I thought I was becoming a minimalist, but alas I have realized that I am not. If I had to put a label on my evolving attitide about consumption of good and my relationship with “stuff” I would call myself a “simplist.” Since simplist isn’t a real word (to my knowledge), for me it means conscientious consumption without excess, but with regard for beauty. Basically this quote sums it up for me.
Over the past 2-3 years, I have been intrigued by the concept of minimalism. I joined a couple of Facebook groups related to minimalism and added some minimalist blogs to my rss feed. I have since deleted the Facebook groups because a lot of the people on those were a bit over-zealous. They would post comments about stressing out because they hadn’t purged anything that day or they were stripping their walls bare as a means of getting rid of more stuff. People would proudly post photos of their bedrooms that consisted of nothing but a mattress and bedcoverings on the floor, bare walls, and a few items of clothing in a closet. No dresser, no bedside table, etc. While I am not a fan of clutter, I have also realized that bare walls and minimal furniture do not make me feel cozy or welcomed. I also like things that are beautiful and that bring me joy. I don’t want things that I keep out of guilt or obligation or just because I have always had them. Being intentional is key.
I have cleared a lot of things out of my kitchen. I got rid of many cake pans, muffin tins, and small single-use appliances. I donated extra cups and glasses. In preparing to hopefully move this summer, I am going room by room and donating things that we don’t use or don’t particularly like–even if they are in perfect condition, even if they have been a gift. Table linens, towels, knick-knacks, etc. have all gone, but there is still plenty of stuff to go through and get rid of. When we move I don’t want one single thing to enter our house if it isn’t immediately useful and/or it doesn’t bring us joy.
And speaking of joy, I like to be cognizant and appreciative of small glimpses of beauty. A few weeks ago I was at an out of town, two day meeting where the coffee was abundant. The first day the meeting started in the afternoon and I got some coffee in the mugs that were provided. The next morning we had breakfast and drank coffee out of coffee cups on saucers. After breakfast we moved to the conference room and they had mugs, but many people just brought their breakfast coffee cups along. Even though the coffee cups and mugs were both plain white, I realized that drinking out of a cup and saucer was one of those small joys. It just felt more elegant and indulgent, almost like it made the coffee even taste better. Drinking coffee was an occasion, not just routine.
I had recently received some windfall money from my insurance company’s wellness benefit and I decided to get some beautiful coffee cups and saucers. Now here’s the thing I wrestle with…I didn’t NEED these cups. I have a lot of coffee mugs, travel mugs, and a whole set of fine china cups and saucers. I didn’t impulse buy my coffee cups. I slept on it for several days, but I decided to go ahead and get them. However, my new motto is that when something comes in then something else goes out, so mugs are going out. But I do enjoy the daily beauty and small joy of my floral (and dishwasher safe!) cups and saucers. I enjoy the fact that in the set of four, there are four unique colors and patterns. Every time I drink my coffee out of them I smile and take note of this bit of beauty to start my day. I don’t just hurriedly drink slam back some coffee to get my morning started. I pause. I sit at the table. I sip, while I read my morning devotional. And it is a lovely bit of conscious beauty in the morning.