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These days, too many of us feel as though we don’t have everything we want or need. It is all too common to feel as though we are going without and to feel that painful sense of longing, wishing that we had more possessions, or flicking through magazines and living vicariously through others.
Programs like MTV ‘Cribs’, magazines about interior décor and even YouTube ‘room tours’ seem designed to encourage this envy and desire and leave us feeling increasingly dissatisfied with the things that we own. This is no accident, as we will see.
When life is tough and we feel bogged down, we often find ourselves thinking that if only we had more, we would be happier.
The irony though is that this idea couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that you actually need less to be happier.
By adopting a more minimal lifestyle, you can create more space for yourself, own more attractive items and get more enjoyment out of the things you already have. Believe it or not, you already have the means to create the kind of home set-up that will make your friends and family green with envy. You can own a home just like the ones you have been fawning over but you do it by getting rid of things – not by adding more in!
And what’s more, is that when you start to realize this mentality is the way forward – when you start to remove clutter and appreciate the items you own – you’ll find that you actually become much happier as well.
This book is going to show you how to make it happen. You’re going to see how to create an amazing home that looks like it belongs in a lifestyle magazine while saving time and money. You’ll see how to make this into a home that supports the lifestyle that you want and makes your life much easier and more enjoyable. And you’ll see how to transform your mindset into one that allows you to be much happier with the things you own.
In this book, you will learn:
How to create a ‘zen space’ that you can use to unwind and relax
How to take the things you own and start making the most of them
How to sort clutter and create an organized, minimal space
How to change your mindset to remove envy and learn to truly appreciate the things you own
How to automate and systemize your life so you spend less time on menial tasks
How to massively reduce stress
How to turn a small home into a luxury pad
How to save money and protect the environment with smart, minimal tips
Top tips for creating a beautiful minimal décor
The true meaning of minimalism and how to adopt the ethos into your life
Chapter 1: You Don’t have to Be Bogged Down with “Stuff”
So just what is a minimalist lifestyle? Why is this so much more than an approach to décor? What does it really mean?
“Get everything you want, by discovering you already have it…”
Essentially, a minimalist lifestyle simply means reducing the clutter, scaling back your possessions and aiming to say and do more with less. It means appreciating a few things instead of having a huge amount of clutter that you don’t really need or want.
We often see minimalism as an approach to UI design for devices from companies like Apple and on an increasing number of websites. Here, the all-important maxim to follow is ‘communicate, don’t decorate’. That means that unless something is serving an actual purpose, it doesn’t belong in the design. A website doesn’t need a patterned background, it doesn’t need unnecessary menus and it doesn’t flourishes filling up every bit of white space. Every single element should serve a purpose, whether that is to guide the viewers’ eyes in a certain direction, to communicate some key information, or to facilitate an important interaction.
If a button doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t need to be there!
Applying Minimal Design to Your Home
This same ethos can then be applied to décor. Of course, you don’t need to communicate anything as such when it comes to your home’s decoration but you can accomplish something similar when looking at items of furniture etc.
Minimalist items of furniture are items that are utilitarian in as much as they don’t have lines or decoration that doesn’t need to be there. That means that they will be made up of straight lines and they won’t feature things like swirly handles, or unnecessarily elaborate feet. Everything serves a purpose.
With that serving as the basis for your décor, you can then continue with that basic concept by adding just a few items that you need while staying away from the temptation to add extra decoration that will serve no real purpose (of course we’ll be covering how to do all this in later articles).
In UI and design, this minimalist concept has come to the fore because it allows for better interactions. By having fewer distracting elements, this approach is able to more effectively direct users to the right points on the screen and encourage the right interactions. It also allows a website design to more effectively scale to different screen sizes when users change devices and it creates more ‘space’ which makes the experience more calming and enjoyable.
But while your home is not a UI, all these same concepts apply just the same. When you start removing unnecessary decorations and clutter, you start to make interacting with your home much simpler. When there are fewer items on your desk, you’ll find that you can find what you want that much more quickly and easily.
Likewise, when there is less clutter generally in your interior design, you’ll have less clutter in your visual field. This will make your space that much more calming and relaxing and also make it much easier to keep clean and tidy.
And that in turn means you’re now spending less time cleaning and less time digging around for things. Your home will be clean and attractive more often and you’ll have more time and energy to do the things that you enjoy doing and actually use your space!
Just like a UI, your home serves a function. That function is to support the lifestyle that you want to live. So, if an item in your home is not serving that role, then the simple solution is to remove it!
And then you can breathe more easily…
Minimalism as a Reaction to Materialism
More and more people are starting to realize the benefits of actually having less clutter and fewer items and this is resulting in a situation where they are happier with just a few beautiful objects rather than feeling the need to go out and buy everything they see advertised on TV.
And what does that lead to as a result? Greater satisfaction and happiness with fewer items! This makes a massive difference because it means that you’re now going to be happier and spend less time thinking about the things that you don’t have.
And you’ll have more money to spend on those select few items and on the things that really make you happy.