Minimalism and minimalist design arose in reaction to consumer-driven lifestyles that encouraged us to want more and more stuff.
At some point we stop needing and start running out of space. The clutter this creates has been linked to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol – and why not? Clutter is chaos! If you’re ready to let go and get flow, check out this brief beginner’s guide on how you can start living simply.
Resist the Hoarder Instinct
Minimalist design requires an absence of clutter – a feat which cannot be accomplished if you have too much stuff. A good rule of thumb is one-in-one-out. For every new thing you bring into your apartment, take something of equal or greater size out. This is most easily accomplished if you are replacing the same item with a newer version, and can get tricky if you have something novel come into the space. Keep track of the things you use a lot, only sometimes, and things you never use. Negotiate with the homeware you only use sometimes and get rid of the stuff you haven’t used in a year. A clever trick for clothes is to turn the hanger around on every shirt you put back into your closet. At the end of the year, give away all the clothes that still have forward facing hangers. For stacks of clothes in drawers, your least worn clothes are almost always at the bottom. For more information on shrinking your closet, go here.
Preface Gift-Giving Holidays
Let your friends and family know what things you want and what you could do without. If your apartment is perfect the way it is, ask that your wish list include things that are not homeware related. Or, if there is a really beautiful painting that would look just perfect in the living room, ask for that specifically. Holidays like Christmas often imbue us with many things that require space, and can become clutter if we are not careful.
The colors that look best with a minimalist design are the neutral tones you’d normally see together in nature. White, charcoal, ashy blues, and woody browns tend to blend well and evoke and sense of calm. Adding a single plant may help facilitate an earthy vibe. Allow the centerpiece of the room to be a bit darker than the objects surrounding it, and be sure to account for lighting. A room that has more natural light tends to be warmer, so you can balance it with cooler shades. Artificial lighting tends to make a room appear cooler, so warmer shades might look better here.
Texture Adds Life
To avoid making a room look bland, be sure to add some texture. Throw in a rug, or add a unique lamp to your nightstand. Choose quality since you don’t have quantity, and make every decision deliberate.
Cheat With Storage
This being a beginner’s guide, we can’t expect you to completely ditch your maximalist instincts. Keep the chaos shut away in a chic storage cabinet or chifforobe. We won’t tell.
Letting go can be a challenge. But once the extraneous “stuff” is gone, you’ll feel much more at peace. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple!