Minimalism is a hot buzz word almost everywhere you go, but especially when it comes to lifestyle and design. There are countless blogs and Instagram accounts dedicated to the "less is more" aesthetic, the "whatever brings you joy" way of life. But what happens if everything brings you joy? Please note that I'm not talking about hoarding, as I am capable and frequently able to throw things away, but rather the personal choice to live surrounded by many, many, many of my cherished things.
I really dig that people embrace minimalism, and if it works for them and helps keep their spirit and life uncluttered, then all the better. But personally, I'd rather have a house filled with everything than nothing. A wardrobe filled with unusual colours, textures and whimsy than clean lines. I want to see organised chaos everywhere I look. I want a house overgrown with flowers and plants and two of everything. Here's a bit of the background story to what led me to become a Maximalist.
Maximalism in reaction to our parents & Maximalism as a way of connecting us to the past
I believe that we are all, to a lesser or greater extent, living in reaction to our parents. So it comes as no surprise that my mother leans more towards minimalism in reaction to her own dad being a pack-rat. As a kid, I was always told to put everything away, to not have too much clutter out on display. As I grew older, my elaborate collection of CDs and troll dolls were all given to other kids or to The Salvation Army rather than kept as cherished items for the next generation to explore.
I understand that my mom's decluttering intentions were good, and I definitely agree in donating what you don't need. But what if I wanted to pass down one of those trolls to my future children, or play them some early Radiohead off of the original CDs? With a background in journalism, I view cherished items as a way of communicating our past to the future. I see possessions as tools for investigation and storytelling. The more you have, the more the future has to work with.
Maximalism in reaction to depression
When your brain is unhappy, everything that was once bright can go dull and grey. Having experienced depression at points in my life, I naturally gravitate towards bright colours and florals, signs of embracing every moment of life. They say that colours can affect mood, so I surround myself with layers of green for serenity, as well as countless shades of pink, since it's the colour that makes me feel powerful. The books that have helped make me who I am are displayed on my bookshelf, upright, sideways, anyway I can store them. I even purchased a blue ceramic glazed pitcher not for it's functionality of pouring water, but so that I could buy myself sunflowers to put in it. To me, creativity trumps functionality. I want life to be like a still life painting.
Maximalism can save you money
Buy less stuff, only buy what you need, save money etc. Okay, I get that. But holding on to things can also save you money. Need something for a recipe? Your kitchen is already fully stocked. Need to decorate a gift? I have an entire basket filled with gift bags and bits and pieces of ribbons and stuffing from past gifts that I can reuse as future wrapping items. I also sometimes make my own cards from those items, and use bright washi tape to cover old picture frames. If I hadn't held on to everything, I would have likely had to go out and buy each item. So keeping tons of stuff does has its benefits, right?
But beyond everything, living as a maximalist simply makes me happy. It doesn't mean I'm constantly going out on spending sprees or being wasteful. It simply means that I choose to live in a way that comforts me and inspires me to be creative. At the end of the day, stuff is just stuff, and what matters most is the love that surrounds you. To me, my things are just tiny reminders of all the love I've been lucky enough to have in my life.
So what about you? Do you identify more as a Maximalist or Minimalist? I'd love to hear about it.