Let's start off by asking what is minimalism? According to some minimalism is a way of simplifying your life. It is a way of clearing out what you do not need and it allows you to focus on what is truly important to you and in your everyday life. It allows you to find balance and restores inner peace by allowing you to feel good about the way you live.
Growing up in a small family of 3 (my mom, younger sister and I) we did not have a lot of stuff. It seemed like we only ever had what we really needed. My mom use to say “what I have, I have and what I don’t, I don’t”. I think it was her way of reminding us not to obsess over things we didn’t have but instead to be happy and grateful for what we did. I guess growing up with little allowed me to be creative with what I did have and to to keep finding new ways to reinvent the spaces around me. I grew up with the mentality that less is more which has also transpired into the way that I choose to decorate our home. I like to style and decorate but in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s a lot.
There is also another reason that I choose the simpler way of decorating. You see a few years back I was diagnosed with anxiety…yes anxiety. One of the things that really seemed to helped me cope with it was clearing out the spaces around me. That overwhelming feeling that I use to get and that fact that there was always something to clean up use to make me feel anxious. It seemed like the more things I had just for the sake of having, made my anxiety so much worse. Every little thing seemed like a lot and it made me feel overwhelmed very easily. I decided to start clearing out spaces. I started with my closet and got rid of clothes I had been holding onto in hopes that I would some day wear. I kept only pieces that I loved and that I felt good wearing. I did the same with my home decor. Some of the items I no longer cared for but was holding onto them for the fact that they reminded me of my first apartment. My first purchases with my first real job! Sadly I realized this was not enough of a reason to hold onto them. I tackled the kitchen getting rid of old dishes I had that were chipped or just no longer part of a full set. Glassware, cutlery you name it it all went. Slowly, slowly I began clearing out spaces. Our trips to Value Village became more frequent as we got rid of things to donate.
Once all those things had gone I had room again. I felt I could breath. My mind was clear. I felt less anxious and more relaxed. From that day forward I promised myself I would only buy things I really loved or that served a purpose; not just for the sake of saying I bought it just to have it. Years later I find this method still works for me. I do a small clear out once or twice a year. I offer things up to family and friends and then whatever is left over gets donated.
Most times I decorate using what I already have. I find new ways to use and style the same pieces throughout our home. I usually take to paint to give something a fresh new look. Something so simple as doing this has allowed me to fall back in love with some of my favorite pieces. I also take the time to research things I want to purchase before I make the splurge. Decorating in a more simple way has allowed me to dedicate more attention to certain special pieces in our home. I now enjoy the look of clean surfaces that allow my mind to think freely and be creative. Also because we don’t have a lot of things cleaning our home is so much easier and a lot quicker to get through. There aren’t as many things to dust or put back in their place. Often we are told that our home looks like it is straight out of a magazine (laugh out loud). Again I think that's just because we only have what we really love and need.
I know minimalism is not for everyone but it’s what works for us. It is what works for me and allows me to live a more healthy lifestyle. I recommend it to anyone that is looking for a more simple way of living. Reducing all the excess stuff in your home could be a way of restoring calmness and peace back in your life.