As we head into spring, many of us will begin something we like to call “spring cleaning.” Part of this involves getting rid of junk and clutter that has built up over time. If you’re looking to take this a step further, however, you may want to consider the phenomenon that has recently garnered more mainstream attention: minimalism. What is minimalism, you may ask? Minimalism is defined as “the process of identifying what is essential in your life and eliminating the rest.” Essentially…less is more!
Now, minimalism isn’t for everyone. And this isn’t to say you have to get rid of 99% of your possessions and live off the bare minimum. However, if you’re looking for a new perspective in the way you organize your space, you’ve come to the right place!
There are varying levels of living like a minimalist, but here are some of the very basic components of what minimalist homes look like:
- 1. Quality > quantity. Rather than having a large quantity of furnishings and decorations, a minimalistic home has fewer, albeit higher quality, things that are deemed necessary and/or meaningful.
- 2. Using accent decorations. Just because you have a simple space doesn’t mean you can’t add a few decorations. However, instead of overcrowding your coffee table with knick-knacks, magazines, and more, you could opt for a simple vase. If you have an empty wall, instead of putting up multiple items to fill the space, opt for a singular piece of artwork. Don’t be afraid to leave some things bare, however, for this can actually help create a calming effect! If you are in need of some trendy decor ideas, check out our previous article [here](https://www.liveoakwood.com/blog/2602-2022-apartment-decor-trends).
- 3. Clean & clear surfaces. As mentioned above, all flat surfaces should be clear, except for one or two decorative items. If your surfaces currently exceed that, try your best to cut back and eliminate what you can.
- 4. Keeping furnishings to a minimum. You’ve probably grasped this basic concept by now, but yes, less is more in a “minimalistic” home, and this also applies to big furniture pieces. A bedroom should only have the essentials: a bed, a dresser, a nightstand, and MAYBE an accent chair if there is plenty of space for it. A living room might only have a couch, another chair, a tv/tv stand, a coffee table, and a lamp or two.
If you’re still reading and feel like you can incorporate the rules above, you may also be thrilled to know there are many great benefits to doing them, especially when you live in a smaller space like an apartment home. Here are a few:
- 1. Reduced stress. Having an apartment that is overwhelmed by clutter can create subconscious stress that we are not always aware of. Eliminating clutter will eliminate visual distractions and create a calming effect.
- 2. Visually appealing. When you look at apartment photos in magazines, you will notice they are often very simplistic and clean. Making your apartment home more minimalistic will make it very visually appealing to the human eye.
- 3. Easy cleaning. The more things you have in your home, the more you have to clean. You also create obstacles when doing things like vacuuming and dusting. When you have less to worry about, you make it easier on yourself during your weekly chores and end up with a lot more free time!
If you are completely sold on this idea now, here are a few small great ways to get started:
- 1. One room at a time. Do not overwhelm yourself! It would be way too difficult to go through your entire home at once. Go through one room at a time and then use that to inspire you to tackle the next room.
- 2. Don’t be afraid to trash it! It is so easy to hold onto things, but you need to try your best to just let some things go. While going around and decluttering, ask yourself two simple questions. 1) Will I use this item at any point in the next year? 2) Does this item bring me joy? If you answered no to both of those questions…throw it out! (or donate if applicable) In addition, ask yourself if you could just simply take a picture of something to remember it and then throw it out (for example, those trophies you got in high school).
- 3. Clear floors. Outside of your furnishings, your floor should be entirely clear. Nothing should clutter the floor, nothing should be stacked, nothing should be stored on the floor. Once you’ve gotten 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.
- 4. A place for everything. It’s important that you find a place for everything, and remember where those places are. Where does your 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.
- 5. Store things out of sight. You should store everything you need out of sight, in drawers and cabinets. Bookshelves can be used to store books or records, but shouldn’t have much else except a few simple decorations (not whole collections of things).
- 6. Revisit and eliminate. When you’ve gone through 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.
Once again, a minimalistic lifestyle may not be for EVERYONE. And there isn’t a “right” way to go about decluttering or organizing your home. But if you aren’t happy with your current situation, give this a try and see if it works for you!