Over decades, ‘minimalism’ has transformed into being an art movement, to a well-celebrated design principle, to being a complete lifestyle. For now, let’s focus on the kind of minimalism that’s closely associated with Marie Kondo, and her magical ways of tidying up a home. If you’re thinking about re-imagining your home to include minimalist principles in design and organization, this handy guide is for you.
Conceptual artist and theorist Robert Morris summarized the entire idea of minimalism into this: it’s the art of accomplishing something using only the bare minimum essentials.
Why Go Minimalist and 5 Easy Design Tips to Start
Applying this to redesigning our living spaces, Marie Kondo advocates living only among things that spark joy. It’s paring down on things, equipment, clothing, and even books – that no longer enrich our lives. This translates to a more intentional lifestyle, where you swear off mindlessly acquiring things that will just clutter your home. This further translates to houses that are soothing, aesthetically-pleasing, and oozing with nothing but good vibes.
Why go minimalist?
From the get-go, it all sounds pretty logical, not to mention easy. After all, who doesn’t want dressers that are forever organized, indoor plants that all look alive and well, and an unassuming personal library where all the books are read and enjoyed, and not just admired on shelves?
But the mere fact that Tidying up with Marie Kondo is a TV show that actually exists proves that transforming your home into a minimalist one is way easier said than done. Still, we believe it’s worth it.
So if you’re still on the fence about trying it out, we’ll give you some of the most sensible reasons to make that shift to minimalism:
1. It helps you determine what’s important
Peter Economy makes a good point in saying that minimalism helps us appreciate the important things by empowering us to reduce our material possessions.
If you find yourself unable to dispose of an old stamp or a broken lamp that has no other purpose other than to remind you of fond memories, minimalism will make you realize that getting rid of that thing will not take away any of the meanings and memories you have attached to it.
It thus helps you treasure moments and people more, without needing to keep old junk just for sentimental value.
2. Space is good for your mental health
Having too much clutter lying around is stressful. Even dressing up for a fun night out can easily become a chore if your closet is unorganized and full of stuff you haven’t even worn in the last five years, but can’t get rid of for some reason.
Embracing minimalism is one of the most effective design hacks that could reduce anxiety, and other mental troubles. An organized space definitely translates to better headspace. As a matter of fact, we’ve written an entire guide on how to achieve zen at night just by giving your bedroom a nice, modern minimalist look.
3. It is a more affordable lifestyle
In Pyschology Today, The Minimalists described excess consumption as a “hunger that never gets fulfilled,” and as a “hopeless search for contentment.” In fact, according to Business Wire, research by Ebates showed that 96% of adults and 95% of teens worldwide admit they participate in some form of “shopping therapy.”
In contrast, minimalists have learned how to find happiness elsewhere, without compromising the quality and sanctity of their living spaces. Once you learn how to let go of consumerist habits, you’d find that it really doesn’t make much for a person to live happily. Since minimalism values moments, experiences, and joy over material possessions, it is definitely an affordable lifestyle to keep.
4. A minimalist home is easy on the eyes
We spend a lot of time, money, and effort to acquire furniture and other contraptions which we think will make our homes presentable and aesthetically-pleasing all the time. But minimalism teaches us that we can achieve so much more by just having less.
No matter how big your space is, it’s bound to get too cramped if you have so many things. It gives you little to no wiggle room to actually design the space. However, once you’ve reduced your possessions to only those that matter, you’ll find it way easier to arrange the space. Even completely re-imagining your rooms whenever you get too bored of how it looks will be easier, and even enjoyable! White and empty spaces also make rooms appear more ‘breathable.’ Just imagine never bumping your hip or pinky toe on anything ever again, thanks to minimalism.
5. Minimalism is good for the environment
Studies reveal that it’s not overpopulation that’s killing the planet per se: it’s overconsumption. Mindless consumerism is supportive of fast fashion and throwaway cultures which is in no way sustainable. On the other hand, minimalism teaches us to stick with just a few quality items that will last generations, so we don’t have to buy more. Minimalism is at odds with the retail mindset, which makes it a good lifestyle choice for the planet.
In fact, the mere act of consuming less and throwing away less is a huge burden off of our suffering planet, according to The Environmental Magazine.
The Marie Kondo Way
Of course, no one can talk about minimalism and decluttering these days without mentioning the name of Marie Kondo. There’s a very good reason for this: a swift shift to minimalism can be overwhelming. But through her Netflix hit series Tidying up with Marie Kondo, she was able to make minimalism appear like it’s very much achievable.
If you’re reading this article to pick up tips for your minimalist journey, chances are you’ve already watched, read, and listened to everything Marie Kondo has to say. Still, we took the liberty to pare down all her tips to the three which we think are the most important:
1. Tidy up by category, not by room
If you want to start with books, then put all your books in one giant pile, regardless of their storage place. Marie Kondo swears upon this method, instead of the more common way, which is to tackle decluttering room by room.
2. Respect your things
One of the most remarkable things the KonMari method has taught us is that respecting your things sometimes mean you have to let some of them go, especially when they have outlived their usefulness.
3. Most importantly, keep only things that spark joy
It’s so very easy to look for excuses to ‘hang on’ to things. Things that may one day come in handy, even if you don’t really know when that one day may be or even if it’ll ever come. So much of our clutter is based on the premise that ‘I might need it one day’.
That is really no good reason to hang on to anything. Practising Marie Kondo’s special super power of keeping only things that spark joy ensures that everything in our immediate vicinity and our environment brings joy.
Admittedly, minimalism is not for everyone. Some people genuinely love being surrounded by their knick-knacks and mementoes. However, if you’ve been seriously considering a change, then it really is worth looking in to how minimalism might work for you. Even if you’re not ready for a complete change, a step towards decluttering is always a step in the right direction.
This next article helps you get started: Your Start-up Minimalist Style Guide – 5 Simple Ways to Get Started