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...

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