It’s another day, another week, and my list of things to do is a mile long. One of which is considering if think I could be a minimalist.
What about you? Could you be a minimalist?
But wait, you might already be living the minimalist life already and not know it.
I know that sounds weird, but minimalism for one person could be cluttered for another.
Are you this?
Neither image is correct, because what is minimal to one is not to another.
So what is Minimalism? With reference to our environment the dictionary explains it as –
deliberate lack of decoration or adornment in style or design.
“his living room was a testament to minimalism”
For example, let’s look at these pictures of flowers.
They’re all beautiful in their own way. Colorful, simple, rich in design. But is one more beautiful than the other to you? Why is that? How does it appeal to your soul, your imagery, and what about it brings you joy?
It could be that it’s a simple style – all one type of bloom, or simply one bloom. It could be that it’s a riot of color and creativity, a wild scattering of nature, or that it simply appeals to you, deep down.
So look at them, which one tugs at your heart strings the most? And why?
Because of that simplicity. Because of that riot of color, or because it’s a vibrant mass and you could imagine having vases just like this all around your house, not just in one place. The analogy of ‘how much’ one vase of flower/s appeals to you than another, is the key to what your ‘level’ of minimalism is. And hey presto, you’re already a minimalist.
Perhaps you decide you like a one color effect, not necessarily a single bloom, but all the same color – monochromatic.
In design that could look like this.
It’s not bland, not merely black and white, it’s vibrant, but it’s still minimal in that it’s based on one color – blue. So that’s your vase of tulips above.
Then you might prefer a more boho or eclectic look
With the orange and blues, and the wood tones, this room is more vital. It’s still minimal, but has that cozy feeling and not bland or sterile that often is associated with minimalism. This is your posy of lillies, roses and gerberas.
So what does minimalism mean to you, and how does it look and feel?
First, let’s work out your reasons – your want and why?
Why is the need to minimalize suddenly rearing its head in your life?
There could be a multitude of reasons such as – Life is busy and you just want to calm it down visually
You can’t find stuff – you simply have TOO MUCH STUFF
You can make money from selling your stuff. Not a bad way to downsize and minimalize
You can’t stop buying STUFF. How much stuff do you actually need? If you love decorating your home, it’s hard not to buy the next best thing in décor, a tray, an orb, faux plants. But at worst they are dust collectors and gobble your money up because let’s face it there’s always the next best thing around the corner. Besides if you’re always buying stuff, how do you really get to know what your décor style really is. This of course could attest to the clothes in our wardrobes too.
Surrounding ourselves with STUFF is often overwhelming. Now I’m not necessarily talking about hoarder type accumulation, but if you can’t see a clear surface anywhere how can your brain/your visual sight ever get a chance to rest. There’s no visual blank space, (that’s not to say my brain doesn’t have blank spaces at times LOL)
Or at different seasons in our lives we inherit ‘stuff’ from family members, sometimes we can’t say no without offending them and so hold on to that ugly hutch we really have no place for, or it really is an inheritance when a family member passes away and you just don’t know where to put everything…until finally IT ALL GETS TOOOOOO MUCH.
So…okay, you want to get rid of stuff. You want to try that minimalism thing.
But how do I know what my minimal level is? How much is too much? How much is too little?
Here are some ways to find out.
- You could remove everything from the room, only putting back in things you love – slowly – a sofa/chair, a cabinet, a piece of art work. If you don’t love it, don’t keep it.
- Remove all the accessories and let the room breathe for a while. See if you like the ‘empty’ space, and only bring back a few things.
- Rotate your accessories either seasonally or on a whim.
By removing everything and only putting in what you love, this process allows you time to appreciate what you have, and need, ONLY!
Another simple way of working out what you want to keep is to ask yourself some questions.
Do I like it?
Does it work?
Does it fit my style?
Does it fit my bank account?
Does it fit the life season I’m at right now?
If you like it, then it’s an obvious keeper
If it works and is necessary, again a keeper, but if it doesn’t fit your style – then donate/toss/give away/sell.
But wait, what if I don’t know my style! Then I say refer back to the above, and empty that room and try and see if it goes with how you want your room to look.
And again if you have no idea about what you want a room/your home too look like, then hit Pinterest and start saving anything that appeals to you, that makes you say WOW. Slowly, over time you’ll get a clearer picture of what appeals to you. It may be color, form, function, wood, metals, or a particular décor style, shabby chic, farmhouse, modern. This knowledge will assist you in deciding what stays and what doesn’t.
Then there are the seasons of life.
At different stages in our lives, we have different needs. 20s/30s/ or so we have need for children’s toys, paraphernalia, which take up lots of room in the house.
As we age and our children too, it may be more like sports gear, camping equipment etc. and the soft toys are side-lined.
Do you have to keep them all? I say no!
But they’re my children’s precious things, my memories are tied up with that cute rabbit with one ear, so you keep the rabbit and everything else because they remind you of those wonderful days. Those days, however, are stored in your memory, you don’t need the stuff to make you remember those precious moments. How about you put half a dozen away in labelled storage and the rest you donate to a family refuge or other charity. Or perhaps you keep a few for future grandchildren, but that’s all. A few, not the mound that’s taking over the spare room right now. You know it does. You can’t ignore it, the room is bursting, and shutting the door on it doesn’t make it go away – even though you wish it would. Who hasn’t thought that a time or too (I see you nod your head) and I agree, been there, done that!
In our later years (okay so I’m saying kinda 60 upwards) you find that all of a sudden you want to get rid of the very things that ten years ago you thought you had to have. Those cooking books you never look at, instead you go online, the boxes and boxes of crafts you don’t have time for, or all the books you’ve read, but kept, thinking you might read them again, but never have.
Time to get real with yourself. Do you really want all this clutter?
You have to be honest with yourself, and unfortunately sometimes being honest like this is a tad painful and scary. But this is how you get to decide what your ‘minimalism’ looks like. It’s your choice.
You may decide to keep all those cushions whereas someone else can’t stand having anything on the sofa. I’m a cushion gal, but Hubby just tosses them on the floor. Sacrilege, I know.
You may get rid of all the vases or other ornaments in the china cabinet, and just use it to display a few artful pieces that speak joy to you.
So…what is your level of minimalism? Do you think you could be a minimalist?
Give it some time to percolate, and if uncertain, store an item, for a few weeks or months. Do let me know in the comments below what your level of minimalism. What can you toss, what can’t you give away ever?