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May 03, 2017
Sometimes it can feel really overwhelming when tasked to declutter, organize, and minimize the belongings in your home. So overwhelming, in fact, that you may just end up binge watching House of Cards on Netflix and pretending like you didn’t even want to tidy in the first place (sure). Instead of focusing on your house as a whole, try approaching it by room.
By dividing it into rooms, it makes the work that much more manageable and achievable. I broke down each room of your home into four easy steps for you:
Remove: Clean off all items from any areas where there’s space for them to sit (shelves, ledges, and tables).
Tidy: Organize all of the items into like piles so you can see what you have the most of. Decide what can stay and what should go.
Evaluate: With everything removed, critically assess how you use the space and arrange it in a way that makes the most sense for your needs. Then, decide where items will be returned to.
Restore: Return your lessened items to their new homes or their old ones. Then, breathe in and out, and relax.
By applying these steps to each room, all of which have the same basic principles, you’ll quickly be able to sort between what stays and what goes. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you minimize the belongings in your home, all while remaining cool, calm, and collected.
1. REMOVE: Remove the couch cushions, gather the blankets, and remove any pillow shams and throw them in the wash while you reorganize.
2. TIDY: Clean off items from any shelves, side tables, benches and coffee tables. When you inevitably find a magazine from 2013, and a candle that burned out months ago, place them in a rubbish pile.
3. EVALUATE: With all decorative accessories and reading materials set aside, reevaluate your living room to make sure that everything is still positioned in a way that makes the most sense for your needs. If you host friends and family frequently, consider rearranging it so that it can best facilitate that.
4. RESTORE: Reposition the room in a way that makes the most sense, but also allows for it to function in a myriad of ways (relaxing, entertaining, working, and even sleeping). Replace your freshly washed linens, arrange your newly consolidated media and book collections, and return accessories to their rightful place.
1. REMOVE: Empty all of your cabinets, shelves and the drawers with no discernible theme. Place every like item with another like item so you can see what you have doubles of (I’m looking at you, spice cupboard). Dry goods together and organized, pots and pans together, and organize your kitchen gadgets.
2. TIDY: With everything out of the cupboards, assess the piles. Get rid of anything that’s past its expiration date, that you no longer use, or only has crumbs remaining.
3. EVALUATE: Once you’ve purged, assess how you like to use your kitchen and take this opportunity to situate it in a way that makes the most sense for you.
4. RESTORE: While the cupboards are still empty, take a moment to wipe down the insides and clean anything that may have spilled. Then, place everything back in its rightful place, or new home, and breathe easy knowing that you’ve only kept exactly what you need.
1. REMOVE: Grab all of your bath linens and throw them in the wash while you tackle the bathroom. First, take everything out from underneath the sink, on top of shelves, and along the edge of the bathtub and set out.
2. TIDY: With everything laid out in front of you, organize items into like piles to see what you have doubles, triples and maybe even quadruples of. Amalgamate any duplicates and throw out empty bottles.
3. EVALUATE: With all the purposeless bottles gone, assess whether or not you really require all the products you have in front of you. Half-used bottles of products you no longer use, or perhaps didn’t even like, can go. Choose your favourite products, the ones you know you’re in a long-term relationship with, and keep only them.
4. RESTORE: Take this opportunity to do a quick clean of your bathroom while everything is out of the way. Hide away items that cause unnecessary clutter under the sink, then decide which products are your most-used items and position them so that they’re easily accessible. Replace your linens and take in your newly minimized bathroom.
1. REMOVE: Clear off your bedside table, the top of your dresser, and any shelves. While you’re at it, hang up the clothes that you’ve left sitting on the chair in the corner. We won’t be getting into closet organization, but if you’d also like to overhaul your closet, take a look at our Minimalist Wardrobe Workbook!
2. TIDY: As you clear clutter, place similar objects together and return any items you’ve hoarded from family and friends.
3. EVALUATE: Your bedroom is an important space that’s meant for rest and relaxation. If there’s any items that are visible in your bedroom that cause you stress, remove them. That book you haven’t read and keep thinking about reading? Place it elsewhere until you’re ready to do so.
4. RESTORE: Return your depleted and refined piles back. Your bedside table should be clutter free, and should only have your necessary items. Also, consider relocating any nonessential technology to another room to lessen distractions.
1. REMOVE: Empty your garage of everything. Tote bins with decorations, bicycles, and things you’ve been storing that you’ve probably forgotten about.
2. TIDY: Organize items as you haul them out of your garage so that you don’t have to move them twice. A section for tools, equipment, patio and house decor, and pile that you plan to sell or get rid of.
3. EVALUATE: Your garage is actually only meant to store your vehicle, but recently it’s become a place to store all of the possessions you don’t want to keep inside the house, but also don’t want to get rid of. Hopefully, this is the area that you’ll purge the most from. Decide which items are imperative to keep and set them aside first. If you have a lot of loose items with no home, it might be wise to invest in storage solutions for them so that you can maximize the vertical space. If that’s the case, only buy for what you have - don’t invest in extra storage space with the mentality that “someday you’ll need it”. That only gives you an excuse to fill it.
4. RESTORE: Return the items that you’ve decided to keep back into your garage. Keep in mind when you’re placing items back that your car should also fit in there.
With these basic principles (remove, tidy, evaluate and restore) you can easily conquer any room in your home. Remember, when you’re deciding between what stays and what goes, it’s perfectly justifiable to keep something that still genuinely brings you joy, despite it not having a purpose. I, personally, will never part with my book collection, despite having read the majority while the rest essentially act as room decor and take up space. They bring me joy, I like lending them out and discussing them with friends, revisiting them from time to time, and just remembering the stories captured within their pages. Minimalism isn’t about compromising your well-being for a clutter free home. It’s about having only the items that you need to be comfortable and happy, and nothing else.
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