MINIMALISM // LIFE & DESIGN STYLE
"I threw out all of my sh*t and now I'm the happiest person on earth"
"I stopped talking to all of my friends, and now I never have to make any plans!"
"I only eat things that are clear"
Oh, if it were only that simple, my friends. No, just kidding, that is not how I treat minimalism and neither should you. While it seems like the fiery depths of hell have opened up and the dead walk among us, minimalism offers a small beacon of hope. Are you saying that minimalism is a sign of resistance? Maybe. Will it stop fascism? Probably not. Then what is the point if we are all going to drown in our snowflake tears before St. Patrick's Day?
MINIMALISM: THE MINDSET
Step 1 in adopting minimalism is to figure out why you want to do this in the first place. What makes you happy?
Don't know what makes you happy? That's ok, start smaller with questions like: What doesn't give me anxiety? Do I like animals more than humans? What if I learned to use the word "no"? What if I learned to listen to the word "no"? These will all help to jumpstart the brainstorm on why you actually want to wake up in the morning. Minimalism is not about shutting everything down; it's about making more space for the things that actually matter to you. For me, it's about my family and the one I want to start (not like right now. Chill, you guys). For Trump, it's about signing things that he's told to. For Morty, it's about chewing things.
Get into the habit of recognizing how you feel when going about your normal daily activities. If you feel happy and fulfilled most of the time....OMG HOW DID YOU DO THAT YOU SORCERER?!? If you feel anxious and uneasy most of the time, there might be a problem. In this phase of decluttering your mind, go easy on yourself. Try picking up something to calm your mind like a hot bath, meditation, or journaling.
MINIMALISM: THE LIFESTYLE
If you are looking for ways to declutter your closet or kitchen, might I point you in the direction of other more appropriate sources: here & here. Both of those books treat the superficial problems that come with over-consumption. Once you have thrown all your belongings away (JUST KIDDING, PLEASE DON'T DO THAT), go ahead and check out this documentary on Netflix.
MINIMALISM: THE DESIGN STYLE
Here's the part I'm actually licensed to talk about: Design. It's also, unfortunately, the least important part of the minimalist's journey. Remember, minimalism is not about how square or white something is, it is about how useful or necessary something is. Even that sentence did not need both "useful" and "necessary". Minimalist design is free from decoration for the sake of decoration. It does not need glitter, fringe, trim, or buttons on its furniture. It does not need magazine holders, baskets for blankets, dozens of brushed nickel frames in its Living Rooms. It needs whatever is required for the dweller to live a satisfying and fruitful life.
What the hell does that mean, Lex? It means that I don't have the exact answer. But I have a couple of guidelines to help you from buying one too many trinkets.
FUNCTION: Write down the function of each room in your home. If you live with someone or several someones, ask them for their viewpoint on that room's function. Everything that is currently in that room that is not directly contributing to that room's function: GET IT OUT!
EXAMPLE: Our bedroom is for sleeping, getting dressed, getting undressed (hell yeah!), and relaxing. There is no reason for Hunter to store his motorcycle gear or for me to store my yoga mat in there. I just wanted to tell you that Hunter has a motorcycle and that I do yoga so that we sound sexy and cool.
DUPLICATES: Do you already own one that still works? Don't buy a new one. Do you really need this new version? No, probably not. But this one is so much prettier! Ok, this is where I usually break down because I'm a designer; my whole "thing" is about being surrounded by pretty. My fix for this is to at least make sure the new item is still within my budget and that I promptly donate the other one.
EXAMPLE: I had 2 desks in my home office. One was metal with white powder-coating on casters. The other was a faux-antiqued wood industrial drafting table. This town was just not big enough for the three of us. I put the industrial drafting table up on craigslist and found it a good home with someone who would appreciate it the way I never could! Ok, that's too far and that leads me to my next guideline.
SENTIMENTAL: Objects are not people. Do not value objects above people. Unless of course you possess a sacred amulet that unlocks all the secrets of this world and the next. If you have trouble parting with something, that may indicate that you have given it too much unwarranted value. Listen, I know it hurts. I once had to give up all of my Leonardo DiCaprio paraphernalia because I was a "big girl" and I was going to "college." Note: this does not include basic human needs like food, shelter, or clean water.
EXAMPLE: After my chic-as-hell grandmother passed away in 2010, my mother and I had to go through all of her belongings. I wanted to keep everything, especially her furniture (remember, she was chic-as-hell), but I didn't have the space. I was 20 years old; I had to be selective. I decided upon a gold ring, 2 clutch purses, and a piece of artwork. I wear the ring every single day. The clutches are the only ones I own. And the artwork was reframed to match my current decor. The important thing is that I hold the power to remember my grandmother far beyond what these objects could.
MAINTENANCE: Do you clean the item more than you actually use it? GET IT OUT! Is this item really just a super cute way to hide something that you don't really use? GET IT OUT!
EXAMPLE: Do not purchase items that are just beautiful dust collectors: moroccan poufs, lucite trays, magazine holders, etc. And while you are figuring out your minimalist voice, I must urge you to stay away from The Container Store and do not even think about getting a storage unit. Managing your clutter is not the same as getting rid of it.
LOVE: If you love it, keep it. If it makes you feel good, keep it. This is the best part about minimalism: if you find something that you love, you've found something you love! Way to go, man! You've done what most of us don't even think about.
EXAMPLE: We love the show Rick & Morty. We love it so much, we named our dog Morty. I made 3 prints for Hunter's office that call back to the show. They look cool and they remind of us what a freaking good show it is and when is the third season coming?
Just get rid of one item that has outlived its purpose. Today. That's it.