Minimalist decor doesn’t fit my minimalist life

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
~Vernon Howard

I see tons of inspiring photos of minimalist homes. And they certainly look nice.

But those kinds of homes are generally not inhabited by cats. I often wonder if they’re even inhabited at all.

Although I put my video game consoles away when they’re not in use, I’m not about to hide my desktop computer. Nor am I about to trade it in for a laptop. So the desk, with the monitor, the tower, the keyboard, the mouse, and all the associated cords…definitely not high minimalism.

There are always a pair of shoes by the door, the bike lives in the corner for want of a covered bike rack, there are dishes to be done in the kitchen and the cat accidentally shat on the rug last night so it’s drying on the bar stools. Whatever book I happen to be reading along with my keys and anything that needs to leave the apartment sits on the bookshelf next to the door along with my roommate’s keys.

Frugality and the high minimalist look don’t always mesh. I don’t necessarily pick my furniture…it’s whatever I can find or get for cheap. The futon is fairly minimalist, but the desk and the bookshelf don’t match. Fuck matching, the latter was free and the former was fifteen bucks. My bedroom currently has a navy blue theme. By “theme” I mean that two things match and they aren’t black. The quilt that lives on the bed in the winter is so far from minimalist it’s not funny. (My mother made it for me years ago and it has a small clusterfuck of “jungle animals” on it.) The apartment itself, well, that fire extinguisher permanently secured to my kitchen wall would make an interior decorator scream. And don’t start me on my roommate…at least she keeps it in her bedroom (and to a very lesser extent, her counter top in the kitchen.)

But my minimalist life has never been the type that requires the picture-perfect minimalist look. I hate bare walls. I might yet purge a few more wall hangings, but you’d have to kill me to part me from my deer skulls or my Coyote Dance print. And a picture-perfect apartment is impossible with cats. If they’re not scattering cat toys all over, there’s hair everywhere, and of course the ever-present litter box. And for the record, I fucking hate white. I refuse to wear white, and my fuzzy black cat will turn any piece of white furniture gray within a split second of it entering my apartment. White gets too dirty for me.

So let’s call it “functional minimalism.” The lived-in look. Some might call it “garage sale chic,” but I prefer to think of it as “not willing to spend money to replace something that’s still perfectly serviceable.” So what if the wood grain doesn’t match? It’s not even really wood, anyway. Matching wood grain is for interior decorators and people who shop at IKEA. I’m not and I don’t.

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5 Responses to “Minimalist decor doesn’t fit my minimalist life”

  1. Dargon Says:

    The minimalist lifestyle and the minimalist “style” are not the same thing; in fact, the minimalist “style” is often far more extravagant than the normal suburban house. All the fancy folding thingies and the small high tech stuff that replaces the big low tech stuff will run a price tag that would have put me in the red when I was living like a king.

    The style seems to be about using simple colors and small things to make things feel bigger. It has nothing to do with reducing the amount of stuff you have.

    • It depends. I’ve seen very nice minimalist style setups with very little involved. I’ve seen the opposite, too. I’ve got a few pictures saved to my harddrives of very nice minimalist bedrooms that are more or less just a bed in a room. One day I may be able to get to that point, although it will probably be more like “bed and altar and cat toys in a room.” That is, of course, only if I can fit the chest of drawers into a closet. Otherwise the bedroom will not change much. I think living in this apartment has taught me to appreciate the closet space when you have it. And kitchen drawers. On the other hand, I’ve gotten rid of so much more bullshit because I don’t have the physical space necessary to keep it.

      And I’ve never understood the fascination with the techy folding everything. Some of it’s just ridiculous and ugly.

  2. Jennifer L Says:

    The people who live in places like the above pictures don’t appear to read.

    I could never live a minimalist lifestyle. You could take away my legs and I still wouldn’t be willing to give up my books.

    • I used to say that about my own books. Then I discovered an idea that was put very succinctly by someone recently. “It’s not about ownership. It’s about access.”

      I don’t *need* to own books. I only need *access.* Although I love Harry Potter, you cannot tell me there is a library in the US that does not have at least one copy of each of those books. Unless someone burned them or something and they haven’t been replaced. Ergo, I don’t need to *own* the HP series, because I have access to it. I don’t read them enough to justify owning them. I do keep books that are not easily found and books that I will turn to again and again, but these are few. In fact, I rarely reread books, so owning even half of what I read is just expensive.

    • Dargon Says:

      I have a similar replay to cwnmamau’s. Many of the books I have read were borrowed, and thus returned to their owner when completed. Many of the books I have read I have loaned, given away, or sold, with the exception of the few books I have really enjoyed or I reference back to. So for the most part, my bookshelf contains textbooks, a couple political books, and a couple fictions.

      Cwnmamau said it best with regards to access. I can find most the books I wish to read at any library across the nation, and odds are I won’t be reading it again, and if I do, it probably won’t be soon enough to warrant keeping the book.

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