Does total Minimalism as a lifestyle appeal to you? The calm, soothing atmosphere of Zen gardens, living in a whitewashed loft with large windows that let the light in, only the most essential furniture and items necessary for your daily life, all your belongings in a backpack? If that’s how you live already, don’t read on…
The Past: Dreaming of Emptiness
For quite a while that was what I wanted, some 20 years ago. Following a complete redecoration of our living room, and while waiting for the final coat of paint to dry, I sat there on a big pillow on the floor in the middle of the empty room. The only light, a floodlight because we had disconnected the normal room lighting, stood on the floor and cast an almost surreal light towards a corner of the room. Magic…and in stark contrast to the rest of our house…
I kept thinking about how I could achieve this emptiness at least in my own room, but whenever I looked at my craft materials and files and folders and books that documented my many creative interests, I just couldn’t get rid of them. I mean, if I reduced the furniture to just a shelf and a box, there was nowhere that I could hide = store them. And I just loved my stuff too much because of what I could create with it.
About a couple of years later I moved country. Apart from 5 boxes with books and textiles, I only took with me what fit in my car, which was indeed only the very essentials (to me), few clothes, a few plates, cutlery and pots…but including my sewing machine, an iron and ironing board and my guitar.
That was in 1999. Now I live – once again – in a house where 2 rooms are full of textiles and various other recycled art and craft materials, and once again I was faced with a decision.
All or Nothing or Both?
During the past years, however, I also realised that I need creative abundance around me just as much as I need white space; I do need colour, inspiration, spontaneous combinations of shapes and forms and materials, and when I throw or hide them away (which I did for a while) I’m not happy either. My blog Quilting Oneness is an expression of my dream: Combining “scandinavian simplicity with oriental abundance”.
I still want to live a spacious life, without overwhelm, without feeling crowded in by my belongings, in a place that’s quick and easy to clean because there’s no clutter on the surfaces. Low maintenance of my surroundings does not only free up a lot of space, but time as well!
So at least for me, Minimalism is not about having little or no possessions, but instead choosing and reducing what I surround myself with to what I love, what really matters to me. And my art and craft materials do matter because that’s what a big part of this life of mine is about.
A few months ago, a big Shift happened within – a shift of mindset that showed me that it is indeed possible to live in simplicity AND abundance at the same time. It’s about economising, about choice, about freeing myself from all that is not aligned with my vision of my life, about not spending time on “must do”, “should have” or others’ opinions.
It was a radical, life-changing resolution to take on only what energises me, what fulfils me and sustains me in a happy, joyful way, and to let go of what doesn’t, be that objects or thoughts.
“Minimalism is more than decluttering ‘stuff’”
Since then I came across several articles about decluttering as a shift of mindset that gave me fuel and encouraged me to stay on my path. I also thought about writing a couple here, but because so many other important things are going on at the moment, I didn’t take the time to do so.
And today I came across this blog post by Melissa of Simple Lionheart Life – it resonates so much with me that I am taking the time to tell you my story…just so you might understand why I simply have to share it:
Decluttering the physical “stuff” you own is an important part of embracing a minimalist lifestyle. But minimalism actually goes far beyond decluttering the “stuff” you own. Truly embracing minimalism, and experiencing all the benefits that come with it, also includes decluttering certain mindsets, behaviours and thought patterns that keep you attached to things you own to begin with.
Hope you enjoy this article as much as I do!