I love minimalism as a concept. From a design standpoint, I love the cleanliness and the fresh feeling it provides, the lack of clutter, and the relaxing feel. And from a lifestyle viewpoint, I like that it eliminates stress, helps you create simplicity, and combats unnecessary consumerism.
The concept of minimalism isn’t new–it’s been around for centuries, ebbing and flowing as part of the cultural zeitgeist. It became mainstream recently in 2014 with the release of Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” which stresses only keeping what sparks joy and removing the rest to create and keep tidiness and order. Since then, we’ve seen a huge emergence in minimalist design and lifestyle. And it’s a really great concept, but it’s one I just can’t get behind.
What is Minimalism?
Loosely, I think it can be described as wanting to live with less and focus more on time and experience. Wanting less material possessions and living without excess can do a multitude of things–from eliminating discontent to living in the moment and reclaiming time to focusing more on health and growing as individuals overall.
I suppose it varies depending on the individual, but essentially minimalism is shifting your focus from things to life.
Reasons I ‘Just Can’t’
As I mentioned previously, the minimalism trend waxes and wanes, and right now it’s very trendy to be on the minimalism bandwagon. Maximalism is out, minimalism is in. But I don’t want really want to keep up with the Jonses. I don’t really care what the hip thing to do is–I just need my way of living to be useful and relevant to me and my household.
My definition of “simple” isn’t necessarily minimal. Do I need 3 spatulas? Probably not, but they sure do come in handy when I forget to do dishes or don’t have time between the 43+ hours spent at a full-time, out of home job and other life things. My simple is allowing me to have easy and fast access to things I use every day. Sometimes that doesn’t particularly mean it’s minimal.
I want to be associated with more than a mid-century plant stand and white walls. Most live a life and collect things that help us tell a story of that life. Personally, I like my space to be full of things that make me happy, that tell a story, and bring me good memories. I enjoy to be surrounded in my life and allow others to peek inside as well. To me that consists of “stuff” sometimes.
How to Balance Your Things and Minimalism
While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to call myself a “minimalist,” I do like to add some minimalist ways of life into my own. And there are some really easy ways to do that in both lifestyle and design.
Give more than you keep. I try to get rid of something (or multiple things in the same realm) every time I get something new, especially my clothing.
Be realistic. I try to only buy things that are going to have some benefit or use to me and things I’ll actually use. If I know I’ll only wear or use something one time, I probably won’t buy it–or at least I won’t keep hold of it. I don’t want to be cluttered with things I know I don’t need.
Tell a life story. A lot of people correlate minimalism with being able to shed your material possessions and truly live a life you enjoy. I can get behind that, but I like to be reminded of the life I am living. If I do have unnecessary things around the house, I like them to tell a story of who I am, where I came from, and where I’m going.
Think before you buy. This goes along with being realistic. Spend your money on higher quality items that will last a long time rather than blowing money on fad items.
Start with a white base. In minimalism design, you always see white…everywhere. And I like it. It helps simplify in contrast with color from other decorations and items like books, DVD collection, or makeup. It looks cleaner in my opinion.
Utilize natural light. This is another key in minimalism design, and it’s one that I find just makes you happier. There’s something so much better feeling about natural light over artificial.
Contain the clutter. We all have a drawer of stuff you need–like scissors, pens, tape, etc. Things that don’t necessarily bring you joy like the KonMarie Method of cleaning urges, but that you’ll definitely need and don’t want to realize you don’t have it when that time comes. That’s kind of clutter to simply conceal. It makes you space feel less stressed and looks better.
What are your feelings toward minimalism? Do you love it? Or are you like me and like it but just can’t fit it without tweaks into your life? Do you have any suggestions on how to change my thoughts on it or adapt into minimalism? Let’s start a conversation.