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The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home

By Katie McCann

Minimalism has become an epidemic—plastered across glossy design magazines and influencing homes across the country. How did a society hung up on buying the latest centerpiece for their second coffee table hop on the minimalist train and leave their clutter at the station?

People are sick of all their stuff. It doesn’t take a TLC-worthy living room stacked with broken appliances and 179 tupperware containers to warrant a detox. Think about that one drawer in your house. We all have that one drawer where miscellaneous objects go to die. These chaotic drawers are like possession purgatory, a transitional space we maintain until we’re ready to decide—treasure or trash?

Why You Should Create a Minimalist Environment

We’re here to tell you that your controlled clutter is disturbing you, and you don’t even know it. That distasteful drawer or that lawless closet represents some part of your psyche that just can’t get clear. Minimalism is all about making room in your living space so you feel mentally expansive. Let’s get started.

Your Six Steps to Minimalism

If you want to get going with the minimalist look but are not sure where to start, here’s the best place to start: reading these six steps.

Step One: Taking Inventory

If you ever worked in retail, you know that annual occasion of dread where you walk around counting things—inventory day. Taking inventory is all about making a complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building. You’re going to do this on bi-annual basis in your home.

Spring and fall inventory will guarantee you know what you’re holding on to. Make an extensive inventory of the basics in every category and become aware of unnecessary duplicates. Create a specific section for seasonal items that are bulky or burdensome. The point of this first step is to become hyper-aware of the things that you own. Break out your list into the following:

  1. Living room
  2. Dining room
  3. Bathroom
  4. Kitchen
  5. Bedroom
  6. Garage
  7. Heirlooms/ valuables
  8. Duplicates
  9. Seasonal
  10. Other

Step Two: Seasonal Storage

After taking inventory, you probably found a few things that don’t need to hang around 365 days a year. A perfect example are those bulky winter tires in your garage, or the summer golf clubs that see more white than greens in the off-season.

As residents of the True North, our closets exist in dichotomous states—unforgiving blizzard-ready wardrobe and heatwave-warning-wear. We store away our winter coats, bulky sweaters, scarves, Everest-ready boots, and toques in the summertime. The dualistic seasonal changes don’t need to split your closet in two. We recommend packing up clothes you know you won’t wear to make room for weather-appropriate outfits.

Step Three: Act As If…

Act as if you’re moving. We all hate moving. Moving has been classified as one of life’s major stressors, alongside divorce and even death. It’s like a piece of us dies inside just thinking about it. If you really want to create a minimalist home, you’re going to have to imagine taking all that stuff with you. There’s a challenge people have engaged in where they literally pack up all their things and unpack them as they need it. Anything that stays packed up for a number of months is seen as unnecessary and given away. We prefer to save ourselves the hassle and use our better judgement, but power to you!

Step Four: The Value Test

The value test is when you examine items on your inventory and ask: “does this add value to my life?” The pair of jeans that haven’t fit since senior year or the food processor you impulsively ordered on Amazon may not get a stamp of approval. However, you’ll probably get push-back. It’s like our possessions have a voice of their own that plead: “But remember that time you made a killer guac with me? Do you want to throw all that delicious potential away?” Don’t engage; say your goodbyes.

Step Five: I Want It, But I Don’t Want It Here

You’ve probably determined that something is valuable to you but your living situation doesn’t allow it in your space. City spaces aren’t sympathetic to ancillary items. You may be incredibly fond of a tea set you inherited from your grandma and keen to use it in the future. However, your cupboard space tells you to make tough decisions.

Other items that fall into this category are “future home” items. Your parents could pass down their living room set, you could find a great deal on a decorative item, or you simply don’t have the backyard for a barbecue. These items don’t need to be bitterly hauled away. You can store items of value that you can’t comfortably fit into your current residence.

Step Six: Minimalist Decor

Minimalism looks really cool. We know that having less clutter in our immediate surroundings is good for our mental state, but it’s also good for our aesthetic. A big reason minimalism received so much hype is because it looks refreshing. The only person who makes clutter look cool is that free-spirited English professor who used book stacks as accent tables.

Minimalism doesn’t have to be boring.Be selective about your items and make sure every piece has a purpose.

You can apply the following:

  • White painted walls and bedspreads for a spacious look
  • Functional pieces over decorative pieces
  • Lean looking furniture over bulky items
  • Cohesive colour scheme
  • Plants or greenery
  • Open-concept storage to prevent hidden clutter

Living Space You Can Live With

You made it. After counting, evaluating, and packing, creating a minimalist home can be easier than you think. Don’t wait for an unexpected move to pressure you into getting organized. If you apply these steps to your life on a regular basis, you make living easier and moving less soul-crushing.

Katie McCann
By Katie McCann

Katie is the Content Marketing Manager at Bolt, creating resources to help ecommerce businesses of all size thrive. When she's not tracking her online orders right to her doorstep, she's obsessing over her pandemic puppy and learning TikTok dances.