When you become a minimalist, the process is usually not so complicated. You go through your belongings, declutter all aspects of your life, and only keep the best. But how to maintain minimalism in the long run?
No matter how much we have decluttered, clutter always seems to creep back into our homes and lives.
And if we constantly accumulate new things, it is a lot more difficult to stay clutter-free.
Accumulating new things without taking steps to keep the clutter away from our homes is making our lives more complicated.
Each time we are decluttering, we have to sort through lots of new belongings, again and again.
It’s a never-ending cycle!
Thankfully, there are some simple things we can do to keep our homes clutter-free, minimal, and simplified.
Here are 8 helpful tips to maintain minimalism for a clutter-free home.
8 tips to maintain minimalism in our homes
1 – Buy less
First, always pause and think through your purchases when you think you need something.
I always like to wait for at least a few days before buying a non-essential item to make sure I am making the right decision.
Before purchasing something, ask yourself several questions to evaluate if you should buy the item.
Do you need it? Do you love it? Where will you put it in your home? Do you already have something similar at home that you could use instead?
Also, when you think you need to purchase something, try living without it for a while.
I love doing this!
After a few days or weeks, I often either forget about the item or simply have found something else I could use instead.
It usually requires you to be creative, but it’s so rewarding in the end!
Another way to buy less is to borrow things from people you know, whether that is your family, your friends, your coworkers or your neighbors.
I love borrowing clothes from my mom when I visit her, and she’s always so happy to do so! My father also regularly lends me his tools and his car.
Borrowing is so helpful and helps me save tons of money!
If you and your family love reading, why don’t you borrow books from the library?
If you need an item occasionally, you can also rent it. You can rent tools, party supplies, cars, and even clothing!
If you’re an impulsive shopper, try to do a shopping ban for a few weeks. Commit to only buying the necessities for you and your family.
It will help you get out of the habit of constantly buying new things.
Buying less will help you maintain minimalism more easily.
2 – The “one in, one out” rule
When something new enters your house, declutter something at the same time.
Following this rule will help you make sure that things don’t accumulate again in your home.
I also find it very helpful to shift our mindsets and be more mindful of our consumption habits.
If you still have a lot of clutter around, you could even decide to get rid of two or even three things, every time you buy something.
My advice with this rule is to declutter something of the same category before the new item enters your home.
For instance, when some of my clothes get worn out, I always get rid of them before repurchasing their replacements.
That way, I am making sure to remember to get them out of my life. And it also allows me to see if I truly need to replace them or if I can live without them.
Before I started living more minimally, I used to do the opposite.
I used to first buy the replacement for something I had, and then usually ended up not decluttering the old item.
As a result, I had duplicate items cluttering up my space, and of course, I only ever used the newer one.
It was such a waste of space, but I’ve learned my lesson now. I now try to always declutter the old item before buying the replacement (if that is possible).
3 – Use things up
This tip is similar to the previous one, but it has more to do with consumable products.
Whether that is food, drinks, beauty products, skincare or other types of consumables, get into the habit of using up what you already have before repurchasing them.
When you use products up before buying them again, you are making sure that the product is getting used before it gets bad or expires.
It also means that you are not accumulating an excess of things in your drawers, cabinets, fridge or pantry, which helps keep your home clutter-free.
You can also apply this tip to other types of consumables, like craft supplies, toilet paper, journals, gift-wrapping or envelopes.
So before you go shopping, always check what you already have at home first and decide what you need to buy accordingly.
One exception would be if you want to have a stockpile of food available at home for difficult times.
I am writing this blog post during a crazy inflation period, so I purchased a few of the same products I use all the time in advance.
It is okay to do this, but try to be mindful of the quantities and regularly check the expiration dates.
4 – Give every item a home
A great way to maintain minimalism in your home is to choose a home for each item in your house.
When things don’t have a designated spot in your home, they usually end up cluttering up your counter spaces, floors, or other random places.
You simply do not know where to put them once you are done using them.
However, when you know exactly where they need to go, it is so much easier for you to put them back where they belong.
They have a proper home, so they should not be placed somewhere else.
Since it is easier for you to put things back, you will have a lot less work when cleaning and tidying up your space.
There won’t be so many things scattered around your home, which will make the whole process a lot easier and less difficult to tackle.
Giving a home for every item will make your space look a lot less cluttered and chaotic, and a lot more peaceful.
5 – Go through things regularly
As life happens and time goes by, stuff always creeps into our homes. It is just as it is.
We cannot prevent all things from entering our homes.
As our lifestyles change, our needs change. We also often change our preferences, styles and hobbies.
So we will always acquire new things, simply by living.
But if you want to maintain minimalism in your home, you must go through your belongings on a regular basis.
I like doing this after every season, to start the new one with a fresh new space.
But you could do it at the end of each month, or even at the end of each year.
Declutter your closet and get rid of any clothing that is worn out, that doesn’t fit you anymore, and that you do not love.
Let go of books that you did not enjoy, or those you’ve never read and don’t intend to read.
Recycle any paper that is not relevant or useful to you anymore.
Declutter all the duplicate items you have that you do not use. Don’t forget to go through these 18 areas most people forget to declutter!
Also, if you have not used something for a year, analyze why you have not touched it and see if you can get rid of it.
In short, declutter anything that you don’t love anymore, that is broken or that does not suit your lifestyle and is not needed.
Doing this regularly, for instance after every season, is one of the most efficient ways to maintain minimalism at home!
6 – Declutter as you go
Besides decluttering every few months to get rid of any excess, I highly recommend that you get into the habit of decluttering as you go.
When you come across something that you immediately know you want out of your life, get rid of it as soon as possible.
If you’ve already made the decision, why postpone the moment when you let go of the item?
It only takes seconds to implement, but can make a huge difference to how your home will look in the long run!
If you cannot make decluttered items leave your home immediately, put them in a donation box or bag dedicated to them.
Also, tell your family members about it. That way, they can declutter their own things by themselves and they know where to put them.
I find that having a donation box is so helpful!
If you don’t have the time, you do not have to think about what you will do with the decluttered items straight away.
You put them in the donation box and you will think about what to do with them later.
This makes deciding whether you want to get rid of something a lot easier!
Since the decision is already made and you are not procrastinating on it, your seasonal declutters will be a lot quicker.
Get rid of the content of the donation box after a month or during your seasonal declutter.
It is only at that moment that you will think about whether an item needs to be given away, donated, sold, recycled or thrown away.
7 – Have a capsule wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a small selection of clothes that you love, that fit your body well and that you can wear interchangeably.
One of the things I love the most about capsules wardrobes is that they reduce decision fatigue in the morning.
Choosing an outfit for the day is so much faster and easier when you have a limited selection of clothes to choose from.
You know if you need something, and if you do, you usually already know what it is exactly.
As a result, you only buy this exact clothing piece when shopping.
Having a capsule wardrobe you love will also make you more content and appreciative of the things you already have.
8 – Be picky about the things you bring into your home
Things are so easy to accumulate if we aren’t careful!
That is why we need to be picky about the items that enter our homes. We should only accept what we truly want, love or need.
Doing so can be tricky, but it is essential if you want to maintain minimalism and have a clutter-free home.
For instance, if someone gives you something you don’t want, it is okay to kindly decline.
You should also say no to freebies you know you won’t be using.
These could be free pens, promotional t-shirts, flyers, tote bags, or samples.
Also, remember to only buy things that you truly love.
If you are not 100% sure about something, it might be a great idea to wait and see if you truly want it in your home.
If you only buy your favorite things, you will appreciate what you have more. You will take better care of them.
Plus, you will not want to replace them with something else or be tempted to buy other things.
I also try to choose well-made products as much as I can. Since they are made with high-quality materials, they last longer.
I keep them for a long time and I don’t have to replace them as frequently as cheaply made products.
Not to mention that high-quality items are inherently a lot more sustainable, which is great for the planet!
Minimalism has so many benefits and it’s such a life-changing lifestyle!
Thus, more and more people want to become more minimal and they take action to do so.
But oftentimes, a few months later, their homes start to look cluttered and crowded again.
By living our lives, we accumulate things.
That is why we need to constantly go through our belongings. And we should prevent clutter from entering our homes in the first place.
I hope these 8 tips to maintain minimalism were helpful to you, and that they guided you to keep your space simplified and clutter-free.
What has helped you the most to maintain minimalism in your home and life? Share your experience in the comments!