How to Make Minimalism Realistic for Your Home

One quick look on Dwell or the Crate and Barrel collection and it’s easy to see that minimalism is all the rage. It’s sleek, it’s contemporary, and feels wonderfully clean and organized.

Minimalism is about achieving better design through simplicity.

Minimalism emphasizes one particular element of a room, and allows key pieces to stand out.

It’s about giving things space to breathe and purchasing furniture that is simple.

One thing that minimalism is not is cluttered. That is why many homeowners think the minimalist design style is unobtainable. The dread knowing it means they have to pare down books and shoes and throw pillows. Which, admittedly, is a daunting task.

But if you look around your home and see linen closets that won’t close, bookshelves so stacked with books you can barely get them out, and a jumble of shoes on the floor, it might be time to tidy up. Especially if you’re looking to bring a sense of minimalism to your home.

Before you grab the garbage bags, you might want to try the new method of organizing that has taken the world by storm. Marie Kondo’s best selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and its corresponding lifestyle, encourages homeowners to embrace minimalism and get rid of clutter.

Kondo’s method makes it easy to see that minimalism can be possible! Here’s how you do it:

Kondo’s philosophy is to go through your items by category (clothes and shoes first, then books, then documents, etc.) Put everything in a big pile, then one by one ask yourself if that item “sparks joy.”If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, throw it out .

That should leave you only with items that make you happy, clothes that you love wearing, and documents you actually need.

The idea is that unwanted items are a drag on happiness in a home. So thank those unwanted objects for their former usefulness then say goodbye, releasing their energy in a positive way.

By the end of your tidying session, your home will be free of clutter, so you can actually find the clothing and books you like. No longer will you be distracted by piles of things you keep around “just in case.” Your bookshelves will be lighter, closets more organized, and rooms will just feel better, if you can believe it.

Kondo promises that once you go through the tidying process, your home will stay organized. She says, her clients always “suddenly know how much is just right.” She calls it the “just-right click point” and it means you’ll never rebound.

As a parent, you might think tidying up all of your family member’s items is impossible. But Kondo assures you that tidying is possible – and even encouraged – to do with your entire family.

Just make sure that each family member is responsible for his or her own stuff, and that the boundaries for where each family member is going to pile his or her own stuff is very well understood. Kondo has seen kids as young as 3 master the “sparks joy” method.

Tidying with your spouse or children can make the process more enjoyable, and encourage you to think more deeply about each item. Though, Kondo does warn, “If a parent or a spouse ever tries to ‘force’ another family member to tidy, not only will it not work, it could even have a negative effect.”

Do you want to know the secret weapon in an organize minimalists arsenal? Floor to ceiling cabinet space.

Just put it all away, the more shelves the better. It may take some time for everyone to get acclimated as to what items go on what shelf.

You can add labels inside the cabinets so that everyone can quickly get on the same page as to where everything goes. After awhile everyone will get accustomed to the routine.

Decluttering feels so good to me because letting go and helping someone else who needs these things is such a wonderful feeling. I’m also trying to give something away for each new item coming in and also trying to stay out of a store unless there’s really something I need. Target and TJ Maxx are my downfalls so I’m trying to stay focused when I go in!

Embracing minimalism may seem daunting, but Kondo’s method provides needed guidance to really consider what you own. Even if it’s hard to part with some items at the beginning, as you continue, it will get easier. Especially when you see how calm and relaxing your house can become once you allow in some simple open spaces.

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