When it comes to decorating, my wife and I do the hokey-pokey (“she puts the décor items in, I take the décor items out”). Personally, I like minimalism and since this is MY article, that’s what I’m going to write about.
There’s something to be said for simplicity in home design. There is a relaxing atmosphere to a room that just contains the necessities for comfortable living. Minimalism works to conquer clutter, to make a room easier to live in, to clean (should I ever get around to that) and, in the event that you are trying to sell your home, makes it so much easier to stage.
One thing that has to be made clear: minimalism does not mean sterile, no-personality furniture and decor. In fact, furniture should be comfortable to look at and use. Wall prints should be suitable for the color of the room and inviting. The color scheme can work in warm and cool. While decoration should be kept to a few pieces, it should be present, to lend some character to the room. Never think that minimalism means soulless!
One method of simplifying a target room is to strip it of all – ALL – non-essential things. Take a bedroom – the only thing you really NEED for it to be an effective bedroom is a decent bed. A bedside table would be nice, too. A lot of people dress in their bedrooms – drawers are an advantage. Also, a laundry hamper might be needed for dirty clothing. If you’re a reader, you might want a bookshelf. A chest for sheets and blankets might come in handy.
Do you have too many clothes? Go through them and cull the ones you haven’t worn for a year. If you have a chair in your bedroom that just serves to collect tossed clothing, get rid of that too – it’s more of an incentive to fold or hang or hamper your clothes. Check window sills for knick-knacks and either toss them or reorganize them on a special shelf that gets them where they can be seen and out of the window area. The same goes for all the other paraphernalia that collects in the bedroom: get rid of some or repurpose it to a more useful venue.
Storage solutions need to come into this as well. It’s not enough to have bins, shelves, hooks and boxes. Everything needs to have its place and be put back in its place. If you establish the rule ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ (cliched but useful), you will find that your clutter magically disappears anyway. When you don’t have room for something, you should seriously consider whether you need it before creating/buying/making space for its especial benefit.
The results, once you have gotten the room down to just what it needs, can be stunning, both in terms of decor and in terms of sheer space. There is a real feeling of freedom when one is confronted by a tract of sheer space. It exudes possibilities that need never disappear if you keep it at this beautiful, simple, clutter-free state.
Think of this ‘new’ bedroom and how much easier it is to clean and prepare for visitors. Think of how much easier it would be if your entire home was like this. It starts with one room, but can encompass the entire house, leading you to a simpler, less cluttered, and ultimately less stressful life…a goal I someday hope to aspire to. My thanks to Todd Levinson for his ideas and inspiration for this article.