The concept of minimalism has attracted me for years, partly because I’m convinced over-consumption is hurting our planet and our collective soul, and partly because I’m a control freak. Though I truly do have environmental and spiritual concerns regarding materialism, the real truth is that clutter simply overwhelms me.
In effort to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, I studied books and blogs on the subject like it was my job. (A quick internet search yields hundreds of sources on minimalism and its sister subject, simplicity.) I examined every object lurking in every drawer, cabinet, and closet. My family watched in amusement/horror as I stripped our home of everything but the essentials, packed my Prius with excess dishes, clothing, books, and knick-knacks, and stuffed community donation bins.
I loved our new minimalist space. I could breathe more deeply and think more clearly. But eventually, I found the sterile, mostly colorless, aesthetic a bit depressing. I longed to see a bouquet of fresh flowers, a stack of well-loved books, and my mother’s pewter tea set. Scented candles and throw pillows slowly made their way into my big red shopping cart and into our home. Maybe I really was just a material girl living in a material world.
After several failed attempts at this thing called minimalism, I asked myself, “How can I embrace simplicity and still feather my nest with a few favorite things without foolishly flapping about like a magpie attracted to every shiny object?” Finally, I landed on something that works for me. I call it ‘Pretty Minimalist.’ Pretty~ as in fairly or mostly and as in beautiful or lovely. Minimalist~ as in pared down to only the things deemed necessary for my well-being and comfort.
In practical terms, this means consciously thinking about each and every possession in my home. My kitchen holds only dishes and cooking utensils that I love and use. My closet has just a few outfits that I feel good wearing. I keep only a small number of books and treasures that continue to bring a smile.
I must say that my darling husband goes along with all of this. Long before Marie Kondo published her delightful, best-selling book, Spark Joy, Mike asked, “Does it make you happy?” If yes, it stays. (In return, I try to lovingly overlook the trophies, trinkets, and tools that make him happy.)
One of my favorite minimalist quotes was written by William Morris in the 1800’s, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful.” Because we all have our own definition of what’s useful and beautiful, I don’t expect my philosophy to work for everyone, but if ‘Pretty Minimalist’ appeals to you, please adopt it as your own.
Today, intentionally think about your material possessions~ your shirt, coffee mug, ink pen, hair products, and curios. Do you find each item useful and beautiful? Do you have duplicates that could be passed on and enjoyed by someone else? Are you honoring your possessions by keeping them in good order?
There is so much chaos in the world that we are unable to control~ what’s within the walls of our home we may as well consciously consider, appreciate, and choose to make as lovely as possible.
~Think on These Things~