Romantic Minimalism… and why it means having more not less
READ THIS BEFORE YOU THROW AWAY ALL YOUR BELONGINGS.
I’m a self-professed minimalist. Do you identify as a minimalist? It’s quite the buzzword don’t you think? But I wanna throw something out there (and by throw I don’t mean your furniture)…. I want to do a little demystifying of sorts around the philosophy of minimalism.
I think that perhaps there’s a misunderstanding within the minimalist movement. Many seem to think that embracing minimalism means you should somehow have almost nothing, fewer than 100 things, or a house that’s empty and white.
But I feel an unsettling in my soul when pairing minimalism with ideas of scarcity, sparse surroundings and self-deprivation. My experience of minimalism is about having more not less. SAY WHAT? Absolutely. I’ll explain later but for now let’s throw a spotlight on what minimalism is not.
WHAT IT ISN'T...
Minimalism is not about telling people they can’t have clutter, or they should own next to nothing. It’s not even about possessions, really.
Minimalism is about asking What is ‘important’ to you? And how you foster said important things. It’s about actively taking control of your life through considered choices so that your possessions, your environment, your friends, your calendar and your ‘To Do’ list complement one another, working cohesively to achieve a more meaningful life.
The further I delve into the notion of minimalism, the more I feel certain that minimalism should be approached holistically, not just involve physical de-cluttering of possessions.
To introduce you to this concept better, I’ve laid out my thought process with four key areas WHO, WHAT, WHY and HOW
SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
IT'S ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE
Applying minimalism to friendships means choosing who you are friends with. Do you want to make as many friends as possible, or pick a handful that give you meaning, enrich your life and lift you up?
Carefully considering who you allow in to your life creates relationships with meaningful connections removing surface level acquaintances. Thus you are not placing your energy into fruitless friendships but rather mutually enriching companionships.
IT IS LEARNING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO EVERY SINGLE DAY
For most, this will mean figuring out what to do professionally, since we spend most of our time at work. The dream is to do something we genuinely love and find fulfillment in.
If you are seeking a working life that offers deeper fulfillment, reach inside and ask yourself “If I fully trusted and had faith – what would I do? How could I combine the things that make me feel alive with my deepest longings, passions, skillset, education and workplace training to become who I am called to be?” This question almost always brings an intuitive hit, which you can (and should) trust. Allow the force of your answers to inspire you to action, to create a more fulfilling life pathway.
If this ideology is not attainable for you and you cannot do what you love professionally (especially when there are bills to pay) then discover interests outside of work that can become your source of soul nourishment. These could include joining a sports team, volunteering for a charity, mentoring, signing up to a kokedama workshop, beginning an exercise regime or reading the book you’ve been meaning to.
Consider not only what you do outside of your 9-5 but also how you choose to fill your spare time. On weekends do you to try to do everything, or are there a handful of things that matter most to you? Filter your free time based on whether an activity is going to meet a need for you or someone you love… If it doesn’t fulfil your criteria the decision becomes a whole lot easier.
IT'S ASKING WHAT GIVES YOU MEANING AND WHY
What gives you contentment? What has an impact on the lives of those around you, or your community? Being intentional with each facet of your life, what you invite in, what you say ‘Yes’ to and give yourself to.
Throw off the rules that don’t mesh with your values. Some may be self imposed, society imposed, or imposed by family and peers. Question why you do something. Is it purely out of habit? Resist habit and embrace intentionality. Take steps to foster an undeterred confidence and joy in the life you are living.
Take note when you feel most content, happy and alive and explore the reason why. Throughout your lifetime, continue to ask yourself the question, ‘what gives me meaning?’
... AND IT'S ALSO ABOUT HOW YOU CURATE YOUR HOME ENVIRONMENT
I left the topic of home environment until now because I needed you to begin to see minimalism holistically ie mind, body, soul and how they align with promoting wellbeing in your surroundings.
Remember, my approach to minimalism does not mean living in empty spaces that are devoid of warmth or things. Rather, I say, fill your surroundings, every touch point, with careful consideration. Enhance your dwelling place with the view of adding value to who you are. And before
you purchase consider what the item means to you AND its usefulness, not just its tangible attributes or aesthetic.
And in the end, the answers you might find aren’t even the most important part of this journey. They will certainly look different for everyone.
You don’t even need definitive answers: just exploring these questions is a profound shift for most of us. It’s going from the usual way of doing things to one that is more conscious, more curious; more interested in the stuff that makes life feel alive.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY VERY OWN WHY...
These very thoughts are what lead me to create the JuniperOats Collection. My purpose is so much more than the creation of artwork and typography. My designs are intentionally curated to remind you that paradise is not a place but a state of mind. They are intended to adorn your walls and homes; lovingly greet you and give you permission to relish living your life, serving as a reinforcement of the life you are creating. Because what we see, what we absorb and allow into our minds contributes to our wellbeing.
My artwork is an expression of minimalism and interior design connecting with you and becoming an extension of who you are at the core of your soul. I call my style romantic minimalism in that it’s not emptiness I strive to achieve but soulfulness.
Minimalism isn’t about owning less but about filling your cup through intentional living: as in what you own, who you call friends and what you do all day, and well… what you look at all day. Successfully achieving minimalism is to feel contentedness living within the environment you’ve curated.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article just as much as me writing it, and if you have questions or suggestions please leave a comment below – I would love to hear from you! Share your journey and what has worked for you in the comments. What does Minimalism mean to you?
PS: My name is Judith and this is my little slice of the internet. I hope you’ll enjoy hanging out with me from time to time while I ramble on about design, art and of course, lots of romantic minimalism.