So apparently there’s this thing called “cozy minimalism” that is being talked about in the blogosphere.
I had never heard of it until I ran across a post on said subject. I quickly realized that yes, this was my category. (Woohoo, now people can label me and put me in a definitive box! Yippee!)
When many people hear the word “minimalism”, they conjure up pictures of asceticism in their heads. But the term “minimalism” actually has several different cultural definitions. Technically, minimalism refers to an art form that focuses on simplicity. But there’s a growing school of thought that has developed in our society as a kick-back against materialism, and it has nothing to do with art. In the words of these guys, who are actually known as The Minimalists,
“Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”
However, minimalism is also sometimes hijacked by home-department marketing professionals, and translated “make everything in your bedroom one color.” Which actually means, “buy more stuff!” So, definitions matter here! In this post, I’m not talking about the style of art, but more the anti-materialistic ideology.
I have always thought, when I read about minimalism, that the basic idea undergirding it appealed to me (more of life, less of stuff, simplicity, etc.). And I hate clutter. My husband can tell you that I’m sort of a paper-nazi…if it’s not connected to the spine of a notebook, or in a file folder, I want it in the trash. So I guess in some senses, I’m a good candidate for the minimalism label.
However, often the design inspired by minimalism does not appeal to me. I like clean lines, white space, and occasional monochromatic color schemes. In moderation. But I also like bookcases crammed with good books, mismatched and colorful coffee mugs to spare, and plenty of warmth. I like my space to say “organized,” yes, but also “we live here, thank you.” And so many of the rooms with minimalist decor seem so…soul-less.
But then, “cozy” minimalism was introduced to me. You can read what I read HERE. The author seemed to put into words exactly what I had never taken the time to…that yes, I like part of the minimalist take on life, but I’ll never be a true minimalist in the styling of my home. And guess what–there is an alternative. And it has a name!
Enter, cozy minimalism.
The term itself is fairly self-explanatory: cozy means warm and inviting. Minimal means the only bare essentials. So it’s a balancing act of deciding what gives your house a homey feel, while still filtering with a “what do we need/use” mindset.
What I like about this concept is that it takes the basic values of minimalism ideology–making space in life for what really matters by deliberately choosing to not become overwhelmed by stuff–and weds it with the reality of where most of us live: “I have two very similar tote bags…but I use both…and I want to keep both.” Comfort, without clutter, is how I like to look at it. I can still keep all my candles (that are actually all from the same color and scent families), but I’ll choose to pare down my sock drawer, because I don’t need/like/want all the socks I own.
My home can still be fresh and relatively clutter-free, but not forced into specific parameters about how many of these or those I own. It’s about choosing things that are functional and practical, but also bring some beauty or joy to this One Little Life, whether or not there’s a bit of redundancy. I choose what we like and what makes our home US, without trying to fit it into a specific mold.
And so, that’s why I now consider myself a “cozy minimalist.”
So what’s your opinion? How do you classify your Castle-style? Cluttered and eclectic, like Aunt Matilda’s parlor? Bare and austere, like Uncle Lou’s big city loft? Or somewhere in the middle, in the “cozy” sector? What fits you and your family best, and why?