The Minimalist's Guide to Decluttering Your HomeAug, 2 2023
Understanding the Art of Minimalism
Living in a cluttered and disorganized home can tremendously amplify our daily stress levels. It’s like carrying a hidden weight on your shoulders. Oftentimes, the task of decluttering is daunting enough to push us into the corner to procrastinate. However, as someone who used to live in a mess of unnecessary items, I can assure you that curating your living space can be an empowering, even liberating experience. It all comes down to understanding the principle of minimalism.
Minimalism is more than just a design trend; it’s a lifestyle that involves simplifying one's surroundings. The principal aim is to focus on what's essential and bring order to the chaos around us. The philosophy rests on the belief that less is more, thus making space for more freedom, peace, and enjoyment.
The Preliminary Purge
The first critical step to adopting the minimalist lifestyle is a grand purge. My husband Donovan, thought I'd lost my mind when I started this overwhelming task. "It's like you're on a rampage, Clarissa," he'd joked. However, he couldn’t deny the charm of our living room once it only housed items that actually “sparked joy”, to borrow Marie Kondo's phrase.
The preliminary purge involves categorizing items and deciding what to keep and what to dispose of. This decision-making process has three simple categories - keep, donate, or throw away. During this phase, it is essential to ask yourself questions like, "Do I need this?" and "Does this item bring any value to my life?" This allows you to evaluate the significance of each item, ensuring that only your most valued possessions stay.
Organizing and Creating Efficient Spaces
Decluttering is not a one-time task; it’s a process that involves continual refinement and organization. It’s about finding the best layout for your space that enhances functionality. The underlying rule is to assign a specific space for each item and ensure it returns there after use. In our house, even our playful Siamese cat, Snowball, has his own corner for toys!
One of the best ways to create efficient spaces is using appropriate storage solutions. For example, Donovan and I use the under-bed space to store our off-season clothing in labelled boxes. We also make ample use of shelves to display our books. Having visible, dedicated spaces for your things helps maintain order and avoid clutter.
The Magic of Multi-Purpose Items
Another secret to leading a minimalist lifestyle I have discovered is to invest in multi-purpose furniture and objects. A stool that also serves as storage, a coffee table that unfolds into a larger dining table, or a sofa that folds out into a bed are all spaces saving gems.
Embracing multi-functionality not only saves space but also saves money and reduces environmental footprint. I remember when Donovan replaced our bulky TV stand with a sleek, wall-mounted unit that doubled as a bookshelf. Snowball and I were ecstatic about the freed-up floor space!
Embracing Digital Life
Embracing digital life is an effortless way to minimize physical clutter. Scanning documents, photos, and CDs can save up a vast amount of physical storage space, plus it’s easier to organize and search digital files. Our home office simply houses a computer instead of mountains of paperwork, thanks to technology.
Adopting e-books, digital music and streaming movies also reduces physical clutter and allows for a leaner living. However, it has taken Donovan a while to adjust to e-books, being an old school book lover. But the bright side, he says, is that he’s now able to carry his entire library in his pocket!
Follow the One In, One Out Rule
The 'one in, one out' rule is a useful practice to maintain minimalism. This means that every time you bring home a new item, you should get rid of another. This rule has heavily influenced my shopping habits, prompting me to think before buying, and thankfully Donovan and Snowball are both on board with this idea.
This strategy prevents our home from overflowing and controls the natural human tendency to accumulate. Also, it feels extremely satisfying to let go of an old item when you bring something new, maintaining the equilibrium in the household.
The Joy in Minimalism
Decluttering and tidying up should never be a redundant task; instead, view it as a form of self-care. Stress reduction, increased focus, extra space, and ease of cleaning are just a few of the benefits that minimalism has to offer. The process of decluttering can be extremely therapeutic and rewarding.
Remember that this is a journey rather than a destination. Even now, each time I decide to declutter a drawer or cupboard, it feels like I’m embarking on a small adventure. Who knows what forgotten treasure I might stumble upon? And at the end of it, our home feels more than just a house. It becomes our sanctuary, the place where Donovan, Snowball and myself feel most content and at peace.