have you ever wondered why us (we) minimalists are called that?
nobody calls people who like a fair amount of stuff (not talking hoarders
here . . . that’s a true illness) . . . but just regular people who have the
generous amount of stuff in their houses . . . and garages . . .
and basements . . . and attics . . . and storage units . . . lol!
nobody calls them ‘stuffies’ or thingalists or . . . ever asks them at
cocktail parties . . . “how can you live like that!”
(oh my! are my weird antennas showing???!!) LOL.
not that i go to cocktail parties. i like the sophisticated sound of them.
but the taste of them. ewwww. except. . .
except for when i went to one once that were clients of my husband.
another lady i’d just met that didn’t drink either . . . well, she and i
were taking a quiet little private tour of this huge house (not a home in
my book, but that’s another story right there!) anyway . . .
we found ourselves in the kitchen. that’s what we were dying to see
someone in a spotless white dinner jacket was whipping up something
in a big blender. he smiled. “would you ladies like to try one?”
he didn’t mention we were house-snooping. he was very polite.
i in my innocence thought his white dinner jacket meant he was another
guest. he was one of the bartenders. ??? who knew. i was all of 22 yrs old.
well. . . my new friend and i accepted the “delicious new exotic drink from
to make a long story short. she and i stood in the kitchen and got soused.
i think at one point pineapple was hanging off my lip.
i learned you have to watch those . . . ahem . . . “delicious new exotic
drinks from the islands.” they have a way of catching up with you.
oh what a lovely memory!
but i digress. i was asking why they call us minimalists when they
don’t call you stuff-loving thingalists?
“hello. my name is tammy j and i’m a non-stuff loving minimalist.”
i admit that i’m not the kind that wants to own 12 things and cram it all
into a backpack and wash out one pair of panties every night in a different
hotel room all around the world. (though if i were younger, i might!)
and i’m not the kind that goes in for sterile white walls and surfaces that
are hard and shiny. and look more like an operating room than a home.
i like my books. they’re my friends, as you know. and they are functionally
beautiful. and in winter i like soft warm throws in tartan and jewel tones.
they’re lovely and cozy while being functional.
as are the lamps that i have around. cozy and wonderful light.
lamps to “light the corners.” (the name of a future post).
what makes it minimalist i guess is the lack of thingys and doo-hickeys
on every flat surface and every empty wall. i just crave the emptiness.
i find it beautiful and peaceful and simple.
there is something profoundly beautiful about an empty wall.
the sunlight has a place to create art for you!
but in my mind . . . the answer lies somewhere in the middle. as say so
many good minimalist writers like tammy strobel and her new wonderful
book (her blog is rowdy kittens) . . . . ‘you can buy happiness and it’s cheap!
(how one woman radically simplified her life and how you can too!’)
it just became available at bookstores barnes & noble or amazon.
link to rowdy kittens on my friends for more of her thoughts! . . .
and of course francine jay on miss minimalist . . . an inspiring blog.
her book is ‘the joy of less.’ they both speak about it very sensibly.
as in . . . what is right for you and your family.
but the emphasis is always and will forever be. . . that it is about
the valuable things in life are not things at all. they’re people.
we all say that. but most people don’t live like they believe it.
so . . . what minimalism is to me . personally .
is the chance to breathe. to walk into a room and immediately feel
the peace. the sense of emptiness that you might have if you were on
a beach. looking out to the sea. nothing fighting for your senses.
you can relax. you’re home. it’s simple. it’s spare. it’s space.
and light. and comfort. you are not drowning in it. you rest.
i know that’s a stretch. but it’s true.
it’s going to the kitchen and having cleared spaces to fix dinner.
not all squeezed up because of the ‘pretties’ sitting on the counters
and the window sill and hanging from every wall . . . it’s simply being
able to prepare a simple good meal in a clean, free space. (that is also
infinitely easier to clean up when the meal is over!)
it’s being able to sit in a chair to read or watch tv and have a clear topped
table to set a glass or a cup of something on. heck! there’s even enough
room for a nice big round bowl of popcorn! without knocking over 15
picture frames. (even though those framed pictures are of the dearest
people in your world.) minimalists tend to make those times special.
instead of having it all out all the time, to the point that they’re not even
truly noticed, simply gathering dust. the minimalist will take out an album
that they have enjoyed compiling and labelling with little anecdotes . . .
and then making the looking of that album, a treasured visit.
when they go to brush their teeth or wash their face at night or in the
morning . . . the bathroom has only the necessities present. and if
possible, those are put away. out of sight.
the bathroom is as clean and spare and elegant as a spa.
(and this can actually be done living with children too! believe it or not!)
it’s clean because it’s easy to keep it clean. just swipe! and it’s done.
no moving of dozens of products. so nice. so very nice!
and when a minimalist goes to sleep in their bedroom . . . the moon
casts beautiful shadows on the wall through the (open?) window.
the sounds of the night are all the decor that’s needed. the wind,
or the rain, or even the cars up on the distant highway lulling you to
sleep. there are not 15 gazillion throw pillows to try to find a place for.
there are only the pillows you use. the blankets you use.
the one little clock you use.
you would be amazed at how restful a bedroom is that just has the basic
bedroom stuff in it! it’s somehow spiritual in a way.
and if you’re thinking . . . well that’s not very romantic!
oh! it is. when there is nothing in the room to distract your love but
you . . . well. that’s very special too.
this post has gone on far far far too long. zzzzz…. zzzzz.
are you still out there?
are you a thingalist? or a cozy minimalist like me? or somewhere
none of my thoughts are meant as judging.
i’m the only minimalist in my circle of family or friends that i know!
i’d be honored to hear your thoughts.
and two ps’s . . .
do be aware of those delicious exotic island drinks in strange kitchens.
and to let you in on a little secret. i guess i have a split personality. because i
absolutely love interior design. i studied at the new york school of i.d. and my
favorite type of living . . . interior design wise anyway is english country and
new england cottage. i love it. i enjoy pictures of it. i love to visit homes in it.
but i just can’t live with it. sigh. but it’s warm and wonderful. just like the people
who usually go for that type of environment! it naturally evolves and never looks
“decorated” which is so passe’ and what i hate. a home is to live in and love in
and welcome dogs and cats and kids in. it has a soul i think. the soul of its family.
and as long as it’s not overwhelmed by STUFF just for the sake of having STUFF . . .
it can still have a minimalist soul.