A paradox of our time: we all want more things and we all want a more minimalist home. It can be confusing, on the one hand every advertisement or TV show is selling a certain product or lifestyle that we start to desire. And then on the other, we have about 10 netflix documentaries and Marie Kondo telling us to only keep the things that truly bring us joy.
But really, if we are honest with ourselves it’s pretty clear that downsizing our possessions and evaluating more closely what we really need can bring us more peace of mind and clarity. So what are some of the things, some of us not so radical minimalists can do to achieve that? Well we can start with our homes – critically assessing what we need, sorting out and storing our excess things.
Here are the top 7 things you can do for a more minimalist home, without having to radically throw out everything and ending up with just one carry on worth of stuff. Because let’s be real, not everyone wants completely bare walls and one outfit for the rest of time.
Tip 1: Step back, assess your space and define an end goal for your more minimalist home
First we need to think about the current state of our space and belongings. Just look at every part of your space and think about what is necessary and what is superfluous.
How is every room making you feel when you walk into it? Do you know where everything is? Is it making you feel a sense of ease and comfort or rather stress?
Then think about homes or spaces where you felt the most inspired and the most comfortable. Did these places have a lot of room? Were they organized?
Some of the most common places where we tend to accumulate excess things are our closets, counter tops, drawers and cupboards.
This process can help us get clarity on what we want our spaces to be like in the end. This doesn’t have to be the same for everyone and we can always reassess later
Tip 2: Declutter your home one room at a time
Once we have a bit more clarity, we can start the decluttering process. This can seem overwhelming at first, but just like any other big project take it one step at a time. This can mean tackling one room first or even just one drawer.
Here are a few suggestions of how to get started.
Step 1: get rid of things you have duplicates of. Do you really need 4 drinking bottles, 5 umbrellas and 30 pens? Probably not.
Step 2: identify the things you haven’t used in months or maybe even years. Yes, some things can be sentimental, but do you really need all your old halloween costumes and books you’ve already read? Likely also a no.
Step 3: now it starts to get a bit more complicated, but because you are already in the flow it should be manageable. At this point you can start channeling your inner Marie Kondo and not only think about what you don’t use, but also what doesn’t bring you any joy or value. You can go back to step 1 and motivate yourself by thinking of the end goal you defined for yourself.
Tip 3: Store the things you don’t want to get rid of but are in your way
Now, if you end up with lots of items that bring you joy but are in the way of creating the space you want for yourself, putting a few things in storage is a good idea. However, you don’t want to end up storing tonnes of things you don’t need and will forget about in a few months. That’s why more modern storage companies, like SaveSpace, can be super helpful.
Not only does SaveSpace pick up and later re-deliver the things you want to store, they upload a photo inventory so you can keep a good overview of your things. There is nothing more wasteful than storing things in a little unit on the outskirts of the city and losing all overview of what you have in there.
SaveSpace is available in Frankfurt, and soon many more cities in Germany.
Tip 4: List out all the benefits that come with less things and more space
When you’ve lived in your more clutter free and minimalist home for a while, you can reflect on all the benefits it has brought you. This is great for keeping at it in the long run – because we can’t just transform our homes with one overhaul. Minimalism is a lifestyle, and like any other lifestyle like eating healthy and working out it helps to think about all the good things it is doing for you.
Do you feel more relaxed and comforted when you come home? Is it nicer to invite guests into your space? Is it easier to find things like the outfit you want to wear that day?
All these things can be a great outcome of adopting a more minimalist approach in your home.
Tip 5: Make it a rule to think longer about your purchase decisions
Now the trick is to not fill up your newly found space with more things. For this it helps to make some ground rules for yourself when you purchase new things.
One of the most helpful tricks is to give yourself time with every purchase. Let’s say you found some new decorative things in a homeware shop and you like how they look. Try to not go ahead and purchase it at once, give yourself a week and think about it.
Think about how this new purchase will take space from your home, is it worth it? Does it fit into the type of home I have just put in effort to curate? Will it eliminate any of the benefits I have started to feel?
If your answers to these questions are all pointing towards purchasing it and you’re still thinking about it a week later, then it’s totally ok to go ahead and get it. If not, then you’ve saved yourself the space (and money).
Tip 6: When you do decide you need something new for your space, go for quality.
This tip goes nicely with having a new approach to purchasing. Not only does going for higher quality things mean you will probably end up with something nicer if you do buy it – it will actually encourage you to spend more time thinking about the purchase decision beforehand.
Yes, higher quality does usually mean higher price, but since you are hopefully already purchasing less and less frequently you’ll have a better budget.
Tip 7: Tackle your basement
You may have already done this after following the 2nd tip. But just in case you didn’t, remember your basement!! Our basements tend to be a prime spot for dumping things we actually don’t need and are just waiting around till we toss them out in our next room – which is annoying and time consuming.
You’ll especially thank your past self for having tackled your basement before the next time you chose to move.
Let’s face it, a more minimalist home includes the basement.
Tip 8: Re-do and reassess every season
This is probably the most important tip of all, and as much as we don’t like to hear it, practice and repetition really does make perfect. If you felt a benefit after decluttering and channeling your inner minimalist after one go, think about how great you will feel after several times!
We can use the changing seasons as a nice little reminder. We are all used to the age-old spring cleaning, but you can do the same in summer, winter and fall.
This practice is also great for doing things like sorting out your seasonal wardrobe. Why not store away your winter clothes in summer and vice versa for the extra space?
After following these simple (well sometimes simple) tips we hope your home is just that bit more spacious and gives you more clarity of mind and comfort – because in the end, that’s what the minimalist philosophy is all about.
Interestingly, all the new trends in living (which we explored in this article here) all point towards smaller spaces, so if you are someone who is interested in living in a furnished apartment or even a trendy “tiny house” adopting a more minimalist home approach could be even more useful!
For now we wish you happy de-cluttering! You can do it!