As the economy boomed over the last few decades, as a nation we became crazily obsessed with possessions. Black Friday was almost as important as Thanksgiving holiday. McMansions sprang up in suburbs, shoe fetishes were epidemic, and shop ‘til you drop became the mantra of millions. The result was over-consumption, material clutter and money spent on things without permanence, without value. Now a new movement is afoot, Minimalism, that aims to simplify living by possessing fewer things.
TV shows like “Hoarders” and “Hoarders: Buried Alive” show us what consumerism, driven by mental illness, can do to a person. Yet most of us live in apartments and houses packed with stuff – closets overflowing, drawers so crammed with old bills and unnecessary papers they no longer open properly. It’s not easy to de-clutter your life. Almost an American birthright, possessions are an expression of wealth and prosperity. For minorities living in America, possessions constitute some attainment of the American Dream.
Nevertheless, it can be quite liberating to reduce the amount of things with which we surround ourselves. Some extremists have reduced their total possessions down to less than 100 items! You don't have to get rid of everything to benefit from minimalist practices.
Minimalists revel in the benefits of living with less – less stress, easy cleaning, environment friendly, money saved from reduced spending. If you’ve considered reducing your possessions because of a lack of living space or because your space’s cup truly does now runneth over, here’s some advice on creating a minimalist home from zenhabits.
- Focus on One Room at a Time to make the job of decluttering physically and mentally manageable
- Start with Furniture and aim for fewer pieces of plain, simple furniture
- Keep only the Essentials by asking yourself if the item essential
- Clear Floors of everything except furniture. Nothing should be stacked or stored on the floor.
- Clear Flat Surfaces so only 1-2 simple decorative items are visible on tables, counters
- Clear Walls except for 1-2 simple pieces of artwork
- Store Stuff Out Of Sight in drawers or closets
- Declutter Storage Areas like drawers and closets
- Simple Artwork with subdued solid color frames; leave some walls bare
- Simple Decorations like a vase of flowers or small potted plant; use a bright accent color on pillows
- Plain Window treatments even bare windows, or simple solid color curtains or wood blinds
- Plain Patterns so not to clutter the look visually
- Subdued Colors like white is classic minimalist, however earth colors (tans, greens, browns, blues) ok too
Your driving goal should be to edit and eliminate. Everything in your space should have a place and be kept in its place. You'll find that a simplified room is peaceful and calming. Buying less stuff means more money in your wallet to save or spend on things that offer true long-term value like experiences, education and economic security.