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Start Your Year Off Fresh: Begin Living a Minimalist Lifestyle with these Home Decluttering Tips

With the start of a new year, you’ve set your intentions for the year ahead. Maybe that means you’re decluttering your home, trying to become more eco-friendly, or beginning to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Whether you’re living in Toronto, CA or Austin, TX , there are countless ways to organize your belongings and set your year off so you can begin living a minimalist lifestyle.

To help you start your year off fresh, we’ve reached out to experts for their best tips and tricks for downsizing your belongings and designing a more minimalist home interior. Check out what they had to say so you can begin your minimalist lifestyle today.

Follow the 3-5 second rule

When beginning your minimalist journey, the best way to combat feeling overwhelmed is the 3-5 second decision making rule. 3-5 seconds is how long deciding whether to “keep” or “let go” of each item should take. If you are unsure at that time, just keep it, because the ability to continue making decisions boosts a sense of accomplishment and builds momentum along the way. You can always make more decisions down the line. – Brooklyn Smith, CEO, Home Management and Organizational Consulting, Brook Knows Best, LLC

Have a place to return your items

Create a designated “Returns” basket in an accessible place such as a hall closet or under an entryway table. This will not only prevent visual clutter, it will also make it easier to grab on your way out. I also suggest creating an actual appointment time in your calendar to ensure that you take them within the return window. – Gabriela Michel, Founder, Simplify & Bloom 

Declutter and purge 

Decluttering or purging is one of the most vital phases of the entire organizing process. Its need is often highlighted by an assortment of things that have pooled together or items that have been randomly placed with no rhyme or reason – this is called clutter. Developing a habit of purging regularly is key to controlling clutter build-up and maintaining an organized home. In this phase, items are sorted into groups of like-items and then categorized based on use and function. This makes it easier to decide what items may be discarded, donated, or returned to their rightful place in other areas of the home. After removing the excess items, leaner categories will remain to reorganize into that space and ultimately maintain. – Sherilee Pate, Founder and Master Professional Organizer, The Organized Style 

Organize your kitchen drawers

Remember, freshness equals flavor, so having that two year old covid collection from your try at that home-meal-kit is probably time to toss. When starting to organize your kitchen or pantry, checking expiration dates of your spices is key. Nobody needs five Lawry’s season salts. The only way to know this is to add a spice tier, lazy susan, or proper organizer in a drawer. No more shoving spices in places that you’ll forget about. Spices don’t expire in a way that make people sick, but I don’t know about you, I want to cook with the highest quality. The only spices that live forever are vanilla extract, salt, and that’s about it. As for the others, test, smell, and check their color if they don’t have an expiration date. Make it fun and include the kids, they love learning why we have items in the kitchen. – Ryen Toft, Simply Luxe

You’ll feel relief and peace

Every inch of your home should be thought of as precious real estate. Only the items you love and need should be allowed to occupy this valuable space. Allow yourself to feel the relief and peace that comes with getting rid of the physical clutter that is weighing on you both physically and mentally. – Kris Hitaffer, Awe & Order Organizing and Decluttering

Don’t decorate without decluttering first

Don’t waste time and money on any interior space without first completely decluttering and clearing out any visible (or hidden) elements that you do not need or love any more. You’ll be able to not only see the difference, but, more importantly, you’ll feel the difference, and your design work can now commence. – Carole Okamoto, Principal Essense Interior Design

Think classic and clean

When designing a minimalist interior, choose well made, classic pieces with a simple silhouette, in a neutral color palette. Think about clean, stylish storage and keep the clutter to a minimum. Purge anything that doesn’t bring real value to your life. – Pam, Good Design

Limit colors in your space 

My best tip for designing a more minimal interior is to limit the amount of colors you use in a room. I like to have my main color with accents of another two. Use lots of different textures and materials to create more depth and add interest instead. – Emma Noble, Form + Balance

Everything is additive

Keep in mind that all the elements of a room are additive and should be considered collectively (such features as walls, colors, furnishings, windows and doors add interest but can also create too much visual activity). Considering this list of elements and their additive impact, consider designing according to the principle of “theme and variation.” For instance, keep the colors within a narrow range, but vary the textures. Elements such as books can be hard to keep ordered resulting in visual clutter – consider tucking them away or behind cabinet doors. – Hays + Ewing Design Studio

Swap holiday décor for more functional seasonal pieces

For example, hand-turned wooden trees can act as both décor for winter as well as functional and safe toys for little ones. A hand-knitted red and white blanket on the couch doubles as a holiday color and a warm place to snuggle up. – Make It Slow

Create more functional spaces

In homes with two dining spaces, I like to make them more functional and useful while cutting down on extra furniture/clutter that just sits there unused 90% of the year. Choose one of the spaces to be your main eating area with table and chairs that have the ability to flex when you need a little more seating. Take the other dining or eating space and create a chair grouping (typically 2-4 chairs and a coffee table fit perfectly) and now you have a space that is not only minimalist but will be well used, from meditating or drinking coffee to cocktails with friends, this spot will quickly become your most loved space in the home. – Shelagh Conway, Triple Heart Design

See which items detract from your space rather than enhance it

Any item in your home that does not improve and enhance your interior design scheme is probably taking away from it. Try taking pictures of each room from different angles and then examine the photos. It will be obvious which things should go as you will be more objective. – Jennifer Aos Interior Designer, LEED, Owner of Anatomy Of Style

Think mindfully when you shop

For an eco-friendly or minimalist lifestyle, Of Earth Design advises you to shop mindfully and look for medium to higher priced items of quality make. Often these items are priced higher because they are better constructed, made of more sustainable materials or manufactured locally. You should practice thinking “do I really need or want this?” and if the price tag stops you, you probably should not be making that purchase at all. – Whitney White Design Lead, CALGreen Certified, Of Earth Design

Invest in pieces that will serve you for a long time

Invest and concentrate on large pieces of furniture and accessories. For a minimalist look, we always recommend our clients to go for one large painting on a wall instead of many small ones. The less “dust collectors” the better. – Salanora Interior Design

Your home should be filled with things that bring joy

To help insure this ask yourself; “do I need this”, “do I love this”, and “are the materials sustainably made?” If the answer is yes to 2 out of 3, then it’s worth the investment and the addition won’t clutter your home with impulse buys. – Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker Design

Swap out your mismatched hangers for slim, velvet matching hangers

They save space and instantly make your closet look better. Keep a bag on the floor of your closet. Every time you come across a piece of clothing you no longer like or something that doesn’t fit, instead of just hanging it back up, throw it in the bag. Once the bag is filled, drop it off at a donation center. For every new item that comes into the closet, a similar item must leave. If you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s time to let it go. – Amanda Thompson, A. T. Home Organizing

Mindfulness and minimalism go together

It’s 2022—start your journey to live a minimalist lifestyle at home by: establishing a regular mindful tea ritual. Find tips to “ …Up Your Tea Time Game” or get “ Morning Tea Ritual Ideas” at the Minimalist Tea blog.  Here I welcome you on my journey to a more peaceful and healthy life through the art of appreciating tea and simplicity.  – Mindy Ella Chu, @minimalisttea

Originally published by Redfin