Minimalism has been on my mind frequently this year, especially since moving into our smaller loft apartment. Pairing down on “stuffocation” and de-cluttering has been an on-going goal since this past Spring and it is already paying off. Marie Kondo’s “Does this item spark joy?” has been my question of the year. If an item is not useful, beautiful, or bring me joy then I don’t keep it (or bring it home in the first place.)
Yet, my goal for this year is not just to get rid of stuff. Ultimately, the true goal is about living an intentional and meaningful life, to remove the excess to make room for a better lifestyle. So as I have paired down my things, I have also kept things of value and chosen to replace items (slowly and over time) to surround myself with comfort, beauty, and calm.
As much as minimalists (or semi-minimalists such as myself) love the idea of living with less, we are still humans that need creature comforts and appreciate stuff of value to us, just like everyone else. Stuff can be important. It keeps us warm, entertains us, brings us joy and comfort, clothes us, cleans us, nourishes us, and surrounds us. There are certain items I keep because I want to, even if they do not serve a logical purpose to anyone else.
As objects have been used up, worn out, and recycled, I have slowly been replacing them with more sustainable and beautiful versions. For example, I have a large lipstick collection that I love, but I worried about my health and the environmental impact, so I recently replaced my favorite colors with fewer and organic Bert’s Bees versions as they have been used up. Now officially, all of my beauty and hygiene products are organic and natural.
There is no shame in finding comfort in a beautiful and clean home or for appreciating material things. I like my space to be a place of peace and tranquility, a place to inspire my adventures and creativity, a place that is my own little corner in this big world of ours. So instead of talking about things to get rid of, as many blog posts about minimalism focus on, I want to share some of the things I keep around, both old and new that bring me comfort and joy.
1. This Duvet. As cooler weather approaches I knew that we would need a warmer blanket than my thin summer quilt. I’m still keeping my favorite yellow quilt for summertime, but for a while now I have been considering exchanging our dark winter comforter for a simple white duvet for a brighter and cozier look during the winter months. Pure white everything has never been a look that I have loved, but I thought this small change would be worth the investment. Inserting the comforter into the duvet was a funny challenge until I discovered the “burrito method.” The all-white look was a drastic change, but after the shock wore off, it’s a look Matthew and I both appreciate. It is simple, calm, and above all; comfy!
2. This tray. My fiancé asked me the other day, “Why do you have a thing for trays?” Probably because we don’t have a table in our tiny apartment. I have this wooden tray and another white metal tray that I like to use in the living room and bedroom to hold a cup of tea or a meal. I’m in love with sunflowers, so this new tray makes me swoon. I’m a big believer in having useful items, but I also believe they should be beautiful too.
3. This Bees Wrap. Our kitchen is officially plastic free. This Bee’s Wrap even works well to cover tricky items such as cheese and it is reusable.
4. These Turkish towels. I wanted to bring beauty and a feeling of luxury into our rental bathroom. Replacing my worn-out dark blue towels with these lovely hand-made towels by Mon Castle turkish towels was a simple way to accomplish that goal. They’re also gentler on my curly hair and I love natural looking textiles.
5. This basket of comfy throw blankets. They are great for chilly evenings in the living room or for guests to cozy up with during movie nights.
6. This French market basket. Another beautiful way to replace plastic in my life, this basket goes with me to the market and doubles as a picnic basket, beach bag, and book bag.
7. This broken tea pot. My step-sister’s grandfather bought this tea pot for us as a tag sale when we were kids. It has seen many a tea party and the chip in the spout caused by a childhood spill makes it pour all the better.
8. This sunflower. I enjoy keeping fresh flowers in my apartment and this sunflower is on my nightstand. Sunflowers are my favorite.
9. This white room divider from Ikea. It was a little luxury that I bought for myself when I was living in Maryland. It doesn’t serve a useful purpose, but I think it adds beauty to our bedroom and I often use it to hang my outfit for the next day.
10. This olive tree. I had to move it to another window to protect it from my smallest kitty’s teeth, but it is doing well now. Not only does it add some greenery to my home, olive trees also symbolize good fortune.
I would never suggest replacing items until you have used up the ones that you already have, but the next time you find yourself replacing linens or other household supplies and furniture, choose with intention. (Or intentionally choose not to replace items if they are not necessary in the first place.) Make the decision to choose your things for their usefulness, their beauty, and especially for their comfort. For many of us, spending time at home has a large impact on our happiness and well-being. Design your home around you.
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