In trying to obtain a minimalist home, it doesn't have to be devoid of life. It will bring in more comfort, light and life. In clearing away all the clutter we so often accumulate over time we gain more peace of mind, clarity in our thinking and the ability to get more done with less distractions.
Start with one room at a time. Focus on one room and make that your calming center. By focusing on one room it will give you the inspiration to move onto the next. Trying to do the entire house or apartment usually ends up becoming very overwhelming and nothing gets done.
Examine the furniture. In trying to minimize your surroundings, see which pieces can be sacrificed without sacrificing your comfort. The less furniture the better. It will open up the room and bring in much more light. Starting with something as simple as a coffee table, and moving from there is often the best way to go.
Whether you are looking at the furniture or anything else in the room, only stick with the essentials. If it is something you can live without, get rid of it. Clean away anything that isn't an essential item, you can always add in later. Anything bulky, cluttered, or non-essential should be removed. You can have a yard sale, give to charitable organizations that might be in need of what you have just striped away.
Clear away anything and everything from the floor. Aside from your furniture, nothing should be cluttering or laying on the floor. Clear it, trash it, give it away, or find a new home for it. Nothing should be stacked, or piled on the floor.
Clean all your flat surfaces. Unless it is essential in being there, such as in your kitchen (which should be stripped down as well to only the bare essentials) then once again, clear it away, trash it, give it away and clean it. Decorating can be done later.
As mentioned above, anything cleared away should have a place or given away. Keeping books, DVD's, CD's etc should have a place. Utilize your drawers and cabinets but not to overflowing since that itself will cause a clutter problem. Except for a few decorations and not entire collections of things (I have a husband who has this clutter problem) all things should have a home.
Cleaning up your walls and placing a few simple pieces of artwork will create an elegant but open and airy feel to your home. This also goes for your windows as well. Choose simple and clean window treatments like wooden blinds, or simple solid colored or print designs.
In decorating your home, keep it as simple as a vase of flowers, or some potted plants. You can also add a splash of color in accenting your home such as red or yellow. An example of this would be the pillows used for your couch, or any chairs you might have. It gives the place energy and life.
Examine your new look, sit back, relax and feel proud of yourself in decluttering your home which will in turn declutter other parts of your life as well.