I’ve realised that although I’ve written on my blog a couple of times about minimalism, it really has been a rare occurrence, one could even say that the appearance of it has been minimal. (bwahahaha. excuse me.) I’ve written about Living with Intention, and Getting Rid of Your Stuff, I’ve shown you images of Dream Homes filled with clean lines. But I haven’t nearly explained why it’s something that’s almost always on my mind.
I have always been drawn to a minimal lifestyle, but it’s not something I’ve taken the time to explore on this blog, and it’s something I struggle with and thoroughly accept in different parts of my life.
I think it was in my teens when I started getting into interior design. I would flip through design magazines, scope out different pictures online, dream big dreams of what my home will one day look like. Then I moved out and moved in with my boyfriend (J, my now husband), whose minimal lifestyle with refreshing. His version of minimalism was this: no clutter, anywhere. Clothes in their closet. No night stands. Just a low waterbed on the floor, with two lamps on dimmers, an enclosed shelving unit for small items (phones, watches, dvds) and a large closet where his clothes and shoes were. He also had his TV hanging from the ceiling (which eliminated the need for more furniture in a small room). And then I moved in.
I brought stuff – not ALL of my stuff, but I definitely brought stuff with me. I’m a girl, I would say, rolling my eyes, I come with baggage! Literally: flat irons, makeup & hair products, more shoes than I could count on fingers and toes, books & dvds, pictures, and a ton of clothes – and I still had a room full of stuff at my parent’s house. But I think it’s normal at 20 to not have it all figured out, right?
I still remember when we bought our first house, a cute bungalow, with a kitchen that had so many cupboards I wouldn’t even be able to fill them all!… so I thought. It wasn’t too long that the place was bursting at the seams – clothes filled every closet available, everything was stuffed every which way. Our living areas were void of storage, they were put together nicely and uncluttered, and the same could be said of our bedroom. But don’t you dare go in the closet because all that stuff was just stuffed in every nook and cranny I could find. I had trouble letting go of a lot of things.
Let me tell you a bit about myself, I am very much impacted by my surroundings. It sounds a little silly, but when everything around me is in order, neat, today, organized, clutter-free: I feel like I can breathe easy. I feel like my mind is clear to create, to discover, to think and write and do all the things I want and need to do. Things that seem impossible when chaos abounds.
So every time I’d sit down to get to work, I’d first have to work on decluttering my desk or work surface – could you imagine how I’d feel by the time I’d be finished? Organizing paperclips, shoving pens in drawers, going through random pieces of mail and making sure the bills were paid before discarding them? I would rarely feel like doing whatever it was I initially sat down to do.
Achieving minimalism is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something you intend to do, it’s not something that just happens because you wish it so. You have to think about it, think about everything you bring into your home and into your life, see if it’s something that’s necessary, beautiful, practical, useful – or is it something that you just want right then but don’t really need? Is it something that’s going to be used once and then shoved in a closet to take up space?
My version of minimalism was to create a beautiful space and then shove all the “extras” in a closet, things I couldn’t bare to part with at the time – but I’m slowly getting better. I’ve come to terms with a lot of “stuff”. Moving a bunch of times and not wanting to bring everything with you does that to you. I’ve rid myself of many unnecessary ‘collections’, I would hold onto things because I thought one day I might use them or need them, but the truth was simply this: I had bought something and I didn’t want to throw it away.
This doesn’t mean I don’t own stuff, actually, far from it! But what I have done is this: removed the items that weren’t necessary, got rid of clutter, got rid of broken, ripped, unusable things – which created room and space for the items I truly love.
Case in Point 1: I love stationary and notecards, I used to have stationary everywhere! I would purchase cards and then shove them in places and forget that I bought them! What good is that? So now I’ve skimped back on my collection and I have one drawer of beautiful cards and envelopes, really it’s now half a drawer (I’m trying to use up what I have before buying more!), and I’m actually using them. It feels really good to know that when I want to write a letter, I have stationary, I know where it is, and I can do it right that minute – whereas before I’d be searching and searching through all my junk for just the right one, because I know I put it here somewhere!
Case in Point 2: Books are something I stopped buying too, and I’ve donated and sold many of them as well. I’ve converted my library into e-books and I read them on my reader, now this doesn’t apply to my extensive cookbook collection (which I realise I need to work on as well) or to certain books that are visually based, and I do have a Shakespeare anthology that I refuse to part with, but that’s the beauty of it. Instead of shelves and shelves of unnecessary paperbacks and hardcover versions of books I most likely will never read again, I have a select assortment of my most favourite books and the rest exist electronically. It’s perfect in my situation because I don’t have, nor do I want, bookshelves upon bookshelves of books in my house.
To me, minimalism isn’t living with nothing. It’s living with just enough of what you need and balanced with things that beautify your space and your life. It’s giving respect to your belongings. Thank you for reading this, this is something I am often exploring in my life and decided to start exploring it through my blog. I would love your feedback and input.
Minimalism is a process. I know this now. In my ideal life there needs to be a balance of ‘just enough’ and ‘everything in its’ place and a place for everything’. This is what makes me happy, gives me the freedom to create and exist with my family in ways they truly need me. And I realise that ‘minimalism’ is different for everybody.
If this is something that interests you, my favourite blogs are Miss Minimalist & The Everyday Minimalist.
Do you have any blogs to share? What are your views on the minimal lifestyle?