This weekend I brought some new stuff into my place. A few books that I had left at home, some bookends, and a few other odds and ends. Straight-up, my living space is a little more cluttered now. Less “minimalist”, perhaps.
But I don’t mind, somehow.
See, I had books that couldn’t fit upright in my bookshelves, so they were lying on their sides and spilling out all over the place. With the bookends, they can go on top of a bookshelf, standing upright, and there’s a dedicated place for them. It’s cleaner, though more cluttered.
And the books that I brought are books that I want to read again. I put them in the bookshelf alongside the other books that are next up on my reading list, and I look forward to reading them. My bookshelves are a little more cramped, but I enjoy the books that I crammed in.
This is the place where minimalism breaks down. Emptier and cleaner isn’t always happier. My house would be a lot more minimalist if I got rid of my books, but that wouldn’t make me happier. I’d miss them, and then I’d spend a lot of time running around to libraries and things so I could read them. I have carefully chosen to keep only books that I enjoy reading and will re-read, so in my case, minimalism means having a couple of bookshelves full of books. It’s not empty, but it’s minimalist.
That being said, it’s still best to think about things before bringing them in. I’ll read these books and then decided if I want to keep them permanently. Nothing is a final decision. You can change your mind. I have several times already, about what I want to have around and what I don’t. That’s part of being human and moving forward in time. Things change.
So don’t refuse to bring anything new into your minimalist house. Bring in things that make you happy and that can help you connect. Be careful about it, don’t do it on a whim, but you can always change your mind. Minimalism is for you, not the other way around.