Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Minimalism - in your home
Over the next few weeks, I would like to go over all the aspect of minimalism in all spheres of your lives... Some of you might be following me for a long time now but it it still always good to get "reminders" when you're on the path less travel... I know there are a few blogs that I have been following for years and that actually remind me of some less well understood or forgotten notions every now and then... minimalism is a lifestyle... not a destination.
This week I wish to adress minimalism in your home... because in a way, this is where it all started for me and many more minimalist that I know. At one point, I was forced into moving from a house with 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and dining area and a complete basement with television, gym, play area.... and every little corner packed with something all over the house... It was roughly a 2000sqft home... and had to downsize to 900 sq ft apartement! Did I get to keep everything? Absolutely not! Did I keep too much stuff at first? Of course! I eleminated stuff I had no choice... but I had a really hard time knowing what I liked or not in our house... I couldn't get rid of anything that was attached to a souvenir with the kids or my husband... It was very painfull! For no reason really... I want to make this process less painful for you!
After beeing install in our apartement for roughly 3 months, I got unemeployed and started suffocating in my home... I had no room to move around... Right at this time I started yoga and also reading on mimimalism as for me, those were going hand-in-hand. I also looked at Feng Shui principles... Now you may or may not believe all those energy related stuff... the prana and the chi and the karma... but I do. And as soon as I started using some of those principles in my life, stuff was easier to let go of and I felt I could breathe more easily! Well that was easy you might think... let's get 3 books: one on yoga, one on Feng Shui and one on minimalism and I'll be all set!
Not so fast... what really happened is that for a while, for years actually, it was like a waltz... stuff leaving and stuff coming back in... so yes it was less crowded then initially but still always too much in my opinion... It took a while for me to turn my house into my home. And THAT is really what minimalism is all about.
I had a nice decorated house... it looked like an Ikea catalogue... I love Ikea because it is from Europe and made for small living... however, the purpose is not to get the whole catalogue into one single house!
It took me years to get a HOME because I had no idea what a HOME was for ME. A home is a place of refuge.... a place you feel well in... a place you can't wait to go too... and this has nothing to do with the size or look of the walls and roof... or if there is a basement or not... or how many bedroom can be found in it. It has nothing to do with having a magasine like decor... but rather it should reflect YOURSELF!
I had a well decorated house but it was empty of what mattered most... laughter, love, peace and compassion. It was loaded with stress and "don't do that" and "don't touch this"... It was loaded with intentions to keep the thing "picture perfect" in case someone would stop by... It was the last place I would go to... And I'd only go there to sleep, if everything else was close and no one around... Isn't that sad? I avoided my own house because it did not feel like home.
Lucky for me, this is not the case right now. I have a HOME! A place I look forward to be in when I am outside... A place I love so much that I will sometime avoid going out or make it a short trip to be sure I get back to my refuge as soon as possible...
How did that happen? With time... and most certainly trial and errors... I have let go of so many things to only get them back and donate again... but it was part of the process... it was part of my process.
Maybe I can help you save some time and money with what I have learn...
First, in order to clean your house to make it a home, you have to know what you really like in your house and why... here are the rules I use to figure this out from now on... because no it is not over... it is never over because we change all the time and so do our needs, likes and dislikes.
1) How often do you use it?
Regularly? It's a keep.
On occasion? Could something else you use more often fill in for that object...
When I have visitors to impress? Out it goes - you really should not have to impress anyone
2) Is it still in good working condition?
yes - it stays
no - will I fix it tomorrow?
yes - it stays
no - it goes
3) Do I have double, triple, quadruple of it?
yes - extras may go - this of course does not apply to dishes, glasses, silverware...
4) Am I using it out of guilt? because it was a gift... or expensive?
yes - out it goes
And if that doesn't work... you can go with this, I use it all the time... If your house was to catch fire tomorrow, what would you save if you were able too? And what would you buy again if you could not save it? But think about this seriously.... you are given a white board to recreate the HOME you long for... what would you put in it if you did not have to justify getting rid of anything to anyone??? After all fire did it... not your fault!
Let me ask you a few questions that you can use:
Do you really need that many couches/sofas/love seat? How many people do you need to sit on a regular basis? Of course if you have regular visitors weekly or a few times in a month, that does count.... But if you're in a home with 2 other people and very rarely if ever entertain, do you need to be able to sit 8 people at all time? Similar idea with dinning table, dishes, glasses, silverware...
How many books have your read in your library and will defenitely read again or go back to on a regular basis? How many CDs? DVDs? Do you really listen to all the music and movies? Will you ever again or keep it to increase your "count" and plug that number in a discussion?
All those objects that are lying around in your house... from such and such a place... a souvenir... a gift... do you really enjoy them all? at all time? are they more of a pain when it's time to clean the house then the joy you get from them? what if this was to go? would you really miss it? would you forget the person who gave it to you? the trip where you got it?
These are questions you can ask yourself when you go thru your house... and slowly but surely, you will screen stuff out... you will keep what is really dear to your hearth and let go of what is not...
Minimalism is not about a number of items you are allowed to keep... so that I cannot tell you that... it's rather about making choices... make your house a home by having in it what really truly resonnate with you... when someone comes to visit, they should feel like they are at your place, not in a catalogue or part of a movie...
Minimalism is not about a specific style... you can be modern, or hippie, or boho... or whatever works for you... I like my home to reflect my hippie side... my yoga... it is fill with insence and candles... white tiny christmas light all year round, some plants... cushions... old furnitures... The newest piece of furniture is my bed (it is 5 years old and metal frame so it will last forever) and the other newest is my rocking chair (14 years old, got it when my son was born). Everything else is at least 35 years old... but that is what I like... Every piece of furniture is used daily... Nothing matches but everything does in a way...
This is how you do it.... you look at everything on a regular basis and ask yourself it that thing still has a room in your house.... and once everything that is there does have a room and a use and makes you happy, THAT is when you'll know you now have a HOME!
thanks for reading!
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