Go Minimalist to Maximise Your Happiness

Cassandra Turner

Interior Designer

Want more time, more money, better health, less stress and more happiness? Then embrace minimalism. I’m not talking the hard-core early 1990’s style minimalism that proposed all white rooms filled with nothing.

I’m talking 2015-style minimalism.

Minimalism now is more about living with only what you need. From an interior perspective, you can achieve a minimalist look that is still warm and homely and in fact allows you to function with much less stress than you might otherwise. What minimalism is not, is overcrowded and cluttered.

Living with less can be extremely liberating. Yes we are taught to gather, to hold on to things and never let memories fade. To keep and stock up on items just-in-case. Well guess what? You can still have fond memories of items, times, people and experiences without keeping everything you have ever owned.

If the thought of paring back your possessions makes you want to leap back, try following these tips. Who knows you might just like it and life might just change.

  1. If you don’t love it, toss it (or better still, pass it on).

This is the Golden Rule to paring down your belongings, according to Japanese organising expert and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo. A self-confessed tidying freak, Kondo explains in her book how she spent years throwing out items to tidy and de-clutter only to find she never felt finished. “I came to the conclusion that the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it”. Imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t that a lifestyle we essentially all dream of?

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Image via Pinterest

Want more time, more money, better health, less stress and more happiness? Then embrace minimalism. I’m not talking the hard-core early 1990’s style minimalism that proposed all white rooms filled with nothing.

I’m talking 2015-style minimalism.

Minimalism now is more about living with only what you need. From an interior perspective, you can achieve a minimalist look that is still warm and homely and in fact allows you to function with much less stress than you might otherwise. What minimalism is not, is overcrowded and cluttered.

Living with less can be extremely liberating. Yes we are taught to gather, to hold on to things and never let memories fade. To keep and stock up on items just-in-case. Well guess what? You can still have fond memories of items, times, people and experiences without keeping everything you have ever owned.

If the thought of paring back your possessions makes you want to leap back, try following these tips. Who knows you might just like it and life might just change.

  1. If you don’t love it, toss it (or better still, pass it on).

This is the Golden Rule to paring down your belongings, according to Japanese organising expert and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo. A self-confessed tidying freak, Kondo explains in her book how she spent years throwing out items to tidy and de-clutter only to find she never felt finished. “I came to the conclusion that the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it”. Imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t that a lifestyle we essentially all dream of?

minimalist-2

  1. Do it all at once and do it now

Don’t do 15 minutes at time, or throw away one thing every week. Set aside a day or a weekend and do the lot. Go through every cupboard, look at every piece of furniture or item you have amassed and evaluate. You will not only see but also feel a major transformation in both yourself and your home.

  1. Start with the easy stuff

Avoid early breakdowns and don’t attack your most loved possessions first. Start with non-sentimental categories and work up to the big stuff. By the time you get to your clothes, love letters or whatever else it is that is most close to your heart, you will be in the right mindset to choose clearly. 

  1. Purge then organise

Select all the items that are going before you start trying to re-organise. Otherwise you will be spending time organising things that probably should have gone.

  1. Sort by category not room

Kondo believes this is key. Rather than doing one room at a time, do one category at a time. For example, gather all your books in one place and “keep only the ones that touch your heart”. Then move on to the next category.

Be realistic. Do you really need 6 wooden spoons in the kitchen and 20 spare towels in the cupboard? No, you don’t. Really! Ditch the duplicates.

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Image via Tumblr

  1. Think of the supermodels

Someone once said to me “If one supermodel stands in a room she looks amazing. If 1000 supermodels stand in a room, their individual beauty is diluted.” The same goes for your furnishings and accessories. Let your pieces shine. Find the pieces that you love and that you use all the time, and let the rest go, with love. Remember this tip when shopping too, there are so many amazing items to purchase but just like an overcrowded store, if you take them all home they get lost in the mass.

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Image via Pinterest

  1. Bin the Bulk

Buying in bulk can be a false economy if the bulk creates clutter. Buy only what you need, when you need it.

  1. Don’t let guilt be your guide

Holding onto gifts that you don’t like or will never use does not make you a better person, it makes you a person living in clutter. Kondo suggests to “give thanks to the gift and let it go”. Even if it’s tucked away in the back of a cupboard, it’s still clutter.

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Image via Brit.co

  1. We all need a home

Once you have finished discarding, you can start the process of organising. The best way to maintain a sense of minimalism is to have a dedicated spot for everything.   It makes both tidying and finding things a breeze (reduces stress) and also makes it easy to see when you are starting to amass again.

Be aware of storage that is clutter in disguise. Think carefully about your storage solutions and they way you store things. Can you access them easily? (If not, you probably wont use them so they probably should go).

Consider new ways to store items that allow for easier access and use. Don’t be stuck in a rut just because that’s how you have always stored something.

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Image via Pinterest

  1. Clear the Decks

Keep benchtops like kitchen and bathroom clear. Only keep what is necessary on the benchtops. Put other items away (in their dedicated spot, or ditch them).

Walking into a space with clear benchtops is calming. Think of how a hotel room feels when you first walk in.

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Image Source: blogthedpages.com

  1. Keep evaluating and editing

Once you have done this once, properly, it becomes a way of living. There’s no reason embracing minimalism needs to leave your home looking sparse. If done correctly, it should leave you with a home surrounded by the things you love, with the space to enjoy them and a calmer, more uplifting energy. “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too” – Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo’s Book, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is available from Dymocks.com.au

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