Minimalism is about a lot more than just buying a smaller home or apartment. Sure, you can do that too and I promise, we’ll cover that later! However, if you’re looking to take a few easy steps towards your minimalist journey, you don’t have to do it all at once.
At its heart, minimalism is about reducing clutter and excess. It’s not about restriction, it’s about freeing up your life, time, and space to do more. A lot of people may look at a minimalist home and see a bunch of empty space. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. You can have a lot of “stuff” and still follow a minimalist lifestyle.
Downsizing your space isn’t just about getting rid of all that stuff! However, let’s be honest: there’s probably a lot of stuff you could stand to get rid of and that’s where minimalism comes into play.
Ready to downsize? Let’s get started.
Yes, okay, it’s time to get rid of a lot of stuff. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. While minimalism doesn’t mean you have to throw a bunch of things out, you most certainly have a lot of excess you can shed.
Start by taking an assessment. What do you have that you don’t really need. What do you use on a daily basis? How about weekly? What do you have underneath the bed or tucked away in a cabinet that truly never gets used.
If you’re able to be truly objective during this process, you may find that you’re able to reduce the amount of clutter in your space by at least half. Books that never get read, tables or furniture that never gets used, items shoved in closets and storage spaces which gather dust, etc.
Prioritize items which enjoy regular use. The rest? Might be time to purge.
Re-imagine and re-define your concept of storage. Rather than horizontal storage solutions (boxes, cabinets, etc) which stick out, minimizing your space; think vertically. Taller cabinets and storage shelving.
Consider how tall you are. That’s about the maximum amount of space you actively use in your space. In most homes or apartments, that leaves precious space above your head that generally doesn’t get used. Make the most of that vertical space by using it to categorize, organize, and store the items you’re keeping.
In addition to maximizing space, going vertical with your furniture and storage solutions not only creates more space, but from an interior design perspective, it creates the illusion of space as well by drawing the eyes upward, adding depth to your room.
Have A Plan
As you’re identifying the clutter you can reduce, start to formulate a plan for what you’d like your new space to look like. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, mind you. We’re not ripping the band-aid off just yet. We’re starting with some small, easy steps to make the transition more manageable.
All the same, start developing a plan and keep it in the back of your mind. We’re not about getting rid of things just for the sake of getting rid of them. Create a method to the madness. What would you like your space to do for you? Do you want to create room for a home office? Would you like more floor space for game night? Keep it in mind and start to develop your new look around those goals.
Donate, Donate, Donate
Remember: we’re reducing waste and excess. Not simply throwing things away. Make a list of what you can donate to GoodWill or similar organizations. One person’s excess can be another’s gain. Whenever possible, please plan to donate your unwanted or unnecessary goods to those in need.
It’s common to form an emotional attachment to your stuff. However, you may find it easier to downsize your space if you know your items are going to those in need and may be able to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Don’t Neglect The Walls
If you’re wondering what’s making your rooms seem so cluttered, it may not be what’s sitting on the floor that counts. Instead, look upward. See all those pictures and photographs on the wall? They may be hampering the negative space in your room.
Pictures, photographs, and other wall decorations often hang at or around eye level for obvious reasons. However, having too many things adorning your walls can create the illusion that your room is much more cluttered or claustrophobic than it is.
Paints, photos, wall art, etc are all fine. In moderation, of course.
Don’t Be Afraid To Let Go
Downsizing your space can be tough emotionally. After all, you’ve spent all this time accumulating your “stuff,” it can be hard to say goodbye. However, if you’re committed to a more clutter-free lifestyle, you’ll find that letting go is far easier than you might think. What’s more, you don’t have to do everything overnight.
There is no test for you to fail. No set rules for the brand of minimalism you’d like to embrace. In the end, go at your own pace and start de-cluttering your life one piece at a time. If it takes a few weeks, that’s completely fine. The important part is taking the initiative, moving in the right direction, and taking those first steps.