Oops, I accidentally became a minimalist

Minimalism is a lifestyle that’s growing and growing in popularity. Live your life with less, and pay less attention to the materialistic side of life. Sounds great and all, but I -like no other- just really like “things”. Never would I choose nót to do things solely because it would be “very minimalistic” of me to do so. That was, until May of 2017. What happened? And what lessons have I learned from this? Let’s jump into it for todays #Blogvember post!

Downsizing from 80 sqm to 25 sqm

As I’ve said in the blog I posted yesterday, I downsized my living space. Big time. From late 2015 until May of 2017 I lived in a 80 sqm apartment in Deventer. I had three bedrooms, a large living room and two balconies. In this post [Dutch] I wrote about how unhappy this space made me. So I decided to move, to Amsterdam no less. There I found a perfect little studio of 25 sqm, where I live to this day.

Eventually moving day was there, which was not stressful at all whatsoever

Four panic attacks, a mental breakdown and other struggles

So moving, no biggie right? Wrong. I had to look at all the stuff I had and decide whether I needed it or not. Thén came the difficult part. In one month, besides working my fulltime job, I had to sell all my “not needed” furniture, fight with my landlord about financial stuff (which eventually got sorted) and move my whole life to a city that I’ve never lived in.

The struggle of finding out you own wayyy to much random stuff

Me being me, I figured I’d be able to do this without asking for help. Which I wouldn’t recommend, keeping my panic attacks and mental breakdowns in this period in mind. It all worked out after all, and in June of 2017 I had an empty apartment in Deventer and a full studio apartment in Amsterdam.

Me communicating my mental state via Instagram Story

The reality of being forced to be a minimalist

In my old home, I could buy whatever I wanted and it would fit. I had two wardrobes I had filled to the brim, and a collection of decor items that was past impressive. My new home didn’t allow myself this luxury. So, time and time again I bought something new by my old habits, and noticed it made me unhappy because I couldn’t store it properly. It took me a long time to get used it it, but I just was not allowed to mindlessly buy anymore. Which, as I now see it, is a good thing.

Minimalism doesn’t mean not buying stuff

On my own I started making this house a home, which took some time. From the furniture I brought with me, a lot had left the building already. Like my sofa which couldn’t double as a sleeping space, my dining chairs which were way too bulky and my wardrobe which was visually way too impactful. I traded them out for more airy furniture, things on legs, open storage and pieces with multiple uses.

Chairs that were too bulky for the space made it feel really small
A sofa I never loved quickly left the building to make space for my current daybed

Minimalism when your aesthetic is eclectic maximalism

As you can see on my Instagram, my interior is far from minimalistic or modern or streamlined. It’s quite a hodgepodge of styles and colours. The lesson I learnt is that you can still achieve that aesthetic if you choose the right places to show it. Like in wall art, or in rugs or in the textiles on the sofa and my bed. In clothing, books and other nick nacks, I’m now really conscious in what I want to own -and show- and what I don’t want. For that matter I now have way better (practical, unique, beautiful, durable) stuff in my home than I had before.

I too want a more minimalistic lifestyle

If this all sounds great to you, I’ve got some tips for you! Some of this is inspired by “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.

  • Don’t mindlessly go shopping for “fun”, decide what you need and make acquiring that thing a fun activity (turn your mindset around);
  • Periodically look at the things in wardrobes and closets and ask yourself if you still need and use it;
  • When you have the urge to buy something, ask yourself why you want it (because others have it, because you just want the action of buying or if you need it);
  • Above all: don’t make too many rules for yourself and don’t restrict yourself too much.

I hope learning from my experience is helpful to you! Let me know your thoughts on Instagram, and I’ll see you tomorrow for another #Blogvember post!

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