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An Imperfect Home
How minimalism is teaching me to be a better host
A few weeks ago, my brother was driving me home after dinner with our parents who were visiting from out of town. Before I got out of the car, he reminded me that I was always welcome to come for a visit at his place, and I told him the same.
At that moment, I realized that my brother and I rarely spend time at my apartment. When he moved nearby two years ago, I was thrilled at the prospect of having him visit. I imagined us ordering pizza, watching bad movies, and making fun of them mercilessly. And while we see each other regularly, I can’t remember the last time we had one of these movie nights. It wasn’t until that car ride home that I understood why.
I am passionate about minimalism. I love the feeling of letting go of things, so I spend a lot of time examining my life for anything I can live without. In my apartment, I prefer empty space and organization to clutter. But sometimes, I can be a little too focused on reaching a state of perfection within my home.
When I have people over, I know it must be difficult for them to relax. I’m often focused on organizing extra shoes neatly in the closet, straightening couch cushions, and recycling drink containers the moment they become empty. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve even reminded guests not to spill on the carpet… As if anyone were really planning on it!
I know that minimalism is not about being perfect, but for so long, I’ve viewed my perfectionism within my home as a part of my minimalist lifestyle and something to be proud of. But it isn’t serving me the way I thought it was. And if minimalism has taught me anything, it is that my relationships and experiences with people are more important than the state or number of my material possessions.
From now on, my minimalism is going to involve shoes in the hallway, messy couch cushions, and maybe even a spill on the carpet. The important thing is that my family and friends feel welcomed, relaxed, and at home.
After all, homes are for people, not perfection.
Learning to Appreciate the Small Things
How valuing your day-to-day experiences can make life more meaningful
By Luke Arundel
In life, we are often sold the idea that the things that are most worthwhile having or doing, are also the most expensive things. The best way to spend a day is a holiday by the clear blue sea in the Caribbean. The most meaningful object you can own, the object that you cherish so much that you ‘merely look after it for the next generation’, is a $20k watch. The clothes you ought to desire most are those endorsed by the most extravagant fashion magazines and the most attractive celebrities.
Whilst many are beginning to see through this idea, I still do not believe that enough appreciation is given to the smallest aspects of day-to-day life. Things that are not adventurous or unique are viewed as being not valuable or important. It is beyond comprehension that you might have had just as stimulating and enjoyable a day reading a book in the garden as a friend had on their travels abroad.
But to only appreciate grand trips and material objects is to miss so much of what we go through on a daily basis. By slowing down and appreciating how you feel in a moment, daily life can feel so much more meaningful. It is possible to be going on a quiet walk around your local neighborhood and feel just as happy and at peace with your life as you would wandering the streets of a new and exciting city.
All this is not to say that these larger trips in life are also not important. I do truly believe that traveling and experiencing new things is vital for appreciating everything that the world has to offer. But, if one is busy or lacks the funds to do such things, it is perfectly possible to enrich yourself by simply appreciating what is already to hand, looking at the things you already own and valuing them.
If you feel something is missing in your day-to-day experiences, it may be worth reflecting inwardly on what you truly already have within your grasp, rather than looking outwardly at what other people have.
A Little More of Less
A few other articles we think you might enjoy…
Simple is Not Easy by Bozenka Myslinka
How to Start a Successful Podcast by The Minimalists
How to Declutter Your Home (when you don’t want to) by Courtney Carver
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