Some people are surprised when they enter my house. Living the minimalist label conveys a certain image of how your home should look. Shiny, spick and span. No clutter. No storage for clutter. Clean, empty surfaces, an uncomfortable designer chair or two, some ludicrous artwork.
My house does not look like that.
What I love about minimalism is that you can bend and shape it to fit with your life and your personality. You can dive in and get rid of everything you own, or you can use it as a tool to help you gain more control over your life, to gain a greater understanding of yourself and your world. It doesn’t have to mean a sterile environment, unless that’s what sits well and works for you.
So, my house is a jumbly old cottage with light switches that make no sense and photos on the wall. I have big, old armchairs with a plethora of mismatched blankets. I have shelves which *gasp* are not empty, despite the name of this blog… I’ve got planks balanced on bricks with board games, I’ve got books on more than one shelf, I’ve got postcards on the fridge. All these things make me happy.
What my house is not is cluttered. I used to live with piles of clothes, I used to clear out Ikea’s bargain corner because I felt sorry for the mismatched plates. I used to buy books like a trooper, books I’d already read and just liked the dust jacket. I rampaged Primark and collected tat and shoved it all in boxes and on shelves and then just ended up piling most of it in corners.
Now, my house is less like a junk shop and more like a home. By nature I’m pretty messy, I’m very disorganised, and I still love pebbles and crispy leaves and oddly shaped driftwood.
But minimalism has helped me to pursue these loves in a different way. I still live my life in a sort of pursuit. But I am in pursuit not of excess, but of something more.
I love all the things in my house, including my house itself. But, now, things aren’t what really matter any more. My home is an environment to inspire me, to make me feel safe, to nest, to curate, to share with my husband. But the things I seek now are growth, knowledge, understanding. I want to collect experiences, not shoes. I want to fill my mind with emotion, with awe, with curiosity. Not with debt, nor with sweatshop t-shirts or plastic bags.
Minimalism suits me because it’s a tool to help me experience more of the world. Minimalism suits me, because I can take the parts of it I enjoy, and which help my journey. Minimalism suits me, because its basis is expansion, not deprivation.
And this expansion is not of our closets, but of our minds. Fulfilment not through consumerism, but through experience, interaction, curiosity and knowledge.
Joy, not from maxing out our credit cards, but from the pure, simple experience of a new day, a day where anything is possible.