by Justin Dela Cruz
Minimalism- A trend in home living behind the philosophy of using and living with less.
Minimalism has been a trend for people in their lifestyles, and recently in their interior design, growing popular by the day. The idea is that you get rid of the excess in your life, live with only the essentials, and what makes you happy.
This movement has grown a massive appeal to people of various ages who want to slim down their homes. Living with less means having to clean less and having less stuff to lose. But how do you adapt the minimalist lifestyle to your home? What can you do to make your home minimal but still function?
Changing into a different lifestyle like that isn’t easy and not done overnight. It takes gradual changes in daily duties, routines, and how you think. So, to help get started on the minimalist road, here are a few tips from minimalists that they use to help them reduce “waste” in their homes.
The first thing to note is to suspend the disbelief that minimalism is living in an empty home with bare essentials. Despite what you see on Facebook, YouTube, and documentaries about minimalistic lifestyles, you aren’t living with close to nothing. In actuality, you are living with what gives you joy and what brings value into your home.
Before decorating and moving things around, cleaning up will give you an idea of the space and how to use it effectively. Here are some handy steps to start with and will get the ball rolling on downsizing adventure.
John Fields, from the minimalists, often talks about how he questions items in his home. “Do I need this? When was the last time I used this?” Simple questions like that eliminate a lot of things from the junk drawer in your kitchen, those books you were going to read, and those shirts you haven’t worn in years.
Actively questioning an items worth in your home, makes you think of its uses and value it has, if any, to provide. A lot of people are guilty of keeping condiment packets in a drawer with the idea that they’ll use it later. Days, weeks, and months go by, and they’re still sitting in the drawer next to napkins and chopsticks. If the last time you used them was never, it’s time to get rid of that stuff.
This process can go for coupons that have expired, batteries that are dead, pens you picked up but don’t use, and any other assortment of clutter that hasn’t had any use.
Clear the Counter
Besides everyday used items, the kitchen counter should always be clear of mess and clutter. A clear counter is a clean counter. This tip helps any homeowner get rid of immediate garbage and put away unneeded items to their proper place. A simple task but a hard one to commit to, because it’s too easy to throw something on the kitchen counter and leave it until “later.” But taking care of it in the immediate moment makes you question the item(s).
Example, when you get home and grab your mail, you throw it on the closest counter, or flat surface, until later. If you took another thirty seconds, sift through all the junk, and kept the one bill in the pile, you effectively eliminated counter space waste. Giving you a clutter-free area, that doesn’t draw attention by anyone’s wandering eye.
It doesn’t take much time to do this daily, only adding a few seconds to your routine, but saving you minutes and hours in the long run. This method is only one part to many others to a minimalistic interior.
When it comes to styling, the phrase less is more becomes the mantra of any décor, furniture, and accent pieces. Nothing is there unless it adds value or has a use in the room.
In an art museum, did you ever notice the spacing of the walls and how blank they are next to the art? No. Why would you? Your eyes are drawn to the painting, sculpture, or model, not to the surrounding area. All the attention goes to this one piece. The same idea should apply for your home décor and any piece of furniture.
Art museums usually have bland walls and space between each piece of art. This method is used so that the pieces are not in competition with each other and get the respected attention that they deserve. The same can happen in your home if you have a specific décor, pieces of furniture, or even an entire room you want to have focused. Anything can seem special if given enough space by itself.
In a living room, for example, make the couch the center of the room by putting it in the center of the room, with select accent pieces that have a function or use with little on them. When someone enters the room, they are drawn to the couch, as it is the centerpiece of the entire room. From there, the focus can shift, making it a discussion area or a place to watch and enjoy television is up to the furnishings around the couch.
A color scheme for a minimalist home is usually neutral colors, easy to adapt with whatever is added in and won’t contrast harshly. But to make a room, living space, or wall, stand out, and give more of your personality, add little things to make the space more you.
What this means is adding tiny little knick-knacks, or other items, on a bookshelf or coffee table, you can make a room speak to who you are as an individual. Of course, nothing cluttering the space, that would defeat the purpose of minimalism. Instead add one to three things that have importance to you, or that you often use, displaying them proudly in your home.
The tiny accents break the neutral tone that can make your home seem uninteresting, into a space that has class and personality. Usually, items with bright colors or have a complexity about them stand out in a room that is clear and neutral. So pick the best of your stuff and have it be the center of attention, as it deserves.
Making it Your Own
Your entire home should be a reflection of yourself, and at any given time, you should want to be the best version of yourself. With minimalism, a minimalistic lifestyle, and minimalist house, you can show your best self and maintain a clean and clear home that you can have clear floors. But to each person, minimalism is different and doesn’t mean taking out everything someone else does. If having a stack of books makes you happy and you find them useful, keep them, and make them part of your homes aesthetic. If having more clothes is important to you and makes the day seem brighter, go ahead and keep them. In the end, it just about reducing what you don’t need and don’t use, not what makes you joyful.
From Marie Kondo, the minimalists, and other minimalistic guru’s, no one is ever one hundred percent right about getting this method done. What they agree on is that you make it work for you — getting the most of your every day and your life.
For more idea check out our previous blog post, Less is More: 5 Tips for Minimalist Style Bedroom.