Cozy minimalism is a term that has come to mean a lot to me and has helped me gradually create the life I want. Now when I say gradually, I really do mean gradually! It has been (and continues to be) quite a process, and that’s coming from someone who didn’t own a whole lot in the beginning. I sort of stumbled across minimalism in my early twenties and have been at it for about three years now. By being at it, I mean being conscious of what I own and what I purchase and making sure I truly need something before I spend money on it.
The main differences in the terms “minimalism” and “cozy minimalism” are personal preferences. A minimalist in the strictest sense of the word may own very, very little. They may have a mostly empty home and love all that free space or they may travel and have all their belongings in a suitcase. But I would guess that this description does not apply to most people, and it certainly does not apply to me. I believe that I only own things that are beautiful to me and/or useful. My walls are not all plain and I do have a box of nostalgic items in my closet. However, my life is not overrun by clutter and things that I “may need one day.” I am a careful curator of the things I keep in my home, and I strive to surround myself with a home setting that I am fully at peace in. I love my jars of dried eucalyptus branches and my cactus paintings on the wall in the living room and my record player and records. (I wrote about my minimal living room here.) Are these things useful? No, they are not. But they bring me great joy, and therefore they fit into my life of cozy minimalism. I need the tools in my kitchen in order to prepare food and my cleaning supplies in order to keep an orderly home. Are all of these things beautiful? No, of course they are not, but they are extremely useful and so they fit into my life of cozy minimalism. If the situation is fully ideal, the useful objects are beautiful to me as well. For example, partially due to my choice to pursue a zero waste lifestyle and partially due to the sheer beauty, I have wood and metal kitchen and cooking utensils instead of plastic. Although I do not currently have open shelving in my kitchen, I would love to some day, and I am proud to say that I would be able to display almost all of the dishes, pots and pans, glasses, mugs, mixing bowls, etc, that I own. Not everyone is at this point in their minimalism journey, and some don’t want to be. For example, I have a cabinet shelf where I keep reusable plastic cups that we have had for years for situations where glass would not be as appropriate, such as a picnic or when kids are over. I don’t intend to get rid of these anytime soon, either, because I believe them to be useful in certain situations. But while I don’t find these things to be necessarily beautiful, I find them extremely useful and therefore they will stay. Each person’s journey toward minimalism is going to look different, and where they end up will look different also. Some people will keep a whole library full of books but par down kitchen equipment to the bare minimum. Some will keep twenty different kitchen appliances because they love to cook and do it constantly, and only keep a few books. Most people will be somewhere in between. Finding your peace is the important thing. Clutter should not surround you and drain your energy. Your home space should contain things you love and use and the rest should find a new home where they can make someone else happy. I will write soon about ethical reducing, and how to downsize without sending tons of stuff to the landfill.