I have to start with a disclaimer of sorts. For much of my life, I was dragging around an abundance of clutter – in my home and in my life. Honestly, the concept of simple living is something that has been a very slow process rather than a long-time habit or a one-hit trend.
While I really cannot say I have all the answers or even know what I am doing much of the time, a large part of why I started this blog was to focus on my ever-growing need for living a slow life – minimal stuff, minimal stress and maximum life. Now that I am on this journey, I want to share some of the things that I am discovering so that you too can start your own journey to an uncluttered, simple life. To get things rolling, I have put together a list of questions that I have asked along the way. You may ask similar questions, or perhaps you will ask different ones. Whatever the case, here are some of the answers you may or may not want to know.
What is minimalism all about?
Minimalism is basically the same as boring and sterile, right? Well actually, while modern minimalism can certainly veer towards the dull side, the concept in itself is broad enough to make it work with your own sense of style. In essence, minimalism aims to take away all the fussy, pointless, messy and unimportant clutter, and focus on the simplicity of good design elements. It is a simple closet with only the most important basic items of clothing, rather than a gazillion dresses and tops you never wear. It is a clean, orderly bedroom without piles of stuff taking up every surface. Becoming Minimalist is a great resource to learn more about the concept. Be More With Less is also worth checking out.
What about Wabi-Sabi?
This concept has been popping up a lot lately. It may sound like one of those fads that will burn out as fast as it arrived, but the ideas it adheres to are really good. Working with a minimalist approach, Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept that focuses on three truths: nothing is perfect, nothing lasts forever and nothing stays the same. Of course, its roots and philosophy are far deeper than meets the eye. It is hard to explain something like this in a few lines, but I will try anyway. This concept celebrates the imperfection and constant transitions of nature and life, with a focus on natural materials, simple or rough designs, raw, rustic and unfinished details and a total lack of adornment, fuss or frills. Through this, the focus is put back on the person or people in the home and the life itself, rather than the things and house. Further reading on this over here.
What is zen decorating then – something different?
Another Japanese concept, zen decorating may incorporate both minimalism and Wabi-Sabi. Feng Shui is also incorporated, along with soothing, tranquil elements, plenty of green plants, natural fibres, tranquil colours such as green, neutrals and white, and in some cases, often a tropical, Asian or even South East Asian feel. If you can imagine an amazing spar where peace and calm reside, and running water, quite sounds and stress-free environments are par for the course, you can get the idea of what zen decorating is all about.
Is rustic decor a minimalist thing, or is that more of an industrial or shabby chic vibe?
Yes to all of the above. Rustic is a broad term for anything and everything that is old, hand-carved, forged from natural materials, simply made, unadorned and otherwise fuss-free. It features in a variety of interior styles, including industrial design, shabby chic, country and minimalism. It also features in Scandinavian design – especially Nordic and Swedish. Unlike modern Scandinavian, the rustic style is all about neutral colours, wood furniture, roughly hewn bowls and varying textures rather than a modern monochromatic scheme. Rustic minimalism is my personal favourite, as it combines all of the things I love most about both interior styles. It’s also far less fancy and much easier for living. Look up ‘rustic minimalist’ on Pinterest to see how this style works. You can also find me on Pinterest over here.
What is slow living?
Hipster term it may be, slow living is nonetheless an important concept. You may have heard of slow food, slow beer, slow lounges and various other slow whatwhats. All this really means is that it is not about being in a rush, or about fancy, fussy things. It is the opposite of designer labels, FOMO, loud parties and being busy. It is taking things slow and enjoying life without giving a hoot about keeping up with anyone or anything. It’s pretty awesome really, when you actually get into the hang of it.
Why is it important to bring nature and simplicity into the home?
The answer is that when your home is simplified, your life is simplified too. And, when you use items that are made from good, natural materials that do not impact on the environment too much, you will feel even better still. Making, getting second hand, buying local and hand-made, swapping, upcycling and choosing every thing that goes into your home is the solution to the chronic over-spending, over-stressed, over-cluttered world around us. Simplicity versus mass-produced, badly made, over-priced. Putting less value on things and more value on people. By starting a declutter plan and downscaling to a simpler, better living environment, you will be well on your way to living a minimalist, simple life.
That should be enough to give you some things to think about. I may or may not update this page with my questions/concepts, but if you have anything you would like me to add (or you want to ask me something off the record), drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.