Embracing minimalism in the new year

I moved bedrooms (within my flat) at the beginning of this year. I carefully curated all the things I wanted on display in my new room and felt content. However, fast forward to the end of December and I’d somehow managed to fill the space with so many – mainly functionless – ‘things’.

I’m not even sure how that’s been possible, considering the shops have been physically shut for long periods. (In fact, I do know – I simply pivoted to garden centres; collecting plants, pots, vases, candles, anything I could get my hands to help dispel lockdown boredom.)

This slowly added up to a creeping sense of being suffocated by my own home and the things I’ve stuffed it with. My coping mechanism for the madness going on in the outside world was seemingly to turn all my attention indoors.

Whether intentionally or not, I’ve always tended to sway towards the more is more approach when it comes to decorating, but in the last few months I’ve found my Pinterest boards playing home to increasingly minimalistic interiors inspo. 

Minimalist bedroom in a Swedish apartment. Image: Stadshem via delikatissendk

With my personal stresses this year; giving up my job and attempting to carve out an entirely new career, all while being forced to spend a lot more time alone, my internal chatter had reached fever pitch. I could no longer abide the objects in my home butting in as well.

I realise it’s not groundbreaking that our environment has a significant impact on how we feel. It’s why there’s a thriving interior design industry, and just search colour psychology for starters. I find it incredible and exciting that we have the power to alter the way we feel every day so simply, just by moving around some objects in a room. We can tune into what we need and change our surroundings to cater to for it.

Earlier in the year I clearly needed to feel cosy and coddled by my surroundings, but now I need mental clarity, all the ‘stuff’ around began to feel very wrong. I’m craving some empty space, maybe some block colours in soothing tones. Living in a houseshare, you spend much more time than average in your bedroom, and the temptation is to fill it with things that individualise it. However, I’ve discovered I need to practice a bit of minimalism in mine, at least at the moment, in order to feel calmer.

I don’t think minimalism necessarily has to mean unfussy. I’m still very much into a frill and a gingham. I just want to give my most treasured objects some space to sing out a bit and bring me joy rather than brain fog.

So, I woke up on 1st January, replaced my paisley bedlinen with plain white and methodically cleared the surfaces and walls of my bedroom into one big pile. I’ve been very careful about what’s earned a place back on the shelves. The William Morris quote, ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful’, popping into my mind.

It’s looking a little sparse for now, but the mental noise has certainly died down. I’m looking forward to carefully considering what I add to the space from here. As for the ‘things’ that didn’t make the cut, some are heading to Facebook Marketplace, and others are going away in the cupboard. I’m sure I’ll need them again at some point.

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