Beautiful things and minimalism? It’s all about the meaning.

Jessica Williams shares her thoughts on meaningful minimalism.

Why do you own the things you own? Is this even a question you consider? For me, it’s a question I’ve come to know very well and one I constantly keep on my shoulder. Like most people living in the western consumerist driven world, I used to own thousands of items for no particular reason. Perhaps I’d been given them, bought them on a whim, thought they made me look cool or lusted after something because someone I admired had one too. I know now that these are not good reasons for ownership.

Buying things with this kind of ‘I want it all and I want it all now’ attitude resulted in an overwhelming home life for me where nothing seemed to have a place, very little had meaning and nothing had space to breathe. My home was a cluttered jumble of stuff. Fast forward to now and my home tells a different story. After adopting a more minimal approach to life, it’s clutter-free and full of meaning. The kind of meaning that feels like a warm hug when you walk through the front door. 

Jessica Williams - Beautiful Things - Minimalism
Photography by Jessica Williams

Minimalism has skyrocketed in popularity from both a visual and lifestyle point of view. It’s easier than ever to accumulate hoards of more for less and I think this has a lot to do with this sub-cultural shift we’re beginning to see. We’re realising all that stuff doesn’t add much value to our lives and more isn’t more for all of us. It isn’t making us happy and it’s certainly not good for our planet. At the other end of the scale then is a minimalist aesthetic where we try to do more with less. 

When I set out on my own minimalist journey I fell foul by convincing myself I had to let go of my love of things all together and detach myself from them. As a life long lover of beautiful things this approach didn’t sit well with me. I soon found myself curating my own version of minimalism when I realised it’s not the what we own i.e. that ideal amount of things, but the why that counts. 

I realised there’s an in between to the all or nothing approach where the secret is to only allow the right things for you into your life. Being selective, intentional and mindful about what I let into my home has helped me discover and uncover my own tastes and I’m so grateful for that.

William Morris said ‘have nothing in your house do not not deem to be beautiful or useful’.

Our homes then, are a creative individualistic expression of who we are. For me this is something to be celebrated. 

The less I have the more I realise how the things we surround ourselves with affect us in more ways than we consciously realise. It makes sense then to carefully curate with meaning. When there’s a reason for owning something, whether that be because it reminds you of someone, gives you the warm fuzzies or feels like an extension of who you are, you’re able to create a space that fulfils you in a way a meaningless space never will. Without meaning what’s the point? 

Instead of advising you to declutter everything you own or forsake your love of the beautiful, I’ll leave you with a thought to ponder, a simple question to hold close – start asking, why?

Read more about beautiful things and minimalism here

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