each room every few months, and sometimes you’ll discover things you can simplify even more.

15. Place for everything. In a minimalist house it’s important that you find a place for everything, and remember where those places are. Where does you blender go? Give it a spot, and stick with it. Aim for logical spots that are close to where the thing is used, to make things more efficient, but the key is to designate a spot.

16. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Once you’ve simplified a room, take a moment to look around and enjoy it. It’s so peaceful and satisfying. This is the reward for your hard work.

A Minimalist Home - About Minimalism

Schedule your decluttering for the same time every day or week if possible. The same goes for donating or selling unwanted items. Additionally, stop buying more things. It sounds simple enough, but for some, the urge to make a small purchase when you’re out can be hard to resist. Go to the library to check out books and CDs before buying or downloading more. Check your food in the pantry and try to make meals out of what you have before grocery shopping. Create a “capsule” wardrobe.
Decluttering your home environment is a great step towards leading a more minimalist lifestyle.

Benefits of 'Minimalizing' Your Home

The benefits of a minimalist home are manifold and backed up by psychological studies. Less clutter in your home is linked to higher levels of concentration and better sleep, because you’re free from the stress caused by a cluttered space. For some, minimalism also boosts creativity and productivity. When you have fewer distractions around you, like clutter in your home or your social media feeds, you can be freer to work and create.

If your home is a minimalist environment, you could also save time by finding things exactly when you need them. Fewer possessions means less time cleaning and organizing. Fewer items in your home also means less dust and allergens in the air. Enjoying a clear and uncluttered space in your home can lead to better financial planning, too. You’re more likely to consider the long-term effects of owning things before you buy them, thus reducing impulse buys.

Challenges to adopting a Minimalist Home Lifestyle

While there are numerous benefits to adapting your home to minimalism, there are challenges to overcome as well. A big one is staying committed to minimalism once you’ve started. Developing a minimalist mindset takes time, and during that time you may find you lapse back into your old ways of consumerism. Finding a good balance between what you need and what you don’t will take some time. If you are unsure of an item, pack it away. If after a few weeks you haven’t needed it, it’s time to let it go.
You could also easily develop “FOMO” (fear of missing out) once you start downsizing. Another big challenge is fitting in with societal norms. If your family and friends aren’t minimalists as well, they might find your choices odd or even unnecessary. If you feel that a minimalist home is really the best choice for you, though, don’t let pressure from others discourage you.
You will find that as time passes, your thinking changes, and you enjoy your new found freedom from clutter. You soon find yourself shopping and as you look at things, you begin asking yourself ‘do I really need it’, and most importantly, ‘where will I put it?’

Donate your way to Minimalism - About Minimalism

It can be easier for a single person or couple to practice minimalism than a family with children. It’s possible to keep things minimal with kids, though. Invite your children to declutter with you and practice minimalism yourself, to lead by example. Set limits on their toys, and prioritize experiences over possessions. Research shows that children with fewer toys tend to be more creative. Instead of playing with a toy for a few minutes and then moving on to the next, children with fewer toys engage longer and more creatively with the toys they have.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a family with small children, living alone, or with a partner, a minimalist home is possible. Consider the change carefully before committing, ensuring it’s the right choice for you and your family. Changing your household to minimalism isn’t without its challenges, but the benefits can be significant for all family members.