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The term “minimal” has been used a lot in recent years. It seems many have been looking to simplify their lives and their homes, perhaps to create a calm sanctuary in the face of a complex world.

“Less is more,” is how the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously described his style. Buckminster Fuller tried “doing more with less.” I think the reason why minimalism has resonated with so many people as a design style is because it encourages focusing on the essential elements needed to create a home. It’s not so much about “empty” homes or feeling like you can’t decorate. It’s about stripping away what’s unnecessary until you are left with just the things you need and that make you happy. Doing more with less.

I think “minimal” now is beyond the definition any textbook can give it. Embraced by different people, the idea of living more minimally has been interpreted in fresh ways. Some people focus on the aesthetics of minimalism in order to create a peaceful space that brings them calmness. Others dive deep into the philosophy of minimalism, focusing on the things in life that are most important to them, and crafting a home that reflects that.

Whatever your interest level may be in minimalism, find the inspiration (and resources) that influenced the people living in these beautiful, real, minimal homes.

There’s the short-term aspect of having less stuff — get rid of one item every day, tackle one room at a time, put everything in boxes and only keep what you actually end up using, etc. Then there is the long-term side of minimalism — what is important to me, what are my goals, what makes me happy, is what I’m doing contributing to my long-term plan or my happiness?

The goal isn’t to end up at a set number of items or a space that looks a certain way; instead it’s a shift away from stuff. So long as the focus is tidy drawers and getting rid of a certain number of items, we haven’t moved away from the importance of stuff. Instead, ask yourself what matters most to you. Do the things you have in your life contribute to that or take away from whatever that is?

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Posted on Sep 26, 2017

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