Define Minimal

I am so excited to show you my living room. I have worked on the wall painting, and the furniture painting and layout of my main living area. I purchased the roll back wicker chair at a garage sale for $50–which was really beyond my budget but it was so wonderful I had to buy it. I talked the owner down from $75 as I recall and then showed her the gray skies which looked like more rain. I sympathized with her that this heavy chair would probably need to be pulled back into her driveway into the garage another time before the day was over. I told her how beautiful her chair was and she offered me a shelf to match (but I just wanted the chair). I had her so buttered up, and being the wonderful lady she was, she soon offered it to me for my price and even helped me lift it into the trunk of my little car, tying it in with twine she had! How is that for a great garage sale host?

So what inspired me to begin a life of minimalism? To be honest, I got tired of dusting around things. I know, not really an inspirational statement for minimal living, but truthful, sorry. The other thing was, when I would come into a room that was busy with patterns and things on the walls or sitting around the room on various surfaces, I would feel my energy being sapped. Messiness is like a house vampire, to my thinking, the mess seems to pull all the energy out of me.

Reading this last paragraph you probably have a picture in your mind of my very clean home. Sorry to burst your bubble but I am NOT that neat. When I am ‘creating’ in my home, my mess follows me, so it doesn’t just stay in one area or even a room if it did then creating would not be that much fun, seriously.

I have struggled with my minimalism most of my life. I love to create things which always brings mess with it, I also enjoy collecting and that will add more things to dust around. Neither are inductive to a minimal lifestyle.

I also love color in my home, although I am doing more white walls and rugs than I’ve ever done in any home. Color brings excitement which is in itself an energy, so living with less means not splashing color onto every surface. I need what graphic designers call ‘white space’ in my room. A place for my eyes to rest.

If your room has so much color or décor in it, the effect will be lost, its like a magazine without pictures, without columns and without spaces between the lines. Your eyes look for a place to just rest with no need to translate what the colors and décor mean. Clutter will stress a room, it takes it from relaxing to stress in 5 seconds, and it will have a paradoxical effect on its visitors. In other words our messes can translate into stress and everyone is looking for a stress-free life, so what can you do?

My solution has been to add more white into my rooms. I painted the ceilings and most of my walls white, I added a large white area rug into the living area of our home, and cleaned up some messes. This is not something I did overnight at all, this is a process that I am still striving for and trying to teach my son to do also as he grows into adulthood. On a good day when my home is ‘straightened’ I am hoping my friends will be greeted with a relaxing atmosphere and hospitality.

I took down my gallery walls, which I loved when I designed them, but honestly when I would walk into the room all I saw on the walls were clutter. We live in a fairly small home—a little over 1000sf. So you just don’t get to move away from clutter when it invades your space. My family’s photos are better off in my scrapbooks I think, and I love to look through them any chance I get.

Other choices are in my future, like I said it’s a process and someday when I can take my beige carpet out and add something like a wood to my floors I will be one step closer. Simple looking and easy to take care of that’s my definition of minimalist living.

Of course minimalism may be a choice out of a financial need as well for many of us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it fun to do. Like adding plywood cut into strips and applying them to your floors for faux hard wood floors. Paint them white, paint them black or stencil them a wonderful quilt pattern, but they will look wonderful without a lot of money just a bit of elbow grease which is cheap.

If you are like me single without a good friend or family member to help do that, tear out the old dingy carpet and paint the plywood underlayment, it can also make a statement that translates into a wonderful floor.

I also love collecting pretty planters. I got this one at my local thrift shop super cheap because it was lacking the dish that normally sits underneath the pot. I was able to find one sitting around the house that works with the pot and gives it more character than a matching dish might. The smaller twin to this sits on my coffee table with another plant.

Lastly, paint doesn’t cost a lot of money, use it to express yourself without using wallpaper or expensive rugs. I used it to paint a pastel aqua on two of my living room walls. I get a lot of compliments on it. Paint doesn’t need to stop with the walls though. Paint that dull piece of furniture—especially the one you hate, that no one in the family wanted so YOU acquired it yourself (ugh). Paint it a bright color, change the hardware or just paint the old for a new look. Add cutouts from a poster for decoupage or just paint it a color that makes you happy and decoupage colorful wrapping or wall paper to the sides of the drawers for added color that only shows when you open the drawers up.

Having a minimalistic mind may not mean your home is always clean and neat. If you are like me, having friends over for fun times and dinners has forced me to clean in ways I don’t normally do, like under the sofa, my patio door windows and spring cleaning my refrigerator (who wants there friends to get freaked out by the horrible odors leaking from your refrigerator?). It’s my motivation for keeping my house clean and inspires me to keep a simple lifestyle. It also makes life more enjoyable to know your friends like coming over and that they will support you in the hard times and I think that’s something everyone needs these days. You can’t have too many friends.

So getting to the definition of minimal living, to me it simply means living without things I don’t need or enjoy—and everyone gets to define those things individually. No one can define those for you. Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s article, that you are inspired to do something for yourself this week. Blessings to all and don’t forget to send me pics of your creative energy!

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