Less minimalist, but still pretty damn minimalist

Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.
~Coco Chanel

Home ownership requires a certain amount of stuff. Especially when the home is a fixer-upper and calling an electrician to install lighting and new outlets is way out of the budget. I own all kinds of odd tools now, some of them purchased, some of them given, some of them on loan. Most fortunate for me, a friend of mine had a bunch of lawn tools, including a small lawnmower, in storage. I get to use them in exchange for storing them in my garage. He gets to clean out his storage unit (hopefully to one day not need it), and I get free access to stuff I need.

And of course, there’s the inevitable influx of furniture. There’s a little more room in the living and dining rooms (okay, a lot, but not enough to matter), and a lot more room in the bedroom, as well as an entire second bedroom. And everyone I know takes this to mean I want all of their unwanted furniture. Some of it is worthwhile, some of it I don’t need. This is where knowing how to say “no, thank you, though” to people is very helpful.

So I own a lot more than I did when I went on hiatus. But most of it is just furniture, instead of knick-knacks and assorted crap. All of it is second-hand (at best). As stated above, furniture is all too easy to get for free, and if you want to be picky, good things come cheap for the patient on Craigslist.

I’ll be honest and say that most of it is there to be seen. I have a chair in my bedroom, and I’ve sat in it once. The cats enjoy the new stuff far more than I ever will, but my bedroom was a bit…barren. Searching for “Help, my bedroom is too big” on Google doesn’t get you very many good tips for how to deal with what most people would consider a decent size. (How many people actually use the “reading nooks” they create in their homes? I read on the couch.) I’d curtain off half the room, but what would I do with the new space? I guess I could hide the cat tower there, but then I’d have to listen to them climb it at night.

That’s not to say I’ve fallen completely off the minimalist wagon. A funny moment this morning was when I realized that the reason my countertops seemed absurdly deep to me was because they were made for “normal” people…the people who keep appliances and canisters and spice racks out and visible. Deep cabinets and larger countertops allow people to prepare food while still having the coffee maker, knife block, and flour canister present. When even your used-daily toaster lives in a cabinet, the countertops seem a third too large to be useful.

Does owning two chairs I don’t regularly use make me not a minimalist? Decide that for yourself. I don’t give a damn. I try my best to own the least amount of stuff possible, and to consider each object brought inside my home carefully. In short, I feel that minimalism is a state of mind, rather than a hard and fast number. And sometimes, you own more than you’d really like to. But maybe you just end up with 600 extra square feet you didn’t particularly want (although the larger bathroom and kitchen are nice). C’est la vie.


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