Ever since we embarked on the minimalist journey over three and a half years ago, I’ve created this ideal in my head. Asking myself “am I portraying what minimalism is?” on a regular basis.
I love minimalism and what it stands for but it’s different for everyone. Being intentional with everything in your life and eliminating the unnecessary, the clutter, and the things that weigh you down is how I define it.
One thing that I’ve had a lot of challenges with has been the minimalist aesthetic. I’m a very visual person. I like things to be tidy, clean and pretty.
Having that kind of standard, I find myself spending time cleaning, tidying and resetting visual standards after use all the time. Maybe a little obsessive some might say?
Note: if you’re interested, we recorded a podcast episode about minimalist aesthetic.
A mentor mentioned to me a few months ago, “Maša, give yourself the task of writing while the kitchen is messy”. You see, I find this very challenging. Maybe I’m OCD, maybe I’m just someone that likes cleaning, but this would be something that would make me uncomfortable. Michael on the other hand…
When you have an eye for detail, and like your surroundings to look nice, you end up having it at the top of your priority list in more ways than one. I struggle to go to sleep if the downstairs isn’t visually reset.
For example, cushions in their place on the couch, kitchen clean, things put away etc. This is because when I get up in the morning, I like to start my day fresh. I don’t want things from the previous day hanging around.
It never feels good enough
I’ve been waiting to write content about our place and do a tour of our minimalist home after coming up with some blog topic ideas for well over a year, pushing it back every time I look at it.
I keep saying to myself “I’m not ready, our place is not ready”. But what have I created or lack thereof to not feel comfortable sharing with others? Why does our place need to look “perfect” before I share it?
Further reading: Our Minimalist Bathroom Essentials
Watching how others share video and images of their homes, makes me feel like I’m not living a minimalist life. Having five pots instead of two in the kitchen. Having pretty cushions on my couch.
What I quickly realised was that even though I have more stuff than a strict minimalist, I use it all.
I cook a lot and need those five pots in my rotation. I ferment foods and soak nuts and beans, so I need more containers and fermenting tubs that others wouldn’t.
But it’s not about adhering to a minimalist manual (that clearly doesn’t exist), but creating minimalism in your life the way that it works for you.
I’ve noticed I judge myself harshly and am always assessing to see if I feel like a minimalist or not. When I have friends or family come over, I subconsciously check-in to see if I am living my truth and are in line with those ‘values’ that I talk about so much.
I’ve put this pressure on myself to always have a perfectly tidy, clean, minimal home that everyone ooh’s and aahh’s about.
Has my unrealistic standard set me up for failure and dishonesty? Can I keep this up? Does it take me away from other more exciting and important things?
Being honest with myself and what matters to me when it comes to a minimalist aesthetic
I think that everyone has their own priorities, and I feel that creating visual standards and having beautiful and clean lines around me is something I genuinely value and find important in my life.
I know that this is such a first-world topic and I completely understand that not everyone has the time or the resources for these kinds of thoughts and opinions, but I’m certain that some of you that read this will connect with what I’m saying here.
When you like pretty things, you struggle with the concept of having something that is ‘ugly’ if it’s out on display. No one talks about the ugly, yet practical and loved things in minimalism.
The idea of minimalism in itself typically paints a very pretty, simple picture. Just search the term “minimalist home” in Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean.
Frugality is something I think about when I consider more of the uglier side of minimalism. Making do with what you have and getting them from whatever source even if it doesn’t fit your aesthetic.
I do believe that minimalism today is a very different thing to what it used to be. But the premise of its ideals are still very much the same. There are many points in this article that I agree with, but at the end of the day, you do what you wish with it.
It’s not just about the aesthetic. That’s the most obvious thing to pin to minimalism because it’s visual, but as we’ve discussed in great depth over the years, there’s so much to it than (literally) meets the eye.
I find that these ideals drive people away. Watching people on YouTube do the bedroom, kitchen, wardrobe tours of what they own as minimalists. I sometimes wonder if it’s all for show. If they have piles of things in another room or just behind the shot. Does their space actually look like that every single day?
For me, what I would show you, is what I have. This is why I struggle with it sometimes. It has a minimalist aesthetic attached to all that I do. Practical, pretty and minimal. It’s not easy if I’m being honest.
Minimalist style has become a comparison game in 2018. “Let me show you my home so you can strive for that for your own home, even though it may be unrealistic for you.” Every single, and I mean EVERY SINGLE home and person is different in their needs and wants.
What I have in my home, wouldn’t necessarily be what you would have in yours and vice versa. We can’t expect minimalism to mean the same thing to everyone. You value different things to me. You might see some of the appliances that I have in my kitchen as useless as you don’t use it, but it might be a product that I use 4-5 times a week.
Setting the right expectations
Let me ask you this. When you think of minimalism, what’s the image that comes to mind? What do you picture in your head? Think about how that may be setting you up for failure.
It’s nice to have something as an aspirational ideal, but is that causing you more harm than good? I think that this could have been something that I got caught up in, trying to fit into this box until I realised that it’s different for everyone.
As much as you don’t want to let it affect you, it does. We’re all humans after all, and we compare ourselves to each other all the time. But once you become comfortable in what you’re doing and it has meaning to you, none of that will matter anymore. I am okay with resetting my home every single day. Having less stuff around has saved me hundreds of hours, and I’m perfectly okay with the fact that I spend time doing that for myself.
How do you see minimalism aesthetically and what do you value about this lifestyle? Do you feel pressure to look a certain way? Have a certain amount of items in your wardrobe? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
And who knows, you might see what our home looks like in the near future.