The Urban Minimalist: How to De-clutter Your Home

My dear friend Clay Drinko graciously accepted my offer to guest blog about living minimally.  He currently lives in a small studio in West Chelsea.  What he has created with this space is remarkable.  Literally everything he owns, in the world, is in this apartment.  When I asked him how, he gave me 10 tips for de-cluttering that are tried, true, and continually executed on a daily basis in the Drinko household.  He makes it look so effortless, but also unbelievably appealing.

So without further ado, here is how you live blissfully in 250 square feet!

The Urban Minimalist: How to De-clutter Your Home
By, Clay Drinko (NYC) May 20, 2011

1. Being minimal is constant. Every time you clean or organize or even cook dinner try to get rid of one or two items you haven’t used in a year. This way living simply becomes habitual and kind of a game.

Adding a built-in book case is great way to take up less space and display your books to add color in a room. Functional and decorative!

2. Available space on shelves and counters DOES NOT need to be filled. Remind yourself how much more you dust and how much better you feel when you have empty surfaces. DO NOT display every souvenir from every vacation (also see #3).

Simply towels on the shelf in the bathroom. So fresh and so clean.

3. Don’t buy souvenirs on vacations. Why did you go? Oh yes, for the experience of it. Use new technology to keep even your photos in virtual space…not in your home space. Start living in the moment and not collecting things to live in the past. Live in the present.

Office area. Everything has its place.

4. You are not allowed to buy anything new unless you get rid of something to make space for it. It’s a simple law of economics….or maybe physics. More needs to go out than go in for you to have less clutter.

Closet #1.

5. Everything must have a place. If it doesn’t have a place maybe it shouldn’t live at your house.

Closet #2.

6. Don’t live in fear. I hear about people keeping clutter because you never know what’s gonna happen. Well, that’s true, but you shouldn’t own things just in case. People keep things that they don’t use and would cost almost nothing to replace. Why?

Does one person really need a regular sized fridge? Probably not. This one fits perfectly and discretely under the dining table.

7. Community. Borrow things from family and neighbors. Does every person need her own tool kit? Her own fully stocked bakery? If you only need something once a year or less…maybe you don’t need to own it. Also reconnecting with your fellow man is good for the spirit.

Get out there an meet your neighbors! One foot in front of the other and onward!

8. Giving feels good. Did you read a book that reminds you of a friend? Gift it to them. Does your mom love your coat you never wear? It’s hers now. Everything else goes to charity. Giving away stuff you DO NOT NEED to people WHO DESPERATELY NEED IT feels great. Reconnect with the flow of needs versus wants. The more you give the more you invite real richness into your life.

Invite close friends for a visit. Have them stay a spell and then send them on their way with something they could use and you no longer need.

9. See it for what it is. It’s just stuff. Are the memories inside of the object? No…they are all in you and always will be as long as you nurture your relationships and not your addiction to things.

DJ turn table.

10. Test it out. I heard once about having an “on the way out box.” If you don’t think you need something put it in a separate box. If it’s still unused in that box in a month it’s gone. Test out how you feel with less. I think you’ll feel good. Live simply. Live with only what you need. Don’t be gross, clutter bug.

Adding a large mirror does wonders to give dimension to small spaces.

So there you have it, in 10 easy steps.  I feel like I’m actaully breathing easier after reading this list.  Try it out for yourself and let me know how it goes. Or if you have any additional tips to contribute, let’s hear ’em!

Thanks for the insight Clay Drinko!  Hugs from Chicago!


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