7 Tips to Help You Hack Your Way to Minimalism

Produced by Architectural Digest with The Home Depot.
How to make your post-purge high last for longer than a New York minute

You know those people who say less is more? They just have bigger, more efficient places to store things out of sight. But you, too, can achieve minimalism no matter how cramped your house or apartment may be. The first step toward clutter-free bliss: exorcise the demons—that is, anything that you have more than one of, haven’t used in over six months, or has a “maybe,” “could,” or “one day” figured into your rationale for keeping it (as in, “Maybe I could be one of those people who makes smoothies every morning—one day.”) Still don’t know where to begin? Here are seven tips to help you purge and hack your way to a more streamlined home.

1. Use a monochromatic neutral to create the illusion of open space.

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do. Cover walls, floors, and even furnishings in a warm white for an airy effect that instantly makes any room look bigger and feel less visually chaotic.

2. Skip the open shelving.

Shelves should be free of clutter, giving your eye fewer places to rest and allowing for wider expanses of open space. To maintain a streamlined look, keep accessories, tableware, and other utilitarian pieces behind closed doors, in cabinets, drawers, and other hidden storage.

3. Opt for bigger accessories.

If open shelving is a must, choose larger accessories, like a big pitcher or vase, instead of multiple tiny tchotchkes. Follow through in other areas of your home: accessorize with one big pillow and throw blanket on your sofa instead of five, and do the same on your bed.

4. Invest in built-in storage.

If you’ve got any sort of budget, use it toward installing custom millwork in unexpected places to keep the junk you can’t part with out of sight. Put awkward architecture to work—i.e. create closets that disappear into an unassuming alcove, or build storage into a bay window breakfast bench—and keep the clutter at bay without breaking up the space.

5. Create designated workstations.

Make your mornings more efficient by corralling items you’ll need in a designated area where everything is at arm’s length, whether that means creating a coffee nook in the kitchen or a vanity in your bedroom or bathroom. That way you won’t be crisscrossing from room to room to find your hairbrush or searching drawers to locate the espresso filters.

6. Behold the power of the tray.

When it comes to organizing loose papers, keys, or kitchenware (we’re looking at you, bar cart) trays are your best friend. Use them to arrange neat stacks of books—then easily move them out of sight when company comes calling.

7. Lose the curtains.

Nothing makes a room look more minimalist than some strategic natural light, so ditch the fabric around your windows and let the sun shine in. While you’re at it, embrace clean lines and lose any mullions or trim around the frames.