Think of a hotel room, it has what you need, it's normally decorated enough to make the space feel comfortable and homey. It has enough furniture to meet your needs, but not so much that the space feels crowded.
Though your home is going to feel more home-like than a hotel room, the hotel industry has spent a lot of time and energy figuring out what appeals to people and how to achieve that ambiance.
Because your home is an extension of yourself, your beliefs and the way you approach life, you can't have a minimalist home unless you embrace minimalism internally.
What does that even look like?
It's learning to pay attention to your habits:
- Putting things away immediately.
- Cleaning up a mess as soon as you are done making one.
- Only allowing things in your home that serve a purpose.
- Only allowing things on your calendar that are important to you and your family.
- Using food from your pantry and fridge before refilling it.
- Spending more time with people you love.
- Spending more time on things you love.
- Letting go or setting boundaries to things that cause stress: a job you hate, unhealthy relationships, unnecessary commitments, etc.
- Processing the emotions of letting go and figuring out who you are without stuff.
- Finding activities that fulfill you without acquiring items.
Minimalism begins with a way of thinking, recognizing and acknowledging why you collected physical possessions, why you feel the need to keep them, allowing yourself to feel all the feelings and then letting things go.
Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate
The more you let go of the things that are hidden- in the closet, in the dressers, in the cabinets and cupboards, the more room you have to give homes to things you need and use.
Remember the saying
"A place for everything and everything in its place."
Hide the things that you use, keep them put away.
- When you get rid of the 21 extra coffee cups, you create room in the cupboard to give the toaster a place hidden away.
- When you put all your DVD/BlueRay discs into a CD wallet and get rid of all the cases, you free up several square feet of shelf space so you can store your remotes, the book you're reading and the blanket you like to curl up with in the evening.
- When you let go of extra shoes, you can fit all your shoes on a shoe shelf and easily keep it tidy without it feeling like shoes are taking up the entire entryway.
Build a daily flow for keeping things tidy
It doesn't matter how much you get rid of, if you aren't in a habit of putting things away, tossing trash and wiping off counters, the house will still be a mess.
Even if you are consistent with getting the dishes done every day, if you switch to a specified time to do them (every morning after breakfast, every night after dinner) then you free up the mental space of always remembering "I still need to get the dishes done today."
Getting rid of mental clutter is just as much a part of learning to be a minimalist as getting rid of physical clutter is.
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Art is important in our life and being a minimalist doesn't mean you have to have minimalist art or very little art. In fact, the more your mindset shifts in your minimalist journey, the more you will understand what you enjoy and embrace the styles that fill you the way you want them to; a sense of calm, happy thoughts, energy, etc.
Keep what you enjoy, not what you think you "should" keep.
Many times we have decor items that were gifts from friends and family and we feel like we should have them displayed in our home.
Minimalism is all about being honest with yourself and not being controlled by these feelings of guilt and shame. To evaluate each item you have on the wall, how it makes you feel and if you truly want it there.
Because minimalism is going to look different for every person, there is no right or wrong way to arrange your furniture.
The first step is to get rid of more. Remove the pieces that aren't necessary and work on arranging only the pieces that you use. Having less furniture automatically prepares you for the next point:
If you want a more minimalist appearance, have a little more space between pieces. Put more distance between the couch and end tables, between the entertainment center and the shelf, etc.
The appearance of minimalism is accomplished with more margins, open areas, and white space. Don't be afraid of a blank wall, don't be afraid of the furniture being sparse.