I have a friend with a bookcase in her living room. It has four shelves… and 36 books, 11 figurines, 24 photos, 2 souvenir coffee mugs, various snow globes, flower arrangements, vases, and candles.
People often define minimalism as removing all material possessions from your life. They ask me, “How do you live life as a minimalist? It sounds so boring.” But their definition is founded on an incorrect assumption.
Minimalism isn’t just the removal of all physical possessions. It is also the intentional promotion of the things I value most. It is about deciding what is most important in your life and removing the things that distract you from it.
Which bring me back to my friend’s bookcase. As I look at her bookcase, I ask myself, “What is it that she values most?” I can’t tell by looking her at bookcase—it’s too crowded with things that are less important.
One benefit of minimalism is that you are able to visibly declare what is most important to you. Look around your living room. What does it communicate about you? If a total stranger walked in, what would they identify is most important? Is it? Or has the most important things in your life become crowded out by less important things?
professor Rasheed says
i strongly advocate the philosophy of minimalism. it can save from many problems and challenges of modern life. We need to highlight the benefits of such concepts
Great post! I had never thought of minimalism in terms of quality over quantity. I always thought of having little rather then having only what you truly value. Thank you for the insight!
We have been cleaning out my mom’s condo. Found some beautiful dishes. Kept the serving pieces from one set and am taking more of another set because I like the colors better. I have one display piece in my living room, when it gets full, things have to go. What’s important? Pictures of my children and grandchildren. I very seldom, maybe once a year, buy anything new. People give me a lot of clothes, cuttings of indoor plants, shampoo, soap. More is going as the dishes are coming in.
I’m having a hard time finding the line between meaningful items to display and knickknacks that have unnecessary emotions attached to them.
Out of curiosity, what do you choose to display in your home? (Bonus points for posting pictures!) :-)
Tim Hites says
Sold my Sony Trintion Color TV to my father in law in 1978. Have not owned one since.
We raised two kids and took them to the bookstore every Firday and gave each of them some $ and let them get whatever they were excited about reading.
I quit telling people we didn’t have a TV because they would look at me like I was a Communist! I also had people ask if we weren’t depriving our children of an education.
My son has two Masters Degrees, has published two books and works for the London Metro Police Dept. My daughter has a law degree and is an attorney working for a wind energy company in Portland so I guess they survived despite their cultural deprivations.
Yvette B says
This is key to home decor: displaying what you value.
Jon Weston says
My family has inherited so much from previous generations, we’ve found it hard to know what to do with it all. It’s doubly hard when sentiment is attached. So now when we de-clutter, we try to ask ourselves how many different goals an item satisfies — is it useful? Is it beautiful? Does it have a family history? Is it made to last? Is it highly liquidable?
The more of these requirements an object has to have, the fewer we keep — and the ones that we do keep, we cherish.
Heirlooms seem to be the most difficult.
@Heather I display my pictures as works of art or focal points. I have 3 family pictures in my entryway that are in the same 11×14 frames. It is very intentional – not a random grouping. Similarly, I have a collection of photos on my piano – each in its own interesting frame but not crowded.