Three years ago, The Minimalist Home was published.
Since then, the book has sold over 100,000 copies, has appeared on every major bestseller list, and has been translated into nine different languages. I am so, so grateful for your support over the last two years. Thank you.
To celebrate its two-year anniversary, here are seven decluttering tips you can find in the book:
Tip #1: Identify the purpose of a room and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve that purpose.
The importance of determining a purpose for the rooms in your home cannot be overstated. Once you are clear on what you want each room to accomplish, it becomes easier to decide what stays and what goes. For example: If the purpose of your bedroom is rest, does the television on the dresser promote or detract from that goal?
Tip #2: Distinguish between minimizing and organizing.
A minimized home is a home that is first of all purposeful. Just because a room is tidy or organized doesn’t necessarily mean there’s still not too much stuff inside it. Organized clutter is still clutter and you should never organize what you can discard.
Tip #3: Simplify walls.
Walls can be just as overstuffed as closets and drawers, often times full of outdated objects, dusty knickknacks, or wall hangings purchased only because they color coordinate with the couch. Simplified walls are curated spaces that display images with meaning. They communicate not just what matters to you, but what matters most to you. Less is more when it comes to decorations too.
Tip #4: Start with the easier spaces and move on to harder ones.
The central process of The Minimalist Home and the Clutterfree App is that decluttering works best when you start with the easier spaces, and build up the skills and confidence to tackle harder spaces later. So take your focus off the garage and attic, and move it to an easier place to start: the living room and bedrooms. Easiest to hardest, starting with the most lived-in areas first.
Tip #5: Choose one of three options for every object: remove it, relocate it, leave it.
As you declutter any area in your home, be sure to physically touch every item. If your first thought is, “I have too much stuff to touch every item,” then you have too much stuff and need this process even more. Every item you touch can be left, relocated, or removed. Work as hard as you can to put items in that third pile.
Tip #6: Count the “clutter cost.”
It can be hard to get rid of things you spent a lot of money on. But keeping things you no longer wear, use, or love has a cost—every object carries a burden as well as a benefit. The burden of clutter is money, time, focus, energy, and space. Keeping an item doesn’t make it more useful and clinging to a past mistake won’t change the fact that it was a mistake. Count the full cost, consider the benefit-to-burden ratio for everything you intend to keep, and minimize as much as you can.
Tip #7: Focus on the gains, not the subtractions.
A minimalist mindset is all about how owning less creates an opportunity to live more. Minimalism isn’t about removing things you love. It’s about removing the things that distract you from the things you love. It’s about living more by owning less. So focus on the benefits and make even more progress than you ever dreamt possible.
The Minimalist Home has helped people all over the world own less stuff by providing a room-by-room, step-by-step process to declutter their home and refocus their life. If you’ve read the book, thank you.
If you haven’t read the book and are looking for some help and inspiration to own less, you’ll love it.
Sharon Becker says
What about family heirlooms that I no longer use but still cherish. I feel like I’m giving away a piece of my grandma or family history. My children never met or knew her so they can’t appreciate my sentiment.
Good post. I am much calmer in a room decluttered so I do my best to mark the calendar my week day to do this. There are some good tips that has inspired me to look into your book. Thanks for sharing.
I don’t know how to move past the guilt. I have saved items and bought items for crafting that I haven’t used yet. Also when I buy clothes and wear them a bit and decide they weren’t right.
I have felt this too. I ended up accepting that I had made a mistake, and either sold or donated the items for other people to use. I felt great thinking that someone else has benefitted from my mistake, and that the item would now be used rather than taking up space in my house.
The alternative is to keep it and be constantly reminded of the mistake, or have a mental to do list in your head that you still need to either use it or deal with it later.
I personally chose to get rid of it and free up my mental space to focus on things that were more important. After spending a few years decluttering I now find it really easy to get rid of things and no longer feel any guilt. It has either served its purpose in my life or is no longer suitable for my current needs.
I hope this helps. :)
I don’t know if this applies to your situation, but do you think the crafting ideas are things that do not appeal to you anymore? It is sometimes hard or uncomfortable to admit that we have changed, and maybe things that once interested us no longer do. My daughter, 25, lives at home, and she does not want me to throw away the things she has from when she was into soap making. Some interests or hobbies are for life, but others simply are temporary, and that’s okay. I love using freecycle, b/c you can give away just about anything that is no longer of use to you, including crafting supplies.
Cathy D says
They are not your things to get rid of, they are hers.
However, I would suggest that you remove them from your space in your home, then let her decide if she wants to keep them in her space or not.
I always smile inside when reading your suggestion about starting with the easier spaces moving to the harder because our definitions of easy and hard are so opposite. I rarely have trouble with the garage or closet storage spaces. The things in them are usually so much easier to get rid of. Often I’ve put things in storage areas because I didn’t take the time to deal with them properly (i.e remove them) in the first place. The Living room and bedrooms room are full of things I left there because I use them or like them more. There’s so much more emotional baggage in those areas it’s harder to make visual progress and build momentum.
Marvin Ramsey says
I like these ideas however, if the family is not on the same page then these tactics become twice as hard . You have to get them to see the benefit or else you go in circles.
SO very true. I must confess that I have thrown away things behind my husband’s back. In fact, just last week, I went through our bedroom closet and added a few t-shirts to a box my daughter and I took to a thrift store. My husband has dozens of t-shirts, and I know for a fact he will not miss those t-shirts, which have been balled up in the closet for at least 2 years. But it seems to me to be an ethical dilemma, really: they say, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Okay, so if I never find out that — as an example — my husband has cheated on me, does that mean it is not wrong? I realized a few months ago that my gazing ball was missing. I had not noticed its absence for at least a year. My husband will not admit to throwing it away; he simply says, “I can’t recall.” It’s an interesting issue: re decluttering and I feel I need to do more research into it.
I appreciate how practical all your suggestions are Joshua. I read the ebook, not sure if that’s the one but it was super helpful. The “rational minimalism” lit a spark for me. I’ve donated 4 bags, now reading and preparing for project 333. Thanks again.
Good luck Nicole! I did Project 333 and I felt so good after. I kept what I actually wear and it was freeing.
Wow! I really enjoyed this, Joshua. Thank you for sharing : ) I feel the clutter creeping in and I plan on a nice clean out this weekend. Can’t wait to get started! ?
Gaylyn Wattman says
I got The Minimalist Home a couple of years ago when I was traveling a lot. I like to read when I travel. That book launched my journey. Only later did I realize This Course was the brainchild of the same author! I am a “recovering” over-accessorizer. There was never going to be a quick cure for my home or for my approach. I am FINALLY beginning to turn the corner toward a more enjoyable lifestyle.
The old me would label and alphabetize my stuff, but never discard it. I have had a breakthrough! It’s taken me years. I’ve read, printed out and checked off multiple newsletter to-do lists. I’ve revisited areas I thought I’d thoroughly cleaned out, only to find I still had kept more stuff than I want to live with!
I’m more gentle with myself than I was when I started this process. I am progressing. I am breaking a lifetime of habits! Of course it requires commitment, diligence and even more commitment. I find visualizing the end result and celebrating every step a make toward that is really helping me.
Carry on, friends! I’m already enjoying my incremental improvements, day by day!
I love this summary of the book. Finding out the purpose of a room is really important. However, a problem I encounter is that some rooms have more than one purpose, especially now during COVID-19 when we spend so much time at home. In the case of a kid’s bedroom, it is a room for learning and attending school, sleeping, relaxing, having fun, experimenting, doing arts and crafts, and keeping all their things. Maybe once COVID-19 is over, rooms can go back to having just one purpose.