Minimalist Living Tips
Making the decision to adopt and lead a minimalist lifestyle is a significant step towards living an uncluttered life. However, if you have closets full of clothes, accessories, and shoes, or your garage is packed with so many boxes that your cars will not fit, the work of minimizing can seem daunting.
If you are moving into a new home or apartment, embrace the chance to make a change. Commit to that mantra and you will not only see things differently, but will make every home design and purchase decision with the goal of de-cluttering and freeing up your space.
Here are several tips to get you started on the right path towards leading and living a minimalist lifestyle.
Embrace the Purge
It is possible to purge, even when it goes against your nature. Try it and get into the habit of freeing your life of those things that do not bring you joy. The transition to a new home or apartment provides the motivation and the impetus to truly get rid of large amounts of “stuff.”
When packing up for the move, and when unpacking in your new place, seize the opportunity to clear out any excess belongings and eliminate any unnecessary stuff you do not need. Get rid of everything you do not use and do not value. You can donate it to a thrift store, sell it, or toss it into the trash.
If you have not used an item (such as a slow cooker) in the last year, it is time to let the item go. Do you have more glasses than you need? Are you using up valuable closet space to store a picnic basket you have never used? It is easy to carry, store, and forget about things in your home, so be sure to do a clutter clean-out at least twice every year.
Here is a handy list of potential items you can purge to quickly de-clutter your home without skimping on comfort, functionality, or usability:
- Old computer/gaming/stereo/tv systems
- Books & magazines
- Knick knacks
- A second couch/loveseat
- Kitchen appliances
- Excess clothes & shoes
- Bikes, toys, and outdoor equipment
- Yard equipment & tools
- Pots & pans
- Give back borrowed items
- Exercise equipment
If you truly want to lead a minimalist lifestyle you will need to make tough choices. What can you do without?
Identify and Separate Living Areas
Each space in your home should have a designated purpose. This is especially true when you are downsizing into a smaller home or apartment. As you plan out these spaces, be sure to think of possible scenarios and arrange the furnishings to accommodate those eventualities.
For example, your normal dining space might be sized just right for one or two, but the arrangement of your furniture may allow you to expand that space to host dinner gatherings for friends and family. A simple way to separate the dining area from your living room is with an easy-to-move open bookshelf. You can slide it out of the way when needed to make a bigger space for entertaining.
Have a Multi-Purpose Moment
You might surprise yourself as you begin to discover how many ways you can use your furniture. For example, a trunk in the living room can serve as a coffee table and double as storage space. You may even find that it is a good for extra seating if it is sturdy enough.
As you get used to this type of multipurpose mindset, you may find that you are able to use a table as both a desk and kitchen countertop space. You might find that you can easily stream your music, shows, and gaming favorites through one device.
Go through your home and seriously consider removing everything that only does one job or has one purpose. Not only will this help you lead a minimalist lifestyle, but you will begin to question purchases and look for opportunities to multi use items.
Open Up Your Space, Starting With the Floor
It may surprise you to discover just how much of a difference open floor space can make in your home. For example, purchasing sturdy utility racks for your closets, which gets your shoes off the floor, provides open floor space to appeal to your minimalist mindset. Once you have discovered the clean, open feeling generated by that small amount of floor space, you may find yourself going through your home looking for other ways to create open space.
After finishing the floor, take a look at shelving. Tall shelves that go all the way to the ceiling will help you maximize available space and give a small room the look and feel of a larger space. If you have chosen open shelving, you will be able to use the shelves as room dividers while protecting your open floor plan. This is especially effective in small apartments and studios and is extremely effective in freeing up your space.
Review Your Storage Opportunities
After purging those belongings you do not need and love, getting rid of unnecessary items, and focusing on dual-purpose furniture, you can take a look at everything you have left. Do you have books or games in the living room? Tuck those out of sight in a storage cube that doubles as an ottoman.
Invest in storage that is easy to use and move. Get rid of those cardboard boxes with faded labels. Store your seasonal clothing in clear totes or donate them to charity. Every time you rotate your clothes, remember to pull out anything that does not really make you happy. Do not keep multiple sizes either.
You can always store those totes of clothes at the top of your closet. You can add extra shelving above the standard shelf to maximize vertical space. You can also store under the bed (but tucked well out of sight) to preserve your view of the floor.
Consider hanging bikes and sleds from the ceiling of the garage. Less used items need to have a specific or it is time to part ways. It will require some tough decisions but the goal is to eliminate, not necessarily store, although storing at least helps remove some of the clutter.
Evaluate Display Items
When you live in an apartment or you are moving to a smaller home, every inch of space counts, from the floor and up the walls to the ceiling. Resist the urge to buy an armchair because it is on sale. Instead, wait until you find the chair that you really love. This does not have to mean that you are spending more for items.
It does mean that you will become very discerning about what you put into your space. You will find that you can often do without things you thought you needed. You may ultimately discover that one sofa is more comfortable than the sofa/love-seat combination you felt you needed to squeeze into your space.
Do you own items that you only use once in awhile? Large items, such as lawn mowers, kayaks, small boats, and snowmobiles, may only be used occasionally and will certainly take up a lot of space when not in use. Consider sharing those items and your storage space as well.
If you are willing to share ownership of your kayak with a friend or family member, you may find that they are willing to store it for you. You may find that the neighbor is willing to store the lawn mower if you are willing to keep it full of gas and allow them to cut their lawn with it. Of course, you may even have a friend or family member with a lot of storage space who is willing to share that space.
Light Colors, Natural Lighting, and Illusions of Space
Use some well-known tips and tricks for opening up small spaces. Light colors on the walls make a space seem bigger, especially when the colors are unbroken by designs or other colors. Rely on natural lighting as much as possible. Open windows are a great way to add the illusion of more space.
You might opt for white curtains that you can open for a clear view and close when you want privacy. Mirrors and mirrored items can also make a space feel bigger. Put a mirror on the back of the bedroom door or on the closet door and the space will feel much roomier and the mirror will be both functional and not take up additional space either.
The Overriding Theme Should Be “Less Is More”
Your new minimalist lifestyle should revolve around the mantra: “Less is more.” As you get rid of clutter, things, and stuff, you will spend less time cleaning, less time buying, and more time focused on your priorities. Free yourself and your space of knickknacks and superfluous belongings.
Whittle your collection of furnishings down to the bare essentials and work hard to keep the surfaces in your home bare (remember the value of open space). If you are not displaying keepsakes, then you may want to consider passing them on to another family member. Keeping those items in drawers, cabinets, or storage bins is definitely not the right answer.
For some, the thought of living in a tiny house is very appealing too. Obviously, with less space there are fewer options to accumulate possessions which naturally promotes a minimalist approach. These homes are very popular at the moment, fairly reasonable in price, and come in a variety of shapes and styles to fit whatever your particular needs may be.
Freedom From Possessions
Ultimately, your ability to live a minimalist lifestyle in your space has more to do with your new mindset than on anything else. Before you carry anything into your home, determine how long it will be there and whether you really want to be responsible for its presence in your life.
The process of removing possessions from your life may help you realize that those things taking up the most space in your life were actually possessing you! If you are moving into a new home or apartment, now is the time to embrace the oppurtunity to make a change.
Additional Minimalist Lifestyle Resources
How to Declutter Your Home via BudgetDumpster
Tips to Become a Minimalist by The Minimalist Vegan
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