A Minimalist’s Guide to Decluttering with Style
A Step-by-Step Guide to a Stylish and Clutter-Free Minimalist Home
If you’re planning on cultivating a minimalist aesthetic, the first step in the process is to declutter.
Whether you’re working with a minimalist living room, small bedroom, dorm room or your entire home, our step-by-step guide will help you rid your space of clutter and follow a path of sleek, stylish and practical harmony. Minimalism is a state of mind, decluttering is a way to get there. This is your stepping stone to a lifestyle you wish you’d attained years ago.
Step 1: Harness your Minimalist Mindset
Before you begin tackling the clutter, you need to be in the right mindset. Visualize how you’d like your space to appear. Take from different points of inspiration to plan out how you’d like your space to feel. We often find ourselves inundated with clutter because we’re failing to plan accordingly. We buy increasingly more items for the home without truly considering how it will affect our space.
ACTION: Make a plan and take a deep breath. While minimalism evokes effortlessness, decluttering is anything but, so you’ll definitely want to begin with a plan that considers where you first want to focus your energy. Strategize and plot how you want to tackle the clutter. Plan to start small, considering how long you want to give yourself to thoroughly work through each space.
Step 2: Work in Sections
Decluttering won’t happen in a day. It can be a draining process, both emotionally and physically, so it’s best to work on clutter one section at a time. Focusing on only one portion of your space allows you to make appropriate decisions for what to get rid of and what to keep, which can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
ACTION: Work in sections to help the process. Since you’ve already set your mind and planned your process, you’re able to focus on one section at a time This could be your living room, your clothing collection, your kitchen cabinets, anything, just as long as it’s only one area. Once you’ve selected an area, select a part of it to focus on. If you’re in your bedroom, for instance, you might want to focus on decluttering the area around your bed, or maybe just your clothes. Don’t do the whole bedroom at once. Dedicate your time to one thing at a time, to retain your focus and give you a sense of accomplishment when it’s complete.
Pro tip: Begin with simpler spaces like the living room or bathroom, which often aren’t as cluttered as storage-heavy spaces like the basement. Work your way up to those harder-to-declutter spaces, giving yourself plenty of practice before taking on the biggest challenges.
Pro tip: Set the stage for success! Take your time. Listen to music or an audiobook to make the time more enjoyable. Make sure you’re working in an area with good lighting. Enjoy the process and, above all, focus on what is essential to you and your space. Be sure to reward yourself after each section you finish.
Step 3: Simple Sorting
So you’ve made a plan, chosen an area to declutter - now what? Simple sorting will get you well underway toward a tidy minimalist home. As you go through everything you own, the sorting process allows you to see and consider the things you own and actually use.
ACTION: Within the space you’ve chosen to focus on, remove all items and place them in front of you either on a table, a sofa or the floor. Begin sorting into two categories: Things to TOSS and things to KEEP. Don’t worry about the labels: this system is merely a way for you to visualize how much stuff you have, and how much you really need. From your TOSS and KEEP piles, distill those categories even further. Split your TOSS pile into items for the GARBAGE and items to DONATE. Split your KEEP pile into items that will REMAIN in the home and items to STORE.
Pro tip: For even faster sorting, save yourself from handling everything twice and start with all four categories: GARBAGE, DONATE, REMAIN, & STORE. This might be hard if you’re new to decluttering, but as your skills improve you’ll find you can quickly make decisions, shortening your path to minimalism.
Pro tip: As you work with each sorting category, your goal should be that KEEP and STORE have the least number of items. This ensures that you’ll be getting rid of at least half of your unnecessary belongings.
Step 4: Use a System
Our minds are in a constant struggle to rationalize the world around us. It isn’t any different when trying to declutter. As we start to sort through what to keep and what to toss, we often find ourselves wanting to rationalize why we keep things, whether we truly need them or not. When your mind begins to rationalize unnecessary clutter, it’s time to use a system.
ACTION: Using a system allows you to accurately scrutinize the value of your belongings and whether or not they truly add value to your life. The following two methods can work wonders for your space.
Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method In her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo prescribes to the idea that, in order for your home to be a tranquil and magical space, everything you own should bring you joy. If you hold something in your hands and focus on it, whether it be a shirt, a piece of décor, a pillow or a book, if it doesn’t spark joy, it might be better off somewhere else.
The 90/90 Method For those of you who like to use a more technical system for decluttering, we recommend the 90/90 system to determine whether or not to throw something out. If you come across something that you haven’t used in 90 days and can’t find a use for it in the coming 90 days, it might be time to remove it from your space.
Step 5: A Place for Everything; Categorize and Compartmentalize
We’ve all heard it; “a place for everything and everything in its place.” If everything you decide to keep either sparks joy or has a valid and valuable use within 90 days, then it should have a specific place within your home.
ACTION: Items that are used together should be placed together when not in use. You shouldn’t have to run to a kitchen drawer to find a writing utensil if your writing pad is in your study. Just as your furniture and items should flow within your space, so should you. Consider LexMod’s sleek bedroom sets and stylish minimalist living room sets designed to add flow and harmony to your space.
Pro tip: For a better minimalist layout, be sure to categorize items by use within their designated place. Minimalism is a sense of static movement, of flow within a confined space. This should be true for the use of items as well. You should have ease of access to these items, so you can flow as seamlessly as your minimalist space.
Step 6: Store with Intention… and Style
Make sure that your system for storage is intentional. The last thing you want is to have a place where you can amass more stuff. Despite how much we try to rid ourselves of clutter, it just so happens that some items, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t get rid of. For those stragglers, it’s best to invest in modern storage solutions that fit your minimalist style.
ACTION: Purchase stylish storage as you need it. Minimalist furniture as a whole is about practicality. You can find sleek minimalist furniture, such as LexMod’s bookshelves and stands that can serve a variety of purposes, including organizing belongings that could otherwise devolve to clutter.
Step 7: Create with Less
At this point, you’ve made your plan and started decluttering the various areas of your home. Everything left to keep has been organized and stored. You’re living your best life. But what happens next?
ACTION: Keep the minimalist mindset alive. Follow the one-in-one-out rule; don’t bring things into your space without first considering removing something. Be intentional with every purchase and if possible, purchase items with multiple uses, such as LexMod’s kitchen carts. Once you’ve achieved your clutter-free environment, you’ll notice a spatial joy and peacefulness you won’t want to live without.