Daring to Embrace a Minimalist Way of Thinking
If being a minimalist is knowing what’s important and treasuring it (instead of loosing sight and taking for granted), count me in! And if a minimalist way of thinking can improve the quality of life, I am willing to question all previous assumptions.
Ambitious. Now I need to figure out how to go about it. Allow me to think out loud. I will attempt to set up guideposts as I establish core principles to lead me toward required awareness.
Just yesterday, organizing old work, I stumbled upon a book of collages from 2011. As it was a difficult time for me, every page is an attempt to find “a prescription for wellness.” Now it’s crystal clear that it was actually the beginning of renewal, the process of “laying the groundwork” for a new philosophy or an outlook. Intuitively, I was “planting seeds” for a minimalist way of thinking.
Last month, I attended an event with Joshua Brecker, an advocate for minimalist way of life, and his special guest Peter Walsh at “The Last Bookstore” in Los Angeles. Joshua Brecker presented his latest publication The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own. The overarching theme of the entire talk was that the quality of life has nothing to do with things we can buy.
Hmmm. Quality of life is proportionate to intentionality when pursuing something different than possessions. Happiness cannot be acquired with more stuff, but can be cultivated with more time, energy, and gratitude. Makes sense.
Feeling empowered, I devise these four principles to encapsulate a minimalist way of thinking:
Principle # 1: Focus on what matters most
According to Peter Walsh, a professional organizer, “things” get between us and the life that we would like to be living. Peter’s advice to the audience in attendance was: “Don’t focus on the stuff when decluttering. Focus on the vision you have for the life you want. Everything you own should make your life better.”
Principle # 2: Fill your life with things you love and treasure
When working with a client, Peter prefers to start on the master bedroom. He says: “Ask yourself if the things you have bring you closer to or farther away from your vision of the life you want.”
Literally. Suspended between consciousness and sleep, do you dream of a clean, uplifting, intimate sanctuary offering respite or an oppressing, suffocating tomb burying you under its overflowing clutter? Speaking of bedrooms, here are some helpful layout tips.
Principle # 3: Pay attention to what resonates with you
How would I implement a minimalist way of thinking when it comes to design? I’m not seduced by austere emptiness. Ornament is not necessarily a crime. As a minimalist, I’d strive to keep things simple, yet personal. In a profound sense. We all have heard Mies’s ‘Less is more’ aphorism. However, Mies’s client Dr. Edith Farnsworth found her iconic glass house to be unbearably uncomfortable.
Kew House by Piercy & Co, on the other hand, explores the idea of “avoiding referencing architectural conventions” and approaches dilemmas with a “kit-of-parts.” It engages the site and makes the most of the possibilities emerging from digital fabrication. AND! It “responds to the living patterns of the young family.” Here, architecture sets a neutral backdrop for life to happen.
Principle # 4: retain the sight of both regularity and variation — use design to introduce a framework
When the object is to create the whole which is greater than the sum of its parts, throwing everything into a dumpster is not the answer. The answer is in devising a versatile infrastructural space. It’s about anticipating the need and designing for it. It’s all about good bones!
Minimalist way of thinking presupposes balance instead of ascetic perfection. In design, instead of taking away, the objective should be to streamline, whereby improving the quality of life. Now that’s my idea of form following function. And what are your thoughts? It would be so great to hear from you. What inspires you to declutter your life? Please tell me here.