Minimalist Housekeeping: Simple Rituals for Creating Your Haven
What Is Minimalist Homemaking?
The minimalist lifestyle is growing in popularity as a counterculture movement of simplicity. Minimalist homemaking is a part of this lifestyle.
When creating your haven, you should not be overwhelmed. Simplifying your routines, possessions, and activities to the most essential elements will reduce stress and help to create a peaceful haven of rest in your home. We will look at a few ways to implement simple housekeeping.
- Minimalist Possessions: Naturally, having fewer decorations and furnishings will go a long way toward making a more peaceful home.
- Minimalist Cleaning Products: Using fewer, more natural, and possibly handmade products.
- Minimalist Food Preparation: Involves more whole foods, prepared in as natural a state as possible.
- Single-Tasking: Focusing on one task at a time to increase efficiency and peace.
There is power and peace in the disciplined habit of focus.
Create Routines so You Can Work on Autopilot
It's important to create a morning, afternoon, and evening routine so that you will "fly through your day" doing beneficial tasks. When you follow a routine, your mind can serenely enter into flow state.
Example morning routine:
- Brush teeth
- Weigh yourself on scale
- Power walk
- Morning coffee/relaxation for 20 minutes
- Make breakfast
- Straighten house
- Organize and declutter room of choice for 15 minutes
Sample evening routine:
- Write down your 6 most important tasks for the next day
- Final straightening of house
- Set out clothes for tomorrow
- Wash face
- Brush teeth/floss
- Read in bed
Set Time Limits on Each Housekeeping Task
Set your timer and tackle a project in your home. Reward yourself by doing a more pleasant activity afterward. The timer can make tasks you have procrastinated on feel like a game. For example, set your timer for 15-20 minutes and single task on that project. After the alarm move to a different task and reset the timer. You can go back and forth with focused intention on the project at hand.
When you have fewer decorations your home is easier to clean. Use a feather duster to brush away dust from small objects. There is nothing that will make the biggest impact toward simple housekeeping than clearing out unnecessary furniture and decorations.
Though highly unconventional, for the bed consider a Japanese style floor futon. Residential moves will be much simpler and your room will look less cluttered. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses. Your home will look more elegant as well.
Minimalist Decorations by Rain San Martin
Minimalist Cleaning Supplies
You don't need many cleaning supplies. The site Wabi Sabi Baby suggests only 6 ingredients are needed to clean your home:
- handwashing dish liquid
- natural dye-free laundry detergent
- white vinegar solution
- baking soda
If you are intimidated by creating natural cleansers, have a multi-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner on hand.
Minimalist Meal Preparation
The idea behind minimalist meal preparation is using as many whole natural unprocessed foods as possible requiring minimal preparation.
Wholesale grocery stores such as Costco carry black rice, brown rice, flax seeds, organic green beans and natural peanut butter. If your time is precious, you can do bulk grocery shopping once every two weeks.
The kitchen is an easy area to do with less. Think of how many gadgets society falsely assumes are essential. The list of gadgets below can easily be foregone.
- food processor (chop with a knife)
- automated electric mixer (handheld electric mixer, whisk, or spoon)
- garlic press (hammer with the back of a small pan over a cutting board)
- toaster (use your oven)
- popcorn maker (use the stove)
- electric can opener (manual can opener)
- deep fryer (pan)
- electric wok (use a skillet)
- rice cooker (pot)
- rotisserie (oven)
- egg cooker (pot)
Minimalist Kitchen by Rain San Martin
Simplify Your Cleaning Routine
Letting go of perfectionism and minimizing unnecessary housework is key to minimalist homemaking. Perhaps you have always mopped weekly, maybe you can reduce this to mopping once every two weeks and sweeping in between mopping sessions.
There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.— Lord Chesterfield
Simplify Your Wardrobe
It's easier to simplify your wardrobe if you stick with a timeless theme or vintage look. Yet the most challenging style to simplify while living the minimalist lifestyle is that of the trendy. This is why many minimalists opt for a classic or causal style. Even if you choose to dress radically unconventionally in Renaissance Faire garb 24/7, the minimalist wardrobe will work for you, as your pieces are classic to the period, most garments inspired by the 1500's mix and match easily.
Minimalist Homemaking Allows for Silence and Intentional Living
Develop the discipline of natural silence as you work with vigor. As often as possible clean the kitchen with nothing but the sound of running water, the clinging of pots and pans, and the ambient sounds of your children playing. You can focus your thoughts on prayer or still your mind. God calls us to be joyful and to cast our cares upon him.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-8)
As you clean your home, you will still have time to put on your favorite Pandora station, iTunes or Spotify tracks, but sometimes you will want to allow the silence. Leo of Zen Habits encourages others to mindfully single task. Focusing on completing the task at hand, making that moment our joy.
This steady and undissipated attention to one object, is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry, bustle, and agitation, are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind.— Lord Chesterfield
In the 1990s, the phrase "multitasking" was all the rage for those who were driven to succeed. In the article, The Myth of Multitasking, Christine Rosen writes:
"In the late 1990s and early 2000s, one sensed a kind of exuberance about the possibilities of multitasking. Advertisements for new electronic gadgets — particularly the first generation of handheld digital devices — celebrated the notion of using technology to accomplish several things at once. The word multitasking began appearing in the “skills” sections of résumés, as office workers restyled themselves as high-tech, high-performing team players."
However recent study's have shown that multitasking does not increase productivity as our brains can only focus on one complex task at a time. When we multitask our brain is interrupted frequently when switching between tasks, as we lose productivity each time we start and stop the task. Douglas Merrill, a contributor to Forbes, shares in Why Multitasking Doesn't Work, that when he was at Google they eventually adopted the "no laptop policy" while in key meetings, as they observed they were losing effectiveness as attendees were attempting to multitask.
How does this apply to the household? You can listen to music or a podcast in moderation while cleaning. But we should focus our efforts for a designated period of time, freeing our brains to engage more effectively.
How to Find Inspiration
Joshua Becker 's Becoming Minimalist site gives you access to hours of inspiration within the article archives. He practices "rational minimalism", which is practical for people who have a family. Simple homemaking is a lifelong journey. You will discover what you would like to eliminate from your home or routine.
Questions & Answers
© 2014 Rain San Martin