Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Minimalist Mindset vs. Minimalist Interior

With all the images on Instagram and Pinterest and all the home tours on YouTube it's easy to become confused about what type of minimalism you are trying to pursue.

Do you want to lead a more simple life? Or do you really just want a clean, decluttered space?

Do you want to detach from personal possessions, live in the moment and not in the past? Live with intention?

Or do you just want the illusion of peace by having that comfortable, bohemian home with macrame wall-hangings and fiddle leaf fig, snake plant, succulents - live or fake - tucked into their seagrass baskets?

Having a minimalist interior doesn't always mean living with less. It might just mean living with less in plain sight. One can have a minimalist interior and still have a storage unit filled with possessions that just can't be gotten rid of. One can have an empty, beautiful space but have an incredibly cluttered and burdened mind.

It's easy to get distracted by all the beauty that is the minimalist home. But in striving for that level of beauty in your own home, does that mean you have to go out and buy that minimalist sofa, that minimalist dishware, that minimalist decor?

Are you living a minimalist life if the price you pay for that stunning interior is a heap of debt?

As I continue on my journey toward simplicity, the biggest stumbling blocks I face are the ones that come from coveting those beautifully photographed homes that appear to have nothing more than a couple of pieces of furniture, that have empty surfaces, that have un-stuffed cupboards.

When I look upon my own interior I cringe at the amount of things I own - do I have to have a spare towel set? Must I have a sofa pillow to rest again? Do I really need a dining table?

Because if I could just get rid of that towel, those plates, those rugs, maybe my home would be just as beautifully minimal as the ones I see photographed or recorded online.

But then I ask myself, if I did, would I be living more simply? Or would I just be living less comfortably?

My back requires a small pillow for support when sharing the sofa with my husband. And we enjoy eating breakfast together at our dining table - conversing before we begin our hectic day. If I didn't have that extra set of towels I would have to time the laundry in such a way that I wouldn't need a towel while they were being washed.

And further, the minimalist interior can be deceptive. Especially as photographs or recordings are typically done when it's in its best state - clean, tidy, empty of all excess things that are likely a part of everyday life - phones, computers, papers, books/magazines. Counter surfaces are cleaned, items normally left out are put away. Furniture is rearranged for appearance versus practicality.

All of which is somewhat antithetical to the idea of the minimalist mindset. Because if you had a minimalist mindset you wouldn't feel the need to rearrange furniture to give the appearance of an empty home or remove things from surfaces to appear less busy - you'd be happy with your home as it was, no matter the number of things you had.

If you had a minimalist mindset it wouldn't be about the numbers, the "perfect" photos, the opinions of others. It would be about whether you felt that you were living as simply and intentionally and minimally as was right for you.

I often forget it's about the mindset and not the interior. And while I recognize that my home's interior is part of what helps my mind feel less cluttered/stressed/anxious, I have to remember that coveting someone else's decor does the exact opposite.

To be continued...

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Things I Wish I Didn't Have

After moving yet again (the 2nd time in a year) I'm beginning to wish I didn't have all the things I do have. Things that I thought added value to my life. Things I have enjoyed having in my space... UNTIL I've had to once again figure out where to hang and/or place them, fix the places they once hung, protected them during transit and until they were safely on the walls or on the appropriate shelves or in the closet.

For a few years I've been curating/collecting George Nelson clocks, a couple of lithographs, and two Eames Hang-It-All's, which have served as art pieces. I've also somewhat recently acquired a few lamps (hanging, floor and desk).

And while I look at and/or use most of these items, finding the right space for them, measuring and drilling and screwing in and hanging them is quite onerous. Especially when you have to do it all again when you move - which as I mentioned previously, is OFTEN.

So, with this latest move I'm starting to wish I had fewer clocks and lamps, one fewer Hang-It-All, and zero lithographs.

I also wish I never purchased that wall mounted/leaning bookshelf a few months back. Even though it fits "perfectly" in the space and houses things I need it to house. It was a disaster to move, requires a wall repair when I leave, and when unmounted it must lie on the floor or else risk falling over.

So I wish I didn't have that bookshelf.

In recent months, in my attempt to be more green, I also purchased a few too many handmade baskets. A few I'm loathe to give away as they're handmade and quite pretty. Yet I have absolutely no need for about 5 of them - and don't really need about 8 or 9 of them.

I also didn't need that ceramic knife and sharpener. Or that glass water bottle with silicone cover. Or those Swell bottles which don't quite work as I'd hoped they would. Or those extra few mugs that were just so pretty I had to have them. Or those kitchen utensils that I haven't gotten around to using - spatula, can opener, measuring cups and spoons, wooden spoons, cast iron pot, copper pan, and on.

Although, I suppose a few of the latter items I don't mind having around "just in case."

I definitely wish I didn't buy that journal, the bullet journal, or the hardback notebook I haven't gotten around to using.

And I wish I never bought that souvenir kitchen towel that I will never, ever, ever use as it's too kitschy for my taste.

I sort of wish I never purchased all those reference books on sailing that I don't get around to referring to. Ever. But at the same time, I have aspirations of learning more about my hobby. I just can't seem to find the time to do the learning. Much like I can't quite find the time to play all those video games on the Classic NES and SNES that I purchased in the past year and that now sit in a lovely basket - out of sight but not out of mind.

I use very few things in my day-to-day. And while there are certain items I own that I love looking at, that bring me "joy" to see in my space, I am starting to think that I'd feel much more joyful if I didn't have them at all.

To be continued...