Minimalist Lifestyle or Minimalist Design? They’re Not the Same Thing.

tree stone lichen - minimalist lifestyle

“That’s not to say that one should not declutter at all; but the goal is not, as I once believed, to end up with as little as possible.”

– Lydia Slater

I just read Minimalism no more! How I discovered the joy of recluttering. The funny thing is, the author, Lydia Slater, is more of a minimalist than she thinks. Like many, she has mistakenly associated the minimalist lifestyle with minimalist design.

Slater says she tried the Kondo method. She disposed of 62 supermarket bags, several pairs of holey tights, shoes and clothes that didn’t fit and a bunch of other stuff she wasn’t using. And then even more stuff.

Then she started to wonder, “Would I really feel happier if I divested myself of all this komono, and was surrounded instead by bare shelves and blank walls? I feared not.”

So, she says, she “gave in,” realizing that minimalism “wasn’t morally superior to the alternative, it was just another aesthetic choice.” Of course, minimalism as a lifestyle (vs as a design type) isn’t an aesthetic choice at all. Rather, it’s about focusing our time, energy and money on what’s important.

She admits that her Kondo-ing taught her “one really valuable lesson: I was under no obligation to hang on to things I didn’t like, just because I had spent money on them.”

Realizing that she didn’t like a bare room, Slater met with interior decorator and writer Rita Konig, who said “Part of the joy of decluttering is to reclutter. It’s about giving the good stuff more space.”

This, “giving the good stuff more space,” is a great description of the minimalist lifestyle. We don’t need to live in stark, undecorated, uncomfortable, all-white rooms.

Instead, we need to prune the deadwood from our homes, so we can see and enjoy our favorite items.