When I’m asked, “Wow! How do you keep your apartment so neat and clean.” I answer honestly. It wasn’t easy moving in on a time crunch and budget, but I persevered with patience and a clear vision.

The mountain of minimalism can seem insurmountable. Especially when you’re staring down massive amounts of items the internet proclaims you need to de-clutter from your space. Trust me, months before today I could be found staring wide-eyed at a pile of items frantically trying to decide what to keep and what to throw away.

How did I finally conquer a somewhat simplified space that is unique to me? I followed the expertise of Marie Kondo who wrote the book The Art of Tidying Up. Kondo is a true expert to de-cluttering, and simplifying a space. I am just an admirer and aspire to one day master this art, but for those of you wondering how I do it I will tell-all in just a moment:

Getting rid of what you don’t want and need.

This is the most tedious and time-consuming step you'll face. No one likes to do this, but it is the most important part about minimalism. Take every item you have and put it in the middle of the room. Start with all of your clothes, followed by all of your shoes (yes, I mean all of your shoes), then stack all of your books and keep going until you’ve sifted through every type of item.

Dedicate time to hold each item one by one and decide if you want to keep, throw away or give away. This is Marie Kondo’s method. She believes that if you don’t do this you will ultimately miss something later that might end up taking unwanted space. She says to ask yourself if the item gives you joy and suggests only keeping items that make you happy in your home.

Stick with the staples.

The reason why people think my space is simple and neat is because I’ve chosen to stick with the most important items in my home. I made it a point to choose the design and style that I love for each item. This can be a sturdy dining room table, eclectic coffee maker, or maybe just beautiful couch. Simplifying to staple furniture items you will allow you to easily identify the style that suits you and your personality. Not to mention, these pieces will inevitably be the focal point of the room so you want them to suit you.

Choose to invest in what you really need and love. These furniture pieces will stay with you for a long time and will determine the entire atmosphere of your space. Choose carefully and wisely! Also, be patient. If you cannot find what you are looking for then wait patiently and the right piece will reveal itself to you.

Stick to 2 main colors when decorating

This will create a cohesive, open space and emphasize your minimalist atmosphere. Use items like plants or a vase to bring color into your living space. This will help you avoid chaos and allow your visitors eyes to be drawn to one main focal point – rather than a discombobulated mess.

Above all, set your standards high and keep only what you love in your space. By doing this you will create a happy, joyful environment that will hopefully help inspire you daily.