We all know how easy it is to accumulate stuff you don’t actually need. The kids get loads of toys at Christmas; you see a great bargain in a store and HAVE to get it; you bought that dress for a party and have never worn it since. All this eventually leads to a cluttered home, which science says is bad for our stress levels.
To combat this common problem, the Scandinavian movement of minimalism has slowly become a design trend. Clean, simple interiors with a muted color palette are all over Pinterest, characterized by their white walls, light wood surfaces, and unfussy décor.
Most importantly, you see very little ‘clutter’ or ‘stuff’ in these pictures. Besides a few interesting wall prints and books stacked neatly on shelves, all that’s there is what is necessary. And people are clamoring to make these images a reality.
You might think your home is too small to create clean, open spaces, or you don’t have enough money to completely change your décor – that’s where you’re wrong. Minimalist living requires minimal money and is based on the notion that you shouldn’t occupy a larger space than you need. Here is a quick guide to transforming your home into a relaxing, simple, stress-free space.
- Declutter and Destress
The first step to minimalist living is to declutter your life. It may be a long and painful process, but throwing out everything you don’t need or use is the most relieving thing you can do. The burden of constantly rifling through things to find what you need, and being put off cleaning because there’s too much to do, is a heavy weight on your shoulders.
Donating items to charity will induce a feeling of weightlessness and calm when you can relax in a clutter-free home. Be ruthless, especially when going through your wardrobe – most of us own far too many clothes!
Many people hoard things because of sentimental value; but if you can let go of those associations, you’ll soon forget you ever had them.
It’s okay to still own some trinkets and items of personal value, of course – but the trick is to store them out of sight when they’re not needed.
- Create an Optical Illusion
In small rooms, create the illusion of space with light-colored walls and large simple mirrors. Dark walls will instantly make a room seem smaller and more cramped.
If you do have dark walls, let as much natural light in as you can – don’t let anything obscure the window or have thick patterned curtains – and where you can’t, use a feature standing lamp.
Search charity or thrift stores for large cheap mirrors, with simple frames. Place these on a wall adjacent to the window for the best space-opening and lightening effect.
- Choose Interesting Accent Decorations
As we said before, minimalism doesn’t mean throwing out EVERYTHING that is dear to you. Things that hold fond memories are the ones that make great accent decorations in your rooms.
For example, a friend might have painted you an amazing painting for your birthday once – use it as a feature on a bare wall. The beautiful vase passed down from your grandmother would make a great centerpiece for your dining table. A family photo would look lovely framed on a desk.
- Everything in its Place
Besides these small accent decorations, the key is to make sure your surfaces are otherwise bare. Don’t hang up too many pictures on the same wall. Keep all your papers in desk drawers. Put kitchen utensils away after they’ve been used. Store kids’ toys in a chest after playtime.
Not only does this keep your eyeliner (and therefore mind) free from clutter, but also does wonders to cut the time you spend cleaning. Dusting around knickknacks and putting things away before you can wipe counter-tops adds hours to the task.
These points should help you minimalize your space without spending a dime (unless you want to lighten your walls, get more storage or bring in some mirrors, but even these can be done inexpensively). Your finished minimalistic space will bring peace and tranquility – try decluttering a drawer, shelf or entire room per day, and feel the difference in just a week.
Author: Ellie Wiseman