If the thought of a perfectly uniform, well-organized pantry or a completely bare countertop gets you excited, then you might be a part of the minimalist revolution. According to Dr. Andrea Umbach, author of the book The Decline of Stuff: Millennials are Going Minimalist, younger people have found great value in less, and we’ve tossed out (or never even considered) the second car, the holiday decorations and the general clutter in favor of experiences, travel and entertainment. For minimalist millennials or anyone else who values total order, it’s best to have as little stuff as possible. But you still have to live, right? Here are the bare essentials for living in a minimalistic, clutter-free space without sacrificing style or convenience.
1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—The No. 1 New York Times best-seller is all about learning how to use the Japanese KonMari method to simplify, organize and store. Author Marie Kondo (inventor of the KonMari method) explains how categorizing your belongings and keeping only the things that “spark joy” can help revolutionize the way you shop for and keep your things. The step-by-step guide promises to help you organize your home once and then keep it organized forever so you never have to do it again. If you’re getting anxious just thinking about adding another book to the pile—we feel your pain—borrow a copy from the library or a friend so it’s out of your hair as soon as you’re done.
2. A Cordless Vacuum Cleaner—Clutter and cleanliness go hand-in-hand, and there are few scenarios where you can outright eliminate the vacuum cleaner from the rotation. With that being said, you can certainly minimize its effects on your space and stress levels by selling or donating your old sweeper and upgrading to a cordless vacuum cleaner. These products eliminate the dreaded cord knot that seems to inevitably form in the closet in between uses. They’re also amazingly sleek, good-looking and minimalist in their own way, and prevent trips and falls while sweeping.
3. A Cable Management System—Cables…they’re unruly, ugly and sometimes impossible to manage. Not to mention, with minimalism comes a wide variety of cordless products, but all of those products have to charge. So, the one place in your home—probably next to the bed—is often teeming with messy, tangled cords that never seem to stay neat, no matter how much you untwist, untangle and uncoil. A bedside cable organizer is the perfect way to get rid of that nightstand cable clutter that nags at you and keeps you up at night! We’re crazy about the Glow Lighted Cord Organizer from Cord Buddy.
4. Magnetic Drawer Strips—Did you know that you can buy handy little magnetic strips that you can use to line the sides of your drawers? Stick them in the junk drawer to catch rogue nails, razor blades, screws and pins or place them in the drawer of your vanity to neatly house your nail clippers, tweezers, small scissors and safety pins. We love this approach to drawer organization because it takes clutter out of the main drawer compartment up onto the sides, allowing you to take full advantage of the primary space and keep it permanently organized. Strip magnets are also great for the office, craft room and bathroom.
5. Bins, Canisters and Tubs Galore—Some of the most important things to have on hand when you’re trying to get a particularly messy or cluttered space under control are a wide variety of containers. Try baskets for the kids’ toys, designated canisters for all your dried foods in the pantry, extra fridge bins that help you segment and organize food and drinks and small bins to hold all of your extra odds and ends in the office or craft room. What’s so great about having a never-ending supply of containers is that they can store each other and they can help you sort through things for your keep, donate and sell piles. Perfect for when you’re going through your home using the KonMari method.
6. Shelf Dividers—Have you ever noticed that your dresser drawers or the linen closet tend to transform into one big pile of stuff over a couple of weeks if you’re not constantly tending to them? Shelf dividers are specifically designed to help maintain your perfectly folded piles of towels, sheets, tablecloths, clothes and whatever else you want to keep in a neatly stacked pile. If you love the look of beautifully stacked clothing and linens and are a sucker for a neat, tidy drawer situation, then you’ll definitely want to pick up some of these essentials.
7. Closet Organizers—Even the most diehard organizers know that the closet is one of the places in the home that tends to get out of control, partially because it’s just so easy to slack, let messes accumulate and then (quite literally) close the door on the problem. You can use an over-the-door organizer to make great use of the often-ignored space on the back of your closet door. Choose one that works for whatever things you need to organize, like your shoes, sweaters, jewelry or handbags. There are styles available for just about any storage need and design motif. For a versatile option that can handle a range of different jobs, check out this one from The Container Store.
Don’t Let Organization Add to Clutter
When you’re looking for products to eliminate clutter and help organize your things, it can be stressful if you aren’t sure if you’re going to use the things you buy. The last thing you want is to purchase something with the intention of it helping you clear away junk, only for it to add to the ever-accumulating unused pile. Remember that minimalism is an effort of trial and error, so give yourself patience in understanding what you need and what you don’t. If possible, buy from stores with flexible return policies so that you can take something back if you don’t think it will get used.