The Minimalist Esthetic

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Blank white walls, empty tables, and nary a decoration in sight. Such is the image that most people associate with “minimalism”.

To some people, there is something very appealing in the simplicity of this decorating style. Personally, I find it too stark. It feels like I walked onto the set of a dystopian movie.

“Then how can you be minimalist??” will be the question immediately on many people’s minds.

The answer is that minimalism is a mindset, not a decorating scheme. I could have a lot of things, but still think like a minimalist. It’s not likely, but it’s possible.

See, at its core, minimalism is about our relationship to objects. A minimalist realizes that objects should not be their object. (Hehehe… *ahem* Sorry.)

I have a lot of possessions, even though I’m a university student and I just moved. I spend a lot of time taking care of those possessions, more than I like, to be honest. Moving into a minimalist mindset requires looking at the objects that I’m surrounded by and assessing them.

Does this item bring me happiness? Am I willing to take the time to care for this item?

Personally, I enjoy board games and have a large collection. According to most peoples’ impression of minimalism, that shouldn’t be possible. But I take great pleasure in the games that I have, and I do periodically go through my collection to pass on games that I’m no longer using. It’s all in the attitude I have toward the games.

They bring me joy, and allow me to share my passion with friends. I am willing to take the time to play them and care for them. If a game no longer passes those tests, I pass it on.

Books are similar. I have a collection and I take great pleasure in them. The collection is not as well-curated as my game collection (to be honest, I really need to go through my books and get rid of some), but I can have a collection and still be a minimalist.

I like to think that my two major collections help me connect to people. Certainly, my passion for board games has influenced nearly every relationship I have made in the past five years, generally for the better. They’re one of the most common ways that I connect with people. Books have also influenced relationships, but they’re inherently a more solitary entertainment, so they are less useful in relating to people.

One does have to be mindful. It’s easy to slip from the carefully-curated collection mindset into the ever-bigger collection mindset. Sometimes a collection may need to be dumped totally, if it absorbs too much of your time and attention. Even a collection of well-loved possessions should never get in the way of people.

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