Having a clean and organized house is something that often seems out of reach.
Work, responsibilities, family, and just a general lack of time get in the way of having a well-kept space. But there’s a reason why we have the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Taking a minimalist approach to your new home means a less cluttered, neater home. Here’s more on how — and why — a minimalist approach can work for you.
The Benefits of a Clean Home
Marie Kondo, organizing wizard and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, says that having tidy rooms benefits us in numerous ways:
“How does keeping things tidy change people psychologically? You gain greater confidence in yourself. Also, you become more optimistic and calmer in the mind than before you tidied.
There are several reasons for these changes: your self-image improves as you start living in tidy beautiful rooms and you gain decision-making skills as you continue to choose between which things to throw/give away and which to keep.”
It’s not fun when you can’t find your keys when you’re already running late for work because your place is so messy. A clean space makes the little things in life easier.
And there is something to be said about how good it feels to see your things organized. It can give you a sense of calmness and order.
“Clutter is a form of visual distraction and everything in our vision pulls at our attention, at least a little,” says Leo Babauta, one of the leaders of the minimalist movement, in a post on creating a minimalist home. “The less clutter, the less visual stress we have. A minimalist home is calming.”
The Minimalist Approach (Tailored to Your Needs)
The great thing about building a new home is that you can basically design your rooms to be messy-proof. You don’t have to be a complete minimalist (i.e., sell all your stuff and/or wear the same clothes all the time) to have an organized home.
Mess often occurs because there isn’t a place for things, so if you design your rooms so that there is a place for everything, you’ll limit the mess. This will make your home easier to clean and keep clean. When designing your new home, make sure you have a lot of storage options, like built-in cabinets and drawers, and spaces to stay organized, like a mudroom, craft room or tech center.
You can pair this approach with Kondo’s philosophy. She advocates for assessing our things by how much joy they give us. When planning your rooms, think of the items you have now and the items you plan on buying. Ask yourself if these items spark joy. Keep the items that give you joy and get rid of the items that don’t. Then, start designing with the list of remaining items in mind.
How could these things be best organized? How can you make sure that every item has a place? How can you make sure that your storage is realistic to the way you live your daily life — are they located in a place that’s easily accessible?
The Execution of the Minimalist Approach
It’s easy to see where clutter tends to happen in your home — that one chair that you pile clothes on, the table where you leave all your paperwork, etc. Since you’ll be building a new home, you can design your space so that those clutter bottlenecks are practically nonexistent.
Think about how you can include more storage in your home. You can get creative with it. Build in storage compartments under your stairs, put lifts and slide out racks in your cabinet, store shoes in an ottoman, use pegboards to store toys and store items in your coffee table, in drawers under your bed or under your couch. Storage can be created almost anywhere.
Get rid of items that you don’t use regularly and haven’t used in more than a year. For those things that you do keep, make sure there is a place to store them. When there’s a place for everything, everything will be in its place when not in use.
Danielle Small is a freelance writer and strategist with a few awards under her belt (including a 2016 Min Online’s Editorial & Design Awards – Editorial Award for Opinion/Commentary).