Minimalism looks different for everyone because it is about finding what is essential to you.(The Minimalists)
If you've been reading my blog for the last few months, you'll know that I'm attempting to rid myself and my life of meaningless stuff. And I'm very slowly getting there. I saw that quote above on Instagram, and it made me stop and think for a moment; the main reason I am so drawn to a more minimalist lifestyle is because there's no perfect picture of it anywhere. It's simply living your life, taking note of its natural ebbs and flows, and making space for it to happen. And since each life is different, each minimal life is different too.
I've discovered 3 little tips that are helpful in allowing our family to make room for the things we enjoy. They're miscellaneous tips that seem to work in multiple areas of minimal life-living, and I hope they can be helpful to you as well.
Balance lived-in with neat-and-tidy
Have you ever been in a home that looked so pristine that you were almost afraid to sit on the sofa? I used to think that's what a minimalist home looked like. I thought it was a home filled with perfectly decorated rooms and absent of any evidence of life. I don't want to have that sort of house; I want my home to be welcoming and tidy, cozy and peaceful. I'm always seeking to find that balance in my home.
Decorate with things we use
I love to decorate. My mom has an incredible gift for making a room look perfectly put together, and she passed on some of her secrets to me! I was so hesitant to reject home decoration in the name of minimalism, and I'm convinced that both can live together. Yes, my decorating styles have changed: gone are the days of carefully arranging a dresser-top full of trinkets. My new home decor style embraces simplicity and uses fewer items that I consider truly beautiful and useful. Many of the things that I consider to be decorative pieces also serve a useful purpose. For example:
- the coffee table holds (only) the books that we're currently reading.
- we brew coffee fresh every morning, and all the necessary tools are displayed (and contained) in a tray on the bookshelf.
- winter boots are stored in a pretty boot tray near the front door for quick use.
- the hooks in the kitchen hold a (pretty) canvas shopping bag, our (pretty) menu plan, and often my (pretty) everyday tote.
- the dog's leash looks nice enough to be stored on the front door knob for easy use.
See the pattern? I decorate with the things we use every day, and I often opt for a nicer quality and better looking item since it will be in full sight. This little trick has served me well for a few different reasons; I tend to take better care of something that I like better and that has cost more money to purchase, and therefore many of these items have lasted far longer than their cheaper, uglier counterparts.
I'm not sure where I came up with this idea. Perhaps I read it on a blog somewhere, and if so, I owe the creator a hundred thank yous. But I think I came up with it on my own, and I'm so proud of it, I just may write a book about how the 8-minute cleanup will change your life. :) It's exactly what it sounds like: spend 8 minutes tidying up your home. Here's how it works:
- Set a timer for 8 minutes. I mean it; set an actual timer. Your trusty iPhone can help you with this.
- Exclude a particularly messy part of the house. This helps keep you on track and avoids burnout when you spend 2 minutes on the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink and know you'll never finish in the next 6 minutes.
- Focus on little piles of clutter. Put away anything that you see out of place. Don't just shuffle things around, put it away.
- Work with someone. It's incredible how much my husband and I can clean in just 8 minutes. We fly around the house like it's a race against the timer, and it's actually an enjoyable task!
- When the timer goes off, stop. Or don't stop. Sometimes 8 minutes of focused cleaning is all I need to get me in the groove to tackle the sink full of dishes. But sometimes I stop when the timer goes off and collapse on the couch in my tidy living room and cozy up with a book.
That's the goal of living minimally anyway: spending less time (8 minutes isn't so bad) on the things we don't like so we have more time to spend on the things we do actually enjoy.