Many people hear the word “minimalism” and think that a minimalist home can’t be a cozy home as well. We’re here to set the record straight and show you how you can create a cozy, minimalist home. First, though, we have to ask ourselves what minimalism is.
What is minimalism?
There is both minimalism as an aesthetic and as a lifestyle. Colloquially, the term minimalist have come to mean something that is stripped down to its essentials. You’ve probably seen the minimalistic aesthetic on Instagram or Pinterest; the color palettes are normally very neutral, with only a few possessions. The furniture are sometimes sparse, but always well-chosen, and the decor understated and what are often termed “Scandinavian style” or simply “Scandi”.
Some people who follow a minimalistic lifestyle are extremely conscious of only owning the very bare minimum that they need. For instance, if you are only two people living together, to have only a set of four plates, not a sixteen place setting worth of tableware and silverware that’s never used.
Minimalism means stripping down your life to the basics — to what is truly important — and cutting out all the rest, leading to a fuller, more fulfilled life.
Some of the benefits of minimalism
The Minimalists, as Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus call themselves, list the following as things that minimalism has helped them with:
- Eliminating discontent
- Reclaiming time
- Living in the moment
- Discovering their mission
- Experience real freedom
- Creating more while consuming less
- Growing as individuals
- …and much more…
One of the main benefits of minimalism is finding happiness through life itself instead of through things. Instead of physical possessions, it’s through physical experiences that you find happiness.
How do I become a minimalist?
There is no real set of hard and fast rules when it comes to exactly what your life needs to look like for it to be minimalistic. It is up to you to decide when you have reached the level of minimalism that brings you the most joy, happiness, and contentment.
The first steps to becoming a minimalist is to make changes in your mindset, actions, and habits. Forget about shelves upon shelves of books that you never even get a chance to dust, nevermind reading or enjoying. Through decluttering your possessions and home you can also declutter your life to keep only what is necessary.
Your change in mindset and decision to become a minimalist is probably the biggest step that you will take on your road to your new lifestyle. Perhaps you have never really sat down to think about what lifestyle it is that you are following at the moment. Is your lifestyle perhaps a lot more wasteful or materialistic (or both) than you would like it to be?
Without changing your mindset and consciously thinking about what you are doing, keeping, and getting rid of, you will not be able to move from where you are currently to a minimalist lifestyle.
After making the decision to change to a minimalist lifestyle, you can start taking actions to bring you closer to your goal. These actions can include decluttering your home and getting rid of everything that you don’t actually need and may just be holding you back from living your life to the fullest. It also includes learning more about minimalism, how others are embracing this lifestyle, and learning from them.
Keep reading to find out how you can declutter for the minimalist lifestyle of your dreams!
You’ll soon see that there will be habit changes when you make the shift to minimalism. Less shopping will definitely be on the cards as you will no longer be on the lookout for “more stuff” — perhaps even just something to buy to fill the time — unless you are shopping for something specific like a gift or a specific replacement.
Your house cleaning schedule will also change simply because there will no longer be clutter that needs to be cleaned up (or be moved to a less conspicuous place). You won’t need to spend as much time cleaning as there won’t be as many things to clean!
You will also find that, while you still care for your possessions, you are not as attached to them as you once was because you recognise them for being objects and not the sentiments or memories themselves, which is actually the thing that you hold dear.
How do I create a cozy home with less?
Creating a cozy home is not necessarily about the number of things that are in the home, but the feeling that you get when you step into the home.
For instance, does a welcoming atmosphere greet you when you enter your home? The coziness of your home can already start in your entry hall.
Rather than focus on the “more is more” way of decorating your space; that is, more photos, more trinkets and knick-knacks, etc. make “less is more” your mantra from now on. Soon you’ll see that it’s not the possessions that make a house a home, but the people living there, their attitude and their memories.
6 Tips on creating a cozy home with less:
- Use fewer photos in your décor — but have those photos mean an awful lot to you rather than just filling a wall.
- Have fewer — if any — trinkets and knick-knacks on display. Keep to one or two pieces that you are very fond of and that accentuate your personality and living area space. Do the same in the bedroom; a bedside lamp can be a focal point if it is the only thing on your nightstand.
- Use a blanket or throw in neutral or muted colours to suit your home’s colour palette. Opt for warm neutrals to give understated warmth to a room.
- Add white or other neutral-coloured candles to your rooms to light in the evenings — or when you meditate — to add warmth to the room. Here are ideas for using candles in your home.
- Open up your space by getting rid of those storage furniture pieces you no longer need now that you’ve decluttered and don’t need as much storage space. You’d be surprised how much space a chest of drawers or wardrobe actually take up! You can also create a walk-in closet that can be used to store your wardrobe. Because it is built-in, you won’t have to manoeuvre around loose-standing furniture the whole time. Also, how many side tables do you need? You, most likely, only need a coffee table in your living area.
- Create specific zones where you can read, meditate, and be calm. Don’t clutter these spaces with candles and other items, however. Aim to use as few possessions as possible to create an area that will not only soothe your soul, but also break away from the over-saturated world and soothe your senses. For instance, choose one This candle can be anything from a votive candle to a large multi-wick candle if the space is large. But the main point of the candle is not to be the focus — that focus should be your inner peace.
How do I create a home that is minimalistic?
The main step to create a minimalistic home from what we’ll call an “everyday home”, is to declutter and minimize the amount of items that you actually own.
7 Tips to declutter your home:
- Start with a vision. It probably won’t be “living with less than 100 possessions” when you’re just starting out, but have a good+ idea of how you want your home to look like once you’re done. You can even make a mood board for the project on Pinterest.
- Work from room to room. Instead of facing your home as one big DIY project that you need to work on all at once, tackle your clutter room by room. Doing this will give you the freedom of splitting one large task up into logical chunks. You can then decide, for instance, to work on one room every weekend and finishing your project in two months. Start with an easy room, like the bathroom(s). Because this will go faster than the other rooms, you will have the motivation to keep going once you see how great your bathroom(s) look.
- First tackle the clutter. While you may feel tempted to just start throwing things out to make your home look Instagram-minimalist worthy, it works better to clear clutter in layers. For example, first take care of the clutter. Pile of mail? Clear it before starting on cupboards. In the kitchen, start in the pantry/food cabinets before moving on to tableware, etc. In every room, clear the visible clutter first before going into the cupboards and decluttering them.
- Start with the easy items first. This tip closely relates to the previous one, and involves starting with the part of the room that is the easiest to declutter and tackle that first. Once you get good motivation going, move on to those parts that are more difficult. End with those things that have sentimental value or that is difficult to go through because of certain memories that cling to them.
- Be ruthless. When you decide to get rid of an item, do it with the end goal in mind. This is also where a mood board or inspiration board comes in very handy. You shouldn’t feel forced to keep something because it belonged to someone in the family if you don’t want it or don’t like it. The same goes for gifts you have no use for (or perhaps didn’t like in the first place). If you have possessions that you’re only keeping for the sake of ‘perhaps using it one day’ think long and hard about whether you’ll actually have use for them even then. You don’t need enough linen for a small hotel, for instance. Get rid of the old and unused and get ready to live in a brand new space.
- Have a Plan of Action. When going through all your things to declutter and minimize everything that you own, you need to have a plan of action in place that you can use to donate, sell, recycle or give away everything that you are going to let go. This will ensure that you not only pay it forward, but aren’t tempted to keep everything and slip back into your old habits and ways.
- Create the vision and life you and your family want to; not other people. Remember that this is your life and your home and that you can live in it and decorate it any way you please. It also means that you don’t have to adhere to minimalism where it doesn’t 100% suit your needs. While some minimalists prefer that you should digitize all photos if you keep photos at all; you might want to keep your family photos and photo heirlooms or even some ephemera. This doesn’t mean that what you are doing is wrong, but rather that you are being true to yourself and the life that you want to build.
- Need help keeping track of where you are in your decluttering process? If you don’t feel like keeping track of the project with pen and paper, there are now many digital alternatives to choose from. Why not take a look at Wunderlist, Asana, Evernote, or Trello and see if one of them will work for you?
Break the cycle. Now that you’ve decluttered and cut down on the amount of things that you own, it’s time to break the cycle of bringing new items into the home and starting the clutter all over again.
For example, instead of going out to the shops to pass the time and try to fill your life with things, you can stay home and take some time for yourself to rest, read, or meditate. Take time to just be.
You can also rather spend your hard-earned money on experiences — go away for a weekend, book an activity, and much more. Then celebrate the memories that you bring home with you instead of a bunch of stuff that you barely have space for. And what better way to celebrate your favourite memories than with mindfulness and meditation?
Minimalism, mindfulness, and meditation
Minimalism lends itself very well to mindfulness and meditation because it lets you focus on the here and now without being distracted by that which is material. That which you then own is truly close to your heart and brings you joy. It’s not just another piece of furniture you need to polish or pile of clutter you need to sift through for your keys.
The enjoyment of the simple, cozy things in everyday life — a cup of tea, the light of a candle, reading a favourite book — is also embodied in the Danish practice of Hygge. Hygge encompasses this type of mindfulness and its practice can even be seen as a type of meditation.
A cozy, minimalist house doesn’t just give you the space in which to become still and practice meditation, however. It also helps you to start living more intentionally. From creating your meditation corner to making use of it every day and really taking the time to decide on every element that will go into your meditation corner and the rest of the home; you’ll soon see that living intentionally will become second nature to you. It will be a lot easier to just say ‘no’ to new possessions or goodbye to old ones than it was before you started out on this journey.