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Monday, September 24, 2012

What is all this 'minimalism' talk anyways?

Hello Reader!


Welcome to my blog! I'm so happy you stopped by :)

So how did I get into the 'minimalism' fad... well, before you run away let me just say its not what we think. I actually ran into it through a blog with a great post about how you can pack 10 days worth of clothes into a carry on, which intrigued me because I never use half of what I bring with me anywhere anyways and always hated it but just couldnt seem to let it go once the next trip came. (So many what-ifs! Girls you get me!) Come to find out, the author of that post is a minimalist to the core. BUT! Her story was even more fascinating because she went from being a complete shopaholic down to adorable basics - paying off 60K in debt within 18 months along the way. I'd heard of minimalism, but really didnt understand it so I started reading more of her blog and loved the concept. I believe my mind understood the concept of "withholding from every impulse and knowing you wont die" after I lost 25 pounds. I had never lost weight before and after I went through it I realized I didn't need what I thought I did - and that overflowed into other areas of my life. Though, to most true minimalists I'm probably pretty moderate.

For example: My first search for 'minimalism' in Google ended up with a bunch of fancy photos, one after the other, of the most modern looking houses, decor and furniture that money can buy, even if it there is hardly anything in the house. Is this true minimalism? I expected there to be photos of normal homes with normal furnishings and creative decor to embrace the idea of living simply. After looking at pages on end of my google search, I felt like I had to sell everything and buy a modern home with cool mod furniture in order to be a 'minimalist'. For most of us humble happy little folk, with families and kids, and cute charming little homes, that doesn't work too well. So, the search actually shocked me. How can those places be deemed 'minimalistic?' As much as I'd love a house that looks like a million dollar spa, the whole point of minimalism, as I understand it, is to live with less so you can actually have more, and that usually means living completely inside of your means, and perhaps then some. Most families and individuals live way outside their means and that, we have learned, leads to much more stress...so cleverly disguised in lots of pretty things we aquire. I know many people prefer the modern decor look, but for myself, I can't relax in a place that looks like an office or a white box. I have a hard time identifying emotionally with anything that doesn't resemble some sort of a personality (and I know we're not all the same blank white/grey canvases). Then... I thought, hey maybe there is a 'cozy' type of minimalism!

Nope! My second search of 'cozy minimalism' lead to the same results! There were a few gems..but overall that was pretty disappointing. :( Soooo...as much as I wanted to take part in minimalism, I was worried about parting with a lot of beloved items. I was worried my house wouldnt have anything in it and we would look poor. I was worried it would be stark and cold. I worried our home wouldn't be a mirror of our cute characteristics and passions. But, I realized soon enough that wasnt true! In fact, our home looked richer than ever!

So, I put on my big girl boots and did my first purge the following weekend. Tackling: The Bathroom. From the linen closet alone I threw out one full trashbag of old items, and filled four department store shopping bags of items to sell. (Unopened lotions, soaps, nailpolishes, towel sets that no longer match our bath decor, storage containers, even some curling irons I havent used for 5 years or more). That doesnt include what came out of storage drawers, and under the sink cabinets. After it was all said and done, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. The bathroom shelves were airy and light, but still cozy and inviting (picutres to come soon). Everything was organized because there was much more space than was needed after the purge, and only items we actually used on a daily basis were sitting there. My husband was so suprised and happy - He kept asking me if I was ok (ha!). Girlish clutter is probably his biggest nightmare, but hes so good to me he let me torture him for years :).

My home is still a work in progress. I've since completed the Guest Room closet, the Storage closet in the Kitchen, the Hallway closet, our Livingroom (sold a China Cabinet, two 9 and 6 Cubbie Ikea Shelves and donated an old broken chair we kept around cause we thought someday we might fix it). Now, the home (recently decorated for the lovely fall season) seems so airy, open, spacious and relaxing, yet warm and comfortable at the same time. I had no idea things could actually create stress and discontentment - and the hold it had on us.

With each purging of everything in our home that was never necessary, yet still creatively maintaining a cozy homely environment, I feel more and more confident that living minimally was the best thing I ever learned. (However, we do have an emergency 6-12 month survival closet, and I believe especially for a family, that is very wise to have). Aside from this, my challenge is to keep the home a place of love, contentment, relaxation; comfortable, inviting and a palette of our character and quirks. I knew I couldn't be the only one who feels this way so this is why I have created this blog. For myself, its a place I can just blab about this whole wonderful journey. Pictures of my purges will be coming soon! But most of all, I hope it encourages someone to embrace the simple but cozy life too. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs!

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