Minimalism, which originated in the art world, is defined as a design and style in which the simplest & fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect. Recently the term "minimalism" has become representative of a lifestyle that aims to remove clutter from all facets of one's life.
In the big picture, todays minimalism is about owning less. It's about avoiding the unnecessary. It's about simplicity, utility & elegance. It's the embodiment of the term "quality over quantity" in the sense that you have less things, but the things you do have are of better quality, last you longer and may also hold meaning to you or spark joy. Minimalism is characterized by intentionality and by getting rid of distractions and impulse purchases. As a minimalist, you would intend to purchase an item that you truly need, not just want, and as a result other aspects of your life would improve (including your financials, for one!). Practiced minimalists have a freedom from the urge to possess just to have something.
Minimalism in a lifestyle sense is defined & approached differently by different people - and that to me is the best part about it. There is no "one-size fits all" approach to a minimalistic lifestyle, which allows you to personally define the term and decide how, where and to what degree you will apply this approach in the different areas of your life. There is no judgement when it comes to minimalism. There are no credentials needed to call yourself a minimalist and there is no governing entity on whether you’re doing minimalism right. As long as what you are doing and how you are doing it feels positive to you, you're set.
To me, minimalism is simply about living intentionally. Minimalism to me means cutting out the extras and owning only what adds happiness, time and value to my life. Removing the clutter in my home and in my life allows me to better use my time and mental energy on the things that truly matter to me. I apply this lifestyle in certain areas of my life that I feel best about and leave it out of the areas I don't feel the need for it. As an example, the furniture and decor in my home is very minimal. I have few pieces of furniture and decor because I like the look and feel of it. All of the pieces I own, I love. And when it comes to the cleaning and upkeep of my home, I don't have to spend hours dusting a hundred knick-knacks or tediously vacuuming three different area rugs. On the contrary, my shoe collection is quite large and not at all minimalistic as I do not feel the need or the want to apply the minimalistic approach to this facet of my life at this time. Do I absolutely need every pair of shoes I own? Not all of them. But I do I love having options and variety when it comes to picking out my footwear for the day. And the up keep and organization of the shoes that I have is not a large task that takes a lot from my time and energy. By customizing minimalism to my life in way that feels good and authentic to me, I have more time, energy and space for the things that truly matter to me. And at the end of the day, it feels good to me to have less clutter.
A great way to start having "less" is by doing a serious clean-out of your space. You may choose to Marie Kondo it or just use your own methods of choosing what to keep and what to get rid of. You can donate the items that are in good condition to charity, sell them or offer them to friends & family. Now remember; just because you now have more space does not mean you need to fill it back up with new items. Ensure that your purchases going forward are intentional and well thought out to avoid ending back at square one with a cluttered house. If you plan to replace or purchase any furniture, it may be helpful to choose multi-purpose furniture such as a captains bed, for example, which is multi-purpose in the way that it is a bed frame, but also has built-in drawers for storage which may allow you to get rid of other bulky storage options in your home. Another example of a multi-purpose space (and potentially money) saving option is a wall mounted pull out desk with storage. Something like this would allow you to save space by having the ability to fold your desk up into the wall when not in use, and potentially eliminate the need for buying extra storage, as the wall mounted section of the desk contains storage shelves. It could also potentially eliminate the need to have a separate room in your home dedicated to a home office, which could instead be used for something else that you love such as a studio room for art or a home gym. Having less clutter in the home not only visually looks better, but it feels better too as the sense of space increases and you have less to clean, organize and upkeep, therefore saving you time & energy. That being said, if being surrounded by many items in your home sparks joy for you, that is your prerogative. Maybe you can try implementing minimalism to your life in a different way.
I won't lie, when minimalism was gaining popularity a few years ago and I didn't know much about it and I thought it sounded a little pretentious. As I opened my mind and heart to the idea and did the research, I learned that it can be a useful tool and mindset that you can apply to many aspects of your life. It's not for everyone, and that's OK. If you're interested in learning more, I recommend reading one of the many blogs available online, listening to a podcast, or watching a youtube video on the subject. The podcast that I found to be most useful and enjoyable to listen to is "The Minimalists Podcast". I hope that this blog post provided some knowledge on a new subject or helped you to better understand the term. Please feel free to share your experience with minimalism - I'd love to hear! If you have any questions relating to minimalism or real estate, please don't hesitate to reach out.
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