Thursday, February 23, 2017

Minimalism - the Holy Grail to Happiness?

Anyone who knows me, knows I am no minimalist.

I love stuff – pretty stuff. Lots of pretty stuff --furniture, dishes, paintings, books, do-dads, knick-knacks, you name it.

Nancy's Daily Dish


But recently, I have been intrigued by the minimalist movement. Mainly because so many of my friends say their children don’t want grandma’s china or silver or an old dresser set or any family heirloom. They are so disheartened – they gently saved and protected these heirlooms for years to pass along to children who now want no part of them. 


So, I had to investigate.

What is a minimalist?

The website The Minimalists gives their definition:

       "Minimalism has helped us…

      Eliminate our discontent
      Reclaim our time
      Live in the moment
      Pursue our passions
      Discover our missions
      Experience real freedom
      Create more, consume less
      Focus on our health
      Grow as individuals
      Contribute beyond ourselves
      Rid ourselves of excess stuff
      Discover purpose in our lives

       By incorporating minimalism into our lives, we’ve finally been able to find lasting happiness—
       and that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? We all want to be happy. Minimalists search for
       happiness not through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is
       necessary and what is superfluous in your life.

Ok. That sounds really noble and good but does it really help you find lasting happiness?
Can I, by getting rid of my stuff, become happier?

The bigger question I have, Why aren’t people already happy? I am happy.

I love my dining room. It is not super-cluttered but does not fit the definition of minimalism either.

It is one of those rooms that when I walk into it, I smile.
Every. Single. Time.

However, Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation, in Luray, Va. says dining room tables and chairs, end tables and armoires (“brown” pieces) have become furniture non-grata. Antiques are antiquated. “Old mahogany stuff from my great aunt’s house is basically worthless,” 

Now, let's see. 

Could it be that we did this ourselves? We gave these these children so much that they had rooms so stuffed with stuff that they are now eschewing possessions? 


My guess is when you grow up in a room like the ones above, you may feel the need to live like this.

Or this:


A quote from GQ Style on minimalism:

      "It has been said that minimalism is not a style that precludes possession, but a style that
       precludes careless possession. Only the essentials, thank you very much."

Then we have this:

Ivan Terestchenko; Fernand Léger's Le profil noir © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

One of the greatest maximalist rooms of all time is a collaboration between two of the most stylish men of all time—Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. That's their legendary Paris apartment above. ~drool~

Rooms like this are the expression of a life well lived—a celebration of objects and design—things that have been collected with a combination of care and wild abandon.

I like rooms with items of interest. With texture, color, and light.

Rather than these rooms. (I really think I would go stark raving mad.)



Some claims to minimalist living:
  • Minimalist Living Is The Key To Meaningful Living - not sure about this one. I can certainly find meaning with or without stuff
  • You’ll Become A Whole Lot Less Stressed - there may some truth in this one. I do get stressed when I have drop-in company and I know things are a bit untidy.
  • Focus on Health and Hobbies - hummmm, I think my hobby is decorating and a good 4 hrs of house cleaning certainly helps you break a sweat.
  • Promotes Individuality and Self-reliance - disagree with his one. How can you have an unique home when everything is grey, white and from Ikea?
So, is minimalism the Holy Grail to happiness? Maybe for some.