My home is anything but minimal in appearance. It's a 110 year old home in one of the oldest districts of my city, 3 stories tall and rich with history. But, once you walk through my front door, you see my home is very much a minimalist's abode and I couldn't be happier here.
For years, I held on to many things: mementos, knick knacks, papers, clothes, furniture, etc. The amount of things I was holding onto grew as my kids grew, as my family grew, as my life grew. On the flip side, the amount of space for them shrank. So, we moved into bigger spaces. Only, the space didn't stay bigger. I think you get the idea.
A couple years ago, I realized that something needed to change. I couldn't keep filling my space with things because I couldn't keep getting a bigger space. That's when I decided to really consider the minimalist lifestyle. With that came transitioning my home into a minimalist home.
I didn't need to sell my house and move to a tiny home. You can have a minimalist home, no matter what your home is like (big, small, urban, rural). I's all in how you choose to live and what YOU choose is important within it.
What Does A Minimalist Home Look Like?
A minimalist home is the opposite of a cluttered one. It's not about having less stuff, it's about having enough space for your most prized possessions and using every inch to its best advantage.
Sometimes, we don't think about how cluttered our homes really are. Do you need those 25 blankets shoved in the closet? How many of those toys are the kids really going to play with? What about all those gadgets in your kitchen that you've never used?
A minimalist home isn't like that. Everything is organized and has a place. It doesn't feel cluttered and it certainly doesn't look cluttered. It's a place where you can feel comfortable and enjoy the space around you.
Let's talk about some of the ways I transitioned my home and how you can do the same.
13 Tips for Creating a Minimalist Home
1. Take it one step at a time
If you're like me, your first thought is to just jump right in and start a million projects at once. STOP! One project, one step, at a time. Slow and steady wins the race. Plus, you don't get burnt out or throw in the towel this way. You're much more likely to accomplish everything if you don't try to take on everything at once.
2. Clean as you go
Start in one area or room and clean as you go. I find it easier to remove everything from the room, closet, cupboard first. Clean it and choose carefully what I put back in it.
3. Let yourself be free
I know what you're thinking: “It's impossible to live a minimalist lifestyle in an apartment.” Well, I have been living without clutter for years and it seems that I'm not the only one, with the rise in popularity of minimalism. I have found that it is possible to live a minimalist lifestyle in any size space, even an apartment. The key here is knowing what you need and what you don't. Don't close off your thinking, let yourself be free. You'll find it very peaceful.
4. Get rid of the extras
I started by decluttering my home and getting rid of the extras. I donated, sold or threw away things that we don’t use for a reason. To make it more manageable, I sorted and put things in boxes: trash, recycling, donate, sell.
As an example: 3 of my 5 children got gifted Tupperware because I had such a massive collection of it. Now, 4 households have a manageable amount, instead of me having 3 cupboards full of it.
I donated clothes, shoes and toys that we don’t use anymore to our local homeless shelters or non-profits. I threw away what was left over in the trash or recycling bins.
5. Get creative with the space you have
Get creative with the space you have: You don't need to be an architect or interior designer to create a minimalist home that's functional and aesthetically pleasing. Consider these easy ways to make a small space more functional:
-Add shelves and cabinets to create storage in your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. Open shelving is very popular right now with interior design.
-Use the horizontal spaces of an empty wall for shelving or organization.
-Use a space rug and different sized furniture to create the illusion of more space in your living room or bedroom.
6. Utilize storage space in your home:
I had a lot of storage space to use in my house, but I wanted to be more organized.
I added shelves in the back of my closets, to allow for more storage within the already available space. It allows me to organize better and see everything instead of having to dig through boxes and totes.
If you need more space to hang clothing, try adding a second bar in your closet or using space saver hangers.
I recommend installing shelves in your pantry, as well. If you have small space for cooking and the kitchen is not near the dining room or living area, this is a great way to utilize that space.
Get creative and think outside the box to utilize the storage space you already have available.
7. Try not to buy in bulk
I never knew how much food would spoil before it was eaten and so we were wasting a lot of money on things that weren't being consumed. I began to learn that buying in bulk was throwing money away. Not only that, but you have to store it until you throw it.
Don't get me wrong, I have a small stockpile for the just in case scenario. This consists of shelf stable items and water. However, buying our daily essentials in bulk, when they expire before we'd actually use them, is just not a sound choice imo.
8. Replace bulky furniture
Replace bulky furniture with smaller, lighter pieces that are easy to move out of the way when you need more space for entertaining or family gatherings.
We recently made the change from a huge sectional in our living room to a couch and recliner. Our living room has a more spacious and cohesive feel.
9. When you buy something new, get rid of something old
I had to be intentional about creating space in my home by getting rid of things I didn't use. It's not always easy, but it can feel so freeing when you do. The best tip I learned while transitioning to the minimalist lifestyle is ‘One out, One in‘
As you transition your home, never forget this tip. It will make it easier for you to decide what's really important in material things within your new lifestyle.
10. Clear your walls
(or at least part of them) by taking down photos, paintings and other items that are not essential to the theme of your home. Consider using something like a gallery wall to display your favorite items instead of cluttering up the entire room with them.
I had a lot of walls in my house that were covered with photos, paintings and other things I didn't want. Removing everything from the walls and only adding back what really fit with the theme or feel of each room made a huge difference.
11. Constantly edit your home
The idea is to keep editing and updating as you go, not just sitting back and thinking that this one set up will work for the next 10 years. My home is ever changing, and that's what keeps it interesting.” Just as our lives change, so will our priorities and values. Our homes need to change along with us.
12. Make sure everything has a specific place
This is the most difficult but also the most important tip of all! If you don’t designate a space for every item in your home, you’ll be living in chaos. The last thing you want is to be searching endlessly for your toothbrush or clothes because they’ve been shuffled to the back of a drawer.
13. Exercise restraint
The idea of a minimalist home is to live with less. This means that when you purchase something, it should be because it's absolutely necessary and will add value to your life.
Don't get sucked into the sales or great deals, like I used to. You'll be right back at square one in no time. Always consider what you'll use the item for and how it will add value to your life if you purchase it.
How to make it personal
I've found the idea of a minimalist home to be very helpful. I used to buy stuff just because it was on sale or looked cool, but now I think about how that item will add value to my life. I feel that, as you transition to a minimalist lifestyle, you start to find the true value in the material things around you. You tend to figure out what is important to you and what you really don't need.
As you start to determine what will add value to your life, you'll also start to make your ‘new' home more personal. You'll add personal touches that feel right as you go. Your home will become an extension of your personality and will feel even more a home than it ever did before.
While, in the beginning, you're probably going to feel overwhelmed or feel like throwing in the towel; as you progress towards a minimalist home, you are going to find yourself less stressed and more at peace in your house. Removing the clutter and mess is a tremendous boost to your energy and the feel of your home.
How can I make my home minimalistic?
It's not a one size fits all answer.
I hope you found these tips useful. Transitioning to a minimalist home is really up to you and what makes your home feel right, but there are some things that will help along the way. Decluttering, donating, recycling or selling items that you no longer use or want can go a long way in making this process easier. Utilizing the tips I've shared here should give you an idea of where to start if it feels like things have gotten out of control at times. It's important not only for reducing clutter around your house but also for creating peace of mind! You deserve it!
It's up to you!