Beauty and Minimalism

daffodils by Jon Trefzger

Many of us like to go hiking or camping.  We love driving down a road that hugs the coast, with a new vista around each corner.  We flock to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, Greek islands and the fjords of Norway.  We even take that first cup of coffee out to a porch or balcony and savor morning freshness, flowers and trees, birdsong, and playful squirrels.

What is the appeal of these places and activities?  It's the beauty.  It's the cool, dewy air, the early fingers of sunlight, the incredible colors of ocean, sky, sand, ice, leaves, bark, birds, butterflies, and even rocks and the rich, loamy earth. 

No granite countertop, no custom front door, no professional paint job, no high-end sofa can equal this perfectly designed beauty.  It calms us.  It refreshes.  And it energizes too.  It feeds our imaginations and our spirits.  It's the home we're made for.

Beauty is important.  It makes you feel good.  It brings peace.  It makes you happier.

We need the shelter that our homes provide.  But think about how you feel when you walk into your home.  What happens to your energy and your mood?  Does your home make you feel as good as it could?  Does it support the quality of life you need and want?  If not, why not?  What should you do to make a change?

These are important questions, because the answers impact you and your family every day.  It's not enough to have a wonderful vacation getaway once a year or even one weekend a month.  You need your home to be beautiful and welcoming every day.

All too often, gorgeous decorator photos or TV shows inspire me to think first about what I need to buy or add to my home, rather than how to curate my belongings for the best effect.  I'd rather be inspired first to declutter, and then to work with what I already have to create the home of my dreams.

That's because I believe that every home can benefit from some degree of minimalism.

Why minimalism?  Because the first step toward making your home more inviting is fewer things.

  • Is your home too small and crowded?  The answer is fewer things.
  • Is it dark or dingy?  You need fewer things.
  • Does your home weigh on you like a burden?  Do you feel swamped by your home chores?  Before anything else, you need fewer things.

Owning fewer things allows you to experience more open space, more natural light, and easier home care.  It lets you choose and display the items that bring you most joy in a way that lets them shine.

The good news is that the best way to start making your home a haven doesn't cost money.  It doesn't take specialized training.  It just takes time.  Put on some good music or an interesting podcast and it can be fun.  Stretch, squat, and lift while you do it and it can be good for your body, too.  Even five minutes can be enough to make a start.

40 Five-Minute Decluttering Tasks

Use three bags or boxes (one for trash, one for donations, and one for items that belong somewhere else), and declutter one of these areas in five minutes or less:

  1. your purse
  2. the medicine cabinet
  3. the bathroom counter
  4. under the bathroom sink
  5. your makeup bag
  6. your bedside table
  7. your underwear or sock drawer
  8. the coffee table
  9. magazines
  10. the top of your desk
  11. your digital desktop
  12. smartphone apps
  13. a pile of mail
  14. the top of the refrigerator
  15. the refrigerator door
  16. small kitchen appliances
  17. the silverware drawer
  18. one shelf in the pantry
  19. one shelf in the refrigerator
  20. one shelf in the linen closet
  21. one shelf of books, toys, games, DVDs, knickknacks, or whatever you have on shelves
  22. one junk drawer
  23. the inside of your car
Do one of these tasks to create a more uncluttered space in five minutes or less:
  1. make your bed
  2. load or unload the dishwasher
  3. clean the sink and wipe the counters
  4. sweep the floor
  5. sort and start a load of laundry
  6. fold a load of clean laundry
  7. put away folded laundry
  8. put away your tools or hobby supplies
  9. pay a bill
  10. make an "action" folder for bills to pay, permission slips, RSVPs, tax-related receipts, etc.
  11. clear out your inbox (flag important emails and delete the rest, especially anything from last month or earlier)
  12. answer an email
  13. write a thank you note
  14. check voicemail and return a call
  15. empty the trash cans
  16. pull some weeds
  17. take bags of donations to your car for drop-off next time you're out

Photo © 2021 Jon Trefzger


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