What is Minimalism? pt 2

Why minimalism?

Are you interested in minimalism because you heard it was a trendy way to decorate your home? If you’re a trend follower, then go ahead and decorate your home in a minimalist style. Sell your furniture and replace it all with items you picked out of the IKEA catalog. Paint all your walls white. Go through what’s left in your home, pack up everything, and pay someone $100+ a month to store it in a 10 x 10 foot box and bask in your trendy, minimalist home.

That is, until you tire of having to go back and forth between your home and your storage unit because you keep needing something you packed away. Until you swap out that stiff wooden chair for one that’s cushioned…and reclines…and maybe vibrates. Until you get tired of white walls and paint them green. Until you decide to chuck it all and hop onto the next design trend that comes along, like “maximalism.”

In one of my Facebook minimalism groups, a member posted a link to an article on ApartmentTherapy.com titled “Move Over, Minimalism! There’s a Different Look Gaining Popularity.” The article was about the latest style trend spotted on Pinterest, a kind of “maximalism” to replace the trend of minimalist design. It’s a sort of modern Victorianism, where decorations and color take the place of clear surfaces and stark white walls. Where plush, dark leather couches take the place of blond wood Swedish-style chairs.

Something like this:

Image credit: Alvhem

Comments in my group were varied but went along the lines of:

“This article suggests ‘Minimalism’ is just a fashion statement! As we all know, it is soooo much more than that!”

“Yeah, nah. I’ll stick to minimalism. I have my room painted in the same green [as one of the images in the article] without all the junk in it.”

“If you’re a minimalist because its the current ‘fad’ then you’re doing it wrong.”

So is it a fad?

The ApartmentTherapy.com article may be right about minimalism as a style trend having to make way for the next trend of maximalism because we all know that trends and fads come and go (and come back again). What bothers me, and seems to bother my group members as well, is that the article fails to comprehend what minimalism is all about.

So, again, what is it? And why?

Minimalism is about the conscious decision we make to live our lives with intention, to have only those things around us that serve a purpose, to spend our time taking care of ourselves and not taking care of “stuff.”

Minimalism, you see, isn’t a “style.” It’s a “lifestyle.” “Style” follows the trends and dictates of others who say, “This is how you should be living,” and “Lifestyle” says, “I’ll do it my own way, thanks.”

Do you rush out to buy the latest eyeshadow color that Kendall Jenner is wearing because “if Kendall’s wearing it, then I have to have it?” Or do you ignore the trend and keep to the color palette that works best for your skin? Do you trade in your 2010 Chevy Malibu because your neighbor just traded in his 2014 Mercedes for a brand new 2017 model? Or do you enjoy the freedom of having no car payments and a well-running vehicle?

Is this what a fulfilled life is all about? Using our stuff to prove that we’re better than everyone else?

Which one reflects your life? Are you trying to keep up with the Kardashians (and why would you do that? why???) or are you just tired of the ever-changing whims of current trends and want to ditch it all so you can do your own thing?

The minimalist lifestyle is tailor-made for those who want to do just that. We desire to live our lives with less clutter and more life in our lives. We want to spend time with family and friends, not sorting and organizing our stuff. We do not want to have the burden of time and expense involved in following the dictates of others. We want to go to bed at night with peace in our hearts and minds, knowing that the next day will bring joy, not stress.

This is true minimalism.

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