Minimalism is a popular lifestyle and design trend, one that encompasses choices meant to help you lead a simpler life, with fewer possessions to worry about. The advantages of minimalism are both logistical and financial: people are spending less money on belongings, which makes it easier for them to maintain a neat and tidy home (even if we’re talking about small homes). Also, life events like moving, downsizing or even traveling are a lot easier for people who adopt a minimalist philosophy.

As with everything, there are degrees of minimalism. Some people take the idea to heart and set strict thresholds regarding their possessions: one popular challenge is to limit all your possessions to 100 (and that includes everything, from your car to your socks). Obviously, very few of us have the determination to be so drastic, but that does not mean we cannot still enjoy the benefits of minimalism in our lives.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in your home, and if you are finding it hard to maintain a nice and airy living space, adopting some of the minimalist principles might just do the trick. Here are some simple ways to reorganize each room in your home so that you can benefit the most from the advantages of minimalism:

The kitchen

As one of the spaces most in need of functionality in your home, the kitchen would definitely benefit from a minimalistic approach. Even if a full kitchen remodel is not in the cards right now, there’s still a lot you can do in terms of functionality and looks:

  • Take everything out of your cabinets. Sort your tableware and cooking gear based on how often you use them. Mercilessly get rid of all of the items that are simply cluttering your cabinets without offering much in return, from that fondue maker you never plugged in to the novelty mugs you have gathered through the years. You can give them to someone who will actually use them, or you could even sell them.

  • Get sets of everything: plates, cups, pots and pans, mixing bowls, and so on. Sets of items take up less space than mismatched ones because you can nestle and stack them with ease.
  • Don’t buy or keep around more than you need. Why have a dozen cups, or wine glasses, in a one-person, or two-person household? Even accounting for the fact that you sometimes have guests, you still could get by with fewer.
  • Make a rule of having just one of each when it comes to kitchen appliances and various cooking tools, whether it’s something relatively large such a stand mixer or something as small as a potato peeler. Simply choose your favorites and get rid of the others.
  • Purchase sets of good-quality containers for your staple ingredients such as spices, flour, sugar, rice and so on. This way, everything will be better organized in your cabinets, without visual (or actual) clutter.
  • Keep your countertops clear of various appliances and other cooking gear as much as possible. If you follow the minimalistic mindset, you should have enough space in your cabinets for your slow cooker, sandwich maker or teapot.
  • When it comes to the actual kitchen design, think sleek lines, frameless cabinets, integrated appliances, and light, neutral shades — with the occasional pop of color. Even without a full kitchen remodel, you can replicate the look with a fresh coat of paint on the cabinetry and the walls. Or you could, for example, order new cabinet fronts, which is far less expensive than replacing the entire cabinets, while yielding impressive results from a visual point of view. Changing the existing backsplash and countertops to monochromatic options will also create the typical minimalistic look in your kitchen.

The living room

A minimalist living room needs to perfectly combine functionality with refined aesthetics centered around curated furniture and décor. Your goal is an airy, restful room, where trinkets, ornaments, and various other objects are not taking up space unnecessarily. At the same time, minimalism shouldn’t be the opposite of coziness — in fact, the coziness and comfort factor can be increased by removing objects that don’t serve an actual purpose and are simply gathering dust in your living room. Here’s how to approach the minimalist transformation of your living room:

  • “Less is more” perfectly encapsulates the minimalist mindset, but it’s equally important that the furniture and the accessories that you do have are high-quality pieces with an elegant, modern look.
  • Pick a sectional sofa with clean, geometric lines, and opt for neutral colors, from eggshell to dark gray. Dark shades are often considered more practical than light ones. However, if your living room is on the smaller side, lighter shades are probably a better choice for creating that airy, minimalist vibe you want.
  • Focus on materials such as natural wood, metal and natural stone when it comes to flooring, furniture or other elements in your living room, such as the fireplace, for example.
  • Built-in bookcases are the way to go if you want to include bookshelves in your living room. Also, to avoid visual clutter, you should arrange your books based on size and color.
  • Make sure you include enough storage space so that the stuff you keep in the living room (children’s toys, blankets, board games, game consoles and various other knickknacks) is neatly tucked away and doesn’t make the space look messy and cluttered.

  • Media consoles that hide TV cords (or even the TV) are recommended.
  • Favor oversized artwork instead of displaying small art pieces or photo collages on your walls. It fits better with the minimalist theme, and it doesn’t crowd the room visually.
  • Amp up coziness by including plants, and add small pops of color with pillows or a rug.
  • Remember, your main goal is to avoid filling all the available space with furniture, decorations and other items. Choose smartly, choose good quality stuff that you actually need, and embrace the calming power of uncluttered rooms.

The bedroom

If there’s one room in a home that would benefit the most from a minimalist revamp, it’s the bedroom. It is important that your bedroom is a calming, uncluttered space that allows you to relax, sleep well at night and get ready for a new day in the morning with ease and efficiency. Here’s how to approach the transformation of your bedroom:

  • Start from the inside out. That means reorganizing the closets and drawers in your bedroom and purging them of all the items you no longer need or use. This, in return, will offer you the extra space you need to put away everything that’s currently covering surfaces in your bedroom, from jewelry and cosmetics to clothes and shoes.
  • If getting new bedroom furniture is in the cards, go for a wooden or metal bedframe that’s not overly ornated nor very tall. Alternatively, you could pick a platform bed. Choose simple nightstands that provide storage space.
  • Pick light, neutral shades for all the textiles in the bedroom, from sheets and duvets to curtains and drapes. Also, make sure that you pick natural fabrics such as cotton, wool and silk, and play around with different textures rather than with colors and prints.

  • Wood flooring in light colors is the best choice for a minimalist bedroom — however, if you find carpet more comfortable, you can go for it as well.
  • Avoid wallpaper and pick a light, warm color to paint the walls if you have a small bedroom — eggshell and ivory are great choices. However, if your bedroom is a large one that gets plenty of sunlight, go for cooler shades, like blueish or greenish whites.
  • Hang one large artwork that you really love above the bed for a pop of color, and avoid placing too many framed pictures around the room.

The bathroom

With most bathrooms generally too small for the needs of their owners, going the minimalist route here will pay off. Whether you’re planning a full bathroom remodel, or simply to reorganize and redecorate, here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Oversized floor and wall tiles that create a seamless visual effect, preferably in shades of white and with a shiny finish, are your best bet if you are redoing your bathroom with a minimalist take. It’s equally important to purchase high-quality faucets with simple yet elegant lines.
  • Make sure your bathroom has proper, bright lighting — most bathrooms generally don’t get enough natural light, so it’s important to compensate for it.
  • Include bathroom furniture that provides enough storage space for all of your possessions — but go through your soaps, lotions, makeup and so on regularly, and discard everything that has expired.

  • The shampoo, body wash and lotion you keep in your shower or near your bathtub can make your bathroom look busy and disorganized. Buy glass or ceramic dispensers for them and keep the product containers inside your bathroom cabinets.
  • Get rid of superfluous bathroom décor such as seashells or accessories decorated with flowers, patterns and so on.

The home office

A minimalist home office will help you stay focused and productive, and, fortunately, it’s pretty easy to set one up. Even if you don’t have a room dedicated to this purpose and your home office is a corner of your living room, the principles for making it minimalist are the same:

  • Keep it simple, focusing on a desk that’s large enough for your needs (but no bigger than that), a good-quality chair and some stylish storage space. A chest of drawers under your desk is a better choice than shelves on the wall.

  • Get a computer cord organizer to ensure that the home office area looks neat and orderly, without a jumbled mess of cords near your desk.
  • If you’re using lots of stationery for work, get a desk organizer to keep it in one place. End your workday by clearing out your desk and preparing everything for the following day.

Need a bit of extra help to maintain a minimalist interior? Use self storage

Limiting your possessions can have a beneficial effect on your life: you spend less money, while your home is easier to maintain. However, limiting your possessions only goes so far, and there are many situations when people have items they need and want to keep. For example, young families regularly keep their baby-related stuff for the next child. Other people are collectors, have hobbies or play sports. All of that translates into owning various items that need to be kept somewhere.

How do we reconcile that with maintaining a minimalist home that’s not cluttered by stuff? One way to have it all — both the minimalist interior and your belongings — is to rent self storage. A self storage unit located close to your home offers you extra space for your things, allowing you to enjoy an airy, clutter-free interior. Renting a 10’x10’ storage unit hovers around $134 at a national level. However, prices can vary significantly depending on where you live. Check out self storage prices and availability in the country’s largest cities to see how much it would cost you and whether renting one is the right decision for your needs:

Self Storage Costs and Availability in the Country's Top 100 Cities

CitySelf Storage Rent*Self Storage per Capita (sq. ft.)
New York City, NY2452.3
Los Angeles, CA2571.8
Chicago, IL1263.4
Houston, TX956.7
Philadelphia, PA1442.8
Phoenix, AZ1254.8
San Antonio, TX1128.6
Dallas, TX1165.0
San Diego, CA1823.8
Austin, TX1197.7
Columbus, OH914.3
Jacksonville, FL1119.5
San Francisco, CA2632.1
Indianapolis, IN866.7
Charlotte, NC1037.0
Seattle, WA1873.7
San Jose, CA1723.8
Fort Worth, TX996.1
Denver, CO1333.4
Washington, DC1522.1
Nashville, TN1236.7
Portland, OR1434.3
Boston, MA1830.7
Oklahoma City, OK788.3
Louisville, KY927.4
Detroit, MI1281.1
Memphis, TN897.4
Baltimore City, MD1223.5
El Paso, TX995.9
Las Vegas, NV1207.0
Albuquerque, NM1067.6
Milwaukee, WI953.4
Atlanta, GA1404.6
Tucson, AZ1167.6
Kansas City, MO1074.1
Omaha, NE846.7
Sacramento, CA1454.9
Mesa, AZ1115.8
Colorado Springs, CO10810.8
Raleigh, NC947.1
Minneapolis, MN1052.1
Miami, FL1753.5
Virginia Beach, VA11210.5
Fresno, CA1177.2
Long Beach, CA1932.1
Cleveland, OH1102.3
Tulsa, OK808.7
Oakland, CA1982.3
New Orleans, LA1294.4
Wichita, KS856.5
Tampa, FL1186.7
Saint Louis, MO1034.7
Cincinnati, OH973.9
Aurora, CO1124.1
Pittsburgh, PA1133.5
Arlington, TX985.8
Lexington, KY1127.0
Honolulu, HI2792.8
Bakersfield, CA888.9
Henderson, NV1275.9
St Paul, MN1563.6
Orlando, FL1156.6
Greensboro, NC909.6
Buffalo, NY1291.8
Durham, NC989.0
Madison, WI1104.1
Corpus Christi, TX9910.3
Lincoln, NE986.4
Toledo, OH934.1
Jersey City, NJ2211.3
Scottsdale, AZ1727.1
Saint Petersburg, FL1425.4
Newark, NJ1460.9
Arlington, VA2481.2
Reno, NV12114.9
Irvine, CA1634.8
Anchorage, AK1896.2
Fort Wayne, IN976.7
Plano, TX1025.3
Anaheim, CA1891.3
Chandler, AZ1344.5
Lubbock, TX8914.8
Richmond, VA1085.6
Winston Salem, NC876.5
Boise City, ID11510.9
Stockton, CA1286.1
Spokane, WA1227.0
Norfolk, VA1015.1
Irving, TX987.3
Rochester, NY1243.3
Huntsville, AL909.2
Chesapeake, VA1056.5
Gilbert, AZ1213.7
Riverside, CA1335.5
Tacoma, WA1544.4
Des Moines, IA874.4
Baton Rouge, LA10011.2
Birmingham, AL967.1
Little Rock, AR8710.7
Spring Valley, NV1000.4
*Non-climate-controlled 10'x10' storage units
Source: StorageCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data

Check out these great minimalism resources

Want to learn more about minimalism? There are plenty of books, blogs, TV shows and podcasts where you can get basic information about a simpler, minimalistic way of living. Of course, this abundance of information can also be overwhelming, so here’s a selection of books, blogs and TV shows to get you started on your journey toward living this lifestyle:

  • From advice on how (and where) to store just about everything in your home to tips regarding  downsizing or living in small apartments, the organizing section on the StorageCafe blog is a great resource for those who are in the process of reorganizing their homes. Maybe you need some practical solutions on how to repurpose sentimental items, how to make unpopular household chores easier or how to whip your fridge back into shape — you’ll find such information and much more on this blog.
  • If you’re a complete newcomer to the idea of living with less stuff, you should start with two books that have been around for some years already and have amassed quite a strong following. The first one, Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (which was also turned into a Netflix series) proposes a systematic way of dealing with your possessions and easy steps on how to do it, which makes the process fun and less intimidating. The second book, “Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life,” by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, launched the idea of minimalism as a lifestyle and is still one of the most influential books on minimalism published so far.
  • Many of us have the most difficulties when it comes to giving up stuff that we are sentimentally attached to, even if those items no longer serve us in any important way. If you’re one of those people who find it particularly hard to discard various mementos and heirlooms, Peter Walsh’s charming book “Let It Go” about his experiences downsizing his late parents’ home is a great fit.
  • If you’re preoccupied not only by physical clutter but by mental clutter as well, check out “Declutter Your Mind,” by S.J. Scott, for practical exercises in mental declutter that can help you be less overwhelmed by everyday stuff. In the same vein, “Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul,” by Ruth Soukup, focuses on reducing the amount of clutter in your home (and mind) so that you can be more present in the moment.
  • Families with children have it even harder when it comes to decluttering to achieve a more minimalist lifestyle, so Allie Casazza’s “Declutter Like a Mother” is a welcome guide that conveys the benefits of owning less stuff as a family and suggests simple ways of reaching your goal. “Minimalism for Families,” by Zoe Kim, addresses the same demographic and comes with ideas on how to deal with family members who might be resistant to the idea of minimalism.
  • In case you prefer the video format over books, Beatrice Copeland’s “Bea Organized” show on Amazon Prime comes with simple and inexpensive tricks to add more storage to your home and organize your stuff more efficiently. “Get Organized,” on Netflix, hosted by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, is another fun and informative show that not only talks about home decluttering and organizing, but also lets you peek inside the homes of major celebs like Reese Witherspoon and Eva Longoria.

FAQ about minimalism

How many minimalists are there in the US?

It is difficult to determine the exact number of minimalists in the U.S., as minimalism is a personal lifestyle choice that can manifest in different ways, and some people may not even use the term “minimalism” to describe their approach to life. However, minimalism has become more popular in recent years with the rise of minimalism-focused blogs, books and documentaries. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, about 17% of Americans declared that they are minimalists, and an additional 23% said they are not minimalists but that they would like to give this lifestyle a try.

What are the defining characteristics of minimalism?

Minimalism is a lifestyle philosophy that prioritizes simplicity and intentionality in all aspects of life. The defining characteristics of minimalism can vary from person to person, but some common elements include:

  • Simplifying possessions: Minimalists tend to own fewer possessions and strive to only keep items that serve a purpose.
  • Mindful consumption: This can involve adopting a more frugal and sustainable lifestyle, as well as being mindful of the environmental impact of your habits.
  • Prioritizing experiences: Minimalists tend to prioritize experiences over material possessions, valuing time spent with loved ones and pursuing hobbies and interests over accumulating more stuff.
  • Focus on quality: Minimalists tend to favor high-quality items that are built to last as opposed to disposable or cheaply made products.
  • Living in the present: Minimalism emphasizes living in the present moment rather than being bogged down by regrets about the past or worries about the future. This can involve practices such as mindfulness and meditation.

How do I start a minimalist lifestyle?

Starting a minimalist lifestyle can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that it is a journey and not a destination. Here are some steps you can take to begin your minimalist journey:

  • Ask yourself why you want to simplify your life and what you hope to gain from it. This can help you stay motivated and focused as you make changes.
  • Start by making small changes, such as decluttering one room or committing to buying only what you need for a week. This will help you build momentum and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Simplify your wardrobe: Consider creating a capsule wardrobe with a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits.
  • Minimalism is about being intentional with your consumption. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you truly need it and if it aligns with your values. Consider shopping secondhand or borrowing items instead of buying new.
  • Cultivate mindfulness: Consider incorporating mindfulness practices, such as meditation or gratitude journaling, into your daily routine.

Is minimalism a good lifestyle?

Whether or not minimalism is a good lifestyle depends on the individual and their values and needs. For some people, minimalism can bring a sense of freedom, clarity, and contentment, while for others, it may not be a good fit.

By simplifying their possessions and commitments, minimalists can reduce the mental clutter that can cause stress and anxiety and can increase productivity and goal achievement. By being mindful of their consumption and prioritizing experiences over possessions, minimalists can save money and achieve financial freedom.

However, minimalism may not align with everyone’s values or needs. Some people may find comfort and joy in having many possessions or a busy lifestyle.

What is the opposite of minimalist?

The opposite of minimalism is maximalism. Maximalism is a lifestyle philosophy that celebrates excess and abundance in all aspects of life. It is characterized by bold colors, patterns and textures, and a love for collecting and displaying a large number of possessions. Maximalists tend to prioritize aesthetics and self-expression over simplicity and functionality. Unlike minimalism, maximalism encourages indulgence and extravagance in all areas of life, from fashion and home décor to experiences and personal relationships.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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