Friday, January 11, 2013

Simplicity, Minimalism, and Me

I’ve been working away at my simplicity goals recently: cleaning, organizing, giving away, and throwing away my many things. And sometimes, as I hunt around for advice on the whole process, I get a little lost among all the minimalism. I’m not aiming for minimalism - not that it’s a bad way of life, but it isn’t at all for me. I don’t want an empty, open house - without books on the shelves, spilling over onto table and floor, or without enough pretty teacups with which to welcome friends. I want a sort of simple opulence - and abundance of beauty without the mess of trinkets and ‘knick-knacks’. I want each item in my house to be either beautiful alone, or both beautiful and useful..but not useful alone (the chainsaw will have to go)..and I want to be promiscuous in my love of beautiful things.

The actual ‘Simplicity’ movement leans toward minimalism, and it’s become a bit of a game to pick through the advice of other bloggers for information that will help me to my goal - a fun game and one that is always changing - maybe I will purge 90% of my wardrobe, it’s ok, I have about a million cuts of fabric just waiting to replace all those old skirts! In general, what I find to be helpful are the tips about focusing on small areas for small periods of time (one deep drawer, or one trunk) and tossing all the things that are unloved and unimportant - even, in the case of clothes, if the have the potential to be loved at some point in the future. I’m also getting some good tips on storages, for those ugly necessities that can’t be gotten rid of - like tarps and water jugs and coolers - from pinterest. But my little checklist for “2013 Home-Improvement” is growing and growing, even as I check off little boxes each day. The pursuit of perfection never ends, I suppose, and I really wouldn’t want to live in a perfect house - I’ll alway need rugs to straighten and shelves to dust; last weeks flowers need to be removed and replaced. Imperfection is really an essential part of my simplicity plan - which is why minimalism doesn’t quite fit in.

But minimalists have some wonderful ideas as well. Reducing the connection to phones and social media, especially. I’ve been keeping my phone silent for parts of the day, to be out of touch, and turning away from the online world a bit and towards my own ceiling and sky. It’s easier to reduce drama when you’re nestled in silence (or, as much silence as Yarrow and Luba will give, but that’s not quite the same thing, is it?). I’ve even reduce my radio time - often it’s off until the Classical music program, and then off again as we set the table for tea. We’ve been adding things as well - more formalized meal times, and well-displayed food. It used to be more common, but the busier I got, the less I gave to each meal. Now, once again they are moments set out of the day for rest and refreshment..and maybe a book.

But it’s a work in progress..some days, I eat popcorn and cruise facebook while Yarrow tosses book after book on the ground and chases the dog’s tail all around the house. And we need days like that as well. At least I do.

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