Research shows that a cluttered, disorganized home can contribute to feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety, making it difficult to unwind after a long day. If you’re on a quest for inner peace, embracing a more minimalist home décor can be a step in the right direction. The journey toward blissed-out simple living looks a little different for everyone, and it’s as much about your habits and routine as it is about your stuff, but these 10 tips are a great starting point:
1. Assess your space.
Start your process by assessing your personal goals for your pared-down home. Ideally, your space will provide you everything you need and nothing you don’t. Break the rules, chart your own course, and explore what minimalism means to you personally—these goals and values can guide your decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of. Pull out a pen, write your goals down, and keep it on hand as you go.
2. Find what makes you happy.
Honestly questioning your emotional relationship to the items in your home can help you make those hard decisions. As Marie Kondo says, if something doesn’t make you happy, what’s the point of keeping it?
3. Eliminate the larger pieces.
Excess furniture can easily make any space feel cluttered and claustrophobic. We often don’t think about our larger pieces as we declutter, but donating unnecessary bookshelves, coffee tables, or chairs is one of the quickest ways to quickly open up space. Think about what it would mean to pare down your home’s furnishings to the bare minimum you need to be comfortable.
4. Play around with new colors.
Dark colors tend to make a space feel more enclosed and cavernous, so repainting can be an instant mood boost. For a more minimalist aesthetic, sharp, bright colors can help open up a room and accentuate your thoughtfully selected furnishings. Repainting can also be a great opportunity to reassess your room’s layout since it requires you to move furniture anyway.
Here are a color therapist’s top tips for shades that will cheer you up.
5. Go high tech where you can.
Large collections of books, CDs, or DVDs can take up a lot of valuable real estate, and a lot of these items can be replaced with digital collections that take up virtually no space at all. These days, there are also a ton of new smart-home technologies that can clean up some clutter. Smart-home hubs like Nest and Skydrop allow for central control of various home devices, eliminating the need for a pile of remotes or keys.
6. Get real about your clothing.
As evidenced by the capsule wardrobe movement, you can trim a lot of unnecessary stress from your day simply by getting rid of clothes you don’t wear often. Though it may sound too good to be true, simplifying your wardrobe really is a great way to cut down on your daily decisions and free up mental space. If you don’t know where to get started, keep track of which clothes you wear over a 30-day period. Turn around your hangers when you take something out of your closet, or commit to a different folding system for items you store in drawers. To help prevent the return of a too-full closet, commit to only buying new clothes that you’ll actually wear.
These are the eight questions you should ask yourself every time you go shopping to make sure you’re choosing something that will last.
7. Eliminate most decorations.
Decorations that don’t serve a purpose won’t contribute to your life in a meaningful way. Embracing the aesthetic of clear, open spaces means avoiding impractical clutter. A few tasteful pieces of art can have a bigger impact than a whole roomful of disposable décor.
8. Declutter your kitchen.
Appliances and utensils can quickly take over your kitchen, and chances are you don’t use most of them. A few essential items like a good knife set, some cutting boards, a few pans, and a good blender can accomplish almost anything that your full-to-bursting appliance cabinet can. If you’re obsessed with your Vitamix or spiralizer, make an exception, but let the rest of the clutter go.
This room-by-room decluttering guide will take the stress out of paring down.
9. Resist the urge to shop mindlessly.
Getting rid of your excess stuff is only half the battle. Resisting the urge to purchase unnecessary things all over again takes time and discipline. When you’re considering purchasing something new, think about whether it will actually improve your mood, your daily routine, and your overall well-being moving forward. If it’s not useful and it doesn’t bring you closer to your goals and values, you probably don’t need it!
10. Reorganize for good.
Setting up organization systems to store your belongings is key to keeping your space clean in the long run. Make sure each item has a specific place, and keep things stored out of sight whenever possible. Tweak them until you actually keep up with them every day, and putting your wallet, keys, and bags in their proper place when you get home becomes second nature.
Check out how the pros choose the right storage units to organize every last thing.
If you take the time to follow these steps and simplify your home, you might be surprised by how much lighter your everyday life feels.