I have been on a journey to pursue a more minimalist lifestyle for the last year. It has been a pursuit that has been inspirational, has changed the way we spend money, has allowed us to be more generous in meeting the needs of those around us, has made it easier to clean our home, and has simplified our lives.
To elaborate on a few of those wonderful changes, I’ll share a little about a conversation I had with my husband last night. As I was wiping down the dining table, I was telling him about how much I enjoy my table. I know, sounds funny. Almost silly. And perhaps exactly the opposite of what you thought someone focused on minimalismt might think. Perhaps you thought that minimalism means you don’t pursue having possessions you really enjoy. I probably would have thought that about minimalism before looking into it myself. But the opposite is quite true. And one of the first ideas that drew me to minimalism is one which encourages people to have only what they believe is beautiful or useful. In short, only have what you love. I liked that idea.
But five years ago we moved overseas and I found myself with a lot of second hand furniture that was lent to us. And it was very rare to find something that I found beautiful amongst the loads of old and well used furniture that filled our apartment. And as we had to bounce around from home to home (thirteen homes in the last five years…..yeah, this has made it so very hard to have only what I find useful or beautiful), I grew to really dislike my home being field with conveniently given or chosen items. I wanted my home to feel like a home to me. Not be filled with things someone else could spare or something that had been lying around and so was given to us.
So, as I was wiping down the dining table last night, I admired my table. It’s so very simple and so very far from perfect. In fact, I got it at the discount section in IKEA. I can admit that is one of my happy places, right? Well, it’s got some dings and we couldn’t get any matching chairs. But, it’s white and huge so I can have lots of friends and kids and laughter and sharing and family around it. And I love it.
And do you know what I realized? This white table has actually given me some energy back. I used to spend actual energy each day disliking my previous table. Like almost everything else in my home, it had been handed down to us. And maybe I’m a little crazy, but friends….not all those crumbs were ours! Seriously. There were cracks and extensions that were dirty when we got it and I was just a little put off. So everyday when I wiped that table down, I spent energy disliking the table and frankly, being a little grossed out.
So, the encouragement I have for you is this. Choose items for your home that you love. Even if they come from the discount section at IKEA. Purchase things that make you happy. And nothing more. The items in your home don’t have to be the latest and greatest, but they should be things you find beautiful and even inspiring. And rather than having a whole bunch of cheaper items, just get the one thing you really want. Instead of buying into the lie that more is better and purchasing a large number of items over one quality time, get the one thing that would really make you smile.
Minimalism is about having less. But it’s also about enjoying the less you have much more than the more you could have. I can personally attest to this being so very true.
And I would encourage you to try it, too.
Practical Tip: If you are wondering about how to get started getting that one perfect thing you’ve had on your mind, consider looking through what you’ve got in your home and selling some of the items you really don’t care that much about and then purchasing the one item you really want. This is what I did to get my dinged up family sized table! I sold a shoe bench, a collapsable dining table we stored off to the side except when we had guests, and our daily used dining table with chairs. Yep….I got rid of all that and was able to purchase my dearly loved table and have a little left over!
Surround yourself with that which you find beautiful and useful. Choose items you love and let go of thinking you have to have so much stuff in order to make you happy. You’ll actually be much happier with only items in your home that inspire you and hopefully, like me, you’ll find that the simpler life is actually completely life and energy giving!