Let’s just get this out of the way from the beginning. There are some aspects which appeal to me but unless something within me does a major shift, I’ll never be a minimalist.
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Minimalism ~ A Definition
While the dictionary definition of minimalism refers to a trend or movement related to music and art, the current popular use of the word is different. Minimalism is a lifestyle in which excess is avoided, clutter is eliminated and an effort is made to live simply.
The Minimalism Trend
The interest in minimalism is growing by leaps and bounds. There are countless books, magazines, blogs and articles devoted to this trend. While it may seem like a relatively new fad, there have always been those who embraced this philosophy, Thoreau being an obvious example. Still, in terms of widespread appeal, minimalism is a fairly recent phenomenon.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are indeed aspects of the current minimalism trend which do appeal to me. I have a fairly strong anti-consumerism streak and I honestly don’t get a big thrill out of shopping (except for books). I am generally a pretty contented person and don’t need a lot of “stuff” to be happy. I like a relatively tidy home and I despise not being able to find things. I also like the idea of an easily cleaned and maintained home.
On the other hand, when it comes right down to it, I simply do not like minimalist spaces. They feel cold and austere to me. And a little boring.
I’m sure part of it has to do with the homes I grew up in. My mom is about as far from a minimalist as you can get without crossing the line into hoader-land. Every flat surface in my parents’ home is liberally decorated (no doubt why I grew up hating to dust). The other homes in which I spent a lot of time tended to be rather “full”, too. So I suppose that is partly responsible for my distaste for sparsely decorated spaces – they just feel foreign to me. Or like a hotel room.
And then there’s my penchant for reading cosy, homey British novels with their descriptions of crackling fires, tea kettles whistling on Aga stoves, chintz-covered sofas and chairs, books stacked on tables, and “wellies” in a row by the door.
While I do like a tidy home, I also like a home which feels warm, cosy and comfortable. There’s a difference between “littered” and “lived in”.
Littered: Dirty socks on the floor, a sink full of dirty dishes, piles of items which belong elsewhere.
Lived in: A couple of books sitting next to a favorite chair, a puzzle in progress on a table, a letter on the entry table that needs to be mailed, sheet music open on the piano, a warm afghan draped over the arm of a chair or sofa.
I love lots of artwork on my walls, stacks of books, plants, candles, fresh flowers, cosy afghans on every chair or sofa, and most of all…evidence that life is being lived in my home. And that is why I’ll never truly embrace minimalism.
What about you? Are you a minimalist or want to be? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Here are some resources you might find interesting:
Books About Minimalism
I have a copy of this which I bought and read many, many years ago. It does have a lot of helpful information and ideas.
I haven’t read this one but it kept popping up on “best books about minimalism” lists.
This one happens to be one of the October LWD book club selections which you may find surprising consider my stance on minimalism. However, my understanding is that this book deals more with a simplified approach to productivity rather than just suggesting you get rid of everything you own. I haven’t read it yet but after I do I’ll probably write a review about it.
Is there anyone left who hasn’t read this one? This is the book which has launched minimalism into pop culture status. Personally, it didn’t do much for me so I gave away my copy. It simply did not resonate with me on any level.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…” Even though minimalism isn’t my thing I’ll have to admit that Walden DOES speak to me. Simplicity, time alone, nature…
Blogs About Minimalism
For a look at extreme minimalism check out this video: