Prescriptive minimalism

I was trawling Pinterest today when I came upon a long infographic on “How to Create a Minimal Home.” Of course, I clicked, hoping for new inspiration. Instead, I found myself quite dismayed. It was a how-to based on one person’s view of minimalism. I was concerned, because the people who are Pinning this may well have only this view as their idea of minimalism (and as we’ve discussed at length, minimalism can be whatever you want!)

This Pin insisted that everything you do in your home be white, beige or black. Your dining room table should be “very simple with a clear glass top. You may use the natural wood colors for the table and chairs.” First on, you can definitely use color in your minimal home. And what’s up with commanding what a table should look like? Not to mention, some people may not even need a table.

Speaking of which, the Pin asserted that only the most essential objects be left on the kitchen counter. Okay, that’s true. Then it defines “most essential” as “microwave, juicer, etc.” My fellow and I own neither of those things. You also can’t have a bathtub, according to this poster (or, if you have a “super lavish” one, it mustn’t be more than 20% of the space), or art that covers more than 20% of the wall.

It just all seems so inconsistent and random!

Here’s my idea: let’s stop telling other people what their homes, offices, lives should look like. There are no rules for minimalism. Prescribing the exact specifications needed to ‘succeed’ at minimalism is totally pointless. Minimalism is a personal journey, not a single end state. In my house, earth tones and wall art bring peace and stimulation. My peacock-coral-navy-red capsule wardrobe makes me happy. I don’t care if my windows face north. Our home may not end up on the cover of a Scandinavian magazine, but it feels minimal and right to us.

What I’m saying is, if you see any minspiration telling you what you must and must not do, take it with a grain of salt. If it jives with your view on minimalism, awesome. But it shouldn’t make you feel like you’re doing it wrong. Because if you’re achieving peace with your method, your simple living is simply perfect.

And now I’m tempted to find every person who’s Pinned this infographic and link them to this article.



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