Guide to Creating a Minimalist Living Space

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With so much talk about minimalism and its benefits, it can be hard not to want to take a step down that road. And while getting started can be difficult, knowing specific things you can do makes the process less daunting. This guide goes through simple steps for creating a minimalist living space and why it’s beneficial. 

If you’re a landlord, you’ll also find ways to create a minimalist-friendly rental unit that will entice potential tenants. While there are benefits to living minimally, there are also advantages for landlords who rent out to those that live minimally.

What Is Minimalist Living? 

The goal of minimalism is to live simply by owning less and not having unnecessary expenses — debt included. The focus is shifted from owning physical items to having and creating experiences. While this looks different for everyone, the end result is typically the same: greater peace. 

Benefits of Minimalist Living

Part of the appeal of minimalist living is the increased brain capacity that comes from owning less. Physical clutter not only takes up space in your home but also in your mind. One study with a panel of over 1,000 people across the U.S. found that minimalism increases positive emotions and alleviates depression. 

In a Princeton University report, they stated that everything in your field of vision competes for attention from your brain. Having to work extra hard to focus on one thing, you’re left exhausted. When there is less competition for attention, your brain can better focus on the task at hand. The benefits of owning less, however, extend beyond just an increased ability to focus. 

benefits of minimalism illustration

Reduced Overwhelm & Mental Load

Owning less leaves you with less to worry about: you’ll spend less time taking care of or cleaning your home and have more time to spend on other things. Not to mention it makes moving houses a whole lot easier. You also have more mental space for work and finances. Because of this, minimalist tenants are less likely to pay rent late or get behind on other bills. 

Increased Energy  

This goes without saying, but the less time you have to spend taking care of your stuff or cleaning it, the more energy you can spend on other tasks. Minimalism also cuts down on the number of small choices you have to make on any given day, giving you the energy to focus on tougher decisions.  

The Comparison Game Weakens

It can be difficult not to compare what you have versus what you see others have on social media. Making the conscious decision to own less invites the idea that physical items don’t define you or anyone else, and the comparison game weakens over time. 

How to Create a Minimalist Living Space

It’s easy to see the benefits of minimalism and get so excited you want to get rid of everything you own. But once you begin, it can prove more difficult than you thought. Trying to convert your whole lifestyle can be intimidating, so take it one step at a time and don’t rush yourself. 

Set Your Ground Rules

The thing about minimalist living is that everyone sees it differently. Some choose to limit the number of items they keep, while others decide to clean out the clutter and move to a smaller home to take up less space in the world. And others fit somewhere in the middle.

The beauty here lies in the aspect of choice. There are no set rules for minimalist living, so you get to create your own. While it may seem silly, you should understand your limits and how far you are willing to go — no one’s requiring you to move, live like a monk, or sell everything in your living room. 

Use the Least Amount of Furniture Possible

Furniture that’s big and bulky can make your space feel cluttered in an instant. Opt for smaller furniture that’s a solid color rather than patterned as different designs can make a room feel busy. If you’re not sold on investing in a new couch, try out couch covers to transform your decor.

Clear Your Surfaces

A quick way to make your home feel more minimal is to rid surfaces of knick-knacks and other clutter. We’re all guilty of collecting random items at times, but removing them from surfaces like kitchen counters, coffee tables, and nightstands can help make your home feel clean and simple. 

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Get Rid of Anything Unnecessary 

Getting rid of anything that isn’t serving a purpose will lead you to a more minimalist lifestyle. This can be difficult at times, especially for those things with some form of sentimental value. Ask yourself these questions when deciding whether to get rid of something: 

  • Is it serving a purpose? 
  • Do I have duplicates of this item?
  • Does it bring me joy? 
  • Does it tug at my heartstrings? 
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Some people hold more sentiment to things than others. Having a friend there to support you as you make these decisions can prevent you from holding on to items you don’t need, thus halting your progress. 

If you’re a landlord with a tenant moving out, sharing this declutter checklist with your tenant can help make the move more seamless while ensuring you’re not left to deal with the clutter they leave behind. 

Organize Items by Category

Having your things organized is an essential part of creating a minimalist living space. There are many different organizing methods, but one of the most popular was created by Marie Kondo. 

The KonMari method, a Japanese style of organizing, is booming right now as many have found it to be the most thorough. This method recommends organizing items by category so you can see all the duplicates in one place. This makes it easier to get rid of the things you don’t need. When organizing by category, pull from every room of your house rather than going room by room. 

organize by category illustration + minimalist tip

Make Everything Dual-Purpose

When you strive to live with the least amount of things possible, it becomes necessary to maximize what you do own. It’s important to focus on dual-purpose items: making the most of what you already have while only making purchases that will serve more than one purpose will help you stay on track. Even things that may seem simple can make a big difference. 

For example, if you’re a landlord looking to upgrade or renovate your rental to give it a more minimalistic feel, consider getting a faucet with the spray feature rather than a separate spray attachment. Likewise, if you feel your property is limited on storage space, consider adding elements that double as storage space. Building cubbies in closets or adding built-in shelves in small hard-to-use spaces are just a few options.  

Invest in Out-of-Sight Storage

Closet bins and under-bed drawers can be a life-saver when you have items you don’t want to see go but don’t have a convenient place to store them. Keeping these storage units out of sight will leave your space looking simple and fresh.  

out-of-sight storage illustration + minimalist tip

Simplify Decor

Choosing decorations can be difficult, especially if you’re unsure what style you like. With minimalist living, this becomes much easier. Stick to a few pictures hung on the wall — consider going frameless to complement your minimalist style — and maybe a few plants to add life to your space. 

If you decide to add shelving, opt for floating shelves for a cleaner look. Eco-friendly modifications and decorations are also another way to fit the minimalist style. 

Use a Color Palette

By keeping the colors you use simple and mostly neutral, you’ll ensure things look coordinated and clean — thus enticing minimalist tenants. Painting your rental properties with white or light grey paint gives your tenants the freedom to decorate with one or two other complementing colors like blue or green, without clashing with the wall colors. 

As a tenant, you’ll never want to paint the walls or make other permanent changes without consulting your landlord first. If you’re limited when it comes to changing the color of your personal property, avoid harsh colors like red and orange. A minimalist color palette should help you feel calm, so it’s best to stick to soothing colors like pink, blue, or green. 

use a color palette minimalist tip illustration

Avoid Patterns

To keep things looking simple, avoid patterns whenever possible. Busy designs can make a room look cluttered. Whether with wallpaper, couches, curtains, or paint, stick to no patterns or very simple designs. 

Creating a minimalist living space can provide a calm, peaceful environment to come home to or work in. After going through this guide, you should be able to transform your space, whether it’s your whole house or just redecorating your balcony

If you’re a landlord, you’re also now equipped with some ways you can make your rental units enticing to prospective renters. Check out our tenant screening and rental application pages for help finding the perfect minimalist tenants.  

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BY SARAH STINSON

Sarah is the Director of Content and SEO at TurboTenant where she leads a team of experts to provide valuable resources to help landlords and renters. With over 10 years of experience writing in various industries, she has been featured in many top tier publications and is an expert in the real estate tech space as well as the property management industry.

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