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I didn’t intend to craft reasons to love minimalism, but it happened whether I wanted to or tried to avoid it too. It’s an unexpected emotion for a lifestyle that is inherently barren, but love is what fills the empty space. Or maybe I just love less chaos and clutter.
I was already at level Yoda of minimalism when I declared to Mr. BuLL, I want an empty shelf by my comfy chair.
Right next to a large window that faces a robust aspen is a two-tiered shelf. On the top shelf is a grand Christmas cactus. Its drooping branches with bubble-gum pink flowers have resided stately on that stand for at least a decade. The top shelf is full. There is a slim chance I could dethrone it, but I don’t feel like fighting a 30+-year-old cactus. If I’m honest, it would win.
I’m a lover, not a plant smother.
Instead, I set my sights lower to the bottom shelf.
The bottom shelf has blown through a tumbleweed of things from electronics and headphones to fake candles and change, but an empty spot would be an upgrade to this space.
It’s a prime location, right next to my most frequented chair, and is where my eyes rest when they aren’t fixated on a laptop screen. This new improvement would be another addition to the listicle of reasons to love minimalism.
A shelf empty of stuff but full of light and love.
Like love and heartburn that gurgle up unexpectedly, when guests visit I feel less stressed since embracing minimalism.
There is some stress because I feel anxious about disappointing their palate or bathroom hygiene-sensibilities, but I don’t stress about our home.
Having less stuff means I rarely have to put things away or straighten them up. There are no items to cram in a closet, boxes to hide in the garage, items to squirrel away in a drawer.
When items get past the bolted door, like mail or purchases, they stick out like a cold sore and get put away quickly because like attracts like. Open space encourages all its friends to be more open and less cluttery.
When our guests stroll in, take off their coats and shoes, I give them a tour without having visited the downstairs rooms in months because I know they are just as I left them open, like an invitation.
I don’t clean as a hobby; I clean as a lifetime sentence for owning stuff.
One of the cheapest ways to keep stuff happy (also known as fewer breakdowns and maintenance) is by cleaning. Cleaning maintenance is cheaper and easier than repair maintenance.
Less stuff is a default for less cleaning. It’s like a beautiful equation that is easy to understand and execute.
The stoic Jacob Schroeder over at The Root of All understands my math, “You may find more satisfaction through subtraction than addition.”
When I clean, it’s much faster because there is less to dust, shine, or scrub with apathy that a grumpy cat would be proud of. I don’t not find cleaning pleasurable but at least it’s quick.
When there is less stuff, what’s left is a grand display.
Instead of each piece being a part of clutter and chaos, it becomes a story. Our placemats were a gift from South Africa, our plates were gifted from grandma, and our sparse art was crafted by a highly talented, woefully unrecognized sister.
Each item becomes a story about our home and our life. I like to think of it as a love story. A story about stuff but stuff with intention, not exclaiming an intervention.
Reasons to Love Minimalism
A while ago, I was doing an intensive Marie Kondo decluttering session. I had whittled down the physical stuff and was on the digital level – pictures.
I had thousands of pictures. I’m fond of pictures since my memory is spotty and images help to recapture those feelings from years ago. Thank all that is light and bright that I use a journal too.
Digital pictures were saved for last because along with sentimental value, there were so many it felt overwhelming. For the South Africa trip alone, I had over 3,000 images for one trip!
As per my genetic default, I saved the hardest for last. I knew I had to address it because I looked through the picture folder zero times. I also knew that I could lighten my laptop’s memory load with less burdensome downloads. As a relic bought in 2007, she needs all the help she could get!
Like any other activity I delay, it was a process. It took longer than expected to sift through every photo, but I felt lighter than expected afterward too. The pictures that survived the culling were vivid with happy moments, scenic splendor, and silly situations.
The few pictures I kept had something in common: what wasn’t pictured; the stuff I bought, preserved, and discarded.
Just another bullet point in the evergreen list of reasons to love minimalism. The reward isn’t another object with silent stress but another stressless moment.